Psycho-physical and neurophysiological effects of qigong on depressed elders with chronic illness

a Neuropsychiatric Rehabilitation Laboratory, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences , The Hong Kong Polytechnic University , Hung Hom , Kowloon , Hong Kong.
Aging and Mental Health (Impact Factor: 1.75). 10/2012; 17(3). DOI: 10.1080/13607863.2012.732035
Source: PubMed


This randomized controlled trial examined the psychological, physical, and neurophysiological effects of a qigong exercise program on depressed elders with chronic medical illness. The experimental group (n = 21, 80 ± 7 years) was given a 12-week qigong exercise program, while the comparison group (n = 17, 81 ± 8 years) participated in a newspaper reading program with the same duration and frequency. Measurement of depression symptoms, psychosocial functioning, muscle strengths, salivary cortisol, and serum serotonin was conducted. At 12 weeks, the qigong group had significant reduction in depressive symptoms (F = 11.68; p < 0.025). Improvement in self-efficacy (F = 4.30; p < 0.050), self-concept of physical well-being (F = 6.82; p < 0.025), and right-hand grip strength (F = 5.25; p = 0.034) was also found when compared with the comparison group. A change in salivary cortisol level was found marginally insignificant between groups (F = 3.16; p = 0.087). However, a decreasing trend of cortisol level was observed. The results provided preliminary evidence for the hypotheses that the antidepressive effect of qigong exercise could be explained by improvement in psychosocial functioning and possibly down-regulation of hyperactivity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis.

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    • "Second, even effects are well documented. The biological or psychosocial mechanisms underlying the effects are largely unknown [3] [4]. My neuropsychiatric rehabilitation research team at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University has been active doing research in providing scientific evidence to Chinese mindbody exercises for the past decade. "

    Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 03/2014; 2014:706892. DOI:10.1155/2014/706892 · 1.88 Impact Factor
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    • "However, a decreasing trend of depression levels was still observed among experimental group participants from mid-assessment to postassessment, whereas an increasing trend was observed in the comparison group participants. This aligns well with our previous findings that qigong could relieve depressive symptoms [23, 24]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Eight-Section Brocades and Yijin Jing consist of some routine movements that are too difficult for frail elders. A novel health qigong protocol was developed and its effectiveness for frail elders was examined using a randomized clinical trial (RCT). An expert panel performed functional anatomy analysis and safety field test prior to the RCT. The experimental group (n = 61, 83 ± 6 yr) was given a 12-week qigong exercise program, while the comparison group (n = 55, 84 ± 6 yr) participated in a newspaper reading program with the same duration and frequency. Pre-, mid-, post-, and follow-up assessments were conducted. At 12 weeks, the qigong group had significant improvements in thinking operations (F = 4.05, P = .02) and significant reduction of resting heart rate (F = 3.14, P = .045) as compared to the newspaper reading group. A trend of improvements in grip strength and a decreasing trend of depression levels were observed among the qigong group. Significant perceived improvements in physical health (F = 13.01, P = .001), activities of daily living (F = 5.32, P = .03), and overall health status (F = 15.26, P = .0001) were found. There are improvements in some aspects of psychosocial, cognitive, physical, and physiological domains. Clinical applications and possibilities for further research are discussed.
    Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 09/2013; 2013:827392. DOI:10.1155/2013/827392 · 1.88 Impact Factor
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    • "Our prior study demonstrated that Qigong exercise was effective in reducing the severity of fatigue symptoms, improving health-related quality of life [22], and increasing telomerase activity for the patients with CFS-like illness [23]. RCTs of Qigong exercise also suggested a beneficial effect of Qigong for older people with depressive symptoms secondary to chronic illnesses [24] [25]. However, a recent systematic review and meta-analysis of the effect of Qigong exercise on depressive and anxiety symptoms suggested that scientific evidence in the field was still limited, and that further rigorously designed RCTs were warranted [26]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background. Anxiety/depressive symptoms are common in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome- (CFS-) like illness. Qigong as a modality of complementary and alternative therapy has been increasingly applied by patients with chronic illnesses, but little is known about the effect of Qigong on anxiety/depressive symptoms of the patients with CFS-like illness. Purpose. To investigate the effects of Qigong on fatigue, anxiety, and depressive symptoms in patients with CFS-illness. Methods. One hundred and thirty-seven participants who met the diagnostic criteria for CFS-like illness were randomly assigned to either an intervention group or a waitlist control group. Participants in the intervention group received 10 sessions of Qigong training twice a week for 5 consecutive weeks, followed by home-based practice for 12 weeks. Fatigue, anxiety, and depressive symptoms were assessed at baseline and postintervention. Results. Total fatigue score [F(1,135) = 13.888, P < 0.001], physical fatigue score [F(1,135) = 20.852, P < 0.001] and depression score [F(1,135) = 9.918, P = 0.002] were significantly improved and mental fatigue score [F(1,135) = 3.902, P = 0.050] was marginally significantly improved in the Qigong group compared to controls. The anxiety score was not significantly improved in the Qigong group. Conclusion. Qigong may not only reduce the fatigue symptoms, but also has antidepressive effect for patients with CFS-like illness. Trial registration HKCTR-1200.
    Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 07/2013; 2013(12):485341. DOI:10.1155/2013/485341 · 1.88 Impact Factor
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