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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 5 (2008), Issue 4, Pages 457-462
Original Article

Tai Chi for Disease Activity and Flexibility in Patients with Ankylosing Spondylitis—A Controlled Clinical Trial

1Department of Nursing, Dong-A University, Busan 604-714, Republic of Korea
2Department of Internal Medicine, Dong-A University, Busan 604-714, Republic of Korea
3Department of Medical Research, Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine, 461-24 Jeonmin-dong, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon 305-811, Republic of Korea

Received 12 January 2007; Accepted 2 April 2007

Copyright © 2008 Eun-Nam Lee et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We investigated the effects of tai chi on disease activity, flexibility and depression in patients with ankylosing spondylitis (AS). We allocated 40 patients to either a tai chi treatment group or a no-treatment control group. The tai chi group performed 60 min of tai chi twice weekly for eight consecutive weeks and 8 weeks of home-based tai chi, after which the group showed significant improvement in disease activity and flexibility compared to the control group. All outcome measures were significantly lower in the tai chi group than they were during pre-treatment, while they did not change in the control group. These findings suggest that tai chi can improve disease activity and flexibility for patients with AS. Tai chi is an easily accessible therapy for patients and, as such, may be an effective intervention for AS. However, we cannot completely discount the possibility that the placebo effect was responsible for the improvement.