WHAT IS QIGONG?

A key component of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), Qigong is a system of health practices intended to prevent disease as well as restore wellness in those who are ill. Qigong is characterised by gentle, flowing physical movements, breathing exercises, and techniques for developing discipline within the mind.

Our Purpose

Our purpose is to be a global facilitator of health and wellness through access, education and advancement of Traditional & Complementary Medicine (T&CM). The World Health Organization (WHO) advises that lifestyle-related diseases (or non-communicable diseases) are responsible for more than 70% of deaths worldwide each year.

Knowledge represents empowerment. By sharing this evidence-based, peer-reviewed research, we aim to support everyday people to take ownership of their wellness, by making informed decisions and choices in conjunction with their health professional.

How This Study Could Help You Manage Type 2 Diabetes

In Australia, it is estimated that 85-90% of people who have diabetes suffer from type 2 diabetes, which typically affects those who are physically inactive and overweight. This review explores the effects of qigong, a type of mind/body exercise, on key factors related to managing type 2 diabetes, and is titled:
 
THE EFFECTS OF QIGONG ON TYPE 2 DIABETES MELLITUS: A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW AND META- ANALYSIS.
 
You can read the full study here: https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2018/8182938/

Why Is This Study Important?

In 2014, the number of people with diabetes worldwide was estimated by the WHO to be 422 million, an almost fourfold increase from the estimated 108 million in 1980. Along with diet and weight loss, exercise is a key aspect of managing type 2 diabetes, but different types of exercise can have varying effects on measures of diabetes control.
 
One consequence of poorly controlled diabetes is an elevated level of sugar in the blood (or blood glucose level). Chronically high levels of blood glucose are associated with damage to the eyes, kidneys and nervous system, as well as heart disease.
 
Another important aspect of diabetes management is controlling the percentage of glycosylated haemoglobin, abbreviated HbA1c, in the bloodstream. Unlike blood glucose testing, which measures how much sugar is in the bloodstream at the time of testing, HbA1c is a long-term indication of blood glucose stability over several months.
 
Raised levels of HbA1c can cause kidney damage and reduce the amount of oxygen that blood cells can transport, as well as leading to other health problems. Research into the types of exercise that may effectively reduce levels of blood glucose and HbA1c can offer practical information about ways to minimise diabetes-related complications.

What Does This Mean For My Wellness?

The evidence evaluated in this study suggests Qigong may be an effective way of reducing the risk of complications caused by excessive levels of blood glucose and HbA1c. People who have type 2 diabetes and find aerobic exercise or weight training problematic may find Qigong to be an effective way of helping them manage their condition.
 
Additionally, the authors speculated that the meditative or mind/body aspect of Qigong may also have a role to play in the results. They supported this hypothesis by quoting earlier research that suggested meditating while walking resulted in better HbA1c control than walking. This was similar to their observation that Qigong was associated with lower HbA1c levels than other forms of aerobic exercise.

How Does This Relate To Qigong?

Qigong is an accessible form of exercise that can be practised in a relatively small area, alone or with others, and does not require the use of weights or other fitness equipment. These qualities could make it an effective way to manage type 2 diabetes, as long as there was evidence that it may improve measures of blood glucose and HbA1c.
 
In this review, published in 2018, researchers affiliated with Shandong University in China conducted a meta-analysis of available evidence into how well Qigong controlled these aspects of diabetes, compared with resistance training, aerobic exercise such as jogging, or no exercise at all. The researchers reviewed 21 randomised controlled trials that included a total of 1326 participants.

Key Findings About Benefits of Qigong For Managing Type 2 Diabetes

  • The authors concluded that Qigong was equally as effective as other forms of aerobic exercise for reducing blood glucose levels.
  • The combination of data from 17 studies found that Qigong had a statistically significant effect on reducing levels of blood glucose, when compared with no exercise. This was in line with the effect caused by other types of exercise.
  • One study found that Qigong was more effective than resistance training for reducing blood glucose levels. However, the reduction in HbA1c was similar for both Qigong and resistance training.
  • The research indicated that Qigong may result in lower levels of HbA1c than other forms of aerobic exercise.

Disclaimer: The above does not constitute medical advice, and as with any exercise or wellness program, please consult your medical professional before commencing Qigong for management of type 2 diabetes.

References
Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine seeks to apply scientific rigor to the study of complementary and alternative medicine, emphasizing on health outcome, while documenting biological mechanisms of action.

Quoted from journal description
Qigong l SoulAdvisor
Diabetes type 2 | betterhealth.vic.gov.au
The Effects of Qigong on Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus | Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Diabetes | World Health Organization
Hyperglycaemia in diabetes | mydr.com.au
HbA1c test | healthdirect.gov.au
About | Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Wushu Tai Chi & Qigong Australia Inc | wtqa.org.au