Tai Chi for schizophrenia: A systematic review

Wei Zheng, Qiang Li, Jingxia Lin, Yingqiang Xiang, Tong Guo, Qiong Chen, Dongbin Cai, Yutao Xiang (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Tai Chi as a form of moderate aerobic exercise originating in China, could promote balance and healing of the mind-body. Furthermore, Tai Chi has been used as an adjunctive treatment for patients with schizophrenia. However, no meta-analysis or systematic review on adjunctive Tai Chi for patients with schizophrenia has yet been reported. Aim: A systematic review and meta-analysis was conducted to examine the efficacy of Tai Chi as an adjunctive treatment for schizophrenia using randomized controlled trial (RCT) data. Method: Two evaluators independently and systematically searched both English- and Chinese-language databases for RCTs of Tai Chi for schizophrenia patients, selected studies, extracted data, conducted quality assessment and data synthesis. Statistical analyses were performed using the Review Manager (version 5.3). The Cochrane Grades of Recommendation, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) was used to assess the strength of the evidence. Results: In 6 RCTs conducted in mainland China and Hong Kong, there were 483 participants including 215 subjects in the intervention group and 268 subjects in the control group. The trials lasted 16.0 (6.2) weeks. Compared to control group, we found significant differences regarding improvement of negative symptoms assessed by the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) negative symptom sub-score (2 trials) and Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms (SANS) (3 trials) over the study period in the intervention group (5 trials with 6 treatment arms, n=451, SMD: -0.87 (95%CI: -1.51, -0.24), p=0.007; I2=90%). Furthermore, there is no significant difference regarding improvement of positive symptoms assessed by the PANSS positive symptom sub-score (2 trials) and Scale for the Assessment of Positive Symptoms (SAPS) (2 trials) over the study period (4 trials with 5 treatment arms, n=391, SMD: -0.09 (95%CI: -0.44, 0.26), p=0.60; I2=65%). All included RCTs did not report side effects. Based on the GRADE, the strength of the evidence for primary outcome was 'very low'. Conclusions: The data available on the effectiveness of adjunctive Tai Chi in patients with schizophrenia who are receiving antipsychotic is insufficient to arrive at a definitive conclusion about its efficacy. Furthermore, follow-up time in the available studies was relatively short, and all studies did not use blinded assessment of outcome measures. High-quality randomized trials are needed to inform clinical recommendations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-194
Number of pages10
JournalShanghai Archives of Psychiatry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Antipsychotic
  • Schizophrenia
  • Systematic review
  • Tai Chi

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Tai Chi for schizophrenia: A systematic review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this