At the meeting of the American Psychiatric Association in Toronto, Canada, UCLA investigator Dr. Helen Lavretsky presented a study on depression and tai chi.
The study focused on the mood-boosting effects of this ancient practice that might augment the effects of the antidepressant medication escitalopram.
After six weeks of only partial response from 10 mg of daily escitalopram, depressed older adults were randomized to either take tai chi lessons or health education classes for two hours each week for the next 10 weeks.
Depression symptoms in volunteers participating in tai chi classes were significantly less prominent.
The tai chi group also had better cognitive abilities and physical functioning, as well as declines in a blood marker for inflammation.
The apparent anti-inflammatory effects of tai chi may partially explain its mind-health benefits.