Skip to main content
A pilot study of Qigong for reducing cocaine craving early in recovery
Psychiatry Publications and Presentations
  • David A. Smelson, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Kevin W. Chen, University of Maryland - Baltimore
  • Douglas M. Ziedonis, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Ken Andes, Private Traditional Chinese Medicine Practice
  • Amanda Lennox, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Lanora Callahan, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey
  • Stephanie Rodrigues, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • David Eisenberg, Harvard Medical School
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
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.
Rights and Permissions
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
Related Resources
Link to Article in PubMed
PubMed ID
Citation Information
David A. Smelson, Kevin W. Chen, Douglas M. Ziedonis, Ken Andes, et al.. "A pilot study of Qigong for reducing cocaine craving early in recovery" Vol. 19 Iss. 2 (2013) ISSN: 1075-5535 (Linking)
Available at: