Postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) is a syndrome characterized by pain persisting for more than 3 months following the resolution of shingles. Symptoms of PHN include central pain sensation, unpleasant sensation to touch, and itchiness along the distribution of the involved dermatome. Often times patients are prescribed with anti-viral medications at the initial outbreak of shingles and when the lesions resolved and PHN kicks in, many providers are left with prescribing more medications that may or may not be effective.
The conventional treatments for PHN, such as tricyclic antidepressants, antiepileptics, opioids, tramadol, lidocaine and capsaicin, which are probably effective to relieve some of the pain for a period of time. However, approximately 50% of patients may still not obtain satisfactory analgesia despite treatments with these medications.
Acupuncture, which has a history of more than 2000 years in the prevention and treatment of diseases, plays an important role in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Different kinds of acupuncture methods such as needling, electroacupuncture, and cupping are in use for the treatment of PHN in hospitals in China. In the past 5 years, acupuncture for treating PHN has been used in more than 137 studies. The benefit of the treatment group was reported between 84.1% and 97.5%.1 The clinical trials indicate that acupuncture could reduce pain and discomfort among most patients and also remove pain and discomfort among some patients.
Vitamin B12 has long known has a nerve food. In deprivation of vitamin B12, individuals can experience numbness and tingling. It is an excellent choice in alleviating symptoms of PHN. According to researches, the injection of methylcolbalamin (methyl vitamin B12) significantly reduced continuous pain, paroxysmal pain, and allodynia in the subacute herpetic neuralgia patients2. Thus, methyl B12 may be an alternative candidate for treating SHN.
Acupuncture and vitamin B12 and other naturopathic approaches should be considered at the onset of shingles to help minimize the occurrence or the severity of PHN.
- Yan, Z. J. Acupunct. Tuina. Sci. (2004) 2: 39. doi:10.1007/BF02848360
- Neural Plasticity. Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 424651, 6 pages
Allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, is a type of inflammation in the nose which occurs when the immune system overreacts to allergens in the air. Signs and symptoms include a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, red, itchy, and watery eyes, and swelling around the eyes. Many people with allergic rhinitis also have asthma, allergic conjunctivitis, or atopic dermatitis. Research shows that more than 3 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies every year.
Acupuncture is a key component of traditional Chinese medicine and is employed for a wide variety of conditions, including pain relief, asthma, migraines, and arthritis.
A study was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, where a team of researchers designed a large trial to figure that out the effects of acupuncture to relieve hay fever. Scientists recruited people with allergies to grass and pollen and randomly assigned them to one of three groups. One group received 12 acupuncture treatments over eight weeks. Another was given sham acupuncture treatments equivalent to placebo, and a third group received no treatment. Each group had access to an antihistamine. After the given time, those in the acupuncture group showed greater improvements in symptoms, compared with the other two groups, and they used the antihistamine less frequently. Another study published in the journal Allergy also found that acupuncture treatments, given three times a week over four weeks, relieved allergy symptoms compared with a sham procedure. Overall, acupuncture can be a great method of relief and even resolution of allergy symptoms when combined with proper attention to the root cause, and continued care for one’s well being. A lot of factors may contribute to symptoms such as lifestyle, environment, diet, and constitution. Once stabilized with acupuncture and/or herbal medicine, allergy patients who are dedicated to self care and lifestyle changes see significant improvement of their symptoms and overall health.
For more information about acupuncture for allergies and other symptoms, please visit Seattle Naturopathic and Acupuncture Center.
Ann Intern Med. 2013;158(4):225-234.
Wolfberry, commonly known as goji berry, is a kind of robust vitality and energy of the plant. It is most suitable for treatment of fatigue. It can promote blood circulation, prevent atherosclerosis and liver fat accumulation.
Wolfberry contains a variety of vitamins, essential amino acids and fatty acids to promote the healthy body metabolism and to slow down aging. They include:
- 11 essential and 22 trace dietary minerals,
- 18 amino acids,
- 6 essential vitamins,
- 5 unsaturated fatty acids, including the essential fatty acids, linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid,
- 5 carotenoids, including beta-carotene and zeaxanthin, lutein, lycopene and cryptoxanthin, a xanthophyll, and
- numerous phenolic pigments (phenols) associated with antioxidant properties.
Its efficacy covers a wide range, and is often used to treat fever, diabetes, cough and phlegm. Drinking tea made from the wolfberries, helps in treatment of physical deficiency, fatigue, constipation, insomnia, low blood pressure, anemia, various eye disease, hair loss, stomatitis, skin care and other effects. However, the body warming effect of wolfberry is quite strong warm. Therefore individuals with hypertension, high blood pressure or those who have impatient temperament should consult with an Oriental health care professionals prior to using wolfberry on a regular basis.
To enjoy the health benefits of wolfberry, try adding about 20 dried wolfberries to a cup of boiling water. Let tea steep for 8 minutes. The wolfberry tea will have a mild sweet taste so there is no need to add honey or sweetener. If you feel adventurous, you can also add wolfberries to soups and stews!
At any given moment, 20% of American population is experiencing some degree of lower back discomfort. Unfortunately, part of the problem is that 85% of the cases doctors have no idea what actually is causing the pain. In the absence of fail-safe medical or surgical solution to routine back pain, scores of alternative therapies have come to the fore.
In one of the biggest and most ambitious studies of its kind, published in 2009, in the Archives of Internal Medicine, acupuncture was found to improve back pain more than standard care that relied on medication and physical therapy. The rationale of why acupuncture works is because the therapeutic intervention may stimulate the release of feel-good endorphin neurochemicals. Moreover, with needling, the practitioner finds knots and light taps a thin needle, causing the contracted muscle fibers to twitch rapidly. The communication between muscle fibers and nervous system delivers a therapeutic release of the knots.
In at typical acupuncture treatment, the practitioner insets thin needles into points on the invisible paths called meridians. Your life force, or Qi, flows along these path, the needles correct qi imbalances and can improve back pain by boosting endorphins.