The Society for Social Work and Research

2014 Annual Conference

January 15-19, 2014 I Grand Hyatt San Antonio I San Antonio, TX

: The Efficacy of Qi-Gong Practice in Coping With Chronic Physical Pain and Mental Health --A Comparative Study Among Chinese Elders in Shanghai and New York City

Friday, January 17, 2014: 10:00 AM
HBG Convention Center, Room 001A River Level (San Antonio, TX)
* noted as presenting author
Yuhwa Eva Lu, PhD, Associate Professor, New York University, New York, NY
Shijian Li, PhD, Assistant Professor, State University of New York College at Old Westbury, Old Westbury, NY
Wenxiao Ji, Doctoral Student, East China University of Science and Technology, New York, NY
Background and Purpose: The traditional Eastern healing Practices, which comprise many mind-body integrative activities, such as Abdominal Breathing, Body Scanning, Accu-Massage, Mindfulness Meditation, Qi-Gong movements, etc. have been in many different forms, and practiced for thousands of years in China as well as many other Asian countries. Additional skepticism over the long term effects and side affect of Western medicine and therapeutic paradigm in treating chronic physical pain, many Chinese and Asian seniors resort to the traditional and culturally resonant paradigm of mind-body therapies for their own health. Psychosomatics is another know phenomena among many Asian seniors.

Anecdotal evidence suggests its effectiveness in improving mental health and chronic physical pain among its practitioners. However, there are little empirical evidence, in specific Qi-Gong practices, regarding their effectiveness in reducing the physical health and mental illness symptoms of depression and anxiety among the senior population. To determine the comparative efficacy of Ba-Duan-Jin (a traditional Chinese Qi-Gong practice) among Chinese and Chinese Americans, a quasi-experimental study was carried out independently in ShangHai and New York City (NYC) during the period from 2012 to 2013.

Methods:  A total of thirty-four participants in Shanghai and twenty-five participants in New York City with depression or anxiety symptoms were assigned into an 8-week integrative Qi-Gong intervention session. The study used a pre-post quasi-experimental design, with participants receiving integrative Qi-Gong practices (i.e. Mindfulness Breathing Ex., Body Scan, Accu-Massage, and Ba-Duan-Jin). Both survey data and personal interviews are conducted. Participatory observation and statistical data analyses were applied to understand the comparative efficacy of the “integrated Qi-Gong practice” intervention between Chinese and Chinese Americans.

Results: There were high attendance records in both sites. Participants demonstrated high enthusiasm in attending all sessions and expressed satisfaction with the experiences. Preliminary analyses of pre-and-post surveys showed that, after 8 weeks practice, participants from both Shanghai and NYC experienced statistically significant symptom reduction in chronic physical pain, depression and anxiety.

Conclusions and Implications: Alternative medicine has been a topic of debate for long time. This study provides up-to-date empirical evidence in supporting the efficacy of integrative Qi-Gong practices as a promising tool for social work direct services with Chinese elderly population. This study has made a contribution to the knowledge base of culturally congruent practice model that showed relevance and importance in general; practically it guides social work practitioners in working with Chinese seniors population effective