The Benefits of Tai Chi for Residential Patients with Schizophrenia
January 28, 2013 -
This is a new study published by Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative
Medicine in its November 2012 issue. It was conducted by the University of Hong
Patients with schizophrenia residing at institutions often suffer from negative
symptoms, motor, and functional impairments more severe than their
non-institutionalized counterparts. Tai Chi emphasizes body relaxation,
alertness, and movement coordination with benefits to balance, focus, and stress
relief. This pilot study explored the efficacy of Tai Chi on movement
coordination, negative symptoms, and functioning disabilities towards
randomized waitlist control design was adopted, where participants were
randomized to receive either the 6-week Tai Chi program and standard residential
care or only the latter. 30 Chinese patients with schizophrenia were recruited
from a rehabilitation residency. All were assessed on movement coordination,
negative symptoms, and functional disabilities at baseline, following
intervention and 6 weeks after intervention.
Chi buffered from deteriorations in movement coordination and interpersonal
functioning, the latter with sustained effectiveness 6 weeks after the class was
ended. Controls showed marked deteriorations in those areas. The Tai Chi group
also experienced fewer disruptions to life activities at the 6-week maintenance.
There was no significant improvement in negative symptoms after Tai Chi.
This study demonstrated encouraging benefits of Tai Chi in preventing
deteriorations in movement coordination and interpersonal functioning for
residential patients with schizophrenia. The ease of implementation facilitates
promotion at institutional psychiatric services.