Diabetes & Hypoglycemia


Diabetes & Hypoglycemia

Diabetes mellitus is a chronic systemic disease capable of affecting virtually every organ system in the body. At the cellular level, diabetes is a disease of insufficient insulin action, which is require for the efficient transport of glucose into muscles, adipose tissue, and liver cells. In the absence of insulin, glucose cannot be effectively transported into cells and it accumulates in the blood. In addition, the liver begins to manufacture glucose from amino acids (gluconeogenesis). Diabetes can cause diseases like asthma or circulatory problems. This usually happens because the stress from the spleen and pancreas affects the liver. The liver, in turn, affects the muscles and sends the stress to the upper Sanjiao, and the respiratory system.

From the point of view of Oriental medicine, diabetes is a weakness of the endocrine system, the jing of the water element. Consequently, the metabolism slows down, affecting the spleen. As the patient's yin qi accumulates, they do not create enough yang to balance. Their fat level is high, so they cannot burn the fat quickly enough. The body starts accumulating more of the thick heavy energy, like sugar. This corresponds to and stresses the spleen, which becomes increasingly sensitive to various stresses, and then, finally, becomes dysfunctional.

Patients may develop hypoglycemic symptoms like fainting, dizziness, fear, vertigo, and emotional swings due to spleen and pancreatic action, when their insulin is too high or blood sugar too low, or it can be due to nervous system action affecting the adrenal glands. For hypoglycemia, check the pulse to see if the activity is in the nervous system or in the spleen. If it is in the nervous system, then treat the nervous system by sedating the stress and slowing the heartbeat. If you work only on the pancreas to increase its capacity (as you would with simple hypoglycemia), the stress will continue and, although the symptoms may be alleviated temporarily, you won't really help the patient at all.

When you work on diabetic patients, keep in mind that they are not always diabetic. Diabetes is a problem of the pancreas, with the pancreas becoming too sensitive. The real question is `in which way is it too sensitive?' -- is it excreting too much insulin and causing hypoglycemia, or withholding production and causing diabetes. Many times the diabetic condition is not completely adopted yet.

For example, a female patient, previous to her diabetic condition, developed a tumor in the uterus. In this case, the most likely previous pattern was that stress was developing in the spleen and moving to the liver. The liver sent it back to the spleen and also spread it out towards the ovary and the uterus. In this classic pattern, the liver sends its stress to the ovary on the right side, and the trigeminal area. If this type of diabetic patient had presented problems such as stiffness or tremors of the fingers, or stiffness of the jaws or teeth problems, those past symptoms would indicate that she was a hypoglycemic patient and not a clear-cut diabetic case. A uterine-tumor can also be a result of a long-term hypoglycemic condition. In these types of cases, pay attention to the movement in the pulse from the Sanjiao to the pancreas -- any abnormal pulse movement going from the Mingmen/Sanjiao deep down to the pancreas. This movement will indicate if the condition is still being aggravated by external causes, like lifestyle or their emotional state. If that external stress still continues, it will produce a psychosomatic syndrome that will, in turn, cause physical or organic stress in the organs.

If that type of pulse is found in a diabetic patient, it means that he or she has a "dual phase" of diabetes, so hypoglycemia exists concurrently at the same time (especially if they are very irritable). In those cases, you have to pay attention to the liver, Sanjiao, and kidney pulses. You must see if the liver is providing sufficient energetic thrust -- most likely it will be a little hyper if the whole situation is pointing towards a hypoglycemic syndrome. If it is not hyper, then, most probably, the patient is frustrated because he or she lack enough qi to operate the will. If the patient is very irritable because the Sanjiao pulse is very low and the energy level connecting the kidney to the Sanjiao is low, irritability and frustration occur because there is insufficient qi to sustain their willpower.


Diabetes is originally caused by deficiency of yang qi. As metabolism slows, the body's toxins are not removed quickly enough and jing is not replenished quickly enough. Yang energy becomes more deficient as patients continue to exhaust their jing.

