Nav: Home

Practicing Tai Chi helps improve respiratory function in patients with COPD

April 04, 2018

Glenview, IL, April 4, 2018 - Finding ways to help patients with COPD improve their functional status is an area of interest for pulmonary healthcare providers. Currently, pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) is used where available to improve exercise capacity and quality of life, but the treatment requires access to trained staff and specialized facilities. A new study in the journal CHEST® looked at Tai Chi as a lower cost, more easily accessed treatment option. Investigators found that this slow, methodical form of exercise is equivalent to PR for improving respiratory function in patients with COPD.

Tai Chi, an ancient martial art that involves significant levels of physical exertion, is gaining popularity, especially among older people, across the globe. Originating in China, Tai Chi incorporates stretching, breathing, and coordinated movement and requires no special equipment. "Knowing the potential benefits of Tai Chi, we hypothesized that, in patients being treated with medication to manage their COPD symptoms, it could help improve the quality of life when compared to a course of classical western style PR," noted Professor Nan-Shan Zhong, MD, State Key Laboratory of Respiratory Disease, Guangzhou, China.

The study tracked 120 patients with COPD in rural China who had never used a bronchodilator. After beginning daily treatment with indacaterol, subjects were randomly assigned to groups receiving traditional PR or Tai Chi. Both the Tai Chi and PR groups showed similar improvements in Saint Georges Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) scores, a standard measure of health status in patients with diseases causing airway obstruction. However, after twelve weeks, a clinically significant difference in SGRQ scores emerged favoring Tai Chi. Similar trends were noted in performance of a six-minute walk test.

"Tai Chi is an appropriate substitute for PR," explained lead investigator Professor Yuan-Ming Luo, PhD, also of the State Key Laboratory of Respiratory Disease. "While neither training approach differed from the other by more than the minimal clinically important difference of four SGRQ points at the end of this 12-week study, an additional 12 weeks after discontinuation of formal training, improvements emerged in favor of Tai Chi in SGRQ score, six-minute walk distance, modified Medical Research Council dyspnea score, and quadriceps strength. We conclude that Tai Chi is equivalent to PR and may confer more sustained benefit."

Subjects in the Tai Chi group met for formal instruction five hours per week for 12 weeks and were taught the 24 form Yang style. The results of the Tai Chi group were compared to that of another group of subjects who received PR three times a week for 12 weeks. After the initial 12 weeks, participants were encouraged to continue their Tai Chi either alone or with a group in their community; however, no formal assistance was provided to patients during this period. Those in the PR group received verbal encouragement to remain as physically active as possible. Final analysis of all data was conducted 12 weeks after the formal training had concluded.

For many patients, reducing the symptoms of COPD can greatly improve their quality of life. While medication continues to play an important role in treating COPD, the cost of those medicines can be a barrier for some patients, especially for treating a chronic illness like COPD.

"This study demonstrates that a low-cost exercise intervention is equivalent to formal pulmonary rehabilitation, and this may enable a greater number of patients to be treated," concluded lead author of the study Michael I. Polkey, PhD, NIHR Respiratory Biomedical Research Unit, The Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust and Imperial College, London, United Kingdom. "Physical activity is key to reducing symptoms in COPD. We do recommend PR, but our study shows that Tai Chi is a viable alternative when there is no local PR service. We encourage pulmonary rehabilitation providers to consider offering Tai Chi as an alternative therapy that patients would then be able to continue unsupervised in their own home."
-end-


Elsevier

Related Copd Articles:

COPD appears to cause more severe symptoms in women
Women who develop COPD report smoking fewer cigarettes than men; and yet, women experience greater breathing impairments, are subjected to more acute exacerbations of symptoms and report lower quality of life than men with the disease, according to research presented at ATS 2019.
African-Americans with COPD appear less likely to use pulmonary rehab
African-American patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, are less likely to participate in pulmonary rehabilitation programs than white patients, even when there are programs nearby.
COPD and type 2 diabetes
COPD and type 2 diabetes are two highly prevalent global health conditions associated with high mortality and morbidity.
Number of nonsmokers with COPD on the rise
The global burden of COPD is high, and prevalence of nonsmokers with COPD has been increasing.
Flu vaccination keeps COPD patients out of the hospital
A new study published in the January issue of CHEST® establishes that patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) face heightened risks of death, critical illness, and hospitalization if they develop the flu and demonstrates the beneficial effects of influenza vaccination.
Kidney disease biomarker may also be a marker for COPD
A commonly used biomarker of kidney disease may also indicate lung problems, particularly COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to new research published online in the American Thoracic Society's American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
COPD-associated inflammation halted in model experiment
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD for short, is believed to be the third most common cause of death worldwide.
Study: Almost 100 million adults have COPD in China
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is widespread in China with 8.6 percent of the country's adult population -- almost 100 million people -- suffering from the chronic lung disease, according to a new Tulane University study published in The Lancet.
Effective rehabilitation in COPD
By 2020, COPD will be the third most common cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide.
Nurses' regular use of disinfectants is associated with developing COPD
Regular use of disinfectants is linked to a higher risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to new research looking at incidence of the disease in over 55,000 nurses in the USA, to be presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress.
More Copd News and Copd Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#538 Nobels and Astrophysics
This week we start with this year's physics Nobel Prize awarded to Jim Peebles, Michel Mayor, and Didier Queloz and finish with a discussion of the Nobel Prizes as a way to award and highlight important science. Are they still relevant? When science breakthroughs are built on the backs of hundreds -- and sometimes thousands -- of people's hard work, how do you pick just three to highlight? Join host Rachelle Saunders and astrophysicist, author, and science communicator Ethan Siegel for their chat about astrophysics and Nobel Prizes.