Australia has one of the highest rates of diabetes in the developed world. It is estimated that 7.5 percent of adults aged 25 years and over have diabetes and a further 16 percent of adults are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.(1)
Diabetes is caused primarily by dysfunction of the pancreas and is characterised by impaired carbohydrate metabolism due to inadequate insulin action or secretion. The condition is classified as Type I and Type II. In Traditional Chinese Medicine diabetes is referred to as "Wasting and Thirsting disorder".
Scientific studies and clinical tests in international research centers in the past 10 years have shown that acupuncture can help diabetic patients in many ways by lowering the blood glucose content, lowering the release of pancreatic glucagons and attenuate symptoms of polyphagia (the urge to eat too much), polydipsia (excessive thirst) and polyuria (excessive passage of urine).(2)
Chinese medicine, relying mainly on herb formulas, but also on acupuncture, has been utilized extensively in East Asia to reduce blood sugar in persons with diabetes, especially those with the most common type (non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, NIDDM). Based on extensive laboratory and clinical evaluations, about 20 herbs have emerged as primary candidates for herbal treatment of diabetes. (3)
A team from The University of Queensland found that by performing the Chinese exercises Qigong and Tai Chi, participants significantly improved several indicators of metabolic syndrome including HbA1c, blood pressure, bodyweight and waist circumference. This effect on metabolism may play a role in developing secondary prevention strategies for Type 2 diabetes. For more information on this research click here.
27/08/06 - Berberine, found in the roots and barks of some plants, has been documented in Chinese literature as being able to lower glucose levels in diabetics. Now scientists have found that studies on rodents support this claim. For more information on this research click here.
30/06/06 - A Gardenia fruit extract traditionally used in Chinese Medicine to treat the symptoms of type 2 diabetes does indeed contain a chemical that reverses some of the pancreatic dysfunctions that underlie the disease, researchers report in the June 7, 2006, Cell Metabolism. For more information on this research click here.
08/12/05 - A recent study conducted by Dubai Wellbeing Center led by 17 experts showed that acupuncture and Chinese treatments are a better alternative than existing treatments and have no side effects. Doctor Li Dong, head of diabetic treatment & research at “Cha-slu”, Dubai Wellbeing Center said: “Many assume that acupuncture is only suitable for treating pain, perhaps because the initial introduction of acupuncture to the west in 1972 was with flashy stories about analgesia provided by acupuncture during surgery. However 1 out of 3 patients coming in to our center has Diabetes. After attending a seminar in New York about the diabetics and seeing that some American Chinese doctors have succeeded in treatment, I wanted to conduct the study in UAE. The results are excellent and we have started working closely with western doctors now to treat the patients with these new techniques.” For more information on this research click here.
(1) Xin, Liu - Traditional Chinese exercise research paper - University of Queensland.
(2) Yin Lo, PhD (November 2003)
Diabetes and Acupuncture - Monrovia, California
(3) Dharmananda, Subhuti. Ph.D. (January 2003) Treatment of Diabetes with Chinese Herbs and Acupuncture - Institute for Traditioanl Medicine, Portland, Oregon
Related research archive articles:
1.) Electroacupuncture restores learning and memory impairment induced by both diabetes mellitus and cerebral ischemia in rats.
2.) Acupuncture in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: Current Experimental and Clinical Evidence.
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