Parkinson's: Tai Chi helps with balance disorders

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Parkinson's: Tai Chi helps against balance problems

Parkinson's is a degenerative, neurological disease, which is characterized by large restrictions in the mobility of those affected. American researchers have now found out from a study that Tai Chi exercises in Parkinson's help to reduce symptoms.

Parkinson's patients suffer from shaking palsy The typical symptoms of Parkinson's, the so-called shaking paralysis, include muscle stiffness and tremors, balance disorders as well as slowed movements and even immobility. So far there is no therapy to cure the disease. Medications are only used to reduce symptoms. Since the disease is characterized by the death of nerve cells with the messenger dopamine, these are usually drugs that increase the dopamine supply in the brain or replace missing dopamine. There is a vague hope that Parkinson's can later be cured with stem cell therapies. However, research is still at the very beginning.

In addition to drug therapy, Parkinson's patients are advised to do physical therapy and exercise, as this can delay the progression of the disease and counteract physical deterioration. US researchers have now found that Tai Chi exercises are particularly suitable for this.

The subjects were examined by the scientists at the beginning, at the end and three months after the end of the training. They found that the stretching exercises did not improve posture, while tai chi and weight training had a positive effect. The researchers led by Fuzhong Li from the Oregon Research Institute were able to prove that the subjects from the Tai Chi group showed both the best posture and the greatest directional control of the movements through the training. The strength training also improved the posture of the study participants, but it had no demonstrable effects on the directional control of the movements.

Tai Chi therefore helps Parkinson's patients to remain independent in everyday life for longer. In addition, the study found that it reduces the risk of falls. Fuzhong Li explains: "It is cheap, it does not require any additional equipment, you can do the exercises anywhere and at any time, and the movements are easy to learn."

Tai Chi is generally considered to be health-promoting. The great advantage of Tai Chi is that practitioners can practice Chinese healing gymnastics anywhere and do not need any special equipment. It promotes a sense of balance and is offered very successfully in old people's homes to prevent falls. Sick and weak can also do the exercises in a simplified form.

Ronald Robinson, a Tai Chi teacher from Glasgow, Scotland, has 25 years of experience with Parkinson's and other nervous disorders. He reports on his lessons in various rehabilitation facilities: “I have been working with course participants who have Parkinson's disease for many years. My students told me that by practicing Tai Chi, they experience moments of silence, stability, and a sense of balance. The slow, flowing movements strengthen the connection to the ground. By relaxing and centering breathing in the lower abdomen, stability is intensified and creates a feeling of calm and serenity. "(Ag)

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Image: Michael Raab /

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