Tai Chi helps reduce depression, diabetes and obesity

Queensland study shows Tai Chi helps reduce depression, diabetes and obesity

According to Dr Liu Xin, a scientist and renowned expert in the field of mind-body therapy, a three month pilot study funded by Diabetes Australia Research Trust recently undertaken by the University of Queensland, shows that depression, diabetes and obesity can all be improved through the regular practice of tai chi.

This is the first scientifically based exercise-alone program, which shows significant effects on depression, diabetes and obesity. There was no dietary intervention or high intensity training. Depression decreased from 60% to 20% and BMI and waist circumference decreased by 4% and 3% respectively.

In addition, there were beneficial findings on indicators of blood glucose control, hypertension and insulin resistance.

Positive changes in life perspective and family harmony were also achieved: increased energy levels, sleeping patterns, urinary control, breathing, immunity, confidence, self-esteem and coping.

As a consequence of these findings, an extended large controlled study, SMILE* Tai Chi Program focusing on depression and obesity has recently been funded by the National Heart Foundation and Beyondblue.

As depression and obesity are two of the most common health problems in the western world this is the second largest grant provided by the National Heart Foundation and Beyondblue Cardiovascular Disease and Depression Strategic Research Program.

Alarmingly, in Australia, one in five people experience depression at some stage of their lives and more than half of Australian adults are either overweight or obese.

Dr Liu claims that if the SMILE program confirms the findings of the original pilot study, great social and economic benefits will be realised for public health.

Researchers are currently recruiting volunteers with depression and central obesity to take part is the SMILE program. Please phone 32406426 or 32402051 or email

Obesity prevention and reduction is another reason to take up tai chi. For a full report: