Shingles, commonly called herpes zoster, is a virus infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which is also responsible for chickenpox.
According to the CDC, up to one in every three Americans will develop shingles. Shingles can affect anyone who has chickenpox, but it is most frequent in adults over the age of 50. We will let you know everything about acupuncture for shingles in this blog post.
When you have shingles, you will develop a rash that will eventually become blisters. However, you will most likely experience pain in the affected location before the rash forms.
Shingles cause pain and a rash on one side of the body. Commonly affected areas include:
- eyes or face
If you’re suffering from pain, you might be wondering if acupuncture for shingles can help. Acupuncture is a Chinese medicine that helps in relieving pain.
What Causes Shingles
A weak immune system and stress are ideal causes for a shingles breakout. Most people have their first outbreak after a long period of stress that suppresses the immune system or after a big sickness that forces them to work overtime. The end outcome for persons who possess the varicella virus is the same in both cases: the virus, which has been latent for many years, suddenly has the opportunity to become active and trigger a shingles outbreak.
A few days before the rash occurs, the first indicator of an outbreak is uncomfortable or tingling skin. After that, it takes around 2-4 weeks for the rash, blisters, exhaustion, and discomfort to go away. In most situations, the rash and blisters will disappear, and the person may never experience another outbreak.
However, for some people, the nerve pain can last for months or even years, resulting in what is known as ‘post-herpetic neuralgia,’ or nerve pain. In addition, long after the infection has been detected, people may experience chronic searing nerve pain along the same path as the rash. You can try acupuncture for shingles, as it will help reduce pain.
Acupuncture’s Role in Shingles Treatment
A shingles outbreak can take three various forms, but the underlying cause is always the same: the varicella-zoster virus. Each of these patterns has a poetic description in Chinese medicine, and the acupuncture spots your acupuncturist will needle will vary depending on the pattern of breakout you have.
Pattern 1: Flaming Fire in the Gallbladder and Liver
The skin lesions in this pattern are red, hot, and packed with fluid. The pain feels like pinpricks and has a burning sensation. The person is generally feverish and irritated, with a dry mouth and a strong thirst. They could have been under a lot of pressure at work and in their personal lives. This behaviour will also be accompanied by excessive alcohol and sugar consumption and a bad diet in general.
The therapeutic principle, in this case, is to cleanse the liver and drain the heat. Each acupuncture point has a specific purpose, such as moving the liver qi or clearing heat. These will be needed, along with points to address pain, inflammation, stress, and a weakened immune system.
Acupuncture points will be needed over the patient’s body, even if the outbreak is on the left of the stomach, wrapping around the ribs to the back.
Pattern 2 – Damp Heat
Large blisters filled with yellow fluid distinguish this motif. Because their walls are weak and readily ruptured, they may be prone to infection. The person will have little appetite and will have difficulty digesting.
Treatment for this pattern, like treatment for the preceding pattern, entails emptying heat from the affected area of the body. However, because this pattern is associated with higher wetness, the points will also include points that drain dampness.
Spleen 9 at the uppermost part of the tibia bone in the hollow below the knee on the inside of the thigh and San Jiao 5, 2 inches above the wrist on the top of the forearm among the radius and ulna are two of the most common places for draining moisture.
Pattern 3 – Qi and Blood Stagnation
This pattern pertains to the previously mentioned post-herpetic pain and frequently affects older people who are weary and rundown. The discomfort is either pin-prick-like or characterized by tenderness in the rash location that worsens with movement. In addition, exhaustion, restlessness, a lack of appetite, and poor sleep are usually absent.
This is the chronic pain pattern, and most pain is viewed as a stagnation of qi (energy) and blood in Chinese medicine. Because pain occurs when the body’s energy is blocked and not flowing smoothly, the treatment for this pattern will include strengthening and moving the qi and the blood.
Why Does Acupuncture For Shingles Work?
Acupuncture is useful in treating shingles because it allows individuals to be treated particularly for their symptoms and constitution. The acupuncturist can detect the type of shingles the person has and utilize specific acupuncture points to correct the underlying imbalance that allowed the virus to appear in the first place.
Acupuncture sites can be needled to remove any heat and flow the qi, minimizing pain and edema. Furthermore, the immune system can be strengthened, which aids in fighting the virus and returning it to a latent form. Another advantage of acupuncture is that it can be used to treat any additional symptoms related to the outbreak, such as a headache or nausea.
Acupuncture helps to prevent this by needling around the affected area.
You can treat your shingles with acupuncture and with fewer side effects. You can contact JSK Acupuncture to know more.