Qigong Ameliorates Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue: A Pilot Uncontrolled Study
Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners consider that chronic fatigue reflects a disharmony and depletion in the supply of qi in the body. Qigong is one of the traditional complementary interventions used to strengthen qi through self-practice, and to manage the state of qi to prevent and cure disease. The aim of this study is to assess whether qigong could be used to manage the symptoms of chronic fatigue. Eighteen Caucasian, British female participants were recruited, taught a qigong routine during weekly classes over 6 months, and asked to practice it daily for 15 min. Participants completed the core set of the RAND Medical Outcomes Study questionnaire (RAND MOS) and a sleep diary during the 2-week baseline control period, and at 3 and 6 months following the start of the trial. The qigong intervention resulted in significant changes in sleep rate score and in the following subscales of the RAND MOS: SF36 Vitality, Sleep Problems, Social Activity, Social Activity Limitation due to Health, Health Distress, Mental Health Index and Psychological Well-being. Qigong seems to improve factors related to chronic fatigue such as sleep, pain, mental attitude and general mobility after 3 and 6 months. Qigong's positive effects indicate that it represents a potentially safe method of treatment for chronic fatigued patients. However, we cannot completely discount the possible influence of placebo effects, and more objective clinical measures are needed to reproduce our findings with long-term follow-up in a randomized, controlled study involving a larger number of subjects.