Qigong is a type of Chinese psychosomatic exercise that integrates meditation, slow physical movements, and breathing, and to which numerous physical as well as mental benefits have been classically ascribed. The aim of the present study was to analyze the effects of a qigong program on various immunological parameters.
Material/Methods: 29 naive subjects participated in the study, of whom 16 were allocated to the experimental group and the rest to the control group. The experimental subjects underwent a qigong training program, conducted by a qualified instructor, consisting of half an hour of daily practice for one month. The day before the experiment commenced and the day after it finished, blood samples were drawn from all subjects for the quantification of immunological parameters (leukocytes, immunoglobulins, and complement). As statistical analysis, analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was carried out.
Results: Statistically significant differences were found between the control and experimental groups, with the experimental group showing lower numbers of total leukocytes and eosinophils, number and percentage of monocytes, as well as complement C3 concentration. In addition, a similar result with a trend towards significance was observed in the number of eosinophils.
Conclusions: These findings demonstrate that after one month of practicing qigong, significant immunological changes occurred between the experimental and control groups, with a consistently lower and broadly significant profile of these measures within the qigong practitioner group.