A preliminary study of the effect of external qigong on lymphoma in mice

Author: Chen K//Shiflett S//Ponzio N//He B//Elliott D//Keller SE
Conference/Journal: J. Alt. Compl. Med.
Date published: 2002
Other: Volume ID: 8 , Issue ID: 5 , Pages: 615-621 , Word Count: 412

Objective: To examine the effectiveness of external Qigong on the in vivo growth of transplantable murine lymphoma cells in mice. Background: Qigong is a traditional Chinese health practice that is believed by many to have special preventive and healing power. Underlying the system is the belief in the existence of a subtle energy (Qi), which circulates throughout the body, and when strengthened or balanced, can improve health and ward off or slow the progress of disease. To date, much of the literature showing the effects of Qi are presented in the non-western literature, and as such are viewed with considerable skepticism. In an attempt to demonstrate Qi in a controlled setting, the effect of external Qigong emission from a Qigong healer on the in vivo growth of transplantable murine lymphoma cells in mice was explored in two pilot studies.

Methods. In study 1, 30 SJL/J mice were injected i.v. with lymphoma cells that localize and exhibit aggressive growth in the lymphoid tissues of untreated syngeneic recipients. These tumor-injected mice were divided into 3 groups: Qigong treatment (administered by a Qigong healer), sham treatment, and no-treatment control. The sham group received the same number of treatments from a person without training in Qigong, who imitated the motions of the Qigong healer. The control group received no treatment at all. In study 1, mice were sacrificed at 9th or 11th days after tumor cell injection, and in study 2, mice were sacrificed at 10th and 13th days. Tumor growth in lymph nodes (LN) was estimated by LN weight expressed as a percentage of total body weight.

Results. In study 1, LNs from mice in the Qigong group were significantly smaller than LN from mice in either the control group or in the sham treatment group (p < .05), suggesting that there was less tumor growth in the Qigong-treated mice. In study 2, using the same design as study 1, the same pattern of difference found in study 1 emerged: LN ratio from mice in the Qigong group was smaller than that in either the control group or in the sham group. However, these results did not reach statistical significance, partially due to larger variances in all groups in this study.

Discussion. These preliminary results, while still inconclusive, suggest that Qigong treatment from one particular Qigong practitioner might negatively influence the growth of lymphoma cells. Further studies with different practitioners, more repeated trials and/or different tumor models are needed to further investigate the effects of external Qigong on tumor growth in mice.