Diabetes is a chronic condition symbolized by the elevation of glucose levels in the blood. This condition arises when the body cannot provide the cells with glucose. This causes the level of glucose in the blood to increase as the cells starve. According to the World Health Organization, diabetes is common with estimates of more than 400 million people suffering from this condition all over the world. The numbers are expected to continue rising because of unhealthy lifestyles. Modern medicine helps to control diabetes and the patient has to live with the condition for life; however, an alternative like acupuncture helps to treat this condition more effectively.
According to health experts in the UAE, more young people have diabetes with most ranging between the ages of 25-50. Statistics by the International Diabetes Federation showed that in 2017, about 17% of the UAE’s population between 20-79 years had type 2 diabetes. Sedentary lifestyle, rapid economic growth, and unhealthy diets are the culprits of diabetes in this region. However, the citizens are now embracing alternative treatments like acupuncture which is more effective compared to modern medicine.
How Does Acupuncture Help Patients with Diabetes?
Acupuncture is an old form of treatment for many conditions including diabetes, but scientists were critical at first. However, when they conducted research, they found several benefits for diabetes patients who received acupuncture treatment.
Managing Glucose Levels
Acupuncture improves insulin sensitivity. This is done by stimulating specific acupoints which help to control the symptoms of diabetes in patients. Specialists found that the patients showed improvement within a short period; for instance, their glucose levels were lower while the insulin levels increased.
A research was conducted to determine whether acupuncture could be an effective treatment for insulin resistance. The results showed that low-intensity acupuncture not only minimized insulin resistance but also improved insulin sensitivity.
Acupuncture Techniques Used to Treat Diabetes
The thought of needles gives many people chills; however, acupuncture needles are paper thin, and they are painless. The practitioner inserts the needles at specifics acupuncture points; this stimulates the acupoints to release the desired outcome.
Below are ways that acupuncture approaches diabetes treatment:
As pointed earlier, acupuncture works by stimulating specific points in the body. There are at least 20 acupuncture points responsible for alleviating blood glucose. Before the treatment, the specialist conducts a detailed analysis and studies your medical history.
The acupoints are determined by your age, medical history, the severity of the condition, and the analysis results. An example of acupuncture treatment for diabetes is the auricular acupuncture. The acupuncturist places needles into specific points of the ear. Unlike body acupuncture, the patient can move during the process. The treatment can be administered per hour or as the specialists deem fit.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the ear is connected to all body parts including internal organs that is why specialists target points that stimulate organs such as the pancreas. A patient with diabetes has excess glucose in the blood; this means that the pancreas needs to produce more insulin. Stimulating the acupoint in the ear that is related to this organ will improve the levels of insulin in the blood which helps to fight diabetes.
This type of acupuncture is used to treat diabetes by stimulating the wrist and ankle nerves. Wrist-ankle acupuncture is safe because the needles are not placed near delicate organs and it can be used to alleviate pain caused by diabetic peripheral neuritis. Although this method is reliable, further research is needed.
This is the most common technique of acupuncture used by practitioners to treat diabetes today. This is like traditional acupuncture the only difference is that in electro-acupuncture; the practitioner inserts the needles at specific points and connects to a device that transmits electric surges. The device controls the frequency and the force of the impulses passing through to the body.
This method uses a pair of needles at a go to allow the pulses to flow from one needle to the other. There is good news for those who fear needles because electro-acupuncture can be conducted using electrodes. The practitioner tapes the electrodes on the skin rather than inserting them. This procedure is useful for people with conditions that do not allow them to go through acupuncture. This technique helps to control blood glucose and to reduce pain caused by diabetic neuropathy.
This is a modern form of acupuncture where the practitioners inject biological substances or herbs into the acupoints. Patients are treated with different herbs according to their ages and symptoms. The herbs can be changed as the condition continues to improve or according to organ changes, this allows the treatment to work effectively. Pairing acupuncture which is an effective method with herbs ensures a quick recovery. When the herbs are injected into the acupuncture points, they are quickly absorbed into the body, and they work thoroughly. Herbal acupuncture helps to maintain blood sugar levels for type 2 diabetes.
It is advisable to consult a specialist rather than attempting any of the acupuncture techniques. The specialist will not only prescribe the correct procedure, but he will conduct it in the right way to prevent soreness, bruising, and bleeding. Ensure that you visit a certified professional and ask questions. Sometimes specialists discourage acupuncture for patients taking blood thinners or those suffering from hypercoagulable conditions (blood clotting diseases).
We cannot deny that acupuncture is a safe and effective method of treating diabetes since it was used in Traditional Chinese Medicine and it is still used today. The importance of seeking professional help is that you get individualized diagnosis and treatment targets specific organs.
The specialist will not only conduct the procedure, but he will recommend a lifestyle change to help you control the condition such as exercise, and, a healthy diet. There are different techniques to choose from like herbal acupuncture or using electrodes instead of needles in electro-acupuncture. Since the number of people with diabetes in the country is rising, most seek acupuncture as their treatment of choice because it is not only effective, but it has no side effects.