Once again a pilot study shows that self-regulation techniques - this time biofeedback and relaxation - are effective at reducing blood glucose levels and HbA1c in people with Type 2 Diabetes.

Researchers at the Department of Psychiatry, Medical University of Ohio in Toledo conducted randomized, controlled clinical trials to determine the effects of biofeedback and relaxation on blood glucose and HbA1c (A1C) in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Patients with type 2 diabetes were randomized to either 10 sessions of biofeedback (electromyograph and thermal) and relaxation or 3 sessions of standard patient education. All the sessions were individual. Thirty-nine subjects were entered, and 30 completed the 3-month protocol.

The study assessed average blood glucose, A1C, forehead muscle tension, and peripheral skin temperature. In additon, inventories measuring depression and anxiety were administered before randomization and after completion of the treatment or the control condition.

This pilot study found that biofeedback and relaxation were associated with significant decreases in average blood glucose, A1C, and muscle tension, as compared with the control group. At the 3-month follow-up, the treatment group continued to demonstrate lower blood glucose and A1C. Both groups had decreased scores on the depression and anxiety inventories. Patients with depression had higher blood glucose levels and were more likely to drop out of the study.

The researchers concluded that their findings supported the use of biofeedback and relaxation in patients with type 2 diabetes for up to 3 months after treatment. Nonetheless, as this was just a shortterm pilot study with small numbers, further research is necessary to determine the long-term effects of biofeedback and the effects of mood on patients'' responses to treatment.

Citation: McGinnis RA, McGrady A, Cox SA, Grower-Dowling KA.Biofeedback-assisted relaxation in type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2005 Sep; vol. 28 (9): pages 2145-9. [email protected] .