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Qigong may help osteoarthritis

2nd September 2008

A study in the United States has found that qigong therapy, a form of traditional Chinese medical practice, could be of help to those suffering from osteoarthritis.

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Depending on the capability of the healer, a study conducted by Kevin Chen and Adam Perlman at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey found that patients using qigong showed improvement in levels of experienced pain.

Researchers invited two qigong healers who were trained in China, but from different traditions.

Qigong refers to a number of different traditional Chinese energy exercises and therapy, based on the theory of a subtle energy, or qi, circulating throughout the body and in the surrounding environment.

Traditional Chinese medicine theory states that good health is the result of free-flowing balanced patterns of qi, while sickness and pain result from a blockage of the energy.

The first healer had lineal heritage in Taoism and was known for his anticancer training and achievement. The second healer was the fifth generation born into a traditional Chinese medicine family but did not attend medical school.

Both healers differed greatly in their practice, methods and results reported by arthritis patients during the study.

Study participants reported significant pain reduction and functionality in varying degrees after therapy.

Perlman, who is executive director of the UMDNJ-Institute for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, said qigong therapy might prove to be a valuable option as a supplement to conventional treatments. He said further study was needed to determine the efficacy of the practice.

The research, entitled "Effects of external Qigong therapy on osteoarthritis of the knee," was published in the journal Clinical Rheumatology.

Around 21 million Americans suffer from arthritis, of which osteoarthritis is the most common form. Qigong therapy, used in China for treating arthritis, is becoming more popular among arthritis patients in the West.

 

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