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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 923925, 10 pages
Research Article

Tai-Chi for Residential Patients with Schizophrenia on Movement Coordination, Negative Symptoms, and Functioning: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial

1Department of Social Work and Social Administration, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
2Centre on Behavioral Health, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
3The Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui Providence Garden for Rehab, Hong Kong

Received 18 April 2012; Accepted 7 August 2012

Academic Editor: Jörg Melzer

Copyright © 2012 Rainbow T. H. Ho et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. Patients with schizophrenia residing at institutions often suffer from negative symptoms, motor, and functional impairments more severe than their noninstitutionalized counterparts. Tai-chi emphasizes body relaxation, alertness, and movement coordination with benefits to balance, focus, and stress relief. This pilot study explored the efficacy of Tai-chi on movement coordination, negative symptoms, and functioning disabilities towards schizophrenia. Methods. A randomized waitlist control design was adopted, where participants were randomized to receive either the 6-week Tai-chi program and standard residential care or only the latter. 30 Chinese patients with schizophrenia were recruited from a rehabilitation residency. All were assessed on movement coordination, negative symptoms, and functional disabilities at baseline, following intervention and 6 weeks after intervention. Results. Tai-chi buffered from deteriorations in movement coordination and interpersonal functioning, the latter with sustained effectiveness 6 weeks after the class was ended. Controls showed marked deteriorations in those areas. The Tai-chi group also experienced fewer disruptions to life activities at the 6-week maintenance. There was no significant improvement in negative symptoms after Tai-chi. Conclusions. This study demonstrated encouraging benefits of Tai-chi in preventing deteriorations in movement coordination and interpersonal functioning for residential patients with schizophrenia. The ease of implementation facilitates promotion at institutional psychiatric services.