Search JIM Advanced Search

Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine ›› 2013, Vol. 11 ›› Issue (5): 295-304.doi: 10.3736/jintegrmed2013046

• Research Article •     Next Articles

Investigating short- and long-term transfer effects of a Taiji beginner course in participants’ daily life

Agnes Maria Schitter, Brigitte Ausfeld-Hafter, Marko Nedeljkovic()   

  1. University of Bern, Institute of Complementary Medicine KIKOM, 3010 Bern, Switzerland
  • Received:2013-05-14 Accepted:2013-07-22 Online:2013-09-10 Published:2013-09-15


In recent years research investigating various health benefits of Taiji practice has markedly increased. Despite this growing scientific interest, essential questions such as to what extent a Taiji course may exert noticeable effects in participants’ everyday life, what these effects are, and how and where potential transfer effects occur, have hardly been considered. The aim of our study was to explore transfer effects from a Taiji course into participants’ daily lives.


We conducted a longitudinal observational study in 45 healthy participants at the end of their three-month Taiji beginner course (tp1) and at two months (tp2) as well as one year after course completion (tp3). Participants were asked to report their Taiji practice behavior at all time points, as well as to rate and describe perceived transfer effects of Taiji course contents on their daily life at tp1 and tp3.


Transfer effects were reported by 91.1% of all respondents after course completion (tp1) and persisted in 73.3% at the one-year follow-up assessment (tp3), counting “increase of self-efficacy”, “improvement of stress management”, and “increase of body awareness” as the most frequently mentioned effects. Transfer effects predominantly occurred in participants’ work and social environments, as well as during everyday activities in public areas. While self-reliant Taiji practice frequency significantly decreased from 82.2% at tp1 to 55.6% at tp3 (P < 0.001), the magnitude of self-reported transfer effects did not (P = 0.35). As explorative analyses revealed, regular Taiji course attendance was highly correlated with stronger transfer effects at tp1 (r = 0.51; P < 0.001) and tp3 (r = 0.35; P = 0.020). Participants reporting high self-reliant Taiji practice frequency at tp2 were likely to maintain a regular practice routine at tp3 (r = 0.42; P < 0.004), whereas self-reliant practice frequency and transfer effects at tp1 were positively correlated with self-reliant practice frequency at tp3 on a trend level (r < 0.27; P > 0.08).


Our data underline the importance of regular course participation for pronounced and long lasting transfer effects into participants’ everyday life. We discuss that several context and process-related aspects of a Taiji intervention are potentially relevant factors for enhancement of transfer effect.

Key words: Tai Ji, Daily life, Transfer effects, Self-efficacy, Longitudinal study, Healthy subjects

Figure 1

Flow diagram depicting the progress of participation tp: time point."




