Feeling like a Human Pincushion?

Ann Bartlett Health Guide
  • One of the issues about having diabetes is feeling like a human pincushion! Parents look for ways to decrease the numbers of "sticks", and as adults, we decide for ourselves how many times we will actually stick ourselves. Somewhere in my demented mind, I decided more was better!


    I started using acupuncture 13 years ago and it continues to maintain better balance in my otherwise rocky adventure with my body!


    Acupuncture tests the balance of the body through "pulses". The Chinese discovered and identified 12 acupuncture meridians along which energy travels in the human body. Each acupuncture meridian is associated with a pulse, and there are 12 pulses, six in each wrist.

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    Acupuncture meridians are like copper traces on an electronic circuit board, running throughout the body. They were named by the life function associated with them. It is said that past, present and possible future disease can be discerned here. Along these meridians are points, which can be needled to rebalance the energy, helping the body reach optimal health.


    For my treatments there are anywhere from 10 to 20 needles inserted. In most cases, I didn't feel anything at all. A few needle insertions gave an incredible burn, but it quickly dissipated.


    Around my belly they use something called Moxibustion to help the intestinal tract. The needle has a small cup on the end and an herb called mug wart is burned in the cup. The mixture of the heat and the herb are believed to increase circulation, especially in the lower abdomen. Moxibustion is often used for constipation, bladder, and menstrual cramps.


    A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1998 found that up to 75 percent of women suffering from breech presentations before childbirth had fetuses that rotated to the normal position after receiving moxibustion at an acupuncture point on the Bladder meridian.


    Acupuncture may be helpful in the treatment of diabetes, or complications associated with diabetes. In a preliminary trial, 77 percent of people suffering from diabetic nerve damage (neuropathy) experienced significant reduction in pain following up to six acupuncture treatments over a 10-week period. Many were also able to reduce pain medications, but no long-term change in blood-sugar control was observed. Bladder control problems, a complication of long-term diabetes, responded to acupuncture treatment with a significant reduction in symptoms in both controlled and uncontrolled trials.


    After my first acupuncture treatment with Adele Strauss in Boston, I sat in her waiting room for a half hour. I was in a euphoric fog. I had a hard time focusing on what was being said. She fed me water and walked me to my car, where I sat staring before I realized the keys were in my hand! After every treatment, I had a deep sense of relaxation for several days. I've been to a few acupuncturists now, and none have achieved that feeling of euphoria, but I do feel a deep sense of relaxation that trips my body into a deep sense of wellbeing.


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    For me personally, I have used acupuncture to bolster my immune system. I do not see it as a curative or replacement treatment, but a way to help my dysfunctional body get some therapy. Acupuncture offers a subtle change. I don't know about everyone who has diabetes, but my experience is hypersensitivity to many things. I have to be cautious with drugs, food, alcoholic beverages and even vitamins. My body will respond quickly and with gusto! Often my blood glucose will plummet with an antibiotic followed by annoying yeast infections that show up as skin irritations. For me, something like acupuncture is a simple method to help calm. It offers rest and balance and with patience it can stimulate healing without vicious side effects.


    In addition to needles, I'm working with an acupuncturist who works with herbs and homeopathy. It is remarkable how quickly my body responds. Some of the herbs have proved too much and others have no effect at all. I'm trying a gel called oxycell, which is an anti-oxident cream. My first experience left me with a blood glucose of 35, three hours after rubbing it in! The theory is that the oxycell is reducing inflammation and improving the insulin receptor cell function. Twice used, and twice the same reaction. My CDE asked me to send her the info to look it over and I laughed and said, "Sure! Bayleaf... whoda thought!"


    My point is that no one ever knows where the magic lies, is it in pharmaceuticals? Plants? Food we take in? I feel the power lies in trying to find the balance, because health requires many components! Don't be afraid to try something unfamiliar, it may give you a greater understanding of about you (but, as always, consult your doctor first!).



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Published On: November 02, 2007