To determine if the practice of T'ai Chi significantly improves balance.
Twenty-two persons with mild balance disorders were studied. Five measures of balance were obtained, including 3 objective measures (moving platform posturography, Romberg testing, and reach testing) and 2 disability questionnaires (Dizziness Handicap Inventory and a modified Medical Outcomes Study general health survey). To be included, patients were required to be able to stand in the eyes-closed regular Romberg position for 30 seconds. The subjects underwent 8 weeks of T'ai Chi training and practice and then were retested.
Highly significant improvements were found on both the posturography test and the Dizziness Handicap Inventory questionnaire scores (P<.001 and P=.004, respectively). Trends toward improvement were also noted in Romberg test results and the Medical Outcomes Study survey (P=.03 for both). Reach was not improved.
These findings suggest that T'ai Chi training improves balance.