Treatment with CBT and Tai Chi for inflammation

A recent study looked at the effects of Tai Chi for inflammation and whether it can, combined with other interventions can help reduce it. The study also looked at how sleep could effect inflammation too.

Inflammatory processes occur throughout the body, with a primary function of promoting healing after injury. However, when too active, these inflammatory processes can also damage the body in many ways, and may contribute to heart disease, stroke, certain cancers, and other significant medical problems.

Three groups were set up:

– CBT or Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia
– Tai Chi
– Sleep Seminar (the control group)

What the results showed was that the group receiving CBT helped with the insomnia and had a knock-on effect of helping with inflammation in the body. This effect continued throughout a 16 month follow up.

“Behavioral interventions that target sleep reduce inflammation and represent a third pillar, along with diet and physical activity, to promote health and possibly reduce the risk of age-related morbidities including depression,” said Dr. Michael Irwin

Tai Chi was also shown to have an effect of inflammation, this time at a cellular level. The study showed that this also targeted insomnia in patients. The effects of this were also maintained over a 16 months period.

“This study suggests that there are behavioral approaches that can improve sleep, reduce stress, and thereby improve health,” commented Dr. John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry. “It is a reminder, once again, that there is no health without mental health.”

The study concluded that treatments such CBT and regular Tai Chi for inflammation is an effect way for combating it. It also showed both were effective for insomnia.

Sources on this study regarding CBT and Tai Chi for Inflammation

Journal Reference:
Michael R. Irwin, Richard Olmstead, Elizabeth C. Breen, Tuff Witarama, Carmen Carrillo, Nina Sadeghi, Jesusa M.G. Arevalo, Jeffrey Ma, Perry Nicassio, Richard Bootzin, Steve Cole. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Tai Chi Reverse Cellular and Genomic Markers of Inflammation in Late-Life Insomnia: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Biological Psychiatry, 2015; 78 (10): 721 DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2015.01.010