Research on the health benefits of Taijiquan

Taijiquan has been the subject of numerous scientific studies and there is abundant evidence on its health benefits. More than 500 trials and 120 systematic reviews conducted over the past 45 years have been reviewed in a high-quality study published on Pubmed, the world’s largest database within medicine, assessing the impact of Taijiquan on various health conditions. [1]  

There is excellent and consistent evidence of the benefits of Taijiquan for

-        Preventing falls in older adults

-        Managing osteoarthritis

-        Improving Parkinson's disease symptoms

-        Aiding in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) rehabilitation

-        Enhancing cognitive capacity in older adults

-        Improving balance and aerobic capacity

Furthermore, there is good evidence supporting the benefits of Taijiquan for

-        Depression

-        Cardiac rehabilitation

-        Stroke rehabilitation

-        Dementia

-        Increasing strength

-        Improving sleep quality

Additionally, Taijiquan shows promising results for being beneficial for

-        Fibromyalgia

-        Hypertension

-        Osteoporosis

-        Improving the quality of life for cancer patients

There is also good indication that Taijiquan helps for stroke prevention, anxiety, low back pain, enhancing the immune system, kidney function, and various other conditions, although further studies for verification are needed in these areas. 

Excellent and consistent evidence 

Good evidence

Fair evidence

Promising results

Preventing falls in older adults



Stroke prevention

Managing osteoarthritis

Cardiac rehabilitation



Improving Parkinson's disease symptoms

Stroke rehabilitation


Low back pain

Aiding in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) rehabilitation


Improving the quality of life for cancer patients

Enhancing the immune system

Enhancing cognitive capacity in older adult

Increasing strength

Improving kidney function

Improving balance and aerobic capacity

Improving sleep quality

Summary of evidence of benefit from 120 systematic reviews

Fall prevention: Taijiquan is effective in reducing the risk of falls among older adults, improving both static and dynamic balance, and reducing the fear of falling.

Osteoarthritis: Exercise like Taijiquan significantly improves osteoarthritis, particularly in the knee, with reduced pain, stiffness, and improved physical function. Taiji is now conditionally recommended by the American College of Rheumatology for osteoarthritis of the hand, hip, and knee.

Parkinson's disease: Parkinson's patients who practice Taijiquan alongside medication show better mobility and balance outcomes than those on medication alone. The interest in Taiji for Parkinson's has led to an increase in clinical trials, some of which highlight its cost-effectiveness.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): Systematic reviews on Taijiquan for asthma and COPD demonstrate that Taijiquan can lead to improvements in 6-minute walk test results, dyspnea, and forced expiratory volume in 1 second. Further trials are ongoing.

Cognitive functioning: Taijiquan enhances cognitive performance, improving attention and processing speed.

Depression: Studies on Taijiquan  and depression consistently showed positive results, and a longer trial of 24 weeks with over 200 participants revealed reduced depression severity in the Taiji group.

Cardiac rehabilitation: Taijiquan has consistent benefits for cardiac rehabilitation, particularly for women with coronary artery disease and the elderly. It was found to be effective as an alternative for those who couldn't attend formal rehabilitation after myocardial infarction. 

Stroke rehabilitation: All systematic reviews on Taijiquan for stroke rehabilitation had positive findings.

Cognitive impairment and dementia: Evidence suggests that Taijiquan may be better than physical activity for improving cognitive control in people with dementia. 

Quality of life for cancer patients: Taijiquan has a positive effect on vitality and mental health in cancer patients, particularly in breast cancer patients.

Fibromyalgia: Clinical trials have confirmed that people with fibromyalgia who did Taijiquan over a longer period report less pain and have improved function. Germany and Israel have started to include Taijiquan in their fibromyalgia treatment guidelines.

Hypertension:  Systematic reviews of smaller trials indicate that Taijiquan lowers both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. For the elderly, this has been confirmed in a larger trial.

Osteoporosis: Studies indicate that Taijiquan is associated with reduced rates of decline in bone mineral density (BMD) in postmenopausal women and improves balance and so might prevent falls.

Excellent safety

Importantly, the research emphasizes that Taijiquan is really safe to practice. Most of the issues reported are just minor problems with muscles and bones, such as stiffness. There haven't been any major problems linked to doing Taijiquan.


[1] Huston P, McFarlane B. Health benefits of tai chi: What is the evidence? Can Fam Physician. 2016 Nov;62(11):881-890. PMID: 28661865; PMCID: PMC9844554,

Full list of references to the individual studies can be found at the end of this article. 

Other worthwhile-to-read articles, including more recent studies

Improving balance for people with Parkinson's disease:

Improving brain structure and function, brain plasticity, increase of gray matter:

Many positive effects on patients with rheumatoid arthritis, Norwegian study:

Taiji leads to big improvement for patients with fibromyalgia, US study, highly published article:

Checked by: Sarah Reimann July 2023

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