Treatment of diabetes with acupuncture
has been effective in reducing blood sugar levels, especially in individuals
with type 2, non-insulin dependent diabetes, the most common form of
diabetes. Acupuncturists have identified about 20 body acupoints that
are effective in lowering blood sugar.
The Chinese medical approach to diabetes identifies its initial onset
as due to a deficiency in yin. The yin deficiency causes an imbalance
in yin and yang, resulting in a yang deficiency. In advanced diabetes,
these yin and yang deficiencies result in impairment of Qi. An unhealthy
diet of excessive amounts of fatty and sweet foods exacerbates the condition.
The main acupuncture points effective in treatment of diabetic symptoms
and conditions include quchi, sanyinjiao, zusanli, and yishu. Supplemental
points, combined with these main points in treatments to produce increased
symptom improvements, are yuj, guanyuan and baihui.
Acupuncture points are chosen based on the diabetic medical history,
and specific stage of diabetes advancement. Treatments and acupuncture
points selected are highly differentiated from individual to individual.
Diabetes is often treated with a combination of acupuncture and Chinese
herbal formulas that have a hypoglycemic effect, such as Baihu Jia Renshen
Tang, Bawei Dihuang Wan, Yu Quan Wan, Liuwei Dihuang Wan, and Fangfeng
Tongsheng San. The herb Ginseng, found in several herbal formulas that
treat diabetes, plays a significant role in lowering glucose levels.
Treatment may involve acupuncture applied to up to a dozen acupoints
for a single session. A course of acupuncture therapy for diabetes is
typically long-term, as acupuncture can treat symptoms but not cure
diabetes. The treatment course may consist of one to two sessions per
week, with number of weekly sessions dependent upon improvement in symptoms
and decline in blood sugar levels.
Acupuncture treatment for diabetes is most effective for those individuals
who have had diabetes for only a few years, and have a milder disease
manifestation. Diabetic acupuncture is also most effective in treating
diabetes in younger individuals. Diabetics receiving acupuncture also
experience a decline in cholesterol levels and have fewer medical complications,
such as cardiovascular diseases.
Diabetic acupuncture can also help diabetics in the following ways:
Attenuate symptoms of polyphagia, (impulse to overeat), polydipsia,
(excessive thirst), enhance blood outflow and regulate vascular peripheral
resistance, increase cell proliferation, and prevent slowing of motor
Diabetic acupuncture treatment programs can also reduce the prolonged
healing time of diabetic non-healing skin wounds such as ulcers.