Man getting acupuncture

Photo by ANTONI SHKRABA

JOONDALUP, Australia — Typically used to alleviate pain, acupuncture dates back thousands of years. Incredibly, new research from Australia suggests this ancient medicinal technique may still offer additional unrealized health benefits. Scientists at Edith Cowan University report acupuncture therapy could be a useful tool in preventing Type 2 diabetes.

Researchers focused on individuals classified as “prediabetic” for this study, meaning they displayed higher-than-normal blood glucose levels without actually being high enough to be diagnosed as diabetic. Dozens of earlier projects encompassing over 3,600 subjects with prediabetes were analyzed.

That analysis displayed a clear trend: People who underwent acupuncture therapy saw several key markers associated with diabetes improve. Such markers include fasting plasma glucose, two-hour plasma glucose, and glycated hemoglobin, as well as an overall greater decline in the incidence of prediabetes.

Even better, not a single studied patient reported or exhibited any adverse or negative side effects. PhD candidate and lead researcher Min Zhang believes acupuncture therapy may be a useful tool when it comes to warding off diabetes.

Diabetes is a major modern health concern, estimated to affect roughly 11 percent of the planet’s adult population. Moreover, The International Diabetes Federation calculates close to 1.3 billion people will be either diabetic or prediabetic by 2045.

“Without intervention, 93 per cent of people with prediabetes will develop Type 2 diabetes within 20 years,” Ms. Zhang says in a statement. “But unlike diabetes, prediabetes is reversible with lifestyle interventions such as improved diet and increase in exercise. But many people struggle to adhere to lifestyle changes long-term, so non-pharmacological treatments such as acupuncture could prove valuable.”

Diabetes risk is significantly linked to lifestyle factors and decisions like diet and exercise, but other considerations are also at play. This is where acupuncture may prove helpful, according to researchers. “It’s not only about blood sugar levels,” Ms. Zhang explains. “If you experience sleep problems, high blood pressure, a lot of stress, these can contribute too. So, acupuncture can help with these factors and work holistically to help people balance their life.”

When most people think of acupuncture, needles immediately come to mind. But the research team explains that the technique is so much more; such as light, electric pulses, and additional traditional Chinese medicine therapies such as moxibustion.

“This is important because diabetic people can have issues with their skin, so perhaps it may not always be ideal to be using needles,” Ms. Zhang comments. “We need to do more research into acupuncture and diabetes, because we need to find more ways to prevent prediabetes developing into type 2 diabetes.”

“Many people with prediabetes don’t have any symptoms and feel fine, but some people progress into the diabetes period no more than 6 months after their prediabetes diagnosis. In fact, prediabetes intervention is an investment rather than an expenditure,” she concludes. “So, the best time to prevent type 2 diabetes is now.”

The study is published in Holistic Nursing Practice.

About John Anderer

Born blue in the face, John has been writing professionally for over a decade and covering the latest scientific research for StudyFinds since 2019. His work has been featured by Business Insider, Eat This Not That!, MSN, Ladders, and Yahoo!

Studies and abstracts can be confusing and awkwardly worded. He prides himself on making such content easy to read, understand, and apply to one’s everyday life.

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6 Comments

  1. Diana Mc says:

    Acupuncture straightened out my curved spine. True story.

  2. Me says:

    Why aren’t researchers concerned about TYPE 1 diabetes??

  3. David Cone says:

    Honestly man, this article makes me doubt the veracity of all your other posts, and I’m a regular visitor.

    The study is pretty flakey. You should read it more deeply. Think about the “blinding” part of it a little bit too.

  4. Dennis says:

    Super Website !!!

  5. asdf says:

    the article doesn’t address the questions every reader has: “what exactly does acupuncture do for diabetes? HOW does this work?”
    please update with more info. we’d all like to know the theory behind this treatment.

  6. R Clary says:

    Acupuncture is yet another bogus trend fat, lazy people may engage to avoid exercise and proper diet. They’re always seeking the easy route, and doctors live in fear of being fired by their own patients if they speak truth.
    YOU’RE FAT! And you need to exercise and eat healthy. This is what your doctor won’t tell you.