Tai Chi (taijiquan) and qigong are well-researched methods of improving peoples health and well-being. A number of clinical studies in particular have demonstrated that Tai Chi and qigong can help prevent, treat and rehabilitate people suffering from the effects of respiratory diseases such as asthma and COPD1,2. Now researchers believe that these benefits can also help people avoid and recouperate from COVID-19.
Tai Chi and qigong have been clinically demonstrated to benefit those with respiratory diseases by a) improving pulmonary function, immune response, respiratory muscle strength and overall quality of life; and b) decreasing dyspnea (shortness of breath), inflammation, stress, anxiety and depression1-3. Specific studies have demonstrated Tai Chi and qigong improve pulmonary function through increasing lung capacity and efficiency3,4, as well as the depth of breath5. Research suggests it does not matter which style of Tai Chi or qigong are used, though studies have mainly focussed on 24 Forms Tai Chi, Ba Duan Jin and Liu Zi Jue.
As COVID-19 tends to impair pulmonary function, immune response and quality of life while increasing dyspnea and inflammation, researchers are now advocating for Tai Chi and qigong as suitable, safe forms of exercise both pre- and post-infection, and even the lowest impact forms forms during the course of the infection.
Clinical studies supporting the use of Tai Chi and qigong against COVID-19 are beginning to come through and researchers are examining these to demonstrate evidence to support their use in prevention, treatment and rehabilitation.
Wisconsin Tai Chi Academy offers both Tai Chi and qigong forms in our classes – find a class near you today!
- Alschuler, L., et al. (2020). Integrative medicine considerations for convalescence from mild-to-moderate COVID-19 disease. Explore: in press available online: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1550830720304171
- Xianjian, C., & Datao, X. (2021). Effects of Tai Chi Chuan on the physical and mental health of the elderly: A Systematic Review. Physical Activity and Health, 5(1), 21–27.
- Xu, S., et al. (2021). The positive role of Tai Chi in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18: 7479.
- Luo, Z. et al. (2020). The effect of Tai Chi on the quality of life in the elderly patients recovering from coronavirus disease 2019: a protocol for systematic review and meta-analysis. Medicine, 99: 49.
- Peng, J., et al. (2020). The effect of qigong for pulmonary function and quality of life in patients with COVID-19. Medicine, 99: 38.