Effectiveness of t'ai chi and qigong on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis

J Altern Complement Med. 2014 Feb;20(2):79-86. doi: 10.1089/acm.2013.0087. Epub 2013 Aug 20.


Purpose: The purpose of this study is to determine the effects of Chinese traditional exercise such as t'ai chi and qigong (TCQ) on patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Methods: All prospective, randomized, controlled clinical trials, published in English or Chinese and involving the use of TCQ by patients with COPD, were searched in 10 electronic databases from their respective inceptions to July 2012. The methodological quality of all studies was assessed using the Jadad score. The selection of studies, data extraction, and quality assessment were performed independently by two raters.

Results: In the results, 10 trials met the inclusion criteria and were reviewed. The meta-analysis demonstrated that compared with no exercise, TCQ had significant effects on 6-minute walk distance, forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), predicted FEV1 percentage, and St. George's Respiratory Questionnaire score. There were no significant differences in all outcomes between TCQ and other exercise training except 6-minute walk distance.

Conclusions: In conclusion, TCQ might be beneficial with respect to physical performance, lung function, remission of dyspnea, and quality of life in patients with COPD; however, caution is needed to draw a firm conclusion because of the low methodological quality of the included trials.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / therapy*
  • Qigong*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Tai Ji*
  • Treatment Outcome