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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.

J Cancer Surviv. 2017 Dec 8. doi: 10.1007/s11764-017-0665-5. [Epub ahead of print]

Tai Chi and Qigong for cancer-related symptoms and quality of life: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Wayne PM, Lee MS, Novakowski J, Osypiuk K, Ligibel 4, Carlson LE, Song R.



This study aims to summarize and critically evaluate the effects of Tai Chi and Qigong (TCQ) mind-body exercises on symptoms and quality of life (QOL) in cancer survivors.


A systematic search in four electronic databases targeted randomized and non-randomized clinical studies evaluating TCQ for fatigue, sleep difficulty, depression, pain, and QOL in cancer patients, published through August 2016. Meta-analysis was used to estimate effect sizes (ES, Hedges' g) and publication bias for randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Methodological bias in RCTs was assessed.


Our search identified 22 studies, including 15 RCTs that evaluated 1283 participants in total, 75% women. RCTs evaluated breast (n = 7), prostate (n = 2), lymphoma (n = 1), lung (n = 1), or combined (n = 4) cancers. RCT comparison groups included active intervention (n = 7), usual care (n = 5), or both (n = 3). Duration of TCQ training ranged from 3 to 12 weeks. Methodological bias was low in 12 studies and high in 3 studies. TCQ was associated with significant improvement in fatigue (ES = - 0.53, p < 0.001), sleep difficulty (ES = - 0.49, p = 0.018), depression (ES = - 0.27, p = 0.001), and overall QOL (ES = 0.33, p = 0.004); a statistically non-significant trend was observed for pain (ES = - 0.38, p = 0.136). Random effects models were used for meta-analysis based on Q test and I 2 criteria. Funnel plots suggest some degree of publication bias. Findings in non-randomized studies largely paralleled meta-analysis results.


Larger and methodologically sound trials with longer follow-up periods and appropriate comparison groups are needed before definitive conclusions can be drawn, and cancer- and symptom-specific recommendations can be made.

TCQ shows promise in addressing cancer-related symptoms and QOL in cancer survivors.

Cancer; Fatigue; Meta-analysis; Qigong; Quality of life; Tai Chi

PMID: 29222705

DOI: 10.1007/s11764-017-0665-5