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Taoist Tai Chi for health: The characteristics and patterns of practice of Western Australian practitioners

Li, W., Fetherston, C. and Medigovich, K. (2015) Taoist Tai Chi for health: The characteristics and patterns of practice of Western Australian practitioners. Health Behaviour & Public Health, 5 (1). pp. 1-7.

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Background: Improved knowledge in the area of Tai Chi (TC) practice is important to assist both individuals and health professionals in making informed decisions related to the promotion and practice of TC as a health activity.

Methods: Patterns of TC, participant characteristics and reasons for commencing and discontinuing practice were investigated using a cross-sectional survey of 382 Western Australian (WA) Taoist Tai Chi (TTC) practitioners.

Results: TTC practitioners were more likely to be older Caucasian Australians, female (78.2%), retired (47.4%), well-educated (50.6%), married or living with partners (64.0%) in metropolitan areas (70.5%), and to report chronic illness. Most practised once or twice per week (60.2%) for a period of 60 to 90 minutes (82.1%) in TC clubs (81.8%) in morning and evening classes (61.2%) and had commenced TC during the previous ten years (74.1%), with a mean practice duration of 6.4 years. The main information source recommending TC came from friends and family (46%). The key motivations for commencing TC were to improve physical health (74.7%), relaxation (46.1%) and to find a ―suitable exercise‖ (66.6%), while lack of time (50%) was the main barrier to continuing TC practice. There was a significant improvement in self-reported health status amongst respondents following commencement of TC practice (p < .001).

Conclusions: The high prevalence of chronic conditions amongst the TTC practitioners, their considerable length of practice and perceived improvement in health status indicate that TC may play an essential role in chronic illness self-management, but it was not well-promoted by health professionals in WA.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Health Professions
Publisher: Academy Science Journals
Copyright: 2015 A©ademy Journals
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