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Can qigong cure cocaine addiction?

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Cocaine abuse can be one of the hardest addictions to cure.

Conventional treatments often fall short in helping addicts manage cravings and withdrawal symptoms, but an alternative method may be the ticket.

Qigong for cocaine addiction

Qigong, an ancient Chinese health practice that focuses on breathing techniques, energy movement and focused intention, was shown to help cocaine addicts manage cravings when presented with the temptation of using cocaine.

The study, led by David Smelson, PsyD, from the University of Massachusetts Medical School, showed that qigong therapy (EQT) could help to facilitate healing in addicts going through withdrawal. Researchers gave one group of participants qigong therapy and another a sham treatment. The former group not only had reduced cravings when handling and seeing cocaine, but they also had fewer symptoms of depression than the participants in the sham treatment group.

Implications

"This early work may have profound consequences in drug rehabilitation programs, and certainly deserves further focused and rigorous evaluation," said Kim A. Jobst, MA, DM, Editor-in-Chief of Functional Shift Consulting Ltd.

The authors also note that the study supports previous research about the effects of qigong on treatment success for addicts.

"These results are consistent with a prior pilot study, which found that subjects receiving qigong meditation (i.e., 'internal qigong' practice) had significantly higher treatment completion rates and a greater reduction in craving," the authors wrote.

The study is published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

Source: Health Canal