The Benefits of Qigong for Diabetes
Qigong (pronounced chee-gong) is an ancient Chinese medicine practice that combines breathing, movement, and meditation. It is increasingly being used to help manage diabetes by allowing patients to become more in-tune with their own bodies. Qigong not only relieves stress, but is also an easy and relaxing workout you can do in your own home.
One study by Bastyr University found that practicing qigong twice a week was an effective way to maintain type 2 diabetes, along with a healthy diet and proper medications. The group of subjects that practiced qigong, compared with those who didn’t, had significant reductions in fasting blood glucose levels, improvements in insulin resistance, and even greater weight loss after just 12 weeks.
Some Simple Steps for Practicing Qigong at Home
- Choose a position, either sitting or standing, and become aware of your body and posture. Try to limit all strain that you feel by finding the most comfortable position.
- Concentrate on your breathing. Relaxed, regulated breathing increases the blood oxygenation needed to help regulate blood sugar levels and manage diabetes. Try visualizing your breath as a gas. Picture it entering your nose and pull it deep into your lungs and abdomen. Expand your body to pull in as much air as you can before releasing.
- Try to clear your mind. As in meditation, this may prove to be more difficult than it seems. If you manage to keep a clear mind, you can reduce physical and mental stress on your body, which can cause hypertension and heart disease in diabetics.
Practice a regular fitness routine, and add qigong as a supplement, not a primary practice. Qigong, while very healthy for the mind, does not help much with maintaining a healthy heart rate and weight loss.
Qigong has already indicated positive effects on blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes, according to a study published in Diabetes Care. Due to it’s emphasis on relaxation and breathing, qigong shows promise as a beneficial exercise for blood sugar regulation.