Can Mindfulness on-the-go Cure Diabetes?
Mindfulness training helps. What about the online, fast version?
Posted June 4, 2019
HBA1C levels are the holy grail of diabetes level measurement. But while diabetes attacks the body, we can fight back through the mind.
A study published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine found a significant reduction in HBA1C associated with mindfulness-based stress reduction. Patients underwent the full-blown Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), an eight-week group intervention, which has been shown to reduce stress-related symptoms in various patient populations. MBSR involves training in mindfulness meditation, a practice of self-regulating attention that lowers reactivity to stress triggers. (Definitely something we could all use, regardless of HBA1C levels.) The patients learned a range of mindfulness meditation techniques: body scan, awareness of breathing, mindful walking, mindful eating, and mindful communication. A statistically significant reduction in HBA1c (0.48 percent) was found after one month, and the trend persisted, but was no longer statistically significant, eight weeks after completion.
This is particularly interesting to me as CEO of Buddy&Soul, a platform for personal development, because we have a mindfulness e-course, among other things. Sure, it’s not the "real deal" of MBSR training that consists of eight weekly 150-minute sessions plus a seven-hour weekend session. Then again, it’s more realistic and better suited to people’s hectic lifestyles: a 10-session online course, each session bite-sized and geared for success. It can also reach substantially more people, and help more patients.
On the one hand, I'm a scientist and need rigor. On the other hand, only 14 people participated in the original mindfulness-diabetes study. And three of them dropped out before it ended. This tells me we need faster, more user-friendly tools, available to people in their own time. We need to remind them to breathe, improve their health, and make them happier and calmer in the process.
Rosenzweig, S., Reibel, D. K., Greeson, J. M., Edman, J. S., Jasser, S. A., McMearty, K. D., & Goldstein, B. J. (2007). Mindfulness-based stress reduction is associated with improved glycemic control in type 2 diabetes mellitus: a pilot study. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 13(5), 36-39.