This is the last part of our article discussing natural therapies for Type 2 Diabetes
Transcendental Meditation (TM) teaches practitioners a simple non-denominational method of meditation. Practitioners meditate twice a day for 20 minutes. According to the official Transcendental Meditation website, the method is simple, natural, and accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds.
Based on testimonials and the information presented on the official Transcendental Meditation website, the technique is not difficult to learn. A person simply needs appropriate instruction, a place to sit and to set aside twenty minutes twice a day in their schedule. However, those wishing to learn the technique must locate a certified TM teacher in their area. This is easily accomplished using the directory on the TM website.
After making contact with a certified TM teacher, they and the prospective student meet for a free introductory talk of 45 to 55 minutes. This initial meeting may include others inquiring about the practice. A personal meeting of 5 to 10 minutes follows the introductory meeting.
If one decides to pursue instruction, a course fee will apply. The initial personal instruction session lasts one to two hours. A three-day “checking” period follows, consisting of daily 60 to 90 minute sessions, to confirm understanding and correct technique. Once this beginning period ends and the TM practice becomes established, the practitioner will proceed independently having access to free follow-up and support. The support includes scheduled appointments with the TM teacher, refresher courses, and other exclusive resources.
Benefits of Transcendental Meditation for Diabetics
The technique assists with the prevention of chronic disease. Research has shown the meditation method to be beneficial for the treatment and management of type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
It is a well-established fact that stress aggravates diabetes, and people who practice TM find great relief from chronic stress, and less insomnia.
They also experience improved cognitive function and memory, a decrease in anxiety and depression, decreased risk of heart attack and stroke, lower cortisol (stress) hormones levels and a sense of calm and well-being during their daily activities.
Benefits Of Transcendental Meditation:
Like massage, mediation reduces stress, and that helps to decrease cortisol (stress hormone) levels, which means lower insulin resistance for diabetics.
Decreased stress levels and subsequent decrease in counter-regulatory stress hormones, such as cortisol can help diabetics maintain better health, because they are better able to remain in “homeostasis,” a stable physical and psychological state that promotes optimal health.
The mindful awareness taught by TM allows diabetics to make better food and health choices. They learn to make choices from a place of calm instead of under the effects of stress. The result is choosing vegetables, high fiber foods and healthy proteins for meals rather than fulfilling stress induced cravings for salt and sugar.
Additionally, those under stress tend to eat at night. Since insulin resistance increases at night, around the 3 am hour specifically, blood sugars can spike, and be more resistant to diabetes medication, making stress control that much more important.
Any type of meditation can be helpful in managing diabetes related nerve pain.
Some diabetics practicing TM find they are able to decrease their required level of medication. This, of course, must be determined according to the recommendations of their healthcare provider.
In short, Transcendental Meditation offers an effective support therapy for people living with diabetes. By practicing TM, they can experience improved health, decreased stress, a sense of calm and well-being, decreased insulin resistance, and improved homeostasis that decreases the negative effects of diabetes on the body.
Ayurveda belongs to India’s long history of health and wellness practices. This ancient medical system grew out of centuries of experience some 3, 000 to 5, 000 years ago. It approaches health holistically seeking to support the body’s natural systems and using medicine and therapy to maintain, mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health. Treatment seeks to prevent disease by maintaining this balance and cure disease as necessary by restoring balance.
Prescribed treatments in Ayurveda are based on three body types or doshas:
Pitta: aligns with the element of fire and governs metabolism and body heat
Vata: aligns with the element of air, has the
quality of movement and is associated with circulation in the body, breathing and heartbeat
Kapha: aligns with the elements of earth and water and governs the body’s hydration, skin maintenance, and immune system.
Emotionally the doshas show the following qualities:
Vata is creative and vital
Pitta is content and intelligent
Kapha is loving and forgiving
Everyone possesses traits from each of the doshas while having a dominant dosha. Some people may be balanced across all three doshas or dominant in one or two. Diabetes is primarily considered the result of an imbalance of the Kapha dosha. When a person experiences illness or disease, Ayurveda seeks treatment to bring the doshas into harmony.
Ayurveda prescribes multiple treatment regimens for the management and in the case of type 2 diabetes, potential reversal of the disease. Herbs, dietary restrictions, exercise in the form of yoga, and breathing exercises form a comprehensive program for the treatment and management of diabetes. The goal of Ayurveda is perfect health.
Herbs used in an Ayurvedic treatment regimen may be dry or fresh. The person being treated may need to prepare them as instructed. Supplements containing standalone herbs or Ayurvedic formulas are also available.
Recommended herbs and herbal mixtures include:
A combination of Aloe gel and turmeric taken in the early stages of type 2 diabetes assists with regulating the functions of the pancreas and liver.
