A preliminary evaluation on Chineses qigong treatment of anxiety

Author: Shan Huaihai//Yan Heqin 1//Sheng Henian//Hu Shengqi
Shanghai Mental Health Centre, Shanghai, China//Shanghai Qigong Research Institute, Shanghai, China
Conference/Journal: 2nd Int Conf on Qigong
Date published: 1989
Other: Pages: 165 , Word Count: 762

Qigong can realize a traditional psychotherapeutic techniques and psychophysical exercise as well as meditation, Zen, Yo Ga. Qigong can be used to treat some psychosomatic disease hypertension and some neurosis. Fang Song Gong is one of the Qigong and effective for anxiety like relaxation and this paper first reported the results of treating eight patients with anxiety by Fang Song Gong.


1. Subjects:
The subjects were 8 patients (3 males, 5 females, aged from 21 to 57) who met the criteria for anxiety in DSM-3. The major clinical manifestations of these patients were anxiety, panic, nervousness, restlessness, fear, headache, dizziness, sleeping disorder, sweaty and palpitations. The illness course varied from three months to six years.

2. Procedures:
All the patients were tested by the physiological instruments of multiple frequency for Electroencephalogram (EEG), galvanic skin response (GSB) and rate of respiration, heart beat, and oxygen consumption before and after the relaxation exercise.
The mental state of the patients were also evaluated by Hamilton Rating Scale (HAMA and HAMD).

3. The program of relaxation exercise:
The methods of exercise were adopted from the book of 'Inner meditation six combination Gong' which was written by the author. There were three basic programs: (1) exercise of adjustment energy (Qi): the patients adjust their movement of regularly through shaking of limb, meditation under controlling of thinking. (2) relaxation exercise: The body of patients were gradually relaxed under inducement of thinking. (3) meditation exercise: The patients should be paid attention to his point of 'DAN TIAN' and abdominal respiration in order to suppress their brain and improve their mental state.

4. Training schedule:
The training group id the form of collecting in help of Qigong doctor . One time diebus alternis, every time is fifteen minutes course of treatment is one month.


1. Rate of electroencephalogram was significant difference between, during and after training (p<O.0l). (See table II)
2. The results showed that GSR, rate of respiration, heart beat, oxygen consumption were decreased. (See table II)
3. The results of Hamilton Rating Scale showed significant differences between before and after Qigong exercise.
4. Analysis of therapeutic effect:
The five patients were cured and two cases were improved after training for one month, but one patient failed to respond to the Qigong exercise. The effective rate was about 87.5%.


Chinese traditional therapeutic theory of Fang Song Gong is similar to Jacobcon's relaxation exercise and desensitization under relaxation or systematic desensitization of western. It has been proved that the relaxation exercise has been effective for neurasthenia, anxiety and hypertension. It is inferred that there some significant effect of psychotherapy, but the fact that Fang song Gong treated anxiety as behaviotherapy has not reported in China.

Anxiety Neurosis is one of the neurosis in out patient department. It is 2.11 percent in Shanghai Mental Health Centre in 1984. Treatment of anxiety has two methods: psychotherapy and antianxiety drug at present. However, this research showed that 8 cases with anxiety by Qigong have 7 cases recovered and the effective rate was about 87.5%. This findings showed that Qigong has an therapeutic effect for anxiety, but the conclusion of this point should not be early done, because the sample of this study is too small. The one of sample had been failed to respond to the Qigong exercise and had some symptom of anxiety, fear, insomnia and headache after Qigong exercise.

The researcher think that this patient was not able to control the method of Qigong exercise because he was too eager to study and disability. This finding showed effective rate of Qigong exercise was associated with method of Qigong exercise.

The researcher of Qigong found 8 series of the psychophysiological changes during it's practice, which records of BEG showed a increase in alpha amplitude and decrease in oxygen consumption, blood pressure, heart rate respiration rate. This study also showed that records of the subjects were higher in alpha amplitude than before Qigong exercise. This result suggest that patients were in a relaxation state during meditation (Rou Jing). We found that the parameters of all measuring of GSR,rate, of respiration and heart beat, OCP were different with statistical significance between the two extremities of the study. We think that these changes of mental state during Qigong exercise have influence on physical activity. This relaxation between the changes and improvement of anxiety should be moire further studied.

In general, the findings of this research showed that Chinese Fang Song Gong might be recognized as one of behavior therapy and of considerable curative effect upon anxiety neurosis as meditation and biofeedback. It is suggested that Fang Song Gong should be applied for neurusthenis and some psychosomatic disorders in medical psychology and psychiatry.