Meta-Analysis of benefits of qigong for COPD

Effectiveness of t'ai chi and qigong on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis.


This is a systematic review and meta-analysis, which means  it looks at all the other studies that were done on the topic of tai chi and qigong (TCQ) and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and assesses an overall evaluation of the evidence of benefit.  Unfortunately, the methodology for the chosen trials is not as rigorous as it needs to be in order to draw strong conclusions. Nonetheless, the evidence is positive.

This review found, out of a population of over 500 potential studies, only 10 met their strict criteria of randomized controlled trials with both exercise and non-exercise controls. The resulting 10 studies involved 718 subjects.

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Qigong training via Video can be effective

This study is significant because it showed for the first time Qigong can improve breathing function in people with COPD via instruction utilizing Qigong videos instead of an in-person program.

Participant adoption of the Meditative Movement (MM) practices showed a significant and moderately large correlation with overall health improvement for Flight Attendants with CPOD due to exposure to secondhand smoke. There were significant improvements in the 6-min walk test, the Multidimensional Assessment of Interoceptive Awareness (MAIA) score, and the COPD Assessment Test. Eighty one percent of respondents enjoyed the program. These results support the benefits of video-based qigong (MM) training for this population.

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Gene Expression Changes Induced by Qigong


What Is the Molecular Signature of Mind–Body Interventions? A Systematic Review of Gene Expression Changes Induced by Meditation and Related Practices

This systematic review of 18 studies investigated Mind-Body Interventions (MBI) and their effect on gene expression. MBIs included Qigong, yoga, breathing practices, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, Tai Chi, and meditation. In regards to Qigong, it was found that practitioners who had practiced Falun Qigong for an average of 1-5 years experienced  enhanced immunity, down-regulated cellular metabolism, and delayed cell death. Also, Tai Chi was studied for its effects on inflammation and sleep deprivation in breast cancer survivors. It was compared to a Cognitive Behavioral Intervention. It was found that IL-6 was marginally reduced and TNF (pro-inflammatory cytokines) was significantly reduced after Tai Chi, indicating that it can reduce cellular inflammatory responses. Similarly, gene expression analysis found a 9% reduction in expression of 19 pro-inflammatory genes and a 3.3% increase in expression of 34 genes involved in the production of proteins that regulate anti-viral response and tumor activity in the Tai Chi group relative to CBT-I.

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Tai Chi exercise is more effective than brisk walking

Tai Chi exercise is more effective than brisk walking in reducing cardiovascular disease risk factors among adults with hypertension: A randomized controlled trial.

These findings indicate that Tai Chi offered greater and longer-term benefits than brisk walking in reducing modifiable CVD risk factors (especially blood pressure, obesity, blood glucose levels and psychosocial well-being). This study was a randomized control trial of  246 participants, randomized into three groups. Participants in the tai chi group attended a tai chi class for one hour twice a week for 3 months with 20 people per class. A follow up step showed that the results lasted 9 months after the study completed.

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Can Tai Chi and Qigong Postures Shape Our Mood?

 Can Tai Chi and Qigong Postures Shape Our Mood? 

This Harvard University article gives a scientific basis for the importance of position as demonstrated by tai chi and qigong for people’s health.  According to Dr. Peter Wayne, the brain does not rule the body, the body rules the brain. Gait is a better predictor of health than heart rate, respiration rate, blood pressure or blood sugar. Qigong changes the body position and thus influences our health. Qigong can change your mood based on the shape you make.

Front. Hum. Neurosci., 01 May 2018 |

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Tai Chi and Pulmonary Rehabilitation Compared for Patients With COPD

Tai Chi and Pulmonary Rehabilitation Compared for Patients With COPD.

 This study  shows that there is another beneficial treatment other than traditional pulmonary rehabilitation for people with COPD. It compared traditional pulmonary rehabilitation with a Tai Chi treatment. Tai Chi/Qigong was done five times weekly for 12 weeks. The improvements were the same during the study period but the main benefit was that after 3 months Tai Chi’s improvements remained while the pulmonary rehabilitation benefits declined.

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Tools for Teachers - What is Qigong handout

The NQA Research and Education Committee is happy to provide qigong instructors with this handout to that describes what is qigong and some of its benefits. Revised 2018.

Handout to Download

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Antioxidative and Hypoglycemic effect of qigong

This study utilized measurable biomarkers to demonstrate the impact of tai chi qigong. It was a relatively large study with a control group and found a statistically significant decrease in Hbq A1C (a pre-diabetes marker), a statistically significant increase in antioxidant markers, and a decrease in the oxidative stress score. The participants did Tai Chi Easy five days a week for six months. This is a impressive study.

Hypoglycemic and antioxidant effect of Tai chi exercise training in older adults with metabolic syndrome.

Clin Interv Aging. 2018 Apr 3;13:523-531. doi: 10.2147/CIA.S157584. eCollection 2018.

