Effects of Qigong on immune cells

Am J Chin Med. 2003;31(2):327-35. doi: 10.1142/S0192415X03001016.


The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of two acute Qigong interventions (Qi-training and Qi-therapy) on immune cells. The Qigong interventions were compared with placebo training and placebo therapy in which no attempt was made to gather or move Qi. Immune cell numbers were measured pre-intervention, immediately post-intervention and 1 or 2 hours post-intervention. White blood cells increased significantly 2 hours after actual Qi-training (p < 0.05) but not sham training compared with pre-intervention There were significant increases in lymphocytes 2 hours after actual but not sham Qi-training (p < 0.05) and monocyte numbers were significantly increased immediately after both actual Qi-training (p < 0.01) and sham training (p < 0.05). NK cell numbers decreased significantly both immediately after Qi-training and after sham movements done without concomitant Qi-training (p < 0.01). There were no significant effects on neutrophils. Actual Qi-therapy but not sham therapy increased monocyte numbers immediately after Qi-therapy, and lymphocytes increased more after real than after sham therapy. Neutrophils were again little changed The data indicate that a single Qigong intervention can increase the monocyte and lymphocyte numbers.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Breathing Exercises*
  • Cell Count
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular / physiology*
  • Killer Cells, Natural / physiology
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Lymphocyte Count
  • Monocytes / physiology