The Most Popular Tai Chi Style and the Most Studied Health Benefit During 2010 to 2020

June 28, 2021 - In a large-scale collaboration project by Western Sydney University, Harvard Medical School, Macquarie University of Australia and multiple Chinese universities, the scientists performed a bibliometric review to identify the volume, breadth, and characteristics of clinical studies evaluating Tai Chi published between January 2010 and January 2020. Five English and four Chinese language databases were searched. Following independent screening, 1018 eligible publications representing 987 studies were identified, which was a three-fold increase from the previous decade.

Most common were randomized controlled trials (55.5 %), followed by systematic reviews (15.9 %), non-randomized controlled clinical studies (15.4 %), case series (12.9 %) and case reports (0.3 %). Of the 987 studies, most were conducted in China (74.0 %), followed by the United States of America (12.5 %) and South Korea (2.0 %).

Study participants were mostly in the adult (55.2 %) and/or older adult (72.0 %) age groups. The top ten diseases/conditions were hypertension, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, knee osteoarthritis, heart failure, depression, osteoporosis/osteopenia, breast cancer, coronary heart disease and insomnia. A quarter of the studies enrolled healthy participants to evaluate the effects of Tai Chi on health promotion/preservation, balance/falls, and physiological/biomechanical outcomes.

Yang style Tai Chi was the most popular, followed by Chen and Sun style. Tai Chi was mostly commonly delivered face-to-face by a Tai Chi instructor in group settings for 60 min, three times a week, for 12 weeks.

Most studies (93.8 %) reported at least one outcome in favor of Tai Chi. Adverse events were underreported (7.2 %). Over half fell short of expected intervention reporting standards, signaling the need for Tai Chi extensions to existing guidelines.

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