Medical science has made tremendous progress in the last 30 years in terms of treating infections, trauma, advances in surgeries like keyhole surgeries, robotic surgeries, etc. but have failed to control the risk of diabetes. Stress is the root cause of diabetes as it increases the levels of counter-regulatory hormones like cortisol, adrenaline and growth hormone. It also raises blood sugar levels, increases insulin resistance and impairs glucose tolerance.
Why meditation for diabetics?
Though there are many discoveries on new diabetes medicines and newer types of insulin, lifestyle change is the key to the management of diabetes. Diabetes management requires awareness. It needs balance.
- Balance in diet and eating
- Balance in exercise and activity
- Balance in stress
Meditation is the key tool in bringing about a balance in lifestyle. Many embark on the journey of meditation to overcome the overwhelming stress at work, in relationships or family. Meditative practices have shown amazing results in dealing with diabetes. And research studies also prove that you can control diabetes with meditation. By accepting diabetes and being fully aware of how life and the management of diabetes transact, one can learn to manage diabetes effectively.
What is mindful meditation?
It is very easy to get trapped in a pattern of swirling thoughts – thinking about the work, ruminating on past events or worrying about the future. It is time to learn the art of mindfulness. You may ask what mindfulness is? It is a mental state where you can focus on the “now” so you can acknowledge and accept your thoughts and feelings without judgment.
Mindful meditation teaches us to focus on the present moment. It is important that you focus on the present moment to prevent future anxiety about diabetes complications. This meditation technique involves a breathing practice and awareness of body and mind. You can practice it three to four times per week to reap big benefits.
Meditation techniques to practice
Some of the meditation techniques which are of great help in diabetes are
- Mindfulness meditation
- Transcendental meditation
- Solar plexus chakra meditation
How does meditation help control blood sugars?
Meditation helps lower blood sugar by
- reducing chronic inflammation
- increasing insulin production
- increasing mitochondrial metabolism
- altering genetic expression i.e., Epigenetics. Good genes which regulate the endocrine system get switched on, keeping the endocrine system healthy.
- By reducing stress hormones
Other important benefits of meditation for diabetics
Meditation reduces stress hormones and prevents the stress-induced increase of blood sugars.
- Chronic stress stimulates the production of stress hormones called ‘corticosteroids’, which increases blood glucose levels.
Meditation decreases cravings
- Many diabetics have cravings for sugar and other unhealthy food choices. With the continuous practice of meditation, you can distance yourself from food cravings.
Meditation relieves chronic pain
- Many diabetics are suffering from nerve pains in legs (peripheral neuropathy). Meditation helps reduce chronic pain and unpleasant sensations.
Meditation cures insomnia
- Disturbed sleep increases stress hormones, which increases blood sugar levels. Meditation helps in improving the quality of sleep and also helps fight insomnia.
Meditation helps in reducing cardiovascular vascular complications.
- Heart attacks and an increase in blood pressure are known complications of diabetes. Meditation helps in reducing blood pressure and also decreases heart attack risks.
Meditation is very much required to effectively manage Gestational diabetes. (Diabetes in pregnancy). Along with controlling sugars, it helps reduce stress and anxiety related to pregnancy.
Managing your diabetes is a challenging task. But diabetes can be easily managed through lifestyle modification including a healthy diet and regular exercise. Diabetes self-management needs self-discipline, focus and a balanced lifestyle. Meditation helps in attaining all. Meditation along with intermittent fasting is a great combination to start reversing diabetes.