Exploratory outcome assessment of Qigong/Tai Chi Easy on breast cancer survivors

Linda K. Larkey, Denise J. Roe, Lisa Smith, Denise Millstine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Objective Breast cancer survivors (BCSs) experience symptoms affecting overall quality of life (QOL), often for a prolonged period post-treatment. Meditative Movement (MM), including Qigong and Tai Chi Easy (QG/TCE), has demonstrated benefit for improving QOL issues such as fatigue and sleep, but there is limited evidence of its impact on cognitive function, overall physical activity, and body weight for BCSs. Design This double-blind, randomized controlled pilot study with 87 female BCSs explored effects of QG/TCE on mental and physical QOL (Medical Outcomes Survey, Short Form), cognitive function (Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Cognitive Function and two cognitive performance tests from the WAIS III), overall levels of physical activity (PA)(Brief Physical Activity Questionnaire) and body mass index (BMI). Interventions Twelve weekly sessions of QG/TCE were compared to sham Qigong (SQG), a gentle movement control intervention similar to QG/TCE but without the focus on breathing and meditative state. Results Both groups demonstrated pre-to-post-intervention improvements in physical and mental health, level of PA, self-reported cognitive function, and cognitive performance tests, though without significant differences between QG/TCE and SQG. For a subset of women enrolled later in the study, a significant reduction in BMI [−0.66 (p = 0.048)] was found for QG/TCE compared to SQG. Conclusions Practices that include gentle movement (such as QG/TCE or our sham protocol) among women with a history of breast cancer may improve many facets of the cancer experience, including QOL, cognitive function, and PA patterns. Practicing QG/TCE may show some advantage for BMI reduction compared to non-meditative gentle exercise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)196-203
Number of pages8
JournalComplementary Therapies in Medicine
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016


  • Body mass index
  • Breast cancer
  • Cancer survivorship
  • Integrative oncology
  • Meditative movement
  • Qigong

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and Manual Therapy
  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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