Acupuncture and Diabetes

According to national statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 34 million people in this country have diabetes. That comes out to one in 10 Americans. Another 88 million adults (one in three) have pre-diabetes. The most common type of diabetes is type 2, affecting more than 0 percent of those 34 million.

For people who have type 2 diabetes, their body either doesn’t produce enough insulin or their body resists insulin. Symptoms for this type of diabetes include increased thirst, frequent urination, fatigue, hunger, and blurred vision. In some cases, the person may have no symptoms at all.

Generally, treatment includes “insulin sensitizers,” along with changes in diet and exercise. These medications help the body increase its ability to process insulin, which keeps the blood sugar from getting too low. As with many medications, there are sometimes side effects that the person can have with insulin sensitizers, including anemia and weight gain.

People who suffer from diabetes may also find relief through acupuncture. Multiple studies have shown that acupuncture treatments can help diabetes patients by improving sugar levels. The techniques for treating diabetes can be different than the techniques used for treating pain. One type of treatment that was found to be effective in several studies is electroacupuncture when it was combined with an insulin sensitizer. The rats that were given both treatments had higher insulin levels than the rats that were just given the medication. Since the rats that were given both treatments had that higher insulin level, researchers pointed out in their findings that because the medication does not cause insulin production, the higher levels must be attributed to the acupuncture treatments.

In China, acupuncture is one of the most common ways to treat diabetes. Some of the benefits that have been attributed to acupuncture include:

  •   Improvement in blood glucose management
  •   Improvement in insulin resistance
  •   Protect the area of the pancreas where insulin is produced
  •   Adjust the hormone balance that affects diabetes, such as epinephrine, glucocorticoid, insulin, and melatonin
  •   Help with weight loss

Neuropathy and Diabetes

Multiple studies have also shown that acupuncture can help relieve neuropathy symptoms. Neuropathy is one of the many complications of diabetes, causing weakness, numbness, and pain from nerve damage, typically in the patient’s hands and feet. Many patients also suffer a pins-and-needles sensation for the condition.

In traditional Chinese medicine, neuropathy is caused by dampness moving to the limbs and obstructs the flow of blood and Qi (energy). Treatment includes first addressing the underlying factor that is causing the dampness to build up and secondly, facilitating the circulation of blood and Qi to the areas that are affected. When the circulation is improved, the nerve tissues get the nourishment they need to reduce pain and repair nerve functions. Acupuncture stimulates the area on the surface by tapping, resulting in the smooth flow of blood and Qi.

If you are suffering from neuropathy symptoms caused by diabetes, contact Pacific Bay Integrative Health Center to find out how we can help. Call our office today to schedule a consultation.