The quality and usefulness of tai chi studies
Dr Paul Lam
To ensure tai chi studies being meaningful and useful to the community, the contents of the tai chi and the way it was taught must be carefully considered, standardized and monitored.
To ensure tai chi studies
being meaningful and useful to the community, the contents of the tai chi and
the way it was taught must be carefully considered, standardized and monitored.
Tai Chi Contents
to learn: The most popular tai chi set has 108 forms which would take an average
person one to two years to learn. The original Chen style would take a talented
student 5-6 years full time to learn to a good standard. Clearly these are not
suitable for most Tai Chi for health studies. A tai chi program (a set of tai
chi) to be studied is best constructed and standardized by appropriate medical
and tai chi experts to ensure it is easy enough for the majority of the target
subjects to learn and benefit from.
to produce health benefits: This depends on objectives of the study and the
available time. An effective program should be chosen or designed by health professional
and tai chi expert. Often medical experts don’t understand tai chi effects and
tai chi experts don’t understand outcome measurements. It would be highly desirable
to include someone who has knowledge of both areas. At the intervention period,
it is important to allocate time for learning as well as practice. At the learning
phase, subjects are unlike to gain much health benefits, so adequate time must
be factored in the subjects to practice in order to gain measurable outcomes.
There are numerous forms of tai chi; most traditional forms have some high
risk movements that required modification for elderly people and people with chronic
conditions. It is unrealistic to expect any tai chi teacher to devise the appropriate
modifications for people with different conditions. Medical and tai chi experts
should collaborate to chose or design a program with appropriate safety factors
built in for the target population.
benefits to the community: Some tai chi forms are treated as secret while
some forms have copyrights to the composition. A publicly funded study must ensure
the design of the tai chi program being open and accessible to anyone. It would
be an advantage that there is an established training system available. For example,
the Tai Chi for Arthritis program has a well established training system and many
instructors trained through arthritis foundations and age care organizations around
the tai chi contents and teaching quality
monitoring mechanism and regular updates for the teachers to ensure the right
contents being taught and taught effectively is essential.
friendliness: A learner friendly teacher is more effectively at delivering
health benefits or better outcome measurements.
Effective teaching skill and the program’s contents have significant impact on
adherence. If most subjects leave the class there won’t be creditable outcome
A good teacher inspire and motivate students to practice and to enjoy tai chi.
If people enjoy what they do, they will continue to practice tai chi.