Qigong Acute Affective Responses

Qigong Acute Affective Responses In A Group of Regular Exercisers

Qigong Acute Affective Responses

In recent decades people have shown a growing interest in alternative and commentary medicine (Kelner and Wellman, 2000). Many individuals have been attracted to mind body therapies such as relaxation techniques, yoga, meditation, hypnosis, guided imagery, Taichi, Qigon e.t.c.

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In an American Survey 20% of the respondents had some experience of mind-body therapies (Wolsko, Eisenberc, Davis, Phillips, 2004). The reasons for use of mind body therapy were to treat medical conditions, general prevention and wellness promotion, and as lesiures use. In our own country, activities ranging from mindfulness meditation (Asbery, Wahlbery,Skold, Nygreen, 2006), relaxation and somatic awareness training (Blombery, 2004) to physical exercise (Fyss, 2008) are on the rise and pose great promise for living associated with balance, reduced stress, and well-being. Goldstein (2000) argues that the recent increased interest in alternative and complementary medicine is related to a greater interest in fitness. He proposed that this increased interest is connected to people viewing health as wellness (not only the absence of disease), health becoming more of our own responsibility, a greater belief in the mind body connection, skepticism toward the modern technological world, and people regard health as a search for the natural. Frisk (1985) argues in a similar view when describing the interest of new religious movements (New Age) in Sweden. Modern medicine may successfully treat more disease symptoms of then ever before in history, but it cannot give the individual answers related to the meaningfulness of disease, health, suffering, or life and death. Thus, mind body therapies may provide a means to grater meaningfulness, and health and healing, which may be pursed through different kinds of belief systems and activities, as well as personal and spiritual development.

A number of Qigong forms exist. Biyun Qigong and the forms discussed by the majority of studies mentioned may be classified as medical Qigong; hence their main focus is on prevention of disease and enhancement of health (Although spiritual characteristics may also exist). When Qigong is mentioned in the present thesis, it is mainly the medical form that is referred to Chinese philosophy and medicine. Qigong is integrated part of traditional Chinese medicine (T.C.M). In order to understand Qigong one also needs the traditional medicine and philosophy from which Qigong originated. A main difference between western and Eastern philosophy is grounded in basic ontological and epistemological assumptions (Ames, 1993). Western philosophical perspectives, influenced by Greek and Christian traditions as well as the scientific revolution, focus on strict distinctions between concepts, such as Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism and Hinduism, instead view the world in terms of dynamic process that are complementary, co-dependent, cyclical and non-linear, and a more holistic view of mind and body. The Yin and Yan symbol can illustrate this perspective. Composed of a dark and a white side of circle, the two sides are co-dependent on, and also part of each other. A very important aspect of the co-dependency view in the relation to T.C.M is that humans are like to microcosm and are influenced by everything in the cosmos. This is in stark contrast to the reductionist scientific medical view, in which humans are to some extent viewed as a machine with parts that can be fixed and exchange if necessary (O’connor, 2000). Yin Yan theory is essential to the understanding of T.C.M and Chinese philosophy. First mentioned in Tao Te Ching, 300BC, Yin and Yan were the name used in the ancient interpretation that all manifestation of the world could be grouped into two opposite. At the same time, these two opposites are dependent on each other and contain each other. This illustrates the view that all aspects of life are interrelated with everything else. Yin and Yang are visible in all aspects of Chinese life. Yin can be described ad shadow, passivity, female, the moon, while Yan is light, activity, male, the sun. in the context of TCM all the body’s organs are grouped into Yin and Yang. Too much Yin or Yang in the body is seen as an imbalance ad can lead to diseases (Keptchuk, 2000). In the context of Qigong, Yin and Yan can be illustrated as being in a state of simultaneous stillness and change (Cohen, 1997). An essential characteristic of Chinese philosophy and medicine that does not exist in the west is the concept of Qi. Qi can be described as “a type of energy or dynamic forces that sustains and nourishes life” (Dorcas and Yung, 2003, p. 198). It is also sometimes referred to as vital force or life force. Similar concepts of life energy exist around the world, for example as prana. In the Yoga tradition of India (Cohen, 1997). Qi may stem from different sources, coming form our parent’s food and drink, and by way of breath through the air. According to TCM, energy channels or meridians. There are twelve regular meridians that are not connected to the bodily organs and eight extraordinary meridians that are not connected to the organs. A stead flow of Qi through the meridians is vital to one’s health. It can be compared to a river in which there is a constant flow of water. Stagnation or a flow that is too wild in considered unhealthy (Kaptachuk, 2000).

According to TCM the flow of Qi may be regulated by way of different medical modalities. Acupuncture uses needles to treat special points on the meridians, acu-points. Specific acupoints have different functions and affect the flow of Qi and the health of the individual in specific ways. Depending on the imbalance of disease the individual is experiencing, needles are inserted at certain acupoints. Acupressure and Qigong also directly aim to affect the flow of Qi in the meridians, by way of massage and mental focusing to direct the flow of Qi (Tse, 1998).

Emotions play a significant role in relations to health and well-being in TCM. Health is related to a healthy balance of different emotions, and overly stong emotions may cause disturbance and even disease. All emotions-not only anger, for example, which people in the west may find counterproductive to health (e.g. cardiovascular disorder) but also joy-in extremes may affect our health. According to TCM, strong emotions like anger can cause disturbance in the liver, joy can be negative for the heart, and sadness can be negative for the lungs (Fan, 2000). Qigong belongs to a group to a group of exercise called mid-body therapies (see also mind body medicine, NCCA, 2007; mindful exercise, Chow, and Tsang, 2007 meditative movement, Larkey, Jahnke, Etnier and Gonzales, in Press; and meditation, Ospina et al., 2007), to which meditation, Yoga, Tai Chi, dancing etc, also belong these methods data back to prehistoric times and have religious connotation. Mid-body therapies have sprung out of repetitive, rhythmic charts and offerings to appease the gods (Joseph, 1998) and written records of them and their predecessors can be found in Hindu, Taoist, Buddhist, Christian and Moslem Scriptures (Everly and Lating, 2002). The goal of mind-body therapies can be therapeutic (health and well being) as well as spiritual (findings peace and tranquility and transcending normal consciousness, Ospina,, et al., 2007).

Qigong originated in China, but It is possible that it has been influenced by Indian Yoga (Cohen, 1997) as the two traditions share some characteristics. Its earliest record date back some 3000 years (Chen, 2007). Qi is translated as life force and gong as work (Cohen, 1997). Qigong can be seen as a generic term referring to methods…..” working with the life energy, learning how to control the flow and distribution of Qi to improve the health and harmony of mind and body”. (Cohen, 1997 p.4). The name Qigong was introduced in the 1950s and it was originally known as Dao-Yin (Cohen, 1997). It is suggested (Cohen, 1997) that the core of Qigong exercise originated from farmers observing the cycles of planting and harvesting, and of life and death (other Qigong origins come from mimicking the movements of animals, e.g the five animals frolics). To ensure the growth of seeds it is important to establish strong, healthy roots for the plant to find a good support for growth; also important is daily care through optimal watering and sunshine. Many Qigong forms therefore advocate first creating a strong foundation/roots to build upon. Plants need water to grow, but in optimal doses. Qigong exercise is therefore recommended in daily optimal does for a particular individual. Too little training may be insufficient to have any effects, and too much training may not much training may not create better health but might instead have negative effects for the individual (Ng. 1999). By further observing the effects of water resources (Cohen, 1997), people living at the time Qigong developed came to conclusion that a healthy, steady flow of clean water was important. Too much causes flooding, too little causes drought, and stagnant water can cause diseases. This may have influenced the view of Qi (Life force), which flows in the meridians of the body, by way of the body. Through the performance of Qigong, the flow of Qi can be optimized. Thus, one may illustrate a healthy human being with the example of a plant. A healthy plant is strong yet soft, swaying with the mind but not breaking. However, when the plant is sick it become stiff and rigid and easily breaks (Cohen, 1997).


