Qigong therapy for osteoarthritis of the knee

The benefit depends on the therapist, according to this study from the UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in Piscataway, New Jersey.

First, the details.

  • 112 adults with knee osteoarthritis were randomly assigned to external qigong therapy or sham treatment (control).
  • 2 therapists performed external qigong therapy individually for 5 to 6 sessions in 3 weeks.
  • The results achieved by the 2 healers were analyzed separately.
  • A sham healer mimicked external qigong therapy for the same number of sessions and duration.
  • Patients and examining physician were unaware of the treatment given — double-blinded.

And, the results.

  • Both qigong therapy groups reported a significant reduction in pain and improved function based on the Western Ontario MacMaster (WOMAC) scores.
  • Patients treated by healer 2 reported a significantly greater reduction in pain and more improvement in functionality than those in sham qigong therapy (control) group.
  • They also had a reduction in negative mood but not in anxiety or depression.
  • Patients treated by healer 1 experienced improvement similar to the sham control group.
  • The results of therapy persisted for 3 months in all groups.

The bottom line?
Movement benefits people with osteoarthritis of the knee. But getting the most from qigong depends — to a significant degree — on finding the best therapist.

8/27/08 09:29 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.