Endocrine Disorders

The endocrine system is a network of glands of the body, which are responsible for producing and releasing hormones. Hormones are chemicals which help to distribute messages throughout the body. They travel through the blood and are distributed to different organs and tissues. Hormones are very important, they help to regulate: growth and development, metabolism, sexual function, reproduction, and mood. If the hormones are unbalanced or not functioning properly, any of these processes may be affected. If hormone levels are deficient or in excess, this may be an indication of an endocrine disorder. There are a number of factors that may affect hormone balance, some of which include, stress, infection, fluid and electrolyte balance. There are many types of endocrine disorders, however some of the most common ones seen in the United States include: diabetes, hyperthyroidism, and hypothyroidism.

Can acupuncture help with diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition that affects the body’s ability to produce and manage the blood sugar or glucose. 29.1 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with diabetes, and it is estimated that 8.1 million people do not even know that they have it. According to the CDC, 90-95% of diabetes cases are due to diabetes type 2. Diabetes type 2 is caused by the body’s inability to respond to insulin properly, this is known as insulin resistance. Insulin functions to regulate glucose, which is responsible for creating energy that is distributed throughout the body. Despite its prevalence, diabetes type 2 is often preventable and treatable with diet, physical activity, and sometimes medication. Chinese medicine and acupuncture can also be effective in the prevention and treatment of diabetes. Acupuncture helps to support a healthy lifestyle, which is essential for preventing and treating diabetes. Research suggests that acupuncture may help to: manage glucose levels, aid in weight-loss, improve insulin resistance, and balance hormones. In addition to acupuncture, Chinese medicine practitioners may also include herbal therapy and nutritional modifications for the prevention and treatment of diabetes.

Can acupuncture help with thyroid disorders?

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that is located at the base of the neck. This gland is very important and is responsible for regulating metabolic processes in the body. Hyperthyroidism is when the thyroid is overactive and produces too much hormone. Excessive production of thyroid hormones can result in symptoms such as excessive weight-loss, restlessness, palpitations, sweating, increased heart rate, anxiety, and insomnia. Hypothyroidism is when the thyroid is underactive and produces too little hormones. When the thyroid is underactive it can lead to symptoms such as sensitivity to cold, fatigue, excessive weight gain, slow heart rate, muscle weakness, irregular menstruation, and fatigue. Conventional treatment for thyroid disorder includes medication. There are other natural ways to regulate the thyroid, including acupuncture and herbal therapy. Acupuncture helps to achieve homeostasis in the body, which is the primary function of the thyroid gland. Research from the British Acupuncture Council suggests that acupuncture is said to potentially be useful for treating thyroid conditions. They cite acupuncture as having the following effects: increased thyroid hormones in hypothyroidism, decreased thyroid hormones in hyperthyroidism, reduced sensitivity to pain, increased release of adenosine (which decreases pain sensitivity), improved blood circulation and mobility of joints and muscles, and reduced systemic inflammation. Chinese herbal medicine is also very effective in helping to regulate thyroid function. While there are many different herbs that are indicated for thyroid health, Chinese Herbs are prescribed per the patient’s presenting signs and symptoms. Specific herbs are chosen based on the patient’s needs and combined to create an herbal formula. Chinese herbal medicine requires an individualized approach and formulas will differ from patient to patient.

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