A strict regime of physiotherapy and regular exercise is an important part of daily regime to maintain the health of people with cystic fibrosis (CF). A mixed methods approach was utilised to collect data in a randomised feasibility study to explore the physical and psychological benefits of including Tai chi (TC) alongside normal exercise.
Validated questionnaires, objective clinical data, qualitative interviewing and self-reported measures were employed to gather data on a range of potential outcomes, including breathing, gastric pain, sleep, anxiety, posture and fitness. Learning tai chi face to face was compared with no tai chi and learning tai chi via over an internet connection.
Of the 40 participants recruited to the study, 23 had face-to-face TC lessons (group 1) and 17 TC lessons delivered over the internet (group 2). This qualitative data suggested that 58% reported improvements in their breathing (group 1=70%, group 2=30%). Benefits included being able to take bigger breaths and being able to breathe better at night. 45% reported being better able to get mucus up following physiotherapy exercises if they practised TC beforehand, (group 1=44%, group 2=56%). 45% reported improvements in posture, (group 1=61%, group 2=39%). 90% reported that they felt calmer and less stressed when they did TC, (group 1=61%, group 2=39%). Many commented that they used it to relax when feeling stressed.
TC may be useful to reduce stress, improve breathing, posture and other issues associated with CF. Further research is required to verify subjective reports of benefits and future studies should consider how to improve outcomes using internet delivery.
Abstract published for oral presentation at the European Congress for Integrated Medicine
Dr Patricia Ronan, Prof Nicola Robinson, Dr Siobhan Carr, Awais Mian, Dr Ava Lorenc. 1, Penny Agent, Dr Su Madge