Any Alternative for Multiple Sclerosis? Treatment with Taichi / Qigong

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Any Alternative for Multiple Sclerosis? Treatment with Taichi / Qigong

esclerosissMultiple sclerosis is a chronic disease characterized by muscle spasms, decreased peripheral sensation, incontinence, loss of balance, fatigue and cognitive dysfunctions.

You may submit a series of symptoms in attacks or slowly progressing over time. It is believed that autoimmune mechanisms act progress. Because of its effects on the central nervous system, can result in reduced mobility and disability in more severe cases.

Currently there is no cure for this disease. Only allow certain drugs relieve symptoms. A combination of occupational therapy, psychological support and physical therapy has also proven useful in reducing fatigue and severity of symptoms. However, for the medical community is not possible to provide a treatment program that provides continuously longer term results.

This research regarding the effects of Taichi / Qigong about the symptoms of multiple sclerosis was conducted in 1999 and was published in January 2000 in the "Journal of Body Therapies and Movement".

The therapeutic program is developed based on fundamental exercises Taichi / Qigong. The intent of the program was not to teach long term "forms" associated with the practice, but focus on the principles of balance, sensory awareness and breathing. The program consisted of 6 individual classes in which each participant was taught the techniques and a video with the exercises and written materials were delivered. The research participants should practice at home at least 30 minutes daily.

In total participated 12 patients between 40 and 60 years old. They were recruited in hospitals and for acceptance should meet the requirement of having enough body mobility to attend the practice site. The particular situation of each participant was assessed two months before the start of practice, during the months of practice and in the months after the same. Three aspects are considered: mood, physical symptoms and body balance.

Research Findings

Regarding the mood, significant changes were reflected in the rates of depression decreased by 50%. Improvements were also noted in measures of fatigue.

The measurements on the physical symptoms of the disease were more complex. Participants cualificaron improvements in a scale ratio "very little, little bit, much ". The greatest gains were reflected in the distance walks and stability during walks, coordination, decreased sensation of muscle numbness, relaxation of joints and general welfare. The improvements were not as significant in relation to symptoms such as tremors, pain and quality of sleep.

From equilibrium, maintenance time in positions one leg was doubled after practice compared to baseline measurements. This improved balance is accompanied by advances in walks despite no exercise program that directly involve practice these techniques.

At the end of the research participants were asked to comment on aspects of the program that seemed most useful to them or interest. Although there was a widespread common response was reflected increased interest in self-massage and breathing techniques of Qigong.


Multiple sclerosis is a degenerative condition considered incurable. The fact that this investigation demonstrates that through the practice of Taichi / Qigong can achieve improvements in the functioning of specific areas of the body shows the need for further research in time, and tracking number of participants.

On the other hand the fact that "doing something" is also in doubt, namely, propose to the patient a pleasant and productive activity, already implies a decrease of depressive states.

Anyway, always emphasizes that the practice of Taichi / Qigong must be continuous and long to see long-term effects on health and welfare practitioners. It is recommended for them to expand research and monitoring of participants compared to a control group.

Original article:
Title: Does Tai Chi/Qi Gong help patients with Multiple Sclerosis?
Written by N. Mills, J. Allen, S. Carey Morgan

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