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Revista Clínica de Medicina de Familia

On-line version ISSN 2386-8201Print version ISSN 1699-695X


VALERO SERRANO, Beatriz et al. The practice of Thai-Chi prevents falls in the institutionalized elderly: a clinical trial. Rev Clin Med Fam [online]. 2010, vol.3, n.1, pp.34-38. ISSN 2386-8201.

Objective: To determine whether practicing Thai Chi for 2 hours a week for 9 months decreases the risk of falls in elderly people aged 65 years or over living in residential care homes. Design: Randomised non-blind clinical trial with two groups. Setting: Two residential care homes in the city of Cuenca. Participants: A total of 94 institutionalized elderly persons between 65 and 90 years. The control group comprised 43 persons and the Thai Chi group, 51 persons. Main measurements: The main measurements were number of falls and their severity, the number of stumbles and losses of balance determined by a weekly interview with one of the investigators. Results: The incidence of falls was 13.7% in the Thai Chi group and 32.5% in the control group (p <0.03); Relative Risk, (RR) = 0.42, representing a risk reduction of 18.8%. Five elderly persons in the control group (11.6%) and none in the Thai Chi Group (p< 0.02) suffered bone fractures as result of the falls. We found significant differences in the number of stumbles, 16 in the Thai Chi Group (31.3%) and 49 in control group (113.9%) (p<0.,04; RR = 0.28; RAR = 0.826). Likewise, the differences in the number of losses of balance was significant, 12 in the Thai Chi Group (23.5%) and 37 in the contro group (86%)  (p < 0.02; RR = 0.27; RAR = 0.625). Conclusions: Regular Thai Chi practice may reduce the number of falls, the incidence of bone fractures, the number of stumbles and losses of balance in elderly people living in residential care homes.

Keywords : Tai Ji; Accidental Falls; Aged.

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