Objectives: Fibromyalgia is a chronic debilitating pain syndrome. There has been growing interest in the development of non-pharmacological therapies. Ba-Duan-Jin is an ancient Chinese exercise for health promotion, yet easy to learn. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of Ba-Duan-Jin in managing fibromyalgia symptoms experienced by Chinese patients.
Methods: In this randomised, usual therapy-controlled study, patients with fibromyalgia practiced Ba-Duan-Jin for one hour, twice a week for 12 weeks. The primary outcome measure was change in the Visual Analogue Scale for pain (pain VAS). Secondary outcomes included the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ), the Multidimensional Assessment of Fatigue (MAF), the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), and the Tender Point Count (TPC). These measures were assessed at baseline and after 4, 8, and 12 weeks. The Patient Global Impression of Change (PGIC) was collected at week 12. The Mann-Whitney U-test was performed using the intention-to-treat population.
Results: A total of 62 fibromyalgia patients were randomised to the Ba-Duan-Jin or the control groups. For the Ba-Duan-Jin group, significant improvement in pain VAS, FIQ, MAF, PSQI, and TPC were documented at weeks 4 (p≤0.046) and continued at week 8 (p≤0.003). At week 12, all of the outcome measures including BDI and PSS exhibited significant improvement (p≤0.004), and PGIC ratings were significantly better (p<0.001). No significant changes in the control group were observed.
Conclusions: This study suggests that Ba-Duan-Jin exercise has the potential to be a valuable non-pharmacological intervention among Chinese fibromyalgia patients.