If you are experiencing diabetes, struggling with high blood glucose level or are on the verge of developing the diabetic condition, keep on reading. I know, there have been many discussions about how to reduce blood glucose levels, but today I’m offering you something very different. Researchers all around the world have been searching for methods of reducing high blood sugar levels, the symptoms of diabetes as well as the risk of developing this severe condition.

Blood sugar level

Traditional treatments for high blood glucose levels

The solutions offered have usually been exercise and healthy diet. This being said, walking is a simple and light exercise and it’s recommended to walk up to 10,000 steps a day if complications of diabetes allow you to. There have been numerous studies about the relations between exercise and blood glucose level. I want to state few key findings in these researches:

  • 30 minutes cycle ergometer with intensity of 75% à blood glucose down by 13mg (100 ml-1)
  • 40 minutes cycle ergometer with intensity of 45% à blood glucose down by 116,5mg (100 ml-1)
  • 3-hour cycle ergometer with intensity of 40% à blood glucose down by 40mg (100 ml-1)
  • Half mile walk on treadmill with slopes à blood glucose down by 24,5mg (100 ml-1)

Forest Therapy Today’s prescription for high blood glucose level

Maybe you are ready to move on to my favorite subject, forest bathing! As we know, forest visits and spending time in nature can work wonders for clearing the mind and allowing the fresh air into our system, but could it also affect blood glucose levels? Well, according to Yoshinori Ohtsuka at Hokkaido University, this could very well be the case.

Known as ‘shinrin-yoku’, the study assessed the effect of forest bathing on blood glucose levels across a range of non-insulin-dependent diabetic patients. Although the study took place around 20 years ago, it has largely remained under the radar… But I’m hoping to change that with you! During this 20 year period the diabetes has increasedgreatly. In the year 1997 3% of worlds population were diabetic and today, 2017, 9% of population suffer from it.

A total of 87 non-insulin-dependent diabetic individuals formed a study sample. Addition to that, also 50 healthy participants (medical staff) did give their samples of blood glucose levels before and after the forest bathing trip. Also, blood pressure was measured in this study. Forest bathing was performed nine times over a period of six years. After being divided into two groups based on physical ability, participants then walked either three- or six-kilometer path in forest surroundings.

As mentioned, each participant went through the process nine times in order to work out averages and really get a feel for the relationship between forest bathing and blood glucose level. Participants were instructed to walk at their own pace, listen their body and keep pulse rate below 110-120 beats. According to the researchers, not one participant complained of sickness or hypoglycemic symptoms during the walks.

High blood sugar

The effect of forest bathing on high blood glucose levels

Can you guess what happened to the participants’ blood sugar levels? If you think about the above numbers to do with exercise…? Well, I’ll share with you! After forest walk, the average blood glucose level dropped. And not only did it drop, it fell dramatically. Starting at 179mg (100 ml-1), the mean blood glucose levels fell away to 108mg (100ml-1). Total mean decrease in blood glucose level with 237 participants was 71mg (100 ml-1). It’s a lot! And surprising was that the difference between 3-kilometer group and 6-kilometer group was not meaningful (3km 74mg (100 ml-1) / 6km 70mg (100 ml-1)).

With non-diabetic participants, the decrease in blood glucose level was 7mg (100 ml-1). As there was also blood pressure measurement included in this study, you may want to know how it turned out. The systolic blood pressure dropped from average 147 mmHg to average 140 mmHg. And that’s great news for anybody struggling with it! You can read more about forest bathing and high blood pressure HERE

Why does forest surroundings affect our blood glucose level?

Addition to the walking, there must be other beneficial factors in forest scenery for diabetic person. Why was the change so huge? That it’s the forest atmosphere, the smells, colors, sounds, sights and those live saving chemical compounds, phytoncides, segregated by trees, plants, mosses and soil. According to studies, our body and mind starts to react almost immediately as we enter nature. After 5 minutes the changes are already measurable. It’s our home.

Blood glucose levels

According to the study, also negative ions have much to do with our health. They are present especially in the forests, mountains and sea air. Studies have shown that negative ions enhance parasympathetic nervous system activity (calming effect) and decrease blood glucose level.

Considering we’re always looking for ways to reduce the symptoms of diabetes and keep blood glucose levels under a respectable level, this study shows again the enormous power that nature has on our health. With diabetes only getting more general all-around the world, we’re in need of solutions and I’m certain, that this study will prove critical in the years ahead!

Love and light to your days,

Heidi