Qigong exercise has been shown in multiple studies to produce a wide array of health benefits with extremely limited chances of any side effects. While the idea of moving slower to strengthen your bones, your heart, your immunity and other functions is a somewhat new concept to those from a western exercise background, the clinical and practical evidence is strong for qigong.
German researchers from the Charité University Medical Center in Berlin recently conducted a study comparing qigong to standard western exercise for people suffering from chronic neck pain. A wait list control group was also part of the study. A total of 123 patients were recruited and divided into a qigong group (18 sessions over 6 months), a exercise group (same duration) and a wait list control.
Measurements for neck pain from the VAS and SF-36 pain questionnaires were used at baseline, 3 months and at the end of the studies 6 month mark.
Researchers found that qigong and exercise therapy greatly reduced neck pain with no significant difference between the two. As the outcome is a very specific one, it obviously doesn’t account for other beneficial health aspects that qigong has been shown to offer in other studies. It is, however, a great start to exploring the use of qigong within western patients for pain management. Further studies will of course need to be done to evaluate which qigong exercises are best for certain conditions, personalities, etc.