Study shows acupuncture may help fight diabetes

Acupuncturist inserting a needle into a female back.  Patient undergoing traditional Chinese treatment using needles to restore energy flow through specific points on the skin.Acupuncture is a technique that has been used for thousands of years to treat many diseases, but new research suggests it may also be helpful in fighting type 2 diabetes. The Edith Cowan University study examined the results of over a dozen studies on the effects of acupuncture.

The study included reports from more than 3,600 people with prediabetes, a condition that causes blood sugar levels to be above average without being high enough to be considered diabetes.

Researchers reported that acupuncture therapy significantly improved key markers including glycated hemoglobin, two-hour plasma glucose, and a greater reduction in the incidence of prediabetes.

With an increasing number of diabetes diagnoses, there is a need for more interventions. The International Diabetes Federation estimates that by 2045 nearly 1.3 billion people will have either diabetes or prediabetes. The researchers believe these results represent a promising acupuncture therapy as an option to reduce the risk of diabetes.

“Without intervention, 93 percent of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within 20 years,” said lead researcher Min Zhang.

“But unlike diabetes, prediabetes is reversible with lifestyle interventions like improved diet and more exercise.”

“Yet many people find it difficult to stick to lifestyle changes long-term, so non-pharmacological treatments like acupuncture could prove valuable.”

What many people don’t realize is that diabetes prevention isn’t just about blood sugar levels. Sleep problems, high blood pressure and stress can also contribute to diabetes risk. Acupuncture can help with health determinants and work holistically to help people balance their lifestyles.

Eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise are both great ways to reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes. After the body gets the right vitamins and nutrients to stay healthy, alternative therapies like acupuncture are great ways to reduce other risk factors like blood pressure and stress.

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