Treatment of Type II Diabetes with Acupuncture

Greetings Dear Readers,

We all know people in our family or circle of friends who suffer from Type II diabetes.  It is one of the most common diseases of the modern world and yet in North America, few know about the healing benefits that acupuncture and Oriental medicine has been providing for sufferers in Asian countries for centuries.  Acupuncturists have identified roughly 20 acupuncture points on the body that appear to assist with lowering blood sugar, as well as protocols

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for dealing with diabetic neuropathy.   One very commonly used point, ST 36 (find this point by finding a slight depression in the skin at 4 fingers below the knee can and one thumb lateral to the tibia bone).  Yes, try some acupressure here!.  It is considered to be the most important point on the body for its wide range of uses such as strengthening Yin which is considered the root of this disorder, as well as strengthening Qi (vital energy) and Yang, which assists with the complications of Type II diabetes.  It is also interesting that some of these points have shown to have the side-benefit of lowering blood cholesterol which is also a important for reducing neuropathies.

Type II Diabetes is a metabolic disorder involving resistance to insulin, lack of insulin and high blood sugar.  Left unchecked, Type II diabetes can lead to a number of secondary conditions such as degenerative eye disorderscirculation, cardiovascular disease, limb pain and numbness, skin ulceration and kidney failure.  Maintaining a healthy diet, exercise and medication or herbs to control blood sugar are very important and acupuncture is not a substitute for these.  Regular check-ups with your doctor are also important.

A number of studies on acupuncture treatment for Type II diabetes have shown significant benefit over the control group. Acupuncture can lower blood sugar during the treatment session, reduce stress (elevated stress is known to raise cortisol levels which leads to weight gain around the 3-jiaosabdomen).  When there is excess insulin in the blood, the insulin creates inflammation in the body, otherwise known as Heat in TCM, affecting either the Upper Burner (Jiao) causing excessive thirst (polydipsea), the Middle Burner causing the urge to eat too much (polyphagia) or the Lower Burner causing too much urination (polyuria). This Heat clearing ability of acupuncture has been demonstrated scientifically in the before and after

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Infared before acupuncture

diabetic-after-acu

Infared after acupuncture

photos shown here.

Acupuncture has been recommended by the Mayo Clinic as a good alternative treatment for diabetic neuralgia (numbness, tingling and pain in limbs, poor balance, etc.).  Pain conditions are something I treat daily in my clinic and one of the main reasons why acupuncture works so well for pain is because it increases the flow of energy and blood in the body .  This relates to an ancient axiom in Chinese Medicine: “Where there is pain, there is blockage of Qi (energy); Where there is no pain, there is no Qi blockage”.

Although some doctors have advised diabetic patients to avoid acupuncture because of risk of infection, in fact the standards of acupuncture practice idownloadn North America are  very high and requires practitioners to only used pre-packaged, sterile, single-use disposable

needles.  The acupuncturist is required to follow Clean Needle Technique which, among many things, involves cleaning the area of skin to be needle with rubbing alcohol thus making the risk of infection very low.

There is an abundance of research studies showing many of the positive effects of acupuncture for Type II Diabetes, more than what I have room to talk about here so I believe it is well worth looking into as a natural way to support the body.

A few other helpful things to consider for Type II Diabetes self-care are:images-2

  1. Getting enough sleep.  A Japanese study showed sleep-deprivation was connected to high blood sugar.
  2. Bitter Melon tea.images-1

 

3. Cinnamon also regulates blood glucose.     Caution if you have night sweats or a feeling of heat at night, please don’t take cinnamon, it’s too heating in this case.

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Yours in health,

Cynthia

References:

  1. Subhuti, Dharmananda, Ph.D. Treatment of Diabetes with Acupuncture and Chinese herbs (2003). Institute for Traditional Medicine, Portland, Oregon Retrieved from: http://www.itmonline.org/arts/diabacu.htm.
  2. Mayo Clinic Staff. Mayo Clinic – Diabetic Neuropathy. (February  2015).  Retrieved from: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetic-neuropathy/basics/alternative-medicine/con-20033336
  3. Lo, Yin. Ph.D.  Diabetes and acupuncture. (November 2003). Acupuncture Today. Retrieved from: http://www.acupuncturetoday.com/archives2003/nov/11lo.html
  4. Authors at Healthcare Medical Institute. Acupuncture Regulates Insulin and Blood Glucose in Diabetics. (June 2015). http://www.healthcmi.com/Acupuncture-Continuing-Education-News/1485-acupuncture-regulates-insulin-and-glucose-in-diabetics

Acupuncture Relieves Anxiety

Greetings Dear Readers,

Maybe it’s an interview for that job you’re really hoping to land – your heart is racing, palms sweating, feeling jittery, over-heated, butterflies in the stomach. Most people understand a little anxiousness as part of the adventure called life but everyday anxiety is another story. Luckily Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has had great success with getting to the root of this matter.

