Qigong for the Prevention, Treatment, and Rehabilitation of COVID-19 Infection in Older Adults

Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2020 Aug;28(8):812-819. doi: 10.1016/j.jagp.2020.05.012. Epub 2020 May 15.


The elderly are at high risk of contracting respiratory infectious diseases, including COVID-19 infection. The recent pandemic has the potential to cause significant physical and mental damage in older adults. Similarly to other mind-body exercises in Traditional Chinese medicine, Qigong features regulation of breath rhythm and pattern, body movement and posture, and meditation. Given these traits, Qigong has the potential to play a role in the prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation of respiratory infections, such as COVID-19. Potential mechanisms of action include stress reduction, emotion regulation, strengthening of respiratory muscles, reduction of inflammation, and enhanced immune function. Three forms of Qigong; abdominal breathing, Ba Duan Jin and Liu Zi Jue, all of which are gentle, smooth, and simple for the elderly to practice, are recommended in this context.

Keywords: COVID-19; Qigong; older adults; respiratory infections.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections* / prevention & control
  • Coronavirus Infections* / rehabilitation
  • Coronavirus Infections* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Mind-Body Therapies / methods*
  • Pandemics* / prevention & control
  • Pneumonia, Viral* / prevention & control
  • Pneumonia, Viral* / rehabilitation
  • Pneumonia, Viral* / therapy
  • Qigong*
  • Respiratory Tract Infections* / prevention & control
  • Respiratory Tract Infections* / rehabilitation
  • Respiratory Tract Infections* / therapy
  • SARS-CoV-2