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Image: Traditional Chinese exercise therapy found to effectively treat depression and improve glucose levels in diabetics

(Natural News) Baduanjin, a traditional Chinese exercise, may be beneficial to people with depression and Type 2 diabetes. A study published in the journal Chinese Medicine revealed that baduanjin can improve symptoms of depression and lower blood sugar levels of people with diabetes.

People with Type 2 diabetes are more likely to suffer from depression than healthy people, and people with depression have a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. In China, baduanjin is commonly used to treat Type 2 diabetes and depression. This exercise includes eight simple actions based on traditional Chinese medicine theory. The goal of this exercise is to assimilate energy in the body, which is believed to cause various health benefits. (Related: Meditative movement, consisting of yoga, tai chi, and qigong, can treat major depressive disorder.)

For their study, the researchers investigated the effect of baduanjin on depression and blood sugar levels. They asked diabetic patients with depression to perform baduanjin for 12 weeks. The researchers then compared the expressions of long non-coding RNA (lncRNA), circular RNAs, and mRNAs before and after the intervention. Abnormal RNA expression during transcription is said to contribute to the development of depression.

The researchers reported that after baduanjin intervention, the blood sugar levels, depression index scores, and the severity of depression of the participants significantly declined. In addition, baduanjin regulated the dysregulated expressions of lncRNA, mRNA, and circRNA.

Based on their findings, the researchers concluded that baduanjin can safely and effectively improve the symptoms of depression and lower high blood sugar levels in diabetics by regulating lncRNA, mRNA, and circRNA expression.


Baduanjin training enhances executive control function and improves depressive mood

A study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology revealed that baduanjin can also boost executive function in healthy college students. The exercise even improved their depressive mood.

In the study, a team of researchers from the Capital Normal University and Capital University of Physical Education and Sports in China, the Kessler Foundation in New Jersey, and Rice University in Texas compared the effects of the baduanjin mind-body intervention on executive function with those of a standard relaxation training program. The research team also explored the neural substrates underlying the cognitive effect of baduanjin using near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS).

The researchers recruited 42 healthy college students and randomly assigned them to either the baduanjin intervention group or the relaxation training group. The participants trained for 90 minutes each day, five times a week for eight weeks. The researchers used the shortened Profile of Mood States to determine the mood of the participants and the flanker task to measure executive function before and after training.

The researchers found that baduanjin exercises significantly enhanced the mood of the participants after eight weeks. The exercise also proved to be more effective than the relaxation program in improving executive control. The researchers reported that the difference between the before and after measurements in the flanker task was significant only for the baduanjin exercise group. They also noted an increase in oxygenated hemoglobin in the left prefrontal cortex of the participants after performing baduanjin exercise.

Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that baduanjin is an effective and easy-to-administer mind-body exercise for enhancing executive function and improving the mood of young and healthy individuals.

For more studies on the health benefits of baduanjin and other traditional Chinese exercises, visit

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