“Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a common respiratory disease that impacts the health and quality of life of patients worldwide. According to a report of the World Health Organization, 64 million people had COPD throughout the world in 2004, and more than three million people died of COPD in 2005.1 An 8.2% overall prevalence of COPD in people >40 years of age was demonstrated by a cross-sectional survey in China between 2002 and 2004.2 Patients with COPD frequently complain of dyspnea and exercise limitation and become trapped in a vicious cycle of inactivity, initiated by breathlessness.3,4 Exercise training, the important part of pulmonary rehabilitation, has been shown to improve dyspnea and health status and decrease health care use.3

T’ai chi and qigong (TCQ) are both Chinese ancient forms of exercise with similar components such as movement of the extremities, meditation, and breathing control. TCQ has been practiced widely in recent decades to promote mental and physical health and to prevent chronic disease among individuals of all ages.5–7 Recently, TCQ was recommended for use in COPD rehabilitation, and some clinical trials were conducted to evaluate the effects of TCQ on patients with COPD. Therefore, it was necessary and timely to perform a systematic review and meta-analysis to summarize and critically evaluate clinical trial evidence for the effectiveness of TCQ as complementary therapy for COPD.”


Purpose: The purpose of this study is to determine the effects of Chinese traditional exercise such as t’ai chi and qigong (TCQ) on patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Methods: All prospective, randomized, controlled clinical trials, published in English or Chinese and involving the use of TCQ by patients with COPD, were searched in 10 electronic databases from their respective inceptions to July 2012. The methodological quality of all studies was assessed using the Jadad score. The selection of studies, data extraction, and quality assessment were performed independently by two raters.

Results: In the results, 10 trials met the inclusion criteria and were reviewed. The meta-analysis demonstrated that compared with no exercise, TCQ had significant effects on 6-minute walk distance, forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), predicted FEV1 percentage, and St. George’s Respiratory Questionnaire score. There were no significant differences in all outcomes between TCQ and other exercise training except 6-minute walk distance.

Conclusions: In conclusion, TCQ might be beneficial with respect to physical performance, lung function, remission of dyspnea, and quality of life in patients with COPD; however, caution is needed to draw a firm conclusion because of the low methodological quality of the included trials.


Study conducted by:
Ding M, Zhang W, Li K, Chen X. Effectiveness of T’ai Chi and Qigong on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2014;20(2):79-86. doi:10.1089/acm.2013.0087.


Full article can be found here:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3924809/