Over the years the principles of Qigong exercise have been used in different forms and settings and for different aims, it can be divided into Active Qigong (Dong Gong), which focuses more on mental concentration, visualization, and breathing Active Qigong is the more popular form,, in both China and the west. More Qigong forms do, however, include both active and passive aspects, reflecting the importance of theYin and Yang philosophy, encompassing the contrasting aspects of life (Cohen, 1997). Today, Qigong is mostly known for its health promoting characteristics, but it was initially created for the cultivation of the mind and spirituality (Chen, 2007). Historically it has had many different focuses, such as promoting and development (Confucian Qigong) and spiritual development (Buddhist and Taosit Qigong) and preparing the body for combat and health wounds (marital arts Qigong), in addition to medical Qigong (Chen, 2007).

Qigong may also be grouped into internal and external Qigong (Chen, 2007). Internal Qigong refers to the activity described above, carried out by the exercise individual. External Qigong is a form of healing. According to TCM, the cultivation of Qi and the ability to move it to different parts of the body thanks to many years of Qigong practice may also create an ability to emit, Qi, break Qi blockages, and remove sick Qi from an other person’s body. Many Qigong clinic in China provide External Qigong.

Although, different Qigong forms may differ, must include adjusting the mind, body and breathing (Chen, 2008). Some forms may include actively performing specific movements (Dong Gong), standing like a pole (Zhuang Gong), and static forms of meditation (concentrative and mindfulness), relaxation, breathing, manipulation, guided imagery and incantation. Static forms are suppoed to train intentional power (Consciousness stability) while cultivating Qi flow and by way of the mind guide, the flow of Qi in the body. Sanding a like a pole refers to when an exercise is in a standing position, and spontaneous movement may occur. Thus, although different forms of Qigong exist generally the exerciser first tries to attain a state of mind that is quiet and calm. When this is accomplished, the exerciser’s not goal is the cultivation of an awareness of experiencing Qi and its movements through the body. Finally, different parths of cultivation can be followed such as gathering Qi in the body, cultivating Qi circulation, and other forms of guiding the flow of Qi using the mind (Zhang, Rose, 2001).


Biyun Qigong is one of the most widespread Qigong styles is Sweden, and was created and developed by Qigong master fan Xiulan (Fan, 2000). Biyun Qigong can be defined or described ad a medical Qigong style. Thereby, the focus is on the flow of blood and Qi in the body, strengthening the function of the lungs, digestion and other bodily functions. Biyun also focus on strengthening muscle and joints that easily get warm out and exhausted. Yet, as TCM and Qigong are holistic in perspective, typical spiritual elements are also included in Biyun Qigong, including the intention to raise consciousness (insight a greater understanding of consciousness) by way of mindfulness (accepting and not clinging to emotions) and living in harmony with oneself, other peoples, and nature. By way of Qigong exercise, in which typical medical and spiritual perspectives are equally important, intentions of spiritual growth (de) and naturalness (Wu Wei) may lead to Tao, a state of harmony, peace and freedom. Fan described Biyun Qigong as a focused mindful concentration on the physical body to systematically increase Qi in the body and to develop its ability to gather natural Qi from the universe”(translated from the Swedish) (Fan, 2000, p. 31).

The Biyun school of Qigong consist of a number of specific form of Qigong exercise these range from beginner forms (Jichu Gong) to more advanced ones (Dong gong, five elements Qigong and Wai Chi). The beginner forms focus on softening the joints and opening up for the life force (Qi) to flow in the body. The exerciser later focuses on gathering Qi from the environment an cleansing the body of bad Qi (Dong Gong) the more advanced forms on moving Qi through the body, getting more attuned to the flow of Qi and letting the body move spontaneously, and creating ones’ own individual form of Qigong (Fan, 2000). All forms stress the importance of concluding by gathering Qi by way of visualization as well as physically (by way of arm movements) and redirecting it into the Dantien (an energy center, a few centimetals below the navel). Characteristics of Biyun Qigong, include slow movements (physical activity), relaxation, concentration/mediation, imagery, natural breathing, and self-massage. These methods will be presented and discussed below, with a focus on the possible positive influence on affective states.


Qigong also include physical activity in the form of slow movement. Physical activity refers to the movement of the body produced by the skeletal muscles, resulting in energy expenditure, which varies form low to high, and a positive correlation with physical fitness. In addition to what is stated regarding physical activity, exercise also includes planned. Structural and repetitive bodily movements and the objective to maintain or improved physical fitness (Caspersne, Powel and Christenson, 1986). Qigong exercise can be defined as a low intensity physical activity and exercise (in addition to its mindful aspects). Although its influence on physical fitness may be limited compared to jogging.

It is sometimes stated that the human body is designed for physical activity. Although this statement is difficult to test in an experimental setting; three lines of evidence support it (Bouchard, Blair and Haskell, 2007). Firstly the human body can adapt to the metabolic demands of its environment. Secondly, a low level of physical activity is associated with increased frequency of diseases. Thirdly, without the ability to perform demanding physical work, early humans would not have been able to survive. Thus, we can conclude that being physically active lies inherent in us, and that the sedentary lifestyle of today have negative physical and mental effects (Bouchard et al., 2007). There is now a large body of evidence linking physical activity with the prevention of poor health, as well as the enhancement of health and well-being of the surgeon General’s report on physical activity and Health (USDHHS, 19965) cites numerous diseases and health related aspects of life that are affected by physical activity. Like lower mortality rates, decreased risk of cardio-respiratory disease, reduced risk of some forms of cancer, reduced risk of developing non-insulin dependent diabetics mellitus, maintenance of normal muscle strength, normal skeletal development during childhood, reduction of risk of falling among the elderly, lower rates of obesity and maintenance of health diet, relief from symptoms of depression and anxiety, reduced risk of developing depression, improved health related quality of life such as psychological well-being and improved physical functioning.

A growing body of evidence from reviews of the literature supports the importance of physical activity for psychological health (Biddle and Ekkekakis, 2005; Biddle and Mutrie, 2001; scully, Kremer, Meade, Graham and Dudgon 1998; Warburton, 2006). Physical activity is associated with reduced state and trait (acute and chronic) anxiety (landers and Arent, 2006, Petruzzello et al., 1991; Sclly et al., 1998; Taylor, 2000). Individuals suffering from clinical and non chemical anxiety may benefit from physical activity (Landers and Arent, 2006 Taylor, 2000). Further, physical activity also has positive effects on psychosocial stress. Bouts of physical activity can reduce stress and improve fitness is also associated with reduced stress reactivity and beter coping (Berger and Tobar, 2006; Lenders and Arent, 2006; Scully et al., 1998; Taylor, 2000).

Studies also show beneficial effect associated with physical activity on those suffering from depression (Paluska and Schwenk, 2000, Scully et al., 1998), and physical activity is also associated with a decreased risk of developing clinical depression (Mutrie, 2000). The effect of physical activity on depression is comparable to that of Psychotherapy (Mutrie and Faulkner; 2000; Paluska and Schwenk, 2000).

A physical active lifestyle is associated with increased self-esteeem (Biddle and Mutrie, 2000), improved cognitive functioning (landers and Arent, 2006), and improved health related quality of life, including physical functioning, physical symptoms and emotional, social and cognitive functioning (Berger and Tober, 2006; Rejeski, Brauley and Shmaker, 1996). Thus, a large body of evidence now supports the relationship between a physically active life and improved psychological health. Acute affective benefits a physically active life and improved psychological health. Acute affective benefits of single bouts of exercise also show premising results; this will be death with in later section.


