Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Beverly Johnson


Blood Pressure; Postural Balance; Martial Arts


Eastern philosophies and alternative medical practices, such as T' ai Chi Chih (TCC), a gentle form of exercise and meditation, are gradually becoming more mainstream in western culture. Although there are many benefits to using TCC, most of the literature relates to the elderly population. This study investigates the impact regular TCC practice has on blood pressure and balance in a younger population.

Twenty subjects, ages 20-39, were randomly assigned to either a TCC or walking group. Initially, all subjects had their blood pressure checked, their balance tested on the NeuroCom® Balance Master, single leg stance and functional reach tests to determine baseline data. The TCC group participated three times a week for 45-60 minutes, for five· weeks. A certified TCC instructor led one session a week and the investigators led the other two, with the assistance of a video. One of the investigators led the walking group, up to 45 minutes three times a week, for five weeks.

After five weeks, both groups repeated the balance master and blood pressure tests. Statistical analysis showed a significant decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressure in the TCC group and a significant increase in left single leg stance time, with eyes closed, in the walking group. These results provide significant information on the ability of TCC to reduce blood pressure in a younger population and add to the information on the use of TCC as a treatment option for patients with various types of health concerns.