Fenugreek slows digestions which leads to lower blood sugar levels
Barley slows sugar secretion to the bloodstream
Amalaki a fruit native to India high in antioxidant Vitamin C and helps regulate blood sugar levels
Triphala, a preparation of three Ayurvedic herbs which cleanse and normalize the body’s digestive and immune systems
The juice of bitter melon lowers blood sugar levels
Increased physical activity like yoga poses enhance the overall function of the body and improve the health of the digestive system. Yoga poses recommended to stimulate digestion include the Sun Salute sequence, locust pose, and chest-to-knee pose. These poses build heat in the body, increase circulation, and stimulate the digestive organs.
In order to cleanse the body’s systems, sugar and simple carbohydrates are removed from the diet. Ayurveda practitioners treating diabetes limit their patient’s protein and fat intake, because too much protein can damage the kidneys and diabetics typically lack the necessary digestive enzymes to breakdown the fat. The person being treated is encouraged to eat simply, consuming fruits, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates, like barley. Dairy is also limited.
Pranayama (Breath work)
Stress exacerbates diabetic symptoms. Pranayama, breathing exercises, focus the mind, and calm the nervous system. The exercise can be as simple as taking even cyclical breaths, inhaling and exhaling in equal lengths, as long as can be comfortably sustained before returning to a regular breathing pattern.
Other more advanced exercises require guidance and instruction to perform them safely.
Clearly, Ayurveda presents one of the most comprehensive methods to treat and prevent diabetes and its associated conditions. As with any therapy, the outcomes will vary. However, Ayurveda’s holistic approach to treatment allows for a great deal of customizing and adapting as the Ayurvedic practitioner and patient discern which treatments work best for them.
Biofeedback teaches a person how to recognize and influence normally involuntary functions of the body.
Electrical sensors are attached to the body to provide information regarding the state of certain functions, the heart rate for example. This feedback allows the patient to focus in on the desired aspect of their body, heartrate, muscles, etc. and influence them with their thoughts or behavior.
In general, the biofeedback therapist may choose to monitor one or more aspect of a patient’s physiology, including, heart rate, brain waves, skin tension or muscle tension. For example, a patient may learn they are holding muscular tension in an area of the body, which has been causing them pain.
Through biofeedback, they learn to relax the area and relieve the pain by focusing on the specific area while the electrical sensors let them know when they have succeeded. They learn how it feels when the area is relaxed in order to replicate the same when needed outside of therapy.
Biofeedback is often coupled with the use of relaxation techniques. Examples of techniques which may be part of the session are imagery (visualization), progressive relaxation techniques or breath awareness exercises. Sessions last from 30 to 60 minutes. The period allotted for each session and the number of sessions required depends on how well and how quickly a patient masters the techniques, which allow them to manage their condition.
Four Biofeedback Methods:
Electromyography biofeedback provides data as to the body’s muscle tension that then prompts the patient to begin some type of relaxation activity.
Thermal biofeedback that uses temperature to gage the body’s response through sensors attached to the fingers or feet that then measure skin temperature. Once a low reading that indicates stress is indicated, it prompts the patient to begin relaxation techniques.
Galvanic skin response training measures activity of sweat glands and perspiration as an indicator of stress or anxiety.
Heart rate variability biofeedback helps to control heart rate in times of stress or anxiety in order to alleviate those along with lowering blood pressure, and lung function.
What The Science Says
A study conducted by the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toledo found biofeedback to be beneficial for diabetics and people who may be predisposed to develop the disease.
The predisposing factors considered included: genetic history, chronic stress, negative emotion, and unhealthy lifestyle habits.
The study showed lower blood sugar and blood pressure levels for patients when they engaged in biofeedback therapy. This study indicates biofeedback can act as a beneficial preventative therapy when these factors are identified early.
Another biofeedback study discerned the therapy helped improve blood flow to the feet of people with peripheral arterial disease, peripheral neuropathy, or both. These conditions cause many diabetics to experience slow healing wounds and foot ulcers. As reported in the Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association in March 2001, diabetic patients with foot ulcers who participated in biofeedback therapy, which trained them to increase blood circulation to the feet, experienced a healing rate of 87.5%. The control group’s healing rate was significantly lower at 43.8%.
Safety And Precaution
Biofeedback therapy is an effective noninvasive complementary therapy for people seeking alternative methods to manage diabetes. However, care must be taken to locate a certified provider. Seek a reference from your healthcare provider.
To confirm a therapist’s certification status, contact the Biofeedback Certification Institute of America by visiting their website at www.bcia.org. When taking insulin to manage diabetes, carefully monitor your blood sugar levels following a biofeedback session: blood sugar levels can be lower than usual up to four hours after a session.
Homeopathic medicine uses small doses of naturally occurring substances, which in larger amounts act as toxins or agents of disease in the body. The premise of this course of treatment posits the body works to relieve itself of illness and disease. Small doses of selected homeopathic remedies stimulate the body’s natural immune response allowing it to recover quickly from illness or disease. Symptoms are viewed as signs of the body’s systems working to rid the body of illness.
