Dr Lizhou Liu
Dr Lizhou Liu is a recipient of the 2017 New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation’s Belinda Scott Clinical Fellowship. Her research will look at the effects of incorporating Tai Chi into the active treatment programme for women with breast cancer.
Many people think of Tai Chi as the exercise with the slow, funny movements. In fact, Tai Chi is a weight-bearing mind-body activity that incorporates physical movement, mindful meditation, and controlled breathing. It is a moderate intensity aerobic exercise (equivalent to walking), and uses slow, deliberate movements coordinated with deep, regulated breathing and imagery to strengthen and relax the body and mind.
The rationale for a clinical trial for breast cancer and Tai Chi came from established evidence that Tai Chi provides both physical and psychological benefits for breast cancer patients after treatments. These benefits include improvements in fatigue, sleep quality, mood (e.g. anxiety, depression), pain, and quality of life. Is it possible that these benefits would be enhanced if Tai Chi is applied earlier – during active cancer therapy? My study, which will take place at Dunedin Public Hospital, hopes to answer this question.
The trial is guided by a holistic medicinal approach. Being diagnosed with breast cancer is a difficult time, and I believe it may be of great benefit to provide a wrap-around programme of advice, support and treatment from peers and professionals, including healthcare professionals and artists and other creative practitioners. Thus, for this trial, Tai Chi will be incorporated into a holistic treatment approach while breast cancer patients are undergoing active cancer therapy.
Currently the study is under preparation. I am keen to involve more professionals (with medical or creative practice backgrounds). If you think you would like to be involved in the study and could give a hand to these women, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
I hope that our collaborative research will make a meaningful difference to the lives of New Zealanders with Breast Cancer.
Dr Lizhou Liu is a registered Chinese Medical Doctor currently completing her PhD, in the effects of acupuncture on low back pain, at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. Her expertise includes the clinical use of Chinese Medicine (e.g. acupuncture, Tai Chi, and herb medicine) for post-operative rehabilitation and chronic disease management, as part of integrative medicine. Lizhou can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org