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Shingles, Bell's Palsy and Peripheral Neuropathy

Dr.  Ruan Jin Zhao
(Ph.D, O.M.D, L.A.c.)
Board Certified Acupuncture Physician

It may sound strange that we put these diseases together. Actually, it is not, when you know the true meanings of each condition. The three diseases are similar to each other because they are all neurological disorders, even though the causes may be different.

Modern medicine does not offer the patient enough options for relief. Many of these patients look for alternative treatment to relieve the symptoms. Fortunately, acupuncture can be a great help to these patients and it has been verified to be the best modality for these group neurological diseases.

In Chinese medicine, these three diseases belong to the Wind Syndrome due to the tingling, itching sensation and pain. Patients who have been suffering from these diseases rarely come to our offices in the early stages, which is the best time for them to receive full recovery. Delays in early acupuncture treatment can require more treatment sessions and prolong a full recovery.

A herpes virus causes shingles or Herpes zoster. Normally the acute stage lasts about two weeks. In this stage, there are skin lesions with rash/blisters full of clear liquid in the affected area and is very painful. Generally the proper prescription is an anti-virus drug. The problem begins after the skin lesion has finished healing and is left with scars throughout the skin surface. Now the post-shingle pain and itching begins and can last forever in each patient. For some, they seek relief through acupuncture and become patients of our clinic.

The basic pathology of shingles is that the nerve’s sheath is eaten by the herpes virus, which we know as demyeliation. The nerve’s core is exposed to the muscle directly. When patient uses the muscle, this will stimulate the nerve directly and cause more pain. The treatment for this condition, is to let the nerve’s sheath regenerate and grow back. For this purpose, there is no easy or quick method to success. Notwithstanding the fact that the pain medication may block the pain signal conduction and by itself cannot promote the nerve sheath regeneration. In fact, it can slow down the regeneration procedure and is known as the sedation function. In Chinese medicine, it is diagnosed as Wind Syndrome because heat is in the blood. To dispel the wind, the itching will be stopped; to clear the heat from the body and cool the blood, the pain will be relieved.

Acupuncture is the right modality to stop the itching and relieve the pain. Acupuncture stimulates the brain to produce it's own endorphins to relieve pain and at the same time to improve the affected area's blood circulation and promote nerve regeneration.

Shingles, Bell’s palsy and Peripheral neuropathy are all a result of nerve damage. Acupuncture can promote the nerve regeneration. In the Chinese medicine angle, it shows us how logically they deal with the different Wind Syndrome.

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