Biyun Qigong sessions begins with a few minutes of relaxation. Although the term relaxation techniques often include a large number of relaxation-associated techniques like progressive relaxation, self-hypnosis, autogenic training, meditation, imagery and biofeedback assisted relaxation (Orne and White house, 2000; Popen, 1998), relaxation may be a sole intervention in itself, sometimes being used in preparation or in combination with other techniques (Lichstein, 2000) like in Qigong. Contrasting relaxation and meditation, relaxation is used primarily to reduced physiological arousal whereas meditation is more focused on directing one’s attention to the present moment (and not directly trying to change the level of arousal; Shapirc, Schwartz, and Santerre, 2005).

According to Biyun Qigong, relaxation training entails a systematic, mental screening of the inner and outer parts of the body, inducing relaxation. Qigong focuses on an optimal state in which we can gather Qi from the environment. Relaxation is therefore stressed before begining Qigong exercise and when one is experiencing strong emotions Qigong exercise is not recommended (Fan, 2000). Also, through relaxing, thoughts and emotions can be prevented from interfering with our concentration and we may even forget ourselves (Fan, 200). As no muscular activity is carried out (as it is in progressive relaxation, in which the muscles are first tensed and then relaxed) the form of relaxation in Biyun Qigong is associated with autogenic training, in which the practitioner by way of mental focus induce states of warmth and heaviness in different body parts (Sadigh, 2001). Words like warm and nice feeling, relaxation and pleasantness are used to induce relaxation in audio-recorded instructions in Jidiu gong and Dong gong in the Biyun School (Fan, 2001, 2004). The exerciser is instructed and worries (Fan, 2000). Relaxation has been found to reduced physiological arousal (Scheufelse, 2000) and emotional distress symptoms (Farne and Gnugnoli, 2000) and improved the capacity for control over imagery (Singer, 2006). Relaxation is also used in preparation for meditation to reduced arousal (Gidani, Everly, and Duske, 2001). Qigong exercise may benefit from relaxation training before actual Qigong, maing it easier to relax and direct their attention to the body and mental imagery.


The phase is Biyun Qigong (Jichu Gong) refers to the actual Qigong activity. Systematically softening the joints from feet to head, the practitioner also focuses on the corresponding body part. This entails holding the attention at the specific area of focus for example, when slowly rotating the ankle joint, focus is directed at the foot and the joint. Words like strengthening and promoting (Fan, 2001, 2004) as well as thinking positively of the body part performing the movement” (Fan, 200,p.41) are employed. The concentration/focusing techniques used concentrative methods on definition of meditation refers to “a family of self regulation practice that focus on training attention and awareness in order to bring mental processes under greater voluntary control and thereby foster general mental well being and development and/or specific capacities such as Clam, Charity, and consciousness (Walsh, Shapiro 2006, pp. 229) meditative disciplines are usually divided into concentrative and mindfulness forms of meditation (Carrington, 2008). In concentrative meditation, attention is focused on a specific object like the breath, a mantra, sounds, r different parts of the body like in Qigong exercise. If the mind wanders, thoughts came into one’s awareness or other stimuli interrupt, the exercisers is in structured to ignore these and return to focusing on the object of choice. Mindfulness meditation ontaisl opening one’s attention to all kinds of stimuli, inside and outside, witnessing all the contents of consciousness, accepting to the Biyun School) is primarily focused concentration meditation, but there are also examples of mindfulness meditation (Fan, 2000). The exercisers on specific body parts, in a relaxed and balanced manner. She may become unaffected to the things going on round her, and may even forget herself (Fan, 2000). In this state (the Qigong state)… a new state of awareness that is not contaminated, tinted or distorted of consciousness come into being, and the natural forces of energies of life (Qi) are able to freely flow. (Dorcas and Yung, 2003, p.200). This state of consciousness is what most meditative traditions attempts to attain (Dorcas and Yung, 2003). It is the balance point between Yin and Yang (Fan, 2000), where the division between subject (me) and object (not me) disappear, and one may feel at one with the entire universe (Dorcas and Yung, 2003). Concentrative meditative practice may “allow the participant to feel inner balance, calm and the ability to transcend the continuous flow of cognition and emotions” whereas mindfulness meditation “may encourage insights into the maladaptive cognitive, emotional and behavioural patterns” (Deikman, 1982). Meditation may improve well-being and stress management and provide for important insights into one’s life (Boquart, 1991), reduce state and trait anxiety and psychological distress (Sharpiro, Schwartz, and Bonner, 1998), offer some support for the alleviation of anxiety disorders (although the small number of studies limit conclusions, Krisanaprakornkit, Krisanaprakomkit, Piyavhatkul, and Laopaiboon, 2006) and help the fostering and cultivation of positive emotions (Fredrickson, Coh, Coffey Rek, and Finkel, 2008). The ability to concentrate during Qigong exercise is its single most important fixture. Support for the importance of concentrative ability has been found empirically (Jouper, Hussman and Johansson 2006).


Several, forms of Biyun Qigong include forms of imagery. Imagery can be provided from verbal suggestions in recorded instruction (it is common to use recorded instructions when performing Biyun Qigong). Verbal instructions (Fan 2001, 2004) includes thinking about a inner smile and imagining taking in positive emerging life energy from the environment an directing it into the head, through the body and down into the energy from the environment and directing it into the head, through the body and down into the energy centre of the body, (the Dantien) a few centimeters below the navel. Further suggestions include focusing on health, strength, feelings of warmth, harmony, positive emotions and positive aspects of one’s life. These suggestions are examples of guided imagery. The aim of guided imagery is to affect one’s physical, emotional or spiritual state by way of visualization (Burrows and Jacobs, 2002). Reviews of guided imagery show its beneficial effects of mood and wellbeing, and as a means of coping with stress (Astin, Shapiro, Eisenbery and Forys, 2003; Gruzelier 2002; Lnskin et al., 1998). Visualizing pleasurable, relaxing images has been used to conteract anxiety (Singer, 2002). Through repetition, individuals may also learn to distract themselves from negative images (by replacing them with more positive ones) of consciousness, which may lead to an increased sense of mastery of internal experiences (Singer, 2002). The use of guided imagery in Qigong exercise may contribute to acute beneficial affective changes.


Breath training is apart of many cognitive-behavioural somatic and mind body therapies (Wilhem, Gevirtz and Roth 2001). Whereas some mind body therapies advocate controlling the breath. (e.g. Yoga; Brown and Gerban 2005), as do some forms of Qigong (Cohen 1997), Fan Xiulan, founder of Biyun Qigong, recommends natural breathing. This means letting go of one’s breath and not trying to control it. it is also common for the exercisers to use different movements during the Qigong session, as respiration is influenced by the different movements (Fan, 2000). Respiration is essential for maintaining life and its regulation includes complex homeostatic interactions. It is central for emotion, health and consciousness, deregulation of respiration may therefore have severe health and consequences (Wilhelm, et al., 2001). Different patterns of respiration affect individual in specific ways. Shallow breathing may make people more anxious (Comarade et al., 2007), slowing down breathing frequency can reduce state anxiety (Han, Stegan, Valck, and Clement, 1996) and different emotions can be experienced through the induction of different breathing pattern (Philippot, Chapelle and Blairy; 2002). Physiologically, the slowing down of breathing frequency is associated with increased parasympathetic activity (Bernardi et al., 2002; Recordati; 2003). Patient are taught to use slow diaphragmatic breathing to manage and reduced understanding of their symptoms and thereby reduce their fears (Wilhelm et al., 2001). In addition, when one gains feeldings of mastery over one’s states, self efficiency many increase (Bandura, 19852), followed by a reduction in anxiety.


