Osteoporosis International

, Volume 27, Issue 10, pp 2901–2911 | Cite as

Effects of tai chi exercise on bone health in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women: a systematic review and meta-analysis

  • Z. Sun
  • H. Chen
  • M. R. Berger
  • L. Zhang
  • H. GuoEmail author
  • Y. Huang
Review Article


Tai chi exercise may have positive effects on bone health in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women. This systematic review is the first to summarize evidence to clarify the efficacy of tai chi exercise in bone health. The benefits of tai chi exercise on bone health remain unclear; further studies are needed. Emerging randomized controlled trials (RCTs) exploring the efficacy of tai chi exercise on bone health among older women, but yielded inconclusive results. Our objective is to conduct a systematic review to evaluate evidence from RCTs to clarify the efficacy of tai chi exercise on bone mineral density (BMD), and bone turnover markers (BTM) in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women. Six electronic databases were searched, and reference lists of systematic reviews and identified studies from the search strategy were also screened. We included all RCTs that investigate tai chi exercise for bone health in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women. Data selection, extraction, and evaluation of risk of bias were performed independently by two reviewers. Ten trials detailed in 11 articles were included. Six of the 11 studies reported positive outcomes on bone health. Results of our meta-analysis showed a significant effect of tai chi exercise on BMD change at the spine compared with no treatment in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women. When tai chi exercise combined with a calcium supplement was compared with the calcium supplement alone, the result of BMD change at the spine showed no significant effect. Because the measurable effect observed was minimal, and due to the low quality of methodology of the studies, we conclude that the result is of limited reliability. Tai chi exercise may have benefits on bone health in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women, but the evidence is sometimes weak, poor, and inconsistent. Consequently, only limited conclusions can be drawn regarding the efficacy of tai chi exercise on bone health. Further well designed studies with low risk of bias are needed.


Bone Bone mineral density Bone turnover markers Osteoporosis Perimenopausal Postmenopausal women Tai chi exercise 


Authors contributions

HG is the guarantor. ZS and HG contributed to the conception of the study. ZS drafted the manuscript of this protocol. The search strategy was developed by YH and will be performed by HC and LZ. Study selection, data extraction, assessed the risk of bias, and the quality of evidence were performed by HC and LZ. ZS conducted the data synthesis. ZS resolved all the disagreements. Michael R. Berger edited this manuscript. HG revised the manuscript. All authors have approved the publication of the article.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

Zhenshuang Sun, Hao Chen, Michael R Berger, Lijun Zhang, Haiying Guo, and Ying Huang declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Z. Sun
    • 1
  • H. Chen
    • 1
  • M. R. Berger
    • 1
  • L. Zhang
    • 2
  • H. Guo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Y. Huang
    • 1
  1. 1.The Second Clinical CollegeNanjing University of Chinese MedicineNanjingChina
  2. 2.Luoyang No.1 Hospital of TCMLuoyangChina

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