Acupuncture and Autoimmune Diseases

 It is estimated that about 50 million people in the United States suffer from autoimmune diseases. It is estimated that there may be more than 100 different autoimmune diseases.  Some of the most common autoimmune diseases that people suffer from are multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis. While all of these conditions have different symptoms and effects on the people who have them, they all have one thing in common – the body’s own immune system attacks it and either alters or destroys tissues, causing the symptoms of that particular disease.  

Unfortunately, conventional medicine has very limited resources when it comes to treating autoimmune conditions, relying mostly on medications that have serious side effects – some even worse than the symptoms of the condition itself. There are also far too many patients who are told that there are no options for treatments offered by conventional medicine. However, acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine may be beneficial for patients who suffer from an autoimmune disease.

One of the many things that set Traditional Chinese Medicine apart from conventional medicine is that while conventional medicine only treats the symptoms, Traditional Chinese Medicine looks for the root of the symptoms and treats that, as well. This is why acupuncture treatments are completely personalized for each patient’s diagnosis and not a one-size-fits-all.

A patient with an autoimmune disease being treated with Traditional Chinese Medicine is looked at as a whole, believing that autoimmune diseases are caused by a deficiency in the patient’s immune system responses. The practitioner will come up with a treatment plan that will restore those factors that are essential for a good immunity system, including the blood and the Qi (energetic life force) of the patient.

Autoimmune conditions can also be caused by underlying genetic factors, which is why the practitioner will also work on building up the patient’s Jing (essence). Acupuncture has been proven to cause responses in the brain and nerve cells. Acupuncture treatment can reprogram the patient’s brain and nerve cells to perform as they were intended to do.

In some cases, the acupuncturist may also recommend electroacupuncture. This type of acupuncture sends mild electrical stimulation to the acupuncture needles, causing light shocks which trigger the body to produce hormones that suppress inflammation and pain, helping to stimulate endorphins to circulate in the bloodstream, also helping with pain since endorphins are the natural painkillers of the body.

In addition to helping with the cause of the autoimmune disease and the symptoms, acupuncture can also help treat the stress that many patients with these conditions struggle with. Living with chronic pain and other issues has a significant impact on a person’s quality of life and acupuncture has been proven to help reduce the excess cortisone levels that the brain produces that can trigger chronic stress, as well as help the patient relax.

As the acupuncture treatments begin to work and the patient begins to feel better, they may be able to enjoy stretching, exercising, and other physical activities which can also help improve blood flow and increase the body’s natural immunity.

To learn if acupuncture can help with your autoimmune disease, contact Pacific Bay Integrative Health Center today.