Qigong exercise for chronic fatigue syndrome. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Qigong exercise for chronic fatigue syndrome.
Int Rev Neurobiol. 2019 ;147:121-153. PMID: 31607352
Jessie S M Chan
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is often overlooked, has unclear etiology and no effective cure except some symptomatic treatments. Additionally, most people with CFS do not seek medical attention. Qigong exercise, an ancient Eastern body-mind-spirit practice, has been long practiced in Chinese communities and may powerfully trigger the self-healing process. Using full baseline data (n=1409), the average Hong Kong CFS respondent was found to be female, married, 42.5yo, highly educated and employed full-time, experiencing sleep disturbance (~95%), anxiety (>80%), and depressive symptoms (68%). Here, we summarized our previous studies to evaluate the potential of Qigong as a complementary and alternative therapy for CFS. Two randomized controlled trials were conducted (RCT1 n=137, RCT2 n=150). In both trials, extensive online questionnaires allowed individuals with CFS-like illness (i.e., symptoms match CFS, yet without clinical confirmation) to be identified. RCT1 included a 5-week intervention. The intervention in RCT2 was 8weeks. In RCT1 Qigong group had reduced fatigue (P<0.001) and depressive symptoms (P=0.002), and improved telomerase activity (P=0.029). An effective practice regimen was identified (≥3 days/week, at ≥30min/session). Methods were slightly adjusted for RCT2, which replicated RCT1 findings, and further documented improved subjective sleep quality (P=0.008) and adiponectin levels (P<0.05). A significant dose-response relationship was founded. Thus, Qigong exercise should be recognized as a possible standalone therapy and self-management skill in CFS. Strategies are needed to increase motivation for regular practice and to explore its possibility of self-management skill in brain health. Further clarity would come from studies comparing Qigong with other physical exercises.