What can I do to help prevent or manage Diabetes naturally?
Listen up, diabetes sufferers! I know that most people automatically think Western Medicine when it comes to an ailment like diabetes, but did you know that Chinese medicine also has a strong theory on how to help diabetes naturally? That's right, TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) has been treating this "sugar urine illness" long before modern medicine even knew anything about it.
What is the Traditional Chinese Medicine theory behind Diabetes?
In fact, the Chinese language has not one, but two terms for diabetes. The first, Xiao-ke, is as old as the hills and translates to "wasting and thirsting." The second, Tang-niao-bing, is a more modern take and means "sugar urine illness." But don't let the poetic language fool you, TCM has a belief that there are actually three different types of diabetes and they differentiate them for treatment to get to the root cause, rather than just treating the symptoms.
According to TCM the three types of diabetes include, upper, middle, and lower Xiao-ke. Each are characterised by different presenting symptoms. Upper by excessive thirst, middle by hunger, and lower Xiao-ke by excessive urination. These symptoms are associated with deficiencies in the lungs, stomach, and kidneys, respectively, all of which are related to tradition Chinese Medicine theory of Yin deficiency. But the reality is, at some point in their diabetic journey, most people will experience symptoms from all three types
Am I bound to get diabetes if it runs in my family, or are there other factors at play?
First off, there is the genetic thing. Yep, you can thank Mum and Dad for passing down some dodgy genes that make your body less able to process insulin and manage blood sugar levels. Thanks, folks. But it's not just genetics - lifestyle also plays a big role.
Too many sugary drinks and fatty foods? ✅
Lack of exercise? ✅
Weight around the middle? ✅
All of these can contribute to insulin resistance and lead to Type II diabetes. And let's not forget about good ol' ageing. As we get older, our bodies become less efficient at using insulin, making it more likely we'll develop diabetes.
So why does TCM blame your diet, emotions, and even your constitution for diabetes? Well, it's simple really. Consuming large amounts of sweets, fats, alcohol, and hot drinks can wreak havoc on your body. Add in some stress, anxiety, or depression, and you've got a recipe for disaster. And if you're already feeling fatigued, weak, and sporting a pale complexion, then you're a prime target for a Yin deficiency.
How can I help prevent or manage Diabetes naturally?
Did you know that reducing stress can actually help you kick diabetes to the curb? That's right, stress is like kryptonite to your body, making it harder to manage blood sugar levels and increasing the risk of complications.
But don't worry, you don't have to quit your job and run off to a deserted island to reduce stress (although that does sounds pretty good, doesn't it?).
Here are some tips to help you reduce stress and manage your diabetes like a boss:
- Get moving: Exercise is a great way to blow off steam and reduce stress. So, strap on your sneakers and hit the pavement for a walk, jog, or dance party. Not only will you feel better, but you'll also improve your blood sugar levels and overall health. It is particularly good to exercise after a meal to kick start the consumption of the blood sugar in your blood stream.
- Practice mindfulness: Whether it's through meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises, practicing mindfulness can help you focus on the present moment and let go of stress. So, take a deep breath, exhale slowly, and let the stress melt away. Getting on your acupressure mat is a great way to get into that zen zone, as well as stimulating the appropriate meridians for diabetes (more on this in a moment!)
- Get social: Connecting with others can help reduce stress and boost your mood. So, call up a friend, join a support group, or connect with others online to share your experiences and get the support you need. Having a local friend to walk with will help keep you accountable, get you moving and boost your social interaction….I love multi-tasking!
- Treat yo' self: Don't forget to take care of yourself! Whether it's a massage, a SOulSoak bath, or a good book, taking time for yourself can help you recharge and reduce stress.
Remember, stress is a part of life, but it doesn't have to control your diabetes. By taking steps to reduce stress and manage your diabetes, you can live your best life and show diabetes who's boss!
How can I lay on my acupressure mat to help with diabetes?
Following along with the TCM theory of Upper, Middle and Lower Xiao-Ke types of diabetes, we are looking to stimulate the lung, stomach and Kidney meridians respectively.
- Lung Meridian: This meridian runs from the chest area down to the hand, passing through the arm. Along the way, it passes through points that are associated with the lung and respiratory system.
- Stomach Meridian: The stomach meridian starts from the face and head area, running down through the chest and abdomen, and ending at the foot. Along the way, it passes through points that are related to digestion and the stomach.
- Kidney Meridian: This meridian starts at the bottom of the foot and runs up through the leg, abdomen, chest, and ends in the collarbone area. It passes through points that are related to the kidney and urinary system.
To begin, wrap the acupressure mat around your left arm for 5 minutes and then swap to the right for a further 5 minutes, this can be done with you lying down or sitting up. You can leave the coconut liner in the mat, or take it out and just use the Spikey outer bag. It’s totally up to you. You can also use the pillow to stimulate that lung meridian, in this case it needs to be held onto the out aspect of your arm (from the shoulder to the thumb side).
Secondly lie on the acupressure mat on your stomach to stimulate the majority of the stomach and kidney meridians. Initially start with legs straight to stimulate the remainder of the stomach meridians that run down your legs. Lay here for 10 minutes.
Finally take the mat and place it between your legs to stimulate the remainder of the kidney meridians down the inside of your legs. 5 minutes on one side, 5 minutes on the other side. If you have two mats you can lay with one mat between your legs and the other wrapped around your top arm and then swap sides, to save time.
Now for some extra Acupoints that can be stimulated by hand
- Spleen 6 (Sanyinjiao): Located on the inner side of the leg, about four finger-widths above the ankle bone. Stimulating this point can help regulate blood sugar levels and alleviate symptoms such as thirst and frequent urination.
- Conception Vessel 12 (Zhongwan): Located in the centre of the abdomen, about four finger-widths above the belly button. Stimulating this point can help regulate digestion and alleviate symptoms such as excessive hunger.
- Pericardium 6 (Neiguan): Located on the inner forearm, about two finger-widths above the wrist crease. Stimulating this point can help regulate heart function and alleviate symptoms such as anxiety and stress.
- Stomach 36 (Zusanli): Located on the outer leg, about four finger-widths below the knee. Stimulating this point can help improve energy levels and alleviate symptoms such as fatigue and weakness.
- Large Intestine 4 (Hegu): Located on the back of the hand, in the webbing between the thumb and index finger. Stimulating this point can help regulate the body's energy flow and alleviate symptoms such as pain and inflammation.
So, give these natural tips a go if you have been diagnosed with diabetes, and please share this blog if you have a loved one suffering from this condition also. Instead of just managing your symptoms with Western medicine, give TCM a go, as it treats the root cause of the problem, bringing your body back into balance. So go ahead and show your diabetes who's boss!