A Chinese Chan-based mind–body intervention improves psychological well-being and physical health of community-dwelling elderly: a pilot study
Ruby Yu,1 Jean Woo,1 Agnes S Chan,2–4 Sophia L Sze2,3
1Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, 2Department of Psychology, 3Chanwuyi Research Center for Neuropsychological Well-Being, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, New Territories, Hong Kong; 4Henan Songshan Research Institute for Chanwuyi, Henan, People's Republic of China
Background: The aim of this study was to explore the potential benefits of the Dejian mind–body intervention (DMBI) for psychological and physical health in older Chinese adults.
Methods: After confirmation of eligibility, the subjects were invited to receive DMBI once a week for 12 weeks. The intervention involved components of learning self-awareness and self-control, practicing mind–body exercises, and adopting a special vegetarian diet. Intervention-related changes were measured using the Perceived Stress Scale, Geriatric Depression Scale, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, Chinese Constipation Questionnaire, and self-report ratings of health. Indicators of metabolic syndrome and walking speed were also measured.
Results: Of the 44 subjects recruited, 42 (54.8% men) completed the study, giving an adherence rate of 95%. There was a significant reduction in perceived stress (P<0.05). A significant improvement was also found in systolic blood pressure among those who had abnormally high blood pressure at baseline (P<0.05). Physical fitness as reflected by walking speed was also significantly increased after the intervention (P<0.05). Sleep disturbances were reduced (P<0.01). Self-rated health was significantly enhanced, with the percentage rating very good health increasing from 14.3% at baseline to 42.8% after the intervention (P<0.001). No intervention effect was found for waist circumference, lipids and fasting blood glucose levels, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index global score, and constipation measures.
Conclusion: The DMBI was feasible and acceptable, and subjects showed some improvements in psychological and physical health. A larger controlled trial is needed to confirm these promising preliminary results.
Keywords: mind–body intervention, Chan practice, psychological stress, physical fitness, self-rated health, elderly
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