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Somehow the western diet is to blame for the increased number of people developing type 2 diabetes. These diets include processed grains, added sugar, meat, dairy, and salt. According to the CDC, 30 percent of U.S adults drink sweetened beverages such as soda daily. To manage diabetes, you need to maintain a normal blood sugar level. The most common way of doing this is by using insulin injections. There are other complementary and alternative therapies (CAM) that have worked before. These alternative methods aim at not only managing the condition but also to treat the body and mind. They include the following:

Herbs and Supplements

Herbs and supplements are the common CAM therapies for diabetic persons although the FDA doesn’t consider them as medicines. Meaning they aren’t regulated. Additionally, there are no studies to support supplements as an alternative treatment for diabetes.

Different supplements interact differently with different medications, therefore, you need to talk to your doctor before you start taking new supplements. The most popular supplements used for diabetes include:

  • Aloe Vera.
  • Alpha lipoic acid.
  • Chromium.
  • Cinnamon.
  • Garlic.
  • Ginseng.
  • Gymnema Sylvestre.
  • Magnesium.
  • Omega 3 fatty acids.
  • Polyphenol.

Exercise and Diet

Most people don’t consider diet and exercise as an alternative treatment. However, they fall under this category and are very helpful in treating diabetes. Your blood sugar levels and health depends on your diet and how active you’re. Exercising is very crucial for a diabetic individual. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends individuals without activity restriction to do resistance exercises twice per day. Such exercise includes using resistance bands and lifting free weights. Diabetic people should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate to intense aerobic activity every week. The World Journal of Diabetes says that physical exercise is the best way to control type 2 diabetes. The importance of exercise is to improve glucose tolerance, reduce blood pressure and reduce high blood sugar levels. However, for persons with type 1 diabetes, caution should be taken since they can experience hypoglycemic episodes during exercise. ”

Acupuncture

Acupuncture helps to deal with the pain that comes with diabetes. Longtime high blood sugar levels can damage the nerves, thus affect the eyes which can lead to blindness. Nerve damage can cause pain in your hands, feet and other body parts. Acupuncture, in this case, involves inserting needles in different body part hence releasing chemical in the brain that lessens sensitivity to pain. This form of therapy is very promising for treating certain kinds of diabetes-related nerve pain. Also, it restores harmony in the body. If you want to try acupuncture therapy, look for a licensed acupuncturist to ensure your safety, although the method is generally considered safe.

Mind and Body Approach

The rate of depression and anxiety in people with diabetes or any other chronic condition is very high. According to Mayo Clinic, managing blood sugar levels and medications can be difficult due to increased stress. Mind and body approach focuses on helping people with diabetes to deal with stress or depression safely. With better stress management strategies, you can be able to deal with concerns about high blood sugar levels.

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy is a form of relaxation therapy but it serves a special case when it comes to its usefulness for diabetics. For over 100 years, doctors have recommended massage as an alternative medicine for diabetes. It’s very effective in normalizing blood glucose. Additionally, massage reduces tension and has been shown to be an effective way to relax than rest. What’s more, massage reduces heart rate and blood pressure which are markers for diabetes.

Aromatherapy

This includes clinical therapy where there is the use of essential oils. These oils are inhaled or diluted then applied to the skin depending on the symptoms. Every oil has a different impact on the body and mind which include stimulating relaxation, sedation, sanitization and many more. Essential oils can also help ameliorate the stress of living with a lifelong chronic condition like diabetes. To use the oil, put three to five drops of undiluted oil on a handkerchief and then hold it to the nose and breathe slowly for five minutes. Consult your diabetic health care provider before using aromatherapy as an alternative diabetes medicine.

Conclusion

Alternative therapies with a lasting effect are increasingly being sought by diabetes patients. This is no surprise since herbal medicines have been used for decades to treat various ailments including chronic diseases. However, there is a need for evaluation of their safety and efficacy in a controlled clinical trial to avoid the use of non-standardized forms of herbs. Remember, the above techniques don’t aim at curing diabetes, instead, they help a person’s body to function better.

All images by Pixabay

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