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  • Writer's picturePatrick Foley

Clinical Effects of Baduanjin Qigong

Hindawi - Chi-Chun Kuo et al. - April 8 2021

Exercise on Cancer Patients: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis on Randomized Controlled Trials.


Objective. Baduanjin is a traditional Chinese Qigong exercise for health improvement. However, a few studies were examining the association between Baduanjin Qigong exercise and cancer patients. This study is conducted to explore the clinical effects of the Baduanjin Qigong exercise among cancer patients. Methods. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis using randomized controlled trials to assess the effects of the Baduanjin Qigong exercise on cancer patients. We searched Cochrane Library, PubMed, Embase, and Airiti Library for all relevant studies from inception through December 31, 2020, without language limitations. Two authors independently screened selected studies, assessed the quality of included studies, and extracted information. Any disagreement was discussed with a third senior author. Summary estimates were obtained using meta-analysis with the random effects model. Results. Among the fourteen articles involved in the systematic review, ten studies were included in the meta-analysis. Cancer patients with moderate-severe cancer-related fatigue were significantly less in the Baduanjin group compared with the control group (odds ratio = 0.27; 95% confidence interval (CI) [0.17, 0.42]). Three studies used the questionnaire of Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Breast Cancer (FACT-B) in the assessment of quality of life, and two used the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire (EORTC QLQ-C30). For FACT-B, the Baduanjin group scored significantly higher than the control group (mean difference = 11.04, 95% CI [9.56, 12.53]). For EORTC QLQ-C30, the Baduanjin group scored significantly higher than the control group (mean difference = 10.57, 95% CI [7.82, 13.32]). The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) score for sleep quality of the Baduanjin group is significantly lower than the control group (mean difference = −2.89, 95% CI [−3.48, −2.30]).

Conclusion. In conclusion, we found the Baduanjin exercise had positive clinical effects on cancer patients. This meta-analysis not only supported that the Baduanjin exercise can alleviate the degree of cancer-related fatigue in patients but also improved their quality of life and sleep quality. Further long-term follow-up randomized controlled trials are warranted.


Nowadays, cancer patients live longer due to advances in cancer treatments. However, a large proportion of cancer patients could suffer from multiple physical and psychosocial complications, such as cancer-related fatigue, deterioration in quality of life (QoL), and sleep quality caused by cancer and its current therapy. These negative conseruences may persist for months or years after the therapy. Therefore, more cancer care services should be developed to address the prevention of complications and assist patients in returning to the health status after treatment.

Physical activity is a potentially beneficial intervention to improve survival and QoL for people with cancer. Findings from most studies have reported that exercise is a solution to pain, fatigue, and physical and mental function. There is further evidence concerning the benefits of aerobic exercise in the rehabilitation of patients following cancer treatments. A recent meta-analysis summarized that cancer patients in the aerobic training group reduced cancer-related fatigue compared to patients who received routine care. Thus, aerobic exercise was suggested to be included in a part of cancer care and considered as an adjunct therapy that assists in alleviating the negative effects of cancer and its treatment.

Qigong is a general term for various exercises and treatments that Chinese people have performed for health. Traditional Chinese medicine believes that Qigong can refine one’s life and integrate mind and body. Baduanjin, a branch of traditional Qigong exercise is a mild-to-moderate intensity aerobic exercise, which consists of eight effortless movements that work on specific body parts and meridians. Since Baduajin is a mild and safe aerobic exercise, it is appropriate for cancer patients. Baduanjin may be a potential solution to complications undergoing cancer treatments. This present study was to examine the clinical effects of the Baduanjin Qigong exercise among cancer patients.

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