alternative therapies for diabetes

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Alternative Medicine Therapies for Diabetes

Alternative medicine therapies are treatments that are generally not taught in medical schools or used in hospitals. Alternative treatments that have been studied to manage diabetes include biofeedback, acupuncture, guided imagery, and mineral and vitamin supplementation. The overall success of the use of some alternative treatments can be difficult to measure.

Biofeedback

Biofeedback can help a person become more aware of and learn to deal with the body's response to pain and stress. This alternative medicine therapy emphasizes relaxation and ways to reduce the stress one feels.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture has been shown to relieve chronic pain. A qualified practitioner inserts needles into designated points on the skin. Some Western scientists believe that acupuncture triggers the release of natural painkillers in the body. Acupuncture is sometimes used by people with neuropathy, the painful nerve damage of diabetes.

Guided imagery

Guided imagery is a relaxation technique that some professionals who use biofeedback do. With guided imagery, a person thinks of peaceful mental images, such as ocean waves. A person may also include the images of controlling or curing a chronic disease, such as diabetes. People using this technique believe their condition can be eased with these positive images.

Chromium

The benefit of added chromium for diabetes has been studied and debated for several years. Several studies report that chromium supplementation may improve diabetes control. Chromium is needed to make glucose tolerance factor, which helps insulin improve its action. Since there is insufficient information on the use of chromium to treat diabetes, no recommendations for supplementation yet exist.

Magnesium

Although the relationship between magnesium and diabetes has been studied for decades, it is not yet fully understood. Studies suggest that a deficiency in magnesium may worsen the blood sugar control in type 2 diabetes. Scientists believe that a deficiency of magnesium interrupts insulin secretion in the pancreas and increases insulin resistance in the body's tissues. Evidence suggests that a deficiency of magnesium may contribute to certain diabetes complications.

Vanadium

Vanadium is a compound found in tiny amounts in plants and animals. Early studies showed that vanadium normalized blood glucose levels in animals with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. A recent study found that when people with diabetes were given vanadium, they developed a modest increase in insulin sensitivity and were able to decrease their insulin requirements. Currently researchers want to understand how vanadium works in the body, discover potential side effects, and establish safe dosages.

You can learn more here: alternative medicine therapies for general information.







References and Sources: Medline, Pubmed, National Institutes of Health.


last update: December 2008


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