Objectives: To evaluate the sustaining effects of Tai chi Qigong in improving the physiological health for COPD patients at sixth month.
Design: A randomized controlled trial. Subjects were in three randomly assigned groups: Tai chi Qigong group, exercise group, and control group.
Setting: The 206 subjects were recruited from five general outpatient clinics.
Interventions: Tai chi Qigong group completed a 3-month Tai chi Qigong program. Exercise group practiced breathing and walking as an exercise. Control group received usual care.
Main outcome measures: Primary outcomes included six-minute walking distance and lung functions. Secondary outcomes were dyspnea and fatigue levels, number of exacerbations and hospital admissions.
Results: Tai chi Qigong group showed a steady improvement in exercise capacity (P<.001) from baseline to the sixth month. The mean walking distance increased from 298 to 349 meters (+17%). No significant changes were noted in the other two groups. Tai chi Qigong group also showed improvement in lung functions (P<.001). Mean forced expiratory volume in 1s increased from .89 to .99l (+11%). No significant change was noted in the exercise group. Deterioration was found in the control group, with mean volume decreased from .89 to .84l (-5.67%). Significant decreased in the number of exacerbations was observed in the Tai chi Qigong group. No changes in dyspnea and fatigue levels were noted among the three groups.
Conclusions: Tai chi Qigong has sustaining effects in improving the physiological health and is a useful and appropriate exercise for COPD patients.
Keywords: COPD; Exercise tolerance; Lung functions; Six-minute walk test; Tai chi Qigong.
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