Qigong Treatment for Drug Addiction

Author: Li Ming//Chen Kevin//Mo Zhixian
Guangzhou University, Guangzhou, China//UMDNJ New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ, USA//The First Military Medical University, Guangzhou, China
Conference/Journal: 3rd World Congress Qigong
Date published: 1999
Other: Word Count: 380

Background: Qigong is one of the most effective traditional Chinese medical treatments with special healing and recovering power. The Institute of Qigong Research at Guangzhou University has recently applied both self Qigong practice and external Qi emission to treat substance addicts, and achieved some impressive results.

Objective: To examine the effectiveness of Qigong treating heroin addicts, compared with regular medicine group and control group.

Methods: Eighty six heroin addicts (all met DSM-III-R substance dependence criteria) in a mandatory drug rehabilitation center were randomly assigned into one of the three groups with a 1.5:1 ratio: the Qigong treatment group (N=34) practiced Pangu Gong 2 to 2.5 hours per day, plus some adjustment by a Qigong master (Qi emission); the medicine comparison group (N=26) took regular detoxification pills (lofexidine-HCl, 0.2mg) by 10-day gradual reduction method, and the control group (n=26) received basic care only but no medicine. Blood test, urine morphine test, ECG test, HAMA scale, and a withdrawal symptom evaluation scale were applied to all pre-treatment and then everyday for 10 days during the study.


(1) Withdrawal syndrome: The reduction in withdrawal symptoms in the Qigong group went much more rapidly. From day one, the Qigong group had significantly lower mean scores than other two groups (p<0.01). By day eight, 100% reported no more withdrawal symptoms while other two groups still reported some at the end of the 10-day study.

(2) Anxiety Symptoms: Both Qigong and medicine groups had much lower anxiety score than control group (p<0.01) on the 5th
and 10th day of treatment, and Qigong groups had significantly lower anxiety score than medicine group (p<0.01). The Qigong group also reported much rapid improvement in sleep time and quality.

(3) Urine morphine test: All subjects had positive response to the urine morphine test before treatment. On the third day, 50% Qigong group turned negative in the urine test, while only 23% in control group and 8% in medicine group did so (p<0.01). By the 5th day of treatment, all 34 patients in Qigong group turned negative in urine test, while the control group did so by the 11th day, and medicine group by the 9th day.

Conclusion: Qigong can effectively treat heroin addiction. This treatment is a safe and effective for detoxification, and possibly for rehabilitation, with long-term effects but with low cost or no side effects.