Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Benefits of Tai Chi on Type 2 Diabetes:
New Research Validates Ancient Practice

--body + mind + spirit--

Seems almost daily that we now hear about alternative healing practices finding recognition in traditional circles of western science and medicine. Just today, Science Daily released findings (originally published in British Journal of Sports Medicine) based on the work of a research team that studied from impact of Tai Chi on Type 2 Diabetes. The group wanted to assess what if any improvements can be made using Tai Chi to alleviate conditions associated with Type 2 Diabetes including chronic inflammation, caused by excessive glucose in the blood (hyperglycaemia). The teams 12 week study included assessment of 30 patients with Type 2 Daibetes and 30 healthy people of the same age.

After the 12 week program glycated haemoglobin (when excess blood sugar combines with the oxygen transporter in red blood cells) levels fell significantly from 7.59% to 7.16 in the diabetic patients. And levels of interleukin-12, which boosts the immune response, doubled. Levels of interleukin-4, which suppresses the immune response, fell. T cell activity also significantly increased. In other words, significant improvement was found in the symptoms of the Diabetes control group. These findings are added to the list of benefits uncovered in previous research on Tai Chi, including boosts in cardio vascular and respiratory function. But in the case of Diabetes, strenuous exercise (that also delivers cardio and repsiratory benefits) actually depressed the immune system, but Tai Chi (classified as moderate exercise) boosted it.

Researchers also noted that the improved fitness levels of subjects delivered an overall sense of well being, which also boosts the immune system response. In fact the subjects of the study, at the end of the 12 weeks, had lost an average of 3 kg (over 6lbs) in weight and their waist size had dropped by an average of almost 3 cm (over 1in). Their blood pressure also fell significantly, and by more than would have been expected from the weight loss alone, say the authors.

Tai Chi has long been viewed as a reliable method to attain, and sustain, well being in Asia. Seems western medicine is finally catching on to this natural and powerful tool for good health.

To view the complete article on the specifics of the research findings, go to the Science Daily SITE

1 comment:

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