|B O D Y S C A P E S Acupuncture||
Peripheral neuropathy is a neurological disorder that affects the sensory, motor and/or autonomic nerves, and is caused by the abnormal functioning of these nerves due to various etiologies. These etiologies include diabetes, alcoholism, HIV, toxins, metabolic abnormalities, vitamin deficiencies, and adverse side-effects of specific drugs
What are the Symptoms?
Peripheral neuropathy typically affects the extremities, including the arms, legs, hands and feet. The neuropathy may affect the body at a local site, or the occurrence may be symmetrical. The symptoms often associated with peripheral neuropathy include weakness, cramping, decreased tendon reflexes, numbness, pain, and a burning sensation. Symptoms may appear alone or in combination. Neuropathy mostly affects middle-aged and elderly individuals to varying degrees.
In Chinese medicine, the treatment of any medical condition is based on "patterns". A pattern is determined by the presentation of symptoms, a tongue diagnosis, and a pulse diagnosis. The patterns most associated with peripheral neuropathy are qi and blood stagnation, damp accumulation, or kidney yin/yang deficiency. Some of the factors that help determine the pattern and treatment protocol are:
1) location of the affected areas
2) degree of neuropathic symptoms
3) frequency of pain and discomfort
4) root cause of the condition.
Clinical Study using Acupuncture
In a study of 46 diabetic patients with peripheral neuropathy, 34 of them reported a significant improvement in their symptoms after six courses of acupuncture treatment, and only eight of them required further sessions. However, only seven of the 34 had complete relief of their symptoms.
Treatment using Traditional Chinese Medicine
Western treatment of peripheral neuropathy usually involves the use of pain relievers, anti-depressants, topical creams, and patches. In Chinese medicine, treatment may vary from person to person, but the primary healing modalities used include:
All of the patients I have worked with through out the years suffering from peripheral neuropathy have shown a vast improvement in their condition. The most notable improvements have been the reduction in pain and burning sensation. Treatment will initially require weekly visits for about 8 weeks. Maintenance visits (1-2 times per month) are needed to maintain results.