[1] Frantzis BK . The power of internal martial arts: combat secrets of Ba Gua, Tai Chi, and Hsing-I. Berkley, CA: North Atlantic Books. 1998.
[2] Robinson R . Tai Chi for you — the comprehensive guide to Tai Chi at home for everybody. London: Duncan Braid Publishers. 2006.
[3] Wayne PM, Kaptchuk TJ . Challenges inherent to T’ai Chi research: part I — T’ai Chi as a complex multicomponent intervention[J]. J Altern Complement Med, 2008,14(1):95-102
doi: 10.1089/acm.2007.7170A
[4] Bertisch SM, Wee CC, Phillips RS , McCarthy EP.Alternative mind-body therapies used by adults with medical conditions[J]. J Psychosom Res, 2009,66(6):511-519
doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2008.12.003
[5] Okoro CA, Zhao G, Li C, Balluz LS . Use of complementary and alternative medicine among USA adults with functional limitations: for treatment or general use? Complement Ther Med. 2011; 19(4):208-215.
doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2011.06.003
[6] Nedeljkovic M , Httenschwiler N, Ausfeld-Hafter B.Taiji practice in Switzerland: a short report[J]. J Chin Integr Med, 2012,10(5):477-480
doi: 10.3736/jcim20120501
[7] Li JY, Zhang YF, Smith GS, Xue CJ, Luo YN, Chen WH, Skinner CJ, Finkelstein J . Quality of reporting of randomized clinical trials in Tai Chi interventions — a systematic review[J]. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 2011,2011:383245
[8] Klein PJ, Adams WD . Comprehensive therapeutic benefits of Taiji: a critical review[J]. Am J Phys Med Rehabil, 2004,83(9):735-745
doi: 10.1097/01.PHM.0000137317.98890.74
[9] Jahnke R, Larkey L, Rogers C, Etnier J, Lin F . A comprehensive review of health benefits of Qigong and Tai Chi[J]. Am J Health Promot, 2010,24(6):e1-e25
[10] Blake H, Hawley H . Effects of Tai Chi exercise on physical and psychological health of older people[J]. Curr Aging Sci, 2012,5(1):19-27
doi: 10.2174/1874609811205010019
[11] Jimenez PJ, Melendez A, Albers U . Psychological effects of Tai Chi Chuan[J]. Arch Gerontol Geriatr, 2012,55(2):460-467
doi: 10.1016/j.archger.2012.02.003
[12] Wang C, Bannuru R, Ramel J, Kupelnick B, Scott T, Schmid CH . Tai Chi on psychological well-being: systematic review and meta-analysis[J]. BMC Complement Altern Med, 2010,10:23
doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-10-23
[13] Ng SM, Wang CW, Ho RT, Ziea TC, He J, Wong VC, Chan CL . Tai Chi exercise for patients with heart disease: a systematic review of controlled clinical trials[J]. Altern Ther Health Med, 2012,18(3):16-22
[14] Peng PW . Tai Chi and chronic pain[J]. Reg Anesth Pain Med, 2012,37(4):372-382
doi: 10.1097/AAP.0b013e31824f6629
[15] Nedeljkovic M, Ausfeld-Hafter B, Streitberger K, Seiler R, Wirtz PH . Taiji practice attenuates psychobiological stress reactivity — a randomized controlled trial in healthy subjects[J]. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 2012,37(8):1171-1180
doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2011.12.007
[16] Yang Y , DeCelle S, Reed M, Rosengren K, Schlagal R, Greene J.Subjective experiences of older adults practicing Taiji and Qigong[J]. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 2011,2011:650210
[17] Kutner NG, Barnhart H, Wolf SL , McNeely E, Xu T. Self-report benefits of Tai Chi practice by older adults. J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 1997; 52B(5):P242-P246.
[18] DiGiacomo M, Lam P, Roberts BL, Lau TC, Song R, Davidson PM . Exploring the reasons for adherence to T’ai Chi practice[J]. J Altern Complement Med, 2010,16(12):1245-1246
doi: 10.1089/acm.2010.0510
[19] Nedeljkovic M, Bürgler C, Wirtz PH, Seiler R, Streitberger KM, Ausfeld-Hafter B . Getting started with Taiji: investigating students expectations and teachers appraisals of Taiji beginners courses[J]. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 2012,2012:595710
[20] Fredrickson BL . What good are positive emotions? Rev Gen Psychol. 1998; 2(3):300-319.
doi: 10.1037/1089-2680.2.3.300
[21] Fredrickson BL . The role of positive emotions in positive psychology: The broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions[J]. Am Psychol, 2001,56(3):218-226
doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.56.3.218
[22] Fredrickson BL, Cohn MA, Coffey KA, Pek J, Finkel SM . Open hearts build lives: positive emotions, induced through loving-kindness meditation, build consequential personal resources[J]. J Pers Soc Psychol, 2008,95(5):1045-1062
doi: 10.1037/a0013262
[23] Nedeljkovic M, Wirtz PH, Ausfeld-Hafter B . Effects of Taiji practice on mindfulness and self-compassion in healthy participants — a randomized controlled trial[J]. Mindfulness, 2012,3(3):200-208
doi: 10.1007/s12671-012-0092-7
[24] Nedeljkovic M, Wepfer V, Ausfeld-Hafter B, Wirtz PH, Streitberger KM . Influence of general self-efficacy as a mediator in Taiji-induced reduction — results from a randomized controlled trial[J]. Eur J Integr Med, 2013,5(3):284-290
doi: 10.1016/j.eujim.2012.12.001
[25] Strack F, Martin LL, Stepper S . Inhibiting and facilitating conditions of the human smile: a nonobtrusive test of the facial feedback hypojournal[J]. J Pers Soc Psychol, 1988,54(5):768-777
doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.54.5.768
[26] Michalak J, Troje NF, Fischer F, Vollmar P, Heidenreich T, Schulte D . Embodiment of sadness and depression — gait patterns associated with dysphoric mood[J]. Psychosom Med, 2009,71(5):580-587
doi: 10.1097/PSY.0b013e3181a2515c
[27] Porges SW . The polyvagal theory: phylogenetic contributions to social behavior[J]. Physiol Behav, 2003,79(3):503-513
doi: 10.1016/S0031-9384(03)00156-2
[28] Chen K, Snyder M, Krichbaum K . Tai Chi and well-being of Taiwanese community-dwelling elders[J]. Clin Gerontol, 2002,24(3-4):137-156
doi: 10.1300/J018v24n03_12
[29] Yeh GY, Wood MJ, Lorell BH, Stevenson LW, Eisenberg DM, Wayne PM, Goldberger AL, Davis RB, Phillips RS . Effects of Tai Chi mind-body movement therapy on functional status and exercise capacity in patients with chronic heart failure: a randomized controlled trial[J]. Am J Med, 2004,117(8):541-548
doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2004.04.016
[30] Yeh GY, Roberts DH, Wayne PM, Davis RB, Quilty MT, Phillips RS . Tai Chi exercise for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a pilot study[J]. Respir Care, 2010,55(11):1475-1482
[31] Yeh GY , McCarthy EP, Wayne PM, Stevenson LW, Wood MJ, Forman D, Davis RB, Phillips RS.Tai Chi exercise in patients with chronic heart failure: a randomized clinical trial[J]. Arch Intern Med, 2011,171(8):750-757
[32] Wolf SL, Barnhart HX, Kutner NG , McNeely E, Coogler C, Xu T.Reducing frailty and falls in older persons: an investigation of Tai Chi and computerized balance training. Atlanta FICSIT group. Frails and injuries: cooperative studies of intervention techniques[J]. J Am Geriatr Soc, 1996,44(5):489-497
doi: 10.1111/jgs.1996.44.issue-5
[33] Bogels SM, Lehtonen A, Restifo K . Mindful parenting in mental health care[J]. Mindfulness, 2010,1(2):107-120
doi: 10.1007/s12671-010-0014-5
[34] Wolf SL, Coogler C, Xu T . Exploring the basis for Tai Chi Chuan as a therapeutic exercise approach[J]. Arch Phys Med Rehabil, 1997,78(8):886-892
doi: 10.1016/S0003-9993(97)90206-9
[35] Mayring P. Einführung in die qualitative Sozialforschung. Weinheim: Beltz. 2002. German.
[36] Helson H . Adaptation-level theory. New York: Harper &Row. 1964.
[37] Brickman P, Coates D, Janoff-Bulman R . Lottery winners and accident victims: is happiness relative?[J] Pers Soc Psychol. 1978; 36(8):917-927.
doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.36.8.917
[38] Wayne PM, Kaptchuk TJ . Challenges inherent to T’ai Chi research: part II — defining the intervention and optimal study design[J]. J Altern Complement Med, 2008,14(1):191-197
doi: 10.1089/acm.2007.7170B
[39] Gick ML, Holyoak KJ . Analogical problem solving[J]. Cogn Psychol, 1980,12(3):306-355
doi: 10.1016/0010-0285(80)90013-4
[40] Gick ML, Holyoak KJ . Schema induction and analogical transfer[J]. Cogn Psychol, 1983,15(1):1-38
doi: 10.1016/0010-0285(83)90002-6
[41] Belmont JM, Butterfield EC, Ferretti RP. To secure transfer of training instruct self-management skills. In: Detterman DK, Sternberg RJ. How and how much can intelligence be increased. Norwood, NJ: Ablex. 1982.
No related articles found!
Full text



