Acupuncture May Help with CIDP
Although the science is not set yet, acupuncture may show some promise in helping with autoimmune diseases like CIDP.
By Shiraz Abbas
Acupuncture is an alternative form of medicine that involves needles that are pricked into the body. Acupuncture is a key component of traditional Chinese medicine or otherwise known as TCM. Acupuncture has been an alternative method for relieving CIDP. Some clinical case studies have shown acupuncture to successfully treat CIDP neuropathy.
How acupuncture may help with autoimmune diseases like CIDP is not clear. According to Many Lives Chinese Medicine, the process of healing may be as follows:
According to Oriental medicine, autoimmune disorders occur when there is imbalance within the body. Imbalance can come from an excess or deficiency of yin and yang that disrupts the flow of qi, or vital energy, through the body. Acupuncture is used to help the body restore balance, treating the root of the disorder, while specifically addressing the symptoms that are unique to each individual.
Clinical research has shown that acupuncture causes physical responses in nerve cells, the pituitary gland, and parts of the brain. These responses can cause the body to release proteins, hormones, and brain chemicals that control a number of body functions. It is proposed that, by these actions, acupuncture affects blood pressure, body temperature and the immune system.
There also seems to be a stress-reduction factor that contributes to the reduction of autoimmune related illnesses as well a dietary role which acupuncturists usually prescribe to their patients. In a previous article, we saw how stress could exacerbate CIDP symptoms. We also saw how diet could contribute to CIDP as well.
Kattie Gafney goes more into detail on the process of acupuncture and autoimmune related healing:
In traditional Chinese medicine terms, this autoimmune inflammation is seen as a combination of the following patterns (1):
– Yin deficiency
– Blood stasis
– Phlegm damp accumulation
Yin deficiency causes symptoms of heat and dryness. Nourishing yin can be understood as protecting the cells and tissues from attack and destruction. Clearing heat and transforming damp can be translated as reducing fever and inflammation. Dispersing blood stasis is equivalent to enhancing blood circulation, which nourishes tissues with an increase of oxygenated blood and delivers anti-inflammatory immune factors.
Bringing all these concepts into one treatment with a few well chosen acupuncture needles can have a powerful impact on autoimmune conditions.
Getting regular acupuncture treatments will not only ease the symptoms of the various autoimmune disorders, but will also regulate the body’s physiology to correct underlying dysfunctions.
Here is how acupuncture specifically affects the body’s physiology according to the author:
– Reduces inflammatory markers (2)
– Enhances the autonomic nervous system (3)
– Increases neurotransmitter receptors (4)
– Increases healthy gut bacteria (5)
– Reduces auto-antibodies (6)
– Regulates pituitary hormones (7)
– Alters expression of genes related to immune function (8)
– Regulates T helper cell activity and the T cell subset balance (9)
– Reduces early cellular apoptosis (10)
– Promotes blood circulation (11)
– Alters neuro-function to reduce stress and anxiety (12)
A word of warning is important. Many people who struggle with autoimmune diseases often make the mistake of leaving traditional medicine and opting for alternative methods. Although acupuncture is generally safe, never leave your conventional CIDP treatment for this. A better approach is to use it as a supplement and not a replacement. Before you do anything, make sure to always talk to your doctor first.
Shiraz Abbas is the founder and manager of the CIDP Neuropathy Support Group. He is also one of the main community educators of IVIG therapy. He resides in Fresno, California. Shiraz can be contacted through our free CIDP advice service at 1-855-782-0574.