Qigong is an ancient form of health maintenance, which is part of Traditional China Medicine. Numerous beneficial mental and physical effects have been classically ascribed to this traditional psychosomatic method. The purpose of this work has been to assess the effects of Taoist qigong practice on several hormonal parameters of the Hipotalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal axis and specific measures of psychological well-being in healthy subjects. Forty-three healthy volunteers participated in the study, of whom 22 were randomly allocated to the experimental group, and 21 were assigned to the control group. Experimental participants underwent a qigong training program for one month. Blood samples for the quantification of hormonal parameters, and several instruments to assess anxiety and depression symptoms as well as subjective sleep quality, were obtained before and after the program. Statistically significant differences were found between the experimental and control groups, with the experimental group showing lower blood levels of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). This study shows that Taoist qigong is a psychosomatic method able to exert a modulatory action on ACTH levels in healthy subjects. We consider the need to continue exploring the psychobiological modulation of this qigong method and its possible repercussion for human health care.
Keywords: Qigong; endocrine modulation; health; psychological well-being; psychosomatic.
© 2018 Scandinavian Psychological Associations and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.