CANCER. Several clinical studies reported that a combination therapy of drugs with personal practice of QiGong provided a better outcome than drug therapy alone.
The review particularly focuses on the possible benefits of Tai Chi for cancer survivors since Tai Chi has been shown to increase immune response as well as psychological function, but only 2 randomized controlled studies have been conducted with cancer survivors. Both studies show improvements in either quality of life or functional capacity, but further research should be undertaken before any solid conclusions can be made about the usefulness of Tai Chi for cancer patients -
--Medscape Today, from WebMD, 10/26/2010
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Breast cancer. Tai chi has shown potential for improving quality of life and functional capacity (the physical ability to carry out normal daily activities, such as work or exercise) in women suffering from breast cancer or the side effects of breast cancer treatment. For example, a 2008 study at the University of Rochester, published in Medicine and Sport Science, found that quality of life and functional capacity (including aerobic capacity, muscular strength, and flexibility) improved in women with breast cancer who did 12 weeks of tai chi, while declining in a control group that received only supportive therapy.
Harvard Health Publications Harvard Medical School
Qigong Improves Fatigue in Prostate Cancer Survivors
The practice of Qigong significantly improves fatigue in older men with prostate cancer, compared with a stretching regimen, according to a new study.
The favorable outcome adds to a small but growing body of evidence indicating that the ancient Chinese practice is uniquely suited to improve this vexing cancer symptom especially in elderly patients.
Qigong consists of "slow, flowing movements, coordinated with deep breathing, and a meditative focus to balance the flow of 'Qi' or life energy for overall well-being," write the study authors, led by Rebecca Campo, MD, from the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.
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A 2004 study at the Wilmot Cancer Center in Rochester, NY, assigned 21 women who had been treated for breast cancer to either 12 weeks of tai chi or 12 weeks of participation in a psychosocial support group, both for 1 hour, 3 times a week. The women who practiced tai chi showed significant improvements in self-esteem and quality of life when compared with the women in the psychosocial support group. According to researchers, tai chi may have more of a positive impact on self-esteem than the psychosocial support group because:
• The physical aspects of self-esteem might have more meaning for breast cancer survivors than for other groups of people.
• Since tai chi is a more active practice than participation in a support group, tai chi might help create a sense of being in control.
In a more recent Wilmot Cancer Center study published in 2006, 21 women who had been treated for breast cancer were randomly assigned either to practice tai chi or to participate in a psychosocial support group, both for 1 hour, 3 times a week for 12 weeks. This time, researchers studied the women's heart and lung function, muscular strength, and flexibility. While the women in the psychosocial support group showed improved flexibility, the women in the tai chi group showed improvements in all 3 categories, as well as a slight reduction in percentage of body fat.
Immune System Improvement:
Regular Tai Chi Chuan exercise improves T cell helper function of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus with an increase in T-bet transcription factor and IL-12 production.
OBJECTIVE: This study investigated the effect of a 12-week course of Tai Chi Chuan (TCC) exercise on T cell helper (Th) reaction in patients with type 2 DM.
CONCLUSIONS: A 12-week TCC exercise programme decreases HbA1c levels along with an increase in the Th1 reaction. A combination of TCC with medication may provide an even better improvement in both metabolism and immunity of patients with type 2 DM.
Tai Chi had a significant effect on functional mobility and beliefs about the health benefits of exercise. Total white blood cell and red blood cell count did not change, but a significant decrease in monocyte count occurred. A significant increase in the ratio of T helper to suppressor cells (CD4:CD8) was found, along with a significant increase in CD4CD25 regulatory T cells.
-- British Journal of Sports Medicine, 40, 239-43
IMMUNE SYSTEM: A study conducted in China indicates that T'ai Chi may increase the number of T lymphocytes in the body. Also know as T-Cells, these lymphocytes help the immune system destroy bacteria and possibly even tumor cells
-- Prevention Magazine V. 42, May 90, p.14-15
Tai chi boosts your immune system (T-Cell count DOUBLED)
The ancient martial art of tai chi could substantially boost the body's immune system. Medisch Dossier (volume 6, number 7), a Dutch medical newsletter, reports on a study where a group of older men and women (average age of 70) practiced tai chi three days a week for 45 minutes. After fifteen weeks they not only felt healthier, but had twice the number of immune cells or so-called T-cells “with memories”, which are specially equipped to knock out the virus that causes shinglesan affliction in many older people.
-- Ode Magazine
Practicing Tai Chi Boosts Immune System in
Older Adults, UCLA Study Shows
The 25-week study, which involved a group of 112 adults ranging in age from 59 to 86, showed that practicing tai chi chih alone boosted immunity to a level comparable to having received the standard vaccine against the shingles-causing varicella zoster virus.
The findings demonstrate that tai chi chih can produce a clinically relevant boost in shingles immunity and add to the benefit of the shingles vaccine in older adults.
These are exciting findings, because the positive results of this study also have implications for other infectious diseases, like influenza and pneumonia," said Irwin, who is also director of the UCLA Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology.
The study divided individuals into two groups. Half took tai chi chih classes three times a week for 16 weeks, while the other half attended health education classes [classes lasted 40 minutes, a set of 20 tai chi exercises] including advice on stress management, diet and sleep habits for the same amount of time and did not practice tai chi chih. After 16 weeks, both groups received a dose of the shingles vaccine Varivax. At the end of the 25-week period, the tai chi chih group achieved a level of immunity two times greater than the health education group. The tai chi chih group also showed significant improvements in physical functioning, vitality, mental health and reduction of bodily pain.
A 2012 University of Wisconsin, Madison, study found that mindful meditation can cut your chances of catching a cold by 40 to 50%. Fifty-one people using mindfulness techniques logged 13 fewer illnesses and 51 fewer sick days than a control group during one cold and flu season.
A University of Virginia study found that their varsity swim team swimmers got 70% fewer respiratory infections when practicing Qigong at least once a week, compared to swimmers who used it less.
-- Prevention Magazine's Winter/2012 Issue.
Click here for Australian News article on Complimentary Cancer therapy including Tai Chi like Chi Kung exercise.
BELOW IS PEER REVIEWED RESEARCH ON T'AI CHI AND CANCER:
1. Mustian K M, Katula J A, Gill D L, Roscoe J A, Lang D, Murphy K. Tai Chi Chuan, health-related quality of life and self-esteem: a randomized trial with breast cancer survivors. Support Care Cancer 2004; (12): 871-876.
NON-RESEARCH ARTICLES ON T'AI CHI AND CANCER:
1. Cassileth, B.R. (1999). Evaluating complementary and alternative therapies for cancer patients. [Review] [60 refs]. Ca: a Cancer Journal for Clinicians, 49(6), 362-375.
|"Learning more about which CMs (Complimentary Medicines) help cancer survivors with pain, fatigue, anxiety, depression, overall psychological adjustment, and overall physical functioning is very feasible," Dr. Gansler noted. "That information could increase attention and resources for providing CMs that are helpful and reducing the time and money spent on ones that are not."
For example, "recent studies suggest that acupuncture helps relieve some symptoms of cancer and some side effects of treatment, but it was used by only 1.2% of participants in our study."
Read more . . . Reuters Health 8/5/2008