By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.
“Qigong is a viable and essential practice for enhancing everyday life, as well as an effective factor in mainstream health care.“ – Sifu Wong
Qigong has been practiced for thousands of years with benefits for health and longevity. Qigong training is designed to enhance function and regulate the activities of the body through regulated breathing, mindful concentration, and gentle movements. Only recently though have the effects of qigong practice been scrutinized with empirical research. It has been found to be effective for an array of physical and psychological issues. It appears to strengthen the immune system, reduce inflammation and increase the number of cancer killing cells in the bloodstream. All of these effects suggest that Qigong may be effective for cancer survivors.
Modern medicine has improved markedly in treating cancer. But, the treatments themselves can be difficult on the patient and produce great discomfort and suffering. In addition, if the treatment is successful, the cancer survivor is left with a whole different set of challenges. Fatigue accompanies cancer and its treatment in from half to all cancer patients depending upon the type of cancer and treatment regimen. The fatigue can continue even after completion of successful treatment. The patient feels weak, tired, weary, or exhausted all of the time and sleep does not relieve the tiredness. Symptoms can include prolonged, extreme tiredness following an activity, arms and legs feeling heavy and hard to move, lack of engagement in normal daily activities, trouble concentrating, thinking clearly, or remembering, feeling frustrated, irritable, and upset, putting less energy into personal appearance, and spending more time in bed or sleeping. It is easy to confuse cancer-related fatigue with depression. The cause of cancer-related fatigue is unknown.
The best treatment for cancer-related fatigue appears to be encouragement to engage in moderate exercise along with relaxation and body awareness training. The ancient Chinese practice of Qigong has all of these properties. It’s a light exercise that produces relaxation and body awareness. So, it would seem reasonable to expect that Qigong practice would be effective in treating cancer patients.
In today’s Research News article “Qigong in cancer care: a systematic review and construct analysis of effective Qigong therapy.” See:
or see below
Klein and colleagues review the published research literature on the application of Qigong for the treatment of cancer patients. They report that a significant number of controlled studies report that Qigong has positive effects on the cancer-specific quality of life, improving the overall well-being of the patients. In this regard, it is effective for reducing fatigue, which by itself will improve quality of life. Importantly for fighting cancer, Qigong improves immune function, reduces the inflammatory response, and the stress levels of individuals with cancer, as referenced by decreased cortisol levels. These latter findings suggest that Qigong can not only improve the quality of life but also help in fighting the cancer itself.
These findings are very exciting. They suggest that Qigong practice may be a tremendous help in treating cancer and for the patients coping with the consequences of cancer and its treatment. Qigong is a light exercise as well as a mindfulness practice. Because of its gentle nature it is appropriate for individuals weakened by disease or for the elderly. The exercise component may be essential for improving the individual’s ability to fight cancer. The mindfulness component is also important as mindfulness practices, in general, have been found to be effective in improving health and fighting disease. So, the combination of gentle exercise along with mindfulness training suggests that Qigong is a potent mixture to assist cancer patients.
So, help cancer treatment with qigong.
“Qigong is clearly not for those who would like to take a pill and wait for the next instruction from the oncologist. But for anyone who has found their diagnosis has led them to a deeper enquiry into the subtler energetic levels of health and healing, this practice has a proven track record and can provide excellent results for those with the discipline for daily practice.” – Donatus Roobeek
CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies
Klein PJ, Schneider R, Rhoads CJ. Qigong in cancer care: a systematic review and construct analysis of effective Qigong therapy. Support Care Cancer. 2016 Apr 5. [Epub ahead of print] Review.
Purpose: This review (a) assesses the strength of evidence addressing Qigong therapy in supportive cancer care and (b) provides insights for definition of effective Qigong therapy in supportive cancer care.
Methods: This mixed-methods study includes (a) a systematic review of randomized clinical trials (RCTs) following PRISMA guidelines and (b) a constant-comparative qualitative analysis of effective intervention protocols.
Results: Eleven published randomized clinical trials were reviewed. A total of 831 individuals were studied. Geographic settings include the USA, Australia, China, Hong Kong, and Malaysia. Qigong therapy was found to have positive effects on the cancer-specific QOL, fatigue, immune function, and cortisol levels of individuals with cancer. Qigong therapy protocols varied supporting a plurality of styles. Qualitative analyses identified common programming constructs. Content constructs included exercise (gentle, integrated, repetitious, flowing, weight-bearing movements), breath regulation, mindfulness and meditation, energy cultivation including self-massage, and emphasis on relaxation. Logistic constructs included delivery by qualified instructors, home practice, and accommodation for impaired activity tolerance.
Conclusions: There is global interest and a growing body of research providing evidence of therapeutic effect of Qigong therapy in supportive cancer care. While Qigong therapy protocols vary in style, construct commonalities do exist. Knowledge of the common constructs among effective programs revealed in this research may be used to guide future research intervention protocol and community programming design and development.