Depression Care is Thai Chi Aware

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A new study shows that the ancient art of tai chi has the ability to relieve the symptoms of depression in the aged. The new findings have been published in The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and recount how there are benefits beyond aiding depression by practicing tai chi also. The practiced breathing and meditation along with the slow movements characteristic of the Chinese practice, come together in benefiting depression sufferers as well as those with arthritis and fibromyalgia.

Depression is more difficult to treat in the elderly when compared against treatment in younger individuals. The reason behind this is that the elderly are normally showing symptoms of a range of ailments when they arrive for depression treatment. It is difficult to find a medication combination that does not impact on the benefits of treatments of each one. This makes the likelihood of response to drug treatment for depression amongst the elderly lessened.

The findings which have shown the breakthrough tai chi can make were made out of a study conducted by researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles. By taking in 112 elderly persons who had been diagnosed with depression and treating each with a drug (Lexapro) before moving the group (half of whom had experienced improvement as a consequence on the drug) into either a health program class or a ten week tai chi program.

The simple stretching was seen to benefit 94% of the over 70’s who took part in the study and were involved in the tai chi program, with 65% actually experiencing full remission from their depression symptoms. Also their physical function improved along their cognitive abilities.

“Altogether the effects were pretty dramatic,’’ it was detailed by Dr. Helen Lavretsky, lead author and professor of psychiatry at U.C.L.A. She also stated that, “If a psychiatrist were to add exercise like tai chi, which is very non demanding and easy to access, that would be a very beneficial thing instead of adding another drug.”

The benefits of being in the company of other patients, was also outlined as a possible reason for the positive outcome of the study according to the doctor. The tai chi used in this study was one that comprises of 20 simple exercises called T’ai Chi Chih; this is one of the least strenuous forms out there.

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