Tai Chi Attenuates Psychobiological Stress Reactivity in Healthy Subjects
January 28, 2012 -
Stress reducing effects of Tai Chi, a
mindful and gentle form of body movement, have been reported in previous
studies, but standardized and controlled experimental studies are scarce. A
study by University of Bern in Switzerland investigates the effect of regular
Tai Chi practice on psychobiological stress response in healthy men and women.
70 participants were randomly assigned to
either Tai Chi classes or a waiting list. After 3months, 26 (8 men, 18 women)
persons in the Tai Chi group and 23 (9 men, 14 women) in the waiting control
group underwent a standardized psychosocial stress test combining public
speaking and mental arithmetic in front of an audience. Salivary cortisol and
?-amylase, heart rate, and psychological responses to psychosocial stress were
compared between the study groups.
Stress induced characteristic changes in all
psychological and physiological measures. Compared to controls, Tai Chi
participants exhibited a significantly lower stress reactivity of cortisol and
heart rate, as well as lower ?-amylase levels. They reported a lower increase in
perceived stressfulness and maintained a higher level of calmness in response to
The results consistently suggest that
practicing Tai Chi attenuates psychobiological stress reactivity in healthy
subjects. This may underline the role of Tai Chi as a useful mind-body practice
for stress prevention.
This study is published in January of 2012 by the