Scientific Studies of Qigong

This document presents summaries and excerpts from various studies of Qigong.

The commentaries excerpted are impressions and conclusions of the authors of the referenced articles and are provided for your information and your study of the practice of Qigong.

Major Depression effectively treated with Spring Forest Qigong practice  
"Applying Spring Forest Qigong to Depression as an Alternative and Complementary Treatment," by Frances V. Gaik Ph.D., Adler School of Professional Psychology, Chicago, IL, 2002.
Dr. Gaik found that "all subjects improved over the treatment period" and "a very significant level of improvement in the majority of the subjects who were measured at serious levels of depression."

Pain intensity reduced following each Spring Forest Qigong treatment
"External Qigong for Chronic Pain, Results from a peer-reviewed, randomized, controlled, clinical study" by Ann Vincent, Brent A. Bauer, et al Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, Jamia Hill, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine, Vol. 38, No. 4, 695-703
Objective: "Chronic pain is highly prevalent in the general population. Adequate clinical management of chronic pain is an ongoing challenge and a purely pharmaceutical approach has proven inadequate. We investigated the efficacy of external qigong [Spring Forest Qigong technique] as an adjunctive treatment for chronic pain."
Conclusions: "Subjects with chronic pain who received external qigong experienced reduction in pain intensity following each qigong treatment. This is especially impressive given the long duration of the pain (>5 years) in most of the participants," writes lead author Ann Vincent, MD, MBBS, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.

Physical pain and emotional distress decreased significantly; Sleep, concentration, decision-making, and appetite improved using Spring Forest Qigong
"Utilizing Spring Forest Qigong as a Self-Directed Treatment for Chronic Pain & Emotional Distress" by Jane F. Coleman, R.N., PhD, Professor Emerita, Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, MN. Published in Journal of Holistic Nursing, Vol. 28, Number 2, June 2011, titled "Spring Forest Qigong and Chronic Pain: Making a Difference."
Study findings: There was a significant decrease in the perception of physical pain and emotional distress for the majority of participants during the study timeframe. Also, symptom variables (sleep, concentration, decision-making, appetite, loss of interest) improved in the majority of subjects.

Conclusion: Both the active exercise and meditative aspects of Spring Forest Qigong proved to be effective self-care modalities for persons with perceived chronic physical pain and/or emotional distress. Subjects demonstrated significant improvement both anecdotally and statistically during the study period.
Medical Applications of Qigong

An original paper by Kenneth M. Sancier, Ph.D, "Medical Applications of Qigong," was published by "Alternative Therapies" in January 1996.

"This article focuses on internal Qi, because almost everyone can learn Qigong exercises for maintaining health and self-healing," writes Dr. Sancier. ("Internal" Qi involves self-practice, whereas "external" Qi involves, for example, a Qigong Master emitting Qi to someone.)

Dr. Sancier writes, in the practice of Chinese therapies such as Qigong, "the flow of Qi is regulated, and blockage of the flow of Qi is removed. Energy blocks or excess or deficient Qi may result from disease, injury, or stress."

Stroke and Mortality Rates decreased with Qigong practice

Dr. Sancier reviewed a 30-year follow-up study on hypertensive patients who were divided into a Qigong group and a control group. All patients had been given drug therapy to control blood pressure. The experimental group also practiced Qigong. The mortality rate in the Qigong group was nearly half of the group who did not practice Qigong. The incidence of stroke as well as death due to stroke was half for those who practiced Qigong. In other words, people who did not practice Qigong suffered a stroke or died from stroke at a rate twice that of those who practiced Qigong.

"Researchers also reported that over the 20-year period, blood pressure of the Qigong group stabilized, whereas that of the control group increased. Remarkably, during this period the drug dosage for the Qigong group could be decreased and for 30% of the patients, could be eliminated. However, the drug dosage for the control group had to be increased."

(Citations for this study as well as other other studies noted in this section can be found in the above-mentioned article.)

Sex Hormone Levels improved with Qigong

Dr. Sancier cited three studies that indicate the trend of estrogen increasing in males and decreasing in females with age "can be reversed by Qigong exercise."

In an auxiliary study, "changes were accompanied by improvements in symptoms such as soreness, dizziness, insomnia, hair loss, impotence, and incontinence associated with Kidney deficiency hypertension (a TCM diagnosis.)"

Bone Density increased with Qigong

Dr. Sancier reviewed a study related to aging that found, "bone density was found to increase in male subjects who practiced Qigong for one year."

He conjectured, "That Qigong therapy also would help restore the bone density of women, especially menopausal women, seems likely."

Cancer and Drug Treatment improved with Qigong practice

Dr. Sancier referenced a study of patients with "medically diagnosed malignant cancer." They were divided into two groups, and all received drugs. One group, however, practiced Qigong. "Both groups improved, but the [Qigong] group showed improvement in strength, appetite, freedom from diarrhea, and weight gain four to nine times greater than the control group." Additionally, a measure of the immune function improved for the Qigong group and decreased for the control group.

Senility symptoms improved with Qigong practice

Dr. Sancier reported, "To study the mechanism of keeping fit by Qigong, a controlled study was made of 100 subjects classified either as pre-senile or with cerebral function impaired by senility."

The control group, which did not practice Qigong, exercised by walking, walking fast, or running slowly. "Criteria for judging outcome were based on measuring clinical signs and symptoms including cerebral function, sexual function, serum lipid levels, and function of endocrine glands."

The results: "After six months, eight of the 14 main clinical signs and symptoms in the Qigong group had improved more than 80%, whereas none of the symptoms in the control group had improved more than 45%."

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