Oxytocin has been shown to be associated with the pleasurable responses found in breast feeding, sexual activities social interaction and massage (Uvnas-Moberg, Arn and Magnussion, 2005). It has been suggested a vital part of the calm and connection system; a related growth, a restorative processes system and a counterpart to the fight or flight stress response. Massage has been shown to reduce anxiety (Moyer,, Rounds and Hunnum, 2004) and self message has led to anxiety reduction in cigarette craving (hermendez Reif, Field, Hart. 1999). It has been suggested as an active mechanism providing the positive effects of mind body therapies (Uvnas Mobery, 2000). In Biyun Qigong, most forms ends with a number of minutes of self-massage (sometimes clapping) all over the body.




Qigong exercise has been shown to positively affect the psychological, neurondocrine and immune system (Ryn et al., 1995). Interventions as well as increase high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (Lee, and Kim, 2004 and to reduce work related stress (heart rate, moradrenalin urine excretion finger temperature and subjective experienced stress reactions) significantly more than controls (Skoghund and Jansson, 2007). In a psychological vein, cross-sectional studies show a significant negative relationship between Qigong (length of practice) and neurotism (Leung and Singhal, 2004) and perceived stress (Lee,Ryn and Chung 2000).

Qigong has also been used as an intervention (two or three months) for coping with and alleviating symptoms of disease. Multiple sclerosis patients showed significant improvements in depression and balances (Mill, Allen and Morgan 2000), and Fibromyalgia patients improved on measures patients improved on measures of pain, physical and psychological functioning, anxiety and depression. (Astin et al., 2003) and enhanced movement harmony (Mannerkorpi and Arndorw, 2004) muscular dystrophy patient maintained perceived general health when performing Qigong while the control group deteriorated (Wennberg, Gunarsson and Ahlstrom, 2004b). hypertension patients reduced their blood pressure (and morepinephrine, epinephrine, Cortisol and Perceived stress). Significantly more than a control group did (Lee, Lee, Kin and Moon, 2003). In a similar study, self esteem increased and blood pressure decreased (Lee, Lin and Lee 2004). Negative symptoms in cancer patients receiving chemotheraphy were reduced and improvements in pain, numbness, heartburn and dizziness as well as a greater will be live, were found (Lee, Chum and Yeh 2006). A mood, self-efficacy and personal well-being (Tsang, Fung, Chan, Lee and Chan, 2006). Thus the increasing support for the benefit of Qigong seems promising in many ways.

Acute physiological response to Qigong exercise have been predominately studies by a group of Korean researchers. In their studies they have used the Chun Do Sun Bop styles of Qigong; which in addition to the common characterstics of Qigong (e.g. relaxation and slow movements) also used sounds. The Chun Do Sun Bop Style is performed for 60 minutes and a majority of fairly young male participants have been studies. Training background ranges from beginners having learned the procedure on certain occasions before the experimental to regular exercises (up to a year). Studies show an increased secretion of growth hormone (Lee, Kang, Ryn and Moon, 2004; Ryn, Lee, Jeong, Lee, Kang, Lee et al., 2000) improved immune function (Lee, Kang and Ryn, 2005) and decreased breathing and heart rate during Qigong (Lee, Kim; Huh, Ryu, Lee and Chung, 2000). Promising acute results indeed; however, control groups were used only in the Lee, Kang and Ryn Study 2005).

Negative health effects of Qigong exercise are also reported Ng (1999) reports increased psychiatric symptoms in some individuals. Qigong deviation syndrome. This may be associated with an extra sensitivity to the effects of relaxation. Relaxation induced anxiety (Hiede and Bork 1984) which may cause an individual to display increasing anxiety. Detrimental effects may also stem from faulty training, such as overly long sessions. (Ng 1999). Fan Xiulan of the Biyun Schools states that when training recommendations have been followed, no detrimental effects have been seen. However there are some conditions under the Qigong training should be avoided. Epilepsy, serious psychiatric illness and when under the influence of drugs and strong emotions special training precautions are also cited for menstruating and pregnant women (Fan 2002_.

Researcher on Qigong exercise highlights promising heath related benefits in /many areas, such as the management and reduction of symptoms of diseases (Fibromyalgia, Hypertension, multiple sclerosis and cancer), improve psychological and physical well being and a positive acute effect on the psychological neuroendrocrine and immune systems. Such caution is warranted on scientific rigor grounds. (e.g. use of control groups in only some of the studies).


Psychological response to Qigong exercise can include several aspects. Human mental functioning is generally divided into cognition, conation (e.g. Motivation) and affect (Parkinson, Totterdell, Briner and Reynolds, 1996). The aim of the present thesis is focused on affective responses. Below, the affective domain will be discussed . affect and cognition are generally viewed as separate constructs (or as representing the opposite ends of a contimum; Pankseep 2003). On a fundamental level, “Cognition refers to representation of knowledge (truth and falsisty)” whereas “affective refers to representation of value (goodness and badness)” (Colre et al., 2001, p.29). cognitive and affective prossess are, however, seldom completely separate from each other, and are instead intervened in each other’s processes; both are essential to basic human functioning (Forgas, 2008).

Affective influences cognition in many ways. Affect may influence “how people remember, perceive, and interprete social situation and execute interpersonal behaviours”. (Forgas, 2008, p.999). when we consciously experience a mood, it influences not only how we interpret our situation, but also how we see our relation to that situation and our affective reactions to it (Perkinson et al., 1996). Affect may function as conscious information, helping our relational thinking make choices (Schwarz and Clore, 19853) it may be interconnected with ideas and memories and may authomatically prime cognitions-mood congruency (Parkinson et al., 1996) and it may influence cognition though different ways of information processing. When in a happy mood people tend to remember happy memories and vice versa (Eich and Macualey, 2006); happy people pereceive more happy bahaviours in themselves and others (Forgas, Bower, Krantz, 1984) and think happier thoughts (Parkinson et al.,1996)


The study of affective responses to physical activities and Qigong pose some basic problems as no consensus exists regarding what an emotion is, several construct co-exist side by side (Ruseel and Feldman, Barret, 199) and affect, mood and emotion are used interchangeably, which creates confusion (Ekkekakis and Petruzzello, 2000) see figure 1, for a simplified summary of affective states.


Human evolution

Later Emotion


Strong intensity

Influence behaviour

Clear object

Foreground of consciousness


Characteristics Constituents

Mild intensity Affect

Influence thinking Cognition

Free floating Action tendencies

Background of consciousness Physiological responses




Action tendencies

Physiological responses



The feeling aspect of mood and emotion


The difference between affect, mood and emotion (see figure 3) can be seen from evolutionary perspective, by which affect is considered the most basic, mood on an intermediate level and emotion as a later stage of human evolutionary development, including cognition components and therefore a more complex phenomenon. (Ekketakis and Petruzzello 1999). Affect refers to “the irreducible aspect that gives feelings their emotional noncognitive character” (Frida, 199, s. 388). Affect is regarded as all valenced (“good-bad’) responses including emotions and moods (Frijda 1994, Gross, 1999, Scherer, 1984. It colours our experiences and without it they would be a neutral gray (Batson, Shaw and Oleson 1992). The word feeling is synonymous with affect (Berkowitz, 2002) and refers to conscious experiences.

Moving on to emotion, most theorist agree that in addition to affect, which is probably the most essential component (Feldman Barret and Russel, 1999), emotion also includes appraisals/cognition, action tendencies and physiological responses (Frijda, 1994). Although some argue that made is made up of the same components as emotion is (Frijda, 1994); it is the conscious, subjective experience affect that is the focus in mood research (Watson, 2000). Some even consider mood to be an extended form of affect (or core affect, Russell and Feldman Barret, 1999).

