Body-Mind-Spirit Therapy/Qigong

Body-Mind-Spirit Therapy/Qigong

PEP Topic 

Body-mind-spirit therapy incorporates ideas and approaches from western medicine, Chinese medicine and philosophies of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. Qigong is a traditional Chinese discipline involving the practice of aligning breath, movement, and awareness to cultivate and balance qi (chi), or life energy. Medical qigong is a form of the discipline designed to improve health. It incorporates practice of gentle exercise coordinated with relaxation through meditation and breathing. Efficacy of these approaches was evaluated for fatigue, mood status, sleep-wake disturbances, lymphedema, and cognitive impairment.

Effectiveness Not Established

Research Evidence Summaries

Fong, S.S., Ng, S.S., Luk, W.S., Chung, J.W., Ho, J.S., Ying, M., & Ma, A.W. (2014). Effects of qigong exercise on upper limb lymphedema and blood flow in survivors of breast cancer: A pilot study. Integrative Cancer Therapies, 13, 54–61.

doi: 10.1177/1534735413490797

Study Purpose:

To investigate the effects of qigong exercises on upper extremity lymphedema, arterial resistance, and blood flow velocity in breast cancer survivors

Intervention Characteristics/Basic Study Process:

Experimental group performed approximately six minutes of the 18 forms tai chi qigong exercises, and the control group rested.

Sample Characteristics:

  • N = 23
  • MEAN AGE = 58 years (intervention), 54 years (control)
  • MALES: 0%, FEMALES: 100%
  • KEY DISEASE CHARACTERISTICS: Females older than age 18, treated with mastectomy, lymphedema of greater than 2 cm circumferential measurement in affected versus unaffected extremity, no known neurological deficits
  • OTHER KEY SAMPLE CHARACTERISTICS: Exclusions included current adjuvant treatment, recurrence of disease, lumpectomy, pregnancy, or performing other regular exercise.


  • SITE: Single site 
  • SETTING TYPE: Outpatient 
  • LOCATION: Hong Kong

Phase of Care and Clinical Applications:

  • PHASE OF CARE: Late effects and survivorship
  • APPLICATIONS: Elder care

Study Design:

  • Pilot, single-blind, nonrandomized, controlled trial

Measurement Instruments/Methods:

  • Circumferential limb volume
  • Tape measurement
  • Doppler for arterial resistance
  • Resistance Index


There was an immediate circumferential decrease and blood flow resistance decrease, with increase in blood flow velocity in the experimental group. However, no girth changes between groups may indicate only temporary effects.


More rigorous randomized, controlled studies are needed to confirm the effects of this exercise.


  • Small sample (< 30)
  • Risk of bias (no random assignment)
  • Findings not generalizable

Nursing Implications:

Nurses should encourage limb movement and range of motion exercises for breast cancer survivors.