The research paper, titled "Effects of External Qigong Therapy on Osteoarthritis of the Knee," was published in the journal Clinical Rheumatology by a team led by Kevin W. Chen, an associate professor at the University of Maryland medical school's Center for Integrative Medicine, and Adam Perlman, chairman of the Department of Primary Care at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, and executive director of the university's Institute for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
"Although further research needs to be conducted," Perlman said, "qigong may be an effective complementary treatment for osteoarthritis. Given the limitation and potential adverse effects of drug intervention of osteoarthritis, qigong therapy might prove to be a valuable option as a supplement to conventional treatment."
In their study, Chen and Perlman divided up 106 people with arthritis into three groups. Two underwent therapy from two qigong masters who performed hand movements, similar to therapeutic touch, acupressure on specific points, focused attention and other mind healing techniques.
The third group was treated by a "master" who was actually a fake, but who had been taught how to sound and act like the real masters. The patients rated their pain levels on a scale of zero to 10 both before and after the qigong sessions. The result? Both qigong masters achieved better results than the fake one, and one of the masters far outstripped the other in terms of the benefit he wrought.