Shingles is also known as herpes zoster and is caused by the chicken pox virus. After chicken pox is caught as a young child, the virus lays dormant and can then come out many years later giving the symptoms of a painful skin rash with blisters. In some cases, the shingles can even linger on for years causing residual nerve pain. It is estimated that 50 % of the elderly have at least one shingles attack.
The main western medical treatment that attempts to help the condition is the use of anti viral drugs but they do not help the neuralgic pain.
Chinese medicine has a theory that correlates to this condition and is known as latent pathogens. This is an age old concept where a bug such as a virus was never fully expelled and then stayed hidden inside the body, waiting for an opportune moment to come out again when the body was weak and vulnerable. As the body ages and hence becomes weaker, a dormant virus such as the chicken pox virus then resurfaces and causes illness again. Over the years the virus has changed and this is why it gives different symptoms to the original chicken pox.
Doctors at Chengdu hospital have researched which are the best acupuncture treatments for this.
In particular the length of the scab time was shortened as well as the neuralgic pain intensity lessened and the disease had a shorter duration.
One fundamental concept of acupuncture is to increase energy when there is deficiency.
A common acupuncture point used to increase energy reserves is Stomach 36, located below the knee and is also used for weight loss.