Does Qigong Help With Chronic Pain?

qigong exercise

Qigong may be something many people are not familiar with, but it can provide benefits that make it worth checking out. Pronounced “chi gong,” the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health reports that it’s a part of Chinese medicine that has been around for thousands of years [1]. The gentle exercise form involves breathing exercises with movement and enhances the body, mind, and spirit. But can it help with chronic pain?

Numerous studies have been conducted over the years about the benefits of engaging in qigong. Most recently, the practice was put to the test to see if it would help those who have knee osteoarthritis and women who suffer from menopausal symptoms.

In the first study, published in the January 2022 issue of the journal Frontiers in Medicine, researchers set out to see if practicing qigong helped provide chronic pain relief for those with knee osteoarthritis [2]. With a group of 50 people with knee osteoarthritis, they randomly split the group into two, with half practicing qigong and the other half doing stretching exercises.

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An assessment was taken at the beginning of the study and again at its end. The participants did a 12-week program that had them do qigong or stretching exercises twice weekly for 40 minutes. They concluded that there was no difference between the groups regarding chronic pain. Still, the qigong group improved psychological well-being, including stress, anxiety, depression, and mood.

Researchers set out to see if qigong would help reduce menopausal symptoms, including bodily pain, in a separate study. The study included 12 women who had menopausal symptoms, who were divided into two groups, with half doing a 12-week long qigong program. The study is published in the February 2022 issue of the European Journal of Sports Science.

They found that those in the qigong group had a significant improvement in the severity of their symptoms, including their general health, bodily pain, physical functioning, vitality, and mental health.

Recent research shows that qigong may benefit those who have pain or want to improve their overall well-being. To get started, qigong classes can be found at senior centers, local fitness centers, or online.

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Sources:

  1. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Qigong: What you need to know.
  2. Frontiers in Medicine. The Effectiveness of Traditional Chinese Yijinjing Qigong Exercise for the Patients With Knee Osteoarthritis on the Pain. January 2022.
  3. European Journal of Sports Science. Impact of Qigong exercises on the severity of the menopausal symptoms and health-related quality of life. February 2022.

This article was originally published on Confronting Chronic Pain by Dr. Steven Richeimer, Director Pain Medicine Master and Certificate.

Posted: March 24, 2022
<a href="https://ostrowon.usc.edu/author/richeimer/" target="_self">Dr. Steven H. Richeimer</a>

Dr. Steven H. Richeimer

Steven Richeimer, M.D. is a renowned specialist on issues related to chronic pain. He is the chief of the Division of Pain Medicine at the University of Southern California. He has written or co-written a large number of scientific articles about pain medicine. He recently published an instructive book and guide for pain patients. Dr. Richeimer has given numerous lectures to medical and lay audiences throughout the U.S.

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