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J Altern Complement Med. 2007 May;13(4):427-33.

A qualitative review of the role of qigong in the management of diabetes.

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School of Human Movement Studies, The University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Queensland, Australia.



To review the evidence relating to the effectiveness of qigong in the management of diabetes.


We performed a systematic literature review of qigong intervention studies published in English or Chinese since 1980, retrieved from English-language databases and Chinese journals. Qigong intervention studies conducted with adults with diabetes, which reported both preintervention and postintervention measures of fasting blood glucose and/or hemoglobin A(1c)(HbA(1c)) were included. Sample characteristics, intervention frequency/duration, and metabolic outcomes were reviewed.


Sixty-nine intervention studies were located. Of these, only 11 met the criteria for inclusion. There were consistent and statistically significant positive associations between participation in qigong and fasting and 2-hour oral glucose tolerance test results, blood glucose, and triglycerides and total cholesterol. Effects on insulin and HbA(1c) were inconsistent. There was no evidence of any effect of qigong on weight. Most of the studies were of short duration, involved small samples, and did not include a control group.


Although qigong has beneficial effects on some of the metabolic risk factors for type 2 diabetes, methodologic limitations make it difficult to draw firm conclusions about the benefits reported. Randomized controlled trials are required to confirm the potential beneficial effects of qigong on the management of type 2 diabetes.

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