The Diabetes Research Institute Foundation states that around 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes. This chronic condition affects as many as 380 million people in the whole world.
Not to make things any gloomier but, the World Health Organization says this number could very well double by the year 2030. Well, nowadays in China, it appears that acupuncture is used, among many other things, for treating diabetes!
Some newer studies, whose main focus is the biochemical mechanism of diabetes suggest that acupuncture can indeed prove useful and effective in the treatment of diabetes.
Here Are Some Quick Facts for You
- Acupuncture has been practiced for over 2,500 years now. It is a key part of traditional Chinese medicine;
- Basically, it’s all about stimulating certain points of one’s body using thin needles;
- Diabetes, simply put, is a condition where one’s body cannot properly process food and use it as energy;
- The result of this disease is a buildup of sugar in one’s blood;
- Even though certain studies have attested to the theory that acupuncture can aid the treatment of diabetes, further research needs to be done.
Some Further Information
As you may already know, the two most common types of diabetes are type I and type II. Both of these, if not treated properly, may lead to serious complications. Among which:
- Heart disease;
- Kidney failure;
- Neuropathy (pain in the nerves due to any nerve damage);
- Leg or foot amputations;
In fact, according to the CDC diabetes represents the 7th most common cause of untimely death here in the U.S.
When considering alternative healthcare options, many individuals are curious about acupuncture, often associating it with concerns about potential discomfort due to the use of needles. However, it’s important to note that treatments at a reputable traditional chinese medicine clinic, including acupuncture, are typically gentle and devoid of any pain or discomfort. These holistic approaches offer a pathway to alleviate chronic pain without the worry of adverse side effects.
Acupuncture Techniques for Diabetes
Techniques in acupuncture that are needed for treating diabetes may differ from those needed for the treatment of pain. Medical puncture contains a wide variety of versatile techniques and styles, yet it appears that only three of them are used for treating diabetes.
As its name clearly suggests, this is a form of acupuncture that is all about the stimulation of the wrist and ankle nerves using special thin needles.
According to a study conducted back in 2006 in China and published in the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, ankle-wrist acupuncture treatments proved helpful in easing nerve damage as a result of diabetes (also called diabetic peripheral neuritis).
This is considered the most common acupuncture type for treating diabetes. It represents the insertion of a pair of thin needles at each point on the patient’s body and then passing an electrical impulse from one thin needle to the other.
It might sound scary, but don’t be alarmed. There have been numerous studies that acclaim the ability of this technique when it comes to controlling the patient’s blood sugar levels as well as pain caused by diabetic neuropathy.
3. Herbal Acupuncture
This may sound strange, but it has proven effective more than once. This technique is all about injecting herbs into acupuncture points.
According to a review in the Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine journal, this type of acupuncture may help in maintaining one’s sugar levels in those with type 2 diabetes.
Are There Any Risks?
Although acupuncture, as we stated above, is generally risk-free, there are certain possible side effects that you should consider before choosing this treatment method. Those are:
Furthermore, before having acupuncture, you should make sure that:
- The acupuncturist uses completely sterile needles which are for one use only;
- The one performing the acupuncture is licensed to do so. Make sure to check their credentials before you let them work on you;
- It’s safe for you to have acupuncture in the first place. In certain cases, where the patient is taking blood-thinning medication or is suffering from a blood-clotting disease, their doctor usually discourages them from this method.
The Bottom Line
Acupuncture is certainly a safe and advisable method for treating diabetes, as long as it is professionals who perform it. It has gained popularity in the western world, and even western medicine has recognized it during the last 20 years or so.
Even the WHO recognizes its potential in the treatment of Medical News Today. It is even more effective when combined with other natural ways of treating diabetes, such as a balanced diet, regular exercise, and a healthy lifestyle in general.