A meta-analysis published by Chinese authors suggests that tai chi and qigong can offer significant, wide-ranging benefits for people with cardiovascular disease. A total of 35 articles with 2249 cardiovascular disease patients satisfied their inclusion criteria. The analysis of pooled data found that tai chi could improve blood pressure enough to reduce stroke risk by up to 41% and coronary heart disease risk by 22%. Patients performing tai chi also experienced benefits in terms of triglyceride levels, physical functioning and depression, compared with controls. (Traditional Chinese Exercise for Cardiovascular Diseases: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. J Am Heart Assoc. 2016 Mar 9;4(3):e002562).

05. July 2016 · Comments Off · Categories: Breast Cancer, Chemotherapy, Qigong

A preliminary study from Taiwan suggests that both static and moving forms of qigong practice are beneficial for breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. A quasi-experimental design was applied to the study of 95 females who were receiving chemotherapy for breast cancer. Participants were assigned to three groups; the control group undertook a post-surgical exercise programme; the non-sporting qigong (NSQG) group performed a meditative breathing exercise while either sitting or standing; and the sporting qigong (SQG) group performed tai chi-like moving qigong exercises. Patients performed their exercises for at least 30 minutes, three times per week for 12 weeks. At one and three months after beginning the program, patients in the SQG group showed lower frailty scores than those in the control group. At three months from baseline, patients in the NSQG group also reported lower frailty scores and higher mental QOL than those in the control group.
Effects of non-sporting and sporting qigong on frailty and quality of life among breast cancer patients receiving chemotherapy. Eur J Oncol Nurs. 2015 Nov 21. pii: S1462-3889(15)30043-0..

19. April 2016 · Comments Off · Categories: Cardiovascular Disease, Qigong, Tai Chi Chuan

Practising tai chi (TC) can help reduce pro-inflammatory factors associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk in women, according to American researchers. In a randomised trial of 63 women aged 35 to 50 years who were at increased risk for CVD, a wait-list control group was compared with a group who undertook an eight-week tai chi intervention. The tai chi group attended weekly 60 minute instructor-led group classes and were encouraged to practice for 15 minutes per day at home. At the end of the eight-week intervention, tai chi was found to result in significantly decreases in fatigue and reduced serum levels of granulocyte colony stimulating factor (a pro-inflammatory cytokine). At follow-up, two months post intervention, the results indicated that tai chi practice had down-regulated multiple pro-inflammatory cytokines associated with underlying CVD risk, including interferon gamma, tumour necrosis factor, interleukin-8 and interleukin-4. Participants also reported increases in mindfulness, spiritual thoughts and behaviours, and self-compassion. The tai chi practice performed was tailored to address specific biological contributors to CVD. It included several ‘medical qigong’ movements, such as the Thymus Tap and Kidney Rub, purported to target the endocrine and immune systems. The study authors note that changes in several cytokines associated with functional signalling within these systems were found.
The Effects of Tai Chi on Cardiovascular Risk in Women. Am J Health Promot. 2015 Aug 25. [Epub ahead of print]).

Qigong can reduce symptoms of fatigue and depression in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)-like illness, a Hong Kong study has found. One hundred and thirty-seven participants who met the diagnostic criteria for CFS-like illness were randomly assigned to either an intervention group or a waitlist control group.  Participants in the intervention group received 10 sessions of qigong training twice a week for five consecutive weeks, followed by home-based practice for 12 weeks. At the end of the training period, the results showed that total fatigue score, physical fatigue score and depression score were significantly improved and mental fatigue score was marginally significantly improved in the qigong group compared to controls. Anxiety score was not significantly improved in the qigong group. (Effects of qigong exercise on fatigue, anxiety, and depressive symptoms of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome-like illness: a randomized controlled trial. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:485341).

