Tai Chi, Depression, Diabetes and Negative Body Image

Dr Liu Xin of the University of Queensland in Australia has just released the results of a preliminary study into how eastern-style exercise impacts on health and wellbeing.

And it’s very interesting for those of us with negative body image issues, because what often goes along with negative self-talk and beliefs about our bodies, is depression or at least dysthemia (ongoing low mood) and an I-don’t-care-anymore attitude. That tends to roll into all the other parts of our lives, like settling for crappy relationships and so-so jobs because we think it’s the best we can do – after all, we don’t have perfect bodies so we are not worthy of awesomeness.

Dr Liu’s study basically repeats what some other studies into diabetes and exercise have shown: even very moderate exercise a few times a week has a significant positive impact on our body’s ability to use glucose, which in turn means we produce less insulin, which is good news for people with Type 2 diabetes.

The people in Dr Lui’s program did a special tai chi routine he’s been developing for the last twenty years or so, and their results were remarkable! Depression decreased by 60%, BMI (that indicator of weight and not health) reduced, waist measurement reduced, high blood pressure improved, blood glucose control improved, and insulin resistance improved.

People also reported that their energy levels increased, they slept better, had better urinary control, felt their self-esteem was improved, immune systems were stronger, that they generally were coping better with life and that even their family harmony had improved.

And all that without raising a sweat, going for the burn, or otherwise pushing their body beyond comfort.

Imagine that – honouring the body by working with its natural energy patterns, paying attention to the movements, and being aware of the natural balancing flows. Fantastic 🙂

The study is not about negative body image, but I’d be willing to bet that with all those improvements in the way their body and their mind and their spirit felt, any negative body image feelings would have become less of an issue as well.

Now, if you prefer going for a walk a few times a week, keep doing it! If you love a swim, or to dance, keep doing it! Remember that it’s said that even angels envy our human bodies and our ability to experience all the wonders of this physical plane! Movement is one of those wonders, and we all too often forget that movement can and should be FUN! When we’re moving regularly, we’re getting balanced, the fluids are flowing, the energy is flowing, all that lovely chemistry has a chance of doing what it’s genetically programmed to do, and making us feel good! When we feel good, negative body image thoughts can’t grab on!

I’ve contacted UQ to find out more details of the program – if it’s that good at flowing all the meridians I’d love to try it. If I get a copy, I’ll post about it here 🙂

Read Dr Lui’s study here.

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1 Comment

  1. britt1 on October 5, 2010 at 10:00 am

    One time the doctor said I was prediabetic.

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