While there is no cure for diabetes, its progression can be slowed down or even reversed with medication and lifestyle changes. Some people also say that complementary methods can sometimes be helpful in controlling diabetes, including what they call the pinch method.
A pinch method is a form of self-acupressure. In theory, you pinch yourself, and it instantly resets your blood sugar. The idea has circulated fairly widely in complementary medicine circles and among people who are looking for easy ways to control their blood sugar.
The idea is that the pinch method quickly stimulates insulin production and improves glucose metabolism. It can be applied on a daily basis or when your blood sugar is high.
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The signs that your blood sugar is elevated, otherwise known as hyperglycemia,¹ are something that all type 2 diabetes need to keep track of. There are several obvious symptoms of high blood sugar:
Increased frequency of urination
Fatigue and weakness
However, testing your blood sugar is the best way to determine whether you have hyperglycemia. Diabetics should test their blood sugar frequently, although how often depends on the individual and whether you are taking your insulin.
You should check with your doctor how often you need to check your blood sugar. If your blood sugar is elevated, you need to take steps to bring it down. You should also make a note of when your blood sugar spikes so you can establish the cause.
If you have acute high blood sugar and take insulin, the quickest fix is fast-acting insulin, but you need to be careful. Always talk to your doctor about using insulin to safely adjust high blood sugar as you can easily end up with your blood sugar dropping too low, which can be worse.
One thing you can do to lower blood sugar is light exercise, such as walking. Note that if your doctor has instructed you to monitor for ketones in your urine, do so before exercising.
You can also drink water. The frequent urination caused by hyperglycemia can result in dehydration as your body tries to flush out more sugar. Drinking water will correct this and also help your body naturally lower blood sugar.
If you are experiencing repeated episodes, you should talk to your doctor about adjusting your diabetes management.
Some diabetics have high blood sugar in the mornings, which is known as the dawn phenomenon.² In this case, exercising when you get up can help. You can also talk to your doctor about adjusting your medication or insulin and keep a diary so you can track what causes your blood sugar to spike.
This can vary from person to person and might include stress or certain foods.
In addition to sugars, be careful of high levels of starch, which can spike glucose even more than sugar, but which diabetics often mistakenly think is safe.
Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar level), which can lead to a coma, is far more of a concern. However, it is rare in type 2 diabetes. It is most often caused by issues with insulin levels in type 1 diabetes.
According to its proponents, you use the pinch method by holding the thumb and index finger of one hand just above the wrist of the other hand and then exerting a little bit of pressure on the wrist.
Doing this will supposedly cause the release of insulin and break down glucose. Proponents suggest doing it if your blood sugar is high and also every day to help with blood sugar management.
Certainly, doing this won’t do you any harm, but does it actually work?
There is absolutely no evidence that the so-called pinch method actually works to rapidly lower or “reset” blood sugar. If it has any effect at all, it is likely the result of the placebo effect.
While the pinch method itself is harmless, it might delay more effective actions if you are experiencing a spike in blood sugar. It is an example of why you should be careful of alternative treatments you find online. Simple acupressure cannot both increase insulin levels and improve glucose metabolism. The system is much more complicated than that.
However, there is some evidence that self-acupressure, when done correctly, can increase insulin levels and thus lower blood sugar. The method that was trialed involved using traditional Chinese acupuncture points, specifically at:
ST-36, 3 cm under the patella and a finger toward the side of the tibial plateau
SP-6, 5 cm above the tibial internal angle
LIV-3, level of the dorsal foot flexors between first and second fingers at the point of bone junction
KD-3, between the medial ankle and Achilles tendon
This technique required that the participants be trained in using it correctly, with five minutes of intermittent pressure applied to each point. It did show an improvement in blood sugar, especially if combined with transcendental meditation and hypnotherapy.
This technique is quite different from the pinch method, though, and should be part of a management program under the supervision of a complementary medicine provider who can ensure that you are doing it correctly.
Self-acupressure also does not replace traditional methods of blood sugar control. However, you may consider exploring this if you are looking for additional ways to manage your diabetes.
There are many alternative treatments proposed for type 2 diabetes. Ultimately, however, the best results come from the traditional methods.
First of all, you should eat a healthy diet and reduce the number of simple carbs (sugars) you consume. You should also exercise regularly. Sometimes diet and exercise alone can reduce the impact of type 2 diabetes or prevent pre-diabetes from progressing to full-blown diabetes.
Many diabetics do need medication and other treatments to fully control their condition. It is not always easy to eat the right diet, so you should always seek the advice of a dietician to help you balance your diet and stay healthy.
Other treatments for type 2 diabetes include the following:
Not all type 2 diabetics need supplemental insulin, but some do. Some may end up needing it after having the disease for a while. Insulin may also be temporarily prescribed during pregnancy or hospital stays.
This is the go-to oral medication for diabetes, which typically comes as a tablet but can also be prescribed in liquid form. Metformin belongs to the class of biguanides and helps your body use insulin better and lowers the amount of glucose produced by your liver.
Sulfonylureas, DPP-4 inhibitors, and incretin mimetics—help your body produce more insulin
Meglitinides³ (Prandin and Starlix)—help your body make more insulin when you consume food
Thiazolidinediones—help your body’s cells use glucose, mitigating insulin resistance
Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors—slow your body’s digestion of sugar
SGLT2 inhibitors—help your kidneys excrete more urine
Combination medications—pills that contain more than one of the above medicines to make your medication regime easier to comply with
While metformin is the go-to oral medication that most patients are started on, other medicines may be used if it is insufficient or not well tolerated. The more you control your diabetes with diet and exercise, the fewer medications you are likely to need.
The pinch method is a form of self-acupressure that is touted in some quarters as a way to quickly lower and stabilize blood sugar levels. However, there is no evidence that it actually works. While it is not harmful per se, it can delay the treatment of hyperglycemia.
If it does work for certain individuals, it may well be due to the placebo effect.
There is a form of self-acupressure that can work for longer-term blood sugar management, but it needs to be learned from a trained practitioner and has to be done correctly. More evidence is also needed about the effectiveness of this method.
For the most part, you are better off dealing with blood sugar spikes with diet, exercise, and prescribed medications as part of a tailored diabetic treatment plan by your doctor.
Hyperglycemia (High blood glucose) | American Diabetes Association
High morning blood sugars | American Diabetes Association
Diabetes medicines | Food and Drug Administration
Managing diabetes | National Institute of Health
How to bring down high blood sugar levels | Diabetes.co.uk
Insulin, medicines, & other diabetes treatments | National Institute of Health