Dalhousie University, Canada
Title: Qigong and fibromyalgia: Effects of standardized and extended practice regimens
Biography: Jana Sawynok
Qigong, which has a long history in China as a health and wellness practice, is currently considered as “meditative movement”. In Halifax, we have conducted several trials with Chaoyi Fanhuan Qigong for fibromyalgia: a randomized-controlled trial (RCT) (N=100) and an extension trial (N=20) (with standardized regimens for 8 weeks, follow-up 6 months), and reported individual cases (N=2) who undertook extended community-based practice (1-3 years). In the RCT, subjects were randomly assigned to immediate practice, or wait list/delayed practice groups. Training consisted of 3 half-day sessions, with weekly review and practice sessions for 8 weeks; participants were expected to practice daily for 45 mins during this time. Pain, sleep, impact, and physical and mental function were determined at baseline, at 8 weeks, and at 3 and 6 months. In the immediate practice group, there were significant benefits in all outcomes at 8 weeks compared to the wait-list group, and benefits were maintained at follow-up. In the delayed practice group, similar results were observed, demonstrating reproducibility between two cohorts. Benefits in all areas were related to amount of practice. Qualitative data recapitulated quantitative results, and revealed some further health benefits. In the extension trial, further benefit occurred and health gains were consolidated (e.g. improvements in asthma, food and chemical sensitivities, vision). In individuals who practiced 1-3 years, pain, sleep, and physical and mental function were vastly improved, and there were additional health gains in other areas. Qigong, when practiced diligently, produces marked health benefits in those with fibromyalgia.