Diabetes: Type II
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165 Member Stories
148 Research

The treatment of Chinese medicine includes acupuncture, Chinese herbs (some of which reduce sugar levels directly), personalized dietary recommendations and lifestyle changes. All of these can, together with western medicine, help lower blood sugar and HbA1c levels, reduce the dosage of drugs and insulin, and allow a return to normal life, as much as possible.

What is Diabetes Type 2?

Diabetes is one of the most common chronic conditions in the world with over 347 million people suffering. To make it worse, the projection is that 1 in every 3 adults will suffer from diabetes in the U.S. by 2050. Diabetes 2 is a metabolic condition that is independent of insulin and is often linked to obesity. In this case, there is a lack of insulin and hyperglycemia. 

Diabetes is defined as a disorder characterized by an increased amount of sugar in the blood. It stems from the fact that the body is not able to transport glucose to the interior of cells. Thus whenever the amount of sugar in the blood is too high, cells starve to death. Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder, often linked with obesity, and coined as diabesity. Primarily, it's characterized by resistance to insulin, a relative deficiency of insulin and hyperglycemia. So how can Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine treat Diabetes 2? Is acupuncture effective for treating Diabetes Type 2? First, let's understand some basics. 

See: Diabetes Management with Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine

Is Acupuncture effective for Type 2 Diabetes?

Does Acupuncture work for Diabetes? This question has been analyzed by many scientific studies and is still being analyzed now. In practice, relief of diabetic neuropathy is noticed within 2 weeks of therapy and the blood sugar is diminished significantly by 4 months. The complete course of therapy is between 3 to 4 weeks to achieve maximum improvement. The outcome is steady afterward.

If you had been recently diagnosed, or your diabetes is becoming more intractable toward the prospect of needing insulin shots, you might still achieve significant improvement. Chinese medicine is designed for you to recuperate, so the improved condition is stable. You can treat your diabetes with acupuncture and Chinese herbs under the supervision of your primary doctor.

Researchers who are currently exploring the benefits of acupuncture for diabetes notice that it may enhance blood glucose control help with weight loss protect pancreas islet function, which is responsible for insulin production enhance insulin resistance adapt the balance of hormones that influence diabetes, for example, melatonin, insulin, glucocorticoid, and epinephrine

Lately, scientists have been studying ways in which acupuncture might affect the biological mechanism of diabetes and prediabetes to become an effective therapy.  Studies have indicated that acupuncture may help people with diabetes by improving blood glucose levels, relieving the symptoms of neuropathy -- a complication of diabetes and more.

Acupuncture alleviates diabetes symptoms. Researchers in two different studies found acupuncture effective for the relief of diabetes. In one study, the Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine researchers find acupuncture along with moxibustion effective for assistance from a wide assortment of diabetes-related problems.

In another study, researchers conclude that acupuncture effectively reduces or eliminates diabetic gastroparesis. This condition, also known as delayed gastric emptying, involves pathologically slow movement of food from the stomach into the small intestine. This is due to elevated glucose levels in diabetics that contributes to vagus nerve damage, which contributes to the inability of the nerve to properly regulate gut muscles. Acupuncture successfully restores digestive function wherein gastroparesis is abated. Significantly, a six month followup found acupuncture significantly more effective than just two unique kinds of pharmaceutical drugs for the treatment of diabetic gastroparesis.

See: HbA1c test & Normal Level

How can Chinese Medicine help with diabetes?

Chinese medicine has been around for thousands of years, and diabetes has been described in ancient scriptures as a disease of "thirst and waste" due to the main symptoms of thirst, hunger and frequent urination (fluid loss). The treatment of Chinese medicine includes acupuncture, Chinese herbs (some of which reduce sugar levels directly), personalized dietary recommendations and lifestyle changes. All of these can, together with western medicine, help lower blood sugar and HbA1c levels, reduce the dosage of drugs and insulin, and allow a return to normal life, as much as possible.

