Background: This pilot study sought to explore the impact of adding music to T'ai Chi practice in older women. Materials and Methods: Eighteen active older women (nine Caucasian, nine African American) were assigned to either the T'ai Chi-silence (control) or the T'ai Chi-music (experimental) class and were interviewed before and after a 15-week T'ai Chi program. All classes, interviews, and tests were conducted at an older adult activity center in a U.S. metropolitan city. All classes were held in a well-lit exercise studio with a solid-wood floor, mirrored wall, and sound system. T'ai Chi classes using a modified 24-form Yang Style were held for one hour per week. One group was conducted in silence, while the other used the same Western music only during rehearsal of previously learned class material. Interviews emphasized participants' experience and perceived health benefits from T'ai Chi. Interviews were conducted, transcribed, coded, and analyzed for code co-occurrence, relationships, and association using modified grounded theory. Results: Both groups self-reported improved balance and described the importance of the social aspect of T'ai Chi. Analysis revealed that participants in the T'ai Chi-music group discussed mental health in tandem with music, spontaneously mentioned spirituality, and had a higher compliance than the T'ai Chi-silence group. Conclusions: This study showed that T'ai Chi practice with music associates positively with older women's mental and physical health experience. Also, T'ai Chi programs contribute to increased social interactions among older adults, a critical aspect of healthy aging. Further study is needed regarding T'ai Chi practice among older adults, including musical parameters.
- T'ai Chi
- mental health
- physical health
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Complementary and alternative medicine