Qigong for Injured Military Service Members
April 21, 2016 -
Wounded, ill, and injured (WII) Military
Service members experience significant stress and are at risk for developing
chronic conditions including posttraumatic stress disorder and depression.
Qigong, a meditative movement practice, may positively affect their ability to
engage in successful rehabilitation.
Several organizations, including Walter Reed
National Military Medical Center, Institute of Integral Qigong and Tai Chi
and University of Texas at El Paso, teamed up to assess the feasibility of
Qigong practice in WII Service members returning from combat; effects on stress,
sleep, and somatic symptoms; satisfaction; and participants' experience with the
Twenty-six WII were enrolled. The program
was designed to include 20 classes over 10 weeks. Participants completed
self-report questionnaires, practice logs, and an exit interview.
The findings: average attendance was 8.14
classes; mean engagement was 5.7 weeks. Participants endorsed a high level of
satisfaction with the practice. Qualitative themes included coping with stress;
feeling more resilient and empowered; improvement in symptoms including sleep
and physical function; and factors affecting practice. Participant-reported
facilitators included accessibility and portability of the practice; barriers
included scheduling conflicts and personal challenges. Participants recommended
offering shorter programs with flexible scheduling options, increasing program
awareness, and including significant others in future classes.
In conclusion, Qigong was safe, portable,
and easily adapted for WII Service members.
This research is published in the March 2016 issue
of Journal of Holistic Nursing