Lupus is the common shortened term for Systemic Lupus Erythmatosus (SLE) and is an auto-immune disorder from an unknown cause. It predominately affects younger women. Lupus has flare ups along with remissions and acupuncture for lupus can help. One of the common presenting symptoms of lupus is the “butterfly rash” that appears on the face. The disease can cause damage to the joints, heart, liver and kidneys, skin, lungs and blood vessels. It is serious condition that can lead to death in particular if the heart problems go onto cause cardiovascular disease. There has been little advancement in treatment of lupus as corticosteroids has been the main treatment for over 50 years. If the pain from inflamed joints is mild, Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS) are prescribed but these lead to other problems because of their side effects. Lupus can cause leukopenia and anemia.
Can acupuncture help auto-immune disease?
Research has shown that acupuncture can be useful in helping both low white blood cell and low red blood cell count.
The University Of Pittsburgh School Of Medicine in research as far back as 2008 found that 10 sessions of acupuncture could reduce lupus pain as much as 30 percent.
Even Rheumatologist Mr Meng of the Hospital for Special Surgery in the United States recommends that patients try acupuncture for the pain of lupus. He said there are side effects caused by NSAID’s.
The symptoms of lupus were already observed hundreds of years ago in medieval Europe and Chinese medicine physicians have been treating this condition for hundreds of years.
How does traditional Chinese medicine view lupus?
The traditional Chinese medicine diagnosis of lupus looks at the whole person and their unique individuality along with all their different signs and symptoms accompanying their distressing signs of lupus. It was not called “lupus” hundreds of years ago but had exotic names like “yin yang toxins”.
When visiting an acupuncturist in the treatment of lupus, each individual would have a different diagnosis and therefore a completely different acupuncture treatment. With each follow up treatment, different acupuncture points would be chosen each time. Whereas in western medicine, in the treatment of lupus, the same steroids are prescribed for everyone each time.
Acupuncture aims to restore immune strength by building up energy and blood so that the patient can obtain a stronger back drop of health to stay on top of flare ups.
There are many Chinese herbs that can also be prescribed in the treatment of lupus.