Baduanjin for mental health issues
March 1st, 2018
Filed under: Mental Health by Rachael

More and more young people now spend their spare time in the digital space. However, staying connected round the clock and a sedentary lifestyle lead to multiple health issues, such as distraction, narcissism, expectation of instant gratification, and even depression. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), an estimated 44.7 million adults suffer from various mental illnesses in the United States, and a quarter of them experience these psychological symptoms for their entire life.

Moreover, even those who do not have a diagnosis of an anxiety disorder are not immune to experiencing stress, tension and anxiety in their everyday lives. It is well established that physical inactivity in young adults are directly linked to mental distress. Therefore, physical activity may play an important role in the management of mild-to-moderate mental distress in them. Baduanjin, a traditional Chinese exercise that combines movements with breath and mind, may be an effective way to deal with it. It has been a tool for improving mental health for ages.

How does Baduanjin work?

Baduanjin is one of the most common forms of Chinese health Qigong exercises, characterized by its simple, slow, and relaxing movement. It comprises eight separate, delicate, and smooth exercise movements, in which each section brings certain function-enhancing benefits to different physical parts of body or particular organs. Importantly, the exercise was primarily a form of medical qigong, meant to improve health.

Various studies looking into Baduanjin’s impact on health-related parameters and disease-specific symptoms in people with physical or mental illness have concluded that it does have many benefits. Baduanjin training has proved to be an effective intervention program for physiological benefits, attenuating bone mineral density, slowing down the process of cognitive decline like memory, attention, executive function and strengthening physical function.

Effect on depression, anxiety

A recent meta-analysis evaluated the effects of Baduanjin on depression and anxiety in people with physical or mental illnesses. In the study, the researchers attempted to determine whether the total number of sessions in Baduanjin practice is associated with decreased anxiety and depression levels. The findings indicated the efficacy of Baduanjin exercise in reducing depression and anxiety symptoms in people with physical or mental illnesses. This research is of important public health significance since anxiety and depression are highly prevalent among the people, and Baduanjin is accessible to people of all ages and physical strength, easy to learn, and with little known side effects.

In another study, randomized controlled trial was designed to assess the effectiveness and safety of Baduanjin exercise on physical and mental health of college students. Nearly 200 college students from Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine were randomly allocated at an equal ratio into control or Baduanjin training. Participants in control group maintained their original activity habit, while those in Baduanjin exercise group received a 12-week Baduanjin exercise training with a frequency of 1 hour per day and 5 days per week on the basis of their original activity habit.

When the physical and psychological outcomes were evaluated after 13 weeks and 25 weeks, the findings revealed that regular Baduanjin exercise had an advantage for college students on improvement of lower limb proprioception, enhance of cardiorespiratory endurance, flexibility, explosive force of lower limb and attention, compared with usual exercises.

In conjunction with other approaches, Baduanjin has great potential to lead people towards greater mental well-being. The results from these studies indicated that Baduanjin exercise has a potential benefit on reducing depression, stress and anxiety, building self-control and a healthy mind, and improving physical function. The efficacy of this exercise has also been accessed and accepted as a treatment for sleep disturbance in chronic fatigue syndrome-like illness.

Dealing with anxiety disorder

Anxiety disorder is a common and serious mental health condition. However, it is also treatable with intervention. If you have a loved one struggling with an anxiety disorder, get in touch with the Anxiety Treatment Advisors of Colorado. Call our 24/7 helpline 866-891-2539 to know more about anxiety disorders treatment centers in Colorado. You can also chat online with our experts for information related to anxiety disorders treatment in Colorado.

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