Over 537 million people around the world struggle with diabetes – are you one of them?
If so, you may be relying on insulin, medications, and diet to manage your blood sugar and keep troubling diabetes symptoms in check. But did you know there are other ways to help you stay in balance?
Oriental medicine and therapies like acupuncture can work with your medications to help you manage your diabetes more effectively. Along with regulating blood sugar, this holistic approach may even address some common symptoms like pain, neuropathy, obesity, and vision issues.
Read on to learn more about how acupuncture and Oriental medicine could help you take control of diabetes, naturally.
At its simplest, diabetes is a condition where your body struggles to manage blood sugar levels. This is typically because the pancreas – an endocrine organ in your abdomen – does not produce enough insulin (the hormone that helps sugar enter the body’s cells), or the body cannot effectively use the insulin it does produce. This leads to higher levels of sugar in the blood, which over time can cause a host of health issues.
Types of Diabetes
- Type 1 Diabetes: In Type 1 diabetes, the body’s immune system attacks the cells that produce insulin. Without enough insulin, sugar cannot enter the cells to be used as energy and it accumulates in the blood. This can lead to extreme fatigue, weight loss, blurred vision, excessive urination, and other dangerous symptoms. Those with Type 1 diabetes need to take insulin daily to manage their blood sugar levels and maintain a healthy balance.
- Type 2 Diabetes: In Type 2 diabetes, the pancreas does produce insulin, but either does not produce enough or the body resists its effects. This leads to a hormone imbalance called insulin resistance. Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes and is typically linked to lifestyle factors.
- Gestational Diabetes: This is a temporary type of diabetes that occurs in pregnancy. During this time, your body undergoes several changes, including increased hormone production and weight gain. These changes can make your body less responsive to insulin and needs more insulin to function properly. While it usually resolves after childbirth, it can increase the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later in life.
Symptoms and Risks
The signs of diabetes can be as subtle as a whisper or as loud as a shout. They include increased thirst and hunger, frequent urination, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, blurred vision, and slow-healing sores.
What about the long-term risks? Over time, diabetes can wreak havoc with your cardiovascular system, eyes, kidneys, nerves, and other vital organs if left unchecked. Thankfully, there are both conventional and holistic ways to manage diabetes so you can avoid these chronic issues.
Managing diabetes usually requires both lifestyle changes and medication. For Type 1, insulin is necessary, but lifestyle modifications and therapies like Oriental medicine for diabetes can help reduce symptoms or complications.
Type 2 diabetes might require oral medications, insulin, or both. Lifestyle change is almost always necessary, as a balanced diet, regular exercise, and treatments like acupuncture and herbs can significantly help manage blood sugar and prevent further issues.
Acupuncture for Diabetes: Blood Sugar Regulation
Acupuncture, a key component of Oriental medicine, is not just about needles and pain! This therapy is really about restoring balance and flow in the body. When it comes to issues like high blood sugar and insulin resistance, acupuncture offers a natural, drug-free approach to help in regulating blood sugar levels.
But, it’s important to understand how Oriental medicine views issues like diabetes. In fact, Oriental Medicine does not recognize diabetes as a disease – rather, people are diagnosed and treated based on their patterns of imbalance.
Dr. Ko explains further: “In Oriental medicine, there is no disease called diabetes. We look at the patient’s current symptoms, see which meridian the disease affects, and treat according to that meridian…Illness comes from a disruption in the balance of organ functions, so if balance the organs, the disease will be treated.”
That said, acupuncture and Oriental medicine do help manage and reverse the patterns of imbalance we see in modern-day diabetes diagnoses. Here’s how it works:
- Acupuncture Influences Insulin Production
Research suggests that acupuncture stimulates the pancreas, the organ responsible for producing insulin. This stimulation can potentially enhance the pancreas’s ability to produce insulin, which is crucial for regulating blood sugar levels.