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Qigong exercises for patients post stroke

This high quality meta-analysis study review found that MB exercises (like Qigong) as an add-on treatment may potentially improve depression, activities of daily living, and mobility of these post-stroke patients. They limited the studies to those that were at least 5 weeks long, and they all showed positive results post stroke. This meta-analysis demonstrated a very high level of rigor (using the PRISMA checklist), and is the combined work of Chinese and American Researchers.

“To our knowledge, this is the first meta-analysis that included the rehabilitative effects of tai chi and qigong among stroke survivors. The main findings from this systematic review are of great significance for the public health sector since many stroke survivors have varying degrees of depression and loss of functional capacity—both of which affect their mood, functioning, and quality of life. MB exercises can be employed as safe and inexpensive complementary treatments to offer these patients more favorable outcomes.”

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Qigong and Heart Failure


Encouraging results were found in this meta-study review of research on people with Heart Failure. Twenty-four Random Control studies were reviewed with a total of 1,314 participants. Qigong is included in the Tai chi studies.

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Harvard Meta-Analysis on Qigong and Cancer

Harvard Researcher Peter Wayne Meta-analysis on Qigong and Cancer

A very interesting article about the benefits of qigong during cancer challenges was recently published. Peter Wayne of Harvard University published a meta study review of 22 studies, of which 15 were randomized control research studies with 1,283 participants. He found that TCQ shows promise in addressing cancer-related symptoms and QOL in cancer survivors.

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Qigong Exercises for Diabetes

Qigong exercise has shown promising results in clinical experience and in randomized, controlled pilot studies for affecting aspects of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) including blood glucose, triglycerides, total cholesterol, weight, BMI and insulin resistance.

Qigong Exercises for the Management of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

Amy L. Putiri, Jacqueline R. Close, Harold Ryan Lilly, Nathalie Guillaume, and Guan-Cheng Sun, Wen Liu, Academic Editor

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Qigong Prevents memory deficits and cognitive decline

Qigong and Memory - Preventing memory deficits and cognitive decline

Objectively using MRI imaging, this study showed that Qigong and Tai Chi can increase gray matter in the brain in older adults. It showed that there truly are physical changes in the brain with qigong, when practiced for twelve weeks.   The first article’s results demonstrate the potential of Tai Chi Chuan and Baduanjin exercise for the prevention of memory deficits in older adults. The second article’s findings demonstrate the potential of Tai Chi Chuan and Baduanjin exercises in preventing cognitive decline.

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Know the Evidence May 2017 Updated Review

Know the Evidence May 2017 Updated Review Of Current Metastudy Research on Qigong

The NQA Research and Education Committee is happy to share with you this important information on the current state of research on qigong.

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Tai Chi and Qigong for Insomnia

Tai Chi and Qigong for Insomnia

UCLA has been doing high quality research in qigong and tai chi practiced as qigong. This RCT study showed significant impact on insomnia, and the low cost and easy access to tai chi was emphasized as well making tai chi an excellent option for people suffering from insomnia.


Excerpts from UCLA Press Release

UCLA study shows that slow-moving meditation practice  works just as well as talk therapy, and better than medication.

New UCLA research shows that tai chi, a form of slow-moving meditation, is just as effective as cognitive behavioral therapy, which has been considered the “gold standard” treatment, with both showing enduring benefits over one year.


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Recommendation: May 2017 issue of Harvard HealthBeat cites Tai Chi moves (aka qigong)

May 2017 issue of Harvard HealthBeat  newsletter addresses balance, and highlights tai chi moves (aka qigong) as one of the ways to improve balance.


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Cultivating life energy, Qigong in Cancer Care

Cultivating life energy, Qigong in Cancer Care

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Qigong in Cancer Care: Theory, Evidence-Base, and Practice.


Qigong in Cancer Care: Theory, Evidence-Base, and Practice.  Author: Penelope Klein.

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Important Qigong and Breast Cancer Study -April 2017

Qigong and Breast Cancer Study -April 2017


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Emerging Research Bibliography

Emerging Research Supporting Health Benefits of Qigong Exercise and Tai Chi practiced as Qigong: 2010 through 2014. A Bibliography.

  • A search and review of the literature for high quality research studies resulted in identification of 64 articles: 53 primary, randomized controlled clinical studies and 11 literature reviews validating therapeutic benefit of qigong exercise and tai chi practiced as qigong.
  • The assembled bibliography was then categorized into clinical areas including cancer care, fall prevention, cardiac and cardiovascular, pulmonary care, healthy aging, stress management and immune support quality of life, general health benefits,  Bone Health, Parkinson’s , Fibromyalgia, Arthritis, Obesity, Diabetes, Neurologic, and Mode of delivery.
  • It is the hoped that this bibliographic effort will serve as a resource in advancement of qigong exercise practice in health promotion and integrative health care.
  • This bibliography is a service of the National Qigong Association, Research and Education Committee.

Read Bibliography Emerging Research Supporting Health Benefits of Qigong & Tai chi Paper

Download Bibliography Emerging Research Supporting Health Benefits of Qigong & Tai chi pdf