International study investigates Tai Chi for heart health and wellbeing

Researchers from NICM, Cardiac Health Institute (CHI), and Centre for Evidence-Based Chinese Medicine at Beijing University of Chinese Medicine are investigating the health benefits of Tai Chi for heart disease, hypertension and quality of life in an international clinical trial currently underway in Sydney and Beijing.
Based on Chinese martial arts, Tai Chi - also known as Tai Chi Chuan/Quan or Taiji - combines meditative techniques with ancient breathing, relaxation and gentle movements and is a centuries-old, mind and body practice.
Professor Hosen Kiat, a principal investigator of the study and cardiologist at CHI, says the research team will investigate the effect of a 24-week Tai Chi program examining psychological status (stress, anxiety, depression), cardiovascular function (blood pressure, heart rate, heart rate variability, blood lipid and glucose profile, and C-reactive protein), quality of life and physical fitness.
"Psychological risk factors such as stress, anxiety, and depression are known to play a significant and independent role in the development of coronary heart disease and hypertension," said Professor Kiat.
"Over the past decades, prospective Tai Chi studies have reported there is some evidence to suggest improvements in stress, anxiety, depression, and quality of life for various populations.
"Our randomized clinical trial is a pilot study which will add to the growing body of evidence for the benefits of Tai Chi especially in cardiovascular disease," he said.
Eighty participants with coronary heart disease and or hypertension have already completed the clinical trial in Beijing.
Sydney recruitment of the trial is now underway.
"To be involved, people need to be aged 40 years or older, be diagnosed with coronary heart disease and or hypertension, be able to read and speak Chinese or English fluently, and be willing to travel and attend Tai Chi classes for a period of six months," said Emily Yang, NICM PhD candidate, Tai Chi instructor and a principal investigator of the study.
The Sydney Tai Chi classes will be held at Eastwood's Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation Australia.
People who are interested in the study can contact Emily Yang on 0421718592 or email
The study has been approved by the Human Ethics Committees of Western Sydney University (Approval Number: H11189), and the Human Ethics Committees of Beijing University of Chinese Medicine (Approval Number: 2015BZHYLL0233).