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Surprising Science

Tai Chi Eases Depression

The ancient Chinese practice of tai chi appears to relieve symptoms of depression in older people, a new study shows. Slow movement, breathing and meditation have clear health benefits.

Depression is notoriously difficult to treat in older people, many of whom are already coping with other health problems and are less likely to respond to drug treatment. “Research has shown tai chi can improve physical function and quality of life, relieve stress and anxiety and lead to improved sleep quality, the study authors noted. The study used a form of tai chi called T’ai Chi Chih that uses 20 simple exercises that are nonstrenuous and easy enough to be performed by older adults. Dr. Lavretsky said the findings are exciting because depression is so difficult to treat in older people, two-thirds of whom don’t respond to initial drug therapy.”


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