Can Qigong Exercise Help Breast Cancer Relieving Side Effects?
June 27, 2013 -
Qigong exercise is a popular method
for relieving the side effects of conventional cancer treatments in survivors of
breast cancer, yet its effects are not empirically assessed. A new study by the
University of Hong Kong aimed to investigate the effects of Qigong exercise on
upper limb lymphedema, arterial resistance, and blood flow velocity in survivors
with breast cancer and mastectomy.
This study was conducted as a prospective clinical trial.
Eleven survivors of breast cancer with Qigong experience (mean
age = 58.3 +- 10.1 years) were assigned to the experimental group and 12
survivors of breast cancer without Qigong experience (mean age = 53.8 +- 4.2
years) were assigned to the control group. They all had breast cancer-related
All procedures were completed within one session. After
baseline measurements were taken, the experimental group performed 18 Forms Tai
Chi Internal Qigong for approximately 6 minutes while the control group rested
for similar duration in a sitting position. Both groups were then reassessed.
All participants were measured on their affected upper limb circumference (by
using tape measures), peripheral arterial resistance, and blood flow velocities
(using a Doppler ultrasound machine).
The between-group differences were not significant for all
outcome measures at baseline. The circumferences of the affected upper arm,
elbow, forearm and wrist decreased after Qigong exercise. However, no
significant difference was found in the circumference measures between the 2
groups posttest. In terms of vascular outcomes, the resistance index decreased
and the maximum systolic arterial blood flow velocity (SV) and minimum diastolic
arterial blood flow velocity (DV) increased significantly after qigong exercise.
The between-group difference was close to significant for SV and was significant
for DV posttest.
Based on these results, the researchersí conclusion was:
Qigong exercise could reduce conventional cancer therapy side effects such as
upper limb lymphedema and poor circulatory status in survivors of breast cancer.
However, such effects may be temporary, and further studies must be conducted to
explore longer term effects.
This study is published in the June 2013 issue of
Integrative Cancer Therapies.