New York: Breathing exercises could help obese women reduce stress and blood glucose levels, new research has found.
Develop by University of Massachusetts' Medical School researcher Jon Kabat-Zinn, mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) treatment has been found to decrease fasting glucose and improve quality of life in overweight and obese women.
The practice of MBSR involves paying attention to one's thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations in the present moment in a non-judgmental and non-reactive manner through mindfulness exercises such as breathing awareness.
"MBSR significantly reduces fasting glucose and improves quality of life without changing body weight or insulin resistance," said Nazia Raja-Khan, assistant professor of medicine, obstetrics and gynaecology at the Penn State College of Medicine in the US.
Increased mindfulness and reduced stress may lead to physiological changes in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and/or sympathetic nervous system that result in lower glucose levels, she added.
"In overweight and obese women, stress may contribute to increased diabetes and cardiovascular disease," Raja-Khan said.
The researchers conducted a pilot, randomised controlled trial of 86 overweight or obese women who were similar in age and body mass index.
The women who received eight weeks of MBSR experience reported reduced stress and their fasting glucose dropped significantly, the findings showed.
They also reported improvement in sleep, depression, anxiety, overall psychological distress and quality of life.
The results were presented at ENDO 2015, the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society in San Diego.