Article Text

Download PDFPDF

Feasibility, qualitative findings and satisfaction of a brief Tai Chi mind–body programme for veterans with post-traumatic stress symptoms
  1. Barbara L Niles1,
  2. DeAnna L Mori2,
  3. Craig P Polizzi3,
  4. Anica Pless Kaiser1,
  5. Annie M Ledoux3,
  6. Chenchen Wang4
    1. 1National Center for PTSD, VA Boston Healthcare System and Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
    2. 2VA Boston Healthcare System and Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
    3. 3National Center for PTSD and VA Boston Healthcare System, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
    4. 4Division of Rheumatology, Center for Integrative Medicine, Tufts Medical Center, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
    1. Correspondence to Dr Barbara L Niles; Barbara.Niles{at}


    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.

    • Posttraumatic Stress
    • Tai Chi
    • Feasibility
    • Veteran
    • Integrative Health

    This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:

    Statistics from

    Request Permissions

    If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


    • Collaborators Brian Muccio Dorothy Li.

    • Contributors CW was the principal investigator (PI) and BLN and DLM were co-PIs at the VA Boston Healthcare System (VABHS) site. APK, CPP and AML made substantial contributions to the design and management of the study. CPP was primarily responsible for recruitment and data collection. All authors made substantial contributions to drafts of the manuscript and all have read and approved the final manuscript.

    • Funding This study was supported by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH; R01AT006367-01A1 and K24AT007323) and funds from the National Center for PTSD.

    • Disclaimer The investigators are solely responsible for the contents of the manuscript and they do not represent official views of the NCCIH, the US Department of Veterans Affairs or the US Government.

    • Competing interests None declared.

    • Ethics approval The Institutional Review Board (IRB) committees at the VA Boston Healthcare System and Tufts Medical Center approved the participation of human participants.

    • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

    • Data sharing statement Summary data may be available from the first author on request.