Although they display some similar characteristics, emotion and mood differ on some important issues, making them related yet separate construct. An emotion is considered a short (a few seconds), highly intensive affective state. It also has clear object that sets it off (Frijda, 1994). “They are about something one is happy about something, angry at someone, afraid of some thing” (p. 381). In contrast, moods are of longer duration (from hours to days) and are milder than emotions. Emotions can be viewed as occupying the foreground of consciousness, where as moods occupy the background (Rosenberg 1998). A mother distinguishing characteristics is the absence of a clear object eliciting the mood. Moods are therefore more diffuse compared to emotions (Ekkekakis and Petruzzello, 2000). External stimuli may include moods that where as emotion indicate “reactions to specific affectively important events”. Mood is “a cue to one’s current global stte of action readiness and or evaluation of the life situation” (Morri 1999, p. 171).emotions influence action, while moods influences cognition (Davidson, 1994; Frijda 1994). Emotions and moods may influence each other. Moods may modulate the threshold for elicting an emotion (Frijda, 1994). Being in an irritated mood way, for example, lower one’s threshold for anger (emotion). Conversely, some emotional episodes may combine into a mood state (Parkinson et al., 1996).

The issue of defining affective states has created many different conceptualizations, the two main groups of which are the discrete/categorical view and the dimensional view. Proponents of the discrete/categorical view argue for the existence of a number of district categories of emoting. This is support by research that shows that people around the world display similar facial expressions related to a number of specific emotions, including fear, anger, sadness, enjoyment and disgust (Ekman, 1992).

Conversely, proponents of the dimensional view of emotion (affect) argue that affective states can be described as two or three dimensions. One such example, the circumflex model of affect (Russel 1980) is represented buy “two orthogonal and biopolar dimensions, valence (Pleasure displeasure) and activation (low high, see figure 2). Specific affective states are considered combinations of the two dimensions” (Rose and parfitt 2007, p. 282). A few different variations of this structure, the circumplex structure of affect has also been found across different cultures (Russell, Lewicka, and Niit, 1989).

Watson, and Tellegan (1985) emerged with a different variation of Russell’s circumplex structure. Instead of separate valence and activation constructs (Russell, 1980). Positive affect (high positive is pleasant activation in figure 1) and negative affect (high negative affect is unpleasant activation in figure 1) iner-twined (rotational variant: Feldman Barret and Russell 1999). Yik and Colleagues (Yik, Russell and Feldman Barret 1999) showed that the four different view of the affect circumplex (Larsen and Diener 1992; Russel 1980; Thayer 1996; Watson and Tellegan 1985) are actually the same structure viewed from different angels. These different views can be groups into un-rotted and rotated variation. Biological correlates exists for both perspective (Ekkekakis and Petruzzello 2002).

There has been a debate between those who advocate that position and negative affect are independent on each unipolar scales (Eg Watson and Tellegen, 1985) and those who argue that they are poles on a continuum-bipolar scales controversy around this issue, but one could conclude (Berkowitz 2000) that when looking at a narrow time span (the experience of moment-to- moment affe4ctive states) we sometimes have a mixture of affective states, but when we are having on very strong positive feeling it is unlikely that we will also report a very strong negative feeling. When reporting milder affective states, individuals may report a mix of both positive and negative feelings.

So which view best describes affective state4s, the discrete/categorical view of the dimensional view? They complement each other. The categorical view is preferred for studying specific emotions (which can be done in great detail), while the dimensional vein is preferred when the focus of study is feelings on a more basic level (e.g. pleasantness-unpleasantness), and less is known about the area of focus (Ekkekaksi and Petruzzello 2000; Larsen and Diener, 1992.



Affect regulation is defined as “any process directed at modifying or maintaining moods of emotions whose operations depends on monitoring of affective information” (Parkinson et al., 1996). Affect regulation includes coping, emotion regulation, mood regulation and psychological defences (Gross and Thompson, 20007).

Reasons for regulating affective states are many: adapting to challenges in life, health and realtioship and maintaining a global sences of subjective well-being (Larsen and Pricmic 2004). The inability to regulate affective states (Paricularly emotion) is related to a large number of psychiatric disorders and related mental health (Gross 1999).

Gross (1999) makers distinctions between where in the emotional process the regulating intentions is directed. Frens may be directed at the situation. We can choose situations that will provide use the desirable emotions-situations selection. We can also try to modify the situation, acting a way that causes us to receive desirable emotions, in the specific situation we may also modify what we attend to (distraction and concentration). As the emotional responses is building up in us. We may also cognitively change by the way of reappraisal. A situation that was earlier appraised as frightening may now be appraised differently. Finally, we may deal with emotions (response modulation) by way of drugs, exercise or relaxation (Gross 1999). How we attend to affective states may also different based on whether they are negative or positive (Larsen and Prizmic, 2004). Bahavioural often used to regulate negative affective states includes distraction, venting (expressing the negative affect). Suppression, cognitive reappraisal, self reward, exercise, relaxation, eating and other physical manipulations, socializing and withdrawal (spending time alone), while bahaviours to increased positive affect instead include gratitude, helping other and humor. Some researchers argue for the benefits of accepting the emotional content without doing anything with it (Fruzzetti, Shenk, Mosco and Lowny 2003), like in mindfulness meditation. Thayner and Colleagues (Thayer, Newman and McClain 1994) report that the most effective way of change a bad mood is a combination of relaxation, stress management and cognition and exercise technique. In this context, Qigon may also serve as a tool for regulating affect (reducing negative affect and enhancing positive effect).


What determines our affective states? Is it as simple as feeling good when we do something we like and feeling bad when we do something we do not like (Parkinson et al., 1996)? A great number of antecedent that influences our affective state are always present. Watson (2002) suggest that moods are influenced by affective traits. (Personality traits like neuroticism have been associated with negative affect: Larsen and Diener, 1992), situation/environmental factors (activities, food and drink, physical aspects of the environment, hassles), endogenous/socio-cultural rhythms (Circadian rhythms may influence during the day, menstrual cycles in women during the month, and seasonal changes) and individual characteristics. Further research shows that positive mood is usually low at the beginning and the end of the day (Peaking around midday). People generally report better mood during the weekend than on weeks day, and from April to September than from October to March (in the northern hemisphere). He conclude that positive modes are associated with active bahaviour (doing) and negative moods are more associated with thoughts (thinking) (Watson 2000) it is also important to consider what state the individual was in before he/she assessed his/her affective state.

A pleasant mood any not be exceptionally high but may rather be a consequence of feeling less bad (Parkinson et al., 1996). Determinates may not only influenced the individual from outside in a constant relationship uniform to all individuals. A different perspective entail the person environment fit, or the transaction perspective (Parkinson et al., 1996). A consequence of the transactional approach is not what kind of antecedents influences affective state but how we interpret them. In the context of Qigong exercise, there may be characterized in the refimen (e.g. slow movements and relaxation) that are known to influenced affective states positively, additionally (from a transactional perspective), it is important that the exercise experiences enjoyment (Motl, Berger and Leuschen 2000) for the benefits to occur. Thus, cause and effects and transactional approaches may work at different times or simultaneously (Parkinson et al., 1996) to influence affective state.


