Seniors in my classes with COPD had said the qigong exercises help them feel better. This metastudy supports that idea.
Effectiveness of t’ai chi and qigong on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Source: NQA.org
This is a systematic review and meta-analysis, which means it looks at all the other studies that were done on the topic of tai chi and qigong (TCQ) and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and assesses an overall evaluation of the evidence of benefit. Unfortunately, the methodology for the chosen trials is not as rigorous as it needs to be in order to draw strong conclusions. Nonetheless, the evidence is positive.
This review found, out of a population of over 500 potential studies, only 10 met their strict criteria of randomized controlled trials with both exercise and non-exercise controls. The resulting 10 studies involved 718 subjects.
One difficulty for COPD patients is that due to breathlessness, they are often unable to comply with normal prescriptive exercises, and TCQ might provide better relief.
TCQ had significant effects on 6-minute walk distance, forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), predicted FEV1 percentage, and St. George’s Respiratory Questionnaire score compared to the non-exercise control group. TCQ also has significant effects over the exercise control group on the 6-minute walk distance test.
In this review, the pooled effect sizes showed that TCQ might be more beneficial for improving lung function in people with COPD than nonexercise.
Effectiveness of t’ai chi and qigong on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
J Altern Complement Med. 2014 Feb;20(2):79-86. doi: 10.1089/acm.2013.0087. Epub 2013 Aug 20.
Ding M, Zhang W, Li K, Chen X.
The purpose of this study is to determine the effects of Chinese traditional exercise such as t’ai chi and qigong (TCQ) on patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
All prospective, randomized, controlled clinical trials, published in English or Chinese and involving the use of TCQ by patients with COPD, were searched in 10 electronic databases from their respective inceptions to July 2012. The methodological quality of all studies was assessed using the Jadad score. The selection of studies, data extraction, and quality assessment were performed independently by two raters.
In the results, 10 trials met the inclusion criteria and were reviewed. The meta-analysis demonstrated that compared with no exercise, TCQ had significant effects on 6-minute walk distance, forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), predicted FEV1 percentage, and St. George’s Respiratory Questionnaire score. There were no significant differences in all outcomes between TCQ and other exercise training except 6-minute walk distance.
In conclusion, TCQ might be beneficial with respect to physical performance, lung function, remission of dyspnea, and quality of life in patients with COPD; however, caution is needed to draw a firm conclusion because of the low methodological quality of the included trials.