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A Tai Chi Qigong Program Improves Functional Capacity in Survivors of Nasopharyngeal Cancer
July 15, 2014 -
Nasopharyngeal cancer is a cancer that starts in the nasopharynx, the upper part of the throat behind the nose and near the base of skull. Survivors of nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC) often sustain cardiovascular complications after conventional cancer treatments. Tai Chi (TC) Qigong training may be a viable way to improve peripheral circulatory status and aerobic capacity in this population. A study by University of Hong Kong evaluated the effects of a 6-month TC Qigong training program on blood flow velocities and resistance, palmar skin temperature, and functional aerobic capacity in survivors of NPC.

Twenty-five and 27 survivors of NPC volunteered to join the intervention group (aged from 42 to 63) and control group (aged from 49 to 68) respectively. The intervention group underwent a TC Qigong training program-the modified 18 Forms TC Internal Qigong-for 6 months, while the control group received no training. Peripheral arterial blood flow velocities and resistance, palmar skin temperature, and functional aerobic capacity were measured by a Doppler ultrasound machine, an infrared thermometer, and six-minute walk test, respectively. All outcomes were assessed at baseline, mid-intervention (3-month), post-intervention (6-month), and follow-up (12-month) periods.

The TC Qigong group had higher diastolic blood flow velocity, lower arterial blood flow resistance, and higher palmar skin temperature than the control group after TC Qigong training. However, only the diastolic blood flow velocity was higher in the TC Qigong group than in the control group during the no-training follow-up period. Additionally, an improvement in functional aerobic capacity was found in the intervention group after TC Qigong training but not in the control group over time.

Based on the results, the researchers concluded that TC Qigong training may improve peripheral circulatory status and functional aerobic capacity among people treated for NPC. However, this is only a pilot study and future definitive trials are needed to confirm the results.

This study is published in the June 2014 issue of Journal of cancer survivorship : research and practice.




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