Multiple sclerosis involves wind or dampness-induced symptoms (paralysis, bloating, muscle weakness). Acupuncture provides relief by restoring body balance and minimizing the frequency of symptoms. Lupus is triggered by yang or toxic heat that overstimulates the immune system. Acupuncture clears heat and nourishes yin, reinstating the yin-yang balance of the body.
Autoimmune diseases are a group of disorders in which the immune system attacks the body and destroys or alters tissues. There are more than 80 serious chronic illnesses in this category, including lupus, multiple sclerosis, celiac disease, and type 1 diabetes.
Due to the complexity of treating autoimmune disorders, integrative medicine solutions have received much attention as successful therapies. Acupuncture and oriental medicine are specifically noted for use in pain relief, regulating the immune system, managing symptoms, and improving the overall quality of life.
3 Autoimmune Diseases And How Acupuncture Can Help
1. Multiple Sclerosis
A progressive disease wherein the immune system mistakenly attacks the protective wrapper on nerve cells, known as myelin. As the damage accumulates, the brain and body communicate less well.
Individuals may experience symptoms that include
- A loss of coordination,
- muscle weakness,
- numbness and tingling,
- blurred vision, and
Although multiple sclerosis can involve an array of symptoms, it is possible that no two patients will share the same underlying pattern. In oriental medicine, as a whole, patients with MS present either wind- or dampness-based symptoms.
Symptoms with an underlying wind factor arise and abate suddenly, can be quite intense, and jump between different areas of the body. Symptoms with an underlying dampness factor cause swelling and bloating, lead to muscle weakness or a sense of heaviness, and can cause unclear thinking.
Oriental medicine may help restore balance and reduce the frequency and severity of flare-ups.
Lupus involves an over-active immune system that fights unnecessarily and can injure the skin, joints, organs such as heart, kidneys, lungs, and even the brain.
Symptoms may include
- Red facial rashes,
- sore joints,
- upper abdominal pain when breathing deeply,
- severe chronic fatigue,
- memory problems, and
- scalp hair loss.
While every lupus patient may present symptoms differently, oriental medicine views lupus as a reflection of toxic heat.
Good health requires balanced yin and yang, which reflect cold and heat, respectively. While yin and yang both nourish and restrain each other, yang tends to multiply (or worsen) more quickly, whereas yin is slower to change.
Having more estrogen than testosterone, women are more yin and vulnerable to yang conditions.
In a study, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh found that by stimulating acupuncture points along the spine and on the four limbs, patients with lupus experienced less pain.
Acupuncture and oriental medicine can help clear heat and nourish yin. Combined with exercise and reducing stress, these modalities can work double duty towards improving your overall health and reducing the likelihood of a lupus outbreak.
3. Celiac Disease
In patients with celiac disease, the small intestine becomes damaged and cannot absorb nutrients efficiently.
Celiac disease may also cause
- bone disorders,
- fertility problems, and
- skin rashes.
Treatment of celiac disease typically revolves around symptom management and dietary changes. Any products known to contain gluten (bread, pasta, processed foods, vitamins, and even cosmetics) may trigger symptoms and should be avoided.