Shaolin Dan Tian Breathing Fosters Relaxed and Attentive mind
Nov 22, 2010
Shaolin is the name
of a Buddhist monastery in Henan province of China. Established over 1,000 years
ago, it has built its world-wide fame for its martial arts, which is called
Shaolin Kung Fu.
Five researchers from the Department of Psychology at the Chinese
University of Hong Kong performed a study to investigate whether the Shaolin Dan
Tian Breathing (DTB) technique, which consists of the Passive and Active
subtypes and can be considered as a relaxation exercise and Qigong, would induce
both relaxed and attentive states.
Twenty-two adults and 22 controls received training on the Shaolin
DTB (experimental group) and the progressive muscle relaxation respectively for
one month. Eyes-closed resting EEG data before and immediately after each type
of breathing were obtained individually at baseline and after one-month
EEG, the recording of electrical activity along the scalp produced
by the firing of neurons within the brain, was used as a measurement in the
study. At baseline, the EEG changes after the Shaolin DTB between both groups
were comparable. After one-month training, participants in the experimental, but
not the control, group showed enhanced temporal alpha asymmetry (an index of
relaxation and positive mood) after performing the Passive DTB for five minutes,
and enhanced intra- and inter-hemispheric theta coherence (an index of attention
and alertness) after performing the Active DTB.
The present findings suggested a positive effect of the Shaolin DTB
technique on enhancing human neural activity and connectivity, which may
possibly enhance mood state and cognitive functions.
This study will be published by Evidence-Based
Complement Alternative Medicine in 2011.