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J Pain. 2007 Nov;8(11):827-31. Epub 2007 Aug 9.

External qigong for pain conditions: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials.

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Complementary Medicine, Peninsula Medical School, Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, Exeter, United Kingdom.


The aim of this systematic review was to assess the clinical evidence of external qigong as a treatment option for pain conditions. Databases were searched up to January 2007. Randomized, clinical trials (RCTs) testing external qigong in patients with pain of any origin assessing clinical outcomes were considered. Trials using any type of control group were included. The selection of studies, data extraction, and validation were performed independently by at least 2 reviewers. One hundred forty-one potentially relevant studies were identified and 5 RCTs could be included. All RCTs of external qigong demonstrated greater pain reductions in the qigong groups compared with control groups. Meta-analysis of 2 RCTs showed a significant effect of external qigong compared with general care for treating chronic pain (Pain 100 mm VAS; weighted main differences, 36.3 mm; 95% CI, 22.8 to 49.8; P < .001; heterogeneity: chi(2) = 1.79, P = .18, I(2) = 44.0%, n = 80). The evidence from RCTs testing the effectiveness of external qigong for treating pain is encouraging. Further studies are warranted.


This review of clinical studies focused on the efficacy of qigong, an energy-healing intervention used to prevent and cure ailments. A meta-analysis shows that evidence for the effectiveness of external qigong is encouraging, though further studies are warranted.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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