Balance improvements after a week-long Tai Chi workshop as determined by dynamic posturography

Hongtao Li, Gabi N. Waite, Margaret M. Moga, Paul Lam, Roy W. Geib

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

The purpose of this study was threefold: 1) to explore static and dynamic posturography as an objective measure of balance performance after intensive practice of Tai Chi; 2) to determine whether multi-day Tai Chi workshops are viable venues to gather data from long-term Tai Chi practitioners and 3) to determine whether a 6-day, intensive Tai Chi intervention would improve the balance of participants. For posturography measurements we used the CAPS™ Professional System (Vestibular Technologies, Cheyenne, WY), a portable computerized device which monitors body sway for 20 seconds, with eyes open or closed, when standing on a hard (static) or unstable (dynamic) surface. We employed the system to test 54 participants in a 6-day. Tai Chi workshop at South Hadley, MA. The beginning data showed that all participants had a stability score which fell into the acceptably normal category when normalized according to age and gender. Thirty-three participants performed the identical tests again at the end of the workshop. Changes of 2.1 points or larger on tests with the unstable surface were considered statistically significant at the 95% confidence level. On the test with eyes closed, the stability score changed on average by 3.0 (n=33). There was also a trend towards increased improvement of balance scores with increasing age when tested with eyes closed (highest average change of 4.2 for 61-70 year old group). Although with large individual variability, males (n=12, change in balance score of 3.6) showed on average a greater improvement in balance scores than females (n=21, change in balance score of 2.8). These data indicate that computerized posturography can successfully be used to monitor changes in balance performance such as occurring after intensive practice of Tai Chi as coordination exercise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalBiomedical Sciences Instrumentation
Volume46
StatePublished - May 3 2010

Keywords

  • Age difference
  • Balance
  • Gender difference
  • Posturography
  • Tai Chi

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medical Laboratory Technology
  • Biophysics

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