It has long been recognized that regular exercise promotes health, and it has also been established that it can improve well-being amongst adult patients suffering from cardiovascular disease. Tai Chi, a mind-body Chinese martial art that is popular for both defense training and exercise, has been shown to provide physical benefits to patients. However, a new meta-analysis has pointed to the potential value of Tai Chi for psychological benefit in cardiovascular patients.
The authors of this newly published review analyzed 15 studies that included in total over 1,850 participants. The average age of study participants was 66 years old. Women made up 44% of the participant pool.
The results showed that many patients with cardiovascular disease who used a Tai Chi intervention displayed evidence of better mental and physical health, including lower levels of depression and psychological distress and better overall quality of life. Patients who had undergone a stroke unfortunately did not reap these benefits from Tai Chi.
Though the results showed that Tai Chi did not improve general quality of life in people with chronic heart failure, the intervention did help with depression and psychological distress and that Tai Chi was more effective in this psychological domain than other forms of exercise. Tai Chi helped with physical health quality of life in patients with hypertension, though it did not improve their mental health quality of life.
According to the authors, this meta-analysis, published in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, is the first systematic investigation into the effects of Tai Chi on the psychological well-being of patients with cardiovascular disease. More research is needed to determine the nature and extent of the benefits of this form of exercise on this and other patient populations.
Taylor-Piliae RE, Finley BA. Tai Chi exercise for psychological well-being among adults with cardiovascular disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Eur J Cardiovasc Nurs J Work Gr Cardiovasc Nurs Eur Soc Cardiol. June 2020:1474515120926068. doi:10.1177/1474515120926068