started doing research on the benefits of Tai Chi for diabetes, I was surprised
that resources about them were difficult to come by. Because, it seems on the surface
that Tai Chi can bring about a variety of benefits to people suffering from diabetes.
Practitioners of the ancient Chinese art of Tai Chi believe it not only boosts microcirculation,
it also is reputed to be an extremely effective technique for managing stress,
and is a very good and gentle way to burn a significant amount of calories. Actually,
Tai Chi can assist the body achieve homeostatic chemical levels. For instance, a
research performed on sex hormones showed that Tai Chi can have a
“balancing effect” on the hormonal chemistry of test subjects, reducing
the unnaturally high levels of estrogen in older men, while elevating the unnaturally
low levels of estrogen in older women.
These results gave us reason to conclude that there probably had been meaningful studies done on the benefits of qigong and Tai Chi’s in regard to diabetes, assuming that these outcomes and results in other studies initially indicate that at least Qigong and Tai Chi may offer a lot to patients with diabetes. But unfortunately, like I mentioned before, there doesn’t seem to be much out there (at least from Western research) that would validate qigong and tai chi as a bone fide complementary treatment for diabetes.
two studies performed by Chinese medical institutions showed very promising
outcomes. Research from the Chinese Medicine and Pharmacology of Beijing discovered
that blood sugar can be successfully reduced by performing qigong exercises. In
the study, 43 percent of patients required less medication while eating more
staple foods. Another study conducted by the Nanjing University discovered that
Tai Chi exercise can help regulate metabolic dysfunction of geriatric obese
people with type II diabetes mellitus by normalizing the endocrine-nervous
system in the body. Why then doesn’t Western medical research conduct more
medical studies on this?
NIH funding for all research pertaining to “complimentary” and
alternative health treatments are less than ½ of one percent. This means that
homeopathy, herbal medicine, meditation yoga, etc. etc. all share that very
thin slice of the NIH budget pie. A lot of individuals suffering from various conditions
who have benefited from Qigong and Tai Chi will not be experienced by the
millions of others with the same conditions until the NIH meaningfully
increases funding/attention for Qigong and Tai Chi research. Until sufficient
studies are done, doctors won’t have the knowledge required to provide their patients
with the right information about Qigong and Tai Chi as a potential healing
One viable option is to ask your doctor to conduct some studies on this for you. Be that as it may, let’s discuss the current treatments for diabetes, and then systematically compare the benefits of Tai Chi to see whether it can be also an effective healing alternative for diabetes; as always, we advice people not to self-treat. This article is intended to instigate a dialogue between your doctor and you, as well as medical research institutions and your doctor and to campaign on your behalf in order to acquire effective natural treatments such as Tai Chi, fully researched, so that you can avail yourself the best possible options for your plan of treatment.
Graduate Medicine Online article mentioned that “The attainment of ideal
body weight, exercise and diet, exercise are the core components of any treatment
regimen (for type II diabetes).” According to the article, Tai Chi has
been shown to be a very useful exercise not only because it provides
cardiovascular benefits (approximately similar to moderate impact aerobics),
but also because it burns a substantial amount of calories despite its low
impact and gentle nature. Tai chi actually provides more health benefits to a
person with type II diabetes than downhill skiing and surfing. Attaining such cardiovascular
and caloric burning benefits and with such a gentle exercise as Tai Chi may be extremely
helpful for people suffering from diabetes.
diabetes provided by the Top5plus5.com website elucidated that the kind of
exercise a patient performs is critical to his well being. According to the
website, “Since exercises that involve heavy lifting or straining can
provoke eye damage, patients suffering from active diabetic retinopathy should
not participate in these activities. Also patients need to realize that high
blood sugar levels can lead to nerve damage that in turn can lead to loss of
feeling in the feet, with a consequent elevated chance of ulceration and blistering.
People suffering from progressive heart damage related to high blood sugar need
to be warned about the likelihood of sudden heart failure and death.” In
regard to the health of the heart, Tai Chi can offer promise so vital to diabetic
patients. On October 9, 2004, the BBC reported that “Heart failure can be
treated with Tai Chi.” This study was “excellent news,” for the British
Heart Foundation and, in the future, Tai Chi could be integrated into treatment
programs in the UK.
advice that all potential treatments should be always approached in conjunction
with your doctor and, once again, we urge you to never self-treat. The articles
published at the World Qigong and Tai Chi Day are intended to bring up dialogue
between your doctor and you, and hopefully between health institutions and your
doctor. We earnestly hope that this will result in a more practical doling out of
medical research funding towards Qigong and Tai Chi, and other natural health modalities.
We hope that medical investigators will approach Qigong and Tai Chi with a
desire to discover “why these therapies help a lot of people” instead
of pursuing an agenda to disprove their efficacy. The manner the studies are performed
is just as important as the actual performance of the studies.
As more and
more medical universities offer tai chi to aspiring doctors and nurses, we hope
that in the near future, doctors too, will start to discover for themselves
what health technologies and Qigong and Tai Chi have to offer on a personal
level. Western healthcare’s future should not be a conflict between conventional
therapies and alternative therapies, but an enlargement of conventional therapies
that would allow whatever works best for the patient. Such a vision is shared
by many of us and others in the medical field, and World Qigong and Tai Chi Day
celebrates their efforts.