More than 90% of people diagnosed with diabetes have type 2 diabetes (T2D). It is characterized by insulin resistance and relative insulin deficit. Unlike common belief, diabetes is not just about elevated blood sugar levels. It is also about dyslipidemia (disturbed fat metabolism), and a slowdown in the anabolic processes (changes in the metabolism of proteins). In diabetes, even metabolism of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) is disturbed.
Diabetes progress slowly over the years. It cannot be cured, but it can be well managed. The secret is to start early enough. Diabetes slowly damages large and small blood vessels, various nerves. Thus it is characterized by an increased risk of cardiovascular events, stroke, kidney disease, peripheral ulcers, retinopathy, peripheral neuropathy, and much more.
The aim of any diabetic treatment is not just to control blood glucose levels, but also to prevent its complications. It means that treatment generally starts with a drug, soon a couple of more pills will be added like medications to control cholesterol, blood pressure, and reduce the risk of heart attack. After a few years, anyone living with diabetes will feel overwhelmed by the number of drugs and supplements he or she needs to take.
It is true that natural herbal remedies help and are much safer than pharma drugs. But they rarely replace pharmaceutical drugs. They help, but they do not cut down the number of pills one has to take. Moreover, supplements are often expensive.
Unfortunately, those living with diabetes are not given information about therapies that do not involve taking any substance or pill. Here we discuss some of the treatments that can help in diabetes without taking pills. These therapies will not cure diabetes, but they will help fight its complications without medications effectively. It means that these therapies are safe and effective.
None of these therapies is new. Some of them are in use for centuries, while others are relatively new. However, all of them are well studied. Their effectiveness in some conditions is supported by science. Best of all, using these therapies is often an enjoyable experience.
Hot Stone Therapy
This therapy has two elements; massage and the use of stones. And as the name of the treatment says, stones are preheated to 130-145 degrees Celsius. They are no ordinary stones, but volcanic stones (made of basalt) and can hold heat energy for quite long.
These hot stones are placed at various spots to provide relief. Thus a trained practitioner may put them on the spine, stomach, chest, palms, feet, and toes. Along with it, your body will be massaged using long strokes, circular movements, and so on.
The therapy aims to alter the local blood flow, provide a relaxing effect, soothe skin, and change metabolic processes.
This therapy may have the following benefits:
- Pain relief- in diabetes there can be many reasons for pain, it could be general muscle aches, or back pain, or some autoimmune disease. People with diabetes are at higher risk of developing multiple painful conditions.
- Stress relief- diabetes is a chronic disease. Thus the majority of people living with diabetes are stressed, they have a higher rate of anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders. Stress also increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Hot stone therapy may help control stress and mood disorders.
- Improve joint flexibility- those with diabetes are at higher risk of joint diseases. They are more probable to suffer from chronic backaches. Spinal pains are tough to treat, and painkillers can cause numerous side effects. Hot stone therapy can be of particular help in such cases.
- Reduce muscular spasm- they are the result of tension, changes in metabolism. Relaxing massage along with hot stones may help ease muscle spasms. It may also help with restless leg syndrome.
- Better sleep- research shows that those with diabetes have a higher risk of sleep disorders. Reasons could be many from high blood glucose to painful conditions. Sleep pills only provide temporary relief, and in long-term, they are counterproductive as they alter circadian rhythm. Hot stone therapy is one of the best ways to improve sleep.
There are some precautions needed with hot stone therapy in diabetes. You must inform a therapist about your neuropathy. If you have severe peripheral neuropathy, then the therapist needs to be careful as you will not be able to feel if stones are too hot or not. Fortunately, severe neuropathy is only in a small number of cases. Additionally, also share information about your heart health.
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Heat therapy is a broad term to describe any kind of treatment that involved the application of heat. Nonetheless, we can divide heat therapy into two groups. Direct contact heat therapy, and heat therapy without any contact. Contact heat therapy may involve the use of heat pads, and even hot water packs, special baths. Whereas, contactless treatment may use lamps, ultrasounds and much more.
Heat therapy is useful in pain relief, relaxing muscles, helping to improve joint movements, relieving spasm. It may also improve healing processing by promoting the local blood flow. It is an excellent tool for rehabilitation. It can also help with chronic headaches, migraines, and much more.
Heat therapy must be used with caution in inflammation. Further, caution is needed in those with diabetic neuropathies as there is a risk of skin burn. If you are living with diabetes, it is better to use heat therapy only with the help of a trained specialist.
Heat therapy may also involve the use of some specific balms. To know more about such type of treatments consult your doctor.
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Photon Light Therapy
In recent years, photon therapy has received lots of attention. It differs from far infrared treatment in a way that this kind of therapy uses visible red light. It means that the wavelength of such light is much shorter, and it cannot penetrate deeper (like far infrared light).
Different kind of light rays has a unique type of effects on our body. Smaller wavelengths work more on the skin, whereas, longer wavelength lights may penetrate deeper. Thus the light of shorter wavelengths may aid in vitamin D production, and infrared rays have a different kind of effects.