- Acupuncture Improves Blood Circulation
Better circulation means better distribution of nutrients and more efficient removal of waste products. And that goes for sugar in the blood, too! Acupuncture encourages blood flow to process glucose more efficiently, helping to improve overall blood sugar regulation and even reverse insulin resistance.
- Acupuncture Has Anti-Inflammatory Effects
Unchecked inflammation is a tricky culprit that can impair insulin’s actions in the body. Since acupuncture has proven anti-inflammatory properties, it may also improve insulin sensitivity and function by reducing inflammation in the body.
Other Benefits of Using Acupuncture for Diabetes
Managing blood sugar levels is the main goal for most people with diabetes. But what about addressing the other symptoms that come along with the condition? Thankfully, acupuncture can help there, too. Here are just a few other ways acupuncture can support your whole body while managing diabetes.
- Neuropathy and Pain Relief
Diabetic neuropathy is a common complication that causes nerve damage, pain, and numbness usually in the hands and feet. Acupuncture can help by stimulating nerves and muscles, improving circulation, and triggering the release of endorphins to alleviate pain and improve nerve function.
- Obesity and Weight Management
Obesity is a significant risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes. While changing your diet and getting exercise are key, acupuncture can also support your weight loss efforts. Acupuncture has been shown to reduce appetite, boost metabolism, and improve overall digestive function – key benefits that help you achieve and sustain a healthy weight.
- Stress Reduction
Chronic stress can lead to hormonal imbalances that affect insulin production and function. Thankfully, acupuncture is one of the best ways to reduce stress and build up your mental and physical resilience to irritating triggers. By calming the nervous system, acupuncture can help lower stress hormones, which are beneficial for maintaining better glucose control and overall well-being.
- Vision Health
Diabetes can affect vision and even lead to conditions like diabetic retinopathy. Acupuncture is believed to benefit eye health by improving blood flow to the eyes, reducing inflammation, and helping to manage blood sugar levels, all of which help to prevent or slow down diabetic eye diseases.
Oriental Medicine Tips for Managing Blood Sugar Naturally
Beyond medicines and therapies, your daily lifestyle can significantly impact how well you manage your blood sugar levels. Try these helpful tips, inspired by Oriental Medicine, to keep diabetes under control:
- Eat a Balanced Diet with Whole Foods
Fill your plate with fresh vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins to avoid blood sugar spikes and stay satiated. According to Oriental medicine dietary therapy, foods with a bitter taste (especially bitter melon) and green leafy vegetables are particularly helpful for supporting blood sugar regulation.
- Cook with Functional Foods and Herbs
Use herbs and spices known for their blood sugar balancing properties, such as cinnamon, garlic, fenugreek, and ginger. In Oriental medicine, these are commonly used to enhance metabolic and digestive health.
- Learn to Love Exercise
Regular exercise helps your body burn extra blood sugar and manage stress. Try to get active for at least 30 minutes each day with exercises that balance the mind and body. Tai Chi and Qigong are great choices, as they help reduce stress, improve circulation, and help you stay fit and flexible.
- Get Adequate Sleep
In Oriental medicine, proper sleep is considered vital for balancing the body’s Yin and Yang energies. Disrupted or inadequate sleep can affect hormonal balance, including hormones that regulate blood sugar.
Balance Your Blood Sugar Naturally With 120 Acupuncture Clinic
Diabetes, insulin resistance, and other metabolic diseases may feel frustrating to manage. But with the help of acupuncture and Oriental medicine, you can stay in control.
It’s important to remember that the goal is not about matching a cure to a disease but matching a disease with a treatment. With help from Dr. Ko and acupuncture treatment, you can find the right support to restore balance in your body and relieve your symptoms naturally.
Dr. Ko and the team at 120 Acupuncture Clinic in Studio City, Los Angeles are here to help you manage your blood sugar and diabetes safely and effectively. Book your appointment today, or call us at 1-818-980-7979 to get started on the path to better metabolic health.