Type II Diabetes and Acupuncture: When diagnosed with type 2 diabetes it is imperative to watch your diet. Eating a healthy and balanced diet can greatly improve your way of life, and help you avoid potential health complications.
Type 2 Diabetes and Acupuncture
Complications from diabetes mellitus affect millions of Americans. By using acupuncture and herbal formulas, you may be able to stave off some of the devastating effects of this disease.
Xiao ke, or wasting-thirst disease, is what the three basic symptoms closely associated with diabetes is called in pinyin. The three basic symptoms are frequent urination, great thirst and excessive hunger. These symptoms do not necessarily indicate that one has diabetes, however, they are simply an indicator in a rather extensive history and diagnosis. Other symptoms may include weight gain, weight loss, fatigue and numbness of the extremities due to high blood sugar.
Insulin lowers the amount of sugar in the bloodstream and makes it possible for glucose to be taken in by cells. Glucose is energy for cells and fuel for the brain. When there is too much glucose in the blood, it means there is not enough insulin and the cells are not receiving the glucose. Complications from diabetes include eye, foot, skin, heart and kidney problems.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, xiao ke is divided into the upper, middle, and lower parts of the body. For the upper body, the lungs are affected, this is where the excessive thirst and dryness becomes manifested. The middle section of the body is the stomach, where the great hunger arises. Finally, the kidneys in the lower part of the body are symptomatic with frequent urination, or polyuria. As stated above, these symptoms are symptomatic of the Chinese medical diagnosis of xiao ke, but to diagnose diabetes one would have to check the blood sugar, and if it is abnormally high, only then would it be diagnosed as diabetes specifically.
In Chinese medicine, xiao ke is considered internal heat consuming fluids and affecting the lung, stomach, and kidneys. It is considered a yin deficiency. A deficiency of yin would mean more dryness and heat; a deficiency of yin makes yang more dominant. The body is continually achieving a balance between the yin and yang.
The treatment protocol would include an herbal formula that might include such herbs as Korean ginseng and others that moisten, clear heat and dry mucus. Paramount to the treatment would be a lifestyle change to your diet, where one would add more cooling foods to nourish the yin. In addition to changing your diet you should incorporate a gentle exercise such as qi gong or tai chi. Exercise lowers the blood sugar by moving sugar into the cells for extra energy. In addition, acupuncture and moxibustion (heated mugwort) would be implemented to move energy in the body, increase circulation and fortify affected organs.
Risk factors for diabetes include obesity, insulin resistance, ethnicity, gestational diabetes, and age. Check with your doctor if you have high blood sugar and get an official diagnosis before undertaking any new health care regimens, as it is not recommended to self-diagnose and take herbs without consulting a qualified professional.
Food for Type 2 Diabetes
When diagnosed with type 2 diabetes it is imperative to watch your diet. Eating a healthy and balanced diet can greatly improve your way of life, and help you avoid potential health complications. Those with type 2 diabetes know it can be hard to create a healthy diet just right for their constitution. But if you focus on obtaining a balanced amount of healthy carbs, fats, sugars and salts, you can live a more active and vibrant life.
Here are a list of food tips every person should consider adding to their diet, regardless of type 2 diabetes diagnosis. Think low grains, high in good fats, and protein with every meal.
- Focus on the fiber – Fresh fruits and vegetables are a must for every healthy diet. Incorporate these into your diet to promote healthy blood pressure and promote circulation.
- Healthy fats are important – Limit your amount of trans and saturated fats, choose lean cuts of meat, ADD-in avocados, coconut oil, nuts, seeds, olives, salmon, and tuna.
- Less is more – Use little amounts of salt in your cooking. You can still make your food delicious without dousing it with heavy amounts of salt.
- Carbs with a purpose – Healthy carbs are good carbs. Make sure to stock your diet full of healthy carbohydrates such as dark leafy greens, sweet potatoes, veggies, and gluten-free grains like quinoa.
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Dr. Ellie Heintze, ND, LAc
- Master’s Degree in Acupuncture
- Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine
- Master’s Degree in Chemistry
Northern Arizona University
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