In 2018, researchers in China published findings which showed how particular acupuncture points help improve symptoms of diabetes in rats with diabetes.They found that within fourteen days, the rats that received electroacupuncture had lower glucose levels and increased insulin levels and improved glucose tolerance.

A 2016 review of animal and human studies in the Acupuncture in Medicine Journal looked into if acupuncture was a legitimate treatment for insulin resistance and could be appropriate as a future treatment for insulin sensitivity. The results implied that low-intensity and low-frequency Electroacupuncture might assist in reducing insulin resistance and increasing insulin sensitivity. The researchers suggested that people could either use electroacupuncture alone or with other treatments. Potential alternative therapies include dietary measures and Chinese herbs.

Special emphasis is placed on maintaining balanced glucose levels and weight loss, as studies have shown that every loss of 1 Kg, reduces the risk of developing the disease by 16%(5). Since diabetes is a chronic disease, treatment requires support and guidance over time and studies have shown that support of patients increases their ability to persevere, and an absolute majority of patients wished to be part of a support program (6).

See: Diabetic Shock or Severe Hypoglycemia

Scientific studies in Acupuncture for Diabetes

Higher resistance to insulin is one of the causes of type-2 diabetes. In 2010, a review of literature assessing the impact of acupuncture on insulin resistance was published. After analyzing 234 articles, the authors concluded that there is evidence confirming the efficacy of acupuncture as a method of treatment of insulin resistance nevertheless, it's restricted.

Additional information regarding the effect of acupuncture on metabolism in patients with diabetes is based on clinical trials of the effectiveness of the technique in the treatment of diabetic polyneuropathy.

Published at a 2006 research, the effectiveness of two different Acupuncture protocols and pharmacological therapy in treating polyneuropathy stemming from diabetes have been compared8. In both acupuncture courses, acupuncture provided better results than pharmacotherapy. Moreover, there was a decrease in blood glucose levels in all groups and there was a decrease in total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol in both acupuncture courses.

The effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of Diabetic polyneuropathy was detected in Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice9. The study included 46 patients; the period of observation was relatively long and sentenced to a year. In 77% of patients, a significant improvement was noted. In seven of them (21%) symptoms vanished entirely. In patients that at the beginning used medication, 67% stopped using them entirely, or significantly reduced the dose. No complications were observed during the analysis.

One of the likely mechanisms leading to the high efficacy of acupuncture in the treatment of diabetic polyneuropathy can be its impact on local levels of nitrogen and the evolution of circulation10.

Because of the popularity of the treatment in Eastern Asia's countries, a review of literature on this issue was prepared. The results of 5 studies were discussed. Because of Its heterogeneity, it is not possible to draw clear conclusions. However, the results of specific studies suggest that Moxibustion therapy may have a beneficial effect on glycemia. Together with Acupuncture, moxibustion therapy comprises an efficient method regulating the level of glucose in blood and urine, in addition to the amount of glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c).

See: Beat Sugar Detox Symptoms and Feel Better

Types of Acupuncture used for treating diabetes

In 2014, a study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine concluded that wrist-ankle acupuncture therapy might be a safe and effective method of treating pain, such as diabetic peripheral neuritis. However, the scientists added that not there is not yet enough evidence to confirm that this system is safe and effective.

Electroacupuncture is the most common type of acupuncture that practitioners used in the treatment of diabetes. The acupuncturist inserts a set of needles in each Acupuncture point and passes an electrical impulse from one needle to another. This therapy appears to be effective in treating pain from diabetic neuropathy & managing blood glucose levels

Herbal acupuncture involves injecting herbs into acupuncture points. This is a modern technique. According to a review in the journal Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine, herbal acupuncture may help maintain blood sugar levels In individuals with type 2 diabetes.

Personal diagnosis according to Chinese Medicine, supports the treatment that you receive in the clinic in which you are treated. Acupuncture treatments and herbal formulas are designed  that support the body's ability to aid and digestion and balance sugar values, reducing stress and improving sleep and subsequent complications caused by the progression of the disease. Personalized nutritional counseling is based on the patient's lifestyle, including building a proper eating scheme and eating foods with a low sugar index

The licensed Acupuncturist will be in close touch  throughout the period of treatment in order to achieve the best results and maintain them over time.

