The Role of Health Qigong • Ba Duan Jin in the Control and Prevention of Diseases Related to Glucose Metabolism and Lipid Metabolism
Being a shining pearl in traditional Chinese culture, Health Qigong is a scientific method for the studying and preventing diseases, maintaining physical and mental health, retarding the aging process, and improving body constitution. Ba Duan Jin is an independent and integral health-preserving exercise. “Ba” of Health Qigong • Ba Duan Jin not only refers the segments, sections, and the eight movements, but also means that the exercise contains many factors where restrain each other, link with each other, and circulate together. Movements of this exercise are mainly featured by: Movements of Ba Duan Jin are gentle, slow, smooth, continuous, moderate in tension, well-balanced between stillness and motion, well-coordinated between spirit and form, and well-combined with Qi. Through the bending, stretching, stooping, and pitching movements of the limbs and trunk and the ascending, descending, opening, and closing movements of internal Qi activity, all tendons and muscles of the body can be stretched and extended and the channels can be unblocked to achieve “straight bones, lithe tendons, and smooth blood and Qi circulation”. A lot of studies have proved that: Health Qigong • Ba Duan Jin can control and prevent glucose and lipid metabolism diseases by providing active intervention in glucose metabolic disturbances and lipid metabolic disorders of the body. And it has a two-way regulating function which improves the adaptability and disease resistance of the organism.
Assistance in the Regulation of Glucose Metabolic Disturbances
Glucose metabolic disturbances include: impaired fasting glucose (IFG), impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), and diabetes mellitus (DM). IGT is also referred to as the pre-diabetes state which is an abnormal glucose metabolic state representing a transition from normal blood glucose to diabetes. It is mainly manifested by increased level of post-prandial blood glucose. Today it is generally believed that almost all diabetic patients will go through the IGT stage. If the patient fails to follow proper dietary and exercise therapies to control blood glucose during this stage, he will quickly enter the diabetes stage. As a matter of fact, exercise therapy plays a paramount role in all stages of the treatment of glucose metabolism diseases. Oral administration of drugs or insulin will not be efficacious unless assisted by dietary and exercise therapies. Modern medical studies have shown that Health Qigong • Ba Duan Jin can assist the regulation of glucose metabolic disturbances through body regulation, breath regulation, and mind regulation.
(I)Body regulation can mitigate insulin resistance
The limber limb movements of Health Qigong • Ba Duan Jin can elevate the metabolic rate of peripheral tissues, increase the utilization of glucose, enhance the metabolism and consumption of glucose, and promote the decomposition of glycolatedhemoglobin in order to control blood glucose. And the exercise can increase the number of insulin receptors on the sarcolemma to enhance the sensitivity of muscles and bones to insulin and thus reduce insulin resistance.
(II) Breath regulation can promote the functions of islet cells
The respiratory exercise of Health Qigong • Ba Duan Jin can enhance the strength of the respiratory muscles, promote the cardiac and pulmonary functions of the practicer, and improve the efficiency of the respiratory muscles. And since deep, long, gentle, and even respiration is required during the Qigong exercise, the amplitude of the diaphragm movements can be boosted and internal organs like the stomach and pancreas will be massaged by the up-down movements of the diaphragms, which directly promote the functions of islet cells and stimulate B-cells to secrete insulin.
(III) Mind regulation can influence the secretion of glucagons
The mind exercise of Health Qigong • Ba Duan Jin can regulate the practicer’s emotions, improve the mental state and functionality of the cerebral cortex, regulate the functions of the vegetative nerves, assuage the nervous or anxious emotions of the practicer, reduce the secretion of glucagons like adrenalin and glucagons, and facilitate the reduction of blood glucose. And it can improve insulin resistance, stimulate the secretion of insulin, and facilitate the reduction blood glucose.
In addition, the exercise of Health Qigong • Ba Duan Jin can impart the practicer with the right health-preserving knowledge, improve the practicer’s life style, prompt the practicer to spontaneously pursue a well-controlled diet, and better control the blood glucose.
Assistance in the Improvement of Lipid Metabolic Disorders
Lipid metabolic disorders are commonly referred to as hyperlipidaemia which includes hypertriglyceridemia, hypercholesterolemia, hyperlipaemia, and hypercholesterolemia. With the accelerating pace of life and changes in the dietary structure and environmental factors, the morbidity of hyperlipidaemia is rising year after year, so are the morbidity resulting coronary diseases, high blood pressure, and atherosclerosis which are seriously threatening the health of man. Many studies have proved that Health Qigong • Ba Duan Jin can assist the regulation of lipid metabolic disturbances through body regulation, breath regulation, and mind regulation.
(I) Body regulation can consume the fat in the body surface and internal organs
Long-term efforts in the limb movements of Health Qigong • Ba Duan Jin can consume the fat in the body surfaces and internal organs, increase the level of high-density lipoprotein which counteracts atherosclerosis in the organism, and thus reduce the levels of low-density lipoprotein, triglycercide, and cholesterol which are directly proportional to the incidence of atheromatous plaques. This will reduce the risks of coronary diseases, high blood pressure, and atherosclerosis induced by hyperlipidaemia.
(II) Breath regulation can reduce the absorption of lipid and promote the discharge of lipid
The respiratory exercise of Health Qigong • Ba Duan Jin can enhance the lung Qi and administer rhythmic massage to the internal organs which not only enhance the cardiac and pulmonary functions, but also promote the gastrointestinal peristalsis, enhance the alimentary, assimilative, and excretory functions to help discharge the “damp and turbid pathogens” from the body. The “damp and turbidity” is exactly the excess lipid. Therefore the breath regulation of Health Qigong • Ba Duan Jin can reduce the assimilation of lipid and promote the discharge of lipid to retard and prevent hyperlipidaemia.
(III) Mind regulation can enhance the regulation of the nervous-endocrine system
The mind exercise of Health Qigong • Ba Duan Jin can excite the cerebral cortex and vegetative nerves, enhance the regulating effect of the nervous-endocrine system, and promote the lipid metabolism of the organism. In addition, the psychological counseling can reduce the practicer’s mental stress, remove the fatigue of the central nervous system, enhance and improve its functions, correct the nervous malfunction and disorder of Qi and blood, and help reduce the morbidity of hyperlipidaemia.
To sum up, Health Qigong • Ba Duan Jin exercise promotes the assimilative, metabolic, converting, and discharging functions of the human body for all kinds of substances, help prevent and reverse incidence and development of glucose and lipid metabolic disorders, and maintains the normal levels of lipid and glucose metabolism. It is one of the supporting methods and approaches for the control and prevention of diseases related to glucose and lipid metabolism. Health Qigong strengthens the body, promotes health, and retards aging. It is worth further popularization and application.