Sit, Breath, Smile
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February 12, 2014 -
Residents in Long-term care facilities often have
diverse combinations of cognitive and physical impairments: Alzheimer's disease,
dementia and/or symptoms of depression, as well as common chronic illnesses
and/or physical ailments such as rheumatoid arthritis,
osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, diabetes and/or high blood pressure
(hypertension). The practice of Seated Qigong can eliminate common exercise
Seated Qigong is a thorough, non-stressful and low impact form of exercise where
participants follow the direction of a trained Qigong teacher, and is commonly
and easily performed in group settings. This form of Qigong practice eliminates
balance, memory and fatigue issues, thus accommodating a wide range of special
needs, while stimulating the mind and body in a socially supportive environment.
The University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada conducted investigation to better
understand the effects of Seated Qigong in a diverse yet representative group of
individuals living in long-term care. Specifically, the research team aimed to
test the prospective hypotheses that: 1) a single Seated Qigong session would
lower blood pressure and improve quality of life immediately post-exercise in
older adults living in long-term care , and 2) the acute (immediately
post-session) blood pressure response would be attenuated with 10-weeks of once
weekly Seated Qigong sessions.
Sixteen participants were recruited from a residential, long-term care facility
in Windsor, Ontario, Canada.
Participants then completed one Seated Qigong session per week for 10-weeks. In
an effort to reduce the stress associated with learning new tasks and to help
participants relax while exercising, the Seated Qigong teacher consistently
encouraged them to "breathe and smile". This smiling aspect was further
emphasized by the Seated Qigong teacher telling amusing stories and singing
while leading the class through the Qigong sessions.
Blood pressure and quality-of-life were assessed pre- and post-session at
baseline and following 5- and 10-weeks of Qigong. Systolic blood pressure was
significantly reduced immediately post-session after 10-weeks of Qigong, yet
unchanged at baseline and after 5-weeks. Diastolic blood pressure and
quality-of-life remained unchanged.
A session of Seated Qigong elicits a hypotensive response with exposure,
supporting the notion that repeated sessions may provide advantageous health
benefits. Repeated practice of once weekly Seated Qigong appears to be a novel
intervention for acute systolic blood pressure reduction.
The study is published by the journal
Complementary therapies in clinical practice in February, 2014.