Effects of Long-Term Guo Lin Qi-Gong Practice on Cancer Survivors' Quality of Life and Aerobic Capacity: A Preliminary Report

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Conference Proceeding

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While the positive impact of aerobic and strength exercises on quality of life (QOL) and physical functions among cancer survivors has been well documented, limited efforts have been made to examine the effects of body-mind exercises.

PURPOSE: To determine the effects of long-term Guo Lin Qi-gong practice on QOL and aerobic capacity in cancer survivors. Guo Lin Qi-gong is a body-mind exercise that has been practiced by thousands of cancer survivors in China.

METHOD: 40 (20 males/females) Chinese long-term cancer survivors, who have practiced Guo Lin Qi-gong since their cancer diagnosis, were recruited in Shanghai, China and a control group (n=40) matched by types of cancer, age, gender and survival years was then recruited. Both groups were administered SF-36, a generic QOL measure (Ware & Donald-Sherbourne, 1992), Beck Depression Inventory (Beck, 1961), and did a 6-min walking test, and all results were compared using paired t-tests.

RESULTS: Both groups were well matched by Age in yr., HT in cm, WT in kg, DXA Fat% & Survival yr. (M±SD): Guo Lin Qi-gong (61.98±7.31, 163.92±6.19, 63.04±9.82, 28.30±9.36, 16.54±4.12) vs. Match-Control (60.98±7.75, 164.40±7.49, 64.14±10.95, 29.31±8.37, 15.67±4.61). It was found that long term Guo-Lin Qi-gong practice led to:

1. Better health status and QOL [e.g., Guo Lin Qi-gong group's SF-36 and related subscale scores are all higher than the Control group, and the difference in body pain scores, 91.35±11.33 vs. 84.60±15.61 (note: the higher SF-36 score, the better health) is statistically significant, p <.05];

2. Less depression (e.g., Guo Lin Qi-gong group 7.55±3.78 vs. Control group 8.91±6.64) although the difference was not statistically different (p >.05);

3. Higher health fitness level (e.g., Guo Lin Qi-gong group walked longer distances, 566.65±70.63 vs. 542.68±85.19 meters, and took more steps, 837.75±81.05 vs. 775.95±71.56 steps, p <.05, in 6-min walking test than the Control group).

Furthermore, it was found that Guo Lin Qi-gong group experienced a much lower cancer recurrence rate (4/40 = 10%) than the Control group (12/40 = 30%).

CONCLUSION: Guo Lin Qi-gong demonstrated to be an effective means in improving QOL and aerobic capacity for cancer survivors. Its possible effect in preventing cancer recurrence should be further investigated.