2012 Scientific Study Shows ChiRunning Technique Reduces Impact - Chi Running

2012 Scientific Study Shows ChiRunning Technique Reduces Impact

Posted by Danny Dreyer on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013, 2 comments

A new 1-year study at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill shows that the ChiRunning technique was found to produce less impact and higher efficiency, when compared with other common styles of running: the rearfoot strike and the anterior (forefoot) strike. 


This is the first peer-reviewed, scientific study showing what our clients have told us all along; ChiRunning creates less impact than other running styles which translates into a lesser potential for injury. See Danny's full explanation of the study here.

This study confirms our previous, peer-reviewed anecdotal studies of our clients and what some doctors have already known. “The recent UNC study scientifically confirms years of our clinical experience.” says Dr. William Mullins at the Center for Rheumatic Diseases and Osteoporosis in Bethesda, Maryland. “ChiRunning is a unique running style that causes less stress for lower extremity joints and supporting structures than any other running technique. Chi Running reduces the risk of running injuries, and increases the chance that we can continue running into our 80s. I routinely recommend the ChiRunning workshops or DVDs for my patients who run for exercise.”


Additionally, and contrary to some running experts’ beliefs, this study also shows that low-impact, more efficient running technique can be learned, and that runners can improve their technique to reduce the potential for injury.

See the complete scientific study here.

See Danny's explanation of the study here.

See our 2011 Survey of 3500 ChiRunning clients.


  • injury-free running

2 CommentsLeave a comment below

Gregory A. Lee Apr 21st, 2014 03:51pm

I am a graduate student at St. Catherine University in Minnesota studying Holistic Health, and Certified Personal Trainer )63 yrs old) still competing in martial arts events. The major focus of my work is retarding the aging process through lifestyle choices, fitness, and alternative nutrition. Yours, and Douillard’s work, is new to me despite being a gym rat,competitive martial artist and instructor, college football player, etc. for most of my life.

I am very curious and anxious to learn more.

As a long time coach and researcher, I am very disappointed in the misleading nature. Chi running is less likely to cause injury due to impact…likely, but there are two major issues. First, is the laws of motion - To every action there is always opposed an equal reaction. Energy is directed downward by the strike and is returned from the ground into and through the body creating motion. Leaning also cause gravity to pull one down or slightly forward and down. Impact and the energy generated from it is not bad when channeled properly through the body into motion as opposed to absorbed by the body. Second and of more concern are the flaws in the study methodology

sample size “statistically insignificant” - only 74. Cannot draw any conclusions that would apply on the general population
controlled environment - to ensure reliable results a controlled environment is needed to isolate variability. The idea is to isolate one variable. Many variables were not isolated or even considered! runners were categorized into 4 groups by strike and more, BUT NOT screened to establish present health, degree of joint and soft tissue injury, scaring or history. any history or present condition would lead to a higher likelihood of injury during the study.
running on a treadmill is very different than road or track which chi running discusses.

the summary states’” These findings suggest Chi running may be a desirable alternative running”

Maybe? We knew “maybe” going before and after this study. This study has done nothing to demonstrate a causal improvement. It is even questionable whether any significant correlation exists.

Please provide sound science. Double-blind studies with isolation in a properly controlled environment, preferably double-blind.

By the way, the study was done on a treadmill. If memory serves, treadmills require a different chi running technique. Correct? Does the chi technique for road v. treadmill change the results? More importantly, treadmills are much different than road. Many fine track athletes get shin splints from using treadmills due the different environment.

What are your thoughts?

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Just wanted to say that after reading Chi Running and trying it for a week, I felt like it finally "clicked", and I cannot even remember how to run the old way (which I did faithfully for over 20 years). 

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