Acupuncture and Type-2 Diabetes

by | Apr 4, 2022 | Traditional Chinese Medicine Acupuncture

More than 4.9 million people in the UK are living with diabetes. This is the highest number ever and is set to increase to 5.5 million by 2030. Around 90% of diabetics have Type-2 diabetes – a condition that used to be associated with old age but is now increasingly common in children and younger adults.

Type-2 diabetes can be controlled with diet and lifestyle changes, although some people require medication too. Traditional Chinese Medicine Acupuncture is perfectly placed to help people manage Type-2 diabetes, and to reduce the risk of developing it in the first place.

What are the risk factors for Type-2 diabetes?

The biggest risk factors for Type-2 diabetes are a sedentary lifestyle and being overweight.

Weight gain, especially increased levels of fat around the middle of the body, is a major risk. Fat cells around the belly area produce inflammatory chemicals that contribute to insulin resistance and the risk of cardiovascular disease.

However, people who aren’t overweight are still at risk of Type-2 diabetes. A high sugar diet and lack of regular exercise create the right conditions for insulin resistance to develop.

What is insulin resistance?

Whenever we eat carbohydrates, the digestive system breaks them down into smaller molecules of sugar. These sugars are absorbed into the bloodstream, and the hormone insulin transports them into cells all over the body.

Carbohydrates digest at different rates. Refined sugary carbohydrates breakdown rapidly, causing a sudden spike in blood sugar levels and insulin release. Over time, the body struggles to produce enough insulin to manage these spikes, and cells become less responsive to any insulin that is produced. This leads to a state of insulin resistance, often called pre-diabetes.

Signs & symptoms of Type-2 diabetes

  • Common signs of Type-2 diabetes are:
  • Excessive thirst
  • Increased urination and urine that appears frothy
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle loss

How can Acupuncture help with Type-2 diabetes?

Results from human and animal studies show that Acupuncture may help with the management of Type-2 diabetes by:

  • Helping to regulate insulin production and blood sugar levels.
  • Improving the balance of fats in the blood (this is known as the lipid profile). Diabetics commonly struggle with blood fat levels, and this can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Improve blood circulation. The microcirculation in the eyes, legs, and feet is particularly important in Type-2 diabetes. Vascular and nerve damage in these areas can lead to complications that may result in sight loss or amputation. In fact, diabetes is one of the leading causes of preventable sight loss.
  • Modulate the body’s stress response. Acupuncture is known to inhibit the sympathetic nervous system response – also known as ‘fight or flight’ – and support the parasympathetic response, aiding relaxation and pain relief.

As well as helping to manage Type-2 diabetes, Acupuncture can help with the risk factors – particularly weight balance.

The first step is to reduce dietary intake of sugar and refined carbohydrates like white bread and pasta. This can be extremely challenging because sugar is so highly addictive. I often use auricular (ear) acupuncture points with these clients as it is an effective way to support the nervous system and manage cravings.

My treatments are truly holistic, so we also look at underlying stress levels and hormone balance and discuss nutrition and lifestyle advice for managing weight and supporting energy levels.

Discover more about how TCM Acupuncture could help you reduce the risk of Type-2 diabetes. Call me TODAY on 07788 633292 or email at

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