Case Study: Acupuncture for Gestational Diabetes

A 34 year-old pregnant woman in her sixth month came to me worried about how her newly diagnosed gestational diabetes might affect her baby’s health, and that of her own in the long term. She had not previously suffered from diabetes, although she explained that her father had had type-2 diabetes since his forties. She did not have high blood pressure, was not overweight before becoming pregnant, and neither did she have any of the other risk factors associated with gestational diabetes. This was her third baby and she had not had any issues associated with her previous two pregnancies.

The patient presented with fatigue in the late afternoon/evening as well as occasional back pain and she also complained of feeling a little cold in the evenings. She said that before becoming pregnant, she had always maintained good eating habits but did not exercise very much. Part of her worry with the gestational diabetes was that in this case, exercise did not seem to help regulate her blood sugar levels and she was concerned about taking too much insulin. She also wanted to prevent the possibility of her baby gaining too much weight in utero and possibly having other complications.

As she had been told by her doctor I explained that taking insulin while pregnant cannot harm the baby, but she hoped nonetheless to minimize the amount she had to take. I explained that acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine might help regulate her blood sugar levels but that she should continue to also follow her doctor’s advice and monitor her levels and also take insulin as directed by her specialist.

She began to see me once a week for acupuncture and Chinese herbs. My approach was aimed at strengthening her Spleen and Kidney (words capitalized here indicate differentiation from their scientific definitions) energy systems to combat the fatigue and manage her blood sugar levels by essentially helping her digestive system (i.e. her Spleen) function more efficiently.

Her pulse was choppy and slippery, and was also somewhat weak. Since she had occasional back pain recently and tended towards feeling a little cold in the evenings, I attributed these signs to a slight Kidney deficiency, possibly brought on by a third pregnancy. We used point such as DU 20, BL 17, BL 20, BL 23, ST 36, KD 2, KD 6.

The herbal formula used in this case was You Gui Wan, meant to tonify her Kidney deficiency to, in effect, support her Spleen and improve the efficiency of her digestive system. In this case the lower energy and feelings of cold indicated Kidney Yang deficiency.

Over the course of two months, with treatment nearly once per week, the patient was able to manage her gestational diabetes well and needed insulin injections most often only at night. In her last month of pregnancy, her specialist advised her to decrease the amount of insulin she was using, and we were able to reduce our frequency of treatments as well.

She came back to me two months after giving birth, and was happy to claim that her baby was in great health, and that her own blood sugar levels were back to normal and she no longer would need any insulin.

Acupuncture and Face Lift

Cosmetic acupuncture, or Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture, is a Chinese skin rejuvenation method that stimulates the body to heal itself by increasing the blood flow to the facial tissues, thus revitalizing the skin and reducing wrinkles, aging spots and toning the facial muscles. The history of this technique dates back to 960-1279 AD, during the Sung dynasty, where it was known as ‘Me Rong Zhen’. It was usually performed on royal family members to enhance their beauty and delay the process of aging. This thousands of years old beauty technique has found its place in today’s world as it is a non invasive, painless method to improve your appearance by reducing the wrinkles and fine lines on your face.

During a typical cosmetic acupuncture treatment, tiny needles are inserted on the surface of the skin at specific points to unblock the ‘chi’ or vital energy that is believed to be flowing throughout the body. Trained acupuncturists administer multiple sessions that last from about one hour to two hours each session. According to traditional Chinese Medicine, Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture improves vital energy flow and stimulates the natural anti aging powers of your body.

How Does Cosmetic Acupuncture work?

Cosmetic acupuncture or Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture works by the insertion of needles that are as thin as hairs, into specific points on the face and other parts of the body to improve the blood and lymph circulation in the face and other parts of the body. Acupuncture can also help the body produce more growth hormones to stimulate collagen production. Due to the improved blood flow, the facial skin is rehydrated, nourished and toned. The free circulation of blood through the facial muscles also facilitates healing and improves elasticity of the face, thereby reducing the fine lines and wrinkles. Sometimes, the needles are electrically stimulated using special frequencies so that the elasticity of the skin as well as the facial muscle tone is improved. This reduces the drooping of the facial muscles and brings a youthful appearance to your face.

