The effect of Qigong on health of elderly

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The effect of Qigong on general and psychosocial health of elderly with chronic physical illnesses: a randomized clinical trial

SUMMARY
Objectives Based on the model by Tsang et al. (2002) which summarized the etiological factors and consequences of depression in elderly with chronic physical illnesses, a randomized clinical trial of a special form of Qigong (The Eight Section Brocades) was conducted to assess if it improved the biopsychosocial health of participants.

...DISCUSSION
Results from the Perceived Benefit Questionnaire indicated very positive feedback from the participants in the intervention. Most of them felt that the practice of Qigong could improve their health in different aspects, including psychological and social. This provides the first piece of evidence that the practice of Qigong is beneficial to depressed elderly with chronic physical illnesses. [continued]
http://alternativehealing.org/qi gong study (Intl J Geriatr Psych).pdf

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I have a friend who worringly has just started teaching this. Cant be botherd to read it, but I bet they did not use a proper control.

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If you can't be bothered to read, then why do you bother to comment?

Curious3141
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I *was* bothered to read it and here are my comments :

There was a control group and the study did this in the fairest way possible, because both groups received "remedial rehab" (whatever that is, exactly, is not defined), except the intervention group received extra Qigong. The control group got extra remedial rehab to compensate for the time the instructors paid attention to them.

That's the good stuff. Now for the bad. I fail to see the logic of treating people with defined physical ailment and then using a wishy-washy subjective psychosocial index to assess improvement. Why not do :

1) Neurological function assessment for the CVA (stroke) cases and the Parkinson's cases
2) Spirometry and pulmonary function testing for the COPD cases
3) Rheumatological assessments for the RA (rheum arthritis) cases
4) Medication dosage reviews (that is, whether the treated could get by with lower dosages of medicines).
5) Objective physical parameter reviews, e.g. blood pressure, since after all that is a risk factor in causing strokes.

and so forth. Using subjective questionnaire based outcomes is a cop-out of sorts.

Lastly, I hate comments like this in a (supposedly) scientific paper : "this particular outcome didn't attain statistical significance blah-blah, but this could be because of the small sample size and maybe if we'd used a bigger sample, we'd have gotten more convincing results", etc. Yeah right, maybe. Or maybe not. The point is you don't know how the results would've changed with a bigger sample, so it's grossly unscientific to state something like that. But it's an all too common trend in mediocre scientific papers nowadays, and a pet peeve of mine.

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I was most struck by the staggering scope of this study. Does this even qualify as a study - eight people?

...The qualitative feedback from the participants showed that six of them (75%) felt better in terms of their psychosocial functioning after the 12-week program. Before six weeks of practice, only three (37.5%) however reported improvement.

Curious3141
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Ivan Seeking said:
I was most struck by the staggering scope of this study. Does this even qualify as a study - eight people?
That was just the number of people in the intervention group who were randomly selected for "feedback". The full study used 50 people (26 intervion, 24 control).

There are more glaring errors and idiocies : more than 20 % of both control and intervention groups were "illiterate". Exactly how are they supposed to answer complex questionnaires reliably when they can't read them ? :grumpy:

The statistical test of significance used was the ANOVA. This is a parametric test, and is not appropriate for the analysis here. A non-parametric test like the Kruskal Wallis rank analysis is far more appropriate. Pathetic, pathetic, pathetic. :yuck:

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Whoops, I meant for the feedback, but doesn't this still limit the value of these results tremendously. A sample of six out of eight seems virtually meaningless to me.

Curious3141
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The whole study is crap. Ditto for all of the accupuncture/homeo-naturopathic studies I've had the regret of plowing through.

Alternative medicine is crap. It doesn't work independent of the placebo effect. Period.

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However, even if this has no physical affect, isn't the placebo effect as good as the real thing when it comes to perceived wellness. How good one feels ultimately is subjective, after all, and it certainly is significant to the patient.

I thought the author implied something similar. Perhaps the effectiveness of modern treatments can be enhanced by catering to the expectations of the patients?

Curious3141
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Ivan Seeking said:
However, even if this has no physical affect, isn't the placebo effect as good as the real thing when it comes to perceived wellness. How good one feels ultimately is subjective, after all, and it certainly is significant to the patient.
Sure. But why pay $500 for Qigong/acupuncture/reflexology crap when you can do just as well buying sugar pills for 5 cents and have the doctor tell the patient its potent medicine ? The placebo effect is well recognised, which is why proper drug trials must involve double-blinding. If we were going to be cavalier about it, a lot of inefficacious drugs would be entering the market. Would you want to be be paying hundreds for snake oil ? Chronos Science Advisor Gold Member Altenative medicine should be roundly criticized. But Q is not being criticized for the right reasons. Any form of exercise has positive effects on health. I prefer stretching, but that is subjective. Curious3141 Homework Helper Chronos said: Altenative medicine should be roundly criticized. But Q is not being criticized for the right reasons. Any form of exercise has positive effects on health. I prefer stretching, but that is subjective. But Qigong is not "just" exercise. It comes with all the dumb trappings of chi (or qi, that's where the name comes from) and "vital energy" flow and meridians. None of which stand up to scientific scrutiny. The practitioners of this quackery insist these claimed paranormal aspects of the discipline elevate its efficacy above that of "normal" exercise. I take exception to this sort of rubbish claim. Staff Emeritus Science Advisor Gold Member Curious3141 said: Sure. But why pay$500 for Qigong/acupuncture/reflexology crap when you can do just as well buying sugar pills for 5 cents and have the doctor tell the patient its potent medicine ?
Because some elderly Chinese and other folks believe in Qigong. They believe it will work through a lifetime of conditioning. What I wonder about is the value of exploiting beliefs for perceived wellness. In this case, it seems that the ends justify the means...

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