Research on the mental health benefits of martial arts, including disciplines like Muay Thai, reveals some compelling insights. A systematic review and meta-analysis published in the "Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies" explored the impact of martial arts training on mental health outcomes. The study found that martial arts training had a significant, though small, positive effect on well-being and a medium effect on internalizing mental health, which includes conditions like anxiety and depression. The effects on reducing aggression, however, were minimal and not significant. This suggests that martial arts training can be an effective sports-based mental health intervention, particularly in improving overall well-being and addressing internalizing mental health symptoms.
Another study, detailed in BMC Psychology, focused on a martial arts-based intervention in a school setting. The program, which included elements like psycho-education, physical exercises, and martial arts techniques like patterns practice and sparring, aimed to enhance mental health outcomes such as resilience and self-efficacy. The intervention was grounded in social cognitive theory and used a traditional martial arts model, emphasizing the non-aggressive aspects of the discipline, such as psychological and philosophical development. This study underscores the potential of martial arts as a holistic approach to mental health, enhancing both physical fitness and psychological resilience.
These findings align well with the perspective that martial arts, including Muay Thai, can be highly beneficial for mental health, particularly for professionals seeking to balance the demands of their careers and personal lives. The discipline, focus, and physical engagement required in martial arts not only provide a robust physical workout but also contribute to mental well-being, resilience, and self-efficacy.