Qi Gong, Diabetes, and Me

By David Spero | April 29, 2009 1:56 pm

For the last four weeks, I’ve been writing about, and experiencing, some hard times and hard emotions[1]. Well, I’m better this week, and I think I know why. Maybe you’d like to try it, too.

Two weeks ago, I started doing seated qi gong[2] (pronounced “chee gung”) exercise meditations every day. The results have been terrific! I’m calmer; I have more energy and less pain. I would even say I’m happier. I’m not walking any better, at least not yet. But you can’t have everything.


I’m glad I finally got around to seated exercise. I can’t do much real exercise standing up anymore, and my acupuncture doctors warned me against getting in the swimming pool. They say getting cold is the worst thing for me. So I was desperate.

I had bought a DVD online[3] ($8.00 used) three months ago, but you know how that goes. It took me this long to give it a chance. But seated qi gong turns out to be quite easy and almost enjoyable. That’s super-important in keeping any exercise program going. You can do the qi gong almost anywhere, with no special preparation.

Qi Gong and Diabetes
What finally got me started? A friend sent me a paper on qi gong and diabetes[4]. This study was done in Japan. Twenty-six people with Type 2 diabetes were randomly assigned to a qi gong group or a control group. Then the controls were also given qi gong training and evaluated again.

During the four-month intervention period, people using qi gong had an average HbA1c[5] drop of 0.9%. This happened in both groups after their qi gong training. No improvement was seen for the control group until they got their own qi gong sessions.

Participants also had improved mood and less anxiety, results I can confirm from my own experience. They also had a significant decrease in C-peptide[6] levels, probably meaning that their insulin resistance[7] was lower. Very heavy patients seemed to benefit more than the others in C-peptide and HbA1c levels, although they did not lose any weight.

This was much more intensive qi gong than I do. They were two-hour sessions, given weekly. Most of it was standing[8], not seated. Participants were expected to practice at home on their own. Shorter sessions might not be quite as powerful as the experimental ones, but I’m sure they would help. I mean, my sessions are only 25 minutes long or so.

Studies of other relaxation techniques[9] have shown benefit in diabetes, too. HbA1c reductions of 0.5% to 1% or more have been found in groups taking stress management programs. But I think qi gong may be among the most effective.

There are many types of qi gong. It’s not just exercises and breathing. There is also qi gong medicine[10], a combination of body work and herbs.

So if you want to try something different, I would encourage qi gong, and/or tai chi [11], a more active Chinese exercise program. You will be more relaxed and probably more fit; not so much in Western terms of outward strength and speed, but in the more important sense of strengthened internal organs.

If you want more information, ask here in the comments section or write me through my Web site, www.davidsperorn.com[12].

  1. hard emotions: http://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/blog/David_Spero/Living_with_Fear
  2. seated qi gong: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baduanjin_qigong
  3. DVD online:
  4. qi gong and diabetes: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11772923?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum
  5. HbA1c: http://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/articles/Diabetes_Definitions/HbA1c
  6. C-peptide: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003701.htm
  7. insulin resistance: http://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/articles/Diabetes_Definitions/Insulin_Resistance
  8. standing: http://www.dynamicbalancingtaichi.co.uk/Standing%20Qigong.htm
  9. relaxation techniques:
  10. qi gong medicine: http://www.qigongmedicine.com/
  11. tai chi :
  12. www.davidsperorn.com: http://www.davidsperorn.com

Source URL: https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/blog/qi-gong-diabetes-and-me/

David Spero: David Spero has been a nurse for 40 years and has lived with multiple sclerosis for 30 years. He is the author of four books: The Art of Getting Well: Maximizing Health When You Have a Chronic Illness (Hunter House 2002), Diabetes: Sugar-coated Crisis — Who Gets It, Who Profits, and How to Stop It (New Society 2006, Diabetes Heroes (Jim Healthy 2014), and The Inn by the Healing Path: Stories on the road to wellness (Smashwords 2015.) He writes for Diabetes Self-Management and Pain-Free Living (formerly Arthritis Self-Management) magazines. His website is www.davidsperorn.com. His blog is TheInnbytheHealingPath.com.

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