Tai Chi has been shown to improve balance and decrease risk for falls in Parkinson’s patients, according to research published today in the New England Journal of Medicine by a team of Oregon scientists. Elizabeth Eckstrom, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor and director of geriatrics at OHSU, was part of the collaboration, which was led by a scientist from the Oregon Research Institute. The study was one of the first large-scale clinical trials to test the efficacy of tai chi compared to other forms of exercise in improving postural stability in Parkinson’s.
“We already know tai chi reduces falls and fall-related injuries in older adults,” Dr. Eckstrom said. “This study shows that tai chi is safe and effective for improving balance in people with Parkinson’s disease—a neurologic disease that worsens balance and falls risk. Tai chi should be part of every older adult’s day to promote healthy aging.”