Tai Chi aids PTSD recover

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Research at Boston University proves tai chi can aid PTSD recover. Published in BMJ

Tai Chi aids PTSD recover

PTSD Tai Chi

Feasibility, qualitative findings and satisfaction of a brief Tai Chi mind–body programme for veterans with post-traumatic stress symptoms

  1. 1National Center for PTSD, VA Boston Healthcare System and Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  2. 2VA Boston Healthcare System and Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  3. 3National Center for PTSD and VA Boston Healthcare System, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  4. 4Division of Rheumatology, Center for Integrative Medicine, Tufts Medical Center, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Barbara L Niles; Barbara.Niles@va.gov
  • Received 29 April 2016
  • Revised 10 August 2016
  • Accepted 4 October 2016
  • Published 29 November 2016


Objective To examine feasibility, qualitative feedback and satisfaction associated with a 4-session introduction to Tai Chi for veterans with post-traumatic stress symptoms.

Design We observed and reported recruitment and retention rates, participant characteristics, adherence, and satisfaction across 2 cohorts. We also examined qualitative feedback provided by questionnaires, focus groups and individual interviews.

Main outcome measures Rates of recruitment and retention, focus group and individual feedback interviews, self-reported satisfaction.

Participants 17 veterans with post-traumatic stress symptoms.

Results Almost 90% (17/19) of those eligible following the telephone screen enrolled in the programme. Three-quarters (76.4%) of the participants attended at least 3 of the 4 Tai Chi sessions. Qualitative data analysis revealed themes indicating favourable impressions of the Tai Chi sessions. In addition, participants reported feeling very engaged during the sessions, and found Tai Chi to be helpful for managing distressing symptoms (ie, intrusive thoughts, concentration difficulties, physiological arousal). Participants also reported high satisfaction: 93.8% endorsed being very or mostly satisfied with the programme. All participants (100%) indicated that they would like to participate in future Tai Chi programmes and would recommend it to a friend.

Conclusions Tai Chi appears to be feasible and safe for veterans with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), is perceived to be beneficial and is associated with high rates of satisfaction. This study highlights the need for future investigation of Tai Chi as a novel intervention to address symptoms of PTSD.

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