Treatment of bronchial asthma with qigong Yangsheng–A pilot study.

Author: Reuther I//Aldridge D
Conference/Journal: J Altern Complement Med
Date published: 1998
Other: Volume ID: 4 , Issue ID: 2 , Pages: 173-183 , Word Count: 331

Qigong Yangsheng, the health promoting method of the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), combining movement, mental exercise and breathing technique, is used in China for the therapy of bronchial asthma and for some time now has been enjoying an ever-widening acceptance in the Western world as well.

The present pilot study investigates whether Qigong Yangsheng could be used as complementary therapeutic measure to treat asthma patients in a Western industrialized country.

Thirty asthma patients who suffered varying degrees of severity with their illness were taught Qigong Yangsheng under medical supervision. They were asked to exercise independently, if possible, on a daily basis and keep a diary of their symptoms for half a year including peak-flow measurements three times daily, use of medication, frequency and length of exercise as well as five asthma-relevant symptoms (sleeping through the night, coughing, expectoration, dyspnea and general well-being). The concept of this study was based on a single-case research design series with baseline, one teaching phase, a phase of self-practice and a refresher teaching course. A 4-week follow-up period was carried out in the same season as the original baseline phase 52 weeks later.

An improvement was indicated if the subjects showed a decrease of at least 10 percent in peak-flow variability between the 1st and 52nd week. This occurred more frequently in the group of the exercisers (n=17) than in the group of nonexercisers (n=13) (p<0.01 chi-square-test with Yates correction). Practicing qigong also decreased the medication required. For example, before practicing qigong one patient needed 4 medications taken 133 times a week, but after practicing qigong for 52 weeks one medication was needed and taken 7 times a week.

When comparing the year before with the year of the study, there was improvement also in hospitalization rate, sickness leave, reduced antibiotic use and fewer emergency consultations resulting in reduced treatment costs.

Qigong Yangsheng is recommended to asthma patients with professional supervision. An improvement in airw3ay capability and a decrease in illness severity can be achieved by regular self-conducted qigong exercises.