Effect of a 6-week Ai Chi program on balance and gait in individuals with Parkinson’s disease: A pilot study

Chun Lung So (Corresponding Author), Hon Ting Tse, Man Ying Kwok

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Background and purpose: Parkinson’s Disease (PD) has impacts on an individual’s balance, and Ai Chi can be used to improve balance and gait performance. The aim of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of Ai Chi in improving the balance and gait of individuals with idiopathic PD.
Method: Ten individuals with PD at Hoehn & Yahr stages 1-3 were included in this 6-week study. Participants underwent a structured Ai Chi program (1 hour per session, twice weekly) for 6 weeks (12 sessions in total). Balance was assessed at baseline and week 6 using the Timed Up and Go test (TUG), the Five Times Sit-to-Stand test (FTSTS), the Four Square Step Test (FSST), the Ten Meter walk Test (10MWT), and the Sensory Organization Test (SOT). Gait parameters were measured by inertial measurement units (IMUs) and videotaping for 2D motion analysis. Surface electromyography (sEMG) was used for measuring muscle activity during gait in the bilateral rectus femoris, biceps femoris, gastrocnemius, and tibialis anterior.
Results: In a pre- and post-intervention comparison, significant improvements were observed in the FTSTS, FSST, and TUG as well as in the composite, vision, and vestibular scores in the 10MWT and SOT (improvement in balance. As for the gait analysis, no significant differences were observed in spatiotemporal parameters, including speed, cadence, step length, stride length, step duration, stride duration, swing phase duration, stance phase duration, and double support duration. Insignificant changes in the percentage maximum
voluntary contraction of all the muscles examined were found, while significant
decrease in maximum voluntary contraction was identified in the left biceps femoris.
Conclusions: The Ai Chi program produced a significant improvement in balance in individuals with PD, with insignificant results shown in gait. Ai Chi is an appropriate intervention to improve balance in individuals with PD.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberJAPT-D-22-00005
Pages (from-to)2-10
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Aquatic Physical Therapy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2023


Dive into the research topics of 'Effect of a 6-week Ai Chi program on balance and gait in individuals with Parkinson’s disease: A pilot study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this