Qigong Yangsheng as a Complementary Therapy in the Management of Asthma: A Single-Case Appraisal

Author: Reuther I//Aldridge D
Medizinische Fakultat, Universitat Witten Herdecke, Alfred-Herrhausen-Strasse 50, 58448 Witten, Germany
Conference/Journal: Journal of the American Medical Association
Date published: 1998
Other: Issue ID: 1810 , Word Count: 297

Qigong Yangsheng, the health-promoting method of traditional Chinese medicine that combines 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. This pilot study investigates if Qigong Yangsheng could be used as a complementary therapeutic measure to treat asthma patients in a Western industrialized country.

Design: Thirty asthma patients, with varying degrees of illness severity, were taught Qigong Yangsheng under medical supervision. They were asked to exercise independently, if possible, on a daily basis and to 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.

Results: An improvement was indicated if subjects showed a decrease of at least 10 percent in peak-flow variability between the 1st and the 52nd week. This occurred more frequently in the group of the exercisers(n = 17) than in the group of nonexercisers (n = 13) (P [less than] 0.01 chi-square with Yates correction). When comparing the study year with the year before the study, there was improvement also in reduced hospitalization rate, less sickness leave, reduced antibiotic use and fewer emergency consultations resulting in reduced treatment costs.

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