Tai Chi is written about time and time again due to a wide array of health benefits. Many of them are covered in an article I wrote a few years ago. Of these benefits, balance and strength are the most noted particularly with avoiding falls. Cardiovascular benefits are also well researched and one part of this affect comes from the inherent stress reduction within these moving meditation exercises.
A group of researchers from Australia recently conducted a study looking at the role Tai Chi could play in reducing depression and anxiety symptoms - in particular within obese patients diagnosed with depressive disorders.
The researchers recruited 213 patients and divided them into a tai chi intervention group and a control group (wait-list). Tai Chi was offered via a 24 week program with analysis at week 12 and week 24. They looked at changes in stress, anxiety and depression levels as well as leg strength, weight changes and other metabolic issues. They found positive changes across the board at week 12 and even further improvements at week 24.
Certainly from a Chinese Medicine perspective many of these conditions are deeply inter-related and Tai Chi, much like acupuncture or Chinese herbal medicine, engages the body and the mind systemically which often leads to broader improvements than in other interventions. The researchers recommended more longer term studies to confirm their findings.
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