Qigong May Be an Effective Self-management Therapy for Burnout
December 28, 2012 -
A study carried out by University of Porto in Portugal evaluated the prevalence
of burnout in physiotherapists and assessed whether "White Ball" Qigong
exercises may be effective in burnout. This was aimed to provide preliminary
data for the preparation and development of a larger study.
completed a demographic questionnaire and the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI)
questionnaire. For the intervention and the control groups, the authors selected
those physiotherapists with the highest levels of burnout on the most important
subscale. The intervention group (eight physiotherapists) performed a specific
qigong intervention as developed by the Heidelberg School of Chinese Medicine;
the control group consisted of eight physiotherapists on a waiting list. At the
end of a three-week period of treatment or waiting list, both groups repeated
the MBI for the comparison of results.
physiotherapists (36 males and 70 females) assessed by the MBI, Emotional
Exhaustion subscale was seen in 52 (49.1%), Depersonalization subscale in 36
(33.9%), and Burnout in the Personal Accomplishment subscale in 33 (31.2%), of
whom 4 (3.8%) suffered to a severe degree and 29 (27.4%) moderately.
Within the study
group Qigong lowered the mean values of Emotional Exhaustion subscale from 38.0
to 31.4, whereas in the control group the values rose from 33.9 to 37.9. The
differences between the two groups were statistically significant. Qigong
lowered the mean value of Depersonalization subscale from 10.8 to 6.8. In
controls the value rose from 7.3 to 10.6. The difference between the two groups
was statistically significant. The mean values of Personal Accomplishment
subscale decreased in both groups: from 35.4 to 33.9 in the intervention group,
and from 37.5 to 37.1 in the control group. The difference between the two
groups was not statistically significant.
The effects of
"White Ball" Qigong on burnout symptoms are measurable by the MBI. The results
are compatible with the thesis that this type of Qigong is an effective tool for
the self-management of burnout. It is easy to integrate into a daily routine as
it takes only 2 x 5 min per day. On the basis of this evaluation, a study design
can now be developed on a larger scale with appropriate blinding, follow-up
testing and adequate controls.