Context: The initial gain from a Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program (PRP) among patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) begins to fade away 6 months after the completion of a rehabilitation program. One possible reason may be due to the poor compliance of the patients to the existing forms of home exercise program (e.g., walking, weight training activities, etc.).
Objectives: This study tested the efficacy of health qigong (HQG), a traditional Chinese exercise, as an adjunct home exercise program in optimizing the gains obtained from PRP until 6 months after discharge.
Design: This was a randomized controlled trial (RCT) on a mind-body exercise intervention.
Participants: Eighty (80) patients with COPD receiving conventional PRP pulmonary rehabilitation program were randomized to the HQG intervention group (n = 40) and control group (n = 40).
Outcome measures: Assessments were undertaken by blinded assessors at baseline, discharge from training, and follow-up (FU) at 3 and 6 months. Primary outcomes involved functional capacity scales and secondary outcomes involved quality-of-life scales.
Results: Intention-to-treat analysis identified trends of improvement in all outcome measures in the HQG group, whereas lesser improvement and trends of deteriorations were identified in the control group. Ancillary analysis using a per-protocol method, however, identified significantly better improvements in functional capacity measures among the HQG at the 6-month FU.
Conclusions: This RCT provided some evidence to support the positive effect of HQG as an adjunct home exercise for rehabilitation among people with COPD and to support further related research.