Small doses of items, which cause the same symptoms in a healthy person, are given to the ill to trigger the response of the natural healing and self-regulatory systems of the body. The active ingredients are generally plants and minerals, which have been diluted; treatments are administered in pill, liquid or tincture form.
This alternative treatment is recommended to facilitate the overall health and well-being of patients coping with diabetes. Homeopathic remedies, which assist with general health maintenance, make it easier for diabetic patients to keep their blood sugar levels controlled and maintain consistent insulin requirements. Homeopathic remedies also appear to work well within the regimen of patients requiring medication to stabilize the disease.
A well-trained homeopathic practitioner carefully evaluates the symptoms of their patient and prescribes homeopathic remedies, which elicit the same symptoms. Since homeopathy is based on the body’s symptoms, a regimen may change as symptoms present and resolve during the course of treatment.
Some of the conditions associated with diabetes, neuropathy, nephropathy, thrush and impotence may be treated and resolved using homeopathic remedies.
Neuropathy (Nerve Pain and Numbness)
Diabetes associated neuropathy can prove especially dangerous for patients. The numbness and decreased sensory perception caused by the disease often lead to minor injuries becoming major problems for diabetics, and sometimes injuries go untreated because the patient is unaware of their occurrence.
Therefore, a cut can become a slow healing wound or a blister may become an ulceration, which may not heal at all when left untreated. Of course, this leads to the increased chance of infection and possible amputation.
According to the American Diabetes Association, 60% of all non-traumatic amputations of lower limbs occur in people with diabetes due to nerve damage.
Homeopathy recommends the following treatments for neuropathy for use in conjunction with conventional medical treatments like antibiotics to speed the healing process:
• Conium (hemlock) for numbness
• Plumbum (lead) for numbness
• Calendula (marigold) internally and externally for wounds
Nephropathy (Kidney Disease or Damage)
Diabetics with uncontrolled blood sugar excrete large amounts of sugar after it filters through the kidneys and into the urine. Over time this causes damage to the kidneys and may destroy the blood vessels of the kidneys. Homeopathy recommends “constitutional” remedies to set a general state of equilibrium in the body to assist with blood sugar maintenance.
Remedies specific to the prevention and treatment of nephropathy include:
• Apis mellifica (the honeybee) for urine flow and fluid retention
• Natrum muriaticum (salt) improves kidney function
• Lycopodium (club moss) improves kidney function
• Sulphur improves kidney function
Thrush (Yeast Infection)
Thrush occurs when there is an overgrowth of the Candida fungus. Candida is present in the body and typically remains in check as long as the body is healthy. The high sugar levels in a diabetic’s bloodstream feed the fungus causing it to proliferate outside of the normal range.
Homeopathic recommended treatments for Thrush include:
• Candida (Keep in mind homeopathy works on the premise of “like curing like”)
• Helonias to relieve discharge itching and soreness
• Kreosotum to relieve odorous, yellow tinged discharge, soreness, and itching
High blood sugar levels can eventually damage blood vessels and nerves impeding a diabetic man’s ability to obtain and maintain an erection. This condition causes distress for many patients. The homeopathic approach encourages the use of constitutional remedies to improve a patient’s general physical health and emotional well-being.
Homeopathic recommended treatments for impotence include:
• Coca (Coca erythroxylon; plant native to Peru) counteracts fatigue and irritability
• Phosphoric Acid provides erectile support and facilitates mental equanimity
• Moschus (musk) fosters mental stability and calm.
When choosing to pursue homeopathy as an alternative treatment always do so with the support of a well-trained homeopath and check with your medical doctor before starting any treatments. Some holistic practitioners incorporate homeopathic remedies in their patients’ course of treatment, so opportunities to receive care from both disciplines through one caregiver exist; it simply requires a bit of research to identify practitioners who offer both modes of treatment.
Many natural therapies can help with the management of type 2 diabetes. It is very important to realize that while one may not experience any symptoms, out of control blood sugar has long-term side effects, complications, and comorbidities that can lead to serious health problems.
Managing diabetes is possible, and preventing such complications is key to a healthy long life.
In addition, as opposed to type 1 diabetes, type 2 is reversible and so it is possible to reverse it and its effects on the body.
Diet and exercise is one of the most important considerations to get blood sugar under control. For those who are overweight, even a 5% to 7% loss in bodyweight can delay or prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes, and in many cases, major weight loss results in reversal of the disease.
Seeking out natural and complementary therapies that can assist with diabetes management is a move in the direction of good health. The seriousness of diabetes cannot be overemphasized, and many who are afflicted with it find that alternative therapies bring positive results in complementing conventional medical care.