Traditional Chinese medicine dates back thousands of years. Qigong (pronounced as chee-gung) is an ancient Chinese practice, which along with acupuncture, massage and herbal medicines forms the four pillars of traditional Chinese medicine. The core concept of Qigong is to build the body’s internal energy (Qi) to help fight diseases. 

Benefits of Qigong for Cancer patients

Many studies have been conducted to analyze the benefits of Qigong and Tai-Chi (another form of Qigong) on cancer patients. Here is a quick look at the benefits:

  • Mood – It has a positive effect on mood and helps reduce stress levels in cancer patients.
  • Over-tiredness – Usually, patients undergoing cancer treatments suffer from excessive fatigue or over-tiredness. Qigong helps reduce this.
  • Managing pain – Like Reiki, a Qigong master can use his/her own energy to balance the energy of another person. This can help cancer patients manage pain better.
  • Inflammation – Patients practicing Qigong have lower inflammatory levels than those who don’t.
  • Psychological booster – Qigong eases the psychological symptoms in patients undergoing chemotherapy.
  • Better Immune System – Qigong, along with conventional therapy, can result in better immune functions in cancer patients.

Key Points

  • Qigong an ancient Chinese practice using breathing techniques, gentle movement and meditation.
  • The goal is to cleanse, strengthen and circulate the life energy (qi).
  • Qigong is generally considered safe.
  • Classes and videos are widely available.
  • Qigong is most likely beneficial across a wide range of cancers, even though research to date may focus on only a few cancer types.

Some Clinical Studies

  • In a review and analysis of 22 studies involving Qigong and Tai-Chi, the reviews found significant improvement in fatigue, sleep patterns, depression, and overall quality of life.
  • In another systematic review and constructive analysis of Qigong therapy found positive effects on cancer-specific quality of life, fatigue, immune functions and cortisol levels in cancer patients.
  • A systematic review to critically evaluate the effectiveness of Qigong in symptom management among cancer patients revealed a positive trend from pre to post-intervention scores in both physical and psychological symptoms.

References & More Information

  1. Credit: Beyond Conventional Care Therapies
  2. ZenOnco.io Integrative Oncology Cancer Care
  3. Wayne PM, Lee MS et al. Tai chi and qigong for cancer-related symptoms and quality of life: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Cancer Survivorship. 2017 Dec 8.
  4. Klein PJ, Schneider R, Rhoads CJ. Qigong in cancer care: a systematic review and construct analysis of effective qigong therapy. Supportive Care in Cancer. 2016 Jul;24(7):3209-22.
  5. Van Vu D, Molassiotis A, Ching SSY, Le TT. Effects of qigong on symptom management in cancer patients: a systematic review. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. 2017 Nov;29:111-121.
  6. Chan, C., Wang, C., Ho, R. et al. A Systematic Review of the Effectiveness of Qigong Exercise in Supportive Cancer Care. Supportive Care in Cancer. 2012. 20(6):1121-1133.
  7. Jahnke, R. et al. Comprehensive Review of Health Benefits of Qigong and Tai Chi. American Journal of Health Promotion. 2010. 24(6):e1-e25.
  8. Lee, T. et al. Effects of Chan-chuang Qigong on Improving Symptom and Psychological Distress in Chemotherapy Patients. American Journal of Chinese Medicine. 2006. 34(1):37-46
  9. Oh, B. et al. A Critical Review of the Effects of Medical Qigong on Quality of Life, Immune Function, and Survival in Cancer Patients. Integrative Cancer Therapies. 2011 Jun 28 (Epub ahead of print).
  10. CAM-Cancer: Qigong
  11. Qigong Research and Practice Center: Qigong FAQs
  12. Chinese Medicine Living: Qi Gong
  13. Susan G. Komen: Qigong
  14. Acumedicine.Acupuncture.pc website Qigong page: in four videos on this page, Kevin Mutschler, LAc, demonstrates several qigong styles and techniques.

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