Low-Stress Chinese Exercise Seems to Benefit Heart-Failure Patients

In the journal Archives of Internal Medicine, a study is published on the value of tai chi in treating heart failure patients. Researchers say the ancient Chinese meditative exercise of tai chi appears to improve the mood patients with chronic heart failure. Patients with heart failure often have shortness of breath, coughing, exercise intolerance and swollen ankles, earlier the doctors did not want heart failure patients to exercise because the increased load of blood while exertion can worsen their condition and prove fatal.

But experts now believe, low-stress exercise, especially in tai chi, can lead to a significant improvement in a patient’s day-to-day outlook.

A study: Gloria Yeh, a doctor at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, led a study that looked at the effect of tai chi on heart failure patients.
–       Tai-chi is a very gentle kind of exercise.

–       Researchers led by Dr. Yeh recruited 100 patients with heart failure from Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, and enrolled them in a 12-week program of gentle tai chi exercise.

–       Tai chi includes several components that investigators believed might benefit patients, including deep breathing, meditation, aerobic exercise, cognitive restructuring and social interactions with others in the group.

–       Another set of heart failure patients was enrolled in an education-only group. Most of these participants took daily, six-minute walks.

–       At the end of three months, researchers assessed the physical and mental health of both groups of patients, using physical measurements and tests designed to measure patients’ mood.

–       Investigators found that the walking group burned significantly more calories than the tai chi patients.

–       those who took tai chi for 12 weeks fared better overall.

–       At the end of the trial, the patients in the tai chi training group improved their quality of life, their mood, their confidence to perform exercise-related activities above and beyond the education group.

–       Depression is often a serious problem in heart failure patients thus any improvement in their mood is extremely important.

Thus there is a further need to understand how therapies like tai chi benefit the body and mind, and how best they should be integrated with the treatment regimens so patients benefit the most.

Reference: http://www.voanews.com/english/news/health/Low-Stress-Chinese-Exercise-Seems-to-Benefit-Heart-Failure-Patients-120653199.html

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