Tai Chi is a systematic whole body movement developed in ancient China. It plays an increasingly important role in the field of pulmonary rehabilitation for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Our review aimed to explore the impact of Tai Chi on the physical and mental health of patients with COPD.
We searched several English and Chinese databases and used the combination of subject words and free words to search for available literature from the establishment of the library until August 28, 2018. Two researchers screened studies and collected the data independently. The study inclusion criteria included: (I) patients diagnosed with COPD; (II) Tai Chi or Tai Chi Qigong as an intervention in addition to routine treatment; (III) routine treatment with or without exercises as control group. The primary outcomes were lung function, exercise capacity and health status; (IV) randomized controlled trials.
Sixteen articles were included from 2009 to 2018 (n=1,096). The average time duration of Tai Chi program was 53.4 minutes each session, 4.13 sessions a week for a total of 4.13 months. Comparing with control group, Tai Chi group improved some lung function (forced volume capacity: mean difference =0.12, 95% CI: 0.03-0.21), (forced expiratory volume in 1s: mean difference =0.15, 95% CI: 0.08-0.21), enhanced 6-minute walking distance score (mean difference =30.78, 95% CI: 15.15-46.42), decreased COPD Assessment Test score (mean difference =-5.00, 95% CI: -7.51 to -2.50), decreased St. George's Respiratory Questionnaire score (mean difference =-8.66, 95% CI: -14.60 to -2.72), enhanced Chronic Respiratory Disease Questionnaire score (mean difference =2.16, 95% CI: 1.49-2.83), decreased Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale score(anxiety: mean difference =-1.04, 95% CI: -1.58 to -0.51; depression: mean difference =-1.25, 95% CI: -1.77 to -0.73). Comparing with exercise group, Tai Chi group statistically enhanced 6-minute walking distance score (mean difference =7.77, 95% CI: 2.63-12.91).
Tai Chi may represent an appropriate alternative or complement to standard rehabilitation programs. However, whether Tai Chi is better than pulmonary rehabilitation exercise has not been determined.