Selected Research Relevant to Tai Chi & Qigong:
A General Overview of Research: * National Institute of Health (NIH) Overview of Health Benefits of Tai Chi: https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/tai-chi-what-you-need-to-know
• “The Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi” (Wayne & Fuerst, 1991) says: “regular practice leads to more vigor and flexibility, better balance and mobility, and a sense of well-being. Cutting-edge research from Harvard Medical School also supports the long-standing claims that Tai Chi also has a beneficial impact on the health of the heart, bones, nerves and muscles, immune system, and the mind.”
• Medical Research Library from World Tai Chi & Qigong Day-https://www.worldtaichiday.org/WTCQDHlthBenft.html
• The National Qigong Association: https://www.nqa.org/research-updates
• Jahnke, R. Larkey, L, Rogers, C, et .al, 2010). A Comprehensive Review of Health Benefits of Qigong and Tai Chi, American Journal of Health Promotion, July/August. Vol 24, No 5.
• Beyond drugs: can Tai Chi mind–body exercise be an alternative treatment for rheumatoid arthritis? Wang, C., Int. J. Clin. Rheumatol. (2011) 6(5), 477–479, Editorial: Tufts Medical Center
Back Pain: Lower Back Pain:
Wayne, P. et. al, (2018) A Multidisciplinary integrative medicine team in the treatment of chronic low-back pain: An observational comparative effectiveness study, The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Vol. 24, No. 8. https://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2018.0002
Cancer: Are Medical Qigong and Guo Lin Qigong effective for Cancer? More research is needed.
• Guo Lin Qigong Reduces anxiety, improves immune function, reduces inflammation and quality of life: The efficacy of Guolin-Qigong on the body-mind health of Chinese women with breast cancer: a randomized controlled trial
• The efficacy of Guolin-Qigong on the body-mind health of Chinese women with breast cancer: a randomized controlled trial
• Jones, B. Changes in cytokine production in healthy subjects practicing Guolin Qigong : a pilot study, BMC Complementary & Alternative med, , 2001
• Tian Meng, et al, Medical Qigong increases Cancer survival rate time. Daniel Man Yuen SXE, et al. , Critical Review in Qigong & Immunity Cancer Research, International Journal of Complementary & Alternative Medicine, 2017, DOI: 10.15406/ijcam.2017.07.00227
• Qigong for women with breast cancer: An updated systematic review and meta analysis, Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 2021, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctim.2021.102743
• Chinese Herbal Medicine Is Helpful for Survival Improvement in Patients With Multiple Myeloma in Taiwan: A Nationwide Retrospective Matched-Cohort Study, 2020, Huang, c, Wu, M, el al, Integr. Cancer Ther., Pub Med
Chronic Fatigue: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Qigong Exercise on Fatigue Symptoms, Functioning, and Telomerase Activity in Persons with Chronic Fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.Rainbow T. H. Ho, Ph.D., Jessie S. M. Chan, M.P.H., Chong-Wen Wang, Ph.D., Benson W. M. Lau, Ph.D., Kwok Fai So, Ph.D., Li Ping Yuen, B.C.M., Jonathan S. T. Sham, M.D., Cecilia L. W. Chan, Ph.D. Author Notes, Annals of Behavioral Medicine, Volume 44, Issue 2, October 2012, Pages 160–170, https://doi.org/10.1007/s12160-012-9381-6, 27 June 2012.
Depression: Effectiveness of a Qigong program on sleep quality among community-dwelling older adults with mild to moderate depression: A randomized controlled trial, Phenphop Phansuea, Sookjaroen Tangwongchai, Thanapoom Rattananupong, Vitool Lohsoonthorn, SomratLertmaharit , Journal of Health Research, ISSN: 2586-940X, Open Access. Article publication date: 2 March 2020, Issue publication date: 7 August 2020.
Sitting Tai Chi was found to have favorable effects on depressive symptoms, heart rate, and social domain of quality of life of individuals with impaired physical mobility. More research is needed on dynamic sitting balance, handgrip strength, and the physical and psychological domains of quality of life. The effects of sitting Tai Chi on physical and psychosocial health outcomes among individuals with impaired physical mobility. A systematic review and meta-analysis.” Jie Zhao, Janita Pak Chun Chau, Suzanne Hoi Shan Lo, Kai Chow Choi, Surui Liang, Int J Nurs Stud, 2021 Mar 3;118:103911.doi: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2021.103911. PMID: 33751992 DOI: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2021.103911
• Check out this article (book chapter) by a colleague/friend of mine, Eric Leskowitz, MD., for an interesting energy oriented perspective on EMDR’s mechanism of action: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/333702778_EMDR_and_Subtle_Energy_A_Proposed_Mechanism_of_Action, DOI:10.1155/2016/5935782
Tai Chi for the Prevention of Falls Among Older Adults: A Critical Analysis of the Evidence, Nyman, S. 2020, Jour. of Aging and Physical Activity, Vol 29 Issue 2.
