The simple exercise program Qigong helps to reduce cancer fatigue
Brown University scientists have found that qigong, a meditative exercise routine, is just as good at relieving cancer-related fatigue as regular exercise routines.
Understanding cancer-related fatigue
Cancer and its treatment often cause fatigue. This fatigue can be long-lasting and make daily life difficult, sometimes even more so than pain, nausea, or sadness.
Up to 45% of people who have been diagnosed with cancer report feeling moderate to severe fatigue years after treatment has ended.
Although exercise can help with this fatigue, scientists still don’t know what type of exercise and how much is best. For some people who feel very tired, regular exercise can be too much.
Qigong vs. Standard Exercise: The Study
The new study, led by Stephanie R. Jones, a professor of neuroscience, looked at how regular practice of qigong may impact cancer-related fatigue. She compared this to anti-fatigue treatments that involved physical activity.
The study enrolled 24 women whose cancer treatment had been completed at least eight weeks before the start of the study. Everyone felt tired from the cancer and agreed to take part in the ten-week courses.
Half of these women learned qigong. This is a Chinese practice that combines gentle movements and meditation.
The other half took a healthy living course that included physical exercise and advice on diet and health.
Both groups had classes twice a week. Each lesson lasted about two hours. The researchers looked at changes in the women’s fatigue, emotional health and stress levels before and after the 10 weeks.
The Results: Benefits of Qigong and Standard Exercises
Both the qigong class and the healthy lifestyle class significantly helped with cancer-related fatigue. In fact, the improvements were more than double what doctors and patients see as a meaningful change.
The results of the women who did qigong were similar to those of the women in the exercise and healthy eating class.
The women who did qigong also said they felt better emotionally and were less stressed.
The women who completed the exercise and nutrition program said they slept better and were less tired.
The Importance: Mind-Body Approaches to Cancer-Related Fatigue
Qigong, along with yoga, mindfulness, and tai chi, can support physical, emotional, and spiritual health. All of these could be useful for people struggling with cancer-related fatigue.
A gentle practice like qigong might be easier for someone with cancer because it doesn’t require as much physical exertion.
Future research and the legacy of Catherine Kerr
Jones and her team are now investigating how qigong might affect how a person perceives fatigue. They are testing whether the treatment works because it changes the way the brain and muscles communicate.
Jones said this study was small at just 24 women, so more research needs to be done with larger and more diverse populations.
The study was inspired by Catherine Kerr, a former Brown University professor who passed away in 2016. Kerr was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a type of cancer, in 1995.
She found qigong helpful and wanted to understand why. This curiosity led to the current study. Jones hopes this study will continue Kerr’s work and pave the way for further research into how qigong can promote healing.
If you are interested in cancer, please read studies that a A low-carb diet could increase the overall risk of cancerAnd Vitamin D supplements could significantly reduce cancer deaths.
Further information on the subject of health can be found in current studies how drinking milk affects the risk of heart disease and cancer and results demonstrating safer and more effective cancer therapy.
The study was published In Integrative cancer therapies.
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