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Prev Med Rep. 2015 Dec 23;3:103-12. doi: 10.1016/j.pmedr.2015.12.006. eCollection 2016 Jun.

A systematic review of the health benefits of Tai Chi for students in higher education.

Author information

1
Centre for Medical and Health Sciences Education and Department of Anaesthesiology, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92-019, Auckland 1142, New Zealand.
2
Centre for Medical and Health Sciences Education, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.
3
Department of Psychology, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand.
4
Medical Programme Directorate, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The poor health consequences of stress are well recognized, and students in higher education may be at particular risk. Tai Chi integrates physical exercise with mindfulness techniques and seems well suited to relieve stress and related conditions.

METHODS:

We conducted a systematic review of the health benefits of Tai Chi for students in higher education reported in the English and Chinese literature, using an evidence hierarchy approach, allowing the inclusion of studies additional to randomized controlled trials.

RESULTS:

Sixty eight reports in Chinese and 8 in English were included - a combined study sample of 9263 participants. Eighty one health outcomes were extracted from reports, and assigned evidence scores according to the evidence hierarchy. Four primary and eight secondary outcomes were found. Tai Chi is likely to benefit participants by increasing flexibility, reducing symptoms of depression, decreasing anxiety, and improving interpersonal sensitivity (primary outcomes). Secondary outcomes include improved lung capacity, balance, 800/1000m run time, quality of sleep, symptoms of compulsion, somatization and phobia, and decreased hostility.

CONCLUSIONS:

Our results show Tai Chi yields psychological and physical benefits, and should be considered by higher education institutions as a possible means to promote the physical and psychological well-being of their students.

KEYWORDS:

Graduate student; Mental; Physical; Stress; Tai Chi; Well-being

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