• Qigong and Fibromyalgia: Randomized Controlled Trials and Beyond, 2014, Sawynok & Lynch, M., Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Volume 2014 | Article ID 379715 | https://doi.org/10.1155/2014/379715
• Traditional Chinese Medicine for Fibromyalgia, Mist, S,Wright, C., et al, 2010 ,Pract. Pain Manag., NIH, National Library ofMedicine
Heart: Blood Pressure and Heart Rate Variability: Tai Chi can improve the blood pressure of patients with hypertension by decreasing the serum Ang II level and increasing the serum NO level. Effect and mechanism of Tai Chi on blood pressure of patients with essential hypertension: a randomized controlled study, Bo Lin, Qiu Jin, Chunhua Liu, Wenhui Zhao, Runyuan Ji , J Sports Med Phys Fitness, 2021 Dec 9. doi: 10.23736/S0022-4707.21.13394-8.Online ahead of print.
Effects of Tai Chi on essential hypertension and related risk factors: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials, Guan, Y., Hao, Y et al., 2020, J. Rehab Med, Pub Med
Qigong and Heart Rate Variability: Overview of research. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/heart-rate-variability-new-way-track-well-2017112212789
Qigong and Heart Rate Variability: A systematic Review, Ramos, C, Franca W et al. 2017, Jour of Biosciences and Medicines, 5 120-127.
What Is Heart Rate Variability? And Why Does It Matter? Aldao,, A. 2014, Psychology Today.
Measurement of heart rate variability and cognitive abilities based on attachment styles in children with chronic medical conditions, 2019 Ghafarimoghadam, F Araini, F., Scientific Reports 9, Open Acess.
A meta-analysis of heart rate variability and neuroimaging studies: Implications for heart rate variability as a marker of stress and health, Thayer, J., Ahs, F, et al., 2012, Neuroscience & Behavioral Reviews, Vol 36, Issue 2.
Longevity: One Legged Stance Correlated with Longevity: Arujo, C. et al. (2021) Successful 10-second one-legged stance performance predicts survival in middle-aged and older individuals, British Journal of Sports Medicine, http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bjsports-2021-105360. Balance quickly diminishes after the mid-50s increasing the risk for falls and other adverse health outcomes. Our aim was to assess whether the ability to complete a 10- s one-legged stance (10-second OLS) is associated with all-cause mortality and whether it adds relevant prognostic information beyond ordinary demographic, anthropometric and clinical data. Within the limitations of uncontrolled variables such as recent history of falls and physical activity, the ability to successfully complete the 10-s OLS is independently associated with all-cause mortality and adds relevant prognostic information beyond age, sex and several other anthropometric and clinical variables.
Mind-Body Healthcare & the Relaxation Response: Harvard researcher and best-selling author of “The Relaxation Response.” Dr. Herbert Benson, explains how Mind-Body practices like Tai Chi and Qigong more effectively treat 60 to 90% of health issues than drug or surgical therapies. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZ7JfC3_Zgc
Parkinson’s Disease and Chinese Medicine:
• Clinical Effectiveness of acupuncture on Parkinson’s Disease, Lun s. & Lim S., 2017, link from Pub Med Central, a meta-analysis,,
• Effect of Health Qigong Exercise on Relieving Symptoms of Parkinson’ disease, Liu, X .& Wang, Y. , 2016, January 2016, Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2016(4):1-11.
• Effectiveness of Traditional Chinese Medicine as an Adjunct Therapy for Parkinson’s Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis, 2015, Zhang, G, Xiong, N. , Plos One Open access
• The effect of Tai Chi on functional mobility, balance and falls in Parkinson’s disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis of systematic reviews, Aras, b, Seyyar, G. et al, Pub Med..
• A systematic review and meta-analysis of the effects of Qigong and Tai Chi for depressive symptoms, 2015, Liu, X, Clark, J.Comp Ther. Med
• The Mechanisms of Traditional Chinese Medicine Underlying the Prevention and Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease, Li, X, Zhang, et.al., 2017, Front Parmacol 8:634
Other Treatment Modalities for Parkinsons:
• Focused Ultrasound Can Bring Relief for Parkinson’s Patients, AARP; Three-year follow-up of prospective trial of focused ultrasound thalamotomy for essential tremor, 2019, Halpern, C, Santini, V, et al, Pub. Med, Randomized Controlled Trial.
