Qi Gong, pronounced "chee gong", has been gaining popularity in the US. It consists of simple exercises and can progress to complex sets of slow movements. It's purpose is to balance the body's energy or Qi. Also, a Qi Gong master can transmit his energy to others thereby improving their health.
Now researchers are looking at Qi Gong in the research lab. Twenty-six (26) pain patients took part in this study. They suffered from a disorder called "complex regional pain syndrome." It is pain that may occur after an injury, usually to an arm or a leg. In rare cases, the syndrome develops after surgery, a heart attack, a stroke or some other medical condition. It also goes by the name of reflex sympathetic dystrophy. These 26 patients were not responding to standard treatment.
The patients were randomly divided into 2 groups. One groups received both Qi Gong instruction and also Qi treatments from the Qi Gong master. The control group received a similar set of instructions by a sham master. The groups met 6 times in a 3 week period. The groups were evaluated after 6 and 10 weeks.
In the group that received the true Qi Gong, 82% said they had less pain by the end of the first training session compared to 45% of the patients who got phony Qi Gong training. At the last session, 91% of the true Qi Gong patients reported pain relief compared to 36% of the patients in the control group.
Also, anxiety was reduced in both groups. However, the anxiety reduction was significantly greater in the true Qi Gong group than in the sham group.
Effects of qigong on late-stage complex regional pain syndrome. Wu WH, Bandilla E, Ciccone DS, Yang J, Cheng SC, Carner N, Wu Y, Shen R. Altern Ther Health Med 1999 Jan;5(1):45-54
NOTE: Dr Wu was a guest speaker at the July RSD conference 2000 in Toronto.