A number of self-report measures have been created to assess responses (affect, mood and emotion) associate with exercise. The assessment of affect, based on (or in concordance with) Russell’s (1980) view of affect (Pleasanesa dn activation) can be made with one item scales, like the affect Grid (Rusell, Wesis, and Mendelson, 1989), the self Assessement Manikim (SAM; Bradley and Young 1994), and the feeling scale (Hardy and Rejeski, 1989) together with the felt arousal scale of the Telic State Measures (Svebak and Murgatroyd, 1985). An example of a multi-items scale is the Activation Deactivation Adjective Check List (ADACL) which is based on Thayer’s view of affect consisting of tense and energetic arousal; Thayer 1989). Another multi item scale is the positive and negative affect scale, based on Watson, Colleague’s conceptualization (PASAN; Watson Clark and Tellegen, 1988). Affect measures have also been created in Swedish; Sjoberg, Svensson, Persson (1979), the Swedish Core Affect select (SCAS) Vastfjail, Friman, Garling and Kleiner, 2002) and Knez and Hygge (2001). Several of the above-mentioned affect scales are of ten also define as mood measures (AD ACL, PANAS AND SCAS), given that some researchers view mood as an extended from of affect (Russell, 1999) or as similar to affect (Watson, 2000)

The profile of mood states (Poms, McNair, Lorr and Dropleman, 1981) is the most widely used measured in sport and Exercise Psychology (Lellness and Burger, 1998). Another very common measure is the state and trait anxiety inventory (STAI: Spielberger, Gorsuch, Luncheve, Vagg and Jacobs, 1983). The Poms assesses six mood states and is considered as mood questionnaire (Gauvin and Spence, 1998). The STAI measures anxiety and is considered to assess emotion anxiety (Gaurin and Spence 1988).

A group of measures are based on the ideas that exercise induced affective changes are specific to that context-self-report measures have therefore been created to assess the specific affective changes taking place when excersing. These instruments includes the exercise-induced feeling inventory (EFL; Ganvin and Rejeski, 1993), the subjective exercise experience Siale (SEES; McCauley and Corneya, 1994) and the physical Activity Affect Scale (PAAS Lox, Jackson, Tuholski, Walley, and Treasure 2000).


As the area of affective sciences different views of affect, there is a need to decide how to view affective responses in the context of Qigong exercise. I have adopted the view presented by Ekkekakis and Petruzzello (2009), who advocate a functionalist view of affect in which all kinds of information processing (emotional and cognitive) are adaptational to the demands of the environment through pairing survival and well-being-enhancing bahaviour (Keltner and Gross 1999). The functinalist perspective view distinguishes between stemming from earlier and leter stages of human, evolution, cognition being a later development in consciousness than affect, (Panksepp 2003). Emotions which include cognitive (and other) components, therefore comprise a leter and more complex structure than affect (Izard, 1993; Leventhal and Schere, 1987). Leventhal and Schere’s model (1987) spans from sensory motor levels (automatic and reflx-like) to more complex level of information between automatic processes and feelings) and conceptual levels (Highly cognitive level with abstract rules about emotions). Ekkekakis and Petruzzello (2000) suggest that exercise affect the exerciser about vigorous exercise that “it hurst so good” may therefore be interpreted from different levels of processing (Ekkekakis 2003, p. 217); different levels of processing (Ekkekekis 2003, p. 217); on a more basic level, the signals of exhaustion and depletion of energy may signal negative effects, while on a more complex level, the fact that one is engaging in an exercise regimen may induce feelings of pride and satisfaction. Similarly, in a Qigong context, the slow movement may be experienced as pleasant and on a higher level is joy or happiness for some or as bring for others as the movements may make them feel restless and wish they were going something “more useful”.




Given that Qigong exercise constitute a number of different characteristics, including slow movement, relaxation, meditation, imagery natural breathing and self-message, a number of different theories on active mechanisms may work simultaneously and interactional to affect the exercise’s affective state. Below are some suggestions and theories that intend to explain the Qigong exercise effect relationship. Chen (2008) speculates on how Qigong may enhance health and healing from a TCM perspective 1. First, vital Qi may flow more strongly through the merdians after Qigong practice and enhance health 2. The cultivation of consciousness and intention (Y1) may release suppressed emotions and resolve mental disturbances. Fan (2002) states that emotional disturbances may be cleared by Qigong exercise. Further, it may release the individual from the socialized self (determine of stress) allow him/her to return to a to return to a more natural original self. 3) finally, Qigong exercise may uncover the body’s self-healing capabilities by strengthening the immune system.

From a Western scientific point of view, Qigong exercise may affect the exerciser in a number of different ways, including the nervous system, by way of the relaxation response, place be/positive expectations, cultiration of positive emotions, altered states of consciousness, & other suggestion & theories related to physical activity & exercise science. The anatomic nervous system consists of two parts, the sympathetic (mobilizes & utilizes energy) & the parasympathetic (promotes restorative processes), which enable the body to adapt to different environmental situations &secure the individual’s survival-certain behavioral conditions are more prevalent in one or the other of the two systems (Recordati 2003). Sympathetic behaviour include the transition from sleep to wakefulness, muscle exercise and mental arousal. Among conditions such as sleep, hibernation and post-exercise, the voluntary control of breathing, grooming and repetition of a stimulus seem especially relevant as they are important aspects of Qigong exercise. Grooming refers to activities with the primary biological functions of caring for the body surface and may in this case be related to self-message and clapping of the body, as well as the focus on the inner body which are performed during Qigong. Also, the repetition of a stimulus is evident in Qigong activities in the repetitive, slow movements. Finally, slow, deep breathing increases parasympathetic activities (Bernardi, 2002, also a vital part of Qigong exercise. It is suggested that sympathetic activity, focuses on work related to the external environment, while parasympathetic activity instead focuses on work related to the internal environment self-protection and recovery (Recordati, 2003).

Research on meditation at beginning of the 70s led to the suggestion that mind body therapies share specific characteristic that may elicit the relaxation responses (Benson, 1983; Esch, Fricchione, and Stefaw, 2003). These characteristics include a mental device (a sound, a word, or some other object for mental focus), a passive attitude (not worrying about, how well one is performing, or if discharging thoughts occur, redirecting one’s attentions to the repetition of the mental device), decreased muscle tonus (a comfortable posture or sitting position) and a quiet environment (Benson, Greenwood and Klemchuk, 19975). The relaxation responses is associated with decresed sympathetic nervous system activity, reduced oxygen consumption, reduction in heart and respiratory rates, decreased blood lactate concentration increased alpha wave activity and stabilization of muscle blood flow (Benson 1983; Benson et al., 1975; Levander Besnon, Wheeler and Wallace, 1972).

Mind-body therapies (Jin, 1992) and physical activity (O’Halloran, Murphy and Webster, 2002, 2005) have been associated with the placebo effect or positive expectations. A number of theories attempts to explain how placebo may affect psychological and physiological health; expectancy theory, classical condition and emotional change theory (Camtanzora and Mean 1999; Olson, Roese, and Zanna, 1996). In the context of the schematic processing approach, land (1987) suggest that by taking a placebo or engaging in something one believes will lead to a positive outcome, a cognition schema of expected effects is activated. When activated, individuals re more likely to recall and notice information or experience that are consistent with the schema, interpret ambiguous information consistent with the schema and overlook mildly inconsistent information or dismiss it an invalid. Given that the placebo effect is enhanced when one has an inner bodily focus (Geers, Helfer Weiland and Kosbah, 2006) it is likely that positive expectation and affective Qigong outcomes will be associated (or perhaps also have an influenced as the qigong exercisers focuses on the inner body.

Qigong exercise and similar relaxation technique many enable the cultivation of positive emotions (Fredrickson, 2000). While negative emotion may narrow the though action repertoire (e.g. feer is linked with the red to the escape), positive emotions may work and ruction in a different way. In her Broaden-and Build model of positive emotions (1988), Fredickson suggest that positive emotions may Broaden an individuals thoughts action repertoires so that it is incompatible with that of negative emotions. This can loosen the hold that negative emotion such as depression anxiety may have over the individuals and psychological and physiological responses (the undoing hypothesis). Specifically, Qigong exercise may cultivate positive emotions like contentment (an appreciation for the present moment and also integrating those experiences to better appreciate one’s place in the world). Relaxation techniques are often multicomponental (Qigong consist of relaxation visualization, relaxed breathing etc). They may focus on one’s components that is included in the emotion. The relaxation of muscles in relaxation training may be associated with the physiological relaxed state of the body that is associated with experiencing positive emotions. Including one components of the emotion may jump-start other components of the same emotion (e.g. cognitions and facial expressions.).

