Digest of Addiction Theory and Application

Author: Anonymous
Conference/Journal: The Brown University Digest of Addiction Theory and Application
Date published: 2002
Other: Volume ID: 21 , Issue ID: 3 , Pages: S1 , Word Count: 324

New research suggests that qigong therapy may be a helpful alternative for
heroin detoxification. Qigong therapy is a Chinese health practice thought to
have healing and recovery power.

Chinese researchers randomly assigned 86 male heroin addicts (age range 18 to
52; years heroin use, 0.5 to 11) with DSM-III-R classified substance
dependence to one of three treatment conditions: 1) qigong treatment (N=34);
2) medication group (N=26); and 3) nontreatment control (N=26). Patients in
the qigong therapy group practiced Pan Gu qigong and received qi adjustments
from a qigong master daily. Patients in the medication group received
lofexidine by a 10-day gradual reduction method. Patients in the nontreatment
control received only basic care and medications to treat withdrawal symptoms
that were severe. Outcome measures included urine morphine test,
electrocardiogram, Hamilton Anxiety scale and a withdrawal-symptom evaluation
at baseline and during the 10-day intervention.

The researchers determined that reduction of withdrawal symptoms occurred more
rapidly in the qigong group compared with the patients in the
lofexidine-treated group and the nontreatment control group. From day one of
the intervention, patients in the qigong group had significantly lower mean
symptom scores that the other two groups (p<0.01). The qigong and medication
groups had lower anxiety scores than the nontreatment group (p<0.01); the
qigong group had significantly lower anxiety scores than the
lofexidine-treated group (p<0.01).

On day three, 50 percent of the qigong group had negative urine tests compared
to 23 percent in the nontreatment control group and eight percent in the
lofexidine-treated group (p<0.01). By day five of the intervention, all
subjects in the qigong treatment group had negative urine tests compared to
day nine for the lofexidine-treated group and day 11 for the nontreatment

'Results suggest that qigong may be an effective alternative for heroin
detoxification without side effects though we cannot completely eliminate the
possibility of the placebo effect from the current study,' conclude the
authors. [Li M, Chen K, Mo Z: Altern Ther Health Med 2002; 8(1):50-54, 56-59.]

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