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Mental Health Benefits of an Online Tai Chi & Qigong Program during the COVID-19 Lockdown in Portugal

October 28, 2022 - Mandatory lockdown resulting from a pandemic may be effective against the physical impact of the virus; however, the resulting mental strains can lead to the development of several mental disturbances. Tai Chi and Qigong are considered traditional vegetative biofeedback therapies that allow the practitioner to control the functions and processes of the body through specific movements or stances, breathing techniques, and meditative exercises.

A Portuguese study aims to understand if these techniques can be applied as an online distance therapeutic option to reduce the psychological impact of home confinement and social distancing. Sixty-four participants were recruited and allocated to three groups. The experienced and novice Tai Chi and Qigong participants' groups received the intervention for 8 weeks while the control group did not receive any intervention.

The outcomes were psychological well-being and psychological distress levels and were assessed by the Mental Health Inventory and a written interview. The experienced Tai Chi and Qigong participants achieved significant improvements in psychological well-being and psychological distress. Novice Tai Chi and Qigong participants achieved a significant improvement in anxiety levels. Additionally, the control group showed a significant decrease in psychological well-being.

This study suggests that this distance online program of Tai Chi and Qigong is feasible and may benefit the mental health of participants during a lockdown.




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