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This Chinese exercise may help with prostate cancer fatigue

Harold Mandel's picture
Chinese health balls

As men age the fear of prostate cancer rises. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer which men suffer from and is associated with severe morbidity and mortality. Due to concerns about the painful side effects from orthodox medical interventions, alternative treatments are often desired to help men deal with prostate cancer. A form of ancient Chinese medicine, Qigong, which involves gentle forms of exercise, has emerged as helping men in their struggle with this condition.

Over 2 million American men are prostate cancer survivors

The American Cancer Society notes that over 2 million men in the United States are considered to be prostate cancer survivors. It has been estimated in 2013 there will be approximately 238,590 new cases of prostate cancer with about 29,720 deaths from prostate cancer. Prostate cancer generally hits men later in life with an average age of diagnosis being 67. Prostate cancer comes behind only lung cancer as being a leading cause of cancer deaths in men.

Qigong may help men cope with prostate cancer

Qigong has been gaining attention as offering men an alternative remedy to help them cope with prostate cancer. The National Qigong Association writes that Qigong practices are classified as being martial, medical, or spiritual. Qigong, which involves posture, breathing techniques, and mental focus, has been recognized as a very effective health care practice which is often recommended as an important form of complementary medicine.

People who study Qigong are taught to use gentle and rhythmic movements to help themselves achieve more positive feelings in body, mind and spirit. Qigong helps people reduce stress while building their stamina and increasing their vitality. It has been found that Qigong improves many dimensions of well being, including:


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2: Cardiovascular


4: Circulatory



Qigong generally helps people regain a sense of youthful vitality while improving recovery time from illnesses. Reporting on Qigong as an alternative health care intervention, Deborah Mitchell discusses the use of Qigong to lower pain in sufferers of Fibromyalgia.

Qigong may lower feelings of fatigue and distress in prostate cancer survivors

Reporting on research into how Qigong may be beneficial for men who suffer from prostate cancer, the Journal of Cancer Survivorship has written on a study which examined the possibility of Qigong intervention for improving older prostate cancer survivors' coping mechanisms in dealing with fatigue and distress. A trial study was led by Dr. Anita Y. Kinney at the University of New Mexico Cancer Center and Dr. Rebecca Campo at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to determine if the mind-body activity Qigong may help survivors of prostate cancer to deal with fatigue.

Fatigue is a symptom which is often experienced in prostate cancer survivors. This fatigue is generally associated with a significant degree of distress and worsening quality of life. Researchers have been interested in how both the physical activity and meditative aspects of Qigong may benefit levels of fatigue and distress experienced by prostate cancer survivors.

It was observed intervention with Qigong for 12-weeks was possible and potentially helped to improve feelings of fatigue and distress shared by survivors of prostate cancer. Kinney said that Qigong participants reported experiencing notable declines in how much fatigue or distress they experienced. In a discussion of how Qigong can help with generalized fatigue, Deborah Mitchell has reported on natural remedies for chronic fatigue syndrome.

Many men have shared their fears with me about the consequences of getting prostate cancer. The orthodox treatments of radiation therapy, chemotherapy and surgery often create as many anxieties in sufferers of prostate cancer as the disease itself. Alternative forms of therapy are therefore desired which can complement the orthodox interventions for prostate cancer. Reporting on alternative treatments for cancer, Deborah Mitchell mentions Qigong in an article on making the most of living with cancer. It is my professional opinion that a complementary medicine approach, which combines orthodox treatments with alternative treatments, is the best approach for prostate cancer, and Qigong may very well often be very helpful.