Meditative Movement: Which Techniques Can Help COPD Patients?
Meditative movement, according to a study published in the International Journal of COPD, can refer to any discipline which combines elements of meditation, breathing exercises, and relaxation. Common forms of meditative movement include yoga, tai chi and qigong. While more research is needed, there is a growing body of evidence to suggest that these disciplines, with their emphasis on slow, controlled movements and breath and breathing can have a variety of benefits for those trying to manage their COPD.
Yoga is a well known and popular form of meditative movement that can prove beneficial for those trying to manage their COPD. A study from the American Journal of Therapeutics looked at the effects a yoga program had on COPD patients, specifically looking at overall quality of life as well as at particular indicators of lung function. In the study, patients were taught a variety of yoga techniques, including physical movements, breathing exercises and meditation for three hours weekly over the course of a month and half. Tests taken before and after this intervention found that there was a statistically significant increase in both quality of life and lung function (both maximum expiratory and maximum inspiratory pressure). Researchers noted, however, that only short term effects were covered in this study.
Tai chi is another meditative movement discipline which researchers are beginning to believe can also help as an adjunctive therapy for those with COPD. A study, which appeared in the journal Chest looked at two groups of COPD patients, one who received traditional pulmonary rehabilitation and one who received tai chi. The study found that the tai chi was as effective as traditional rehabilitation for improving COPD — and also that, 12 weeks after the intervention, the patients who had done tai chi were significantly improved over patients who had undergone pulmonary rehabilitation.
Although less-known in the West than yoga or tai chi, qigong is yet a third meditative movement that COPD patients can consider as a complementary treatment. This discipline combines meditation, breathing exercises and controlled movements; a meta-analysis, published in the BMC Complementary and Alternative Therapies journal analyzed 10 different studies on this subject and concluded that that there is evidence that qigong can provide a variety of benefits to COPD patients, benefits including better lung function, increased capacity for exercise, and overall quality of life.
Some of these studies had small numbers of patients or followed patients for a short period of time. These studies do not provide doctors with complete knowledge of why meditative movement can help with issues like lung function, and which patients may benefit the most from them. However, while more research is definitely needed learn more about the exact benefits of meditative movement, there is a growing body of evidence to support this as a useful adjunctive tool for COPD patients who are interested in managing their disease process and preserving quality of life. Please talk to your doctor about meditative movement to see if it could be helpful for you.
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor and is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. Philips disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.