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From West Los Angeles, California, USA:

My five year old daughter is was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes about three months ago. We are pursuing acupuncture along with administering her regular doses of insulin in the hopes of gradually reducing her insulin through long-term acupuncture. What, if any, type of feedback have you ever heard regarding doing acupuncture treatment to help type 1 diabetes?


If your daughter has type 1A (autoimmune) diabetes which has been confirmed by a positive antibody test then she is going to require insulin supplementation by some means for the rest of her life. If this is the case, there is no possibility that sustained acupuncture treatment will enable her to dispense with insulin.

If, in fact, she has type 1B or idiopathic antibody-negative diabetes, there is about a 50% chance that she will become insulin independent anyway in a few months and be able to control blood sugars with exercise, diet, and, perhaps, oral hypoglycemic pills.

I know of no evidence whatever that acupuncture can substitute for insulin in treatment. At the same time, acupuncture and other forms of alternative medicine can have a significant placebo effect, and thereby reduce stress and facilitate good control of blood sugar.


Additional comments from Dr. Stuart Brink:

Don't stop the insulin. Continue frequent blood glucose monitoring. Make sure that your daughter's pediatric endocrinologist is aware of any dose changes you are contemplating so that you can discuss them in detail. There is no scientifically valid evidence that acupuncture has any place in the treatment of type 1 diabetes.


Original posting 2 Dec 2000
Posted to Alternative Therapies and Explanations


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:16
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