A mindful way to help manage type 2 diabetes?

Lifestyle changes like regular exercise, a healthy diet, and sufficient sleep are cornerstones of self-care for people with type 2 diabetes.

But what about mind-body practices? Can they also help people manage or even treat type 2 diabetes? An analysis of multiple studies, published in the Journal of Integrative and Complementary Medicine, suggests they might.

Which mindfulness practices did the study look at?

Researchers analyzed 28 studies that explored the effect of mind-body practices on people with type 2 diabetes. Those participating in the studies did not need insulin to control their diabetes, or have certain health conditions such as heart or kidney disease. The mind-body activities used in the research were:

  • yoga
  • qigong, a slow-moving martial art similar to tai chi
  • mindfulness-based stress reduction, a training program designed to help people manage stress and anxiety
  • meditation
  • guided imagery, visualizing positive images to relax the mind.

How often and over what time period people engaged in the activities varied, ranging from daily to several times a week, and from four weeks to six months.

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