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Tai Chi, PTSD and Veterans

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Tai chi practice may help veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder to manage symptoms like instrusive thoughts, concentration difficulties and psychological arousal. Boston University Medical Center researchers conducted a small pilot study with 17 veterans with PTSD to
evaluate whether tai chi would be a feasible and beneficial activity.

According to study participants, tai chi practice lessened several symptoms of PTSD, and the activity received a high-satisfaction rating. This was after four sessions—the first lasting 90 minutes, the others each 60 minutes long. One veteran commented, "I think it's given me hope, does that make sense? I've done a lot of things and this is just an additional tool in my toolbox. It's very helpful. . . I think all veterans, suffering from PTSD or not, could use [it]."

Study authors recommended further research, since tai chi is safe and appropriate for people with different ability levels, and because veterans were both very satisfied with their experience and willing to do more sessions.

The study appeared in the journal BMJ Open (2016; doi: 10.1136/bmjo
prn-2016-012464) and is open source.

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Shirley Archer-Eichenberger, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.

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