Qigong is an ancient Chinese health care system that integrates physical postures, breathing techniques and focused intention. The gentle, rhythmic movements of Qigong reduce stress, build stamina, increase vitality, and enhance the immune system. It has also been found to improve cardiovascular, respiratory, circulatory, lymphatic and digestive functions.

Study The results show that Qigong (Qi-training or Qi-therapy) modulates immune cell numbers in human peripheral blood. Qi may stabilize the sympathetic nervous system and thereby induce recruitment and proliferation of immune cells.

Study: This study demonstrates that Taoist qigong is able to exert acute immunomodulatory effects on components of both innate as well as adaptive immune

This Review investigated evidence for the role of medical Qigong (MQ), in supportive care. The authors searched the literature for reported effects of MQ in improving quality of life, immune function, and survival in cancer patients. They found that, although many studies possessed methodological limitations and small sample sizes, encouraging evidence was found for the effects of MQ. More robust evidence in the form of randomized controlled trials with larger sample sizes also reflected positive results for the role of MQ in improving QOL, mood and fatigue parameters, and reducing inflammation. Conclusion. These findings support the utilization of MQ by cancer patients and the place for such programs in comprehensive cancer care.

Study: Long-term practice of qigong exercise may help in maintaining satisfactory health and preventing and treating illness. Qigong exercise has been reported to influence depression, stress, anxiety symptoms, chronic pain, immunity, infection, and quality of life 

This Review looked at twenty-three studies including eight Randomised Control Trials and fifteen non-randomized controlled clinical trials (CCTs) were identified. The effects of qigong on physical and psychosocial outcomes were examined in 14 studies and the effects on biomedical outcomes were examined in 15 studies. Among reviewed studies on biomedical outcomes, a consistent tendency appears to emerge which suggests that the patients treated with qigong exercise in combination with conventional methods had significant improvement in immune function than the patients treated with conventional methods alone.

: Within this model, the efficacy of MQ [medical qigong] 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.

Several studies have indicated that MQ has many health benefits, such as decreased heart rate, decreased blood pressure, lowered lipid levels, decreased levels of circulating stress hormones and enhanced immune function

Another significant finding from this study was the positive effects of MQ on inflammation as measured by the CRP [C-reactive protein]. While the precise mechanism through which MQ is able to decrease inflammation is unclear, one possible pathway is through MQ’s effect on the immune system. A number of studies have indicated that MQ leads to improved immune function.

Study: While many research questions remain unanswered, there is sufficient evidence supporting the belief that Qigong exercise has a complementary role in supportive cancer care. There are established benefits validating the potential of Qigong practice to improve cancer-related QOL with no known serious side effects. Qigong practice has been linked to prevention and improved cancer-related mortality rates.

Cancer Treatment Options

Updated 2024

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