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Tai Chi Can Improve Survival Rate of Advanced Lung Cancer Patients By A Year

AsianScientist (May. 15, 2024) – Tai chi could significantly improve sleep quality and reduce fatigue in patients with advanced lung cancer, and improve their survival rate by a year, a new study has found. Patients with advanced lung cancer often experience sleep disturbances which can aggravate physical and psychological symptoms, resulting in decreased quality of life and survival. 

To address these issues, researchers from the University of Hong Kong’s medical school investigated non-pharmacological approaches. Among these, physical exercise emerged as a promising option due to its safety, affordability, and diverse benefits. 

Unlike pharmacological methods, which can exacerbate cancer-related symptoms with their potential side effects, physical exercise offers a safer alternative. Tai chi – a practice that involves a series of slow gentle movements and physical postures, a meditative state of mind, and controlled breathing –  was found to be an effective non-pharmacological intervention.

“Tai chi’s emphasis on the mind-body connection offers a holistic approach that goes beyond physical exercise alone. The meditative and mindful aspects of tai chi may help patients cope with psychological distress, reduce anxiety, and enhance their overall quality of life and one-year survival rate,” said lead researcher, Dr Naomi Takemura.

By incorporating tai chi into the treatment plan, healthcare providers can offer a safe, affordable, and potentially effective approach to alleviate the symptom burden and enhance the overall well-being of patients, the researchers stated.

The research team conducted a meta-analysis to examine the effects of aerobic and mind-body exercises, two widely recognised forms of physical exercises, which differ in intensity and modality. 

The research method 

The research was conducted over four years, from 2018 to 2022, and involved 226 patients with advanced lung cancer in three public hospitals in Hong Kong. They were randomly assigned to one of three groups: tai chi, aerobic exercise, or a self-management control group.

The tai chi group and aerobic exercise group attended classes twice a week over a span of 16 weeks, engaging in activities such as treadmill walking, stationary bike riding, and resistance exercises.

The study assessed multiple factors, including subjective sleep quality, objective sleep parameters, psychological distress, fatigue, health-related quality of life, physical function, circadian rhythm, and one-year survival rates among advanced lung cancer patients. 

The study, published in the journal JAMA Oncology, revealed that both the tai chi and aerobic exercise groups showed a significant improvement in sleep quality, anxiety, depression, cardiorespiratory function, physical function, step count and circadian rhythm. However, Tai chi demonstrated superior benefits over aerobic exercise in terms of sleep quality, fatigue reduction, and balance. The study found a remarkable 65% lower risk of mortality in the tai chi group compared to the control group, suggesting that engaging in tai chi may potentially offer better survival for patients with advanced lung cancer.

Source: University of Hong Kong ; Image: Shutterstock 

You can find the article at: Effectiveness of Aerobic Exercise and Tai Chi Interventions on Sleep Quality in Patients With Advanced Lung Cancer: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.



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