Acupuncture Therapy for Hepatitis in Santa Monica, CA
American researchers have been observing the therapeutic effects of ancient Chinese acupuncture on liver inflammation (hepatitis ) for decades. But they haven't been able to explain, in Western terminology, how Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners achieve those effects.
Those researchers are now able to see and photograph what some are calling our "new organ". Thanks to a cutting-edge, highly powerful microscope, they've identified and photographed that fluid-filled space between our skin and muscles – the interstitium.1 This discovery has enabled Western medical experts to understand TCM practitioners' claim that healing requires "moving the Qi".
Like a biochemical river, the interstitium can flood your body with enzymes, proteins, and hormones. An acupuncturist diverts the flow of harmful ones and stimulates helpful ones (while potentially tapping regenerative stem cells) until the optimum balance is achieved.
Whether it's caused by a virus, alcohol abuse or excessive liver enzymes, biochemical imbalance and blood stagnation can lead to severe liver inflammation. Hepatitis doesn't care whether you call it "balancing biochemical levels" or "moving the Qi" – it simply needs you to resolve your organ dysfunction ASAP.
If you'd like to avoid liver-adverse pharmaceuticals or highly-addictive opioid painkillers, find a certified acupuncture practitioner in Santa Monica. Call (424) 365-1800 or contact Vitality Integrative Medicine online today.
How does acupuncture work?
Acupuncture therapy stimulates our meridians – points of very low electrical resistance on the body – by injecting extra fine, single-use sterile needles into them.
The pathways for our nervous system messengers (C fibers) branch precisely at these meridian points, which have high concentrations of:
- nerve bundles
- immune-regulating mast cells
Each of our 350 meridians (which have been assigned Chinese names, English names, and numbers) has a function. Stimulating specific meridians has been shown to reduce pain, boost immune response, or regulate hormone production to correct biochemical dysfunctions.
For example, MRIs show that stimulating point LI 4 (large intestine 4) releases endorphins (natural painkillers).
An experienced acupuncturist will know exactly which points along the banks of your interstitium require how much stimulation to promote balance along that biochemical river that flows through all of your systems.
Acupuncture diagnostics for hepatitis
TCM practitioners don't just treat symptoms, they target patterns – connections between conditions you likely don't realize are interrelated. Your acupuncturist may help you avoid spending time and money seeking uncoordinated - and potentially conflicting - treatments for what seemed to be an isolated symptom.
After taking note of all your health conditions (past and present), lifestyle habits, diet, and current symptoms, your TCM practitioner may perform one or more of the following:
tongue analysis: tongue regions correspond to various organs; tongue color (pink, pale, red, scarlet, purple, or blue) indicates cold and heat (which represents blood stagnation and mineral deficiencies), while tongue coat (normal, thick, dry, moist, wet, sticky) may indicate digestive stagnation and food retention; after diagnosis, your tongue can also gauge treatment progress
pulse diagnosis: checks 9 pulse positions to assess both pulse speed and quality (floating, sinking, slippery, tight, wiry, excessive, deficient, abrupt, intermittent, knotted), and also detects warm or cold tendencies that indicate biochemical imbalances
facial diagnosis: your facial colors (white, dull white, bright white, yellow, orange/yellow, red, blue/green, black) and qualities (moist and clear or dry and lifeless) can alert a practitioner to seek further indications of a particular imbalance
After assimilating all this information, your acupuncturist will present you with your "pattern(s)" (a diagnosis). Often, you may discover a web of inter-woven actions that can't always be distilled into one particular cause – especially once aging begins to take its toll.
Appreciating and diagnosing these nuances and deciding exactly where and how long to needle a patient takes time and experience. Acupuncturists must offer both.
How does acupuncture treat liver inflammation?
As with any medical procedure, results of acupuncture vary from patient to patient depending on age, genetics, general health, condition severity, follow-up care, and environmental factors. Acupuncture therapy may present contraindications with other treatments and conditions. Always consult a healthcare professional before embarking on your healing journey.
Sometimes they're induced by medications like minocycline, hydralazine, statins, fenofibrate, alpha and beta interferon, and etanercept, as well as some liver-damaging herbs.
Autoimmune hepatitis is a chronic imbalance of enzymes and hormones that over-activates the immune system.
To treat the imbalances of hepatitis, an acupuncturist may stimulate points HT 3, KD 10, and LV8 to address liver blood stagnation, deficiency, and liver/ gallbladder toxicity by:
- increasing blood flow and red blood cell creation in liver tissue
- regulating glucagon and insulin hormone levels to balance blood glucose levels
- releasing neuropeptides
- sending inflammatory proteins and white blood cells to damaged tissue
- eliminating toxins
- improving lowered pain threshold
If you're on pharmaceutical medication for autoimmune hepatitis, your acupuncturist may ask you to stop taking it to see whether your symptoms resolve.
Since neither damaging nor restorative biochemicals are contained inside the liver, your practitioner may stimulate points to increase blood flow and disrupt harmful patterns in:
- the spleen: where blood cells are created
- the stomach: which absorbs nutrients needed to create blood cells
- the liver: which stores blood and maintains a balanced blood flow throughout the body
To address dysfunctional patterns these meridians may be needled:
- four gates: Liver3, LiverI4
- costal (liver) pain: Liver14, GallBladder24
- costal (spleen) pain: Liver13
- urinary bladder 18/19/20
- stomach36, spleen6
Acupuncture for hepatitis is often delivered in conjunction with Chinese herbs. A study found that taking cordyceps sinensis and ganoderma lucidum funguses while receiving acupuncture on the spleen, liver, stomach, dumai, and renmai meridians for three months resolved hepatitis B symptoms and improved blood test results significantly.2
Hepatitis C patients who are already taking the most common antiviral treatment treatment (pegylated interferon alpha and Ribavirin) have also used acupuncture to treat side effects of those drugs (fatigue, nausea and vomiting, headaches, muscle aches, and toxin build up).
An alcohol-damaged liver has high ALT and AST enzyme levels. Stimulating Taichong EA-LR 3 meridian has been shown to down-regulate elevated levels of these enzymes which leak out of inflamed liver cells.3
Do acupuncture needles hurt?
Acupuncture needles are:
- highly flexible
- single use
- filiform (solid)
- superfine (0.16-0.46 mm in diameter and 13-130 mm in length)
- stainless steel based (sometimes adorned with copper or gold handles)
Unlike hollow hypodermic needles, filiform acupuncture needles gently part your tissue rather than painfully cutting it. Patients often report feeling "pressure" or "a heavy sensation," but the needles usually leave no trace at insertion sites.
Inserting a needle into the correct point may also cause your body to produce B-endorphin (a natural opiate 10-100 times more potent than morphine), which can circulate for several hours.
Occasionally, needles can cause minuscule amounts of bleeding or bruising. Improper placement can also cause pain or break the needle. Entering too deeply can injure your organs. If you feel any pain, tell your practitioner so he or she can manipulate the angle of the needle. Some find it helpful to insert them through a plastic guide tube.
The FDA regulates acupuncture needles just as it does other medical devices: under good manufacturing practices and single-use standards of sterility. Make sure that you receive acupuncture from a licensed, certified specialist.
Who offers acupuncture?
A wide variety of practitioners provide acupuncture or can refer you to a specialist. Chiropractors, functional and integrative medicine practitioners, orthopedic providers, and even some family practitioners now offer acupuncture as a hepatitis treatment option.
Does acupuncture cause any side effects?
When performed properly by a skilled practitioner, acupuncture has few or no side effects. Minor acupuncture side effects may include bleeding, swelling, soreness, or bruising at or near the puncture sites, mild discomfort, fatigue, or muscle twitching. Some patients report an intense emotional release (crying or laughing), which can provide transformative healing.
You should not receive Chinese needle therapy if you have a bleeding disorder or take blood thinners. Hepatitis B and C can be spread through contaminated acupuncture needles. In fact, acupuncture is one of the greatest risk factors among Asians for acquiring a hepatitis C infection. That's why finding a certified specialist who uses FDA approved needles is imperative.
Reserve your appointment
Acupuncture can help manage not just the symptoms, but the root causes of hepatitis. This needling therapy can also reverse the side effects of some conventional medications. Find a TCM provider or learn more about acupuncture for liver damage in Santa Monica today by calling (424) 365-1800 or contact Vitality Integrative Medicine online.
1.Benias, Petros C., Wells, Rebecca G., Sackey-Aboagye, Bridget, Klavan, Heather. Structure and Distribution of an Unrecognized Interstitium in Human Tissues. Scientific Reports volume 8, Article number: 4947 (2018)
2. Zhu, Jihe, et. al. "Hepatitis B Treatment with Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine." European Scientific Journal 1414.66 (2018): 1857-7881. Web. 27 August 2018.
3. Zhen Ci Yan Jiu. 2011 Dec;36(6):419-22.[Effect of electroacupuncture of "Taichong" (LR 3) on liver function in mild alcoholic liver injury rats]. Chen BJ, Zhang D, Li SY, Ma HM, Wang SY.
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