Qigong for Fibromyalgia: a Quantitative and Qualitative Study

In a 2013 article in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine entitled 'Extension trial of qigong for fibromyalgia: a quantitative and qualitative study' researchers found that qigong practice "led to significant improvements in pain, impact, sleep, and physical function" for subjects suffering from fibromyalgia.

The article describes qigong as follows:

"Qigong, which means the cultivation of qi or the energetic essence of the human being, has a long history extending thousands of years, is part of contemporary Traditional Chinese Medicine and constitutes a distinct approach to healing. Qigong practice (internal qigong) involves physical movements and postures, breathing practices, and meditative techniques, and there are many forms. Multiple forms of qigong are now practiced in many countries, and there is an emerging literature reporting health benefits in several chronic health conditions. More recently, qigong has been characterized as “mindful exercise” or “meditative movement” and this provides domains in which components of the practice can be considered."

The authors describe the benefits of qigong practice as it relates to fibromyalgia as follows:

"Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition associated with sleep and mood disturbances and diminished quality of life. In 2008, a Swedish study reported long-term benefits in pain, sleep, and psychological function in fibromyalgia in a controlled study involving daily practice of qigong for 7 weeks. In Nova Scotia, following completion of a pilot trial involving a similar regimen, we conducted a controlled trial of Chaoyi Fanhuan Qigong (CFQ) for fibromyalgia in which subjects were trained in level 1 CFQ movements, practiced daily for 8 weeks, and were encouraged to continue practice for 6 months. Wait list subjects served as a control group and underwent instruction and practice at the end of the wait time. In both cohorts (immediate, delayed), there were significant improvements in pain, impact, sleep, physical function, and mental function, and benefits were maintained to 6 months. Following that trial, some subjects (N = 10) voluntarily undertook level 2 CFQ training (meditation) in the community, continued their practice, and were known, anecdotally, to be experiencing further health improvements. Furthermore, cases of marked benefits in fibromyalgia in those undertaking community-based training and engaging in extensive CFQ practice were documented."

Here are some comments from some of the participants in the study:

"Less pain, more relaxed, slept better, increased energy. [With level 2] when practice diligently, experience calmness, less pain, better sleep; when skip practice, am angry, tired, and [have] major migraines."

"Allergies are much better, pain is reduced, much happier and more at peace. Can deal with stress better. [With level 2] quality of sleep has improved, pain reduced further."

"At the beginning was using a walker and then a cane; now walk without a cane. Was depressed and felt hopeless about my health, now feel grounded and peaceful. Have reduced amount of medication by half. Have lost 135 pounds on my journey with the practice as well. [With level 2] greater personal peace."

"Biggest thing is mood; from attempting suicide to having hope. Mobility much better, less pain. Able to tolerate things. Like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. [With level 2] deeper understanding of energy flows, blockages which cause pain. Ability (sometimes) to let the pain come and focus on something else."

"Improved sleep, decreased pain, more calm and peaceful. [With level 2] allergies improved, fewer sinus headaches and infections. Happier and deal with stressful situations with increased calmness."

The article concluded with the following statements:

"This open-label extension trial indicates that diligent practice of CFQ, a particular form of qigong, produces sustained benefits in fibromyalgia as indicated by quantitative assessments in core domains for fibromyalgia. Qualitative comments indicate health benefits in other areas as well.

Benefit is related to extent of practice."

The full text of the article is available here.

Energy Therapy for Newborns

In a December 2013 article in the journal Einstein (Sao Paulo) entitled 'Therapeutic touch: influence on vital signs of newborns' researchers from Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein, São Paulo, Brazil found energy therapy (specifically therapeutic touch) to be effective in decreasing respiratory distress and pain in newborns.

The authors had the following to say about the energy therapy modality known as therapeutic touch that is popular in the nursing community:

"It is important to emphasize the need to provide assistance with a holistic approach, in such a way that care contributes to reducing the deleterious effects caused by hospitalization, both for newborns as well as their family members. The use of alternative measures, such as therapeutic touch, used to reestablish and rebalance body energy, can be very effective.

Therapeutic touch is a healing method in which, by the use of hands, energy, warmth and love are transferred from a donor to the body of a recipient. This method guides the practitioner on how to proceed to concentrate and focus attention, a crucial part of every healing process.

The practitioner then enters in harmony with the universal field, by means of a conscious interaction, so that they can guide the patient’s vital energy in such a way as to reestablish their vitality."

The article also outline some of the other benefits of energy therapy:

"The literature also points to the action of therapeutic touch in improving patients responses to treatment, including wound healing and increase in hemoglobin levels in oncologic patients, even during chemotherapy, among other benefits.

Concerning wound healing, an experimental study in guinea pigs submitted to provoked lesion demonstrated
that those treated with water energized by means of therapeutic touch through placing hands, cured the lesions in a period of 20 days, which was superior to the control group, who received untreated water, and cure was observed in only 60% of the animals. (Savieto RM, Silva MJ. Toque terapêutico na cicatrização de lesões da pele de cobaias. Rev Bras Enferm. 2004;57(3):340-3)"

The study concluded with the following statements:

"The results reinforce, once again, the importance of therapeutic touch as an effective strategy to render comfort to the newborn, and at the same time, tranquility to the mothers, enabling them to more effectively participate in the child’s care, since they also interact with their babies during the therapy.

This study corroborates the result of another research that used a technique with similar principles of placing
hands and energy channeling - Reiki. This research verified that biological changes may be generated within a limited time frame, demonstrating the potential of this resource to improve clinically factors relevant to health status of the individuals. (Diaz-Rodriguez L, Arroyo-Morales M, Cantarero-Villanueva I, Férnandez-Lao C, Polley M, Fernandez-de-las-Penas. Uma sessão de Reiki em enfermeiras diagnosticadas com síndrome de Burnout tem efeitos benéficos sobre a concentração de IgA salivar e a pressão arterial. Rev Latino-Am. Enferm. 2011;19(5):07 telas. Disponível em URL: http://www.scielo.br/pdf/rlae/v19n5/pt_10.pdf )"

The entire text of the article is available here.