A preliminary study from Portugal suggests that practicing a short daily qigong routine can be an effective tool for the self-management of burnout in physiotherapists. A group of 106 physiotherapists completed a burnout inventory questionnaire and the researchers selected those with the highest levels of burnout to form the qigong and control groups. The intervention group of eight physiotherapists performed a specific qigong set (‘White Ball’ qigong) twice a day for five minutes each time, while the control group consisted of eight physiotherapists on a waiting list. At the end of a three-week period of treatment or waiting list, both groups repeated the burnout questionnaire. Within the study group, qigong lowered the mean values of the Emotional Exhaustion subscale from 38.0 to 31.4, whereas in the control group the values rose from 33.9 to 37.9. The difference between the two groups was statistically significant. (Qigong therapy for physiotherapists suffering from burnout: a preliminary study. Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Xue Bao. 2012 Nov;10(11):1233-9).

Taking part in a programme of qigong exercise may be beneficial for people with type-2 diabetes, according to an RCT carried out in Australia. The study included 41 participants with elevated blood glucose levels who were randomised to a qigong exercise intervention or a usual medical care control group. Physical and haematological measures were assessed at baseline and after 12 weeks. At the end of the study period, the results showed significant differences between the groups in favour of tai chi, in terms of body weight, waist circumference and leg strength. In addition, indicators of diabetes control (HbA1c, insulin resistance and fasting blood insulin) were found to have improved significantly more in the tai chi group compared with usual care. (Qi-gong mind-body therapy and diabetes control. A randomized controlled trial. Am J Prey Med. 2011 Aug;41(2):152-8).

People who practice qigong report improved health-related quality of life compared with non-practitioners, according to a study from Taiwan. A total of 165 individuals practicing a qigong form called Wai Tan Kung were compared with 660 age and gender matched non-practitioner individuals for comparison. The qigong group scored higher on eight out of ten SF-36 Health Survey components compared with sedentary individuals, and five out of ten SF-36 measures compared with individuals practicing other forms of exercise. (Effect of Qigong on quality of life: a cross-sectional population-based comparison study in Taiwan. BMC Public Health. 2011 Jul 9;11:546).

A German team has compared qigong and exercise therapy in patients with chronic neck pain. One hundred and twenty-three patients with chronic neck pain (VAS 40 mm) were randomised to six months (18 sessions) of either qigong or exercise therapy, or to a waiting list (no treatment). After six months, a significant difference was seen between the qigong and waiting list control groups in terms of neck pain, disability and quality of life. Results in the qigong and exercise therapy groups were found to be similar. (Qigong versus Exercise versus no Therapy for Patients with Chronic Neck Pain – a Randomized Controlled Trial. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2010 Dec 20. [Epub ahead of print]).

German researchers report that qigong training could be a useful adjunctive therapy for patients with tinnitus. Eighty tinnitus patients were randomly assigned to an intervention group, consisting of 10 qigong training sessions over five weeks, or a waiting-list control group. Compared with the control group, qigong participants experienced improvement in tinnitus severity. In a subgroup of patients with somatosensory tinnitus (tinnitus due to muscular overload), the effects of qigong were more pronounced, resulting in a highly significant improvement compared with the waiting-list group. The authors note that patient satisfaction with the intervention, a low drop-out rate and stability of the beneficial effects for at least three months after the intervention further increase the potential of qigong as a treatment for tinnitus. (Qigong for the treatment of tinnitus: a prospective randomized controlled study. J Psychosom Res. 2010 Sep;69(3):299-304).

American authors have carried out a comprehensive review of the health benefits of qigong and tai chi (TC). Seventy-seven articles met their inclusion criteria. Nine outcome category groupings emerged: bone density, cardiopulmonary effects, physical function, falls and related risk factors, quality of life, self-efficacy, patient-reported outcomes, psychological symptoms and immune function. The authors conclude that there are consistent, significant results for a number of health benefits in RCTs of qigong and TC. (A comprehensive review of health benefits of qigong and tai chi. Am J Health Promot. 2010 Jul-Aug;24(6):el-e25).