The application of electroacupuncture (EA) to specific acupoints can induce a hypoglycemic effect in streptozotocin-induced rats, normal rats, and rats with steroid-induced insulin resistance. EA combined with the oral insulin sensitizer rosiglitazone improved insulin sensitivity in rats and humans with type II diabetes mellitus (DM). There are different hypoglycemic mechanisms between Zhongwan and Zusanli acupoints by EA stimulation. On low-frequency (2 Hz) stimulation at bilateral Zusanli acupoints, serotonin was involved in the hypoglycemic effect in normal rats. Moreover, after 15 Hz EA stimulation at the bilateral Zusanli acupoints, although enhanced insulin activity mainly acts on the insulin-sensitive target organs, the muscles must be considered. In addition, 15 Hz EA stimulation at the bilateral Zusanli acupoints has the combined effect of enhancing cholinergic nerve activity and increasing nitric oxide synthase (NOS) activity to enhance insulin activity. Despite the well-documented effect of pain control by EA in many systemic diseases, there are few high-quality long-term clinical trials on the hypoglycemic effect of EA in DM. Combination treatment with EA and other medications seems to be an alternative treatment to achieve better therapeutic goals that merit future investigation.
Lin, R. T., Tzeng, C. Y., Lee, Y. C., Chen, Y. I., Hsu, T. H., Lin, J. G., & Chang, S. L. (2014). Acupoint-specific, frequency-dependent, and improved insulin sensitivity hypoglycemic effect of electroacupuncture applied to drug-combined therapy studied by a randomized control clinical trial. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Hindawi Publishing Corporation. https://doi.org/10.1155/2014/371475