Diabetes is a chronic condition that is described as the body’s failure to maintain proper sugar levels. Usual symptoms of diabetes include increased thirst and hunger, frequent urination, paresthesia and dry mouth. Diabetes complications are due to persistent high levels of sugar in the blood stream, damaging vital organs. Due to the damage of blood vessels, kidneys, eyes, the heart and the peripheral nerve system, diabetes can cause atherosclerosis, kidney failure, blindness and neuropathy.
Statistics from the 2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet say that over 8% of the US population, 25.8 million children and adults, lives with diabetes, a rate that historically increases each year. Diabetes is a fatal disease (meaning that it is not curable, only manageable) and is the leading cause of blindness in those between the ages of 20 to 75 years. Also, diabetes is the leading cause of renal failure for adults, accounting for 44% of cases.
Western medicine diagnoses and categorizes diabetes into 3 types: diabetes I or juvenile diabetes; diabetes II or adult diabetes; and gestational diabetes, which affects women only during pregnancy. Treatment via Western medicine involves hypoglycemic medication for type I and type II diabetes and, for the most challenging cases, insulin.
Oriental medicine and acupuncture, along with Western medicine, can help the body to reduce insulin needs as well as the severity of complications that often come with diabetes.
HOW ORIENTAL MEDICINE CAN HELP A DIABETIC PATIENT?
Oriental medicine, being more than 3000 years old, views the human body as a whole being. Oriental medicine practitioners recognize diabetes as a thirsty and wasting condition. They look for patterns of disharmony among the organs and for the emotions and symptoms this disharmony may cause. Practitioners also test the patient’s urine, which is put near an ant hill. If the ants are attracted to the urine, the practitioner knows that there is excess sugar in the patient’s blood. Through acupuncture, nutritional guidance, herbology, Qigong, Tui-Na and other techniques, practitioners help those who suffer from this devastating disease.
During acupuncture treatment, the patient relaxes while comfortably lying down on a bed, as the acupuncturist carefully identifies points on the body that will help bring organism back into harmony. The patient continues resting comfortably for 20-30 minutes while the extremely thin needles regulate the Qi, or energy. After the needles are removed, the person is ready to go home.
Some herbs can be used to help control blood sugar levels as well: bitter melon, gymnema sylvestre and Chinese jam are some of the more common herbs used for this purpose. A good nutritionist can guide a diabetes patient by also recommending foods, like spinach, cucumbers, turnips, mung beans, water chestnuts and millet, to help lower sugar levels.
Oriental medicine, by balancing the human body with its own techniques, can help Western medicine treat those who need to reduce their insulin needs as well as the complications caused by diabetes. Call our office at Behavioral Wellness Center for an appointment. We will be happy to assist you with the management of your diabetes.
by Consuelo Camarillo de Gonzalez Lic. A.C.