With increasingly aged populations worldwide, the quality of life and psychosocial wellbeing of older adults, especially those with chronic disease, become of increasing importance. There are multiple studies on the use of internal Qigong, a popular mind-body exercise commonly practiced by older adults. However, the effectiveness of internal Qigong on quality of life, depressive symptoms, and self-efficacy on older adults remains unclear.
To review updated evidence to determine the effectiveness of internal Qigong interventions on quality of life, depressive symptoms, and self-efficacy among community-dwelling older adults with chronic disease.
Six databases (PubMed, CENTRAL, CINAHL, Embase, Scopus, CNKI) were systematically searched for studies from January 2008 to December 2018 in English and Chinese. Relevant randomised controlled trials (RCTs) were screened and assessed for risk of bias by two independent reviewers. A meta-analysis on study outcomes of quality of life, depressive symptoms and self-efficacy using the RevMan 5.3 software was performed.
The search retrieved 3439 records. After screening, a total of 13 RCTs with 1340 participants were included in this review. Meta-analysis revealed a significant effect favouring internal Qigong on the quality of life (combined MD = 3.72; 95% CI: 2.27–5.18; p = 0.0001) compared to controls. No significant effects were found for depressive symptoms and self-efficacy. Low heterogeneity among the studies was found for quality of life, whereas high heterogeneity was shown for depressive symptoms and self-efficacy.
Internal Qigong appears to have potential benefits on overall quality of life among community-dwelling older adults with chronic disease. The findings of this study suggest potential use of internal Qigong as an adjunct activity for chronic disease management. Future research may enhance the rigour of trials and explore theoretical underpinnings behind Qigong.