THE SCIENTIFIC BASIS OF TAI CHI CHUAN ON ENHANCEMENT OF BALANCE CONTROL: CHALLENGE TO BIOMECHANISTS

  • Xian Jing Li
  • Youlian Hong
  • Paul D. Robinson
Keywords: Tai Chi Chuan, balance control, muscle strength, flexibility

Abstract

The purpose of this article was to review the scientific studies, both published in Chinese and English, on the impact of Tai Chi Chuan (TCC) exercise on balance capacity, and to provide views on future direction of TCC studies. The experimental evidence obtained from both cross-sectional and longitudinal studies suggested that TCC exercise has beneficial effects on balance control capacity and reduction in falling in the elderly. This applied to either healthy people or patients with rheumatoid arthritis, or osteoarthritis. Among the published literature there is a dearth of biomechanical studies for TCC. Only a few of the characteristics of muscular activity, movement kinematics and kinetics during the performance of TCC are understood. Furthermore how TCC exercise helps to improve the human balance control has not yet been explained.