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The Impact of Health Qigong/Tai Chi Exercises on Healthy Living and Healthy Ageing

This project is no longer listed on and may not be available.

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  • Full or part time
    Dr D Barraclough
    Prof MJ Jackson
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

With the ageing population increasing in the World, the prevalence of age-related chronic diseases is increasing, leading to increased number of older people with multiple chronic conditions (MCC). In England, this accounts for nearly 70% of the total health care spend in England [Department of Health 2012] and this proportion is likely to increase as the population of older people increases. Sedentary lifestyles are increasingly believed to contribute to chronic multiple conditions in older people and promoting a more active lifestyle could reduce the incidence and prevalence of MCC.

Modern simplified health Qigong/Tai Chi exercises consist of coordinated slow flowing body postures/movements, controlled deep breathing and mindfulness. The routine movements are designed to improve body strength, flexibility and balance. This type of exercise is very safe, no equipment is needed, and the movements are easy to learn and to practise. Importantly, the gentle, flexible nature of the exercises makes simplified Qigong/Tai Chi particularly suitable for physically inactive individuals and frail older people. Regular health Qigong/Tai Chi exercise can reduce body mass index (BMI) and body fat in obese patients, can reduce hypertension in adults including older people. However, the health benefit of such exercises are not fully understood.

This project aims to investigate whether simplified health Qigong/Tai Chi exercises could be a cost effective intervention for healthy ageing. The project will assess the effect of regular health Qigong/Tai Chi exercises on body balance, body flexibility, muscle strength and wellbeing including mental health. These areas align with what outcome measures matter to older people and will therefore potentially be a self-management care plan that can be implemented widely. The project will provide an excellent opportunity for a PhD student to be involved in international collaboration between University of Liverpool, the British Health Qigong Association and the Shanghai Sports University in China in the research area of combining professional health martial arts, public health, Gerontology, healthcare and life science.

The project will be supervised by: Dr. Dong Barraclough, Ms Faye Yip (British Health Qigong Association), Professor Yun-Ya Zhang (Shanghai Sports University), Dr. Asangaedem Akpan, (Consultant Geriatrician, Aintree University Hospital) and Professor Malcolm Jackson

The student will be trained to work closely with qualified professional instructors. He/she will learn healthcare research skills combined with basic life science research skills, such as consenting participants, collecting data and analysing data in order to assess the health effect on participants before and after regular health Qigong/Tai Chi exercises or compared to matched controls. In addition, there will be several opportunities to interact with older people in both community and hospital setting to encourage the prospective student appreciate what matters to older people. This project will provide essential knowledge and tools to help to know how to reduce the burden and cost to the NHS and social care in the future.

The Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease is fully committed to promoting gender equality in all activities. In recruitment we emphasise the supportive nature of the working environment and the flexible family support that the University provides. The Institute holds a silver Athena SWAN award in recognition of on-going commitment to ensuring that the Athena SWAN principles are embedded in its activities and strategic initiatives.

Applicants should have, or expect to have, a 2:1 or above (or equivalent).

Enquiries to: Dr. Dong Barraclough, E-mail: [Email Address Removed]

To apply please send your CV and a covering letter to [Email Address Removed] with a copy to [Email Address Removed]

Funding Notes

Please note that there is NO FUNDING attached to this project. Details of costs can be found on the University website. The successful applicant will be expected to provide the funding for tuition fees and living expenses plus research costs (bench fees) of £10,000 per year.


Chen, et al, 2017, ‘The effect of Tai Chi on four chronic conditions-cancer, osteoarthritis, heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a systematic review and meta-analyses’. Br J Sport Med 50:397-407. Doi:10.1136/bjsports-2014-094388.
Sun, et al, 2016, ‘Effects of Tai chi exercise on bone health in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women: systematic review and meta-analysis’, Osteoporosis Int 27: 2901-2911.
Akpan, et al, 2018, ‘Standard set of health outcome measures for older people’. BMC Geriatrics 18:36

How good is research at University of Liverpool in Clinical Medicine?
(joint submission with Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine)

FTE Category A staff submitted: 143.50

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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