The physical activity and life healing in psychiatric patients: Taijiguan as an example

Shuan Sheng Lin, Shuh Jen Sheu*, Ying Chiao Lee, Hsien Hsien Chiang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: This research explores the effect of a 13-week Taijiquan learning program on the daily life experience of chronic psychiatric patients. The process and the essential meaning of the entire learning experiences are presented.

Background: Chronic psychiatric patients tend to have cognitive and functional impairments. Participation in physical activity has been shown to improve their health and independence. Regular practice of Taijiquan may help improve mood and life stresses, promoting physical and mental health.

Methods: Data were collected from a psychiatric daycare center at a Teaching Hospital in Taipei. The 6 patients who participated in this study included 3 with bipolar disorders and 3 with schizophrenia. Narrative inquiry and focus-group interviews were used for qualitative data collection and analysis.

Results: The initial results of participant experiences were categorized into 3 themes: 1. Learning kung fu in the Tai-jiquan; 2. Releasing binding through the practice of Taijiquan; and 3. Pursuit of excellence through the learning of Tai-jiquan. The views of illness, body, and interpersonal interaction as well as the three stages of dilemma, transcendence/acclimation, and acquaintance for the psychiatric patients and their Taijiquan's learning world were described and the potential therapeutic effects on the body and daily life of these patients were explored.

Results of this study recommend strongly that Taijiquan be included as a therapeutic activity for psychiatric patients to improve their health, healing, and recovery.

Conclusions: Implications for Practice: Learning Taijiquan is highly challenging for the novice, especially those with chronic psychiatric illnesses. However, after familiarization with the postural actions and key concepts of this exercise, Taijiquan facilitated body relaxation, heightened perception, and postural balance. Consequently, this exercise stabilized the mood, disease status, and capacity for handling interpersonal relationships of participants and consequently may enhance their long-term life quality and disease recovery status.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-55
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Nursing
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2014


  • Chronic psychiatric patients
  • Focus group
  • Narrative analysis
  • Taijiquan


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