Last Friday at a birthday party I met a woman who practices Ayurvedic medicine. She works with people who have diabetes (among other things) to help with overall health and balance. I know almost nothing about it, but the vast majority of my healthcare assistance these days involves needles and pills, so I love the idea of a practitioner who deals in good food to nourish the body and mind alike. Her office must smell and feel so much better than my endo's!
Has anyone here used Ayurveda? Did you find it helpful?
The website for the woman I met is here, if you're curious. It's a beautiful site!
Maybe I'm just a pessimist or perhaps it's just because I've had bad encounters, but I am very cautious/skeptical of alternative medicine when it comes to dealing with diabetes. I'm all for overall health and balance, but I've had too many weird encounters with people who are insistent that if I just take X or do Y (where Y and X are the alternative medicine trend of the year), I will be off my insulin and my pancreas will miraculously start working again (I'm a type 1).
Perhaps I'm just being too skeptical and I am interested in hearing from other T1s who have maybe had different experiences (in terms of using alternative medicine to compliment traditional T1D management).
I totally agree. Any practitioner who tells me they can get me off insulin loses my business right away, cuz that's just nutballs. Blueberry leaf tea doesn't do it. Cayotemelon doesn't do it. Yoga and positive thoughts don't do it... But I DO think stuff like that could help improve my blood sugars and overall well-being. At this point I don't really mind needing to do shots or wear a pump, anyway. What I mind is feeling tired and crappy. You know?
My mom tried EVERYTHING to "cure" my diabetes when I was younger. I went along with the idea up til I was around 15 to "cure" the diaBETES. bY THAT TIME i FOUND TNOTHING "CURED" DIABETES. I guess I just got to where I don't listen to the fact that anything will help me. Sorry I don't think I'll even check out the site.
I am currently studying East Asian Medicine (Acupuncture, herbology, and associated modalities). I can't speak for Ayurvedic medicine, but can comment on what I've seen and learned of Chinese medicine.
Let me start with the end: nothing is going to be as effective as simple carbohydrate control.
That being said, I have seen both acupuncture and herbs be effective in consistently lowering bg levels. Personally I used an herbal formula while I was still in my honeymoon period (I'm type 1.5) which consistently lowered my bg by about 15mg/dl in conjunction with a controlled diet. I've treated other diabetic students (type 2) with needles to obtain lower numbers as well. However, the time and cost of treatments and herbs is not in my opinion an effective means of control.
If you are eating very low carb, and an appropriate amount of insulin/oral drugs and still can't obtain the numbers you expect, then I'd say it is worth looking into.
It is in NO WAY A CURE. Don't let anyone talk you into that. It is no more a cure than a bolus of insulin is.
Also, regarding herbs: I was not taking a single herb or even a single patent formula, but rather a custom prescription based on my unique presentation. Patent herb formulas are useful, but will be less effective than having one made to meet your immediate needs (which change all the time).
Chinese medicine (and I imagine Ayurvedic) has lots to offer for many conditions, and it may be able to lower insulin resistance (or at least bg levels) but it won't restore Beta cells, or end the autoimmune condition that underlies it.
Always be skeptical of alternatives. Don't let that stop you from investigating and trying some of them though!
Man... try as I might, I just can't improve on what Chris said above.
Oh wait. Yes I can: "Ditto!" :)
While I appreciate that there are many roads to the same destination, I have some serious qualms about many "alternative" treatments.
Every time I hear of some vitamin, mineral, supplement, herb or other preparation that is presented as being an effective treatment for a condition such as diabetes, I always wonder what scientifically rigorous study has been done to document the claim. Do the quality control standard that the FDA requires before a patient can buy a drug apply to something you'd buy at the Wal-Mart or GNC "supplement" aisle? No, they do not. In fact, if you read the fine print on most of these things, you will see a disclaimer saying it hasn't met FDA standards. Another problem is that many drugs we purchase that meet FDA standards might have a negative interaction with herbs and supplements since many USP substances are derived from herbal sources.
The idea of eating healthy, controlling attitude, emotions and positive spiritual engagement to managing a disease like diabetes is always worthy of consideration. It is hard to imagine how anything other than a positive outlook can contribute to better health and diabetes management.
I went to a spiritual healing session last week. The healer, talking about what this healing is, said that it can work in unexpected ways. You might want it to heal an ailment or pain, but it might heal your mind so that you can deal with the ailment or pain better. I think this is how I feel about non invasive natural therapies generally.
I, too, have visited an Ayurvedic practitioner, who is also an M.D. and experienced with Type II Diabetes. (He managed to reverse it.)
One of his recommendations was fenugreek seeds. I have found it to even out my blood sugar when I can remember to take it. The approach, as others have said, is non-invasive, so it is worth a try. It is unlikely, as others have said, to offer more than better blood sugars and feeling better. Those two things, though, are considerable!
Just reading these posts is depressing enough. The language used is so negativity-based! I get that this is frustrating, and that so many will tell us that they can cure, but they just haven't yet. Just because no one has figured this out yet doesn't mean it cannot be done. But some of you talk as though it will NEVER happen, like it is impossible. Well go ahead and keep thinking that, so it will be your reality. I believe there is an answer and will continue to seek it. I would be okay with changing the world!!
I am currently using, what I suspect, is an ayuverdic method. You may have seen this guy on blogs and stories posted online. His name is SB, and I think he lives in India. Anyway, he gave me this method which uses Fennugreek, Holy Basil (tulsi), Bitter Melon, Neem, and Turmeric. I am using this idea as a base and am ramping it WAY up. Thinking overdose will be very hard with this stuff. I am also adding raw garlic, some special exercise, and a capsaicin formula I made up. I will do this for a month or up to 3. Right now it has made a difference in some odd ways. The other day I had a 405 sugar that came down to 45 within 1.5 hours. I have never experienced a drop that quickly so was a bit of a challenge to manage.
I think the thing with Ayuverdic medicine is it takes a long time, this is a therapy approach. Positive mental outlook will be a big part of it as well.
If one takes time to think about it, what would a "cure" look like anyway? Seems to me, it would begin looking like increased insulin sensitivity, which we have all experienced at one point or another it sounds. So perhaps that is part of a cure, we just haven't figured out the added "push" that would take us into actually producing insulin ourselves. I do believe that nature carries an answer, just need to find the correct combination of things!!
Hi Emily. Great post.
I've practiced guidelines of Ayurveda for a little over a year now through my yoga teacher/ayurvedic practitioner. It is an amazing way to bring the subtleties of the body into balance. The science and application behind ayurveda is simple, it follows an elemental approach to the body. Let's say you are a slimmer person who is prone to cold. It is ideal for that individual to incorporate rich, warming, and deeply nourishing lifestyle practices and diet. It can be very intuitive.
Ayurveda is not a replacement for Endo's or western based medicine. It is supplemental. For me it has been the most beneficial supplement in my path to feel super comfortable in my T1D skin (and muscles:). Ayurveda is not in the same paradigm as glucose management--we already have practices for that that work tremendously, whether our A1c's fluctuate or not. Ayurveda is an approach that makes your body feel good. It is subtle. And it brings a greater awareness to listening. Ayurveda, coupled with your best glucose managament formula, is a powerful combo. It's not a get rich quick scheme to get perfect numbers, it's a 401k to make the rest of your life happy:)
Hope this helps. Feel free to ask me about my experiences if you wish to:)