Practising tai chi may help boost immune function and improve blood sugar control in people with type-2 diabetes. Thirty-two people participated in three hour-long tai chi sessions each week, for a period of 12 weeks. Investigators found statistically significant reductions in levels of glycosylated haemoglobin (A1C) in the blood of participants, indicating improved long-term blood glucose control. Increased numbers of regulatory and killer T-cells were also found.

(Tai Chi Chuan exercise decreases A1C levels along with increase of regulatory T-cells and decrease of cytotoxic T-cell population in type 2 diabetic patients. Diabetes Care. 2007 Mar;30(3):716-8)

A study has investigated the effects of qigong on stress among computer operators. Ten women were included in a qigong exercise group and an equal number in a control group. Heart rate, blood pressure and finger temperature were measured at the beginning and end of the working day over a period of five weeks. Twenty-four hour urine samples were collected in the first and last weeks to measure catecholamine excretion in urine. Participants kept a daily record of psychological measures of strain and weekly measures of stress levels. Qigong was found to significantly reduce noradrenaline excretion in urine and influenced heart rate and body temperature, indicating reduced activity of the sympathetic nervous system. It also reduced painful low-back symptoms.

(Qigong reduces stress in computer operators. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2007 May;13(2):78-84)

Qigong training can increase the exercise capacity of patients with cardiac impairment. A controlled trial enlisted thirty men and thirteen women, average age 68, suffering from chronic atrial fibrillation. They were randomised to either a 16-week medically assisted qigong training program or to a waiting-list control group. Functional capacity variation was evaluated by measuring how far patients could walk during six minutes, assessed at baseline, at the end of the intervention, and after a further 16 weeks. Patients trained in qigong walked an average 114 metres more (27%) at the end of treatment and 57 metres more (13.7%) 16 weeks later. Control subjects showed no variation in functional capacity.

(Functional capacity after traditional Chinese medicine (qi gong) training in patients with chronic atrial fibrillation: a randomized controlled trial. Prev Cardiol. 2007 Winter;10(1):22-5)