Mental health problems are real, and they deserve treatment and support. Brushing them away and hoping they won’t come back isn’t always the wisest course of action to take. While most of us would rather not take medication to treat depression and anxiety (many of these drugs actually list depression and anxiety as side effects!), it can be difficult to find effective alternative treatments. Here’s one you might want to consider: tai chi. Researchers at The University of Hong Kong tested the therapeutic martial art on patients suffering from schizophrenia.
The researchers noted that patients with schizophrenia residing at institutions often suffer from negative symptoms in excess of what those who live at home do. In particular, they have trouble with movement coordination and social interaction.
The researchers found 30 Chinese patients with schizophrenia who were residing in a rehab residency. Each was assigned to receive either a six-week tai chi program and standard residential care, or only the latter. The researchers assessed movement coordination, negative symptoms, and functional disabilities at baseline, following intervention, and six weeks after intervention.
How much did the tai chi sessions help? According to the research team, the tai chi group was buffered from deteriorations in movement coordination and interpersonal functioning for six weeks after the intervention. In contrast, the controls showed marked deteriorations in those areas. The tai chi group also experienced fewer disruptions to life activities at the six-week mark.
Tai chi has been proven to help with the challenging symptoms of schizophrenia. If you suffer from much milder symptoms of depression or anxiety, tai chi may just be your ticket to improved mental health and soothing stress relief.
Sources for Today’s Articles:
Try this Ancient “Art” for a Healthy Brain
Lo, P.H., et al., “Tai-chi for residential patients with schizophrenia on movement coordination, negative symptoms, and functioning: a pilot randomized controlled trial,” Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012; 2012: 923925.