Introduction: Qi-gong, a mind-body practice combining meditation, physical movement and controlled breathing, is reported to improve psychological well-being and physical function in older adults. However, the effects of Qi-gong on hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activity and reactivity to stress in older people are elusive. An uncontrolled, before-and-after study in a group of healthy older adults was conducted to investigate the possible benefits of 12-week Qi-gong training on self-rated distress symptoms and cortisol secretion under basal and stimulated conditions. Methods: Before (T0) and after (Tf) Qi-gong training, participants (n = 28), men and women, mean age 65 years;(smokers, obese subjects, persons with chronic diseases and oral pathologies, and subjects reporting major stressful events in their recent past were excluded) answered the PSS-10 questionnaire. Salivary samples were collected for cortisol detection at various times of the day during a challenging mental task. Results: Qi-gong training reduced basal cortisol output across the day, notably in the morning. In subjects who responded to the stressor at T0 (n = 16, baseline-to-peak increment > 1.5 nmol/l), cortisol response to cognitive challenge was markedly blunted after training, accompanied by a decreasing trend of PSS-10 score. Conclusion: Qi-gong practice in elderly people appears to improve control on HPA axis activity, reducing daytime cortisol levels and attenuating cortisol responses to mental stress. Ameliorating the profile of basal and stimulated HPA activity, may reflect better adaptation to stress, and may favor successful aging and positive health outcomes. Present findings encourage the implementation of programs aimed at further disseminating Qi-gong practice among the older population.

Qi-gong training reduces basal and stress-elicited cortisol secretion in healthy older adults

MINELLI, ANDREA
2015-01-01

Abstract

Introduction: Qi-gong, a mind-body practice combining meditation, physical movement and controlled breathing, is reported to improve psychological well-being and physical function in older adults. However, the effects of Qi-gong on hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activity and reactivity to stress in older people are elusive. An uncontrolled, before-and-after study in a group of healthy older adults was conducted to investigate the possible benefits of 12-week Qi-gong training on self-rated distress symptoms and cortisol secretion under basal and stimulated conditions. Methods: Before (T0) and after (Tf) Qi-gong training, participants (n = 28), men and women, mean age 65 years;(smokers, obese subjects, persons with chronic diseases and oral pathologies, and subjects reporting major stressful events in their recent past were excluded) answered the PSS-10 questionnaire. Salivary samples were collected for cortisol detection at various times of the day during a challenging mental task. Results: Qi-gong training reduced basal cortisol output across the day, notably in the morning. In subjects who responded to the stressor at T0 (n = 16, baseline-to-peak increment > 1.5 nmol/l), cortisol response to cognitive challenge was markedly blunted after training, accompanied by a decreasing trend of PSS-10 score. Conclusion: Qi-gong practice in elderly people appears to improve control on HPA axis activity, reducing daytime cortisol levels and attenuating cortisol responses to mental stress. Ameliorating the profile of basal and stimulated HPA activity, may reflect better adaptation to stress, and may favor successful aging and positive health outcomes. Present findings encourage the implementation of programs aimed at further disseminating Qi-gong practice among the older population.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11576/2628056
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