Millions of Americans suffer from type 2 diabetes, in which fluctuating sugar levels can cause major health problems.
New research shows there could be a more natural way to combat the disease.
40-year-old Michael Friedman was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes a decade ago.
Michael Friedman said, "I was an oral medication, it was still out of control, I dieted and exercised, I was to the point where I was very close to being on insulin."
But then his sugar levels dropped when he enrolled in a study evaluating the effectiveness of qigong on glucose control. qigong is an ancient Chinese medicine practice that combines breathing, movement and meditation.
Researchers at Bastyr university studied 32 diabetes patients who were on oral medication but not taking insulin.
Amy Putiri said, "There was a quigong therapy group, an exercise group which utilized progressive resistance training and a control group that was to follow their usual care from their doctor."
Normal diet and exercise programs were followed, but the quigong group met for an hour once a week with an instructor, and then practiced on their own for 30-minutes twice a week.
Michael said, "Somebody who has type 2 diabetes, who has difficulty controlling it through oral medication, or diet and exercise, adding qigong in my opinion, is a wonderful and completely natural way to control the disease."
Amy said, "You're relaxing the body, you're getting more in tune with your body and you're listening to what your body needs are, and then you introduce this subtle energy which it's like giving yourself your own medication."
After 12 weeks , the qigong group had significant reductions in fasting blood glucose levels, improvement in insulin resistance, lower stress and even weight loss.
There are many types of qigong in this study.
The qigong was specifically developed for diabetics by the lead researcher, doctor Guan-Cheng Sun.
More study is needed, but researchers say these results suggest that qigong may be an effective complementary therapy for individuals with type 2 diabetes.