Tai chi as an alternative and complimentary therapy for anxiety: a systematic review

J Evid Based Complementary Altern Med. 2015 Apr;20(2):143-53. doi: 10.1177/2156587214561327. Epub 2014 Dec 8.


Anxiety has become a global public health problem. Tai chi offers one possible way of reducing anxiety. The purpose of this study was to examine studies from 1989 to March 2014 to assess whether tai chi can be an efficacious approach for managing anxiety. A systematic search of Medline, CINAHL, and Alt HealthWatch databases was conducted for quantitative articles involving applications of tai chi for anxiety. A total of 17 articles met the inclusion criteria. Of these, 8 were from the United States, 2 from Australia, 2 from Japan, 2 from Taiwan, and 1 each from Canada, Spain, and China. Statistically significant results of anxiety reduction were reported in 12 of the studies reviewed. Despite the limitations of not all studies using randomized controlled designs, having smaller sample sizes, having different outcomes, having nonstandardized tai chi interventions, and having varying lengths, tai chi appears to be a promising modality for anxiety management.

Keywords: alternative medicine; anxiety; mind–body; stress; tai chi.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anxiety / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Tai Ji*