Qigong is a practice that is common as a part of the public health system in China. There are many types of qigong forms and there are also Medical Qigong treatments which are energy healings that are given by people who are gifted in energy sensing and manipulation for balancing and clearing people’s energy fields. These practices are common in Traditional Chinese Medicine because it sees disease as related to energy blockages, deficiencies and/or imbalances that occur within the body.
In 2006, a study was published in a well-known scientific journal that included 10 women who had advanced symptoms of fibromyalgia. Each of the subjects scored 50% or greater on the Fibromyalgia Index questionnaire. The several-member team who implemented this study used many objective measures to evaluate the effectiveness of external energy treatments by a well-established qigong healer who had been evaluated extensively for his abilities to effect healing in Chinese hospitals. The results of the study showed a range of improvement in all individuals tested and a highly significant average decrease in pain experienced.
Medical Qigong Treatments
Treatments that were applied by the healer included acupressure, as well as external energy manipulations to lead the toxic chi out of the body through the feet. The healer said that to begin the process, touching of the acupressure points was necessary. The patients were lying down as the treatments were administered. There were three weekly and then three monthly treatments in the study.
It was a common experience for the patients to have increased pain and discomfort after the initial treatment. However, these symptoms were gone two to three days later. At the end of the study, there was less improvement in patients that had complications such as rheumatoid arthritis and degenerative disc disease. A few of the patients considered that they had total recovery from fibromyalgia symptoms, and the objective measures that were taken reflected that subjective experience.
The objective measures that were taken in the study included Tender Point Counts (TPC, which were a measure of sensitive points on the body), the McGill Pain Questionaire, the Beck Depression Inventory, as well as other objective measures. At the end of the study, reductions in the severity of all three measures were highly significant according to statistical measures (P < 0.01), which means that they were 99% certain of the test results.
The major criticism of the study was that it did not have a very large sample. In scientific circles, the results of the study would also have more weight if it could be repeated in another study by another scientific group. This type of caution is a common conclusion of scientific studies in alternative medicine. However, in my opinion, the evidence of this pilot study provides enough information to indicate that this form of healing is something that those with fibromyalgia should look into as a resource to help lessen their symptoms and/or effect healing.
Improving Healing with Qigong Exercises
My thoughts are that it would also be important for those who try this type of healing to find a healer who has as much experience, or is as gifted in healing ability as the one who participated in this study. To augment healing and assist in the reduction of symptoms as well, it would help to learn moving and meditation qigong exercises to complement the treatment by the healer.
I have taught moving exercises to fibromyalgia patients and they have commented on how regular practice helps them by lessening the pain and increasing their feelings of well being. I also agree with the conclusions of the authors of this study, who commented that qigong therapy (in this case, movement exercises) must be implemented on a daily basis, with adequate intensity of qi (energy) flow, in order for a positive healing effect to be evident.
1. Chen, K. W., et al. 2006. A Pilot Study of External Qigong Therapy for Patients with Fibromyalgia. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Volume12, pages 851-856.
2. Medical Qigong and Qigong Movement Exercises