Diabetes & Acupuncture

In The Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus with Chinese Medicine, Lynn Kuchinski, Dr. Robert Casañas, and myself include a chapter on acupuncture and diabetes mellitus as well as acupuncture formulas and modifications under many patterns of many of the complicating diseases discussed in this book. However, no one book can be complete, and new materials on Chinese medicine and diabetes are being published all the time. One such book is Tang Niao Bing Zhong Xi Yi Zhen Liao Yu Tiao Yang (Diabetes Mellitus, Its Diagnosis, Treatment & Care with Chinese and Western Medicines) by Li Sai-mei et al. published by the Guangdong Tourism Publishing Co., Guangzhou, 2000. On pages 229-237 of this book, there is a section on acupuncture. Some of the salient information in that chapter is reported below.

Acupuncture’s effectiveness & suitability for diabetes

1. Acupuncture can achieve relatively good results in patients with diabetes is the disease course has been short and the severity of the condition is slight or moderate.

2. Acupuncture is most suitable for patients with type 2 diabetes who are either moderate in constitution or obese.

3. Acupuncture can get relatively satisfactory results in patients with diabetes and cerebral infarction, bodily pain, coronary heart pain, autonomic nervous system dysfunction, pruritus, and early stage bladder problems.

4. Acupuncture gets extremely poor results in patients with type 1 diabetes and poor results in late stage patients or those with serious conditions. In that case, acupuncture should be combined with Chinese and Western medicines.

Acupuncture point selection

1. Commonly used points in diabetes

Depending on the pattern discrimination and channel routes,

Main points: Pi Shu (Bl 20), Fei Shu (Bl 13), Shen Shu (Bl 23), Zu San Li (St 36), San Yin Jiao (Sp 6), Guan Yuan (CV 4), Hua Tuo Jia Ji points, Tai Xi (Ki 3), Zhong Wan (CV 12), Ge Shu (Bl 17)

Auxiliary points: Feng Chi (GB 20), Yi Shu (M-BW-12), Gan Shu (Bl 18), Wei Shu (Bl 21), Ming Men (GV 4), Pang Guang Shu (Bl 28), Qu Chi (LI 11), Chi Ze (Lu 5), Nei Guan (Per 6), Lie Que (Lu 7), Ling Dao (Ht 4), He Gu (LI 4), Tai Yuan (Lu 9), Shen Men (Ht 7), Qu Quan (Liv 8), Yang Ling Quan (GB 34), Di Ji (Sp 8), Feng Long (St 40), Xuan Zhong (GB 39), Fu Liu (Ki 7), Shui Quan (Ki 5), Rang Gu (Ki 2), Nei Ting (St 44), Jing Ming (Bl 1), Guang Ming (GB 37), Yi She (Bl 49), Jin Jin (M-HN-20), Yu Ye (M-HN-20), Cheng Jiang (CV 24), Shui Dao (St 28), Dai Mai (GB 26)

Of these, Pi Shu, Zhong Wan, Gan Shu, San Jiao Shu (Bl 22), Di Ji, San Yin Jiao, and Zu San Li are used the most often.

2. Commonly used points for additions & subtractions to pattern discrimination:

For polydipsia, vexatious thirst, and dry mouth, add Fei Shu (Bl 13), Yi She (Bl 49), and Cheng Jiang (CV 24).

For polyphagia, easy hungering, and bound stools, add Wei Shu (Bl 21) and Feng Long (St 40).

For polyuria, low back pain, tinnitus, heart vexation, tidal heat, and night sweats, add Shen Shu (Bl 23), Guan Yuan (CV 4), and Fu Liu (Ki 7).

For lassitude of the spirit, lack of strength, disinclination to speak and weak voice, diarrhea, head distention, an heavy, encumbered limbs, add Wei Shu (Bl 21), San Yin Jiao (Sp 6), and Yin Ling Quan (Sp 9).

For blurred vision, add Gan Shu. If there is simultaneous blood stasis, add Ge Shu (Bl 17).

For stopping spontaneous perspiration, add Xin Shu (Bl 15), He Gu (LI 4), and Fu Liu (Ki 7).

3. Commonly used points for the complications of diabetes:

For retinopathy, use Tai Yang (M-HN-9), Feng Chi (GB 20), and Tian Zhu (Bl 10).

For pruritus, including external genital itching, use Qu Chi (LI 11) for itching of the chest and above, use Zhu Bin (Ki 9) for itching on the abdomen and below, and use Qu Gu (CV 2) for itching of the external genitalia.

For male sexual function decline or female menstrual irregularities, use Guan Yuan (CV 4).

For chronic diabetic constipation, use Guan Yuan (CV 4), Qi Hai (CV 6), Zhong Wan (CV 12), and Zu San Li (St 36).

For chronic diabetic diarrhea, use moxibustion at Tian Shu (St 25) and needles and/or moxibustion at Gong Sun (Sp 4).

For diabetic peripheral neuropathy, moxa Qu Chi (LI 11) and Zu San Li (St 36). For peripheral neuropathy of the lower limbs, add Tai Chong (Liv 3) and Qu Chi; Zu San Li and Feng Long (ST 40); Yang Ling Quan (GB 34) and Yang Fu (GB 38); and San Yin Jiao (Sp 6); and alternate between these four groups of points.

For early stage bladder pathology, add moxibustion at Qi Hai (CV 6) and needle Lie Que (Lu 7), Zhao Hai (Ki 6), Shui Dao (St 28), Hui Yin (CV 1), Zhong Lu Shu (Bl 29), and Wei Yang (Bl 39) if there is true yang depletion and detriment with lung-kidney qi vacuity. Moxa Ming Men (GV 4), Shen Shu (Bl 23), and Guan Yuan (CV 4) and needle Hui Yin (CV 1), Zhong Lu Shu (Bl 29), and Wei Yang (Bl 39) if there is true yin depletion and detriment and kidney yang decline and faintness.

Treatment with acupuncture and moxibustion is typically given once per day, with needles retained for 15 minutes each time and 10-15 treatments equaling one course of therapy. Usually, a 2-3 day rest is allowed between each successive course. Early stage patients may be treated with 1-2 courses of acupuncture and moxibustion. Later stage patients may require 2-3 courses.

4. Ear acupuncture:

Rx 1: Endocrine, Adrenal, Spleen, Kidney, Stomach, Subcortex, Shen Men. Each time use 2-4 points, alternating time to time. Use medium strong stimulation and retain the needles 5-15 minutes.

Rx 2: Endocrine. Kidney, Triple Burner, Shen Men, Heart, Liver, Ear Vagus Root. Each time use 3-5 points, retain the needles 20 minutes each time, and treat every other day, with 10 treatments equaling one course.

Rx 3: For polydipsia, use Endocrine, Lung, and Thirst Point. For polyphagia, use Endocrine and Stomach. For polyuria, use Endocrine, Kidney, Bladder. Use 3-4 points each time, retaining the needles 20-30 minutes. Treat once every other day.

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