Current studies have suggested that Ba Duan Jin training appears to have substantive benefits for older adults with physical and mental disorders, such as anxiety, depression, hyperlipidemia, spinal problems, osteoarthrosis, and type 2 diabetes (An et al., 2013; Hsu, Wang, Liu, & Liu, 2008; Mei, Chen, Ge, Zheng, & Chen, 2012). Ba Duan Jin has several health effects, and the levels of exercise intensity and simplicity of movements make it suitable for practice among older adults. The purpose of the current study was to assess the efficacy of Ba Duan Jin in improving the balance ability of Chinese community-dwelling older adults.
Authors: Ms. Liu is Lecturer, College of Medicine (Nursing), Chengdu University; Ms. Gao is Professor, Ms. Yang is Associate Professor, and Ms. Bai is Teaching Assistant, College of Nursing, Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine; and Mr. Yin is Resident Physician, Hospital affiliated with Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chengdu, China.
Qigong Ba Duan Jin
Qigong is a combination of postures, meditation, and movements designed to improve holistic health and facilitate mind–body integration (Jones, 2001; McCaffrey & Fowler, 2003). In traditional Chinese medicine, “Qi” is the most basic element, constituting the human body and maintaining life activities. The movement of Qi throughout the entire body regulates physiological function (Chi, 2012). Qigong Ba Duan Jin (Ba Duan Jin, translation: eight-section brocade) is an ancient Chinese health gymnastics technique. Ba Duan Jin has eight combinations of different body movements, therefore named Ba Duan Jin. Ba means eight, Duan means section, and Jin means brocade (i.e., symbolic of something luxurious).
Historical records show Ba Duan Jin has been practiced for more than 800 years. Ba Duan Jin is designed in accordance with the theory of the laws of motion and holism (i.e., the human body is regarded as an organic whole) to facilitate integrated Qi movements, and it reflects the theory of traditional Chinese medicine and health concepts.
Ba Duan Jin Aerobic Exercise
Ba Duan Jin is a low-intensity aerobic exercise. A complete set comprises eight postures (Figure) in addition to beginning and ending movements. Ba Duan Jin protocol for the current study follows the General Administration of Sport of China (2003), which is the most popular style. A Ba Duan Jin exercise program typically includes three phases:
(a) warm-up preparation (1 minute);
(b) set of eight movements performed three times (approximately 30 minutes);
(c) relaxation and cool down (2 minutes).
The practice methods of Ba Duan Jin include three regulations:
(a) body focus
(b) mind focus
(c) breath focus
The slow, gentle, graceful movements of Ba Duan Jin, combined with meditation, deep breathing, and relaxation, move Qi throughout the body.