UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry

Publication Date


Document Type



Adult; *Breathing Exercises; Cocaine; Cocaine-Related Disorders; Cues; Depression; Female; Humans; Male; Middle Aged; Treatment Outcome


Alternative and Complementary Medicine | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology | Substance Abuse and Addiction


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.

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Copyright Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. Publisher PDF posted as allowed by the publisher's author rights policy at

DOI of Published Version



Smelson D, Chen KW, Ziedonis D, Andes K, Lennox A, Callahan L, Rodrigues S, Eisenberg D. A pilot study of Qigong for reducing cocaine craving early in recovery. J Altern Complement Med. 2013 Feb;19(2):97-101. doi: 10.1089/acm.2012.0052. Epub 2012 Jul 3. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.)

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID