Volume 65, Issue 9 p. 2037-2043
Clinical Investigation

Tai Chi for Risk of Falls. A Meta-analysis

Rafael Lomas-Vega PhD

Rafael Lomas-Vega PhD

Department of Health Science, University of Jaén, Jaén, Spain

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Esteban Obrero-Gaitán MSc

Esteban Obrero-Gaitán MSc

Department of Health Science, University of Jaén, Jaén, Spain

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Francisco J. Molina-Ortega PhD

Francisco J. Molina-Ortega PhD

Department of Health Science, University of Jaén, Jaén, Spain

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Rafael Del-Pino-Casado PhD

Corresponding Author

Rafael Del-Pino-Casado PhD

Department of Nursing, University of Jaén, Jaén, Spain

Address correspondence to Rafael del-Pino-Casado, Department of Nursing, University of Jaén, Campus Las Lagunillas s/n, 23071 Jaén, Spain. E-mail: [email protected]Search for more papers by this author
First published: 24 July 2017
Citations: 69

Abstract

Objectives

To analyze the effectiveness of tai chi for falls prevention.

Design

Systematic review and meta-analysis.

Setting

Pubmed, Scopus, CINHAL, and Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro) were searched to May 26, 2016.

Participants

Older adult population and at-risk adults.

Intervention

Randomized controlled trials analyzing the effect of tai chi versus other treatments on risk of falls.

Measurements

The incidence rate ratio (IRR) for falls incidence and hazard ratio (HR) for time to first fall.

Results

The search strategy identified 891 potentially eligible studies, of which 10 met the inclusion criteria. There was high-quality evidence of a medium protective effect for fall incidence over the short term (IRR = 0.57; 95% CI = 0.46, 0.70) and a small protective effect over the long term (IRR = 0.87; 95% CI = 0.77, 0.98). Regarding injurious falls, we found very low-quality evidence of a medium protective effect over the short term (IRR = 0.50; 95% CI = 0.33, 0.74) and a small effect over the long term (IRR = 0.72; 95% CI = 0.54, 0.95). There was no effect on time to first fall, with moderate quality of evidence (HR = 0.98; 95% CI = 0.69, 1.37).

Conclusion

In at-risk adults and older adults, tai chi practice may reduce the rate of falls and injury-related falls over the short term (<12 months) by approximately 43% and 50%, respectively. Tai chi practice may not influence time to first fall in these populations. Due to the low quality of evidence, more studies investigating the effects of tai chi on injurious falls and time to first fall are required.