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Falls Prevention and Resilience with Taoist Tai Chi® practice

Falls are a normal part of life yet we all know they can be life-altering events. Falls are especially devastating among older adults and are a leading cause of hospitalization due to injury and a major reason for admission to a residential care facility.  Fear of falling can itself affect our lives as we begin to avoid certain situations. Research into Tai Chi provides excellent evidence of benefit for preventing falls, improving balance and strength and increasing mobility.  With Taoist Tai Chi® practice you can feel more stable on your feet, increase your confidence, strength, resilience and stamina. It helps improve  posture, alignment and balance and allows you to move more freely. With increased flexibility, even if you fall, there is less chance you will have a serious injury. In addition many people practicing Taoist Tai Chi® arts have found a sense of lightness and well-being.

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How Taoist Tai Chi® practice Helps Prevent Falls and Increases Resilience

This webinar was recorded during a Taoist Tai Chi® arts Program with an emphasis on physiology held at the International Centre, near Orangeville, Ontario, on November 26th, 2017.

Crispin Barker, President of the Taoist Tai Chi Society of Great Britain and a physiotherapist by profession, discusses how the practice of Taoist Tai Chi® arts can help with balance, fall prevention and resilience.

How Does it Work?

Taoist Tai Chi® arts involve a full range of motion with deep stretching and continuous turning of the spine. They exercise the whole physiology including muscular, skeletal, and circulatory systems, as well as tendons, joints, connective tissue and organs. This whole body approach has a profound effect on our health, increasing strength, flexibility and resilience, whatever our condition.

Taoist Tai Chi® arts are also a form of moving meditation that has a deep effect on the brain, calming and clearing the mind.

Be Balanced – Move Confidently – Be Active

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Research: Falls Prevention and Tai Chi

Canadian Family Physician (official journal of the College of Family Physicians of Canada), November, 2016

*Systematic Reviews of tai chi indicate “excellent evidence for preventing falls… excellent evidence for improving balance… good evidence for increased strength in the lower limbs.”

Health benefits of tai chi: What is the evidence? (abstract)

Health benefits of tai chi: What is the evidence?  (full study)


Public Health Agency of Canada, “Seniors’ Falls in Canada: Second Report” 2014

This report notes that falls among seniors are preventable. It highlights Tai Chi as an example of an exercise program that promotes balance and strength and quotes the authors of a meta analysis and systematic review “the studies which supported the effectiveness of Tai Chi in reducing falls were generally of higher quality.”

Public Health Agency of Canada, “Seniors’ Falls in Canada: Second Report”


“Promoting Vitality and Well-being: How Taoist Tai Chi® arts Impact Health and Reduce Stress on Public Health Services”
  • More than 6000 of 12,000 Taoist Tai Chi®, arts practitioners across Canada responded to a National Health Questionnaire.
  • 96% reported improved balance
  • 84% reported improved mobility
  • 40% reported increased security in walking

Promoting Vitality and Well-being: Canadian Health Questionnaire Detailed Report

Journal of the American Medical Association, October 2018

“In a randomized clinical trial involving 670 adults 70 years or older, with a history of falls or impaired mobility, the therapeutic tai ji quan intervention effectively reduced falls by 58% compared with the stretching exercise (control intervention) and by 31% compared with a multimodal exercise intervention.”

Effectiveness of a Therapeutic Tai Ji Quan Intervention vs a Multimodal Exercise Intervention to Prevent Falls Among Older Adults at High Risk of Falling

American Journal of Public Health, November 2016

This Oregon study was designed to evaluate the impact of an evidence based fall prevention intervention in 36 Senior Centres.  After 48 weeks elderly in the tai chi program had a 49 % decrease in the total number of falls compared to their number of falls prior to the intervention.

Implementing an Evidence-Based Fall Prevention Intervention in Community Senior Centers

What are Practitioners Saying About Balance, Resilience, Falls Prevention and Taoist Tai Chi® practice?

“Balance was a big issue for me.  After a car accident in 1974 I was fine until I got older.  Then I noticed I had to hold onto a railing, or whatever was handy, to maintain my balance.  I can now do kicks and stand on one leg in various Taoist Tai Chi® [arts] moves without losing my balance.  This decreases the falls that could happen outside.”

– Sandra, Peterborough, Canada (and Australia)

“Since doing Taoist Tai Chi® [arts] I started in a walker, advanced to a cane, now no aids.”

– Joan, Oshawa, Canada

“Without Taoist Tai Chi® [practice] I would not be walking; I would be in a wheelchair full time.  I was born with cerebral palsy affecting walking coordination and my vision. I use two canes and a wheelchair for long distances.  Taoist Tai Chi® [practice] has taught me to really focus, and feel more balanced mentally, physically and spiritually (via meditation).”

– Heather, Ottawa, Canada

“Taoist Tai Chi® [arts] stopped my falling.”

– Hazel, Chicago, USA

“I was using a walker when I was introduced to Taoist Tai Chi® [arts] – 3 weeks later I was standing and taking part in all movements.”

– Mary, Meaford, Canada


“I’m not only better coordinated and much better balanced, but in a better mood and less anxious.”

– Rodica, Toronto, Canada


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