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Qi Gong exercise to improve balance for Parkinson fall prevention

Sheree Loftus Fader, University of Massachusetts Amherst


People with Parkinson disease have twice the risk of falls as their age-matched peers (Gray, 2000). Medication and surgery have not ameliorated Parkinson-related falls, which are characteristic of disease progression, leading to considerable morbidity and mortality (Balash, 2005; Wielinski, 2005). Exercise can improve postural stability and decrease the risk of falls. Chinese and allopathic interventions for decreasing falls are discussed. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the therapeutic effects of Qi Gong exercise on balance and falls for individuals with Parkinson disease. A pre-test/post-test, repeated measures design was used to demonstrate changes in balance score and number of falls after three months of therapeutic Qi Gong. Forty-one participants were recruited (from a convenience sample) from New York City and the surrounding counties. The sample included males and females with Hoehn and Yahr rating scale stage I-IV Parkinson disease who were 55 years old and older. Instruments included the Berg Balance Scale (Berg, Wood-Dauphinee, Williams, & Gayton, 1989), the Parkinson Disease Fall Profile (Hutton, Elias, Leavey, Shroyer, & Curry, 2000), and the Mini-Mental State Exam (Folstein, Folstein, & McHugh, 1975). This study is grounded in two related theories: Newman's (1994) theory of health as expanding consciousness, which recognizes the changing complexity of patterns found in human health and illness and acknowledges humans as unitary beings; and Bernstein's (1996) systems theory of motor control, which asserts that movement results from the dynamic interplay between multiple systems, which are organized around a behavioral goal and constrained by the environment. The study findings illuminated the influence of Qi Gong exercise on balance and Parkinson-related falls.

Subject Area

Physical therapy|Nursing

Recommended Citation

Loftus Fader, Sheree, "Qi Gong exercise to improve balance for Parkinson fall prevention" (2008). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3336939.