Acupuncture Decreases Insulin Resistance in Rats

Acupuncture has been used in China for years to improve the body’s use of sugar. Centuries of personal experience support this claim, but few scientific records on the efficacy of these methods exist.

The June issue of Diabetologia contains an interesting study of the effects of electroacupuncture on the insulin sensitivity of sand rats, Psammomys Obesus, which are known to exhibit obese type 2 diabetes symptoms when their diet changes from native food to laboratory food.

Doctor M. Shapira and colleagues at Hadassah University Hospital in Israel used 29 rats divided into three groups. A control group received no treatment, a placebo group received placebo electroacupuncture where needles were inserted in the back, and a third group received electroacupuncture with needles inserted in precise spots in the abdomen.

Rats were given treatments on the first, third and fifth days of the study, and blood glucose was measured periodically for the next three weeks. Blood glucose measured in the test group was significantly lower than either the control group with no electroacupuncture or the group with electroacupuncture at points in the back.

The authors conclude, “Electroacupuncture at specific acupoints has a prolonged and sustained hypoglycemic effect that is not related to food intake but to an increased insulin sensitivity.”

References used for this report indicate a review of treatment of diabetes by acupuncture during the past forty years in the Journal Of Traditional Chinese Medicine (1995) and another report on acupuncture combined with application of ziaoke plaster for treatment of 309 cases of diabetes mellitus, also in the Journal Of Traditional Chinese Medicine (1997)

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