Tai Chi gets cautious thumbs up for psychological health

May 20, 2010

Tai Chi, a low impact martial art, has been associated with reduced stress, anxiety and depression, and enhanced mood, in both healthy people and those with chronic conditions. A systematic review of the subject, published in the open access journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, found that although Tai Chi does appear to have positive psychological effects, more high quality, randomized trials are needed.

Dr. Chenchen Wang, Associate Professor, from Tufts Medical Center, Tufts University School of Medicine, Massachusetts, USA, worked with a team of researchers to pool the results of 40 studies, including 17 , into the mental health effects of Tai Chi. She said, "Tai Chi, the Chinese low impact mind-body exercise, has been practiced for centuries for health and fitness in the East and is currently gaining popularity in the West. It is believed to improve mood and enhance overall psychological well being, but convincing evidence has so far been lacking".

Wang and her colleagues found that practicing Tai Chi was associated with reduced stress, anxiety, depression and mood disturbance, and increased self-esteem. The quality of the studies identified was generally modest, however. In particular, rigorous, prospective, well controlled randomized trials with appropriate comparison groups and validated outcome measures are generally lacking. Wang said, "More detailed knowledge about the physiological and psychological effects of exercise may lead to new approaches to promote health, treat chronic medical conditions, better inform clinical decisions and further explicate the mechanisms of successful mind-body medicine".

More information: Tai Chi on psychological well-being: systematic review and meta-analysis, Chenchen Wang, Raveendhara Bannuru, Judith Ramel, Bruce Kupelnick, Tammy Scott and Christopher H Schmid, BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine (in press), www.biomedcentral.com/bmccomplementalternmed/

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Across Asia, liver cancer is linked to herbal remedies: study

October 18, 2017
Researchers have uncovered widespread evidence of a link between traditional Chinese herbal remedies and liver cancer across Asia, a study said Wednesday.

Eating better throughout adult years improves physical fitness in old age, suggests study

October 18, 2017
People who have a healthier diet throughout their adult lives are more likely to be stronger and fitter in older age than those who don't, according to a new study led by the University of Southampton.

Global calcium consumption appears low, especially in Asia

October 18, 2017
Daily calcium intake among adults appears to vary quite widely around the world in distinct regional patterns, according to a new systematic review of research data ahead of World Osteoporosis Day on Friday, Oct. 20.

New study: Nearly half of US medical care comes from emergency rooms

October 17, 2017
Nearly half of all US medical care is delivered by emergency departments, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM). And in recent years, the percentage of care delivered ...

Experts devise plan to slash unnecessary medical testing

October 17, 2017
Researchers at top hospitals in the U.S. and Canada have developed an ambitious plan to eliminate unnecessary medical testing, with the goal of reducing medical bills while improving patient outcomes, safety and satisfaction.

No evidence that widely marketed technique to treat leaky bladder/prolapse works

October 16, 2017
There is no scientific evidence that a workout widely marketed to manage the symptoms of a leaky bladder and/or womb prolapse actually works, conclude experts in an editorial published online in the British Journal of Sports ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

bredmond
not rated yet May 20, 2010
Taiji can also be very active. In the original Chen style, other practices besides the first form which is generally slow can be quite intense. For example, the Standing Post which can be compared to a isometric squat as well as the Cannon Fist which is a routine which is fast and explosive. Additionally, weapons such as the Guan Dao and the Shaking Pole can be intense. Im glad to see this research into taiji. maybe someday similar martial arts like Xingyi and Bagua can receive attention and research as well.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.