Chan-Based Mind-Body Intervention for the Elderly

Aging has complex impacts on both of the psychological and physical health. Methods in mind-body medicine may help relief certain problems associated with aging. In a recent study about the Chan (Zen)-based Dejian mind-body intervention (DMBI), the potential values for promoting the wellbeing in older Chinese adults were measured (Yu et al., 2014). Composed of mind-body exercises, the DMBI program was designed to improve self-awareness and self-control.

A total of 42 elderly people completed the program and had DMBI once every week for 12 weeks (Yu et al., 2014). They also had a special vegetarian diet during the training time. To evaluate the effects of the program, the participants were tested with the levels of stress, depression, sleep quality, constipation, metabolic syndrome, walking speed and the self-report of the overall health.

The study found a significant decrease in perceived stress and sleep disturbances, with remarkably improved walking speed (Yu et al., 2014). In addition, among those who had hypertension, improvement was observed in systolic blood pressure. An improved self-rated health was also reported, with a rate elevation from 14.3% to 42.8%.

The study demonstrated that DMBI could be a practical and beneficial mind-body method that may promote health in both psychological and physical aspects (Yu et al., 2014). More randomized clinical trials among larger groups of people would be necessary to further investigate the effects of such mind-body approaches on aging and aging- related problems. More studies would also be helpful to examine how these methods can influence specific problems.


Yu R, Woo J, Chan AS, Sze SL. A Chinese Chan-based mind-body intervention improves psychological well-being and physical health of community-dwelling elderly: a pilot study. Clin Interv Aging. 2014 Apr 23;9:727-36. doi: 10.2147/CIA.S59985.

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