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Mind-Body Exercises (Yoga/Tai Chi) for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: A Quantitative Evidence of Experimental Studies

Erfei Zuo1, Yanjie Zhang2, Qian Yu2, Tianyou Guo2, Can Jiao2, Ye Yu3, Patrick Müller4, Xinli Chi2, Md Mahhub Hossain5, Albert S. Yeung6, Notger G. Müller4, Liye Zou2,*

1 School of Physical Education, Xiangnan University, Chenzhou, 423099, China
2 Exercise and Mental Health Laboratory, Research Institute for Mental Health, School of Psychology, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen, 518060, China
3 School of Physical Education, Changsha Normal University, Changsha, 410000, China
4 Research Group Neuroprotection, German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, Magdeburg, Germany
5 Department of Health Promotion and Community Health Sciences, School of Public Health, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, 77843, USA
6 Depression Clinical and Research Program, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, 02114, USA

* Corresponding Author: Liye Zou. Email:

International Journal of Mental Health Promotion 2020, 22(4), 221-231.


Background: Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common pediatric psychiatric disorder. Although mindful exercises (Yoga and Tai Chi) have been increasingly accepted as alternative medicine for ADHD, no meta-analytic review has been conducted on this topic. Objective: We systematically and critically evaluated the existing literature regarding the effects of the two most widely practiced mindful exercises on ADHD symptoms and social problems in children and adolescents with ADHD. Methods: Searching literature databases included PubMed, Web of Science, Scope, China National Knowledge Infrastructure and Wanfang. Only randomized controlled trials (RCT) and nonrandomized controlled studies (NRS) that investigated the beneficial effects of Yoga and/or Tai Chi for ADHD were included in this review. Two review authors independently performed literature search, data extraction, and study quality assessment. Based on the random-effect model, standardized mean difference (SMD) reflects magnitude of mindful exercises was calculated. Results: Seven eligible studies (5 RCTs and 2 NRS) were included for meta-analysis. As compared to control groups, mindful exercises showed significant positive effects on attention (SMD = 0.93, 95% CI 0.39 to 1.48, p < 0.001, I2 = 36%), hyperactivity/impulsivity (SMD = 0.93, 95% CI 0.53 to 1.34, p < 0.001, I2 = 60.17%), overall symptoms of ADHD (SMD = 0.84, 95% CI 0.3 to 1.38, p < 0.05, I2 = 54.61%), and social problems (SMD = 0.49, 95% CI −0.01 to 0.98, p < 0.05, I2 = 0%). Conclusions: Yoga and Tai Chi may have the potential to alleviate the symptoms and social problems among children and adolescents with ADHD. More robust studies with large sample sizes are needed to validate results of the present meta-analytical review.


Cite This Article

Zuo, E., Zhang, Y., Yu, Q., Guo, T., Jiao, C. et al. (2020). Mind-Body Exercises (Yoga/Tai Chi) for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: A Quantitative Evidence of Experimental Studies. International Journal of Mental Health Promotion, 22(4), 221–231.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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