Qigong found superior to Tai Chi, usual care, other exercise and education for management of depression.
In a 2015 systematic review of 30 studies with a total of 2328 subjects, Liu and colleagues found only qigong was effective as compared to Tai Chi, usual care, other exercise, and education for management of depression. The authors concluded that qigong appears to be beneficial for reducing depressive symptom severity. However, caution of interpretation of these findings was advised given the low quality of study designs.
It is hypothesized that the meditative aspect of internal qigong exercise with its emphasis on learned relaxation and engagement in the meditative moment may be the mechanism for clinical benefit.
Liu X, Clark J, Siskind D, Williams, GM, Bryne G, et al. A systematic review and meta-analysis of the effects of Qigong and Tai Chi for depressive symptoms. Complement Ther Med. 2015 Aug;23(4):516-34. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2015.05.001. Epub 2015 May 27.