J Korean Acad Fundam Nurs.  2009 Feb;16(1):30-38.

Effects of Tai Chi or Self-help Program on Balance, Flexibility, Oxygen Consumption, and Muscle Strength in Women with Osteoarthritis

  • 1Chungnam National University, Korea. songry@cnu.ac.kr
  • 2Seoul National University, Korea.
  • 3Tai Chi Instructor and Conjoint Lecturer, University of New South Wales, Australia.
  • 4The Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, Hanyang University College of Medicine, Korea.


PURPOSE: This randomized study was done to compare the effects of a 6 month Tai Chi exercise and a self-help program on balance, flexibility and muscle strength in women with osteoarthritis (OA). METHOD: In this experimental study, 82 women with OA recruited from outpatient clinics or community health centers were randomly assigned either to a Tai Chi group or a self-help group. Thirty women (mean age = 62 years) in the Tai Chi group and 39 (mean age = 59 years) in the self-help group completed posttest measures (balance, flexibility, oxygen consumption, abdominal muscle strength, back muscle strength, and grip strength) at 6 months.
After the 6 month, Tai Chi participants had significantly greater balance (mean difference = 2.9 vs. 0.9 for the self-help), grip strength (mean difference = 4.6 vs. 0.9 for the self-help), and back muscle strength (mean difference = 4.1 vs. -0.3 for the self-help). However, flexibility, oxygen consumption, and abdominal muscle strength were not significantly different between the groups.
Tai Chi increased balance, grip strength and back muscle strength in older women with osteoarthritis compared to the self-help program. Whether these changes improve physical functioning and fall prevention requires further study.


Osteoarthritis; Tai Chi; Muscle strength; Postural balance; Oxygen consumption
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