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Qigong Help Chronically Ill People to Cope With Anxiety and Discrimination

to discover their motivation and experience of Qigong during the SARS outbreak.

There were five key reasons why people chose to engage in Qigong:

· Participants saw Qigong as the most "legitimate" of the alternative therapies available to them.

· It provided gentle exercise at a time when they were getting older and their health was deteriorating.

· They felt Qigong was more effective than biomedicine, especially when they saw little improvement in their condition using conventional methods.

· Qigong provided a way of coping with the emotional burden of being discriminated against during the SARS crisis, when chronically ill people were seen as a high risk group

· The alternative therapy made them feel more in control of their health during SARS because they felt they were doing something positive.

"Because there was no definitive medical treatment available during the SARS crisis, people had to take whatever steps they could to protect themselves and many turned to the alternative therapies that are such a big part of Chinese culture" explains Siu, who is currently based in the School of Population Health at the University of Queensland.

"This resulted in a significant rise in the number of people joining our three observations groups just after the outbreak. They told us that they had considered practising Qigong because of their health problems and the SARS outbreak was the trigger that motivated them to do something about it."

As one new group member explained: "No remedies seem to have promising outcomes, so I think the best way is to rely on myself...At least I can do something actively for my health not just wait here and do nothing."

Another stressed that practising Qigong sent a message to others that he was being responsible, at a time when a chronically ill person was seen as a "super virus spreader" and heavily discriminated against.
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