Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Can tai chi chi and qigong postures shape our moods?

Subtitle: "Toward an embodied cognition framework for mind-body research," by Osypiuk et al. in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, May 1, 2018. The abstract:

"Dynamic and static body postures are a defining characteristic of mind-body practices such as Tai Chi and Qigong (TCQ). A growing body of evidence supports the hypothesis that TCQ may be beneficial for psychological health, including management and prevention of depression and anxiety. Although a variety of causal factors have been identified as potential mediators of such health benefits, physical posture, despite its visible prominence, has been largely overlooked. We hypothesize that body posture while standing and/or moving may be a key therapeutic element mediating the influence of TCQ on psychological health. In the present paper, we summarize existing experimental and observational evidence that suggests a bi-directional relationship between body posture and mental states. Drawing from embodied cognitive science, we provide a theoretical framework for further investigation into this interrelationship. We discuss the challenges involved in such an investigation and propose suggestions for future studies. Despite theoretical and practical challenges, we propose that the role of posture in mind-body exercises such as TCQ should be considered in future research."


  1. "Importantly, they also emphasize this balanced state of postural tone is not solely due to “unconscious postural engineering rules or principles of biomechanical alignment,” but also is shaped by a rich “suite of dynamic, interoceptively rich, intentional qualities."

  2. "Thus, at the core of TCQ training is a dialectical (or ecological) co-creation of body postures and mental states, whereby physical shapes facilitate mental qualities and mental states inform physical shapes."

  3. "We begin by providing an evolutionary framework for understanding the interdependence of posture and emotion. We call attention to the role of body language in the communication and perception of emotion and how it may have shaped the complex biology underlying links between posture and psychological states. We then provide examples from both experimental and observational research demonstrating how feedback from both the body and facial expressions influences emotion and cognition, and conversely, how affect influences physical posture and movement."


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