Tai chi augments pharmaceutical treatment of depression in seniors.
Nearly two-thirds of seniors treated for depression fail to achieve remission with pharmaceutical treatment. Researchers at at the University of California Los Angeles carried out a study to see if tai chi could help achieve improved results when used as a complimentary treatment to escitalopram (brand name Lexipro). 112 patients with major depression at least 60 years old were treated with escitalopram for 4 weeks. Of these 72 partial responders all of whom continued to take escitalopram were divided at random into two groups with one group taking tai chi classes twice a week for 10 weeks and the other receiving the same amount of health education.
Compared to the health education and escitalopram group, the tai chi and escitalopram group showed a greater reduction in depressive symptoms, improved physical functioning, improved scores on cognitive tests and a decline in inflammatory markers.
This study supports the view that tai chi can help seniors with depression achieve improved clinical outcomes related to depression. As other studies have shown that tai chi can also reduce the risk of falls among seniors the use of tai chi as a complementary therapy for seniors with geriatric depression is especially compelling.