Can T’ai Chi Keep You From Going Crazy?

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Can T’ai Chi Keep You From Going Crazy: T’ai Chi and the Physical and Mental Health of College Students

A group of several scientists from the Department of Physical Therapy of Georgia State University conducted a study published in The American Journal of Chinese Medicine* and Medicine and Sport Science** to assess the mental and physical health in college students and whether the practice of T’ai Chi could improve their overall health.

Tantric QigongStudents attended an hour long T’ai Chi class twice a week for 3 months that included 10 minutes of warm up exercises followed by 50 minutes of T’ai Chi instruction and practice.  Their levels of physical and mental health were measured using a health survey questionnaire (SF-36v2) before and after the intervention.

Assessed physical parameters included physical function, body pain, and general health. The mental assessment included perceptions of one’s vitality, mental, emotional, and social functioning.  What the researchers found was that both physical and mental balance improved over just 3 months or 24 T’ai Chi class sessions. This was particularly noticeable in the mental health arena.

College age students, being younger, tend to be somewhat healthier physically than older adults. Mental health can be a different deal though. The stresses surrounding college life can be quite significant, and students tend to be less experienced in healthy mechanisms to cope with this. The findings that T’ai Chi noticeably improved the students’ perception of their mental balance is therefore quite significant. My own experience as a college student learning T’ai Chi was that the practice was quite calming and balancing, in fact, an emotional lifesaver!

The scientists concluded their research paper by recommending that colleges offer “Tai Chi as a component of their ongoing physical activity programs available to students.” So, yes, T’ai Chi can perhaps keep you from going crazy. Even if you are A College Student Gone Wild!  © 2013 Keith E. Hall and  All rights reserved.

*Am J Chin Med. 2004;32(3):453-9

**Med Sport Sci. 2008;52:135-45

Tai Chi and College Students


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