Hormonal Imbalance

Enhance your Endocrine Health with Acupuncture

Acupuncture can assist with a variety of hormonal imbalances including, adrenal fatigue and acne. The endocrine system is responsible for hormonal functions in the body and produces 30 distinct hormones each of which has a very specific job to do. This system controls your physical growth, mood, hormone output, reproduction, mental functionality, and immune system. When not working properly, you become more susceptible to disease and your ability to fight off infection is weakened. Endocrine glands and their functioning impact every area of your health.

The keystone of acupuncture and Oriental medicine has always been awakening the body’s natural intelligence to heal itself and restore balance to the system of energy pathways (called “meridians”) in the body. If the meridians within your body have become depleted, you can suffer from tiredness, infertility, weight gain, depression, digestive problems, hair loss, arthritis, and feeling chilled no matter the temperature.

What are the endocrine glands and what do they do?

The major endocrine glands include the adrenals, pancreas, pineal, pituitary, reproductive and thyroid glands.

Adrenals – Adrenal glands regulate the body’s response to stress and are made of two parts, each of which secretes a separate set of hormones. The outer part produces corticosteroid hormones that regulate the balance of salt and water, stress response, metabolism, immune function, and sexual development and function. The inner part secretes adrenaline hormones that increase blood pressure and heart rate in response to stress. Over time, chronic elevated stress levels can lead to weight gain, decreased resistance to infections, fatigue, muscle aches and low blood sugar.

Pancreas – The pancreas produces insulin and glucagon–two hormones that work together to provide the body`s cells with a constant supply of energy in the form of glucose.

Pineal – The pineal gland is also known as the epiphysis cerebri, epiphysis or the “third eye.” It produces the serotonin derivative melatonin, a hormone that affects the modulation of wake/sleep patterns and seasonal functions.

Hypothalamus and Pituitary – A collection of specialized cells that provide the primary link between the endocrine and central nervous systems. Nerve cells and hormones signal the pituitary gland to secrete or suppress the release of various hormone messages to the other glands. The pituitary gland is also responsible for secreting growth hormones.

Reproductive – These glands secrete hormones that control the development of male and female characteristics. In males these glands secrete androgen hormones, most importantly, testosterone. In females they produce estrogen, progesterone, eggs and are involved in reproductive functions.

Thyroid – Thyroid hormones control the growth, temperature and function of every cell in the body. The gland acts as the metabolic engine of the body – if it secretes too little hormone, the body slows and dies; if it secretes too much, the body burns out and dies.

When treating a suspected endocrine condition with acupuncture and Oriental medicine, the practitioner seeks the root cause of the patient’s imbalance. The endocrine system is closely tied to the internal balance of the Yin energy and the Yang energy. Imagine that the Yang energy is like gasoline that fuels a car, and Yin energy is the engine coolant. Without the coolant, the engine overheats and burns out. Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine work to make sure the Yin and Yang are equal within the body to restore balance. The root of the body’s energy in Oriental medicine is the Kidney meridian so strengthening that meridian also restores nourishment to your endocrine glands. Acupuncture can be used to restore hormonal balance, regulate energy levels, smooth emotions and help manage sleep and menstrual problems.

Many patients benefit from an integrated Eastern and Western medical approach to endocrine health. The strong point of Western medicine is intervention in life-threatening illness, whereas the strong point of Eastern medicine is increased quality of life. Therefore, it is optimal to have both Eastern and Western medicine options available for the most comprehensive care.

A healthy endocrine system that continues to secrete adequate amounts of hormones will slow the aging process and keep you vibrant and healthy as you age.

Adrenal Exhaustion and Traditional Chinese Medicine

How Chinese Medicine Addresses Adrenal Exhaustion

Tonic herbs work to boost your body up from within, over time. Unlike caffeine or energy drinks, tonic herbs will not give you a quick, artificial boost of energy and an adrenaline rush; stimulating the release of adrenaline in this way is often part of the cause of adrenal exhaustion. Instead, herbal tonic formulas will help rebuild what you have been depleting from your body for years; they will restore wellness and true core vitality by restoring the organ systems according to Chinese medicine. The goal is to feel energetic and vital upon awakening, and to maintaining that calm energy throughout the day without being reliant on sugar, caffeine, and artificial energy boosters that leave you feeling worse hours later and may damage your health long term.

