A 12-week Baduanjin Qigong exercise improves symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis: A randomized controlled trial

Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2019 Aug;36:113-119. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2018.12.007. Epub 2018 Dec 15.


Background and purpose: Therapeutic exercises are considered effective treatments for ankylosing spondylitis(AS). Current study aimed to evaluate efficacy and safety of Baduanjin qigong, a traditional Chinese exercise, for treatment of AS in a pilot RCT setting.

Materials and methods: A total of 60 patients were randomly assigned, at a 1:1 ratio, to receive a 12-week Baduanjin qigong training(exercise group) or maintain their current lifestyle(no-treatment group). As primary outcomes, Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Index(BASDAI) and other AS symptoms were assessed at baseline and end of treatment period.

Results: A total of 46 patients completed the study. At the end of treatment period, although total BASDAI scores were not statistically different, reduced scores were observed in the exercise group, compared to no-treatment group, with respect to fatigue(P = 0.03), intensity(P = 0.04) and duration(P = 0.01) of morning stiffness; exercise group also exhibited higher patient global assessment scores(P = 0.04).

Conclusion: Baduanjin qigong exercise appeared to improve AS symptoms.

Keywords: Ankylosing spondylitis; Baduanjin qigong; Qigong; Traditional exercise.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Qigong*
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome