Our bodies have special networks of cells and organs that make up our immune system. This is an integral part of our health, as it defends the body from germs and other invasions. Our immune systems can tell the difference between an outside invader and our own cells…unless we have an autoimmune disorder. One in five Americans suffer with some type of autoimmune disorder. It is widely misunderstood and misdiagnosed. With this type of condition, the body makes antibodies that attack our normal cells instead. As a result, we can experience widespread symptoms throughout the body: pain, fatigue, inflammation, rash, itchy skin, changes in weight, muscle weakness, hair loss, dizziness, digestive problems, changes in vision, and more.
Traditional medicine uses steroids and anti-inflammatory medications to address these symptoms by suppressing our immune system. This reduces the uncomfortable symptoms, but does nothing to improve our overall health or slow the progression of the disease.
Common autoimmune conditions include:
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Diabetes (Type I)
Grave’s Disease (Overactive Thyroid)
Hashimoto’s Disease (Underactive Thyroid)
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine are valuable tools in treating autoimmune conditions. Acupuncture helps to regulate the immune system, instead of suppressing it by causing physical reactions in nerve cells, the pituitary gland, and parts of the brain. These responses can cause the body to release proteins, hormones, and brain chemicals that control a number of body functions. This means your immune system can still perform its integral functions, but will be less reactive to our own cells.
Treatments naturally suppress inflammation by increasing the white blood cell activity and improving circulation. For mild to moderate conditions, acupuncture and Chinese herbs may be enough to control the symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. In more severe cases, acupuncture and Chinese herbs can support western medical treatment, helping to reduce the amount of medications needed, moderate their toxicity, and preserve the health of our bodies and immune system. Unfortunately, pharmaceuticals typically used for autoimmune conditions are very toxic to the liver and kidneys.
What causes autoimmune disorders? This is still not fully understood. We know that there seems to be a genetic predisposition to these conditions, which might be triggered by hormonal changes (such as during menopause or pregnancy); chemical, viral or bacterial exposure. Some modern nutritional studies link consumption of cow’s milk by infants, but this has not been solidly proven.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with an autoimmune condition or has expressed similar symptoms, please come in for a complimentary consultation so we can discuss how acupuncture may benefit you.