Rather than just popping a few pills with questionable side-effects, what acupuncture does is effectively re-wire the energy circuits of the body. So instead of all the firey energy from your heart rushing upwards causing dizziness, sweating, ungroundedness, and facial flushing, acupuncture needles in the right places can stop the cascade of neuro-chemicals such as cortisol (released as part of the flight-or-flight stress response) and instead activate opium and serotonin receptors thereby increasing feelings of well-being and relaxation.1 If that’s not enough, the effects can last up to several days with no negative side-effects.

So how did those quirky TCM people figure this out? The ancient wisdom of TCM breaks down symptoms according to patterns relating to the organ systems. In plain English, most people with anxiety will likely have one of the following commonly seen patterns: “Heart-Fire”, “Kidney-Yin Deficiency Heat” or “Blood or Yin Deficiency”.2

People with “Heart-Fire” anxiety often have heart palpitations, ulcers (canker sores) on the tongue, trouble falling asleep and a bitter taste in the mouth when they wake up after a fitful dream-disturbed sleep. This person will benefit from avoiding “hot” foods such as chili peppers, onions, alcohol, caffeine and chocolate and do better with eating cooler foods such as leafy greens, kale, celery or cucumber. In addition it is helpful for them to increase their Earth element (this comes from a Five Element acupuncture protocol called “Turn Fire Into Ash” meaning that the excess Fire in the Heart is calmed by pushing this energy towards the next element in the Creation cycle which is Earth (Fire-Earth- Metal-Water-Wood). The Earth element is increased by such things as letting go of too much worry and over-thinking, eating mindfully, wearing Earthy colours such as brown and eating foods that grow underground such as carrots, beets and potatoes.

The Kidney-Yin Deficiency Heat person will have anxiety along with night sweating, dizziness, ringing in the ears, flushed cheeks, dry mouth and low back ache. This person will benefit from getting more sleep, avoiding overwork, eating Kidney Yin foods such as black beans, seaweed, butter and sesame, slowing down (Yin=slow whereas Yang=fast) and doing meditation or qi gong.

Blood deficiency is very common in women because of monthly blood loss through menstruation.  The person will feel tired and want to lie down, have numbness and tingling in the hands and feet, blurred vision or floaters in the visual field, a pale complexion and scanty menstruation. They do well with dietary changes mainly such as including blood-building foods such as beets, dark green vegetables, egg yolks, bee pollen and the herb “dong quai” (also called angelica).  With diligent daily use of blood-building foods symptoms should clear up in about three months.

The Yin deficient anxious person is essentially lacking essential fluids (Yin is liquid in nature) and experiences afternoon fever, night sweating, dry mouth, and scanty dark urine. This is often seen when a person has been working too hard, staying up late, eating fast food on the run, essentially “life in the fast lane”. This person does well with resting from overworking, going to bed by 10pm, eating slow, home-cooked meals and eating Yin foods such as seaweed, dairy, beans, berries, foods that are black, blue or purple in colour such as eggplant or black sesame seeds and taking a more slow, mindful approach to life.

You do not need to live with chronic anxiety. There is a lot your acupuncturist can do to relieve these symptoms and I have only scratched the surface here. Your acupuncturist will diagnose the pattern by examining your tongue and wrist pulse, observation and a few short questions. You should feel effects during the first treatment.  For those with needle anxiety, (oddly enough I’m one of them), acupuncture needles are very thin (infinitely smaller than the hypodermic needles used to inject vaccine in hospitals) and are often not felt when inserted.  You can also ask for Japanese needles which are as thin as a hair.

Do your symptoms fit any of these descriptions? If so, let’s set up an appointment and get you on the road to better health and peace of mind.

Yours in health,
Cynthia

References:
1. Jaung-Geng Lin, Yuan-Yu Chan, and Yi-Hung Chen. February 22, 2012. Acupuncture for the Treatment of Opiate Addiction. National Institutes of Health.
2. Maciocia, Giovanni. Diagnosis in Chinese Medicine: A Comprehensive Guide. 2004. Elsevier Ltd.