The benefits of regularly practicing Tai Chi for Depression are wide ranging, including stress relief and lowering blood pressure. One of the most pronounced effects for many people, however, is depression relief. Clinical depression is a serious problem in America. According to the National Institute of Mental Health over 14.8 million Americans ages 18 and older suffer from Major Depressive Disorder in a given year. That’s almost 7 percent of the population. Additionally, Healthline.com wrote in 2012 that up to 40 percent of people diagnosed with clinical depression found anti-depressants ineffective in treating their disorder. For these individuals, more psychiatrists are recommending Qigong to help alleviate their symptoms.
The ancient art of Qigong has been used for centuries to calm the mind, increase longevity, and improve concentration. Recently in the United States, it has become more popular in the medical community for its wide range of benefits. A 2013 Wall Street Journal article by Laura Johannes sites studies by Albert Yeung, associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School in Cambridge, in which individuals who took at least 15 Qigong classes saw significant improvement in depression. The article goes on to say that while additional studies are ongoing, Dr Yeung has begun recommending Qigong to his patients with mild to moderate depression and in combination with medication for patients with severe depression. The scientific evidence is still growing, but testimonials to the healing effects of Qigong are everywhere. On his website, Flowingzen.com, Sifu Anthony Korahais credits his Qigong practice for bringing harmony to his life and making him “happier and healthier than I ever imagined possible, and utterly free from the grips of depression.”
Qigong has shown to improve the health and well-being of its practitioners for centuries, and is more accessible than other meditative practices. It’s been shown to be effective in easing depression and stress. By incorporating the art into your exercise routine you can begin to cultivate a happier, healthier, and less stressful lifestyle. For those suffering from depression it can be especially helpful.
Watch this video of Coach Russell leading you through a basic Tai Chi for Depression pattern called Four Count Breathing: