Healthcare Utilization and Perceived Health Status from Falun Gong Practitioners in Taiwan: A Pilot SF-36 Survey

Yu-Whuei Hu (1), Li-Shan Huang (2), Eric J. Yeh (3), Mai He (4)

PureInsight | August 2, 2020

((1) National Dong Hwa University, Hualian, Taiwan (2) National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu, Taiwan (3) Amgen Inc. Thousand Oaks, CA, USA (4) Department of Pathology & Immunology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO, USA)


Objective: Falun Gong (FLG) is a practice of mind and body focusing on moral character improvement along with meditative exercises. This 2002 pilot study explored perceived health status, medical resource utilization and related factors among Taiwanese FLG practitioners, compared to the general Taiwanese norm estimated by the 2001 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). Methods: This cross-sectional, observational study was based on a voluntary, paper-based survey conducted from October 2002 to February 2003 using the same Taiwanese SF-36 instrument employed by the NHIS. Primary outcomes included eight SF-36 domain scores and the number of medical visits. One-sample t-tests, one-way ANOVA and multivariate linear regression analyses were performed. Results: The response rate was 75.6% (1,210/1,600). Compared to the norm, the study cohort had significantly higher scores in six of eight SF-36 domains across gender and age (p<0.05). Among those with chronic diseases, 70% to 89% reported their conditions either improved or cured. 74.2%, 79.2%, 83.3%, and 85.6% quitted alcohol drinking, smoking, chewing betel nuts, and gambling. 62.7% reported a reduced number of medical visits (mean=13.53 before; mean=5.87 after). Conclusions: In this subject cohort, practicing FLG led to higher perceived health scores and reduced health resource utilization compared to the norm.

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