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

Fan Feng, M.D., Ph.D.,1 Sylvie Tuchman, B.A.,2 John W. Denninger, M.D., Ph.D.,1 Gregory L. Fricchione, M.D.,1 and Albert Yeung, M.D., Sc.D.1,2,

The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry

(May 2020) 






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: Qigong, COVID-19, respiratory infections, older adults
About the authors:
1Benson Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA
2Depression Clinical and Research Program, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA
Albert Yeung: ude.dravrah.hgm@gnueya
Send correspondence and reprint requests to Albert Yeung, M.D., Sc.D. MGH Depression Clinical and Research Program, One Bowdoin Square, 6/F, Boston, MA 02114. ude.dravrah.hgm@gnueya

Qigong, Philosophical Reading, and the Cultivation of Attention: Chinese Contemplative Body Practices and Slow Philosophy

 by Steven Geisz

Sport, Ethics and Philosophy
(April 2020) 




Qigong practices are contemplative body practices and meditation techniques that emerge from Chinese philosophical, medical, and martial traditions. This paper argues that Qigong is a kind of embodied philosophical activity that is analogous to the ‘slow philosophy’ called for by Michelle Boulous Walker. Four features of Walker’s slow philosophy are highlighted: (i) careful slowness, (ii) repetition, (iii) openness to the transformation of one’s propositional attitudes and one’s virtues, and (iv) a blurring of boundaries between philosophy and non-philosophy. A particular Qigong practice is then examined as a case study: Hunyuan Qigong (Hùnyuán Qìgōng 混元氣功), a Qigong form taught by the Chen-style Taijiquan master Feng Zhiqiang 馮志強 (1928–2012) that involves the practitioner moving her body through multiple series of broadly circular movements. It is argued that Qigong practices are examples of philosophical activity analogous to slow philosophical reading, that slow philosophical reading and Qigong practice can be mutually illuminating and can help us better understand what doing philosophy is, and that Qigong can transform us both by changing our philosophically significant propositional attitudes and by providing means of cultivating virtues related to attention.

 About the author:
Steven Geisz (the University of Tampa, Florida, USA) is currently doing research focused on the ways that body techniques and contemplative practices such as yoga, qigong, the martial arts and meditation are embodiments of philosophical ideas and methods of engaging in philosophical activity. His research and teaching interests include classical Chinese philosophy, the philosophy of mind and language, and political philosophy (particularly questions about democracy).
Steve Geisz is a 500-hour registered yoga teacher (RYT 500). He completed his 200-hour yoga teacher training at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Stockbridge, MA, and his 300-hour advanced yoga teacher training at the Lotus Pond Center for Yoga and Health in Tampa. 

Geisz also teaches Qigong (i.e., Chinese yoga and meditation) and practices several forms of Taijiquan. He is a graduate of the multi-year Qigong teacher training program of Ken Cohen and a certified full instructor in the Universal Tao/Healing Tao Qigong system of Mantak Chia.


No panacea? Tai Chi enhances motoric but not executive functioning in a normal ageing population

by Roderik J.S. Gerritsen, Joelle Lafeber, Naomi van den Beukel & Guido P.H. Band


Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition
A Journal on Normal and Dysfunctional Development
(August 2020) 




Tai Chi Chuan (TCC) is a promising intervention against age-related decline. Though previous studies have shown benefits in motoric and cognitive domains, it is unclear how these effects are functionally related. Therefore, a randomized controlled trial was conducted in an ageing population (53–85). Two measures of motor functioning – motor speed and functional balance – and three cognitive control measures – shifting, updating and inhibition – were included. The TCC condition consisted of an online 10 week 20 lessons video program of increasing level and control condition of educational videos of similar length and frequency. All analyses were done with Bayesian statistics. Counter to expectation no differences were found in cognition between TCC and control pre-to-posttest. However, there was extreme evidence for TCC benefits on functional balance and moderate evidence for increased motoric speed. After weighing the evidence and limitations of the intervention we conclude that TCC does not enhance cognitive control.

Ageing is affecting societies worldwide. The average life expectancy at birth has increased by 6.2 years from 1990 to 2013 (Murray et al., 2015): in the following decades it is expected that the world population of people aged 65 and over will have more than doubled (He et al., 2016). One of the phenomena related to aging is individual functional decline, both in a physical and a cognitive sense, which has negative consequences both for the individual and society as a whole. Pathological aging conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease are a large individual and societal burden. But even normal age-related cognitive decline and loss of mobility have far reaching consequences, such as on quality of life, which has received increasing attention (Hoang et al., 2020). In the current study, it is tested whether older adults performing a series of 20 Tai Chi Chuan exercise sessions improve their control of motor and cognition function relative to a control condition.

