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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 812096, 12 pages
Research Article

A Randomized Controlled Neurophysiological Study of a Chinese Chan-Based Mind-Body Intervention in Patients with Major Depressive Disorder

1Department of Psychology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong
2Chanwuyi Research Center for Neuropsychological Well-Being, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong
3Henan Songshan Research Institute for Chanwuyi, Henan 452470, China
4Department of Special Education and Counselling, The Hong Kong Institute of Education, Tai Po, Hong Kong
5Division II, Kwai Chung Hospital, Kwai Chung, Hong Kong
6Department of Social Work, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong

Received 28 June 2013; Revised 27 November 2013; Accepted 12 December 2013

Academic Editor: Kevin Chen

Copyright © 2013 Agnes S. Chan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Our previous studies have reported the therapeutic effects of 10-session Chinese Chan-based Dejian mind-body interventions (DMBI) in reducing the intake of antidepressants, improving depressive symptoms, and enhancing the attentional abilities of patients with depression. This study aims to explore the possible neuroelectrophysiological mechanisms underlying the previously reported treatment effects of DMBI in comparison with those of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Seventy-five age-, gender-, and education-matched participants with depression were randomly assigned to receive either CBT or DMBI or placed on a waitlist. Eyes-closed resting EEG data were obtained individually before and after 10 weeks. After intervention, the DMBI group demonstrated significantly enhanced frontal alpha asymmetry (an index of positive mood) and intra- and interhemispheric theta coherence in frontoposterior and posterior brain regions (an index of attention). In contrast, neither the CBT nor the waitlist group showed significant changes in EEG activity patterns. Furthermore, the asymmetry and coherence indices of the DMBI group were correlated with self-reported depression severity levels and performance on an attention test, respectively. The present findings provide support for the effects of a Chinese Chan-based mind-body intervention in fostering human brain states that can facilitate positive mood and an attentive mind.