Holistic Veterinarian Techniques: Acupuncture for Diabetes Mellitus

There are 2 types of diabetes mellitus, type-1 and type-2, with the former being produced by the decreased production of insulin due to disorders of the pancreatic β-cells, while the latter is caused by the disorder of the regulation of blood glucose concentrations due to reduced release of insulin and also decreased sensitivity to insulin. The majority of type-2 diabetic cases mainly result from a disorder of the metabolism of carbohydrate and fat. The development of type-2 diabetes mellitus is causally related to daily life activities in humans and by inference in animals, and therefore an important factor in its treatment is a significant modification of daily lifestyle – strong regulation of daily food intake will produce an increased quality of life and personal comfort.

Attempts have been made to apply acupuncture therapy for the treatment of diabetes mellitus, and the effectiveness of acupuncture treatment on the reduction of serum glucose levels has been reported in patients and animals with either type-1 diabetes or type-2 diabetes. The possibility of using acupuncture therapy for the treatment of diabetes mellitus on a regular basis has been considered, but one should consider that the application of “standard treatment” for all diabetic patients requires special care, because the stages and conditions of individual patients are heterogeneous. The development of new clinical methods for the treatment of diabetes mellitus with acupuncture therapy, therefore, requires research and clinical application using different types of experimental models based on published literature and the practitioner’s clinical experience. Several experiments have been reported concerning the effects of acupuncture treatment on hyperglycemia animal models with very good results.

Application of acupuncture stimulation to points that are considered to influence the activity of the entire body has been shown to be effective in increasing the secretion of insulin, and some of these points or functionally similar points are being included in many present and on-going experiments. To be fair, the number of acupoints used in the treatment of diabetes mellitus in animals is much smaller than the number of acupoints applied to humans, and the life styles (e.g., active times and food habits) are different between animals and humans.

Dr. Sarah Kalivoda

Mountain View Animal Hospital & Holistic Pet Care

Reno, Nevada



Kiyofuji S, Kajiyama S, Egawa M, et al. The effect of acupuncture stimulation to the bilateral Quchi points on insulin secretion. J Jpn Soc Acupunct Moxibust. 1990;40:292–98. [in Japanese with English abstract]

Hasegawa H, Terasawa S, Kumamoto Y, Odawara Y. Acupuncture therapy for diabetes mellitus: (3) Effect of acupuncture stimulus on the relationship between serum insulin and meridian point in normal subject. J Jpn Soc Acupunct Moxibust. 1981;31:55–59. [in Japanese with English abstract]
Hasegawa H, Terasawa S, Yuasa T, Yamagiwa Y, Odahara Y. Acupuncture therapy for diabetes mellitus: (2) Changes of serum insulin and blood sugar in patient with diabetes mellitus by acupuncture therapy. J Jpn Soc Acupunct Moxibust. 1981;30:147–52. (in Japanese with English abstract)
Kiyofuji S, Kajiyama S, Ishizaki N, et al. The effect of acupuncture stimulation on insulin secretion in rats using the bilateral Quchi (LI. 11) points. Meiji Acupunct Moxibust Med. 1990;7:43–48. [in Japanese with English summary]