Chinese Medicine and Adrenal Exhaustion

In Chinese medicine, adrenal exhaustion is most often associated with the Kidney energetic organ system and a depletion of Essence; Kidney Deficiency can be caused by poor lifestyle habits or genetic factors. Herbal Kidney tonics work to restore the vitality of the adrenals and thyroid. They are often combined with adaptogenic herbs that reduce stress reactions and increase the body’s ability to adapt correctly to stressors in the early stages of adrenal fatigue. This is never a ‘quick fix’ and often takes 8 months or more of herbal therapy, but works well at addressing an issue that is often left untreated.

Unfortunatly, Adrenal fatigue is rarely recognized early on. There are several patterns in Chinese medicine that relate to different manifestations of chronic adrenal fatigue and it is good to familiarize yourself with Kidney Yin and Kidney Yang patterns and how to balance Yin-Yang energies in the body. Kidney Deficiency is almost always at the root of the disorder, but several possible patterns are common. You will likely need to combine several appropriate formulas to address complex conditions. While you won’t have every symptom listed, you would want to observe several in a category to begin forming a pattern of imbalance. The Kidney indications will likely be combined with each possible syndrome.

Common Patterns of Adrenal Fatigue in Chinese Medicine According to Symptoms:

Kidney Imbalance

  • Craving for salt
  • Low libido
  • Low energy from 3-5
  • Need for caffeine
  • Hair loss
  • Low back ache

Kidney-Heart Imbalance

  • Sleep disturbances
  • Reduced memory
  • Craving for drugs, alcohol, stimulants
  • Palpitations
  • Emotional Instability

Kidney-Spleen Imbalance

  • Craving for sweets
  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Brain Fog
  • Poor Digestion
  • Reduced appetite
  • Excessive hunger
  • Low energy in the morning
  • Hard to wake up in morning
  • Muscle weakness
  • Varicose Veins
  • Hemorrhoid

Kidney-Liver Imbalance

  • PMS
  • Menopausal issues
  • Low blood pressure, high blood pressure
  • Irritability, frustration, anger
  • Arthritis
  • Trembling-spasms
  • Trouble going to sleep by 10 PM
  • Alternating constipation and diarrhea
  • Frequent headaches or migraines

Kidney-Lung Imbalance

  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Recurring respiratory infections
  • Slow to recover from illnesses
  • Frequent cold and flu’s

Lifestyle Practices for Adrenal Exhaustion

Examining the lifestyle habits that have lead to this condition and changing these patterns is necessary for a full recovery and to maintain good health over time. Modern culture pushes us to drive harder and work longer with little emphasis on maintaining wellness and balance. Consider which of your lifestyle habits are leading to perpetual stress. Good lifestyle practices that allow one to avoid or recover from adrenal fatigue include daily meditation, a whole foods diet, and regular exercise; focus on honoring your physical and emotional limitations for truly sustainable health.

What and when should you eat?

For many people, there is a correlation between adrenal fatigue and low blood sugar, so it is important to eat good wholesome natural and organic foods at regular intervals to avoid a drop in blood sugar, which can exasperate your condition. One of the best things you can do for yourself is to eat a protein rich meal first thing in the morning. While you’re sleeping, your body is using up its reserved energy and you need to replenish it as soon as you can. The energy you give your body from breakfast is used up quickly, so it’s a good idea to have an early lunch or at least have a nourishing snack a few hours after breakfast. Avoiding simple carbohydrates is a must throughout the day.

Chinese food therapy-It’s important that all of your meals contain protein, fat, and vegetable-based carbohydrates. You need all three components to fuel your body throughout the day. Eating organic foods is your best choice. If you cannot afford to buy all organic, it is highly recommended that you eat organic meats and dairy products. There are many preservatives, hormones and antibiotics added to institutional meat. 6-8 servings of vegetables a day is also recommended; eat as wide of a variety of them as you can. Eating seasonal vegetables is always a great idea, so check out your local farmers market.

