Sportwissenschaft

, Volume 43, Issue 3, pp 181–196 | Cite as

Research on Tai Chi as a sport in health care

The challenge of complex interventions
  • Janina Burschka
  • Peter Kuhn
  • Uwe Menge
  • Patrick Oschmann
Main articles

Abstract

This article examines the content and methodology of studies on Tai Chi as a sport in health care. We investigate the concept behind the rather simple name “Tai Chi,” concluding that this concept is manifold and highly variable. How did researchers deal with this variability when studying the effects of Tai Chi as a health-care intervention? We then explore how scientific research on Tai Chi has been conducted to date and draw the interim conclusion that the variability was barely taken into consideration. Our analysis of seven Tai Chi interventions reveals that two interventions referred to as Tai Chi may differ considerably in their content. The variability poses difficulty in repeating the intervention and drawing causal inferences. This problem is discussed in the current literature under the term “complexity in health-care interventions.” On the basis of a summary of this debate, we discuss the challenge of researching Tai Chi from a complex perspective—with the aim of achieving solid results that can be repeated.

Keywords

Tai Chi Health care Complexity Complex intervention 

Forschung über Tai Chi im Gesundheitssport

Die Herausforderung komplexer Interventionen

Zusammenfassung

Was bedeutet es inhaltlich und methodologisch, Tai Chi als Intervention im Gesundheitssport zu erforschen? Wir untersuchen das Konzept, das sich hinter dem Begriff Tai Chi verbirgt und stellen fest, dass dieses Konzept höchst variabel und vielfältig ist. Auf welche Weise findet diese Variabilität in der Erforschung von Tai Chi als Intervention im Gesundheitssport Berücksichtigung? Wir untersuchen daraufhin, wie Tai Chi bisher wissenschaftlich erforscht wurde und ziehen die Zwischenbilanz, dass die Variabilität der Interventionen kaum Berücksichtigung fand. Unsere beispielhafte Analyse von sieben Interventionen lässt erkennen, dass zwei Interventionen, die beide als Tai Chi bezeichnet werden, inhaltlich sehr unterschiedlich sein können. Die Variabilität stellt uns vor die Schwierigkeit, die Intervention zu wiederholen und kausale Zusammenhänge abzuleiten. Dieses Problem wird aktuell unter dem Begriff Komplexität in der Gesundheitsforschung diskutiert. Auf Basis einer Zusammenfassung dieser Debatte diskutieren wir die Herausforderung, Tai Chi aus einer komplexen Perspektive zu erforschen – mit dem Ziel, zu belastbaren Ergebnissen zu kommen, die replizierbar sind.

Schlüsselwörter

Tai Chi Gesundheitssport Komplexität Komplexe Intervention 

Notes

Conflicts of interest.

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

12662_2013_300_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (130 kb)
(PDF 130 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Janina Burschka
    • 1
    • 2
  • Peter Kuhn
    • 1
  • Uwe Menge
    • 2
  • Patrick Oschmann
    • 2
  1. 1.Institut für SportwissenschaftUniversität BayreuthBayreuthDeutschland
  2. 2.Klinikum Bayreuth GmbH, Betriebsstätte Hohe Warte, Neurologische KlinikBayreuthDeutschland

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