Background: Due to the limitations and side effects of conventional cancer treatment, especially in relation to quality of life (QOL), patients are increasingly utilizing complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) to supplement health-related outcomes. However, evidence for the safety and efficacy of such treatments is lacking. The purpose of the current review was to investigate evidence for the role of one CAM, medical Qigong (MQ), in supportive care.
Methods: The literature was searched for reported effects of MQ in improving QOL, immune function, and survival in cancer patients.
Results: Although many studies possessed methodological limitations and small sample sizes, encouraging evidence was found for the effects of MQ on these health-related outcomes. More robust evidence in the form of randomized controlled trials with larger sample sizes also reflected positive results for the role of MQ in improving QOL, mood and fatigue parameters, and reducing inflammation.
Conclusion: Given such encouraging results, further research is recommended in methodologically sound approaches to further delineate the action of MQ. These findings support the utilization of MQ by cancer patients and the place for such programs in comprehensive cancer care.