Feasibility, qualitative findings and satisfaction of a brief Tai Chi mind-body programme for veterans with post-traumatic stress symptoms

BMJ Open. 2016 Nov 29;6(11):e012464. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-012464.


Objective: To examine feasibility, qualitative feedback and satisfaction associated with a 4-session introduction to Tai Chi for veterans with post-traumatic stress symptoms.

Design: We observed and reported recruitment and retention rates, participant characteristics, adherence, and satisfaction across 2 cohorts. We also examined qualitative feedback provided by questionnaires, focus groups and individual interviews.

Main outcome measures: Rates of recruitment and retention, focus group and individual feedback interviews, self-reported satisfaction.

Participants: 17 veterans with post-traumatic stress symptoms.

Results: Almost 90% (17/19) of those eligible following the telephone screen enrolled in the programme. Three-quarters (76.4%) of the participants attended at least 3 of the 4 Tai Chi sessions. Qualitative data analysis revealed themes indicating favourable impressions of the Tai Chi sessions. In addition, participants reported feeling very engaged during the sessions, and found Tai Chi to be helpful for managing distressing symptoms (ie, intrusive thoughts, concentration difficulties, physiological arousal). Participants also reported high satisfaction: 93.8% endorsed being very or mostly satisfied with the programme. All participants (100%) indicated that they would like to participate in future Tai Chi programmes and would recommend it to a friend.

Conclusions: Tai Chi appears to be feasible and safe for veterans with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), is perceived to be beneficial and is associated with high rates of satisfaction. This study highlights the need for future investigation of Tai Chi as a novel intervention to address symptoms of PTSD.

Keywords: COMPLEMENTARY MEDICINE; Feasibility; Integrative Health; Posttraumatic Stress; Tai Chi; Veteran.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Compliance
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Quality of Life
  • Self Report
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / therapy*
  • Tai Ji / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States
  • Veterans / psychology*