Innovative UQ Tai Chi program treats depression, diabetes and obesity

Promising results from an innovative UQ Tai Chi based study  show depression, diabetes and obesity can all be improved through a  gentle mind-body therapeutic program.

• The proportion of participants with clinical levels of  depression decreased from 60 percent to 20 percent. BMI and waist  circumference also significantly decreased by 4 percent and 3 percent  respectively.
     • This specific program may be the first exercise program that has  scientifically shown significant effects of exercise alone on both  depression and diabesity (diabetes and obesity).

Dr Liu Xin, a UQ scientist and a renowned expert in the field  of mind-body therapy, developed this unique program for the control of  depression and diabesity.
       The three month pilot study, funded by the Diabetes Australia  Research Trust, was conducted at The University of Queensland.
       “Without involvement of any dietary intervention and high  intensity training, it was very encouraging to see such impressive  results over a short period of time,” Dr Liu said………….
"Other reported benefits include improvements in energy levels, sleeping  patterns, urinary control, breathing, immunity, confidence, self-esteem  and coping; and positive changes in life perspective and family  harmony”.
"The majority of the promising findings were replicated in a following randomized controlled trial."
An extended large controlled study named SMILE* Tai Chi Program focusing  on depression and obesity has recently been funded by the National  Heart Foundation …….

Media contact: for more information contact Dr Liu Xin (telephone 07 3240 6122
email or Jan King at UQ Communications (telephone 07 3365 1120).

Quotes from the Health Industry:

  • “An ancient form of exercise may offer physical      and  psychological benefits to healthy people and those with chronic       conditions like heart disease and arthritis.  Tufts University  researchers reviewed 47 studies of Tai      chi, a gentle Chinese  martial art involving slow, fluid movements.  In most studies, Tai Chi  improved      heart and lung function, increased balance and  flexibility, and lowered      the risk of falls in older people.        Tai Chi was also shown to reduce pain, stress, and anxiety.  The  researchers plan to conduct      more studies to identify why Tai Chi  benefits health (Archives of Internal      Medicine, March 8, 2004) * 

         *Dr. Andrew Weill’s Health Newsletter

  • The Harvard Women’s Health Watch reported,  “studies support Tai Chi for heart      attack and cardiac by-pass  patients, to improve cardiorespiratory function      and reduce blood  pressure”
  • The BBC reported on a U.S. study of 30  patients which found      regular Tai Chi classes gave patients better  movement and reduced BNP      levels, a measure for heart failure
  • The University of California at Los Angeles      researchers have shown that      behavioral interventions and integrative exercise  programs such as Tai chi      can have a direct, positive effect on the  immune system of older adults
  • “New research, published in the June 2009      issue of Arthritis Care and Researchsuggests       that Tai chi might be particularly beneficial.  Researchers  analyzed seven trials that used Tai Chi as      the main intervention  for patients with chronic arthritis, and the results      indicated that  Tai chi improved pain and disability”
  • *Harvard Health Newsletter June 2007  “Tai  Chi May Help Breast Cancer Patients -      Getting back to normal in  terms of flexibility, muscular strength and      aerobic capacity (all  measures of functional capacity) after breast cancer      treatment can  seem daunting.       New research in a recent issue of the Journal of Supportive      Oncology has  found that Tai Chi      Chuan, a moderate form of exercise, may be just  what the physiotherapist      ordered.  In this study,      researchers  compared how well breast cancer survivors improved      functionally  after they were randomize either to TCC or to psychosocial      support  therapy (PST) consisting of peer open discussion, educational       information about nutrition, diet and exercise (but no actual exercise)       and coping techniques, such as guided imagery……..The group who  studied TCC      significantly improved in aerobic capacity, muscular  strength and      flexibility whereas the PST group improved  significantly only in flexibility”