Effects of qigong on cardiorespiratory changes: a preliminary study

Am J Chin Med. 1993;21(1):1-6. doi: 10.1142/S0192415X93000029.


Qigong, a special form of breathing exercise, was investigated to examine its effect on cardiorespiratory changes. Ten volunteers (five males and five females) participated in a 20-minute group instructional session for 10 consecutive days before testing of its treatment effects. The testing protocol followed a C1-T-C2 design, where C1, T, and C2 represented the first, treatment, and second control period, respectively. Each period consisted of a 5-minute interval, and thus each testing session consisted of 15 minutes. The results indicated there were no statistically significant differences (p > 0.05) in heart rate or tidal volume for the three 5-minute periods. There was a significant decrease (p < 0.05) in respiratory exchange ratio between T and C2. A significant increase in ventilatory efficiency for carbon dioxide production was found between C1 and T. Statistically significant differences (p < 0.05) were found in the volume of oxygen consumed and carbon dioxide produced, frequency of breath, expired ventilation, and ventilatory efficiency for oxygen produced between the T and the two control periods. This preliminary study of Qigong demonstrates that the subjects were able to learn the technique in a short period of time. The data also suggest that, with an improvement of nearly 20% in ventilatory efficiency for oxygen uptake and carbon dioxide production, this technique may have useful therapeutic value.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breathing Exercises*
  • Carbon Dioxide / analysis
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medicine, Chinese Traditional*
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Pulmonary Gas Exchange
  • Respiration
  • Tidal Volume / physiology*


  • Carbon Dioxide