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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.  


Qigong or Tai Chi in Cancer Care: an Updated Systematic Review and Meta-analysisYingchun Zeng, Xiaohua Xie, Andy S K Cheng Curr Oncol Rep . 2019 Apr 6;21(6):48.doi: 10.1007/s11912-019-0786-2. PMID: 30955106 DOI: 10.1007/s11912-019-0786-2

Purpose of review: Qigong and Tai Chi are two increasingly popular mind-body interventions with the potential to address the multifaceted needs of cancer survivors. The aim of this updated review and meta-analysis was to quantitatively evaluate the treatment effects of Qigong/Tai Chi on cancer survivors since 2014.

Recent findings: There were statistically significant and clinically meaningful effects in favor of Qigong/Tai Chi interventions for symptoms of fatigue and sleep quality. There were positive trends, but not statistically significant effects, observed for anxiety, stress, depressive symptoms, and overall quality of life (QOL). Cancer-related cognitive impairment is a common complaint among cancer survivors that has received increasing attention in this area in recent years.

Qigong/Tai Chi in cancer care shows great promise with short-term effects in treating many cancer-related symptoms. Further methodologically sound trials with longer follow-up periods and more active control conditions are required, before definitive conclusions can be recommended for cancer patients.

Keywords: Anxiety; Cognitive function; Depression; Fatigue; Integrative oncology; Qigong; Quality of life (QOL); Sleep; Stress; Tai Chi.