Clinical Trial of Qigong in Cancer Patients


Oh B, Butow P, Mullan B, et al. Impact of medical Qigong on quality of life, fatigue, mood and inflammation in cancer patients: a randomized controlled trial. Ann Oncol. 2010 Mar;21(3):608-14. Epub 2009 Oct 30. PubMed PMID: 19880433; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2826100

Investigators at the University of Sydney, Royal North Shore Hospital, Notre Dame University, and Dana-Faber Cancer Institute undertook randomized controlled trial of Qigong in 162 adult patients diagnosed with cancer.

From the Introduction:

“One CM therapy that is frequently used by cancer patients, but is yet to be thoroughly evaluated, is Medical Qigong (MQ). Qigong, a mind–body practice first developed over 5000 years ago, is an important part of traditional Chinese medicine. MQ is a mind–body practice that uses physical activity and meditation to harmonize the body, mind and spirit. It is on the basis of the theory that discomfort, pain and sickness are a result of blockage or stagnation of energy flow in the energy channel in the human body. According to this theory, if there is a free flow and balance of energy, health can be improved and/or maintained and disease can be prevented. Within western medicine, MQ can be understood within the mind–body medicine model, developed after the scientific discovery of the ‘relaxation response’ and the development of the theory of psychoneuroimmunology. Within this model, the efficacy of MQ is seen as having its source in an integrated hypothalamic response, resulting in homeostasis of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. This in turn causes reduced emotional and physical tension and improved immune function.”

In this possibly first randomized controlled trial with adequate statistical power to measure the impact of Qigong in patients with cancer, the authors reported evidence for the impact of Qigong on quality of life, fatigue, mood status and inflammation in patients with cancer.

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One thought on “Clinical Trial of Qigong in Cancer Patients”

  1. Qigong helped me immensely in my successful battles with four bouts of supposedly terminal bone lymphoma cancer in the early nineties. I practiced standing post meditation, one of the most powerful forms of qigong–as an adjunct to chemotherapy, which is how it should always be used.

    Qigong kept me strong in many ways: it calmed my mind–taking me out of the fight-or-flight syndrome, which pumps adrenal hormones into the system that could interfere with healing. The deep abdominal breathing pumped my lymphatic system—a vital component of the immune system. In addition, qigong energized and strengthened my body at a time when I couldn’t do Western exercise such as weight-lifting or jogging–the chemo was too fatiguing. And it empowered my will and reinforced it every day with regular practice. In other words, I contributed to the healing process, instead of just depending solely on the chemo and the doctors. Clear 14 years and still practicing!

    I learned qigong from Ramel Rones, disciple of Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming of Boston. It’s very important to learn qigong from a highly-qualified teacher who has learned from a bona fide master with a lineage originating to China. Beware–many self-proclaimed “masters” teach untested qigong!

    Bob Ellal

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