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Guided Imagery Improves Type 1 Diabetes Glycemic Control

24 Sep

Israeli researchers from Assaf Harofeh Medical Center and the Sackler School of Medicine at Tel Aviv University studied the impact of listening to guided imagery (AGI or auditory guided imagery) on glucose levels, glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), and quality of life (QOL) in children with type 1 diabetes mellitus.

The blinded, randomized controlled pilot study compared the effect of listening to guided imagery accompanied by background music vs. listening to the background music alone.

Thirteen children, ages 7-16 years old, were connected to a continuous glucose monitoring system for 5 days (short phase), after which the change in mean interstitial glucose concentration (IGC) was assessed as the outcome measure.

The children then listened to the guided imagery recording twice a week for 12 weeks (long phase), after which changes in their quality of life and in their HbA1c scores were assessed as the outcome measures and compared between the two groups.

The investigators found that after the short phase, the mean IGC decreased in both the guided imagery & music group as well as the music only group. After the long phase, they found that HbA1c decreased in both groups, but the decrease in the AGI group was greater and significant.

The researchers conclude that listening to AGI has potential as a promising approach for improving glycemic control and glucose levels in youth with T1DM, but further research is needed.

Citation: Gelernter R, Lavi G, Yanai L, Brooks R, Bar Y, Bistrizer Z, Rachmiel M. Effect of auditory guided imagery on glucose levels and on glycemic control in children with type 1 diabetes mellitus. Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology & Metabolism. 2015 Aug 14. pii: /j/jpem.ahead-of-print/jpem-2015-0150/jpem-2015-0150.xml. doi: 10.1515/jpem-2015-0150. [Epub ahead of print]

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Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award.