External qigong therapy for chronic orofacial pain

Author: Chen K//Marbach JJ
Conference/Journal: J Altern Complement Med
Date published: 2002
Other: Volume ID: 8 , Issue ID: 5 , Pages: 532-534 , Word Count: 241

Chronic pain patients are increasingly seeking alternatives to Western medicine. This open trial attempted to determine if subjects with chronic orofacial pain reported a change in pain intensity following treatment with Qigong, a form of traditional Chinese medicine. As a pilot study, an open trial based on voluntary patients in a private practice was carried out during the short visit of a renowned Qigong master to the U.S.. A total of 10 chronic orofacial pain patients (all white females, mean age 54 years) participated. Duration of pain ranged from 2 years to 35 years (mean =15 years). Intervention: The Qigong master administered Qi emission to the area of specific pain at a distance for 5 to 10 minutes. Outcome Measures: Visual analogue scale (VAS) on pain and word description on degree of pain were used before and after the treatment to evaluate the effectiveness. Results: All patients reported some degree of relief and all but one reported reduction in pain after the treatment. Using a non-parametric statistic to test the difference between positive response (pain reduction) and the negative response (pain increase), in 8 out of 9 trials the patients reported reduction in pain (p = 0.02). Conclusion: Although the results may be far from conclusive due to the study design without a control treatment and small sample size, it deserves further pursuit in the field with better design and larger sample. The possibility of a placebo or a statistical effect accounting for our results cannot be excluded and are discussed.