Alternative medical therapies can be a viable option for people with diabetes. When alternative treatments such as acupuncture are combined with traditional medicine it can be a winning combination. Learn more about acupuncture and what it can do to help people with diabetes.
- An acupuncturist should be a licensed health care practitioner with a clean office and sterile, one time use equipment. During acupuncture the practitioner inserts extremely thin needles into various pressure points on your skin. Because the needles are quite thin, patients usually do not feel pain when they are inserted. After treatments, many patients report they feel instant relief and may also be more relaxed.
- Often people rely on acupuncture for pain relief including people who have diabetes. For example, acupuncture can help relieve the chronic pain associated with diabetic neuropathy, a condition that causes nerve damage.
- When a person is diagnosed with diabetes, the pancreas is unable to produce or use insulin properly. Studies have shown acupuncture could lower the release of pancreatic glucagons to help reduce blood sugar levels. This can minimize blood sugar fluctuations. Make sure to check your blood sugar levels regularly and record the results to share with your regular doctor during routine exams. Report extreme variations to your doctor immediately.
- Acupuncture may also be used to reduce excess urination sometimes associated with diabetes; this condition is referred to as polyuria. Frequent urination can be a sign of hyperglycemia and lead to dehydration which can be dangerous. Dehydration can cause kidney problems and may be an indication of ketoacidosis. Talk to your regular doctor about testing for ketones.
- When people have diabetes they are more prone to circulatory and heart problems, such as heart disease and stroke. Acupuncture may improve circulation and enhance your blood flow. Regular treatments could possibly help reduce plaque in the legs and may help regulate vascular peripheral resistance. It may help reduce the chance of developing high blood pressure. Use a blood pressure cuff at home to monitor your blood pressure and be aware of extreme numbers.
- Diabetes self-management needs to be constant and consistent which can lead to feelings of stress or depression. Acupuncture has antioxidant effects and may boost the endogenous beta-endorphins or feel good hormones. You may feel more energetic and happy. Acupuncture can also give your immune system a healthy boost.
- As an alternative therapy, acupuncture is not considered to be part of conventional western medicine. It is part of a group of alternative therapies which should be used with conventional medical treatments. This may help minimize the symptoms associated with diabetes. Conventional and alternative diabetes therapies include exercise, proper diet, medications, as well as relaxation exercises, yoga, aromatherapy, guided imagery, massage, herbal supplements and chiropractic treatments. While some treatments can be helpful, others might be ineffective or even harmful. Consult with your regular physician before you start any alternative therapy treatments.
- Alternative therapies including acupuncture are not a substitute for regular medical care and proper lifestyle habits. Test your blood sugar levels regularly and take medications as prescribed. Maintain a healthy weight and eat a well-balanced diet. Exercise for at least 30 minutes daily. Try to get at least eight hours sleep each night.
Acupuncture can boost your well-being and provide relief from pain and stress when used in accordance with conventional medical treatments. Talk to your doctor about acupuncture and other alternative therapies to see if they could be helpful for you. Combining alternative medicine with conventional medicine can be the perfect combination for some people with diabetes.