How can Acupuncture treat Insulin Resistance in PCOS Women?

Acupuncture has been reported to improve insulin sensitivity, possibly due to the enhanced responsiveness to insulin via excitation of somatic afferent fibres. Furthermore, in using electroacupuncture for acupoints on the tibialis muscle, Lin et al (2009) tests the hypothesis that electroacupuncture can improve insulin resistance by lowering plasma free fatty acids in SBRs male rats. Shapira et al (2000) demonstrated in diabetic Psammomys obesus that 3 applications of EA on the abdomen within 5 days of an intervention period resulted in a sustained improvement in insulin resistance for up to 3 weeks.

Because insulin resistance (IR) is strongly implicated in the pathogenesis of PCOS, patients will benefit from being treated as a whole, taking the endocrine and metabolic conditions into account. Acupuncture takes on a holistic view in both diagnosis and treatment.


  1. Higashimura Y, Shimoju R, Maruyama H, Kurosawa M. Electro- acupuncture improves responsiveness to insulin via excitation of somatic afferent fibers in diabetic rats. Auton Neurosci. 2009; 150: 100 – 103.
  2. Electrical vs Manual Acupuncture Stimulation in a Rat Model of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: Different Effects on Muscle and Fat Tissue Insulin Signaling.
  3. Julia Johansson, Louise Mannerås-Holm, Ruijin Shao, AnneLiese Olsson, Malin Lönn, Håkan Billig,and Elisabet Stener-Victorin.
  4. Lin RT, Tzeng CY, Lee YC et al. Acute effect of electroacupuncture at the Zusanli acupoints on decreasing insulin resistance as shown by lowering plasma free fatty acid levels in steroid-background male rats. BMC Complement Altern Med 2009; 9: 26.
  5. Manneras L, Jonsdottir IH, Holmang A, Lonn M, Stener-Victorin E. Low frequency electro-acupuncture and physical exercise improve metabolic disturbances and modulate gene expression in adipose tissue in rats with dihydrotestosterone-induced polycystic ovary syndrome. Endocrinology 2008; 149: 3559–3568.
  6. Shapira MY, Appelbaum EY, Hirshberg B, et al. A sustained, non– insulin related, hypoglycaemic effect of electroacupuncture in diabetic Psammomys obesus. Diabetologia 2000;43:809-13.