The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Results from the Central Sydney Tai Chi Trial

    The objective was to determine the effectiveness of a 16-week community-based tai chi program in reducing falls and improving balance.

    First, the details.

    • 702 relatively healthy community-dwelling people aged 60 and older and living in Sydney, Australia participated.
    • They were assigned to either a program of community-based tai chi or to a wait list.
    • Classes were of 1-hour duration per week.

    And, the results.

    • Falls were significantly less frequent in the tai chi group vs the control group at 16 and 24 weeks.
    • The tai chi program had no effect on the proportion of people who had one or more falls during follow-up.
    • But tai chi appeared to reduce the proportion of participants who had two or more falls.
    • There were statistically significant differences in changes in balance favoring the tai chi group on 5 of 6 balance tests.

    The bottom line?
    As in an earlier study, it seems that weekly community-based tai chi classes can reduce falls in relatively healthy, community-dwelling older people.

    However, according to the authors, “A weakness of this study is that … differences in physical activity between the tai chi and the control group could not be adequately controlled for. Another limitation was that nearly 30% of participants did not complete the follow-up balance assessments.”

    9/18/07 19:54 JR

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