qi gong for fibromyalgia: a study

Before you say, “but I don’t have fibro, I have RSD,” read this anyway.  There’s a chance that if you’re in the midst of a gnarly pain cycle, you might have some fibro pain in there.  And qi gong just might be the thing to relieve it.

“Many subjects reported reductions in other FMS symptoms, and two reported they were completely symptom-free. Results from the 3-month follow-up indicated some slight rebound from the post-treatment measures, but still much better than those observed at baseline.”

How often do you read the words “completely symptom-free?”

This study is based on external qi gong.  That’s when a practitioner applies qi gong energy to you rather than you meditating and cultivating energy internally by yourself.  Think of it like getting acupuncture needles from an acupuncturist but there’s no needles.  In this particular study, the practitioner administered “acupressure, qi emission, qi balancing, and magnetic cupping on each individual.”  Below is a link to the study.  These results (listed below) are impressive.


Design:  Ten patients with FMS completed five to seven sessions of EQT over 3 weeks with pre- and posttreatment assessment and a 3-month follow-up. Each treatment lasted approximately 40 minutes.

Outcome Measures: Tender point count (TPC) and Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ) were the primary measures. McGill Pain Questionnaire (MPQ), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), anxiety, and self-efficacy were the secondary outcomes.

The results:

mean tender point count (TPC): reduced from 136.6 to 59.5

mean McGill Pain Questionnaire (MPQ): decreased from 27.0 to 7.2;

mean Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ): reduced from 70.1 to 37.3

mean Beck Depression Inventory (BDI): decreased from 24.3 to 8.3



Is your need for approval causing you pain?

Another great blog from MindBodyGreen. This struck me for two reasons: 1) I am very interested in Dr. Sarno’s belief that pain (even if there is evidence of structural defect) is likely rooted in emotional issues; and 2) this author says a strong need for approval can force the body into a constant fight or flight response which just happens to be how RSD/CRPS is often described.


” Sociologist Martha Beck says, “Pain is like a life coach in your body. It’s what made me a life coach because I started paying a lot of attention to what made me hurt and what didn’t. It turned out my body was trying to steer me away from a life that was absolutely wrong for me and into a life that was absolutely wonderful.” Approval addicts, no matter what your approval seeking personality type fear that survival = “fitting in.” Fitting in takes many different forms, for some it means not doing anything to rock the boat, for others it means being all things to all people, still others think it means to never ask for help. For me, it meant being the “best” at everything (which by the way is impossible). The bottom line is that when you have an irrational fear that your survival depends on external approval or at the very least not making people mad, bored or annoyed, you see other people as threats. You perceive social interactions as threatening and that sends the body into a near constant state of fight or flight. … There’s a name for this phenomenon. Psychologists call it rejection sensitivity.

In a nutshell, people who experience rejection become more sensitive to it. They’re more likely to interpret an ambiguous social exchange as rejection. It’s a tendency to feel deep anxiety in social situations that develops into a kind of paranoia about rejection. Our bodies are not set up to cope with chronic exposure to this a biochemical response to feelings of rejection and despair. So … this leads to “dis-ease” in the body. “


A great blog about the benefits of biofeedback. I, myself, have never done formal biofeedback. Once my rheumotologist told me that qi gong was effectively biofeedback, I never pursued the formal type. That’s not to say I am not open to it. Learning to control certain functions that I previously believed were out of my control was very freeing. It’s the ultimate Jedi Mind Trick to get yourself out of pain or warm your body using your own mind.


“Biofeedback is a medical training method used to help people learn to gain better control over their Autonomic functions. Heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, sweating, body/skin temperature, circulation, stress, and muscle tension are some of the ways we can learn to have some control over our bodies. For those who suffer from chronic pain disorders, diabetes or arthritis, learning how to increase the bloodflow to the legs, feet, and hands not only decreases pain like cold or burning sensations, it can stimulate healing in the bones, muscles and nerves where there is atrophy, further reducing deep bone pain sensations. People who suffer with Anxiety and Depressive Disorders can benefit by tracking progress through relaxation, muscle release exercises, sleep training, etc. Some of the tools used along with the EMG Biofeedback device are counseling, meditation, guided imagery, visualization techniques, music therapy, self hypnotism training, muscle relaxation techniques, focus exercises, etc. Some people describe Biofeedback like playing a video game on the screen, but the remotes are your mind and body. Each program would be different based on the patient, their specialized needs, and the Biofeedback trainer.”

Grey’s Anatomy

Grey’s Anatomy was really hard to watch last night – not just because it’s a bad show but because Arizona (ugh she’s annoying) had phantom leg pain and much of her pain experience reminded me of my own gnarly times.  Funny enough her biofeedback happy place was on a beach, not unlike the background to my blog. It is also my happy place. And no, that’s not a toilet (hopefully only my mother sees it that way), it’s a Starbucks cup on Waikiki Beach.