Understanding Neuropathy

Neuropathy or peripheral Neuropathy cites an issue in the human body’s peripheral nervous system, which is the secondary nervous system in the human body. The peripheral nervous system includes the entire network of nerves outside the spinal cord and the brain.

There are mainly three types of nerves that make up the peripheral nervous system and contribute towards optimal functionality of the entire body – Motor, Sensory and Autonomic nerves. Any form of dysfunction or inflammation in one or multiple nerves can cause discomfort, including tingling, pain, numbness, and muscle weakness. Neuropathy usually starts in the feet and hands but can affect other parts of the body as well. In simpler terms, any damage to the neurons or nerve cells can result in Neuropathy.

Causes of Neuropathy

Even though Neuropathy is fairly common, people with some prevailing health conditions such as diabetes, IBS, high blood pressure, Raynaud’s, low blood pressure, hypothyroid condition and menopause increase the total risk factor for neuropathy. Apart from old age, peripheral neuropathy can be caused by a variety of health conditions such as:

• Viral/Bacterial Infections
• Tumors
• Bone Marrow Disorders
• Cancer
• Chemo or radiation therapy

Acupuncture and Neuropathy – The Ideal Treatment

Acupuncture, a modality of traditional Chinese medicine, involves the insertion of needles in the skin at multiple pressure points throughout the body. It helps balance qi (Pronounced “chee”), which is the entire flow of energy in the human body. According to traditional Chinese medicine, the balance of qi is essential in maintaining a healthy human body.

A balance in the body’s flow of energy helps in increasing the body’s healing ability. Acupuncture helps bring more fresh blood and nutrients to the peripheral nerves, which facilitate nerve regeneration.

Acupuncture is seen as an effective treatment for peripheral Neuropathy. According to a 2007 pilot study published in Eur. J. of Neurol.,
(https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17355547/), of 47 patients who were diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy, 21 received acupuncture treatment according to classical Chinese Medicine as defined by the Heidelberg Model, 26 patients received the best medical care, but no treatment for peripheral neuropathy. 76% in the acupuncture group improved symptomatically and objectively as measured by nerve conduction studies, whereas only 15% of the control group had improvement. Furthermore, subjective improvement was fully correlated with improvements in nerve conduction studies in both groups.

In summary, Acupuncture helps in healing nerve damage through effective stimulation of blood flow in the body. During the acupuncture process, the needles on the various pressure points on the human body help in the release of endorphins, serotonin and dopamine that are deemed as the natural painkillers in the body. When patients with neuropathy have less pain, they can sleep deeper and repair their nerves much faster.

Author's Bio: 

Dr Li Zheng is a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist. Graduated from the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Li Zheng now has 26 years of clinical experience. She holds a PhD in neuroscience from the US and is a Harvard Medical School-trained researcher and a professor at the New England School of Acupuncture. Her two practices are located in Needham, MA, and Boca Raton, FL. For more information please visit: https://bostonchineseacupuncture.org/