Tai chi for health benefits in patients with multiple sclerosis: A systematic review.

Author: Zou L1, Wang H2, Xiao Z3, Fang Q4, Zhang M5, Li T6, Du G7, Liu Y8
1Department of Exercise Science, Physical Education, and Wellness, Tennessee Tech University, TN, United States of America.
2Department of Sport Science, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Shanghai, China.
3Department of Foreign Language Teaching, Jishou University, Hunan, China.
4Department of Physical Education and Health Education, Springfield College, MA, United States of America.
5Department of Sport Management, Delaware State University, Dover, Delaware, United States of America.
6Department of Neurology, Renji Hospital, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Shanghai, China.
7Department of Exercise Science, Wuhan Sport University, Wuhan, China.
8Department of Knesiology, Sensorimotor Neurophysiology Lab, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, United States of America.
Conference/Journal: PLoS One.
Date published: 2017 Feb 9
Other: Volume ID: 12 , Issue ID: 2 , Pages: e0170212 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0170212. eCollection 2017. , Word Count: 200

The aim of this systematic review was to evaluate the existing evidence on the effectiveness and safety of Tai chi, which is critical to provide guidelines for clinicians to improve symptomatic management in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). After performing electronic and manual searches of many sources, ten relevant peer-reviewed studies that met the inclusion criteria were retrieved. The existing evidence supports the effectiveness of Tai chi on improving quality of life (QOL) and functional balance in MS patients. A small number of these studies also reported the positive effect of Tai chi on flexibility, leg strength, gait, and pain. The effect of Tai chi on fatigue is inconsistent across studies. Although the findings demonstrate beneficial effects on improving outcome measures, especially for functional balance and QOL improvements, a conclusive claim should be made carefully for reasons such as methodological flaws, small sample size, lack of specific-disease instruments, unclear description of Tai chi protocol, unreported safety of Tai chi, and insufficient follow-up as documented by the existing literature. Future research should recruit a larger number of participants and utilize the experimental design with a long-term follow-up to ascertain the benefits of Tai chi for MS patients.

PMID: 28182629 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0170212