For those that suffer from adrenal fatigue due to blood sugar issues, you should be careful about what and how much fruit you eat and simple carbohydrates. Due to high sugar levels, people with adrenal fatigue with fluctuating blood sugar levels should avoid bananas, grapefruit, dates, figs, raisins and oranges. Better choices are apples, mango, papaya, plums cherries and pears. If you suffer from adrenal fatigue, you may find yourself in constant need of that next cup of coffee. Unfortunately, this can further deplete the adrenals. Coffee, chocolate, alcohol and soft drinks should all be avoided. Water and herbal tea is your best choice. Other healthy choices are green tea, herbal teas, and natural vegetable juices (in moderation).

Western view of adrenal fatigue:

The adrenals are glands that sit atop each of our kidneys and produce a number of hormones that allow your body to react to stimulus and change with relative ease and grace. Constant stress can overtax the adrenals causing the nervous system to kick in to an unhealthy reactive loop responding to every day stressors with a ‘fight or flight’ response. This response stimulates the adrenals to release Norepinephrine or adrenaline, which is an over-reaction by the body for everyday stressors. Cortisol is another hormone produced by the adrenals and is released to balance adrenaline. DHEA is an androgen that is produced in the ovaries and the adrenals. Cortisol and DHEA also work in unison to regulate the body’s reaction to stress.

These three hormones affect a mind-boggling number of functions and systems in the body, so it is no wonder that Adrenal Exhaustion often goes undiagnosed. It typically would require a trip to an MD who specializes in hormonal balancing to provide a saliva test of cortisol levels to know if you truly are suffering from Adrenal Fatigue. There are even a number of online services that provide saliva testing. One would think that an endocrinologist would be the correct specialist, but they are often oblivious to this condition as it is not considered a “legitimate disease” in many circles, and would be more inclined to look for Addison’s Disease rather than poor functioning or overworked adrenals.

The adrenal glands are complex and produce glucocorticoids (cortisol included), mineralocorticoids, epinephrine, norepinephrine and sex hormones. Adrenal Fatigue can affect every part of the body and impact all aspects of life. Adrenal Exhaustion is marked by relentless, debilitating fatigue and is often combined with depression, irritability, and loss of interest in life. Low thyroid function can also play a part in this condition and must be addressed before a full recovery can occur.

People often turn to herbal tonic therapy to address adrenal exhaustion after years of modern medical therapy dead-ends. Most who have suffered with adrenal fatigue have come to the conclusion that there truly is no quick fix for this condition. While Chinese tonic herbs are one of the more effective ways to address adrenal fatigue, it will still take 8 months or more of herbal therapy to correct the condition. Often, it is 2 months or more before many utilizing herbal tonics even notice a measurable change in their vitality; patients and determination are a must in combating adrenal fatigue.

Acne and Traditional Chinese Medicine

What causes one person to develop acne, whereas another does not? We know that acne is due to a build up of oil under the skin, but understanding the set of imbalances that culminate in to acne is not well explained by modern medicine. It is well recognized that hormonal imbalances and stress can contribute to the formation of acne, but Chinese medical theory is able to further break down the foundational bodily imbalances that cause acne. Liver Qi imbalances are a common thread with cases of acne, but are also rooted in hormonal imbalances.

Here are some of the more common patterns:

Spleen Qi Deficient Acne
This common type of acne presents with deep cyst-type nodules that are difficult to expel; it is said in Chinese medical theory that there is an insuficiency of Qi energy to force the foreign material out of the body efficiently.

  • Cyst-type acne
  • Oily Skin
  • Acne in combination with digestive issues

Damp-Heat Causing Acne
This type of acne presents with:

  • Red painful pustules
  • Yellow discharge
  • Painful acne

One suffering with this type of acne may also have oily skin, bad breath, and a wet tongue with a yellow coat.

Acne Due to Blood Stagnation and Hormonal Imbalances
This is a common pattern for women who have indications of PMS and Blood and Qi Stagnation of the Lower Jiao common with:

  • Acne related to menstrual disorders
  • Menopause onset of acne
  • Acne in combination with mood swings

This pattern may combine with other patterns, but is marked by acne that is more pronounced before and during the menstrual cycle.

