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Qigong for Parkinson’s Disease

Qigong for Parkinson’s Disease

Two studies have been done recently about the effects of Qigong/Tai Chi practice on Parkinson’s Patients.: “Impact of Tai Chi on motor and non-motor function meta-analysis” and “The Impact of Tai Chi and qigong mind-body exercises on motor and non-motor function and quality of life in Parkinson’s Patients.” Both were meta-analyses. Both referenced seven electronic databases. The first involved 325 patients; the second 735 patients. Both studies concluded that there is clear evidence that Qigong/Tai Chi can improve motor function, balance, walking ability and the ability to avoid falls. The first described the effect as “significant improvement.” The second also concluded that Qigong and Tai Chi can offset the effects of depression and can enhance the quality of life for Parkinson’s patients. Clearly, additional larger-scale studies are appropriate. 

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Qigong in Cancer Care - Updated Systemic Review and Meta-analysis

This timely article reviews twelve recent studies on Tai Chi and Qigong and its impact on cancer survivors. Using the Cochrane Collaboration Review Manager, a total of 915 subjects from 12 studies conducted since 2014 studying Qigong and Tai Chi treatments were reviewed. As before, the evidence is very supportive.  The studies all had controls, and compared usual care, support groups, waitlist control or sham Qigong control. The Qigong/Tai Chi interventions had positive effects on reducing the clinical symptoms of fatigue, sleep difficulties, anxiety, stress, and depressive symptoms, and improved overall quality of life. The only editorial comment is to watch for the sudden reversal in the graphs for which side showed the impact. For the first two graphs, the control results appeared on the left and the Qigong/Tai Chi results showed on the right.  For the remaining graphs, the Qigong/Tai Chi results showed on the left, and the control results appeared on the right. 

Written by CJ Rhoads, December 26, 2020.  

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Qigong for Diabetes

Three studies on Diabetes

 These three studies all report positive effects of either tai chi or qigong or both as a treatment for type 2 diabetes mellitus.  The first two studies were meta-analysis, with a combined total of 42 studies.  The third was a primary study with 103 subjects.  All reported beneficial results for the subjects compared to controls. Compared to aerobic exercise, the the first meta analysis indicated that tai chi had benefits over and above aerobic exercise for lowering A1C (average long term blood sugar levels) and raising hdl ( the “good” cholesterol).  The third individual study indicated that fasting blood sugar levels were improved more with qigong than tai chi, especially if the patient had had diabetes for a longer period of time.

 In all, the mounting research shows that both tai chi and qigong are effective treatments for type 2 diabetes. 

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Physical Benefits of Qigong as exercise

Effect on Strength and Endurance

Effect of Tai Chi on muscle strength, physical endurance, postural balance and flexibility: a systematic review and meta-analysis. 

Wehner C, Blank C, Arvandi M, Wehner C, Schobersberger W. Effect of Tai Chi on muscle strength, physical endurance, postural balance and flexibility: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ Open Sport Exerc Med. 2021;7(1):e000817.

This paper conducted a systematic review of 31 papers, including 21 in a meta-analysis, looking at the effect of Tai Chi on muscle strength, physical endurance, postural balance and flexibility as measured by tests commonly used in health-related fitness or competitive sports contexts.The number of participants in each study ranged from 14 - 368, and a vast majority of the participants were over the age of 60. Intervention periods ranged from 3 weeks to 12 months. Most of the studies were based on Yang style forms whereas three studies included Chen, Sun, and Wu styles.

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