A review on neurobiological and psychological mechanisms underlying the anti-depressive effect of qigong exercise

Wing Hong Hector Tsang, Kelvin M.T. Fung

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


Elders with chronic medical conditions are vulnerable to depression. Mainstream interventions for treating their depression is however far from satisfactory which stimulates the interests of researchers to look for alternative therapies to alleviate geriatric depression. Qigong, a Chinese mindful exercise, is demonstrated to have anti-depressive effects. Results of our earlier studies shed light on the psychological mechanism underlying this effect. The neurobiological mechanism remains unclear. This article attempts to review extant evidence and suggests possible neurobiological pathways of the anti-depressive effect of qigong based on the neurotransmitter, neuroendocrine, and neurotropic perspectives. Further research to consolidate its scientific base is suggested.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)857-863
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Health Psychology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2008


  • Depression
  • Exercise
  • Geriatric
  • Neurobiology
  • Qigong

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology

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