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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.

Introduction by Dr. Charles Garrettson, George Mason University


The impact of Tai Chi and Qigong mind-body exercises on motor and non-motor function and quality of life in Parkinson's disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Parkinsonism and Related Disorders 41 (2107), 3-13.  R. Song , W. Grabowska, M. Park , K. Osypiuk, G.P. Vergara-Diaz, P. Bonato Associate, J.M. Hausdorff, M. Fox, L.R. Sudarsky, E. Macklin, P.M. Wayne

Purpose: To systematically evaluate and quantify the effects of Tai Chi/Qigong (TCQ) on motor (UPDRS III, balance, falls, Timed-Up-and-Go, and 6-Minute Walk) and non-motor (depression and cognition) function, and quality of life (QOL) in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD).

Methods: A systematic search in 7 electronic databases targeted clinical studies evaluating TCQ for individuals with PD published through August 2016. Meta-analysis was used to estimate effect sizes (Hedges's g) and publication bias for randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Methodological bias in RCTs was assessed by two raters. Results: Our search identified 21 studies, 15 of which were RCTs with a total of 735 subjects. For RCTs, comparison groups included no treatment (n ¼ 7, 47%) and active interventions (n ¼ 8, 53%). Duration of TCQ ranged from 2 to 6 months. Methodological bias was low in 6 studies, moderate in 7, and high in 2. Fixed-effect models showed that TCQ was associated with significant improvement on most motor outcomes (UPDRS III [ES ¼ 0.444, p < 0.001], balance [ES ¼ 0.544, p < 0.001], Timed-Up-and-Go [ES ¼ 0.341, p ¼ 0.005], 6 MW [ES ¼ 0.293, p ¼ 0.06], falls [ES ¼ 0.403, p ¼ 0.004], as well as depression [ES ¼ 0.457, p ¼ 0.008] and QOL [ES ¼ 0.393, p < 0.001], but not cognition [ES ¼ 0.225, p ¼ 0.477]). I2 indicated limited heterogeneity. Funnel plots suggested some degree of publication bias.

Conclusion: Evidence to date supports a potential benefit of TCQ for improving motor function, depression and QOL for individuals with PD, and validates the need for additional large-scale trials.