Taï-chi is effective against COPD, study finds

According to a new Chinese study, taï-chi would significantly improve respiratory function in patients with COPD.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the combination of two diseases: chronic bronchitis (characterized by persistent or recurrent fat cough, which occurs for at least three months of the year, for at least two consecutive years) and pulmonary emphysema (a destruction of the pulmonary alveoli linked to a narrowing of the large bronchi, small bronchi and the terminal bronchioles).

In 2014, more than 15 million people reported to be suffering from COPD in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In western countries, it is the third leading cause of death.

Mainly related to smoking, this pathology is the subject of several treatments: bronchodilator and anti-inflammatory drugs, physiotherapy and (at more advanced stages of the disease) aerosol therapy, oxygen therapy or even non-invasive assisted ventilation.

According to a new study by China’s State Laboratory of Respiratory Disease, regular practice of tai chi could significantly improve respiratory function in patients with COPD.

The researchers worked with 120 Chinese volunteers with COPD. For 12 weeks, volunteers received tai chi lessons for 5 hours a week. At the end of the observation period, the scientists found an improvement in respiratory symptoms. In concrete terms: patients had less difficulty breathing daily.

“Our work shows that tai chi is as effective as pulmonary rehabilitation programs for patients with COPD-related respiratory conditions,” say the researchers, who published their work in the journal Chest.

Angie Mahecha

Angie Mahecha, an Engineering Student at the University of Central Florida, is originally from Colombia but has been living in Florida for the past 10 Years.