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Alternative Eastern Health Approach to Diabetes


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Diabetes is a troubling disorder and growing in frequency in the United States. Western medicine offers a variety of treatment options, but so does Eastern medicine.

Diabetes is a disease that is rapidly getting out of control in the United States. The incidence rate is approaching 15 to 20 percent in certain population groups such as the elderly. Non-insulin dependent diabetes is the most common form of the disease. It is characterized by low sugar levels in the body and its cause is often related to lifestyle issues. It is interesting to note that the earliest mention of a condition that appears to be non-insulin dependent diabetes in ancient Chinese texts referred to it as a disease of the rich. It suggested that the rich would not be willing to give up the excesses of their lifestyle.

The disease is far more prevalent in the United States and Europe than in the Orient, but it is on the increase there. This is thought to be the result of the modernization that is bringing the same harmful diet and lifestyle choices as are available in the United States. This idea of the effect of lifestyle on the onset and course of the disease suggests the first approach of Traditional Chinese Medicine to its treatment. First comes diet and improved lifestyle. Any of the twenty or so herbs that have been used in the treatment of diabetes for centuries would come next.

Acupuncture is the third step. It has been said that an acupuncturist is going to be better able to treat diabetes simply because he will tend to spend more time with the patient than most busy Western doctors. This is because the acupuncturist is interested in the lifestyle of the patients. He needs to know factors about his life and condition that the doctor would not deem important. This is because the acupuncturist is going to see even the diabetes as a symptom of something amiss in the body, and not the problem itself.

For example, although many patients showing the onset of diabetic symptoms are also suffering from weight problems and might even be obese, this could be misleading. Overweight people are thought to have an excess of yin and a deficiency of yang. Closer examination will often reveal a deficiency of yin. This deficiency causes excessive heat that further stagnates the yin until the qi is impacted. The patient suffering from advanced diabetes will end up with deficiencies in qi, ying, and yang.

There are as many as twenty good energy points for the treatment of low blood sugar. Usually, a dozen of these points are selected in each treatment depending on the patients overall situation. Many Western doctors have begun to give a cautious recommendation to the consideration of Chinese medicine. They have not been able to argue with the results. Although they do not accept the premises of why these treatments are successful, they will still suggest that it might be attempted as long as the more conventional treatment methods are retained. There is actually much common ground. Both disciplines recognize the impact of diet and lifestyle and their recommendations for maintenance are generally the same.

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