Around the world, some 285m people now have diabetes, a figure expected to climb to 440m within 20 years.
In the UAE too there has been a sharp rise in diabetes cases. International Diabetes Federation estimates that over 20 per cent of the country’s population could be living with the condition within a generation. Research is growing worldwide – revealing many new strategies for dealing with diabetes in a way that helps patients to overcome it successfully. Conventional medicine is often criticized because of the side-effects of pharmaceutical drugs or the risks associated with their long-term use. As a resultmany are combining prescription drugs with natural remedies and unconventional medical therapies.
Dr Li Xiaoling, from Chaslu Dubai Wellbeing Centre and of acupuncture in Dubai is one such expert. She said, “There is a growing acceptance ofalternative treatments that range from well recognized therapies such as acupuncture and Ayurveda to more novel treatments like the humbleYiluohe Chinese Green Herbal Tea. Acupuncture is used for a huge range of diseases and disorders including arthritis, headache and migraine, sinusitis, neck and back pain, joint pain, hot flushes, allergies, hay fever, eczema, depression, anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome, facelift, infertility and insomnia.
The ancient Chinese practice is increasingly gaining acceptance in mainstream medicine with growing clinical evidence of its effectiveness in treating diabetes.” Acupuncture has been used as part of traditional Chinese medicine for at least 3000 years and in Western countries since the 70s. The British Medical Association too approved acupuncture for treatment of several conditions in the year 2000. The Chinese believe we all have energy called Qi – pronounced chee – flowing through the body along channels called meridians.
The theory is that we become ill when this energy flow is interrupted and inserting tiny needles into so called pressure points around the body can restore the flow. The good thing is that you can go for alternative therapies alongside conventional medicine.Dr Liexplained, “With time and experience, you learn there is more to the treatment of illness than giving medicine or performing surgery. ‘Integrative medicine’ is being found to be highly effective in case of diabetes which means blending of best evidence-based alternative medicine with the best of conventional medicine.”
Dr Li has been a strong proponent of alternative medicine in the UAE and few years back conducted a special study with other doctors on its effective use in diabetes. The report, titled A Clinical and Experimental Study in Treating Diabetes Mellitus by Acupuncture in the UAE, studied 60 diabetic patients from the region who were divided randomly into two groups: the acupuncture group (38 patients) and the control group (22 patients). Both groups followed a regulated diet during the study period, but one group received acupuncture at ten points once a day for 30 days. Among the 22 participants who took the usual diabetes-prescribed drugs, there were 12 cases rated as effectively treated and eight cases as markedly effective.
However, 20 of them showed side effects. Of the acupuncture group, 27 were treated successfully and 11 needed more treatment. None of the 38 patients showed any side effects. “Our programme is a combination of acupuncture, Western medicine, Yilouhe Chinese Green Herbal Tea and Chinese exercises”, Dr Li said.
“Long-term Western medicine is not good for the liver, kidneys, heart and eyes. Type 2 diabetes is related with energy balance in the body. If you are eating more than your metabolism, the excess energy will be stored in the liver and other parts of your body as fat, which can lead to type 2 diabetes in some people. Acupuncture restores the balance in your body, improves your immune system and enhances pancreas to produce insulin that leads to lowering levels of blood sugar. This when combined with low-caloric diet and a healthy lifestyle can reverse the disease.”