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Qigong May Be an Effective Self-management Therapy for Burnout
December 28, 2012 -
A study carried out by University of Porto in Portugal evaluated the prevalence of burnout in physiotherapists and assessed whether "White Ball" Qigong exercises may be effective in burnout. This was aimed to provide preliminary data for the preparation and development of a larger study.

Physiotherapists completed a demographic questionnaire and the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) questionnaire. For the intervention and the control groups, the authors selected those physiotherapists with the highest levels of burnout on the most important subscale. The intervention group (eight physiotherapists) performed a specific qigong intervention as developed by the Heidelberg School of Chinese Medicine; the control group consisted of eight physiotherapists on a waiting list. At the end of a three-week period of treatment or waiting list, both groups repeated the MBI for the comparison of results.

Of 106 physiotherapists (36 males and 70 females) assessed by the MBI, Emotional Exhaustion subscale was seen in 52 (49.1%), Depersonalization subscale in 36 (33.9%), and Burnout in the Personal Accomplishment subscale in 33 (31.2%), of whom 4 (3.8%) suffered to a severe degree and 29 (27.4%) moderately.

Within the study group Qigong lowered the mean values of Emotional Exhaustion subscale from 38.0 to 31.4, whereas in the control group the values rose from 33.9 to 37.9. The differences between the two groups were statistically significant. Qigong lowered the mean value of Depersonalization subscale from 10.8 to 6.8. In controls the value rose from 7.3 to 10.6. The difference between the two groups was statistically significant. The mean values of Personal Accomplishment subscale decreased in both groups: from 35.4 to 33.9 in the intervention group, and from 37.5 to 37.1 in the control group. The difference between the two groups was not statistically significant.

The effects of "White Ball" Qigong on burnout symptoms are measurable by the MBI. The results are compatible with the thesis that this type of Qigong is an effective tool for the self-management of burnout. It is easy to integrate into a daily routine as it takes only 2 x 5 min per day. On the basis of this evaluation, a study design can now be developed on a larger scale with appropriate blinding, follow-up testing and adequate controls.




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