Tai Chi Qigong Practice and the Immune Responses in Older Adults

Stress, Chronic Diseases, and Psychoneuroimmunology

Stress, Depression, Inflammation, and Psychoneuroimmunology

Tai Chi Qigong practice has been found to be beneficial to health and may promote the immune functions. Researchers at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) examined the effects of moderate traditional Tai Chi and Qigong practice on the immune responses to influenza vaccines among older adults (Yang et al., 2008). Those adults had practiced Qigong for five months.

Totally fifty older adults were involved in the study (Yang et al., 2008). The researchers measured anti-influenza hemagglutination (HA) inhibition titers. They observed:

• A remarkable elevation in the magnitude and duration of the antibody responses to influenza vaccines among Qigong practitioners, compared with controls;
• A remarkable difference between the different groups at the time points of 3 and 20 weeks after the vaccination;
• At 20 weeks, the Qigong group (not the controls) had obviously elevated titers in comparison with those before having the vaccines;
• More Qigong practitioners had protective antibody responses to influenza A.

The study indicates that traditional Qigong practice may promote the immune response to influenza vaccines among older adults (Yang et al., 2008). Further research is necessary to confirm and explore the mechanisms of such protective effects.


Yang, Y., Verkuilen, J., et al. (2008) Effects of a traditional Taiji/Qigong curriculum on older adults’ immune response to influenza vaccine. Med Sport Sci 52, 64-76.

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