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Current(2022) research is showing that practicing qigong and taiji helps cancer patients. Practicing qigong and/or taiji:

  • improved the survivors’ ability to use their limbs,
  • Improved cognitive functioning (thinking and decision making) of survivors,
  • improved survivors’ sleep quality and reducing fatigue,
  • reduced survivors’ stress hormones (cortisol),
  • showed survivors decreased anxiety, stress, depressive symptoms, and an overall improvement in quality of life.

These are great improvements in cancer survivors’ quality of life.Research into the use of qigong and/or taiji with this population is ongoing.

Farahani,et al, found eleven studies on various mind-body interventions including yoga, tai chi, and qigong, totaling 1,032 participants between 2006 and 2019. Their results indicated that these mind body interventions may improve objective and subjective cognitive function in cancer survivors. They conclude that cancer survivors experiencing cognitive symptoms may benefit from participation in mind-body exercises.

The effect of mind-body exercise on cognitive function in cancer survivors: A systematic review.

FarahaniMA, Soleimanpour S, Mayo SJ, Myers JS, Panesar P, Ameri F.Can OncolNurs J. 2022 Feb 1;32(1):38-48. doi: 10.5737/236880763213848.eCollection 2022 Winter.PMID: 35280065

Yang,et al, studied twenty-six reports from fourteen trials (thirteen randomized control trials and one non-randomized controlled trial) of cancer survivors. The number of subjects ranged from nine to 57. Five trials were conducted during treatment, two were done after surgery, and seven were completed after other treatments. They reported that promising evidence emerged that 40-60 min of thrice-weekly supervised tai chi for 8-12 weeks improved fatigue and sleep quality in cancer survivors. They looked at a number of other possible benefits, but there was not enough evidence to come to a conclusion on any other health improvement criteria.

TaiChi for cancer survivors: A systematic review toward consensus-basedguidelines.

YangL, Winters-Stone K, Rana B, Cao C, Carlson LE, Courneya KS,Friedenreich CM, Schmitz KH.Cancer Med. 2021 Nov;10(21):7447- 7456.doi: 10.1002/cam4.4273. Epub 2021 Sep 17.PMID: 34533284

Cheung,et al, analyzed twenty-one studies involving a total of 1758subjects. The most common type of qigong therapy provided was taichi. There was significant evidence that qigong improved sleep and fatigue in cancer patients post-intervention. Qigong's effect on sleep influenced its effect on fatigue. The effect decreased overtime, becoming non-significant after three months. There was not enough evidence of an impact on depressive symptoms.

Effect of qigong for sleep disturbance-related symptom clusters in cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

CheungDST, Takemura N, Smith R, Yeung WF, Xu X, Ng AYM, Lee SF, LinCC.Sleep Med. 2021 Sep;85:108- 122. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2021.06.036.Epub 2021 Jun 29.PMID: 34303913

Ni,et al, focused specifically on tai chi, reviewing 22 studies with a total of 1410 participants. They found evidence that tai chi improves quality of life, sleep quality as well as reducing the levels of cortisol, improving limb function and decreasing fatigue.

The effects of Tai Chi on quality of life of cancer survivors: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

NiX, Chan RJ, Yates P, Hu W, Huang X, Lou Y.Support Care Cancer. 2019Oct;27(10):3701-3716. doi: 10.1007/s00520- 019-04911-0. Epub 2019 Jun24.PMID: 31236699

Zeng,et al, reviewed twelve articles with 915 participants with cancer and found statistically significant and clinically meaningful positive results for tai chi and qigong for symptoms of fatigue and sleep quality. They noted that there were also positive trends for anxiety,stress, depressive symptoms and overall quality of life. They stated that tai chi and qigong shows great promise in cancer care for many cancer-related symptoms.

Qigongor Tai Chi in Cancer Care: an Updated Systematic Review and Metaanalysis.

ZengY, Xie X, Cheng ASK.Curr Oncol Rep. 2019 Apr 6;21(6):48. doi:10.1007/s11912-019-0786-2.PMID: 30955106

Meng,et al, reviewed 17 trials with 1236 participants who had breast cancer. The results showed significant effectiveness of qigong on quality of life, depression and anxiety. There were also studies on fatigue and sleep disturbance relief, but there did not appear to be a significantly different result than the control group. They concluded that qigong is beneficial for improving quality of life and relieving depression and anxiety; thus, qigong should be encouraged in women with breast cancer.

