The Question: I read that tai chi can help adults sleep. Would it have the same effect on children?
Answer: Tai chi, the ancient Chinese martial art, has now been predominantly adapted as a health practice in the United States. Some studies have found modest quality-of-life benefits, including improved sleep, for adults with cancer, arthritis, and depression, but there have been no studies published that demonstrate any benefits for children. That said, since tai chi is a physical activity that promotes a calm and centered mind (like yoga), it might be helpful as an alternative for children suffering from sleep issues related to anxiety. Ask your pediatrician if she can recommend a class in your area.
Lawrence D. Rosen, M.D., a member of KIWI’s editorial advisory board, is the founder of The Whole Child Center in Oradell, New Jersey, and the coauthor of Treatment Alternatives for Children.