Diabetes has become a global epidemic and a chronic condition with the difficulty of converting glucose into energy.
There are several types of diabetes:
- Type 1 diabetes occurs when a person’s own immune system breaks down the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin.
- Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body’s cells do not respond effectively to insulin or lose the ability to produce enough insulin in the pancreas. This causes glucose to stay in the blood, leading to a higher-than-normal level of glucose in the body.
- Gestational diabetes occurs when a woman experiences high blood glucose levels during pregnancy. It usually goes away after the baby is born. Women who experience gestational diabetes have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future.
- Pre-diabetes is where blood glucose levels are higher than usual, but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes.
How Does Mindfulness Meditation Become A Therapy?
Over the decades, several meditation-based techniques have been developed and incorporated into cognitive and psychological therapies. These include mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), mindfulness-based art therapy (MBAT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) and mode deactivation therapy (MDT), among others. Scientists have proved both functional and structural changes occur in the brain in long-term meditators as well as beginners of meditation practice using MRI.
Studies have proved that meditation is a good treatment for several diseases including Cancer.
How Does meditation Help To Manage Diabetes?
Modern medicine has proved that mindfulness meditation can manage diabetes because they have identified that diabetes is associated with significant psychological distress. More than 3 in 10 people with diabetes experience depression, anxiety and distress.
In 2015, a study has proved that meditation may affect multiple regions of the brain, involving large-scale neural networks in the cortex, subcortical grey and white matter, cerebellum and brainstem.
In 2010, there was a study to identify the impact of meditation and Buddhist group therapy practice on patients with type 2 diabetes. There were 62 participants who had type 2 diabetes with depressive symptoms.
A total of 62 patients were assigned to either the experimental group or the control group. Patients in the experimental group were divided further into four groups (8 patients per group) and attended the Buddhist group therapy.
The intervention consisted of a weekly Buddhist group gathering lasting 2 hours for 6 weeks plus home meditation practices.
Patients in the control group received treatment as usual. Both groups received standard physician treatment, including medication. Physicians did not know who was from the control or experimental groups.
Results of the study showed that 6 months after the intervention, 65.6% of patients in the control group and 100% of patients in the experimental group, returned to the normal level.
Qualitative data from the experimental group supported that there were therapeutic group factors involved.
However, from these studies, the patients realized the truth of being oneself. In conclusion, this program was effective in reducing depressive symptoms.
In 2007, There was another interesting study about Sitting Breathing Meditation Exercise on Type 2 Diabetes at Wat Khae Nok Primary Health Center in Nonthaburi Province for a two-week period every Tuesday of the week (3 visits).
Fifty patients participated in the study including 11 males and 39 females. At the first visit, the patients were educated about diabetes self-care after breakfast. At the second and third visits, the participants were trained to practice Somporn Kantaradusdi-Triamchaisri technique1 – SKT1 as an intervention after breakfast. Postprandial plasma glucose and blood pressure before and after the intervention were recorded.
From the results, a significant reduction was seen in postprandial plasma glucose in the second week visit and third week visit. Systolic blood pressure was also significantly reduced on the second visit and diastolic blood pressure was reduced on the third visit.
Apart from these studies, there are many more studies that have proved mindfulness practices such as meditation can manage diabetes, especially type 2 diabetes and enhance their lifestyles. One of the many reasons they have indicated is, meditation has the ability to control stress and it has a huge impact on the mental health of diabetes patients because stress has been considered an important factor in diabetes.
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