Qigong benefits chronic fatigue syndrome

A team from Hong Kong has found that a four-month programme of qigong exercise helped ease symptoms and improve biological markers of disease-related stress in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).

Sixty-four participants were randomly assigned to either an intervention group or a wait list control group. Participants assigned to the intervention group received group qigong exercise training for two hours, twice a week, for five consecutive weeks, followed by home-based qigong exercise for 12 weeks. During the four-month programme, all participants in the intervention group were required to engage in qigong exercise for 30 minutes every day at home. The results showed that fatigue symptoms and mental functioning were significantly improved in the qigong group compared to controls at five weeks and that this improvement was maintained at four months. Levels of telomerase activity (a ‘psychobiomarker’ linking stress and disease) increased in the qigong group over the intervention period and this change was statistically significant when compared to the control group. (A Randomized Controlled Trial of Qigong Exercise on Fatigue Symptoms, Functioning, and Telomerase Activity in Persons with Chronic Fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Ann Behav Med. 2012 Jun 27. [Epub ahead of print]).


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