Aims and objectives. This research aimed at exploring the motivations and experiences of chronically ill participants practising qigong during the severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreak in Hong Kong. Background. Although biomedicine is the mainstream medical system in Hong Kong, many people employ complementary and alternative medicine in dealing with their chronic health problems. Practising qigong is one of the most popular forms of complementary and alternative medicine used among chronically ill patients. Little is known about the experiences of the chronically ill patients practising qigong in the severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreak and even less is known how this practice is related to the social context of Hong Kong during the outbreak. Design and methods. Qualitative methods using participant-observation from three qigong classes in Hong Kong and in-depth semi-structured interviews with 30 participants were employed. Content analysis and discourse analysis were used to identify major themes of the data. Results. Both the underlying and trigger motivations could motivate these chronically ill participants to practise qigong. Legitimacy of qigong in health maintenance, deterioration of health and unpleasant experiences in biomedical treatment on their chronic illnesses served as the underlying motivations. Stigmatization of and discrimination against the chronically ill and the sense of searching coping strategy during the severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreak further motivated their practice. Conclusion. To the participants, practising qigong not only could strengthen their health, but was also a coping strategy for them to regain an active control and the sense of security in their health and enabled them to overcome the social stigmatization and discrimination during the outbreak. Relevance to clinical practice. Searching for emotional support and a more active role in health conditions could be seen from the chronically ill participants. Understanding and paying more attention to the particular needs of the chronically ill patients can enable health-care professionals to provide better care and support for the chronically ill during an epidemic crisis.
- Chronically ill
- Complementary and alternative medicine
- Hong Kong
- Severe acute respiratory syndrome
ASJC Scopus subject areas