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Multiple Effects of Qigong on Depressed Elders with Chronic Illness
October 28, 2012 -
This randomized controlled trial, conducted by The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, examined the psychological, physical, and neuro-physiological effects of a Qigong exercise program on depressed elders with chronic medical illness. The experimental group (21 subjects aged 73 to 87) was given a 12-week Qigong exercise program, while the comparison group (17 subjects aged 73 to 89) 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. Improvement in self-efficacy, self-concept of physical well-being, and right-hand grip strength was also found when compared with the comparison group. A change in salivary cortisol level was found marginally insignificant between groups. However, a decreasing trend of cortisol level was observed. The results provided preliminary evidence for the hypotheses that the anti-depressive effect of Qigong exercise could be explained by improvement in psychosocial functioning and possibly down-regulation of hyperactivity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis.

This study is published in the October 2012 issue of Aging & Mental Health.




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