Acupuncture Continuing Education

Qigong Helps Weight Loss For Diabetics

Qigong helps diabetics lose weight. New research conducted at the Bastyr University Research Institute (Kenmore, Washington) concludes that qigong “has a positive impact on body weight in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).” The Yin Yang symbol, shown here, depicts balance and harmony. Measurements of body weight, body mass index (BMI), insulin resistance and fasting glucose confirm that medical qigong exercises benefit patients with diabetes.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) includes several methods for the purposes of improving health including herbal medicine, acupuncture, Tui-Na massage, Qigong and Tai Chi (Taijichuan). Qigong is the art of movement exercises combined with breathing control. In this most recent study, the style of Yi Ren medical qigong was used. Participants practiced in a group setting for 60 minutes per week with instructors and practiced at home at a rate of twice per week for 30 minutes per session.  

The study team notes a very interesting phenomena. Qigong reduced the BMI (body mass index) for patients with high BMIs and raised the BMI for patients with abnormally low BMIs. This suggests a natural homeostatic response to Qigong in human subjects. Beneficial effects on weight loss for overweight subjects were measured and decreases in insulin resistance were significant. As a results, the researchers conclude that medical qigong provides important benefits for weight loss, BMI control and improvements in insulin resistance.


Below is an image from a scroll dating back to the Han Dynasty. It depicts several Qigong exercises.

This Han Dynasty scroll image depicts Qigong movements and positions.


Sun, G. C., X. Ding, X. H. Zhou, A. Putiri, and R. Bradley. "Effects of Yi Ren Medical Qigong on Body Weight in People with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Secondary Analysis of a Randomized Controlled Pilot Study." J Integrative Med Ther 1, no. 1 (2014): 5.
Author Affiliations:
1 Institute of Qigong and Integrative Medicine, Bothell, Washington.
2 Bastyr University Research Institute, Kenmore, Washington.
3 University of Washington, Department of Biostatistics, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, and HSR&D VA Pudget Sound Health Care System, Seattle, Washington.
4 Bastyr University Research Institute, San Diego, California.


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