[1] Wei-xiong Liang. Problems-solving strategies in clinical treatment guideline for traditional Chinese medicine and integrative medicine. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2008, 6(1): 1-4
[2] Zhao-guo Li. Discussion on English translation of commonly used sentences in traditional Chinese medicine: part one. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2008, 6(1): 107-110
[3] Jun Hu, Jian-ping Liu. Non-invasive physical treatments for chronic/recurrent headache. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2008, 6(1): 31
[4] Xue-mei Liu, Qi-fu Huang, Yun-ling Zhang, Jin-li Lou, Hong-sheng Liu, Hong Zheng. Effects of Tribulus terrestris L. saponion on apoptosis of cortical neurons induced by hypoxia-reoxygenation in rats. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2008, 6(1): 45-50
[5] . Uniform requirements for manuscripts submitted to biomedical journals: Writing and editing for biomedical publication (Chinese version, part two). Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2010, 8(11): 1001-1005
[6] Daniel Weber, Janelle M Wheat, Geoffrey M Currie. Inflammation and cancer: Tumor initiation, progression and metastasis,and Chinese botanical medicines. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2010, 8(11): 1006-1013
[7] Hong Liu , Guo-liang Zhang, Li Shen , Zhen Zeng, Bao-luo Zhou, Cheng-hai Liu, Guang Nie . Application and evaluation of a pseudotyped virus assay for screening herbs for anti-H5Nl avian influenza virus. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2010, 8(11): 1036-1040
[8] Zhao-guo Li . A discussion of English translation of 1995 and 1997 Chinese National Standards of Traditional Chinese Medical Terminologies for Clinical Diagnosis and Treatment. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2010, 8(11): 1090-1096
[9] Rui Jin, Bing Zhang. A complexity analysis of Chinese herbal property theory: the multiple formations of herbal property (Part 1). Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2012, 10(11): 1198-1205
[10] Hui-min Liu, Xian-bo Wang, Yu-juan Chang, Li-li Gu. Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials of integrative medicine therapy for treatment of chronic severe hepatitis. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2012, 10(11): 1211-1228