Acne Due to Fire Toxins
This pattern simply recognizes a more potent type of Heat causing

  • Lesions with redness
  • Breakouts with pain
  • Acne associated with extreme stress and emotional outbursts

A Chinese medical diagnosis will often recognize Toxic Heat at the Blood Level and require cooling herbs internally that dispel Heat Toxins and Internal Wind-Heat when addressing chronic acne. ‘Internal Wind’ is often due to Liver Qi Stagnation creating Liver Fire and Wind, and herbs that sooth the Liver are commonly indicated.

Hypertension and Traditional Chinese Medicine

High Blood Pressure and Chinese Medicine
It is important to understand that tonic herbs take many months to address high blood pressure, and you should never quit taking your high blood pressure medicine without confiring with the prescribing physician. As with any chronic condition, the longer that it has been developing, the more difficult it is to reverse with natural medicine. Here are some of the main patterns of disharmony that lead to hypertensiona according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM):

Liver Fire Rising Causing High Blood Pressure
Liver heat can be a result of many things including Liver Qi Stagnation, Liver Yin Deficiency, and Liver Blood Deficiency. Blood and Yin are cooling in nature and when they are depleted, Deficient Heat develops. In Nature as in our bodies, heat rises. Liver imbalances are almost always part of the high blood pressure pattern of disease and the Liver must be soothed in order to quell Liver Fire Blazing Upward. While some cases of Hypertension are A-symptomatic, Liver imbalances are marked by anger, frustration, headaches, bouts of depression, rib pain, head distension, menstrual disorders for women, or dizziness.

Liver-Kidney Imbalances Causing High Blood Pressure
Liver Yin Deficiency is often a pattern of hypertension as mentioned above. The Kidney energetic organ system is the source of all Yin in the body and Kidney Yin Deficiency often pre-dates Liver Yin Deficiency. Symptoms of Yin Deficiency include dry throat, thirst, and hot flashes, ringing in the ears, knee soreness, lower back pain, or ED in men.

Liver-Heart Imbalances and High Blood Pressure
High Blood Pressure is often associated with the cardiovascular system, and it is very common for Heart Qi Deficiency indications to be part of the pattern of disharmony with Hypertension; these would include palpitations, insomnia, sensation of the heart, disturbing dreams, or circulatory issues associated with Heart Qi Deficiency, Heart Blood Deficiency, Blood Stagnation, or Liver Fire Blazing Up to Harass the Heart.

Liver-Spleen Imbalances and High Blood Pressure
Internal Dampness is often associated with Spleen Qi Deficiency and can further complicate Hypertension by slowing the free flow of Qi and Blood in the body. A heavy feeling in the body or head, loss of appetite, nausea, obesity, a sticky bowel movement, or tiredness could be indications of Internal Dampness

High Blood Pressure is generally the result of poor lifestyle habits, prolonged stress, and/or genetic disposition. By the time hypertension has been diagnosed, the imbalances that are at the ‘root’ of the conditions have typically been developing for many years; because of this, high blood pressure is viewed as a chronic condition from the onset and is not easily treated with natural medicine.

In Chinese medicine, high blood pressure can have many patterns of disharmony that may be seen alone or together. In TCM, the body is seen as a single organism and once one organ is out of balance it can begin to affect every other organ system. Because of this, Hypertension becomes more complex as time passes.

While Chinese herbs may not be an easy ‘cure’ for high blood pressure, it is important that the underlying root disharmonies in the body are addressed so that the high blood pressure does not worsen and so that other serious illnesses do not develop. As with all chronic conditions, Hypertension responds to herbs and natural medicine better when caught early on, but by the time most cases of Hypertension are diagnosed, it has already been developing for many years.

While simple herbs can be used as diuretics in cases of High Blood Pressure, this approach is just a short term solution to the problem. A more sophisticated way of using herbs to address high blood pressure is to use Superior Tonic Herbs to bring balance back to the organ systems that are at the ‘root’ of the disease.

