Sure, meditation is relaxing and a great stress reliever – but can it help people with diabetes? New research presented at the 2010 American Diabetes Association Conference suggests that it can. One type of meditation that seems to be beneficial for diabetics is mindfulness meditation – a form of quiet contemplation that creates a greater awareness of what’s happening in the moment.
Mindfulness Meditation for Diabetes: What is Mindfulness Meditation?
Mindfulness meditation is a technique that involves cultivating awareness of the present – and experiencing it freely without forming judgments. The key is to put aside all thoughts and worries and focus in on the present moment, on immediate sensations, and on the motions of breathing. When thoughts related to the past or future start to enter the mind, you gently, and non-judgmentally, bring yourself back to the present by focusing in on breath. It takes practice! This form of meditation is growing in popularity as a form of stress relief and a way to discipline the mind.
Mindfulness Meditation for Diabetes: How Does It Help?
According to Joseph B. Nelson, MA, LP, CST using mindfulness meditation in people with diabetes not only reduces stress levels, but lowers blood pressure as well. Chronic anxiety and stress in diabetics makes blood sugars and blood pressure more difficult to control by stimulating release of stress hormones such as cortisol, ephinephrine, and norepinephrine. Mindfulness meditation helps to reduce levels of stress hormones – and relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression which are common among diabetics.
Other Forms of Meditation for Diabetes Management
Mindfulness Meditation isn’t the only form of mind-body exercise that holds promise for helping diabetics. The ancient Indian art of transcendental meditation could help diabetics better control their blood sugar levels. In a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers found that transcendental meditation helped to lower blood pressure and reduce insulin resistance in patients with heart disease. Insulin resistance is common in the early stages of types 2 diabetes. Again, the mechanism for the reduction in insulin resistance and blood pressure is likely related to lowering of stress hormone levels.
Meditation to Help Diabetes Sufferers: The Bottom Line?
Reducing stress hormone levels through meditation may help diabetics keep their blood sugar and blood pressure levels under control which is important for overall health and for reducing the risk of complications such as heart disease. Whether it be mindfulness or transcendental meditation – it’s important for all diabetics to find a way to relax.