Effects of Qigong on symptom management in cancer patients: A systematic review

Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2017 Nov;29:111-121. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2017.09.005. Epub 2017 Sep 6.


Purpose: Qigong as a complementary and alternative therapy is often used by cancer patients for symptom management. The aim of this systematic review is to critically evaluate the effectiveness of Qigong on symptom management among cancer patients.

Methods: A systematic search was conducted in the following databases from their inception through May 2016: Cochrane Library, PubMed/MEDLINE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, PEDRO. All controlled clinical trials of Qigong among cancer patients were included. The strength of the evidence was evaluated for all included studies using the Oxford Centre for Evidence-based Medicine Levels of Evidence. The risk of bias was assessed using the Cochrane Collaboration's Tool for Assessing Risk of Bias.

Results: Twenty-two studies including fifteen randomized controlled trials and eight controlled clinical trials examined the efficacy of Qigong in symptom management among patients with various cancers. Results of these studies indicated that symptoms in the Qigong group were significantly improved or there was an observed positive trend from pre-to post-interventions scores for physical symptoms and psychological symptoms.

Conclusion: The effectiveness of Qigong as a health practice adopted by cancer patients to manage their symptoms during their cancer journey is not proven, but there are promising results that need further verification in future research.

Keywords: Cancer; Qigong; Symptom.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Palliative Care
  • Qigong / methods*