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Far Eastern breathing exercises can help against depression

Far Eastern breathing exercises can help against depression


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Study: how Qi Gong affects depressed people

Qi Gong is firmly established in traditional Far Eastern medicine. It is a series of movement, concentration and breathing exercises that are intended to cultivate the body and mind. In a new study, psychologists now investigated whether Qi Gong is also suitable for treating depression and came to positive conclusions.

In a current study, the team of psychologists led by Professor Johannes Michalak from the University of Witten / Herdecke examined whether exercises from Far Eastern Qi Gong are suitable for treating depression. The team found that certain exercises make depressed people more likely to remember positive things. The research results were recently published in the journal "Psychopathology".

Widespread disease depression

According to the psychologists from Witten, around one in five residents in Germany will suffer from depression at some point in their lives. Recent research has shown that depression is also associated with a memory disorder. Where healthy people mostly remember positive experiences, depressed people focus primarily on the negative. In addition, her memories are often vague and vague. "Depressed people have difficulty remembering specific results from their lives, such as specific events that took place in one day and in one place," the researchers write in a press release on the study results.

Promote positive thinking with Far Eastern movements

Due to the large number of people affected, experts worldwide are desperately looking for new ways to combat depression. Qi Gong from traditional Chinese medicine could establish itself as a non-drug treatment approach or at least as a support. Study director Professor Michalak explains the approach: "Usually depressed people tend to show a slumped posture and they also feel physically depressed." Exercises from Qi Gong are intended to compensate for this tendency.

Body and mind influence each other

The researchers tested their treatment approach on forty patients who were treated for depression in a clinic. The psychologists put together certain upward movement sequences from Qi Gong, from which the participants should benefit. The team based the idea behind this on a series of basic research that showed that posture, movement and psychological processes influence each other.

Promising first results

As the psychologists report, the expected result actually happened. After a while, the participants remembered positive memory contents more and were able to access specific events from their lives. The team around Michalak is satisfied: "Of course, this was only a short experiment with which we were able to show that certain upright movements have a positive effect on depressed memory."

Approach still needs to be developed

"The study does not yet show that depressive patients can also be treated with such movements," says Michalak. Nevertheless, the findings are encouraging and should be researched even better in the future. Qi Gong is already offered in numerous clinics and also in private courses. It releases blockages, strengthens stress resistance and promotes stress relief. Whether it can actually treat depression is yet to be investigated. (vb)

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