Chen, Z., Meng, Z., Milbury, K., Bei, W., Zhang, Y., Thornton, B., . . . Cohen, L. (2013). Qigong improves quality of life in women undergoing radiotherapy for breast cancer: results of a randomized controlled trial. Cancer, 119, 1690–1698.doi: 10.1002/cncr.27904
To evaluate whether patients with breast cancer undergoing radiotherapy (RT) who practiced qigong would report better quality of life, less fatigue, and less sleep disturbance than did patients in a control group.
Patients were randomly assigned to a group that received a qigong intervention or to a wait-list control group. Patients were assigned to cohorts to prevent group contamination during the study. Each week, the qigong group participated in five classes lasting 40 minutes each during RT. These patients received printed materials and a DVD of the qigong program. Patients were encouraged to practice qigong techniques on their own. The intervention included relaxation breathing, meditation, walking in a circle while breathing in sync with arm movement, and self-massage. The control group received standard care. Assessments were performed at baseline, in the middle of the RT schedule, during the last week of RT, and at one and three months after treatment.
Participants were undergoing the active antitumor treatment phase of care.
The study was a randomized, controlled trial.
Practicing qigong appears to be beneficial in reducing fatigue and depression during RT and appears to be of most benefit to women with high measures of depression symptoms.
Qigong, a type of mind-body discipline, appears to have benefit in reducing fatigue and depression over time, particularly among women who have high measures of depression symptoms. Effects were not seen until after RT completion.