Qigong Helps in Addressing CFS

Published: July 22, 2012

Tired of handfuls of pills? This new study showed that QiGong (the oriental gentle movement exercises you sometimes see people doing in parks — a cousin to Yoga), seems to improve CFS symptoms such as sleep, pain, mental attitude and general mobility after 3 months. We asked Qigong expert Ken Cohen to write a chapter on Qigong in our 2001 edition of "From Fatigued to Fantastic!" The summary of the study is given below.

Qigong Ameliorates Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue: A Pilot Uncontrolled Study

Naropa J. Mike Craske,1 Warren Turner,1 Joseph Zammit-Maempe2 and Myeong Soo Lee3

1Education Health & Science, University of Derby, 2The Medical Centre, Vicarage Road, Derby, UK and 3Department of Medical Research, Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine, Daejeon, South Korea

Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners consider that chronic fatigue reflects a disharmony and depletion in the supply of qi in the body. Qigong is one of the traditional complementary interventions used to strengthen qi through self-practice, and to manage the state of qi to prevent and fight disease. The aim of this study is to assess whether qigong could be used to manage the symptoms of chronic fatigue. Eighteen Caucasian, British female participants were recruited, taught a qigong routine during weekly classes over 6 months, and asked to practice it daily for 15 minutes. Participants completed the core set of the RAND Medical Outcomes Study questionnaire (RAND MOS) and a sleep diary during the 2-week baseline control period, and at 3 and 6 months following the start of the trial. The qigong intervention resulted in significant changes in sleep rate score and in the following subscales of the RAND MOS: SF36 Vitality, Sleep Problems, Social Activity, Social Activity Limitation due to Health, Health Distress, Mental Health Index and Psychological Well-Being. Qigong seems to improve factors related to chronic fatigue such as sleep, pain, mental attitude and general mobility after 3 and 6 months. Qigong's positive effects indicate that it represents a potentially safe method of therapy for chronic fatigued patients. However, we cannot completely discount the possible influence of placebo effects, and more objective clinical measures are needed to reproduce our findings with long term follow-up in a randomized, controlled study involving a larger number of subjects.

Jacob Teitelbaum, MD

is one of the world's leading integrative medical authorities on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. He is the lead author of eight research studies on their effective treatments, and has published numerous health & wellness books, including the bestseller on fibromyalgia From Fatigued to Fantastic! and The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution. Dr. Teitelbaum is one of the most frequently quoted fibromyalgia experts in the world and appears often as a guest on news and talk shows nationwide including Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, Oprah & Friends, CNN, and Fox News Health.

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