How can acupuncture treat peripheral neuropathy?
Traditional Chinese medicine teaches that Peripheral neuropathy is due to dampness moving to the limbs, where it obstructs the flow of Qi (energy) and Blood within them. The treatment is twofold, to treat the underlying factor that is causing this dampness to accumulate and to directly facilitate the circulation of Qi and Blood in the affected area. By improving the circulation, the nerve tissues of the affected area can be nourished to repair the nerve functions and reduce pain.
Peripheral neuropathy is a symptom for many different patterns of disharmony within the body. Oriental Medicine aims to treat each individual uniquely depending on what caused the neuropathy and how it manifests.
Your acupuncturist may do an interview and ask questions about how, what, where and when you feel pain, perspire, sleep, eat, drink and exercise, to name a few. The practitioner may also feel the pulse and observing the tongue. This interview and physical examination will help create a clear picture on which your practitioners can create a treatment plan specifically for you.
In addition to acupuncture, other methods such as transcutaneous electronic nerve stimulation (TENS), which uses small amounts of electricity to block pain signals, cutaneous acupuncture, herbal and physical therapy may be combined to achieve faster results.
What is Cutaneous Acupuncture?
Cutaneous Acupuncture is the use of acupuncture needles to stimulate an area superficially by tapping to promote the smooth flow of Qi and Blood.
The Plum blossom needle and the Seven-Star needle are special tools that are composed of a small bunch of needles attached to a handle like a hammer or broom. They are often used in the treatment of peripheral neuropathy. The affected area would be lightly tapped starting at the toes or fingers and then up the legs and arms.
Plastic, disposable plum blossom needles or seven-star needles are available for treatment at home.