Regular Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture treatments have been proven to improve circulation of blood and lymph, increase the production of collagen and improve the muscle tone of the facial muscles. In more advanced treatments, certain points on the arms and legs, are stimulated to further increase the energy flow of the body, strengthening the internal organs that influence the exterior facial beauty of the individual. Sometimes facial creams made of traditional Chinese herbs are also applied to enhance the appearance of the individual undergoing acupuncture treatment.

In order to make the treatment to be more effective, patients are advised to make changes in their diet and lifestyle, and include exercise in their daily routine. Most people undergoing Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture will have increased skin elasticity and facial muscle tone and they can look 15 years younger than their real age.

Why Get Acupuncture Treatment For Your Thyroid-Related Problem?

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis also known as Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks the thyroid, leading to a condition called hypothyroidism. In this case, the thyroid produces less of the hormone thyroxine, down to a level that is adequate for the body’s needs.

Although the exact causes of Hashimoto’s disease are yet ascertained, some of the important contributors that have been found to play a role are estrogen dominance condition, consumption of excessive iodine, exposure to radiation, and genetic factors. This disease affects women eight times more than men, thereby suggesting that estrogen and progesterone may have an important role to play. One can diagnose the disease by its symptoms: enlarged thyroid or goiter accompanied by hypothyroidism and abnormal blood levels of auto-antibodies.

Besides the above symptoms, some of the other symptoms of Hashimoto are joint and muscle pain, fatigue, weight gain, slowed heart rate, constipation and sometimes numbness or tingling in the hands and feet due to poor energy production and circulation. In order to diagnose and find out the real causes of this thyroid problem, a Chinese acupuncturist will analyze all the symptoms, tongue, pulse and the blood test results.

Acupuncture treatment and medications

Hashimoto’s patients must take pills containing thyroxine: a thyroid hormone replacement therapy for life. Getting qualified acupuncture treatment for Hashimoto’s along with traditional Chinese medicine and making dietary and lifestyle changes has been proven to be highly effective in reducing the symptoms and keeping the medications to the lowest possible dosage.

A Boston Chinese acupuncturist will give you a differentiated diagnosis according to your symptoms, pulse, and tongue reading. Acupuncture treatments can balance your immune function and reduce the inflammation in your thyroid glands, so your body will not continue to produce antibodies to attack your thyroid glands.

You might be able to keep part of your thyroid function and only have to take very small dosages of Synthroid. Chinese herbs combined with acupuncture can help patients digest food better, improve their energy production so they can be more active and sleep better with fewer aches and pains. Furthermore, high dosage of thyroid hormones can be life-threatening: it can increase your heart rate and blood pressure, leading to heart failure.

Duration of treatment to get long-lasting results

People suffering from Hashimoto’s disease require comprehensive and expert treatment only from experienced acupuncturists. Getting twice or once a week treatment for three months reduces the symptoms and helps bring harmony to rejuvenate thyroid function. People with large goiters and long-standing problem may need weekly treatment for 6-12 months based on their age and health conditions in order to help them reduce their consumption of medication and normalize their hormone balance.

Consulting an experienced acupuncturist and following a well-designed acupuncture treatment protocol will provide patients with suitable relief. Inserting hair-thin needles on specific acupoints triggers the release of neurotransmitters such as endorphins, stimulates blood flow, reduces stress, and alleviates pain. It balances the immune system and helps patients feel energetic.

Experts suggest getting acupuncture treatment for Hashimoto’s disease along with other natural treatment methods for maximum benefits. Besides acupuncture treatment, regular exercise, enough sleep, and meditation will go a long way to reduce stress and help Hashimoto’s patients recover more quickly.