"Studies have shown acupuncture can be helpful for relieving diabetes symptoms, in some cases better than diabetes medications.
According to the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation, an estimated 29 million Americans are living with diabetes. Diabetes affects 380 million people worldwide, and the World Health Organization (WHO) approximates that this number will double by the year 2030.
In modern-day China, acupuncture is commonly practiced to treat diabetes. Newer studies are focusing on the biological mechanism of diabetes and suggest acupuncture can be an effective treatment for diabetes symptoms.
Fast facts on acupuncture and diabetes:
Acupuncture is a treatment that has been practiced in traditional Chinese medicine for 2,500 years.
Acupuncture involves stimulating points of the body with thin needles.
Diabetes is a disease where the body cannot process food to use as energy.
The result of diabetes is a buildup of sugar in the blood.
Most studies find some validation in the use of acupuncture to treat diabetes, but some suggest further research is necessary.
Woman receiving acupuncture on her shoulder.
Studies have suggested that acupuncture may help to improve insulin sensitivity, helping to manage the symptoms of diabetes.
A study from researchers in Beijing, China, examined how specific acupuncture points help improve symptoms of diabetes. They found that within 3 weeks, rat models showed lower glucose levels, increased insulin levels, and improved glucose intolerance.
One 2016 literature review in the journal, Acupuncture in Medicine reviewed relevant articles from 2008 to 2015 to determine whether acupuncture was a valid treatment for insulin resistance and to assess the possibility of acupuncture as a future treatment for insulin sensitivity.
The results of the literature review suggested low intensity and low-frequency electro-acupuncture could help in reducing insulin resistance and increasing insulin sensitivity. Electro-acupuncture could be used alone or in combination with other treatments, including alternative therapies, such as diet and Chinese herbs.
In 2015, Acupuncture in Medicine reviewed a group of studies where electro-acupuncture was combined with an anti-diabetic medication, called metformin, to look for better glucose lowering responses and greater insulin sensitivity. The researchers found the electro-acupuncture-metformin combination did offer better glucose lowering effects and greater insulin sensitivity than metformin alone.
None of the studies appear to touch on the processes and mechanisms that may explain how exactly acupuncture works to manage diabetes symptoms."
There are many different patterns for diabetes according to traditional chinese medicine. We would have to see you and ask you a series of questions to better understand what the root cause is.
Yes, absolutely, acupuncture would help in balancing blood sugar and supporting the organs that regulate digestion and blood sugar. I’ve personally seen diabetic patients in my own practice whose signs and symptoms began to turn around quickly, if they were committed to eating well for their condition.
Travis Buckmaster, L.Ac., PC
So, the bad news is that with diabetes, we are our own worst enemies, and we often cause the disease by what we eat. The good news is that this means that we can have a great deal of control over the disease by lifestyle changes, and acupuncture can be part of that lifestyle change.
Amy Gendron, AP
Dr. Maryam Mansouri, Lac. OMD.
1. you need to exercise 4-6 time a week.
2. You Must change your diet to a vegetarian diet. eating lots of green vegetables and drinking their juice. remove all processed sugar and limit your carb intake to once a week.
Yours in Health!
If this is the case, acupuncture can help manage the side effects of any drugs you may be prescribed. Additionally, some recent studies of acupuncture in weight loss have shown that it can help regulate insulin levels to a degree.
The extent to which acupuncture or Chinese herbal medicine can help is going to largely depend on your individual presentation. Where are your fasting glucose and a1c levels? Are you experiencing any other diabetic symptoms (peripheral neuropathy and so on)? What drug(s) is/are being recommended by your physician? How open are you to dietary modification and how well can you stick to those changes?
Chinese medicine also has herbal formulas that can help the body regulate the organ function and allow your symptoms to reduce. We also have some dietary suggestions, food therapy, physical activity modalities, etc.
Find a practitioner that is comfortable treating your condition, one that you feel comfortable with and see if it is right for you.
For diabetes, from western medicine, body has trouble produce insulin, so it will be treated adding insulin to the body to help with glucose metabolism, for Chinese medicine, diabetes is mostly caused by imbalance of yin and yang, we use acupuncture and herbs to try to balance the body to help the insulin producing and faster the glucose metabolism.