Qigong is an internal art practice with a long history in China. It is currently characterized as meditative movement (or as movement-based embodied contemplative practice), but is also considered as complementary and alternative exercise or mind-body therapy.
There are now six controlled trials and nine other reports on the effects of qigong in fibromyalgia. Outcomes are related to amount of practice so it is important to consider this factor in overview analyses. If one considers the 4 trials (201 subjects) that involve diligent practice (30-45 min daily, 6-8 weeks), there are consistent benefits in pain, sleep, impact, and physical and mental function following the regimen, with benefits maintained at 4-6 months. Effect sizes are consistently in the large range.
There are also reports of even more extensive practice of qigong for 1-3 years, even up to a decade, indicating marked benefits in other health areas beyond core domains for fibromyalgia. While the latter reports involve a limited number of subjects and represent a self-selected population, the marked health benefits that occur are noteworthy.
Qigong merits further study as a complementary practice for those with fibromyalgia. Current treatment guidelines do not consider amount of practice, and usually make indeterminate recommendations.
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Source: Sawynok J, Lynch ME. Qigong and Fibromyalgia circa 2017. Medicines (Basel). 2017 Jun 6;4(2). pii: E37. doi: 10.3390/medicines4020037.
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