Effects of Tai Chi and Qigong on the mobility of stroke survivors: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized trials

Author: Moonkyoung Park1, Rhayun Song1, Kyoungok Ju1, Jisu Seo1, Xing Fan1, Ahyun Ryu1, YueLin Li1, Taejeong Jang2
1 College of Nursing, Chungnam National University, Daejeon, Republic of Korea.
2 Department of Nursing, Woosuk University, Wanju, Republic of Korea.
Conference/Journal: PLoS One
Date published: 2022 Nov 17
Other: Volume ID: 17 , Issue ID: 11 , Pages: e0277541 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0277541. , Word Count: 310

Stroke survivors often experience impaired mobility and physical functions. Tai Chi and Qigong have been shown to have physical and psychological benefits for stroke patients.

To summarize the evidence on Tai Chi and Qigong for improving mobility in stroke survivors, specifically the ability to walk, dynamic balance, and activities of daily living (ADL).

Independent searches of 16 electronic databases in English, Korean, and Chinese from their inception until December 2021 were conducted by two research teams. Methodological quality was assessed using Cochrane's risk of bias tool 2.0. Comprehensive Meta-Analysis 3.0 software was used to calculate effect sizes with subgroup analysis and to assess heterogeneity and publication bias.

The meta-analysis included 27 randomized trials (18 with Tai Chi and 9 with Qigong) on stroke survivors (N = 1,919). None of the studies were considered at high risk of bias, about 70% had some concerns, and 30% were considered low risk. Meta-analysis of 27 randomized controlled trials with random-effects models indicated that Tai Chi and Qigong effectively improved mobility, specifically on the ability to walk (Hedges'g = 0.81), dynamic balance (Hedges'g = 1.04), and ADL (Hedges'g = 0.43). The effects of Tai Chi and Qigong were significant for short-term and long-term programs (Hedges'g 0.91 vs. 0.75), and when compared with active controls and no treatment group (Hedges'g 0.81 vs. 0.73).

Tai Chi and Qigong performed for 12 weeks or less were effective in improving the mobility of stroke survivors. Further studies are warranted to assess whether Tai Chi and Qigong work best as an adjunct to rehabilitation, an effective alternative to rehabilitation or as a maintenance strategy, and whether the results could be further optimized by assessing different schools of Tai Chi and Qigong, different types of stroke patients, and different points in the post-stroke recovery process.

Prospero registration number:
This study has been registered on the UK National Institute for Health Research (http://www.crd.york.ac.uk/PROSPERO) PROSPERO registration number: CRD42020220277.

PMID: 36395145 PMCID: PMC9671349 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0277541