A pilot study of qigong for reducing cocaine craving early in recovery

David Smelson, Kevin W. Chen, Douglas Ziedonis, Ken Andes, Amanda Lennox, Lanora Callahan, Stephanie Rodrigues, David Eisenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations


Objectives: This pilot study examined the feasibility, preliminary efficacy, and determined the effect sizes of external qigong therapy (EQT) in reducing cue-elicited cocaine craving and associated symptoms among recently abstinent cocaine-dependent (CD) individuals. Methods: This study randomized 101 CD subjects to either a real EQT (n=51) or sham EQT control (n=50) group. Subjects underwent a baseline assessment and a weekly cue-exposure session for 2 weeks. Total EQT or sham treatments ranged from 4 to 6 sessions in 2 weeks. Results: EQT-treated subjects displayed a greater reduction in cue-elicited craving (p=0.06) and symptoms of depression (p<0.05) with medium effect sizes. Conclusions: This study demonstrated the feasibility of delivering EQT among CD individuals early in residential treatment. Future research should include a larger sample and examine the mechanisms and potential longitudinal benefits of EQT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-101
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2013

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    Smelson, D., Chen, K. W., Ziedonis, D., Andes, K., Lennox, A., Callahan, L., Rodrigues, S., & Eisenberg, D. (2013). A pilot study of qigong for reducing cocaine craving early in recovery. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 19(2), 97-101. https://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2012.0052