Qigong exercise may be also induced an Altered State of Consciousness (ASC; Vaitl, Birbaumer, Gruzelier, Jamieson, Kotchouation etc. these states are associated with changes in action, awareness span, self awareness (e.g absorption in the activity and forgetting the self), the experience of sensations, body image, suggestibility, time experiences, emotion. Self control and sence of personal identity. (Nakamira and Csikszentmihalyi 2002). The flow state may be induced when the individual’s ability matches the demands of the activity and when goasl and feedback are clearly visible. The flow state is characterized by great focus on the present moment, a merging of action and awareness, a loss of reflective self-consciousness, a sense of control and of time distortion, and is rewarding in itself (Intrinsic). A related concept is absorption, in which an individual forgets everything else except the focus at attention. Where as absorption is characterized by passivity, concentration or attention is more active, although they are related (Davidson and Schwartz 1976). The ability to concentrate has been associated with perceived health in the context of Qigong (Jouper, Hassmen and Johansson, 2006) and is very important in Qigong practice (Fan 2000). In his cognitive behavioural model or relaxation, Smith (1990) stresses the important of focusing, passivity and receptivity for inducing a relaxed state, suggesting an optimal level between activity and passivity for relaxation. A suggestion was recently presented for biological correlates of ASC, experiences. The transient Hypofrontality Hypothesis(Dietrich, 2003). This theory states that by narrowing attention, (though focusing on the body, breathing or a mantra), higher cortical functions (the prefrontal cortex) responsible for analyzing, differentiating and logical reasoning may be done regulated, leading to a state of unity, timelessness, absence of reflection and reduced depression and anxiety. Thus, because of the characteristics of Qigong an altered state of consciousness can be induced, which can be experienced as a pleasant affective state.

Leming the more general suggestions for the Qigong affect relationship. I mow turn to those that are specific to physical activity and the area of exercise science. Although it is only one component of Qigong, the role of low intensity physical activity is important. By engaging is an anxiety the exerciser can feel good about him/herself for being able to adhere to the regime, master difficult movements or reduce arousal (mastery/self efficacy and Bandura, 192) thus lend to a sence of accomplishment affecting physical self-efficacy and self-concept which may lead to increase global-esteem (Sonstrome and Morgan 1989). The time-out hyptothesis (Bahrke and Morgan, 1978) suggests that anxiety may be reduced due to learning behind of or taking a time out from worries. The activity in itself does not lead to a better effective state, but instead simply distracts the exerciser from the stressors of daily life. the secretion of endorphins (Hoffman 1997) and neurotransmitters (Serotonin, dopamine, ephinephine, etc) as the biological correlate of value for well-being (Chaouloff, 1997; Dishman 1993) has been suggested as the reasons for the emotional benefits associated with physical exercise may also be influenced by increased body temperature (Thermogenic hypothesis; Petruzzello, Landers and Salazar, 1993) by being regularly influenced by the stress of physical activity (Phsiological Toughness Model: Dienstbeir, 1989) the fact being physically active inherent in our genetic makeup (Living a sedentary life therefore creates negative mental health; Anthropological Hypothesis, Martinsen, 2002) and by socially interacting with other people. All the suggestions mentioned may provide for affective responses in the context of Qigong (except perhaps the Thermogenic Hypothesis and the Physiological Toughness Model) and social interaction may not be solely responsible, as solitaire exercise had lead to improved affective states (Szabo, 2003).

The opponent process theory (Solomon and Corbit, 1973) has been associated with physical activity-associated that the brain is organized to oppose both pleasurable and aversive emotional states, by creating a countering reaction. As the body is greatly activated during exercise, upon extinction of the bout, the opponent process, theory, Bixby and collaborators suggest that the intensity level of the exercise influenced the affective change (Bixby, Spalding and Hatfield 2001). Affective changes of high intensities, the Rebound Model are characterized by an initial decline in perceived affect (aversive) and later an increased in affect reaching higher affective levels (than baseline) at post measurements. At low intensities, the affective change is characterized to as maintenance model it reaches a plateau, referred to as maintenance model, Both high and low intensities lead to post exercise between of affect, but affective changes during exercise take different pathways.

A recent important suggestion in the Dual-Mode Mode Model (Ekkkakis, 2004), which is based on the assumption that physical activity is an essential component of human evolution. Affective responses are evolved pshychological mechanism that are adaptational in that they promote health and well-being by way of pleasures (utility) and displeasure (danger). Affective responses are dependent on a hierarchically organized system with different controlled components and encompasses functions from primitive ones that show little inter-individual variability to more advanced ones that show greater variability. Further, the affective responses to physical activity are dependent on the interplay between two factors: cognitive processes (meaning of exercise, goals, self perceptions) and interoceptive cues (exercise-induced physiological changes). Low intensities are proposed to be characterized by a low influences or cognitive factors and most individuals experiencing pleasures during the bout. Medium intensities displays a strong influence of cognitive factors and great variability between individuals; some experiences more pleasantness, some more unpleasantness (during). Finally, high intensity levels intensity levels of exercise are instead theorized as displaying a strong influence of interoceptive factors and with most individuals experiences displeasure. The majority of individuals are proposed to experiences pleasantness post exercise.



Reviews of the literatures show that affective improvements accompany the termination of most forms of physical activity (Biddle, 2000; Ekkekaksi and Petruzzello, 1999, Red and Ones 2006, Yeung 1996). Focusing on how and moderate intensity exercise, a number of studies of walking display acute affective benefits. Five minutes of walking was associated with increased energy post exercise (Thayer, Peters, Takahi and Birkhead-Flight 1993) and perceived energy and tension reduction (Tharyer 1987). States anxiety was reduced after a 40-minues walk on a tread mill (Porcari et al., 1998). Ekkekakis and colleagues (Ekkekakis, Hall, VanLanduyt, Petruzzello, 1999) found that short walks (10-15 minute) were associated with increased-activation and more positive affective valance during the bout. Recovering from waling was associated with calmness and relaxation. Further, active middle-aged and elderly individuals were prescribed 15 minutes of walking or silent reading. Results displayed increased self-reported energy during and post –exercise (Ekkekakis, Backhouse, Gray and Lind 2008) significantly better than the control condition. The above studies show that how-intensity exercise of short duration may also provide for a better affective state.

Other variables important for the improvement of affective reactions in relation to physical exercise include self selected intensity (Parafitt, Rose and Marklud, 2000) the activity being enjoyable (Daley and Maynard, 2003; Lane, Jackson and Terry, 2005 Parfit and Gledhill, 2004) similar affective benefits independent of duration (Daley and Welch, 2004; Hansen, Stevens and Coast, 2001; Petruzzello and Landers, 1994), the bout not exceeding 75 minutes (Read and ones, 2006). Cognitions during the bout (Blanchard, Rodgers and Garin, 2004) and the affect9ive states before the bout (more negative affective state before is associated with more positive state after (Reed et al., 2004).

For a long time the recommended intensity level of physical activity of optimal affective benefits was that of moderate levels (cf. Berger, 2001) and it was suggested that a certain intensity threshold was necessary for the provision of these benefits (Kikcaldy and Shephard, 1990). In his Dual-Mode Model (described elsewhere), Ekkekakis (2004) posit that pleasurable responses can be found at all intensities except high-intensity. This model has some support (Ekkekakis, Hall and Petruzzello, 2005, Welch, Hulley, Fergnson and Beauchamp 2007) and from the discussion above about investigations of activities ranging from low intensities like walking to higher intensities, may levels of intensity are associated with affective benefits.



