Preliminary study on qigong and immunity

Author: Xu Hefen//Qi Yueqin////
Affiliation: Jiangsu Provincial Institute of TCM, China [1]
Conference/Journal: 2nd Int Conf on Qigong
Date published: 1989
Other: Pages: 99 , Word Count: 683

Qigong (breathing exercise) is a component of Traditional Chinese Medicine and has a history of thousands of years in China. In order to explore the mode of action of qigong in the treatment of disease, we have assailed the immunity of normal individuals and patients with various types of cancer. Part of them did qigong, while the other part didn't. Here is a preliminary report.

1. Subjects

The subjects included normal individuals and patients suffering from such cancers as that of esophagus, stomach, lungs, liver, rectum and mammary gland. Some of them did qigong and the others didn't.

2. Items of the study

Humoral immunity: serum IgG, IgA and IgM.

Cellular immunity: leucocyte adherence inhibition test (LAI), active E rosette formation (Ea) and a-naphthyl-acetate esterase staining assar (ANAE).

3. Analysis of the results

i) Determination of humoral immunity

IgA, IgG and IgM were determined both before learning to do qigong and after doing qigong for 3 months in 36 cancer patients selected at random. The average value of IgG before practising qigong was 767.47 mg% and that after doing for 3 months was, 1193.4 mg% (p<0.001). The difference was significant statistically. There was no marked difference in IgA and IgM before and after qigong (p>0.05).

ii) Determination of ANAE

The esterase in T cytolymph can hydrolyze naphthyl acetate into naphthol acetate, which produces brownish red granules when linked with diazo parafuchsin. Therefore T-lymphocytes can be calculated under a microscope. This method doesn't need fresh sheep red cells nor is it affected by the individual factors of the sheep. The method is so simple that blood taken from a finger or ear lobe works and venipuncture is unnecessary.

The average value of ANAE in 72 normal individuals doing qigong was 74.90%, while that in 40 normal individuals not doing qigong was 65.50%. There is a marked difference between them (p<0.001).

The same assay was carried out in 40 cancer patients doing qigong in other 40 cancer patients not doing qigong. The average value of ANAE of the 40 patients doing qigong we 67.15±10.04%, while that of the other 40 patients not doing qigong was 43.4±12.46%. There was a very significant difference between them (p<0.01).

iii) Leucocytes in the peripheral blood are attachable to the surface of clean glass under appropriate conditions. When they are acted on by relevant antigens. This ability of attachment markedly decrease, presenting adherence inhibition. This phenomenon is valuable for assessing pathological conditions and making prognosis LAI decreases in case of improvement of pathological conditions increase in case of deterioration. We have tested LAI value in 26 cancer patients before and after practicing qigong . The average value of LAI before doing qigong was 72.57%, that after doing qigong was 52.16%. The difference was marked (p<0.01).

iv) Active E rosette test

Active E rosette is formed by effector cells immune activities in the T-cell population. We have tested active E rosette in 26 cancer patients. The average value before doing qigong was 24.07% (below normal), and that after doing qigong went up to 29.66% (normal). There was a marked difference between the values before and after qigong (p<0.01).


The medical classic Neijing says, 'The pathogenic factor doesn't invade, when the anti-pathogenic qi of the body is strong' and 'When the pathogenic factor invades the body, the antipathogenic qi must be weak.' Doing qigong invigorates the antipathogenic qi. Therefor Zang-fu (visceral organs) function well and the resistance to disease is enhanced. As a result, the prevention and treatment of disease is facilitated. In our exploration of the relationship between qigong and immunity, we have adopted various experimental methods. This article deals With determination of humoral and cellular immunity in both normal individuals and cancer patients doing and not doing qigong. A marked difference has been found. The increase of humoral and cellular immunity after doing qigong is manifested by the fact that qigong improves the appetite, makes the patients more vigorous and increase the body weight. This is beneficial to the alleviation of the pathological conditions and prolongation of life. The experiment also shows there is a close relationship between qigong and immunity.

Our experiment is still a preliminary one, and there is much to do in the future.