Hypothyroid and Traditional Chinese Medicine

How Chinese Medicine Addresses Hypohyroidism-The Yin and Yang of Thyroid Disease
In Chinese medicine, hypothyroidism would be delineated as a deficiency syndrome; most commonly Yang Deficiency. Hyperthyroidism would be considered a disease pattern of excess likely due to Yin Deficiency. As with many diseases, Chinese medicine is able to address chronic conditions well because a single disease can be broken down in to many patterns of disharmony allowing for a more specific treatment. Several patterns can, and generally do, occur together, and the herbal formulas can be combined as needed. Here are some of the patterns according to Chinese medicine:

Hypothyroidism and Traditional Chinese Medicine
Kidney Yang Deficiency and Hypothyroid
The Kidney energetic organ system is closely related to the thyroid function in
Chinese medicine, With hypothyroidism, Kidney Yang Deficiency predominates and would present with a sore lower back, hair loss, cold in the back, weak ache knees, impotence, infertility, perfuse clear urination, ringing in the ears, aversion to cold, and ankle edema.

Spleen Qi Deficiency and Hypothyroid
Qi (or Chi) is the force within us that allows for animation and movement. Qi provides warmth in the body and allows the Blood to circulate. Spleen Qi Deficiency is marked with fatigue, weakness of the muscles, sweating without exertion, Dampness, coldness, poor appetite, loose stools, bloating, nausea, indigestion, and pale complexion.

Heart Qi Deficiency and Hypothyroid
As this disease process progresses, general Qi Deficiency as described above will lead to Heart Qi Deficiency marked with palpitations, irregular heart rhythm, trouble or disinterest in conversing, shortness of breath with exertion, poor circulation and cold limbs.

Hyperthyroidism and Chinese Medicine
While hypothyroidism follows a path of chronic slow degeneration, hyperthyroidism is considered an inflammatory autoimmune disorder with erratic patterns of activity and remission.

Kidney Yin Deficiency and Hyperhyroid

The Kidney is the source of all Yin in the body. Yin represents substance in the body such as blood and tissue that have a cooling and stabilizing affect as opposed to Yang and Qi that are warming and moving. When Yin is deficient, Yang is not well controlled and deficient heat signs develop including night sweats, tidal fevers, and aversion to heat, dry mouth, thirst, and hair loss. Look to our Yin Valley formula.

Liver Fire and Hyperhyroid
As Yin Deficiency persists, the heat begins to consume Blood in the body creating more Yin Deficiency and Deficient Heat. When the Liver Yin and Liver Blood become deficient, the Liver heats up and begins to attack other organ systems. The Liver also helps to regulate Qi flow of the body, and Qi Stagnation is a common issue with hyperthyroidism. Liver Yin Deficiency often develops these signs: high blood pressure, headaches, dizziness, itchy skin, hand tremors, blurred vision, eye bulge, irritability, ringing in the ears that comes and goes.

Liver-Spleen Disharmony and Hyperhyroid
If the Spleen organ system is deficient or the Liver overly exuberant, the Liver will attack the Spleen and inhibit its ability to control Dampness in the body. Spleen Qi Deficiency is indicated with Phlegm Nodules as seen with hyperthyroidism. Some indications of Spleen Deficiency as it relates to hyperthyroidism would include loose stools, stomach upset, nausea, muscular weakness, and nodules.

Heart Fire and Hyperhyroid
With deficient fires raging internally, the Heart Blood is devoured and Heart Heat
signs develop including palpitations, arrhythmias, rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, emotional instability, breathlessness, and insomnia. Additionally, the Heart helps to provide the free circulation of Blood throughout the body, and Blood Stagnation is a common problem seen in hyperthyroidism.

Diabetes and Traditional Chinese Medicine

Chinese Medical Patterns of Type 2 Diabetes
Diabetes Type 2 can present itself through the interactions of specific Organ Systems according to Chinese medical theory. While no patient is a textbook case, these patterns help to guide us so that we can disseminate a diagnosis based on TCM. Most of those who have diabetes will have more than one pattern of imbalance and will require several herbal formulas.

Spleen Qi Deficiency
This pattern is indicated with loose stools, low energy, distention and gas after meals, weak limbs, scallops on the side of the tongue, and sometimes a loss of appetite. Spleen Qi Deficiency is also indicated in cases of insulin resistance and hypoglycemia which are often considered pre-diabetic conditions. As mentioned earlier, the pancreas is a part of the Spleen organ system, and a Spleen imbalance is typical when dealing with diabetes.

