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Treat Diabetes By Acupuncture And Chinese Herbal Medicine

Currently diabetes is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use the insulin necessary for the body to absorb glucose (sugar). The glucose then accumulates in the blood stream until levels get high. Diabetes affects an estimated 18 million people and there are another 15 million not yet diagnosed, just in the United States alone. The cause of diabetes continues to be a mystery, although both genetics and environmental factors such as obesity and lack of exercise appear to play roles.

In order to manage this condition, it is essential for people with diabetes to make healthy lifestyle choices in diet, exercise, and other health habits.

Acupuncture and herbal medicine have been used to treat diabetes for over 2000 years.  A patient with "Xiao Ke" or “wasting and thirsting disease” (the Traditional Chinese medical term for diabetes) is discussed in detail in the Nei Jing, a classic Chinese medical book written about 2,500 years ago.  The patient is described as having symptoms of excessive hunger and thirst, frequent urination and rapid weight loss; all symptoms of diabetes.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), diabetes is caused by an imbalance of the cyclical flow of Qi within the meridians and organ systems. This particular imbalance produces heat that depletes the body’s fluids and Qi causing Qi and Yin deficiency.

In order to treat diabetes, TCM offers a way to address each patient individually to eliminate the symptoms associated with diabetes and reduce the glucose levels in the blood stream. There are many treating techniques to be chosen to use during treatment including acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, bodywork, lifestyle/dietary recommendations and energetic exercises. The treatment for diabetes will focus on regulating the circulation of blood and Qi and balancing the organ systems to improve pancreatic function and dispel internal heat and tonify Qi and Yin.

The acupuncture points used to treat diabetes are all over the body and on several meridians. A point on the back, called 'Yishu' (located on the back, lateral to thoracic vertebrae 8) is often used and has proven effective in recent studies published by the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine for controlling the function of the pancreas and blood sugar levels in diabetic patients.

Chinese herbal medicine is an important component to the treatment of diabetes.  Different formulas may be effective for different people, commonly used Chinese herbal formula is JIANG TANG PIAN. Studies have shown that American ginseng can improve glucose tolerance and is often added to herbal formulas. Other herbs are added to an herbal formula to treat complications of diabetes such as peripheral neuropathy, blurred vision and so on.

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