• Physiotherapy in Parkinson’s Disease: A Meta-Analysis of Present Treatment Modalities, 2020, Radder, D. Lime, A. et al., Pub Med
A Report of 10 cases of Parkinson’s Disease cured by Xifengzhizhan pills and Xifengzhizhan capsules, 2020, Weifan, W, Jour of Brain and Neurology, Vol 3 Issue 1. Note: For studies like this that report cures, please be circumspect about research methodology issues. For example please see my peer reviewed articles below on research methdology considerations.
Research Methodology Issues: For better understanding of the complexity of research methodology issues on Qigong and hypertension see:
• Mayer, M. (1999).Qigong and hypertension: A critique of research, Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 5(4), 371-382.
• Mayer, M. (2003). Qigong clinical studies. In W. B. Jonas (Ed.), Healing, intention, and energy medicine (pp. 121-137). England: Churchill Livingston.
• Mayer, M. (2010). Hypertension: An integral bodymind healing approach . Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine (Peer Reviewed). Also available on this website as an on-line Webinar: Click here.
While energy psychology as a field is still relatively young, its evidence base continues to grow in both quantity and quality.
As of February 2022, 70+ randomized control trials, over 55 pre-post outcome studies, 5 meta-analyses and 19 systematic reviews have been published on EP methods in English-speaking, peer-reviewed journals. In addition, over 80 research studies have been published in non-English journals. These modalities have been researched by more than 200 investigators in over 12 countries.
The results of these studies have been published in more than 15 different peer-reviewed journals, including the Journal of Clinical Psychology, the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease and the APA journals Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training and Review of General Psychology. While questions about mechanism remain – specifically how these techniques work - a robust and growing body of research continues to document their effectiveness.
Energy psychology is a mind-body approach. The next frontier of EP research involves exploring the mechanisms of action of these modalities and investigating concurrent physiological changes using such tools as qEEG and fMRI and PET scans, and documenting changes in cortisol levels, gene expression and immunological function (to date, research has shown these changes to be positive).
A recent article by David Feinstein reported,“….The review derives 6 premises about the method’s efficacy, speed, durability, and physiologic effects that have enough empirical support …. in delineating and making claims about the approach. These include that acu-point tapping protocols (a) are effective in treating a range of clinical conditions, (b) are rapid compared to conventional treatments, (c) lead to durable benefits, (d) produce changes in biologic markers that corroborate the subjective assessments of clients, (e) are a critical ingredient for the demonstrated clinical effects and (f) send signals that can increase or decrease arousal in specific areas of the brain.”
“Further consideration of the mechanisms that lead to the reported rapid, durable outcomes suggest that the approach has an unusual capacity for revising outdated mental models….” Published in Advances in Mind Body Medicine, Spring 2021,35(2).
Reprinted from the ACEP website. For a more comprehensive view of The Science behind Energy Psychology see: https://www.energypsych.org/researchdb8c71b7
Forbes Magazine, Emily Laurence (Oct .25, 2022) published an article further moving EP into the Mainstream of public awareness and clinical practice, “EFT Tapping: What you need to know.”
Key articles on Energy Psychology by David Feinstein, Ph.D.*:
Feinstein, D. (2022). Integrating the manual stimulation of acupuncture points into psychotherapy: A systematic review with clinical recommendations. Journal of Psychotherapy Integration. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1037/int0000283, https://www.growkudos.com/publications/10.1037%25252Fint0000283/reader. The integration of techniques from acupressure into conventional psychotherapy has been the subject of more than 300 peer-reviewed journal articles, including over 125 clinical trials. This review finds that this evidence shows the approach to be not only effective, but unusually rapid and that the improvements are durable. The mechanisms that lead to these outcomes, implications for clinicians, and directions for future research are all discussed.
Feinstein, D. (2019). Energy psychology: Efficacy, speed, mechanisms, Elsevier, Vol 15, Issue 5, Sept, pp. 340-351. (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1550830718303513)
Feinstein, D. (2012). Acupoint stimulation in treating psychological disorders: Evidence of efficacy. Review of General Psychology, 16, 364-380.
Feinstein, D. (2008b). Energy psychology in disaster relief. Traumatology. 14(1), 124–137.
*To learn how Dr Mayer’s approach includes but expands upon the traditional tapping methods of energy psychology (Click here to view the originally published in the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology Newsletter) For a more in-depth comparison, please see Dr Mayer’s book Energy Psychology: Self-healing Methods for Bodymind Health (North Atlantic/Random House, 2009, republished by Bodymind Healing Publications, 2022). Or Click here to learn more or schedule a BMH Energy Psychology session oriented to your specific needs.
Selected references for The Efficacy of Tai Chi, Qigong and Energy Psychology, plus other related references.
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