A 12-week intervention involving the mind-body activity Qigong improved levels of fatigue and distress among survivors of prostate cancer (PCa) in a small randomized controlled trial.

Qigong, which combines slow, flowing movements, coordinated deep breathing, and meditative exercises, is performed at a slow pace and can even be done while sitting. As noted in a statement accompanying the release of the trial results, cancer patients are often advised to participate in physical activity to manage cancer-related fatigue and distress. Anita Y. Kinney, PhD, of the University of New Mexico Cancer Center in Albuquerque, and colleagues sought to determine whether Qigong could be helpful to older PCa survivors in this regard.

The 40 participants (median age 72 years, range 58–93 years) were classified as fatigued based on their scores on a fatigue grading scale, and as sedentary, engaging in fewer than 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. The men were randomized to 12 weeks of Qigong or stretching classes.

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The Qigong group had significantly higher class attendance and significantly greater improvements in measures of fatigue and distress than did the stretching group. The investigators concluded in Journal of Cancer Survivorship that the Qigong intervention was feasible and potentially an effective means of improving fatigue and distress levels in older PCa survivors.