Photon light boosts the synthesis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in the skin, resulting in better metabolism. It also stimulates the production of collagen. It can assist in detoxification. It may also affect other hormones, and may even influence sleep pattern.
It has many benefits over medications. It is 100% safe therapy. It acts in a way that no other drug or supplement can work. The benefit is at the molecular level. Here are some of the ways it can help you fight diabetes.
- Helps treat depression- research indicates that those living with diabetes are at much higher risk of developing depression when compared to the general population. Although there are numerous drugs to treat depression, they are highly toxic. An analysis published in journal JAMA shows that antidepressants do not help in the early stages of depression. On the other hand, numerous clinical trials show that phototherapy may help with depression.
- 60% of those living with diabetes have diabetic neuropathy, although it may be diagnosed only in a small number of cases. Photon therapy is exceptionally beneficial when used in the early stages of neuropathy. It may help relieve pain, tingling sensation, and promote nerve regeneration. Although, it may be less effective if used in advanced stages. Nevertheless, photon therapy is one of the few treatments that work in a condition. There are no known drugs that can help reverse or even slow down the progress of diabetic neuropathy.
- Diabetes is the leading cause of non-healing wounds or ulcers. Few medications can accelerate healing of such ulcers. In recent years, many clinical trials have been done by using light therapy. Research indicates that light therapy could be a safe and effective option for stimulating wound healing.
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Far Infrared Therapy
In the early nineteenth century, researchers noticed when the spectrum of lights was separated with the help of prism red light was warmer in comparison to the blue light. It soon led to the discovery of far infrared, a very low-frequency light that is not visible to our eyes (it is also used in remote controls for electronic equipment). Unlike high-frequency UV light, infrared light does not damage DNA or cause cancer, and it has a deep penetrating warming effect.
Researchers know that far-infrared light can improve blood flow, reduce pain, help strengthen the cardiovascular system, it is beneficial in diabetes, good for kidney function, may ease joint stiffness, can help in inflammation, and is suitable for skin too.
In modern clinics use of this therapy is not limited to old heat lamps. Modern clinics use special equipment, infrared saunas, special belts, and much more.
In diabetes it may help with skin health, may relieve various pains. Most importantly, research indicates that it is good for vascular health, it improves endothelial function, reduces the risk of atherosclerosis. In diabetes, micro and macrovascular complications are the biggest threat, and it seems that far-infrared therapy may help reduce the risk considerably. And all these benefits come at almost zero risks of any side effects.
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Negative ION Therapy
How often have you felt the magic of fresh air, a kind of wind that blows in mountains, beaches, near waterfalls? It seems that the atmosphere at those places is magical, as it has a high amount of tasteless, odorless, invisible molecules called negative ions.
It is true that the sight of the places has lots to do, but now we know that negative ions also contribute to the environment. These ions make us feel better. They elevate our mood, improve our health. On the contrary, these ions are in minimal quantities in an urban environment, and they may be even absent.
The absence of negative ions in our living spaces could be one of the reasons for poor sleep, metabolic disorders, and emotional dysfunction.
Ions are molecules that have either gained or lost a charge, and it happens due to the interaction of sunlight, moving air, radiation, and water.
In chronic conditions like diabetes people often benefit by living in an area away from urban spaces. It is not rare for people to feel much better, experience relief in various ailments when visiting beaches or mountains. It seems that now some of these benefits can be brought to urban spaces with the help of negative ion therapy.
Negative ion therapy can lead to remission of various diabetes-related complications, conditions in which no other medication would help. It can improve sleep, cure depression, benefit blood circulation, increase energy levels, help heal wounds, and much more.
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Pulsed electromagnetic field therapy uses an electromagnetic field to treat ailments. FDA has approved this therapy to fasten healing processes. It is especially useful for accelerating the non-healing fractures. It can also benefit some rare types of brain tumors like glioblastomas. Further, research indicates its benefits in depression.
Electromagnetic devices for wellness are in use from the days electricity was invented. However, practitioners of modern medicine remained skeptical about its health benefits. It explains why FDA took so much time to approve some of the devices. Nonetheless, FDA approval is the final proof of the concept. It means that PEMF therapy is safe and effective. It also says that PEMF therapy is tested in large-scale clinical trials.
In diabetes, it can help improve metabolism and may help prevent and cure diabetes-related complications. People living with diabetes are at much higher risk of bone fractures due to disturbed metabolism. And if a fracture occurs, it may take a very long time to heal due to reduced metabolism. It seems that PEMF therapy is one of the few options available to fasten the healing processes. It can even help when all other medications or supplements have failed to produce results. PEMF therapy also stimulates expression osteoblasts and various growth factors.
Another important application of PEMF therapy is in resistant depression. Studies show that antidepressant drugs are not much useful in mild to moderate depression. Further, more than 30% of those living with severe depression are resistant to any drugs. PEMF therapy can be highly effective in any stages of depression; it can even work for resistant depression.
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