Qigong (practiced as Tai chi) when combined with medication has been shown to improve
motor function, balance and well-being in individuals with Parkinsons disease.
In 2015, Zhou and colleagues reviewed the existing research evaluating the therapeutic
effect of Tai chi in the management of Parkinsons disease (PD). They concluded that Tai Chi
can significantly improve motor function and balance in individuals with PD. They further
judged that there is not enough confirming evidence to definitively state that Tai Chi is
effective for management of PD because of the small treatment effect, methodological flaws
of eligible studies, and insufficient follow-up within studies.
Zhou J, Yin T, Gao Q, Yang XC. (2015) A Meta-Analysis on the Efficacy of Tai Chi in Patients
with Parkinson’s Disease between 2008 and 2014. Evidence-based Complementary and
Alternative Medicine : eCAM. 2015;2015:593263. doi:10.1155/2015/593263.
Similarly in 2017, Cwiekata-Lewis at al concluded from a comprehensive search of the
available research that current medical treatments for Parkinson’s disease (PD) are mainly
palliative, though research indicates Tai Chi exercise improves physical function and well-
being in individuals with PD. These researchers further concluded that additional research
is needed before widespread recommendations can be made.
Ćwiękała-Lewis KJ, Gallek M, Taylor-Piliae RE. The effects of Tai Chi on physical function
and well-being among persons with Parkinson’s Disease: A systematic review. J Bodyw Mov
Ther. 2017 Apr;21(2):414-421. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2016.06.007. Epub 2016 Jun 16.
Source: KNOW THE EVIDENCE 2017: A report of the NQA Research and Education Committee Jun 30, 2017
Major contributors: PJ Klein, PT, EdD (contact: firstname.lastname@example.org), J Baumgarden, DPT
Kathy Levac RN MS is the chair of the NQA Research and Education Committee
This edition of the ‘Know the Evidence’ resource exists as a chapter authored by PJ Klein, PT,
EdD and J. Baumgarden, DPT in the text ‘Heal Yourself with Qigong’ by Master George Picard,
Village of Healing and Wellness, St Catharines, ONT, Canada, and is reprinted with their
permission. Picard G. Heal Yourself with Qigong 2nd ed. Spiral Graphics:Canada. 2017.