Let’s end our series on Qigong with a look at how it might help the most serious of conditions. It has been found that Qigong can help cancer patients who are undergoing chemotherapy. And it’s also been found to make life better for patients with the serious lung condition known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
1. For Cancer Patients
There are limitations and side effects to conventional cancer treatment. This is especially so for quality of life. For this reason, patients are increasingly turning to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) to help them get through it. A recent bit of health news reviewed the evidence for the role of Qigong in supporting cancer care.
Researchers scoured past studies for reported effects of Qigong in improving quality of life, immune function, and survival in cancer patients. They discovered that, although many studies were small and had certain limitations, there was “encouraging evidence” for the use of Qigong on these cancer treatment side effects.
Solid evidence with larger sample sizes also showed positive results for the role of Qigong in improving quality of life, mood, and fatigue, and reducing inflammation.
The researchers recommend more studies to further investigate just how Qigong can help, because the results were so encouraging. They support the use of this ancient Chinese exercise for cancer patients to improve their quality of life.
2. For COPD Patients
Second to lung cancer, COPD is the worst thing that can happen to your lungs. Often caused by a lifetime of smoking, it is most simply described as emphysema mixed with bronchitis. In short: the whole respiratory system is a mess and there are huge health consequences.
Researchers say the initial gain from a pulmonary rehabilitation program among COPD patients begins to fade away six months later. One possible reason may be due to the poor compliance of patients attempting to keep up with home exercise program (e.g., walking, weight training activities, etc.).
Their new study tested Qigong as a home exercise program to complement the rehabilitation program. It was a randomized controlled trial on the mind-body exercise intervention you now know so well (after this article series). The study included 80 patients with COPD, half doing Qigong and the other half acting as controls. Researchers assessed them at both three and six months after treatment.
They identified improvement in all outcome measures in the Qigong group. All of them! In the control group, they found lesser improvements as well as some deterioration. The researchers found significantly better improvements in respiratory capacity among the Qigong group at the six-month period. They conclude that this supports the positive effect of Qigong as a home exercise for rehabilitation among people with COPD.
If you’d like to learn Qigong so you can reap the many health benefits outlined in this series, check your local martial arts or community centers for courses. You can also contact the American Tai Chi and Qigong Association for more information and to find classes in your area (http://www.americantaichi.org/).