Mental Health Benefits of Tai Chi


A recent article published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine indicates that the ancient Chinese martial art of Tai Chi may have many benefits in terms of one’s mental health. Tai Chi has long been practiced in Eastern cultures as a way of reducing stress, improving mood, and enhancing both physical and emotional well-being. In recent years it has been growing in popularity in Western cultures as well. However, there has been little empirical evidence regarding its actual benefits.

The study involved a systematic review of the psychological effects of Tai Chi, and was led by Dr. Chenchen Wang of Tufts Medical Center in Massachusetts. 40 different studies were included in the review. Of those studies only 17 involved randomized controlled trials.

By reviewing these studies Dr. Wang and her team found a connection between many positive psychological benefits and the practice of Tai Chi. These included improved self-esteem, enhanced mood, and a reduction in anxiety and stress. However, they noted that a higher quality of studies were needed, especially randomized trials with proper controls and comparison groups. Conducting many more high quality studies on the benefits of Tai Chi could be very beneficial to healthcare, particularly mind-body medicine.

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