The ancient Chinese martial art of Tai Chi can help to improve people's health, research suggests.
Doctors in the United States analysed 47 studies looking at the impact Tai Chi had on people with chronic health problems, like heart disease or MS.
They found that it could improve balance control, flexibility and even the health of their heart.
Writing in The Archives of Internal Medicine, they said it also reduced stress, falls, pain and anxiety.
Tai Chi exercises can help people with type 2 diabetes control their condition, research suggests.
Two separate studies found a 12-week programme of exercise was enough to boost the immune system, and to cut blood sugar levels.
The traditional Chinese martial art combines deep breathing and gentle movement to boost relaxation levels.
Both studies, by researchers in Taiwan and Australia, appear in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
There is evidence, though sometimes controversial, that exercise improves many aspects of cardiovascular health including reduced incidence of coronary heart disease, stroke, and hypertension.
DIABETES AND TAI CHI THERAPY
Tai chi: physiological characteristics and beneficial effects on health
J X Li1, Y Hong1, K M Chan2
1 Department of Sports Science and Physical Education, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
2 Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Chan K, Qin L,
Tsang WW, Hui-Chan CW.
Li F, Harmer P,
Copyright 2010 International Wu Style Tai Chi Chuan Federation.