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Qigong for Anti-Aging for Those Under Age 65 and Frail Older Adults

Qigong for Anti-Aging for those under age 65 and Frail Older Adults

This month we reviewed two articles - one on anti-aging benefits of qigong for people under age 65, and the second article on benefits for frail older adults.

Article 1

Review of “Innovative Mind-Body Intervention Day Easy Exercise Increases Peripheral Blood CD34 cells in adults,” by Ting-Yi Wu, Chia-Chi Kung and Ting-Yu Kao

This is a Taiwan study of the anti-aging effects of DEE [day easy exercise]. The focus of the study was the effect of taichi/qigong on peripheral Blood CD34 cells. They are a surface marker of hematopoietic stem cells, thought to have anti-aging properties.

The exercises included tai chi, qigong, stretching and meditation. 44 individuals were involved, doing 30 minutes of exercise twice a day for 3 months. The individuals were divided into 2 groups: under and over 30 [to a limit of 65 years of age].

The measured effect, in terms of CD34 count taken 4 times over the course of the experiment was “significant,” though it took the under-30 group longer to show the effect than the over-30 group.

Dr. Charles Garrettson

George Mason University


Innovative Mind-Body Intervention Day Easy Exercise Increases Peripheral Blood CD34 + Cells in AdultsTing-Yi Wu, Chia-Chi Kung, Ting-Yu Kao, Wei-Hsin Sun Cell Transplant. Jan-Dec 2020;29:963689720952352.doi: 10.1177/0963689720952352.PMID: 32841054   DOI: 10.1177/0963689720952352

Mind-body interventions (MBIs) have many health benefits, such as reducing stress, modulating blood pressure, and improving sleep and life quality.

The long-term practice of Tai chi, an MBI, also increases the number of CD34+ cells, which are surface markers of hematopoietic stem cells, so prolonged Tai chi practice may have antiaging effects. We developed the day easy exercise (DEE), an innovative MBI, that is easy to learn and requires only a small exercise area and a short practice time.

The aim of this study was to explore whether DEE, like Tai chi, has antiaging effects after short-term practice. Total 44 individuals (25 to 62 years old) with or without 3-month DEE practice were divided into young- and middle-aged groups (≤30 and >30 years old) and peripheral blood was collected at 0, 1, 2, and 3 months for analysis of CD34+ cells. The number of CD34+ cells in peripheral blood remained unchanged in control young- and middle-aged groups. After DEE, the number of CD34+ cells in peripheral blood was increased over time in both young- and middle-aged groups. For young-aged adults, the cell number was markedly increased by threefold at 3 months after DEE, and for middle-aged adults, the increase was significant from the first month. DEE practice indeed increased the number of CD34+ cells in peripheral blood and the increase was more significant for older people in a shorter time. This is the first study to provide evidence that the DEE may have antiaging effects and could be beneficial for older people.Keywords: CD34+ cells; aging; day easy exercise; mind–body intervention.

Article 2 -

Review of “A single-arm feasibility study of community-delivers Baduanjin [8 Pieces of Brocade] Training for frail, older adults,” by Xiao Liu, Jean Wei Ting and Benedict Wei Jun PangThis study examined the safety and feasibility of recruitment for a program to either maintain or reduce frailty in the elderly. It consisted of a 16-week qigong [8 Pieces of Brocade] program at a facility for the elderly in Singapore. 31 older adults were screened initially, but of those only 12 met the criteria for the study. The program involved three 90 minute sessions every week for 16 weeks. There were no adverse events directly caused by the study [one individual needed to be hospitalized, but not for any reason having to do with the study].  Frailty was tested a number of ways [hand grip strength, knee extension, six meter gait, etc.].

The results were that individuals either maintained or reduced their frailty, as measured by the study. Thus, evidence was provided re the feasibility of instituting such programs for the elderly.

Dr. Charles GarrettsonGeorge Mason University


A single-arm feasibility study of community-delivered Baduanjin (Qigong practice of the eight Brocades) training for frail older adults

Xiao Liu1, Jean Wei Ting Seah1, Benedict Wei Jun Pang1, Mary Ann Tsao2, Falong Gu3, Wai Chong Ng4, Junie Ying Ru Tay5, Tze Pin Ng16, Shiou Liang Wee17Pilot Feasibility Stud. 2020 Jul 21;6:105.doi: 10.1186/s40814-020-00649-3.eCollection 2020.PMID: 32699644 PMCID: PMC7372818  DOI: 10.1186/s40814-020-00649-3


Frailty is a common geriatric syndrome, characterized by reduced physiologic reserve and increased vulnerability to stressors, due to cumulative decline in multiple physiological systems. We studied the feasibility of a community-delivered Baduanjin (BDJ) training program among pre-frail/frail community-dwelling older people. We examined (1) safety (adverse events) and physical and psychological effects; and (2) feasibility of recruitment, retention, adherence; recruitment efforts, and any program challenges, so as to inform future studies.


Our study was a single arm pre-post study in a community setting. Sixteen-week group BDJ training (2×/week in the first 4 weeks and 3×/week thereafter) was co-designed and implemented by community-based providers in Singapore. Recruitment, attendance, and adverse events were recorded throughout the training.

A participants' survey was also administered after the training program. Effects of the intervention on physical and functional outcomes (hand grip strength, knee extension strength, Time Up and Go (TUG), Physiological Profile Assessment (PPA), 30-s Sit-to-Stand test, 6-m fast gait speed test), frailty outcomes (frailty score and status), and other outcomes (Maastricht Questionnaire (MQ), Fall Efficacy Scale (FES), Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA), Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS), and EQ-5D-5L) were examined before and after the program.


Of 31 older adults screened to be frail, 15 met inclusion criteria and 3 refused participation, resulting in 12 older adults (9 women) enrolled into the program. During the program, one participant was hospitalized (unrelated to BDJ training) and the other 11 (aged 77 ± 6 years; 2 frail, 9 prefrail at baseline) completed the program with average overall attendance of 89%. Most (89%) of the 44 training sessions had attendance > 80%.

The program received positive feedback with no training-related adverse events. Participants either reversed (n = 2) or maintained (n = 9) their frailty statuses. There post-training outcomes in hand grip strength, knee extension strength, TUG, MQ, FES, MoCA, GDS, and EQ-5D-5L index score appeared to be better. The reduction of frailty and PPA fall risk scores was of moderate-to-large effect size.

Conclusions: Community-delivered BDJ training program was safe and feasible for prefrail/frail older adults with the potential to improve physical and cognitive function, reduce fall risk, improve psychological well-being, and reverse frailty status.

Keywords: Baduanjin; Community; Exercise program; Pilot study; Prefrail/frail.