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Open Access Study protocol

The effectiveness of Tai Chi on the physical and psychological well-being of college students: a study protocol for a randomized controlled trial

Guohua Zheng1, Xiulu Lan2, Moyi Li2, Kun Ling3, Hui Lin3, Lidian Chen4*, Jing Tao2, Junzhe Li2, Xin Zheng2, Bai Chen2 and Qianying Fang2

Author Affiliations

1 Academy of Integrative Medicine, Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, HuaTuo Road, Fuzhou 350122, China

2 Rehabilitation Medicine College, Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, HuaTuo Road, Fuzhou 350122, China

3 Department of Physical Education, Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, HuaTuo Road, Fuzhou 350122, China

4 Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, HuaTuo Road, Fuzhou 350122, China

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Trials 2014, 15:129  doi:10.1186/1745-6215-15-129

Published: 17 April 2014

Abstract

Background

The physical and mental health of college-age youths tends to continuously decline around the world. It is therefore important to promote health during this period. As a traditional Chinese mind-body exercise, Tai Chi Chuan (TCC) may be an available selection. However for the college student population, the evidence is unclear as to whether TCC can be recommended as an effective exercise for promoting their physical and psychological wellbeing. Therefore high quality, rigorous, prospective, and well-controlled randomized trials are needed to further understand TCC serving as a psychological and physical intervention in college age populations.

Method/Design

We designed a randomized, single-blind, parallel-controlled trial with a sample size of 206 participants. All the participants who meet the inclusion criteria come from Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine (FJTCM). Participants of the TCC training group will receive TCC training at a frequency of five days per week for one hour per day for 12 weeks. No specific exercise will be administered on the participants in the control group. Both physical and mental health outcomes, including balance ability, lower limb proprioception, flexibility, physical fitness, self-efficacy, psychological symptoms, attention span, stress, self-esteem, mood and mindfulness, quality of life, and quality of sleep. Safety outcomes will be evaluated by blinded operators at baseline, 12 and 24-weeks post-intervention.

Discussion

This protocol presents an objective design of a randomized, single-blind trial that will test the effectiveness and safety of TCC on the physical and psychological wellbeing of college students. If the outcome is positive, the results will provide higher quality evidence of TCC on the physical and mental health of college age populations.

Trial registration

Chinese Clinical Trial Registry: ChiCTR-TRC-13003328.

Keywords:
Tai Chi Chuan; College students; Psychological well-being; Physical health