Kidney Yin Deficiency
The concepts of Yin energy is detailed above, but would generally include thirst, dry mouth, frequent urination of dark urine, and soreness in the lower back and knees. This is a common early indication of diabetes, but can present any time throughout the disease process. Consider Yin Valley formula.

Spleen – Kidney Yang Deficiency
This pattern will present with feelings of coldness throughout the body, fatigue, frequent urination, weakness, sore lower back and knees, and a shortness of breath. This pattern becomes more common as we age. Generally, Yang is our warmth and vitality. Qi is also Yang in nature, so address coldness and other Yang Deficient symptoms. Yang tonics must be used with care in a well balanced formula to avoid creating further imbalance in the body.

Stomach Heat
Closely associated with Yin Deficiency, Stomach Heat can develop due to Stomach Yin Deficiency possibly created by poor diet. Signs would include thirst, a big appetite, and yellow coated tongue. The temptation is to drink iced drinks to cool the heat and quench the thirst in this pattern, but the tactic backfires by forcing the stomach to constantly create heat so that it can maintain an optimum temperature for digestion.

Diabetes and Chinese Medical Strategies
Diabetes has risen to epidemic levels in the U.S.; the CDC reports that between the years of 1980 and 2005, the number of new incidents of diabetes has basically doubled. The chances of developing diabetes increase significantly as we age. Chinese medicine is effective at addressing type-2 diabetes, especially when caught early in the pre-diabetic stage, or while in the insulin resistance has been detected. Herbal formulas are used to moderate blood sugar levels for type-1 diabetes, but are not effective at reversing it.

There is historical data showing that Chinese medicine has recognized and treated diabetes for over 2,000 years. There are many patterns of imbalance that diabetes can present with, but there are some basic commonalities in the majority of diabetes cases; according to Chinese medicine, there are typically three stages in type 2 diabetes. Each individual will advance through diabetes differently, but this is a basic progression is common in type 2 diabetes:

Stage 1 of Diabetes in TCM
Before diabetic symptoms appear, there are signs of Yin Deficiency. Thirst is a common sign of Yin Deficiency and is prevalent in patients with diabetes. Unfortunately, simply drinking water will not reverse Kidney Yin Deficiency, as the condition requires Yin nourishing herbs. Yin Deficiency can also present with afternoon or night sweats, hot flashes, and symptoms that worsen at night. .
Stage 2 of Diabetes in TCM
As the disease progresses, Yin Deficiency left untreated persists, and Qi Deficiency develops next. The pancreas is part of the Spleen energetic organ system in Chinese medicine; Spleen Qi Deficiency is common in the pre-diabetes stage and throughout the disease pattern. The Spleen is responsible for the way we utilize and store food in Chinese medicine; obesity, thinness, nausea, and digestive issues are all indications of Spleen imbalances.

Stage 3 of Diabetes in TCM
Yang (energy) is dependent on Yin (substance) and Qi (energy); if diabetes progresses without proper treatment, all three will collapse. Blood is dependent on Qi to circulate, so further symptoms develop related to poor circulation.

Lifestyle Practices that Help to Prevent Diabetes

Diet and Diabetes
Chinese food therapy. The fact that increased rates of diabetes in the U.S. and other countries mirror the increased rates of obesity is certainly not a mere coincidence. Foods that are fatty or fried, sugars, and refined foods damage the Spleen according to TCM. With the Spleen system impaired, foods are not utilized properly and weight gain persists regardless of dieting efforts, or weight loss can occur as the body does not take nourishment in correctly.

Consuming whole foods is vital in the prevention and successful reversal of this condition. Sugars and white flour, rice, or potatoes should be replaced with whole grains; fruit juices should be replaced with whole fruit sparingly; and vegetables should consumed with wild abandon. Protein consumption is vital in maintaining level blood sugar levels and is best obtained through nuts, eggs, beans or legumes, and fish; keep meat and cheese, and greasy food consumption to a minimum. Most importantly, avoid iced drinks, raw foods, and frozen foods that can damage the Spleen according to Chinese medicine.

