Can You Treat Diabetes with Acupuncture?

Can You Treat Diabetes with Acupuncture

Acupuncture has gained popularity as a homeopathic remedy in recent years. However, it’s been in use for over 3,000 years, particularly in China.

Practitioners claim that acupuncture can help with an array of conditions. But can you treat diabetes with acupuncture?

The Process

Acupuncturists use different techniques depending on which type of diabetes you have. They’ll examine your case, and determine which of their techniques work best. Most settle on a wrist and hand technique with the aim of improving blood circulation. However, they may recommend other techniques too.

Importantly, you should not replace your current medical treatment with acupuncture. For example, those with Type-1 diabetes must not assume that acupuncture means they don’t need their insulin injections.

The Benefits

Practitioners claim acupuncture may be able to do the following:

• Improve blood circulation, so your blood sugars and insulin get to where they need to be.
• Stimulate endorphin production. This may block the feelings of pain that occur due to low blood sugar levels. However, endorphins do not help your body access the glucose in its cells.
• Regulate your cortisol levels. This hormone reaction may help the areas of your body that struggle to regulate their own sugar levels.

Are There Any Risks?

A 2017 review of studies relating to the use of acupuncture for diabetes treatment found that there appear to be no side effects. As a result, there appears to be little risk in adding acupuncture to your treatment.

However, there is still no cure for diabetes. Acupuncture may bolster the lifestyle changes you make to manage your diabetes, but it won’t cure it. Furthermore, you must continue with insulin therapy if your doctor prescribes it.

On a general level, acupuncture can cause bruising and minor bleeding. Avoid it if you have a bleeding condition, such as hemophilia. Also, only visit licensed practitioners, and ensure all needles are sterilized before use and removed after the treatment.


So can you treat diabetes with acupuncture? There’s some evidence to suggest that acupuncture may work as a complementary therapy for diabetics. However, it is not a replacement for medical treatment and lifestyle changes. Follow your doctor’s recommendations at all times.