Tai Chi and Qigong for Bladder Pain Syndrome
March 21, 2016 -
Management of interstitial
cystitis/bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS) remains a challenge due to poor
understanding on its etiology. Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), as
an optional treatment, has been widely used, because no definitive conventional
therapy is available. The different domain of CAM provides miscellaneous
treatments for IC/BPS, which mainly include dietary modification, biofeedback,
yoga, massage, physical therapy, Qigong, traditional Chinese medicine and
Researchers from China Academy of Chinese
Medical Sciences and Dalhousie University of Canada studied clinical evidence
and found that each therapy can certainly benefit a portion of IC/BPS
patients. CAM therapeutic characteristics including non-invasive and
effectiveness for specific patients allow clinicians and patients to realize
multimodal and individualized therapy for IC/BPS.
A systematic review demonstrated that Qigong
and Tai Chi can improve physical function, boost immunity, relieve stress, and
enhance quality of life. Despite lack of evidence on effect of energy therapies
for IC/BPS, Qigong's efficacy on managing chronic pain has been reported.
Functional MRI study revealed that Qigong can activate specific brain regions to
suppress pain. On the other hand, a study showed that Qigong can relieve stress
and anxiety, which may contribute to the improvement of IC/BPS symptoms.
However, the efficacy of Qigong usually varies and depends on an individual's
confidence in this form of energy therapy.
Despite limited available evidence, CAM therapies are relatively
non-invasive and each therapy can certainly benefit a substantial group of
IC/BPS patients. Because no definitive treatment is available and management of
IC/BPS needs to balance potential benefit and adverse effects of treatment, the
relative safety of CAM allows clinicians and patients to realize multimodal
therapy for IC/BPS, which is recommended by the International Consultation on
Incontinence Research Society.
Moreover, miscellaneous CAM therapies also provide an opportunity
for IC/BPS patients to practice an individualized therapeutic strategy. However,
the target patient group of each CAM therapy needs to be further explored and
defined. In addition, well-designed, randomized, controlled trials are also
needed to provide more high quality evidence for the efficacy and reliability of
CAM on managing IC/BPS.