Tai Chi, a Chinese form of martial arts movements that focuses on meditative breathing and methodical movement, has been proven to improve mental health. A metastudy of 40 smaller studies has determined that the focused concentration combined with controlled breathing and fluid movements plays an enormous role in improving well-being and mood.
Dr. Chenchen Wang, an associate professor from Tufts University School of Medicine in Massachusetts conducted the metastudy. Wang says, “Tai chi, the Chinese low-impact mind-body exercise, has been practiced for centuries for health and fitness in the East and is currently gaining popularity in the West. It is believed to improve mood and enhance overall psychological well being, but convincing evidence has so far been lacking.”
In the study, Wang was able to find a direct connection between active participation in Tai Chi exercises and reduced stress and anxiety, as well as a reduction in depression and mood swings. The exercise appeared to have a direct affect on improving self-esteem.
“More detailed knowledge about the physiological and psychological effects of tai chi exercise may lead to new approaches to promote health, treat chronic medical conditions, better inform clinical decisions and further explicate the mechanisms of successful mind-body medicine,” says Wang.
Additional studies support Wang’s findings, and indicate that regular practice of meditative exercise may promote self healing in addition to the phenomenal mental benefits. With record numbers of people turning to depression and anxiety medication every year, this discovery help many people find a more natural way of handling challenges while improving their physical health at the same time.
Shadra Bruce is a contributing writer for Mental Health News.