Naturopathic medicine and diabetes
Naturopathic medicine is a novel, philosophy-based medical approach that involves the employment of empowerment techniques that are coupled with disease prevention measures. Physicians that practice naturopathic medicine advise their patients to follow specific lifestyle changes that may facilitate a significant decrease in the degree of their diagnosed disease or prevent a specific disease from occurring. This skill has benefited specific patient populations that suffer from chronic disorder in the field of internal medicine.
Type 2 diabetes mellitus is a disease of the endocrine system that generates a high morbidity and mortality rate in almost all countries around the world. Naturopathic treatment of diabetic patients generally involve dietary and lifestyle recommendation that specifically target modes in decreasing diabetes and its other associated medical complications such as hypertension and hyperlipidemia. Naturopathic medicine also employs the introduction of nutritional and botanical supplements that may facilitate augmentation of symptoms of diabetes as well as prevent further progression and complication of the disease.
There has been a tremendous degree of scrutiny on the application of naturopathic medicine to specific medical disorders. The need to determine the efficiency and sensitivity of such naturopathic procedures has warranted comprehensive research programs that would determine the impact of this approach on the personal health, as well as on the healthcare market. In a retrospective analysis of medical records from an academic naturopathic medical clinic, the administration of naturopathic measures in the treatment of type 2 diabetes showed evidence-based effectivity in controlling diabetes among diagnosed patients (Bradley and Oberg, 2006).
The same effectivity in the treatment of type 2 diabetes was observed in another study that involved diabetic patients following naturopathic measures (Garrow and Egede, 2006). However, this study involved also the recommendation of chiropractic care, yoga, relaxation, acupuncture, Reiki therapy, hypnosis and ayuverda. Hence, it will be more difficult to determine whether naturopathic medicine itself has served as a key factor in the improvement of the health of the diabetic patient. In addition, Bradley and Oberg (2006) have expressed their concern on the safety of naturopathic medicine, which has not been mentioned by Garrow and Egede (2006).
It is interesting to note that two specific research programs involving the determination of effectivity of naturopathic medicine on type 2 diabetes show that the results were comparable to conventional medical interventions. The work of Mai and Van Chuyen (2007) showed that the consumption of herbal drinks made from Cleistocalyx operculatus significantly decreased the amount the blood glucose, which is equivalent to the effect of administering acarbose for the treatment of diabetes. On the other hand, it is also interesting to note that there are distinct subcategories with the diabetec population that would voluntarily consider requesting for naturopathic medical treatment (Egede and Ye, 2002), which was not observed by another research that screened adult diabetic patients (Garrow and Egede, 2006). It was determined that diabetic patients that were older than 65 years old and with generally higher educational attainment of at least high school education and higher, were more likely to request for naturopathic treatment for diabetes than for conventional medical treatment. Such similarities and differences of research results provide significant insight into the features of naturopathic medicine.
Bradley R and Oberg EB (2006): Naturopathic medicine and type 2 diabetes: A retrospective analysis from an academic clinic. Alt. Med. Rev. 11(1):30-39.
Egede L and Ye X (2002): The prevalence and pattern of complementary and alternative medicine use in individuals with diabetes. Diabetes Care 25:324-329.
Garrow D and Egede LE (2006): Association between complementary and alternative medicine use, preventive care practices, and use of conventional medical services among adults with diabetes. Diabetes Care 29(1):13-19.
Mai TT and Van Chuyen N (2007): Anti-hyperglycemic activity of an aqueous extract from flower buds of Cleisocalyx operculatus (Roxb.) Merr and Perry. Biosci. Biotech. Biochem. 71(1):69-76.