Objective: Tinnitus is a frequent disorder which is very difficult to treat. Qigong is a mindful exercise and an important constituent of traditional Chinese medical practice. Here we performed a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the effect of a Qigong intervention on patients with tinnitus. We hypothesized that especially tinnitus patients with somatosensoric components may benefit from the mind-body technique of Qigong.
Methods: Eighty patients with tinnitus of at least 3 months duration were randomly assigned to an intervention group (n=40) consisting of 10 Qigong training sessions in 5 weeks or a waiting-list control group (n=40). Tinnitus severity was assessed with a visual analogue scale (VAS) and with a tinnitus questionnaire (TBF-12) before treatment, immediately after treatment, and 1 and 3 months after treatment.
Results: Qigong did not cause any side effects and was completed by 80% of the assigned patients. Compared with the control group, Qigong participants experienced improvement in tinnitus severity, as reflected by a significant reduction in both the VAS and the TBF-12. In the subgroup of patients with somatosensoric tinnitus, Qigong effects were more pronounced, resulting in a highly significant improvement in both scales compared to the waiting-list group.
Conclusion: These findings suggest that Qigong interventions could be a useful complement to the therapeutic management of patients with tinnitus and especially for those with somatosensoric components. Satisfaction with the intervention, a high degree of completion, and stability of the effects for at least 3 months after the intervention further underscore the potential of Qigong in the treatment of tinnitus.
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