In a study involving patients of chronic systolic heart failure, the impact of Tai Chi programs on mood, quality of life, and other factors was examined. A 12 week Tai Chi program for heart patients was seen to improve quality of life, exercise self efficacy, and mood.
According to Dr. Gloria Yeh, who was speaking at the annual meeting of the Heart Failure Society of America, while exercise is an important component of heart failure management, the focus hitherto has been on aerobics and strength training.
Now the impact of complementary therapies and integrative mind–body movement therapies are also being examined, since little is known about them.
Tai Chi can be particularly relevant in this case, because it is not strenuous and is low impact, making it suitable for heart patients as well. Also Tai Chi is suitable for those of advanced years.
The study outcome indicated that quality of life, as determined by Minnesota Living With Heart Failure Questionnaire (MLHFQ) and exercise capacity based on the 6-minute walk test and peak oxygen consumption (VO2max) were both seen to improve.
The Tai Chi program involved warm up exercise, 5 basic Tai Chi positions and a 45 minute home video for practice at home. The program was geared towards improving relaxation, mind body awareness, breathing and cardiovascular endurance.