A Study on Depression

pexels-photo-236147The Chinese Chan-based Mind-body Intervention helps patients with depression to get better and reduce the dosage of medication’

This study, which was published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, showed that the Chinese Chan-based Dejian Mind-body intervention (DMBI) had positive effects on improving mood and health conditions of individuals with depression.

The study compared the treatment effect of the DMBI and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) on 75 participants diagnosed with major depressive disorder. Participants were randomly assigned to receive either 10 sessions of CBT or DMBI, or placed on a waitlist. The participants were evaluated by psychiatrists who were blinded to the experimental design, and their cognitive abilities were measured by standardized neuropsychological tests. The results showed that participants who had received the DMBI showed a significant reduction in depressive mood, and there were significantly more participants showing reduced dosage of anti-depressants as compared with those in the CBT group. In addition, individuals who received the DMBI, but not those who had received the CBT or on the waitlist, showed significantly better concentration, gastrointestinal health and overall sleep quality.


This mind-body intervention is newly developed based on the Chinese Shaolin Medical principle, namely Chanwuyi (i.e., Chan, martial art and healing). The principle of this mind-body intervention is to alleviate psychological distress by understanding the root of problems in accordance with Buddhism philosophy and to enhance mental and physical health by practising some mind-body exercises, and reducing the intake of food that generates excessive internal heat.

“A major difference of this intervention from conventional psychological interventions is that it emphasizes an integrative treatment on the mind and the body, that is to change the thought process and the lifestyle to improve mental and physical health simultaneously. It is a Chinese wisdom of living that we have recently adopted for clinical application,” said the leading author, Prof. Agnes Chan.

According to Prof. Chan, the DMBI showed benefits that were not observed in other psychological interventions that were commonly adopted in local hospitals and other allied-health institutes. This encouraging evidence warrants further study and suggests that the practice of Chanwuyi can be considered as a potential intervention for improving psychological and physical health.


Reference: Chan, A.S., Wong, Q.Y., Sze, S. L., Kwong, P. P. K., Han, Y. M. Y., & Cheung, M.C. (2012). A Chinese Chan-based mind-body intervention for patients with depression. Journal of Affective Disorders, 142(1-3), 283-289. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2012.05.018