A pilot study on the impacts of lung-strengthening Qigong on wellbeing

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctim.2022.102891Get rights and content
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Lung-Strengthening Qigong (LSQ) is a technique for maintaining or improving wellbeing.

We recruited 170 practitioner & 42 control samples to examine its impact on wellbeing.

Live-streamed LSQ sessions were provided for an eight week-long pilot study.

The majority (84 %) of the LSQ practitioners experienced an improvement in wellbeing.

The impacts vary: including physical, mental, relational wellbeing improvements.



Qigong embraces a range of self-care exercises originating from China. Lung-Strengthening Qigong (LSQ) is a specific technique for maintaining and improving physical and mental wellbeing.


We recruited 170 practitioners and 42 non-practitioner/control samples to investigate the impacts of LSQ practice on body, mind, thoughts, and feelings. This is a pilot study pursued to plan for an adequately powered, non-clinical randomized controlled trials (RCT) on overall wellbeing and health and to evaluate the adequacy of delivering the physical activity intervention with fidelity. Self-evaluation-based data collection schemes were developed by regularly requesting completion of a questionnaire from both practitioner and control group, and an online diary and end of study survey (EOS) completion only from the practitioners. Diverse types of analyses were conducted, including statistical tests, machine learning, and qualitative thematic models.


We evaluated all different data resources together and observed that (a)the impacts are diverse, including improvements in physical (e.g., elevated sleep quality, physical energy, reduced fatigue), mental (e.g., increased positivity, reduced stress), and relational (e.g., enhanced connections to self and nature) wellbeing, which were not observed in control group; (b)measured by the level-of-effectiveness, four distinct clusters were identified, from no-effect to a high-level of effect; (c)a majority (84 %) of the LSQ practitioners experienced an improvement in wellbeing; (d)qualitative and quantitative analyses of the diary entries, questionnaires, and EOS were all found to be consistent, (e)majority of the positively impacted practitioners had no or some little prior experience with LSQ.


Novel features of this study include (i)an increased sample size vis-à-vis other related studies; (ii)provision of weekly live-streamed LSQ sessions; (iii)integration of quantitative and qualitative type of analyses. The pilot study indicated that the proportion of practitioners who continued to engage in completing the regular-interval questionnaires over time was higher for practitioners compared to the control group. The engagement of practitioners may have been sustained by participation in the regular live LSQ sessions. To fully understand the impacts of LSQ on clinical/physiological outcomes, especially for specific patient groups, more objective biomarkers (e.g. respiratory rate, heart rate variation) could be tracked in future studies.


Diary entries
End of study survey
Initial timepoint versus endpoint
Initial timepoint versus midpoint
Lung-Strengthening Qigong
Machine Learning
Midpoint versus endpoint
Natural Language Processing
Pseudo False Negatives
Pseudo False Positive
Pseudo True Negatives
Pseudo True Positive
Regular-Interval Questionnaire
Term frequency - inverse document frequency
Traditional Chinese Medicine


Qigong intervention
Qualitative analysis of diary entries
Natural language processing
Quantitative analysis of survey questions

Data Availability

Anonymised data can be available upon request.

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