Archive for April 5th, 2008

Acupuncture and Diabetes

April 5, 2008

Go to fullsize imageAlternative therapies continue to be in the mainstream of Diabetes Armamentarium.  You see patients bringing bottles of herb supplements apparently marketed as a treatment for Diabetes and related illnesses like high blood pressure and high cholesterol.  But one form of treatment that has gained wide acceptance both in the East where it originated and in the West where it is now widely practiced is Acupuncture.  And almost always in my practice do I come across a patient asking me about acupuncture and diabetes.


It is said that the effect of acupuncture is its ability to improve blood flow.  By balancing the energy levels, one’s circulation can be improved and therefore has the potential to prevent debilitating complications of diabetes related to poor circulation like foot amputation and the crippling nerve damage or diabetic neuropathy.  Anecdotal reports and few small scale studies have proven acupuncture to help ease pain and prevent diabetic foot ulcers but only if applied early in the disease process.   The problem is the absence of acceptable and properly done wide scale studies where proven results are duplicated. A research funding by the National Institutes of Health in the United States is being done in quest for an answer…


As medical practitioners, it is best to advise to patients that no studies at present can prove acupuncture to work beyond placebo effect. It is being tolerated by the US FDA considering its relative safety.  But it is always prudent for patients not to discontinue their medications or the proven therapies we provide them and to use acupuncture only conjunction with their medications.  Likewise it is best that patients should inform their physicians about their desire to have an acupuncture done and likewise should not accept any diagnosis of a disease from those performing the acupuncture..


Acupuncture…It’s a wait and see for now but so far results seem promising….