Neuropathy is damage to the nerves outside the brain and the spinal cord. It can be treated in many ways. Acupuncture is one of them. Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese technique which is practiced for decades now.
According to this Chinese medical theory, it is believed that energy in our body called Qi pronounced as Chee”, flows through different pathways. When the energy is blocked, it could hamper the flow. Acupuncture is an effective way to bring back the energy flow into proper balance.
With every passing year, people have been seeking acupuncture as an alternative therapy to recover from neuropathy. Acupuncture for neuropathy is now a popular way of treating neuropathy and associated pain.
How Does Acupuncture Work in Neuropathy?
Acupuncture is an effective way of treating neuropathy. It is not only propagated by traditional Chinese medicine but also by modern science. As stated, our human body has different channels of energy through which the energy flows. These energy channels are named as meridians, which promote a healthy flow of energy across the body.
Through acupuncture, these channels are revitalized. Modern science also confirms the benefits of acupuncture. When the needles are inserted at the acupuncture points, it allows the nervous system to release different chemicals. These chemicals, in turn, change the painful experience, or they quickly trigger other hormones or chemicals in the body’s internal regulatory system.
In the case of neuropathy(1), acupuncture stimulates the blood flow to restore the associated nerve damage. And that explains why a considerate number of people have been resorting to acupuncture for peripheral neuropathy!
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How Is Acupuncture for Neuropathy Done?
Acupuncture for neuropathy is a simple process in which thin needles are inserted in different acupuncture/trigger points of the body. Usually, 5-20 needles are used for the treatment. These needles are thin enough to cause less amount of pain. The practitioner could also twist or turn the needles to insert them to the optimal position.
Acupuncture for neuropathy helps to relieve the burning, tingling, and associated pain.
Diet Changes and Acupuncture Help in Neuropathy
You need to bring some significant changes to their diet when you undergo acupuncture(2). There is almost 34% of gluten intolerance with peripheral neuropathy. Thus, a gluten-free diet is preferable to get the best results from acupuncture.
Usually, you will need to follow at least 4-6 weeks of the Gluten-free diet. You can include a lactose-free diet too. Many people also follow a carbohydrate-free diet for a continuous 4-6 weeks sequentially. Dietary changes of these kinds can help to revamp the sensations and also work as pro-inflammatory mediators.
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Acupuncture Variations in Neuropathy
Acupuncture is being used for thousands of years. Hence, people have invented new varieties to make the treatment even more useful. These days there are different kinds of variations for acupuncture for peripheral neuropathy that are followed around the world.
- Moxibustion is a new technique in which moxa is burnt and used to heat the acupuncture needles to warm the skin. Mox is a dried bundle of mugwort.
- Electroacupuncture provides electrical stimulation in the acupuncture needles. The recent variation includes the use of laser needles.
Risks of Acupuncture for Neuropathy
Undoubtedly, acupuncture is beneficial for treating neuropathy. But there are also some serious risks involved with acupuncture which you should be well aware.
1. Bruising and Pain
There might be slight bleeding and a bit of pain when the acupuncture needles are pierced into your skin.
It must be noted that if the needles are pushed to deep into the skin, then they can injure a nerve or organ seriously.
Care must be taken to ensure that all the needles are properly sterilized. Using unsterilized needles can lead to severe infections.
Women who are pregnant must consult a doctor before choosing to acupuncture for neuropathy in feet because it can lead to the risk of premature delivery.
Before you book an appointment for acupuncture for neuropathy, you need to consult with a doctor to check if there are any associated complications if you undergo acupuncture, especially in case you are pregnant. However, this traditional process is useful in helping you get rid of neuropathic problems, but at the same time, it needs to be done correctly. So visit the right practitioner and treat those weak and painful nerves.
1. Can Acupuncture Help Numbness in Feet and Toes?
Yes. Acupuncture can help you get relief from peripheral neuropathy. So if you are experiencing numbness in feet and toes, then it can help you over time.
2. How Long Do the Effects of Acupuncture Last?
Depending on the intensity, duration, variation of the acupuncture session, the effects of acupuncture last from anywhere between 2 – 6 months or even eight months in some cases.
3. How Many Sessions of Acupuncture Do You Need?
Generally, acupuncture sessions last for 8-14 visits with once or twice a week. This could vary depending on the needs and requirements of the person.