A Comprehensive Review of Health Benefits of Qigong and Tai Chi

by Roger Jahnke, OMD, Linda Larkey, PhD, Carol RogersJennifer Etnier, PhD, and Fang Lin

American Journal of Health Promotion
(July – August 2010) 



Research examining psychological and physiological benefits of Qigong and Tai Chi is growing rapidly. The many practices described as Qigong or Tai Chi have similar theoretical roots, proposed mechanisms of action and expected benefits. Research trials and reviews, however, treat them as separate targets of examination. This review examines the evidence for achieving outcomes from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of both.

Data Sources

The key words tai chi, taiji, and qigong were entered into electronic search engines for the Cumulative Index for Allied Health and Nursing (CINAHL), Psychological Literature (PsychInfo), PubMed, Cochrane database, and Google Scholar.

Study Inclusion Criteria

RCTs reporting on the results of Qigong or Tai Chi interventions and published in peer reviewed journals published from 1993–2007

Data Extraction

Country, type and duration of activity, number/type of subjects, control conditions, and reported outcomes were recorded for each study.


Outcomes related to Qigong and Tai Chi practice were identified and evaluated.


Seventy-seven articles met the inclusion criteria. The 9 outcome category groupings that emerged were: bone density (n=4), cardiopulmonary effects (n=19), physical function (n=16), falls and related risk factors (n=23), Quality of Life (n=17), self-efficacy (n=8), patient reported outcomes (n=13), psychological symptoms (n=27), and immune function (n=6).


Research has demonstrated consistent, significant results for a number of health benefits in RCTs, evidencing progress toward recognizing the similarity and equivalence of Qigong and Tai Chi.

Keywords: tai chi, taiji, meditation, qigong, mind body practice, meditative movement, moderate exercise, breathing

A substantial body of published research has examined the health benefits of Tai Chi (also called Taiji) a traditional Chinese wellness practice. In addition, a strong body of research is also emerging for Qigong, an even more ancient traditional Chinese wellness practice that has similar characteristics to Tai Chi. Qigong and Tai Chi have been proposed, along with Yoga and Pranayama from India, to constitute a unique category or type of exercise referred to currently as meditative movement. These two forms of meditative movement, Qigong and Tai Chi, are close relatives having shared theoretical roots, common operational components, and similar links to the wellness and health promoting aspects of traditional Chinese medicine. They are nearly identical in practical application in the health enhancement context and share much overlap in what traditional Chinese medicine describes as the “three regulations”: body focus (posture and movement), breath focus, and mind focus (meditative components).

Due to the similarity of Qigong and Tai Chi, this review of the state of the science for these forms of meditative movement will investigate the benefits of both forms together. In presenting evidence for a variety of health benefits, many of which are attributable to both practices, we will point to the magnitude of the combined literature and suggest under what circumstances Qigong and Tai Chi may be considered as potentially equivalent interventions, with recommendations for standards and further research to clarify this potential.

Full Article: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3085832/

Why take part in Competitions or Events?

* by John Gough *

(Photo from the International Martial Arts Tournament, Singapore, September 2019)

Why take part in Local, National or International Competitions or Events?

I guess that is a question that can only be answered by each of us individually. For some the thought of doing so can be an overwhelm, for others, part of the adventure in participating in our art and life.

For me, and while I cannot speak for each member of our latest adventure to Singapore, I suspect we all share our love in the participation of our Taiji world, the wonderful people we meet and associate with, the things we learn, and frustratingly forget, or never fully understand.

For me, most of all, it is the opportunity to challenge myself through the preparation process, the deeper learning stages, (Practise; Practise; Practise😉)

And especially the people, new customs, wonderful hospitality, respect for each other’s cultures, the way our world of Wu can bring so many fellow human beings together in such positive ways.

Never put yourself down; have the courage to give it a go; find support if possible; ask your teacher or fellow participants for their support. Plan an adventure, it doesn’t have to be big, your local community often has events and need people to demonstrate their craft.

The more we can publicly show off our wonderful art, the more people will take it up and reap the rewards we do, be they health, friendships, personal growth, new skills, or the wonderful experience of seeing your fellow man having a go.

Yours in Taiji,

John Gough

Flowing Water Tai Chi Chuan


The 15th World Wushu Championships: the Australia’s Results

The 15th World Wushu Championships in Shanghai, China (20-23 October 2019) was exceptionally well covered by WushuTV. All events were live-streamed and later were available as recorded videos. Thanks to that, we were able to watch all performances of the Australian athletes.

In short: Good effort!

For details, see our Summary compiled from the official results.

As usual, the World Championships coincided with the reshuffling of positions among the IWUF officials, meetings of various Committees and, of course, the IWUF Congress. Unlike the Championships, these events are kept secret. Although we are almost sure that the IWUF has now a new President… Apparently, there are several new Vice-Presidents… Some new IWUF Member Organisations… However, the official IWUF website (as of 10 November 2019) insists that the President is still Yu Zaiqing (as he was from 2003!) and the Executive Board is still as it was before the Congress…. One might assume that the new appointments have to be approved by the Communist Party of China. After all, that is where the funding is likely to be coming from. Anyway, we hope that in a month or two, we will know what decisions were made (or rather approved) by the Congress. It is also possible that we will never know it.



Tai Chi, Wushu & Qigong in Today’s World

Tai Chi, Wushu & Qigong in Today’s World
21-22 September 2019
Macquarie University Sydney Australia

The aim of the Conference is to provide a venue for an interdisciplinary forum with the intentionally broad scope to bring together Australian and international scholars, practitioners and teachers from different fields and various directions including, but not limited to cultural, literary, philosophy and social studies, sports and medicine. The conference will include paper and poster presentations, workshops and seminars by practitioners, teachers and researchers.

The round table/forum is also envisaged during the Conference where the challenges and problems will be discussed.

Download Programme

Tickets can be purchased at Eventbrite (free for Presenters, Volunteers and Students and 50% discounted for members of Wushu & Tai Chi NSW).

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