Kou,et al, on the other hand, found in the fourteen articles they reviewed that fatigue, quality of life and sleep quality were all improved by qigong, specifically baduanjin (also known as the Eight-Brocades).

Luo,et al, and Liu, et al, also reviewed studies on tai chi and qigong and found effective positive benefits. Lou, et al, reviewed fifteen articles with 885 participants and concluded that tai chi and qigong appeared to be effective on quality of life, increased shoulder function, improved pain relief, arm strength, and anxiety.

Liu,et al, reviewed sixteen studies with 1268 participants and found that overall quality of life improved when compared to conventional therapy alone. They also found that tai chi  was about the same as conventional therapies for mitigating fatigue when used alone, but significantly effective when used as an adjunct to conventional therapy.

Qigong for women with breast cancer: An updated systematic review and meta-analysis.

MengT, Hu SF, Cheng YQ, Ye MN, Wang B, Wu JJ, Chen HF.Complement TherMed. 2021 Aug;60:102743. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2021.102743. Epub 2021May 28.PMID: 34058368

ClinicalEffects of Baduanjin Qigong Exercise on Cancer Patients: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis on Randomized Controlled Trials.

KuoCC, Wang CC, Chang WL, Liao TC, Chen PE, Tung TH.Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2021 Apr 8;2021:6651238. doi:10.1155/2021/6651238. eCollection 2021.PMID: 33880125

Effectof Tai Chi Chuan in Breast Cancer Patients: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.

LuoXC, Liu J, Fu J, Yin HY, Shen L, Liu ML, Lan L, Ying J, Qiao XL, TangCZ, Tang Y.Front Oncol. 2020 Apr 23;10:607. doi:10.3389/fonc.2020.00607. eCollection 2020.PMID: 32391277

The effectiveness of tai chi in breast cancer patients: A systematic review and meta-analysis.

LiuL, Tan H, Yu S, Yin H, Baxter GD.Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2020Feb;38:101078. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2019.101078. Epub 2019 Dec13.PMID: 32056814

Lynch,et al, reviewed 20 studies with 749 predominantly male participants aged 48-63 with head and neck cancer. Seventy-five percent of the studies reported a significant improvement in either objective or patient-reported outcomes. They studied all forms of physical activity, but found that activities such as yoga and tai chi interventions demonstrated improved objective and patient-reported outcomes. The most common improvement was aerobic capacity and fatigue.

Effectiveness of physical activity interventions in improving objective and patient-reported outcomes in head and neck cancer survivors: A systematic review.

LynchPT, Horani S, Lee R, Sumer BD, Lee SC, Mayo HG, Rethorst C, DayAT.Oral Oncol. 2021 Jun;117:105253. doi:10.1016/j.oraloncology.2021.105253. Epub 2021 Apr 23.PMID: 33901767

Arring,et al, did a review of 30 articles each with between 50 and 376participants with cancer related fatigue for many types of integrative therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy, hypnosis,American ginseng, acupressure, as well as tai chi and qigong. They found that qigong was effective after treatment for helping with fatigue.

Integrative Therapies for Cancer-Related Fatigue.

ArringNM, Barton DL, Brooks T, Zick SM.Cancer J. 2019Sep/Oct;25(5):349-356. Doi: 10.1097/PPO.0000000000000396. PMID:31567463

Lin,et al, also focused on many different integrative medicine therapies for cancer patients to see which, if any, helped with quality of life. They reviewed 34 studies with a total of 3010 patients and rank-ordered the therapies with qigong plus mindfulness ending up as the top rated therapy.

Efficacy of complementary and integrative medicine on health-related quality of life in cancer patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

LinWF, Zhong MF, Zhou QH, Zhang YR, Wang H, Zhao ZH, Cheng BB, LingCQ.Cancer Manag Res. 2019 Jul 22;11:6663-6680. doi:10.2147/CMAR.S195935. eCollection 2019.PMID: 31413628