Send to

Choose Destination
Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2016 Jul;42(4):469-78. doi: 10.3109/00952990.2016.1153646. Epub 2016 May 21.

Beneficial effects of Tai Chi for amphetamine-type stimulant dependence: a pilot study.

Author information

a Chinese Wushu Research Center, Shanghai University of Sport , Shanghai , China.
b Shanghai Drug Administration , Shanghai , China.
c Anti-Doping Research Laboratory , Shanghai University of Sport , Shanghai , China.



Tai Chi is a traditional Chinese sport that is classified as a moderate exercise. Recent studies have evaluated the effectiveness of Tai Chi in substance abuse rehabilitation.


The aim of this study was to assess the quality of life and physical effects of a Tai Chi intervention on individuals with amphetamine-type stimulant (stimulant) dependence.


Sixty male subjects with stimulant dependence from a Shanghai Mandatory Detoxification and Rehabilitation Center participated in a 12-week trial. Tai Chi was used as an intervention in the experimental group (n = 30). The control group (n = 29) underwent standard care, which included recreation activity, gesture language exercise, and self-education. Outcome measures included the quality of life for drug addiction (QOL-DA) questionnaire [four scales consisting of physiology (e.g., energy level), psychology (e.g., depression), symptoms (e.g., physical symptoms), society (e.g., interpersonal) and fitness evaluations (assessed by body mass index, body fat, hand-grip, flexibility, balance)]. Repeated measures were used to analyze the changes over time.


Test scores of the QOL-DA in the Tai Chi group significantly increased after 12 weeks in the following areas: physiology, 8.71 (p = 0.005), symptoms, 4.34 (p = 0.042), society, 15.79 (p < 0.001), and total score, 10.60 (p = 0.002). A post hoc test further revealed that quality of life improved in the Tai Chi group but not in the standard care group. Physical results showed a significant interaction with balance(F(1,56) = 6.92, p = 0.011); participants in the Tai Chi group improved by 10 s while there was no change in the standard care group. Although there were no significant interactions in the fitness outcomes (i.e., hand-grip and sit-and-reach tests), the within-group factor displayed significant changes in body fat (F(1,56) = 27.79, p < 0.001) in both groups.


This study demonstrates that Tai Chi is a promising exercise that improves quality of life for individuals with stimulant dependence.


Exercise; Tai Chi; amphetamine-type stimulants; methamphetamine; physical activity; substance abuse; synthetic drugs

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Taylor & Francis
Loading ...
Support Center