Improve Adult Onset Diabetes with Qigong

Improve Adult Onset Diabetes with Qigong


By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.


“After 12 weeks, the qigong patients had lowered their fasting blood glucose and their levels of self-reported stress and improved their insulin resistance. The gentle exercise group also brought down blood glucose levels, though somewhat less…and lowered stress.” – BottomLine


Diabetes is a major health issue. It is estimated that 30 million people in the United States have diabetes and the numbers are growing. Type 2 Diabetes results from a resistance of tissues, especially fat tissues, to the ability of insulin to promote the uptake of glucose from the blood. As a result, blood sugar levels rise producing hyperglycemia. Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States. In addition, diabetes is heavily associated with other diseases such as cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, and circulatory problems leading to amputations. As a result, diabetes doubles the risk of death of any cause compared to individuals of the same age without diabetes.


Type 2 diabetes is a common and increasingly prevalent illness that is largely preventable. One of the reasons for the increasing incidence of Type 2 Diabetes is its association with overweight and obesity which is becoming epidemic in the industrialized world. Qigong and Tai Chi have been practiced for thousands of years with benefits for health and longevityQigong and Tai Chi trainings are designed to enhance function and regulate the activities of the body through controlled breathing, mindful concentration, and gentle movements. Only recently though have the effects of these practices been scrutinized with empirical research. This research has found that they are effective for an array of physical and psychological issues.


Diet and exercise are prescribed to treat Type 2 Diabetes. Qigong and Tai Chi are gentle exercises that are potentially useful in treating Type 2 Diabetes. In today’s Research News article “The Effects of Qigong on Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: ), Meng and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the 21 published research studies regarding the effectiveness of Qigong practice in the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes.


The summary of the research indicates that Qigong practice improves fasting glucose levels in Type 2 Diabetes patients when compared to a no-exercise condition, but the improvement is not significantly different than that produced by other exercise programs. Importantly, Qigong practice was found to improve Glycosylated Hemoglobin (HbA1c) and two-hour postprandial (after eating) blood glucose levels both in comparison to no-exercise and other exercise groups. Hence, the published research suggests that Qigong practice is superior to other exercises in improving the symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes.


These are encouraging findings. Qigong practice appears to be an almost ideal exercise for adult-onset diabetes (Type 2). It not only produces better results than other exercises but it is also not strenuous, involving slow gentle movements, is safe, having no appreciable side effects, it is appropriate for all ages including the elderly and for individuals with illnesses that limit their activities or range of motion, is inexpensive to administer, can be performed in groups or alone, at home or in a facility or even public park, and can be quickly learned. In addition, it can be practiced in social groups without professional supervision. This can make it fun, improving the likelihood of long-term engagement in the practice.


So, improve adult onset diabetes with Qigong.


“Many people, however, are unable to keep up with their regular exercise because they either don’t enjoy it, or have a problem finding time to exercise. Tai chi offers a major advantage: It’s enjoyable, and to many, it’s almost addictive. . . . You can practice Tai Chi almost anywhere. Stress stands in the way of controlling diabetes. Since tai chi encourages mental relaxation and reduces stress, it follows that Tai Chi can improve the control of diabetes.” – Paul Lam


CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies


This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ and on Twitter @MindfulResearch


Study Summary


Meng, D., Chunyan, W., Xiaosheng, D., & Xiangren, Y. (2018). The Effects of Qigong on Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM, 2018, 8182938.




The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of Qigong on type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) using the systematic review and meta-analysis.


All prospective, randomized, controlled clinical trials published in English or Chinese and involving the use of Qigong by patients with DM were searched in 7 electronic databases from their respective inception to June 2016. The meta-analysis was conducted using the Revman 5.2. The quality of the included trials was assessed using the Jadad rating scale. Two researchers independently completed the inclusion, data extraction, and quality assessment.


Twenty-one trials with 1326 patients met the inclusion criteria and were reviewed. The meta-analysis demonstrated that, compared with no exercise, the Qigong had significant effects on fasting blood glucose (MD = −0.99, 95% CI (−1.23, 0.75), P < 0.0001), HbA1c (MD = −0.84, 95% CI (−1.02, −0.65), P < 0.0001), and postprandial blood glucose (MD = −1.55, 95% CI (−2.19, −0.91), P < 0.00001).


The Qigong training can improve the blood glucose status of the type 2 DM patients and has positive effects on the management of type 2 DM. However, future research with better quality still needs to be conducted to address the effects of Qigong on type 2 DM.


Decrease Stroke Risk with Tai Chi or Qigong

Decrease Stroke Risk with Tai Chi or Qigong


By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.


