Acupuncture is a popular therapy in China. It is said to be most effective in dealing with pain. Instead of making a subjective statement on the role of acupressure and acupuncture in diabetes treatment and management, let us look at the scientific evidence on this subject:
A review of published scientific papers between 1979 and 2009 notes that acupuncture treatment reverses metabolic disorders such as enhanced blood sugar levels, inflammation, obesity, and other effects contributing to building insulin resistance. (Liang, F et al., 2010) Acupuncture and moxibustion, individually or together, were observed to be effective therapy for diabetes. (Liao, H., et al., 2007).
Acupuncture is a compelling long-term maintenance treatment for diabetes patients suffering from pain caused by the stimulation of nerves. This condition is called peripheral neuropathy. People with diabetes often observe unexplained pain in the feet. Diabetes causes damage to neural networks. The damage can result in pain in the feet or other parts of the body. This phenomenon is called peripheral neuropathy. Acupuncture helps reduce the pain caused by peripheral neuropathy. (Abuaisha, B.B., et al., 1998; Zhang, C., et al., 2010; Tong, Y. et al., 2010)
Points in the abdominal region are often targeted in acupuncture to provide relief to obese type 2 diabetes patients. Acupuncture leads to lowering blood pressure, blood sugar level, improvement in insulin resistance, and lowering lipid levels in the blood. (Yang, Y., et al., 2015; Wang, Y., et al., 2014; Zhi-cheng, L., et al., 2004) Experimental rats show a similar impact. (Peplow, P.V. et al., 2012).
If you carefully look at the scientific studies supporting acupuncture on diabetes patients, most of these have emanated from China. The lack of geographical variation is a cause of concern. The scientists further stress the need to train Chinese researchers to undertake fair trials. (Chen, W., et al., 2013) However, the publishers of the journal have distanced themselves from the comments of this group of scientists. But doubts do remain.
My conclusion is based on the weight of scientific evidence available that acupuncture has a role in pain management. But does this extend to bringing down blood sugar levels or having any other direct impact on diabetic conditions is a question on which the jury is still out?
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