Effects of symptoms and complementary and alternative medicine use on the yang deficiency pattern among breast cancer patients receiving chemotherapy

Sheng Miauh Huang, Li Yin Chien, Cheng Jeng Tai, Ping Ho Chen, Pei Ju Lien, Chen Jei Tai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Based on traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) theory, yang deficiency pattern defined as an insufficiency of meridian energy (qi) is related to worsening disease symptoms. However, there is a lack of studies portraying the relationship among complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use, symptoms, and meridian energy. Therefore, the primary purpose of this study was to describe the changes of CAM use, symptoms, and yang deficiency pattern among patients with breast cancer receiving chemotherapy. Additionally, the study explored factors predicting yang deficiency pattern. Method: A longitudinal study was performed with 153 women with breast cancer at four teaching hospitals in northern Taiwan from June 1, 2009 to July 31, 2013. Researchers collected data before treatment and the 1st and 3rd months after chemotherapy. Yang deficiency pattern was examined using the Meridian Energy Analysis Device Me-Pro. Symptom severity and interference were assessed using the MD Anderson Symptom Inventory-Taiwan version. CAM use was evaluated using the US National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) classification. Results: Meridian energy remained essentially the same over the 3-month period as the difference was not statistically significant. As time went by, patients developed worsening symptom severity and interference. More than 66% of the patients used CAM during chemotherapy. Older women had lower overall meridian energy. The more severe the symptoms were, the lower the overall meridian energy was. The patients who used tai chi or qi gong had higher overall meridian energy and those who used prayer or spirituality had lower overall meridian energy. Conclusion and implications: Symptom severity and interference among patients deteriorated during chemotherapy. Health providers should observe symptom changes and improve yang deficiency pattern. Whether or not use of CAM practices such as tai chi or qi gong improves the overall health of breast cancer patients on chemotherapy is worth further study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-241
Number of pages9
JournalComplementary Therapies in Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2015


  • Breast cancer
  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Meridian energy
  • Qi
  • Symptom
  • Traditional Chinese medicine
  • Yang deficiency pattern

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Advanced and Specialised Nursing
  • Complementary and Manual Therapy
  • Medicine(all)


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