Investigation of specific mind-body therapies show affective benefits in a number of studies. Yoga is r elated to a predominantly sympathetic tone of the nervous system during the activity and parasympathetic after (saving and Telles 2006). Negative mood and anxiety were reduced after a Yoga Session, but there are no increased in vigor (Postive mood: Berger and Owen, 1992). Tai Chi showed a reduction in sympathetic nervous system activity and an increased in parasympathetic activity after a bout (Lu and Kuo 2003). In another study, at post-measures, Tai Chi display increased heartbeat, increased urinary noradrenalin, decreased salivary cortisol, and increased positive mood (vigor) as well as decreased negative mood (anxiety, tension depression; Jin 1989). Relaxation was associated with a reduction in arousal and distress (Pevelev and Johnsohon, 1986) and an alleviation of somatic and cognitive anxiety (Gill, Kolt, and Keating 2004).

Comparing the effects of different mind body therapies and other activities both relaxation and short walks were associated with a reduction in tense arousal, but only walks were associated with feeling energized afterward (Saklofske, Blomme and Kelly, 1997) Yoga was associated with increased perceived physical energy and feel while relaxation increased sluggishness (Wood 1998) studies by Berger and associated (Berger, Friedman and Eaton 1988 Berger and Owen 1992) display similar post exercise effect (reduction in negative mood) that were significantly different from control. Low intensity mindful activities (Felden Kress and Yoga) were superior in enhancing subjective well being and reducing state anxiety and depression compared to high intensity non-mindful activity (redued aeroboics, Netz and Lidor, 2003). Finally Tai, Chi, Yoga and martial Art were associated with a reduction in psychological distress, fatigue and exhaustion to the same extent, however only the Tai,chi and Yoga displayed increased tranquility (Szabomesko Caputo and Gill, 1998).

Mind-body therapies shows changes comparable to other physical activities, as they have similar characteristics, however, when they lack the physical active aspect like, in relaxation, people generally do not feel activated like they do in Yoga and Tai,chi, feeling activated, is probably associated with the intensity of the activity Naruse, and Hirar (2000) showed a positive relationship between exercise intensity and arousal level (Lower intensity and lower arousal). It has been proposed that mind body method may reduced negative mood while not enhancing positive mood (Yennq, 1996). Few results of the above-mentioned studies show increased positive mood; however, this may be due to the use of scales predominately covering negative aspects of mood such as POMs (five negative sub scales and one positive). Mind-body therapies seems to affect eh exerciser in ways that stabilize the nervous system and provide a reduction in negative mood and sometimes an increasing in positive mood.


Qigong studies have also focused on acute psychological responses to single session. Qi-training (Qigong) of a group of male beginners (having learned the form prior to the study) was studied, comparing and actual session with a sham-control (moments without mind-ful intention) Qi session (Lee, Kang, Lim and Lee, 2004) state anxiety (STAI) was reduced significantly more (26% to 9%) in the actual Qi-training session. Also, plasma concentration of ACTH, cortisol and aldosterne decreased in the Qi-training condition but not in the sham session. It is concluded that Qigong has effect on the hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal axis. Kjos and Etmers (2006) used the PANAS (Watson, 1988) to study affect before after and at three 15- minutes intervals pre-exercise, for a group of older (Mean age 65 years) female beginners who had learned Qigong prior to the study. The effects from pre-exercise to post-exercise (similar to pleasant activation in figure 2) that was comparable to walking. Positive affect rapidly deceased after to bout to below pre-exercise levels at the post 15 minutes assessment. No significant change was found for negative affect (similar to unpleasant activation of figure 2). Qigong was considered a moderate-intensity activity that was comparable to walking.

The above two sole studies, of acute effective responses to Qigong exercise display promising benefits. However, in the context, of unpleasant Activation (Figure 2), where anxiety and negative affects can be found, contrasting results are found a reducing in anxiety in the Lee et al., (2004) study and no significant reduction in Negative affect in the Kjos and Etmir (2006) study. The reasons for this different are not know but there are only men in the Lee et al., 2004) study and only women in the Kjos and Etmier (2006) study. This also shows the limitation associated with using the PANAS (restricted of affect) in the context of Qigong. It seems reasonable that Qigong is also associated with the deactivated poles of the circumplexx (e.g. un-pleasant Deactivation.



When work was commenced on the first study of the present thesis, Qigong exercise had only been found to reduce state anxiety (Lee, et al., 2004). However, anecdotal reports, a master’ thesis (Brinker 1998) and studies of mind body therapies (Berger et al., 1988; Berger and Owen 1992; Jin 1992; Gill et al., 2004; Peveler and Johnston, 1986; Sak-lofske et al., 1997; Szabo et al., 1998) and low intensity physical activity (Ekkekakis et al., 1999; Porcari et al., 1998; Thayer 1987; Thayer et al., 1993) also suggested that Qigong exercise would perhaps display an associated with effective benefits.

The continued study of Qigong-related responses is important for a number of reasons. In addition to commencing studies in a new field of research, the increasing interest from the public in mind-body therapies (Kelner and Wellman, 2000 Landstings forbundet, 2000: Wolsko et al., 2004) is indeed an important incentive for further study. Studying acute (Posiute (Positive) affective responses appeals to researchers, because most people want to be happy or experience subjective well-being physical activity is often recommended for the enhancement of mental health (Fyss, 2008). However not everyone (e.g. the elderly) is able to engage in higher intensity activities, some may not like it. in studying affective responses to Qigong exercise we may find new ways for people to increase their health and well-being from a theoretical standpoint, studying Qigong, which includes both mindful (relaxation and meditation). Characteristics and physical activity, is a fascinating prospect. Thus, the continued study of the acute affective responses to Qigong exercise may provide promising benfits in the areas of positive affect and subjective well-being (Fredrickson 2000) affect regulation (Wellace and Shapiro, 2006) and managing and reducing physiological and psychological arousal (eg stress; Gunnarson, 2004).



The study of Qigong related acute affective responses is a fairly new avenue of research. A very limited number of studies has been carried out prior to the present thesis. Given the similar research content, I chose to study Qigong from an exercise psychology perspective although there may be some dissimilarities between. For example, jogging and Qigong (the foremost being the focus on the mindful intention in Qigong) the physical activity part is included in the exercise and may allow for the use of similar ways of study. Perspective and methodologies in the present study are therefore. Influenced by the area of exercise psychologies.



The continued study of Qigong-related responses is important for a member of reasons. in addition to commencing studies in a new field of research. The increasing interest from the public in mind-body therapies is indeed an important centives for further study. Studying acute (Positive) affective responses appeals to researchers, because most people want to be happy or experiences subjective well-being. Physical activity is often recommended for the enhancement of mental health. However, not everyone (e.g. the elderly) is able to engage in higher intensity activities affective responses to Qigong exercise we may find new ways for people to increase their health and well-being. From a theoretical stand point, studying Qigong, which includes both mindful (relaxation and meditation) characteristics of physical activity is a fascinating prospect, thus, the continued study of the acute affective responses to Qigong exercise way provide promising benefits in the areas of positive effect and subjective well-being affect regulations and managing and reducing physiological and psychological arousal.


The following recommendation were made

1. Government and stake holders in the health industries should appreciate alternative medicine and promote oriental exercise to control some cardiovascular problems.

2. There should be a curriculum on educational system that should emphasis the teaching and learning of overfull exercises for therapeutic purpose.

3. There should be schools specifically meant for the exercise of study of these exercise.

Qigong Acute Affective Responses

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