Addressing Digestive Imbalances and Diabetes with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

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All over the world, people struggle with digestive imbalances and diabetes and many of them are curious about natural methods of addressing them.

One of the most common questions we get at the clinic is how TCM can be used to support and improve digestive health and diabetes. We even get this question a lot at international events, so this concern is certainly not just isolated to the US.


The good news is we have a lot of ancient wisdom from TCM concerning food and digestion. This can be a nuanced topic, but in many ways, it often comes down to a few very simple approaches.

Reducing Simple Carbohydrate Sugars


The average American consumes a higher than ideal amount of sugar, evidenced by the sharp rise in diabetes we have seen in recent years.

Being a form of carbohydrate, sugar is found in many more foods and drinks than you might imagine, but it’s important to remember that carbohydrates fall into two camps: simple and complex.

Simple and Complex carbs

The simple carbohydrates are the ones to be more mindful of, coming in the form of desserts, pasta, refined or processed grains, sweet drinks, dairy like sweet yogurts, ice creams, and other milk products, high sugar/low fiber fruits, and of course sugar itself.

Complex carbohydrates include fiber-rich vegetables and fruits, whole grains, beans, and legumes. In working with people to reduce simple carbohydrates, we encourage them to keep these complex carbohydrates, particularly in the form of green vegetables, while emphasizing a diet high in healthy fats and proteins.

What we find is that this has a dramatic effect on their health and digestion. It’s amazing to watch the blood sugar levels drop, sometimes leading diabetic patients to be taken off of insulin and/or reduce medications like Metformin.

It’s our belief at the Acupuncture and Wellness Center that through the proper approach with nutrition, you can have a dramatic improvement in conditions like Type II Diabetes and digestive imbalances such as those that fall under Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and acid reflux.

Digestive Issues and Using TCM


In addition to the above, we also often bring in Chinese acupuncture and herbal medicine to help support the digestive system.

To determine the best approach to these, we use pulse diagnosis. For example, on the right arm is what’s called the right guan pulse, which corresponds to the stomach, spleen, and digestive system.

If that pulse is weak, the patient is believe to have a weak digestive system. Using Chinese acupuncture and herbal medicine wisely, can strengthen the digestive system, bring it into balance, address things like suppressed appetite, and generally do a great deal to improve the digestive health of the patient.

If the right guan pulse is very strong and pounding, on the other hand, this indicates that there is too much inflammation in the digestive system. These patients typically experience acid reflux, gas and bloating, and trouble digesting due to there being too much inflammation in the gut. For these patients we use Chinese acupuncture and herbal medicine to cool down the heat and take away the inflammatory conditions. Once the gut calms down, the ability to digest the food becomes much easier, gas and bloating goes down, and digestive health improves.

Combining Chinese acupuncture and herbs with the right foods can have a dramatic impact not only on a person’s digestive health, but their overall health as well, and from a holistic perspective, this is what we want.

If you are interested in exploring the above to support a more balanced, functional, and comfortable digestive system, schedule an appointment today and ask your practitioner the best treatment strategy for your digestive issues.

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