Tai Chi can help PTSD
Many of us are faced with traumatic situations in life that make us afraid, sad, anxious or depressed. But usually these symptoms last for a short while and we learn to resolve them over time. But sometimes traumatic events can have lasting and debilitating effects and hinder with our ability to function normally in life.
Events such as a death of a loved one, physical or sexual assault, living in a war zone, serious injuries and natural disasters can have a traumatic effect on us and even though everyone reacts differently, some people will develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – a mental health condition.
Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese practice involving slow and gentle but deliberate movements, mindfulness and breathing and has been known to improve energy, strength, flexibility, muscle strength and heart health.
Symptoms of PTSD include flashbacks the traumatic event, avoidance of events that’s trigger memories, nightmares, negative emotions, anxiety, depression, chronic pain and substance and alcohol abuse.
Patients with PTSD are usually treated with medication and behavioural therapy. However these treatment methods are not always successful.
But now scientists say that Tai Chi has the potential to help patients with PTSD with beneficial results.
Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese practice involving slow and gentle but deliberate movements, mindfulness and breathing and has been known to improve energy, strength, flexibility, muscle strength and heart health. Previous studies have documented Tai Chi with improved mental health, anxiety, depression and in pain management.
The effect of Tai Chi on PTSD was tested on US war veterans as they have a higher exposure to traumatic events and with the highest risks of developing PTSD.
Researchers recruited 17 veterans with PTSD symptoms. Eleven veterans were male while six were female. They were divided into two groups of up to nine participants and were enrolled in an introductory Tai Chi program that occurred once a week for four weeks.
Each session included warm-up and self-massage, review of Tai Chi principles, Tai Chi movements, breathing techniques and relaxation. The participants were also encouraged to practice Tai chi at Home for at least 30 minutes and were asked to complete a daily log of their home practice.
After the final Tai Chi session, veterans were asked to fill out a questionnaire to indicate their satisfaction with the program and whether they felt that Tai Chi helped manage their symptoms.
93.8% of the participants reported being highly satisfied with the introductory Tai Chi program. All participants said that they would participate in future Tai Chi sessions and would recommend it to a friend.
68% of the participants said that the Tai Chi program helped them deal more effectively with their symptoms.
Although the study sample size was small and the sessions were only for a short period of time, this study lays the groundwork for future studies to test the effectiveness of Ta Chi on a larger population.
Tai Chi has so many benefits for our wellbeing and now it can help with extreme stress and PTSD.
Source: BMJ Open
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