We know that physical activity and exercise are supposed to improve psychological health. However, the question has been what if any, effect Tai Chi has on stress, anxiety, depression and mood disturbance in eastern and western populations.
Eight English and 3 Chinese databases were used to collate forty studies totalling 3817 subjects that met the criteria of having at least 1 reportable psychological health outcome. Approximately 29 psychological measurements were assessed revealing that Tai Chi significantly increased psychological well-being including reduction of stress, anxiety, and depression, and enhanced mood in community-dwelling healthy participants and in patients with chronic conditions. Seven observational studies with relatively large sample sizes reinforced the beneficial association between Tai Chi practice and psychological health.
The study concluded that Tai Chi appeared to be associated with improvements in psychological well-being including reduced stress, anxiety, depression and mood disturbance, along with increased self-esteem. Definitive conclusions were limited due to the nature of the study but it definitely indicates that a high-quality, well-controlled, longer randomized trial is warranted to assist in better informed clinical decisions.
Reference: Tai Chi on psychological well-being: systematic review and meta-analysis. 2010. By Wang C, Bannuru R, Ramel J, Kupelnick B, Scott T, Schmid CH Division of Rheumatology, Tufts Medical Center, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org BMC Complement Altern Med. 2010 May 21;10:23.