Full text…

 Authors’ information:
Roderik J.S. Gerritsen is currently doing research in age-related cognitive decline and different types of cognitive enhancement. He is specifically interested in meditation or mindfulness interventions within a large study among elderly citizens in the city of Leiden. He studies different styles of meditation that may combat age-related cognitive decline and effects of these practices on attention and executive control processes, neurobiological mechanisms and implicated genetic markers. Other research interests include but are not restricted to: cognitive science of religion, creativity, consciousness, evolution, cultural differences and behavioural economics.
Guido P.H Band obtained his master degree (1992) and PhD (1997) in developmental psychology and psychophysiology at University of Amsterdam, where he focused on response inhibition. Since 1997 he has studied performance monitoring, cognitive control, dual-task performance, and more recently various forms of cognitive enhancement. As of 2009, he is an associate professor at Leiden University, The Netherlands.


Practising Bodily Attention, Cultivating Bodily Awareness – a Phenomenological Exploration of Tai Chi Practices

by Sara Kim Hjortborg and Susanne Ravn

Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health
(September 2019) 


Tai Chi (Taijiquan, T’ai Chi Ch’uan) is a martial arts form which aims at developing conscious awareness through the physical medium in specialised movement practices. In this article, we investigate how bodily attention is practised and might possibly affect the way the body is present to the bodily awareness of Tai Chi practitioners. The article draws on phenomenological clarifications of attention and awareness in an analysis of ethnographic fieldwork carried out during 10 months in two different Tai Chi practices, a) a modern sporting practice also known as Wushu Tai Chi, which is practised in China, and b) a traditional non-sporting practice in the Yang-style, Huang Sheng Shyan system, as it is practised in Denmark. The two types of Tai Chi practices differed in their execution of movements and practice aims. Nevertheless, both types are based on practices of bodily attention through the continuous and deliberate processes of engaging the moving body. Hence, despite the different ways of orchestrating bodily attention, bodily awareness was cultivated and opened up for a transition from a mediated body to an interconnected and unmediated awareness of the body as a whole. The present study has particularly expanded on perspectives of how athletes can assist and actively use bodily attention during skilled movement practices to improve and expand their movement expertise in their cultivation of bodily awareness.

Keywords: Bodily attention, bodily awareness, tai chi practice, taijiquan, phenomenology, ethnographic fieldwork, mind-body practices

Authors’ information:

Sara Kim Hjortborg has a Master’s degree in Sports and Health from the department of Sports Science & Clinical Biomechanics, the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Southern Denmark and is currently doing a PhD at the department of Cognitive Science at Macquarie University. Her research focuses on martial arts in relation to interdisciplinary research in phenomenology and qualitative research as well as philosophy and cognitive science.
Susanne Ravn is Associate professor and Head of the Research Unit Movement, Culture and Society at the Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics, University of Southern Denmark. Her doctoral work (2008) focuses on the phenomenological approaches to skilled movement in dance practice. She has published widely on the phenomenology of dance and on the integration of qualitative research methodologies into phenomenological analysis of different kinds of movement practices. Ravn has been the leading investigator on several funded research projects on topics such as improvisation; phenomenology and skilled performance in sport, respectively.


Jin Yong and the Kungfu Industrial Complex

by Paul B. Foster

Chinese Literature Today, 8:2, 68-76,


This article is a general introduction to the cultural impact of Jin Yong’s works beyond original serialization as they contribute to the construction of the “kungfu industrial complex”—a complicated, multi-dimensional cultural/business matrix related to the production and consumption of Jin Yong’s (and other martial arts writers’) works and legacy. Three selected overlapping areas of impact of Jin Yong’s novels introduced in this article include: kungfu cultural literacy; rhetorical kungfu; and kungfu star power. Kungfu cultural literacy presents a broad look at the cultural content of Jin Yong’s works. Examples highlight Jin Yong’s contributions in each of these areas. Rhetorical kungfu is demonstrated through analysis of Jin Yong’s humorously subversive language in The Deer and the Cauldron and The Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils. Analysis of kungfu star power sketches the role of Shaw Brothers Studios and their TVB actors training program with particular attention to the careers of “The Five Tigers of TVB.”

Author information:
Dr. Paul B. Foster received his Ph.D. in East Asian Languages and Literatures from the Ohio State University (1996). His specialty is the study of Lu Xun 鲁迅, the icon of Modern Chinese Literature. Dr. Foster is the author of Ah Q Archaeology: Lu Xun, Ah Q, Ah Q Progeny and the National Character Discourse in Twentieth Century China (Lexington Press, 2006), as well as a number of journal articles and conference papers. Dr. Foster’s current research is on the “kungfu industrial complex,” analyzing kungfu fiction, film and popular culture, with a special focus on the martial art fiction master, Jin Yong 金庸.

Promoting study abroad is a particular priority for Dr. Foster, who views this experience as a crucial part of students’ overall education. Dr. Foster designed, developed and co-directed the University System of Georgia Summer Study in China, and designed, developed, and alternately co-directs or coordinates GT School of Modern Languages’ intensive summer Chinese language program in Shanghai and Qingdao, the China LBAT.

Dr. Foster teaches the spectrum of Chinese language courses and enjoys introducing students to contemporary Chinese culture at the upper level through varied media, having created courses to teach language and culture through Pop Music & Culture, Kungfu/Martial Arts Fiction, Strategy & the Art of War, Kungfu & Wuxia Film, and Lu Xun & Modern Chinese Literature. 


Full Article: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/21514399.2019.1674616?needAccess=true