See: Syzygium Jambolinum To Stabilize Blood Sugar


1. Wang YD, Liu ZC & Xu B. (2014). Observation on Clinical Effect of Acupuncture with Warm Acupuncture on Female T2DM Patients of Dual Deficiency of Yin and Yang Syndrome. World Science and Technology-Modernization of Traditional Chinese Medicine. 16(8).

2. Kieffer TJ, Habener JF. The adipoinsular axis: effect of leptin on pancreatic beta-cells. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab, 2000, 278(1):E1-E14.

3. He H, Li K, Zhang L & Hu MQ. (2015). Systematic Review of Acupuncture in the Treatment of Diabetic Gastroparesis. Journal of Clinical Acupuncture and Moxibustion. 31(8).

4. Xu Y, Wang L, He J, et al. Prevalence and control of diabetes in Chinese adults. JAMA. 2013, 310(9): 948 – 959.

5. Danaei G1, Finucane MM, Lu Y, Singh GM, Cowan MJ, Paciorek CJ, Lin JK, Farzadfar F, Khang YH, Stevens GA, Rao M, Ali MK, Riley LM, Robinson CA, Ezzati M; Global Burden of Metabolic Risk Factors of Chronic Diseases Collaborating Group (Blood Glucose). “National, regional, and global trends in fasting plasma glucose and diabetes prevalence since 1980: systematic analysis of health examination surveys and epidemiological studies with 370 country-years and 2•7 million participants.” Lancet. 2011 Jul 2;378(9785):31-40. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(11)60679-X. Epub 2011 Jun 24.

6. Guariguata L1, Whiting DR2, Hambleton I3, Beagley J4, Linnenkamp U4, Shaw JE5. “Global estimates of diabetes prevalence for 2013 and projections for 2035.” Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2014 Feb;103(2):137-49. DOI: 10.1016/j.diabres.2013.11.002. Epub 2013 Dec 1.

7.. Boyle JP, Thompson TJ, Gregg EW, Barker LE, Williamson DF. “Projection of the year 2050 burden of diabetes in the US adult population: dynamic modeling of incidence, mortality, and prediabetes prevalence.” Popul Health Metr. 2010; 8: 29.

8. Cabioğlu MT1, Ergene N. “Changes in levels of serum insulin, C-Peptide and glucose after electroacupuncture and diet therapy in obese women.” Am J Chin Med. 2006;34(3):367-76.

9. Szczudlik A, Lypka A. “Acupuncture-induced changes in human plasma insulin level.” Acupunct Electrother Res. 1984;9(1):1-9.

10. Peplow PV,  Baxter GD. “Electroacupuncture for Control of Blood Glucose in Diabetes: Literature Review.” J Acupunct Meridian Stud 2012;5(1):1e10

11. Liang F, Koya D. “Acupuncture: is it effective for the treatment of insulin resistance?” Diabetes Obes Metab. 2010 Jul;12(7):555-69. DOI: 10.1111/j.1463-1326.2009.01192.x.

12. Jiang H, Shi K, Li X, Zhou W, Cao Y. “Clinical study on the wrist-ankle acupuncture treatment for 30 cases of diabetic peripheral neuritis.” J Tradit Chin Med. 2006 Mar;26(1):8-12

13. Abuaisha BB1, Costanzi JB, Boulton AJ. “Acupuncture for the treatment of chronic painful peripheral diabetic neuropathy: a long-term study.” Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 1998 Feb;39(2):115-21.

14. Tsuchiya M1, Sato EF, Inoue M, Asada A. “Acupuncture enhances the generation of nitric oxide and increases local circulation.” Anesth Analg. 2007 Feb;104(2):301-7.

15. https://www.evidencebasedacupuncture.org/diabetes/

16. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2005290110600180

See: Auricular Acupuncture for Relief of Hypertension and Insomnia

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