“One of the main issues that a stroke survivor experiences is a problem with balance. . .This is where tai chi can make a huge difference. With a complete focus on slow, controlled, and repetitive movements, tai chi is effective in improving one’s balance through dynamic motion and coordination”. Saebo


Every year, more than 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke and it is the third leading cause of death, killing around 140,000 Americans each year. A stroke results from an interruption of the blood supply to the brain, depriving it of needed oxygen and nutrients. This can result in the death of brain cells and depending on the extent of the damage produce profound loss of function. Strokes come in two varieties. The most common (87%) is ischemic stroke resulting from a blocked artery. But strokes can also occur due to leaking or rupture of a blood vessel in the brain, known as hemorrhagic stroke.


There are a number of risk factors for stroke that are unchangeable, such as family history, age, and genes. But there are a very large number of factors that are under our control including high blood pressure, smoking, high cholesterol, poor diet, sedentariness, and obesity. Given this list it is clear that basic physical fitness and exercise would be excellent for stroke prevention. The ancient mindful movement technique Tai Chi is a very safe form of gentle exercise that appears to be beneficial for stroke victims.


In today’s Research News article “Efficacy of Tai Chi and qigong for the prevention of stroke and stroke risk factors: A systematic review with meta-analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: ),

Lauche and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the effects of Tai Chi or Qigong practice on risk factors for Stroke. They did not find any trials that reported actual incidence of stroke, but found 21 research controlled trials that reported on risk factors for stroke, including hypertension, hyperlipidaemia, diabetes, overweight or obesity, or metabolic syndrome.


They found that the published research reported that Tai Chi or Qigong practice produced significant improvement in hypertension including reductions in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The studies also reported significant improvements in hyperlipidaemia, including lower levels of triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol, and higher levels of HDL cholesterol and in diabetes including fasting blood glucose levels and insulin sensitivity. Tai Chi or Qigong practice was also found to improve the body weight index in overweight and obese individuals. No adverse events were reported in any of the trials.


These results are remarkable in the breadth and extent of the effects of Tai Chi or Qigong practice on risk factors for stroke. Although there were no direct measures of stroke incidence the reductions in risk factors would predict a reduction, over the long-term of the likelihood and incidence of stroke. Lauche and colleagues, however, caution that the trials tended to be of low quality with considerable risk of bias. Hence, conclusions need to be tempered and the results needs to be confirmed with more highly controlled trials.


The review found evidence that Tai Chi or Qigong practices are safe, with no negative effects or adverse reactions. In addition, they can be implemented to large numbers of individuals at relatively low cost, can be conveniently practiced at home or in a clinic, and can be practiced alone or in groups. Also, since the practice is gentle and safe it can be used with frail, sickly or elderly individuals. Hence, Tai Chi or Qigong practice appears to be an excellent treatment for the reduction of the risk for stroke in vulnerable individuals.


So, decrease stroke risk with Tai Chi or Qigong.


“The main physical benefits of Tai Chi are better balance, improved strength, flexibility and aerobic endurance. Psycho-social benefits include less depression, anxiety and stress, and better quality of life.” – Ruth E. Taylor-Piliae


CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies


This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ and on Twitter @MindfulResearch


Study Summary


Lauche, R., Peng, W., Ferguson, C., Cramer, H., Frawley, J., Adams, J., & Sibbritt, D. (2017). Efficacy of Tai Chi and qigong for the prevention of stroke and stroke risk factors: A systematic review with meta-analysis. Medicine, 96(45), e8517.




This review aims to summarize the evidence of Tai Chi and qigong interventions for the primary prevention of stroke, including the effects on populations with major stroke risk factors.


A systematic literature search was conducted on January 16, 2017 using the PubMed, Scopus, Cochrane Library, and CINAHL databases. Randomized controlled trials examining the efficacy of Tai Chi or qigong for stroke prevention and stroke risk factors were included. Risk of bias was assessed using the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool.


Twenty-one trials with n = 1604 patients with hypertension, hyperlipidaemia, diabetes, overweight or obesity, or metabolic syndrome were included. No trials were found that examined the effects of Tai Chi/qigong on stroke incidence. Meta-analyses revealed significant, but not robust, benefits of Tai Chi/qigong over no interventions for hypertension (systolic blood pressure: −15.55 mm Hg (95% CI: −21.16; −9.95); diastolic blood pressure: −10.66 mm Hg (95% CI: −14.90, −6.43); the homeostatic model assessment (HOMA) index (−2.86%; 95% CI: −5.35, −0.38) and fasting blood glucose (−9.6 mg/dL; 95% CI: −17.28, −1.91), and for the body mass index compared with exercise controls (−1.65 kg/m2; 95% CI: −3.11, −0.20). Risk of bias was unclear or high for the majority of trials and domains, and heterogeneity between trials was high. Only 6 trials adequately reported safety. No recommendation for the use of Tai Chi/qigong for the prevention of stroke can be given.


Although Tai Chi and qigong show some potential more robust studies are required to provide conclusive evidence on the efficacy and safety of Tai Chi and qigong for reducing major stroke risk factors.