Science News
from research organizations

Tai Chi proves feasible and beneficial for vets with PTSD

Date:
November 30, 2016
Source:
Boston University Medical Center
Summary:
Veterans with symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) who participated in in Tai Chi not only would recommend it to a friend, but also found the ancient Chinese tradition helped with their symptoms including managing intrusive thoughts, difficulties with concentration and physiological arousal.
Share:
FULL STORY

Veterans with symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) who participated in in Tai Chi not only would recommend it to a friend, but also found the ancient Chinese tradition helped with their symptoms including managing intrusive thoughts, difficulties with concentration and physiological arousal.

The findings, which appear in the journal BMJ Open, are the first to examine feasibility, qualitative feedback and satisfaction associated with Tai Chi for this population.

In the general population, the lifetime risk of developing PTSD is estimated to be 8.7 percent. Among Veterans seeking VA services the risk is higher, with an estimate of 23.1 percent. PTSD and its symptoms often become chronic and are associated with a loss of physical, financial and psychological well-being.

Tai Chi is practiced today as a graceful form of exercise that involves a series of movements performed in a slow, focused manner accompanied by deep breathing and mindfulness. In addition to physical improvements in flexibility, strength and pain management, there is evidence that Tai Chi improves sleep and reduces depression and anger.

Seventeen Veterans with posttraumatic stress symptoms enrolled in a four-session introduction toTai Chi program. After the final session, participants reported favorable impressions of the program. Nearly 94 percent were very or mostly satisfied and all participants indicated that they would like to participate in future Tai Chi programs and would recommend it to a friend. In addition, they described feeling very engaged during the sessions and found Tai Chi to be helpful for managing distressing PTSD symptoms.

According to the researchers this study provides evidence for the feasibility of enrolling and engaging Veterans with symptoms of PTSD in a Tai Chi exercise program. "Our findings also indicate that Tai Chi is a safe physical activity and appropriate for individuals with varying physical capabilities. Given our positive findings, additional research is needed to empirically evaluate Tai Chi as a treatment for symptoms of PTSD," said Barbara Niles, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine and staff research psychologist at the National Center for PTSD -- Behavioral Science Division, VA Boston Healthcare System.


Story Source:

Materials provided by Boston University Medical Center. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Barbara L Niles, DeAnna L Mori, Craig P Polizzi, Anica Pless Kaiser, Annie M Ledoux, Chenchen Wang. Feasibility, qualitative findings and satisfaction of a brief Tai Chi mind–body programme for veterans with post-traumatic stress symptoms. BMJ Open, 2016; 6 (11): e012464 DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-012464

Cite This Page:

Boston University Medical Center. "Tai Chi proves feasible and beneficial for vets with PTSD." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 November 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/11/161130131311.htm>.
Boston University Medical Center. (2016, November 30). Tai Chi proves feasible and beneficial for vets with PTSD. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 22, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/11/161130131311.htm
Boston University Medical Center. "Tai Chi proves feasible and beneficial for vets with PTSD." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/11/161130131311.htm (accessed May 22, 2017).

RELATED STORIES