Western Science and MQ

Over the years, there have been numerous studies on the efficacy of Medical Qigong External Qi treatments. To bridge the gap of language  and cultural understanding between Eastern and Western Medicine is no small task, but there is a large group of dedicated doctors, scientists and Qigong Masters who have undertaken this monumental task. Below are but a few of the more recent studies:

A Pilot Study of External Qigong Therapy for Patients with Fibromyalgia

Kevin W. Chen, Afton L. Hassett, Faxiang Hou, Joy Staller, and Alan S. Lichtbroun. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. November 2006.

Objectives: Although qigong is an important part of Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) based on a philosophy similar to acupuncture, few studies of qigong exist in the Western medicine literature. To evaluate qigong therapy as a modality in treating chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), we report a pilot trial of 10 women with severe FMS who experienced significant improvement after external qigong therapy (EQT).

 Design: Ten patients with FMS completed five to seven sessions of EQT over 3 weeks with pre- and posttreatment assessment and a 3-month follow-up. Each treatment lasted approximately 40 minutes. Outcome measures: Tender point count (TPC) and Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ) were the primary measures. McGill Pain Questionnaire (MPQ), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), anxiety, and self-efficacy were the secondary outcomes.

 Results: Subjects demonstrated improvement in functioning, pain, and other symptoms. The mean TPC was reduced from 136.6 to 59.5 after EQT treatment; mean MPQ decreased from 27.0 to 7.2; mean FIQ from 70.1 to 37.3; and mean BDI from 24.3 to 8.3 (all p  0.01). Many subjects reported reductions in other FMS symptoms, and two reported they were completely symptom-free. Results from the 3-month follow-up indicated some slight rebound from the post-treatment measures, but still much better than those observed at baseline.

 Conclusions: Treatment with EQT resulting in complete recovery for some FMS patients suggests that TCMmay be very effective for treating pain and the multiplicity of symptoms associated with FMS. Larger controlled trials of this promising intervention are urgently needed.


Effects of Qi Therapy (External Qigong) on PremenstrualSyndrome: A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Study

and MYEONG SOO LEE, Ph.D.2,3

Objectives: To assess the effects of qi therapy on premenstrual symptoms in women with premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

Design: A randomized placebo-controlled trial.

Subjects: Thirty-six (36) college women with symptoms of PMS.

Intervention: After 2 months of screening, subjects with PMS were randomized to receive real qi therapy
(18 subjects) or placebo (18 subjects). The subjects were informed that they would receive one of two types of
treatment. They did not know which treatment they received. Each intervention was performed eight times during the second and third cycles with subjects completing a PMS diary.

Results: There were significant improvements in the symptoms of negative feeling, pain, water retention, and total PMS symptoms in subjects receiving qi therapy compared to placebo controls.

Conclusion: Qi therapy may be an effective complementary therapy for managing the symptoms of PMS.

Effects of external qigong therapy on osteoarthritis of the knee

Kevin W Chen, Adam Perlman, Jason G. Liao, Alex Lam, Joy Staller, Leonard H. Sigal

Objectives: To assess the efficacy of external qigong therapy (EQT), a traditional Chinese medicine practice, in reducing pain and improving functionality of patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA)

Methods: 112 adults with knee OA were randomized to EQT or sham treatment (control); 106 completed treatment and were analyzed. Two therapists performed EQT individually, 5–6 sessions in 3 weeks. The sham healer mimicked EQT for the same number and duration of sessions. Patients and examining physician were blinded. Primary outcomes were WOMAC pain and function; other outcomes included McGill Pain Questionnaire, time to walk 15 meters and range of motion squatting. Results of patients treated by the 2 healers were analyzed separately.

Results: Both treatment groups reported significant reduction in WOMAC scores after intervention. Patients treated by Healer 2 reported greater reduction in pain (mean improvement −25.7 ± 6.6 vs. −13.1 ± 3.0; p < .01) and more improvement in knee function (−28.1 ± 9.7 vs. −13.2 ± 3.4; p < .01) than those in the control group. These patients also reported a greater reduction in negative mood, but not in anxiety or depression. Patients treated by Healer 1 experienced improvement similar to the control group. The results of therapy persisted at 3 months follow-up for all groups. Mixed-effect models confirmed these findings with controlling for possible confounders.

Conclusion: EQT might have a role in the treatment of OA, but EQT healers are not equivalent. The apparent efficacy of EQT appears to be healer-dependent. Further study, on a larger scale, with multiple EQT healers is necessary to determine the role (if any) for EQT in the treatment of OA and to identify differences in EQT techniques.


Exploratory Studies of Qigong Therapy for Cancer in China

Kevin Chen, PhD, MPH, Raphael Yeung, BA


The authors reviewed more than 50 studies of qigong therapy for cancer in China, in 3 categories: clinical studies on cancer patients, in vitro studies on laboratory-prepared cancer cells, and in vivo studies on cancer-infected animals. Most of the clinical studies involved observation of cancer patients’ self-practice of qigong. Although no double-blind clinical trials were found among patient studies, many had a control. The qigong groups showed more improvement or had a better survival rate than conventional methods alone. In vitro studies report the inhibitory effect of qi emission on cancer growth, and in vivo studies find that qigong-treated groups have significantly reduced tumor growth or longer survival among cancer-infected animals. However, there is much room for improvement in these studies, and some require replication to verify the findings. Qigong therapy is an area that is often neglected by mainstream medicine and research, but our review strongly suggests that qigong deserves further study as a supplement to conventional cancer treatment.

Medical Applications of Qigong

Kenneth Sancier, PhD

To attain knowledge, add things everyday.

To attain wisdom, remove things every day.

Lao Tsu, Dao de Jing




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