Tai Chi Study Suggests Hopeful Well-Being Links, but Signals Need for Research

Through examining the traditions and practices of a wide variety of cultures and ways of life, today’s psychotherapists and researchers are incorporating a number of helpful artifacts from around the world and throughout time into the treatment of modern clients. Many professionals have expressed interest in Tai Chi, a form of martial arts that incorporates low-impact exercise with precise, relaxing movements that build strength and aim to focus attention. Practiced by many in Asia and gaining popularity in the West, Tai Chi has been the subject of a recent study performed at Tufts Medical Center as researchers attempt to discover the psychological impact of the activity on participants.

The study, which based its evidence on the review of previous experimental studies performed on Tai Chi, found that engaging in Tai Chi exercises was associated with lower rates of depression, anxiety, stress, and mood disturbance, and also correlated with enhanced feelings of self-esteem. The finding suggest that through participating in these simple exercises, clients may be able to notice a significant benefit to their psychological well-being, one which may have a broad and long-term effect.

The length of this effect, along with many other considerations, are cause for further research, notes the principal author of the current study. Though many academic investigations of Tai Chi have been performed, the need for high-quality trials involving large and diverse participant groups with meaningful controls was highlighted by the study, which found that such quality was ultimately lacking in currently available literature. Through following the lines of inquiry set forth by past studies, researchers may be able to uncover the specific benefits of the practice –benefits which may bring great relief to therapy clients and anyone in need of a boost.

© Copyright 2010 by By John Smith, therapist in Bellingham, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • pam


    May 25th, 2010 at 9:10 AM

    I have never given tai chi a try but this makes me want to add some of these exercises to my daily regimen.

  • Rosa V.

    Rosa V.

    May 25th, 2010 at 10:22 AM

    There are just so many old traditional regimes that can be used to benefit from in the modern stressful world…I just think more research should be done in finding out methods for every kind of exercise and problem and also on the right way to do these exercises…we can at least get rid of the flashy and expensive exercise equipment and embrace something that actually works!

  • Donald


    May 25th, 2010 at 3:35 PM

    Tai Chi is supposed to help you with your mood amongst various other things…now now, we sure do need such a tool,don’t we?At least we can have fewer cases of road rage ;)

  • Tempest


    May 25th, 2010 at 8:30 PM

    I would love to go to a Tai Chi class. How do you go about finding a qualified teacher in your area please?

  • Linda G

    Linda G

    May 26th, 2010 at 4:34 AM

    Tai chi through its rhythmic breathing and exercises gives you the ability to focus not on the stress in your life but on the good, the here and the now. It helps you to slow down and take a deep breath- it teaches you to do this in a way that you can then translate and make work in your everyday life.

  • Roger


    May 26th, 2010 at 7:42 AM

    The daily humdrum is just leaving most of us short of breath and with no time for ourself…I think methods like Tai Chi give us that rare opportunity to actually take care of ourselves and relieves us of all the stress that we accumulate every single day.

  • Ivory


    May 26th, 2010 at 11:55 AM

    There are many hidden gems like Tai Chi that can really be of immense benefit but are not well known to most of us…what is needed is efforts by experts in the field to retrieve and make best use of ancient techniques like these for the benefit of every person.

  • Belle


    May 26th, 2010 at 1:08 PM

    Tai Chi is calming even just to watch. There used to be a group that met in our local park. Their beautifully fluid movements made me feel very peaceful and rested. It must feel a hundred times better when you participate!

  • Ian


    May 26th, 2010 at 5:44 PM

    I don’t see how moving so slowly can improve your health. It’s not as if you’re really exercising like a runner or in an aerobics class. That’s not working the muscles very hard.

  • Pam


    May 27th, 2010 at 4:49 AM

    I guess I think of this as old people exercises. Can it benefit me as a person in my twenties?

  • Shona


    May 27th, 2010 at 1:29 PM

    Tai Chi is as much about the mental benefits as it is the physical. Slow movement can be beneficial too, Ian. Because it’s a low stress exercise program, Tai Chi is ideal for seniors but suits every age. We can’t all run a mile or take a step class!

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