The Therapeutic Efficacy of Qigong Exercise on the Main Symptoms of Fibromyalgia: A Pilot Randomized Clinical Trial

Author: Caio V M Sarmento 1 2, Sanghee Moon 2, Taylor Pfeifer 2, Irina V Smirnova 2, Yvonne Colgrove 2, Sue Min Lai 3, Wen Liu 2
1 Department of Physical Therapy, California State University, Fresno, CA, United States.
2 Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS, United States.
3 Department of Population Health, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS, United States.
Conference/Journal: Integr Med Res
Date published: 2020 Dec
Other: Volume ID: 9 , Issue ID: 4 , Pages: 1100416 , Word Count: 263

PMID: 32455108 PMCID: PMC7235941 DOI: 10.1016/j.imr.2020.100416

Free PMC article
Background: Some of the most debilitating symptoms of fibromyalgia (FM) include widespread chronic pain, sleep disturbances, chronic fatigue, anxiety, and depression. Yet, there is a lack of effective self-management exercise interventions capable of alleviating FM symptoms. The objective of this study is to examine the efficacy of a 10-week daily Qigong, a mind-body intervention program, on FM symptoms.

Methods: 20 participants with FM were randomly assigned to Qigong (experimental) or sham-Qigong (control) groups, with participants blinded to the intervention allocation. The Qigong group practiced mild body movements synchronized with deep diaphragmatic breathing and meditation. The sham-Qigong group practiced only mild body movements. Both groups practiced the interventions two times per day at home, plus one weekly group practice session with a Qigong instructor. Primary outcomes were: pain changes measured by the Short-Form McGill Pain Questionnaire, a visual analog scale for pain, pressure pain threshold measured by a dolorimeter. Secondary outcomes were: the Revised Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and the Quality of Life Scale.

Results: The experimental group experienced greater clinical improvements when compared to the control group on the mean score differences of pain, sleep quality, chronic fatigue, anxiety, depression, and fibromyalgia impact, all being statistically significant at p < 0.05.

Conclusion: Daily practice of Qigong appears to have a positive impact on the main fibromyalgia symptoms that is beyond group interaction.

Trial registration: NCT03441997.

Keywords: Fibromyalgia; Mind–body therapies; Qigong; Widespread pain.

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