Background: Chronic fatigue syndrome is a complex disease of unknown etiology and mechanism. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of Prolong Life with Nine Turn Method Qigong exercise on chronic fatigue syndrome focusing on fatigue, sleep quality, depression, and anxiety.
Methods: A total of 90 participants diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome were randomly assigned into two parallel groups: Prolong Life with Nine Turn Method and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). The participants in the Prolong Life with Nine Turn Method or CBT group participated in qigong exercise or cognitive behavior education program, respectively, once a week in-person and were supervised online during the remaining 6 days at home, over 12 consecutive weeks. The primary outcome was fatigue (Multi-dimensional Fatigue Inventory 20 [MFI-20]), and secondary outcomes were sleep quality (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index [PSQI]), anxiety, depression (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale [HADS]), and changes in the Neuropeptide Y (NPY) of peripheral blood.
Results: The within-group comparisons of the Prolong Life with Nine Turn Method and CBT groups revealed significant improvement in both groups in MFI-20, PSQI, and HADS scores (P < 0.05). No significant difference were found between the PLWNT and CBT groups, even though the effective rate of the Prolong Life with Nine Turn Method group was 62.22%, which is slightly than 50.00% of the CBT group. The fatigue scores in the Prolong Life with Nine Turn Method group were positively correlated with sleep degree (r = 0.315) and anxiety degree (r = 0.333), only anxiety degree (r = 0.332) was found to be positively correlated with fatigue in the CBT group. The analysis of peripheral blood showed that NPY decreased after Prolong Life with Nine Turn Method intervention but increased significantly in the CBT.
Conclusion: The Prolong Life with Nine Turn Method qigong exercise has potential to be an effective rehabilitation method for CFS symptoms including fatigue, sleep disturbance, anxiety, and depression. Future studies should expand study sample size for in-depth investigation to determine the optimal frequency and intensity of Prolong Life with Nine Turn Method qigong intervention in chronic fatigue syndrome patients.