Many people may not be aware there are multiple types of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is the most common and most frequently talked about. However, type 1 diabetes is also very prevalent and one that can be very dangerous for those that have it. Type 1 diabetes affects more than 200,000 people in the United States every year. It is not specific to an age group, sex or ethnicity, but it tends to be more common in children and young adults. In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin and the person suffering from the disease is dependent upon daily insulin injections to stay alive.
While this may sound quite daunting and miserable, there are many people worldwide living happy, healthy lives with this disease. Although the cause of type 1 diabetes is still unknown, it is usually managed through the use of insulin therapy. What happens is that the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas become damaged due to an autoimmune response within the body. Type 1 diabetics are unable to produce insulin and therefore it must be supplemented daily. Without insulin, the body can’t metabolize glucose needed for everyday bodily functions.
Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine can help type 1 diabetics in various ways. Balancing food intake, specifically sugars, is vital for diabetics. Too much sugar and not enough insulin can be dangerous for anybody, but it can be deadly for diabetics. Studies have shown acupuncture and electroacupuncture can actually increase the insulin levels in blood plasma. This means even though a type 1 diabetic is required to take insulin to survive, the amounts they take may be less when they are being treated with acupuncture. Acupuncture treatments can also help balance the blood glucose levels in type 1 diabetics.
Another area where regular acupuncture treatments can benefit type 1 diabetics is stress. Excessive stress has been proven to wreak havoc in the body. Added stress can cause a cascade of stress hormones, which signals the liver to dump more glucose into the bloodstream. This can be fatal for a diabetic who doesn’t recognize the symptoms. Acupuncture is very relaxing and actually lowers stress levels in most people. For a type 1 diabetic, keeping stress levels to a minimum is crucial.
Traditional Chinese Medicine considers diabetes to be a “thirsting and wasting” disorder caused by deficiencies in the kidney system. Acupuncturists focus on strengthening the body and managing long-term symptoms, specifically those associated with the kidney system. This may be accomplished with both regular acupuncture treatments, as well as Chinese herbs, nutritional coaching and even things like tai chi or qi gong that help balance the body overall.
If you or somebody you know is suffering from type 1 diabetes, please consider Traditional Chinese Medicine as an adjunct to the current medical treatments. It can be quite beneficial in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Be sure to seek out a fully trained and properly licensed acupuncturist or Traditional Chinese Medical practitioner in your area to find out more about how this medicine can help.