Does acupuncture for diabetes work?

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Research have proven acupuncture may be useful for relieving diabetes signs, in some instances higher than diabetes drugs.

In response to the Diabetes Analysis Institute Basis, an estimated 29 million Individuals live with diabetes. Diabetes impacts 380 million individuals worldwide, and the World Well being Group (WHO) approximates that this quantity will double by the 12 months 2030.

In modern-day China, acupuncture is often practiced to deal with diabetes. Newer research are specializing in the organic mechanism of diabetes and recommend acupuncture may be an efficient therapy for diabetes signs.

Contents of this text:

  1. What’s diabetes?
  2. What’s acupuncture?
  3. What do the research say?
  4. Acupuncture methods for diabetes
  5. What are the dangers related to acupuncture?
  6. The takeaway
Quick info on acupuncture and diabetes:
  • Acupuncture is a therapy that has been practiced in conventional Chinese language medication for two,500 years.
  • Acupuncture entails stimulating factors of the physique with skinny needles.
  • Diabetes is a illness the place the physique can’t course of meals to make use of as power.
  • The results of diabetes is a buildup of sugar within the blood.
  • Most research discover some validation in using acupuncture to deal with diabetes, however some recommend additional analysis is critical.

What’s diabetes?

Woman performing blood sugar and insulin test on man's fingertip.
Diabetes requires fixed administration to stop problems.

When individuals have diabetes, it implies that their physique is both not making sufficient insulin or is just not utilizing insulin because it ought to. This implies the physique can’t course of sugar, the meals it wants for power, appropriately.

There’s a couple of sort of diabetes, however the most typical sorts are sort 1 and kind 2.

Each sorts of diabetes may cause critical problems if not handled efficiently. Problems could embody:

  • blindness
  • kidney failure
  • coronary heart illness
  • stroke
  • foot or leg amputations
  • neuropathy (nerve ache as a consequence of nerve injury)
  • demise
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In response to the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC), diabetes is the seventh main reason behind demise in the US.

What’s acupuncture?

Using acupuncture has elevated within the U.S. and different Western international locations over the previous few many years. One giant survey on complementary well being discovered that round three.14 million Individuals tried acupuncture in 2007. Furthermore, the survey discovered the variety of visits to acupuncturists tripled from 1997 to 2007.

Most individuals assume the needles utilized in acupuncture harm. However acupuncture remedies are comparatively pain-free and are sometimes used to cut back power ache all through the physique naturally with out undesirable unwanted side effects.

What do the research say?

Woman receiving acupuncture on her shoulder.
Research have recommended that acupuncture could assist to enhance insulin sensitivity, serving to to handle the signs of diabetes.

One research on rats from researchers in Beijing, China, examined how particular acupuncture factors assist enhance signs of diabetes. They discovered that inside three weeks, rat fashions confirmed decrease glucose ranges, elevated insulin ranges, and improved glucose intolerance.

One 2016 literature evaluate within the journal, Acupuncture in Medication reviewed related articles from 2008 to 2015 to find out whether or not acupuncture was a sound therapy for insulin resistance and to evaluate the potential for acupuncture as a future therapy for insulin sensitivity.

The outcomes of the literature evaluate recommended low depth and low-frequency electroacupuncture may assist in decreasing insulin resistance and rising insulin sensitivity. Electroacupuncture might be used alone or together with different remedies, together with different therapies, equivalent to eating regimen and Chinese language herbs.

In 2015, Acupuncture in Medication reviewed a gaggle of research the place electroacupuncture was mixed with an anti-diabetic remedy, known as metformin, to search for higher glucose reducing responses and better insulin sensitivity. The researchers discovered the electroacupuncture-metformin mixture did provide higher glucose reducing results and better insulin sensitivity than metformin alone.

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Not one of the research seem to the touch on the processes and mechanisms that will clarify how precisely acupuncture works to handle diabetes signs. 

Acupuncture methods for diabetes

Acupuncture methods used to deal with diabetes is perhaps totally different than these for treating ache. There are lots of totally different types and method practices in medical acupuncture, however it seems solely three of those have been researched for diabetes therapy.


Wrist-ankle therapy is a type of acupuncture that entails deep needle stimulation of the ankle and wrist nerves.

One 2006 Chinese language research reported within the Journal of Conventional Chinese language Medication, discovered wrist-ankle acupuncture remedies to be useful in treating diabetic peripheral neuritis (nerve injury ensuing from diabetes).

The research’s researchers checked out three totally different therapy choices for diabetic peripheral neuritis: wrist-ankle acupuncture, body-acupuncture, and conventional Western medical therapy and located that the wrist-ankle remedies have been the simplest for managing nerve ache in diabetic sufferers. 

Analysis reported in Proof-Based mostly Complementary and Various Medication discovered that wrist-ankle acupuncture therapy is protected and additionally it is an efficient process for treating ache, together with diabetic peripheral neuritis.


Electroacupuncture is the most typical sort of acupuncture utilized in diabetes therapy. Electroacupuncture entails inserting a pair of needles in every acupuncture level and passing impulse from one needle to the opposite. Quite a few research have discovered it efficient in treating ache from diabetic neuropathy and for controlling blood glucose ranges.

Natural acupuncture

Natural acupuncture entails a contemporary method the place herbs are injected into acupuncture factors. In response to one evaluate from the journal Experimental and Therapeutic Medication, natural acupuncture could provide some advantages for sustaining blood glucose ranges in individuals with sort 2 diabetes. 

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What are the dangers related to acupuncture?

Person pointing acupuncture needle at model of human body with pressure points on.
Anybody taking any remedy ought to seek the advice of with their physician earlier than present process acupuncture therapy.

Anybody contemplating acupuncture ought to pay attention to some common unwanted side effects. These embody:

  • soreness
  • bleeding
  • bruising

Earlier than having acupuncture, an individual ought to test:

  • The needles are sterile and are used solely as soon as.
  • The acupuncturist is licensed to observe. Many conventional Chinese language medical medical doctors are additionally MDs within the U.S., practising each approaches to well being however at all times test their credentials.
  • It’s protected for them to have acupuncture remedies. Generally, a physician could discourage an individual who’s taking blood thinners or has a blood clotting illness from having acupuncture.

The takeaway

Acupuncture could be a protected and efficient therapy so long as a licensed and skilled practitioner performs it. It has turn into way more accepted in western medication over the previous 20 years.

The WHO acknowledges acupuncture as efficient or a variety of circumstances. Furthermore, it may be mixed with different therapies historically used to deal with diabetes, together with remedy, a nutritious diet, and common train.

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