Written by Rachel Jolliffe, Edzard Ernst and the CAM-Cancer Consortium.
Updated June 20, 2017

Qigong

Abstract and key points

  • Qigong is a modality of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
  • Most consistent evidence is for improvements in immune function, fatigue and quality of life.
  • Evidence is heterogeneous or non-significant for effects on other outcomes.
  • No serious safety concerns have been reported.

Qigong is an ancient Chinese therapy aimed at regulating the flow of “vital energy” in the body. It is mainly used as a symptomatic treatment for various types of complaints including those caused by cancer or cancer treatments.

Preclinical studies have generated encouraging findings and clinical trials have also yielded mostly promising results. Based on five systematic reviews, the most convincing and consistent evidence is available for improvements in immune function, fatigue and quality of life. For effects on other outcomes the evidence is heterogeneous or not significant. However, clinical trials generally have methodological limitations such as lack of blinding and there is heterogeneity between trials. A cause-effect relationship between the intervention and the outcome remains therefore undocumented.

There are no major safety concerns related to qigong.

Citation Rachel Jolliffe, Edzard Ernst, CAM-Cancer Consortium. Qigong [online document]. http://ws.cam-cancer.org/The-Summaries/Mind-body-interventions/Qigong. June 20, 2017.

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