Sugar Substitutes
In an effort to cut calories, overweight people will consume beverages with sugar substitutes. This strategy backfires as the pancreas is stimulated to release insulin without the presence of glucose in the blood stream. The individual cells respond by removing receptor sites for insulin. When the body does consume food, the cells are unable to uptake much of the resulting glucose because of the reduced number of insulin receptors and the glucose circulates to the liver where it is stored as fat. Additionally, sugar substitutes tend to be much, much sweeter than real sugar and create a craving for very sweet substances.

Diabetes and Exercise
Moderate exercise has proven to be invaluable with all types of chronic disease patterns. Additionally, regular exercise reduces stress that can contribute to the development of diabetes. A brisk two mile walk daily is preferred over running in this condition and Tai Qi and yoga are helpful in building Qi. The cells are responsible for many actions including making available energy for us. As the cells become less productive because of the developing insulin resistance there is less energy for exercise, and the condition just continues to spiral out of control. Moderate aerobic exercise is vital in maintaining proper blood circulation in this debilitating disease.

Stress and Diabetes
It is known that our nervous system has two functional modes; the Sympathetic and Para-sympathetic. We are supposed to live in the parasympathetic mode that promotes a “rest and digest” response and a calming of the nerves to preserve adrenal health. Unfortunately, many of us are caught up in an unhealthy loop of emotional responses to life’s every day stresses putting us in the Sympathetic mode that promotes a “fight or flight” response inhibiting digestion, increasing the heart rate, constricting blood vessels, inhibiting reproduction responses, and causing our body to consume tissue for quick energy; this creates Yin Deficiency.

A regular practice of meditation and Qi Gong breathing exercises performed daily for 15 to 20 minutes will normalize the stress response and allow us to respond to life challenges with grace and flexibility. There are also herbs called adaptogens that nourish our nervous system and allow us to adapt to change and unexpected disruptions to everyday life;

Chinese Medicine and Diabetes
Natural treatments can provide substantial results in addressing diabetes, but it is helpful to have realistic expectations in treating diabetes with acupuncture and herbs. In order to manage this condition naturally, it is essential for people with diabetes to make healthy lifestyle choices in diet, exercise, and other health habits. Another important factor when treating diabetes is creating a support team of health care professionals. This support team may include your primary doctor, an eye doctor, nurses, a dietitian, and a licensed acupuncturist.

Acupuncture and herbal medicine have been used to treat diabetes for over 2000 years. A patient with ‘Xiao Ke’ or ‘wasting and thirsting disease’ (the Traditional Chinese Medical term for diabetes) is discussed in detail in the Nei Jing, a classic Chinese Medical book written about 2,500 years ago. The patient is described as having symptoms of excessive hunger and thirst, frequent urination and rapid weight loss; all symptoms of diabetes.

According to Traditional Chinese medicine, diabetes is caused by an imbalance of the cyclical flow of Qi within the meridians and organ systems. This particular imbalance produces heat that depletes the body’s fluids and Qi causing symptoms such as:

  • fatigue
  • lethargy
  • unexplained weight loss
  • excessive thirst (polydipsia)
  • excessive urination (polyuria)
  • excessive eating (polyphagia)
  • poor wound healing
  • infections
  • irritability
  • blurry vision

When treating diabetes, Chinese medicine can assist the body to regain its normal healthy functioning. Pre-diabetic conditions can often be fully reversed, while type 2 diabetics have a chance of reversing their condition when caught early on. Those who have chronic type 2 diabetes or type 1 diabetes can find that acupuncture and herbs help to moderate blood sugar levels and help to provide an improved quality of life. Additionally, acupuncture is effective in addressing nerve pain and poor circulation due to advanced diabetes.

In treating diabetes, Chinese medicine offers a way to address each patient individually to eliminate the symptoms associated with diabetes and possibly reduce the need for insulin. A Chinese medical practitioner may choose to use a variety of techniques during treatment including acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, bodywork, lifestyle/dietary recommendations and energetic exercises. The treatment for diabetes will focus on regulating the circulation of Blood and Qi and balancing the organ systems to improve pancreatic function and address internal heat and the depletion of fluids.