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Can Tai Chi and Qigong Postures Shape Our Mood?

May 24, 2018 - In this National Mental Health Awareness Month, the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience published a study performed by Harvard Medical School and University of British Columbia on how the body posture in Tai Chi and Qigong may help mental states.

Dynamic and static body postures are a defining characteristic of mind-body practices such as Tai Chi and Qigong (TCQ). A growing body of evidence supports the hypothesis that TCQ may be beneficial for psychological health, including management and prevention of depression and anxiety. Although a variety of causal factors have been identified as potential mediators of such health benefits, physical posture, despite its visible prominence, has been largely overlooked.

Researchers from Harvard Medical School and University of British Columbia We hypothesize that body posture while standing and/or moving may be a key therapeutic element mediating the influence of TCQ on psychological health. In the present paper, they summarize existing experimental and observational evidence that suggests a bi-directional relationship between body posture and mental states.

Drawing from embodied cognitive science, they provide a theoretical framework for further investigation into this interrelationship. They discuss the challenges involved in such an investigation and propose suggestions for future studies. Despite theoretical and practical challenges, they propose that the role of posture in mind-body exercises such as TCQ should be considered in future research.

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