The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga may have an idea for the federal comparative-effectiveness study that was funded in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: wheelchair tai chi.
Outliers: Expanding exercise
A small study of 10 patients who completed two classes per week over two months at Siskin Hospital for Physical Rehabilitation showed enough promise to merit further research, says Glenn Haban, a neuropsychologist at the hospital. The significance of the study is that it provides some evidence that this relatively simple and inexpensive intervention can help improve a persons functional status, Haban says.
The idea of using tai chi, a traditional Chinese form of light physical exercise, came from Zibin Guo, a medical anthropologist at the universitys Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Geography. Guo conducted a demonstration of wheelchair tai chi for the International Paralympics Committee the day before the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing.
Siskin Hospital plans to pursue further study of this form of therapy, Haban says. If this therapy helps reduce the $300 billion annually spent on the care, treatment, rehabilitation and lost productivity of patients with ambulatory disabilitieswell, you dont have to be Confucius to see the value in that.
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