When their jing is extremely exhausted and turbid yin material has accumulated, it creates a vicious circle: yang energy is insufficient because the jing is exhausted, and the jing is not being replaced because yang qi is insufficient. After the jing is gone, the remaining yang energy is comparatively excessive, since there is nothing to balance it. So, slowly, the yang energy remaining will create a heat-type of condition. When metabolism is slowed and the toxic sugar level is high, patients will show a very strong energy contrast. This heat will stand in contrast to the rest of the body, which is cold (due to the insufficient yang); the heat will also tighten the arteries and veins. This contraction of the blood vessels will make patients extremely tense and nervous. When the tension becomes very strong, they may faint because the pressure is too high, while, at the same time, the sugar level is high. From time to time, the insulin level may pick up since the pancreas cannot properly control it.

When you check the spleen/pancreas pulse of a diabetic patient it may not necessarily have to feel weak, it can show relative strength. This relative strength in itself does not indicate that the pancreas is working properly, instead, look for the overall strength of the patient's general vitality. What we must determine in the pulse is whether it has both sufficient fire and earth elements within it. If the fire element is low, the insulin level will be low. We have to detect the fire and earth elements of the pancreas in order to know that the insulin level is normal. If the pulse shows a boiling type of a feeling, the pancreas is active; and, if it is the opposite, it means that the level of the insulin is below normal.

Despite the heat activity and the activity of the spleen pulse as it tries to compensate for the condition, the body is in a very deficient and delicate state: the spleen and pancreas are exhausted; the kidney is exhausted since the jing is dissipated; and the patient lacks sufficient circulatory stimulation, so the elimination of toxins is retarded. Consequently, any HBP condition related to the diabetes must be treated by tonification of the kidney jing.

Acupuncture Formulas

The most important acupuncture point for diabetes is Sp.8 (Diji).Sp.9 (Yinlingquan), C.V. 9 (Shuifen), C.V.12 (Zhongwan), T.W. 4 (Yangchi), St.36 (Zusanli), and St.9 (Renying) are also important. Often for diabetes we needle St.36 (Zusanli) upward, using tonification skills, to send heat towards the stomach and the spleen. We can also use Kd.10 (Yingu) to tonify the kidney. When a diabetic patient shows a strong spleen pulse it means that the spleen and pancreatic activity are not totally absent, but are rather up and down, so the pancreas activity and energy are very unstable. Fortunately, this is still a case where you can easily work on the condition with acupuncture.

Sp.8 (Diji) is only good for chronic diabetes problems when it is necessary to boost the pancreatic activity. When you use Sp.8 (Diji), tonify it. If, in a diabetes case, the spleen is receiving a lot of stress, do not tonify it yet but, rather, sedate the perverse energy movement of the liver first, by using strong needling techniques on G.B.34 (Yanglingquan). When the stress moves from the liver towards the lung, it will tighten the diaphragm. G.B.34 (Yanglingquan) is also an important point to release diaphragm tension.


Sp.3 (Taibai)

Lv.3 (Taichong)

U.B.18 (Kanshu)

U.B.20 (Pishu)

U.B.22 (Sanjiaoshu)

St.36 (Zusanli)

U.B.50 (Weicang)

Sp.8 (Diji)

St.9 (Renying)

Tonify all points, except St. 9 (Renting) where you should use an interdermal needle. The interdermal needle should be changed daily. Also needle the Hua To points along the whole back daily.


U.B.21 (Weishu) downward 1- 2 cun

U.B.22 (Sanjiaoshu) upward 1-2 cun

With a spring needle, shallowly needle T- 1 through L- 5 in a random manner.


U.B.13 (Feishu)

U.B.20 (Pishu)

U.B.23 (Shenshu)

Use a golden thread on these points. Place it about 1/8 of an inch and leave it for many months.


U.B.20 (Pishu)

U.B.21 (Weishu)

U.B.22 (Sanjiaoshu)

St.36 (Zusanli)


This method is good for stopping thirst.

G.V.14 (Dazhui) moxa 3-7 times.


Sp.8 (Diji) tonify

C.V.9 (Shuifen) tonify

7. When a diabetic patient starts loosing their sight because of damage to the optic nerves, work on their eyes seperately. The most important points are:

T.W.20 (Jiosun)

G.B.3 (Shangwan)

T.W.22 (Heliao)

Lu.6 (Kongzui)

G.B.12 (Wangu)

St.2 (Sibai)

Oriental Medicine.


By Jiang Jing

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