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Acupuncture for Shingle
Dr. Daniel  Lee, L Ac.
How Does Acupuncture Help Shingles and Post Herpetic Neuralgia?

Symptoms of shingles are:

Sudden onset of tenderness and severe stabbing pain with burning sensation on the skin followed by, 3 to 7 days later, the appearance of red strip of rash with blisters over the skin on one side of the body such as the face, head, eye (herpes zoster ophthalmicus), scalp, shoulder, along ribs, abdomen, groin or thigh.  The severe pain usually peaks with the appearance of the blisters and can last anywhere from one to four weeks.  For those lucky patients, the pain will disappear along with the blister within a month.  For the rest of patients, the pain may persist over a month.  Such pain is called post herpetic neuralgia which may last for months or even for years.

Causes & Incidence of shingles:

Shingles medically known as "Herpes Zoster" is the re-activation of the chickenpox virus called varicella-zoster that remained dormant in the sensory nerves since the childhood.  It is an opportunistic infection during a period of weakened immune system such as stress or  the use of corticosteroid, immunosuppressant or anticancer drugs or following a surgery.  In US, a few people in 1,000 suffer an attack every year.  It mainly affects people over 50 since the competence of the immune system declines with age.

Treatment for shingles:

For some patients, they will get well without any medical intervention.  Others may respond to pain medications such as Vicodin or Neurontin. 

But, for those that are not responding to or for those who do not wish to take medications, acupuncture is an excellent and effective alternative for treating and getting rid of the pain within a month with about 12 treatments.

How does acupuncture treat shingles?

Since the shingles virus attacks the nerve sensors located under the skin, it not only magnifies the pain and heat signals much like shouting thru a microphone, it is often resistant to pain medications.  With this in mind, Dr. Lee has developed a new approach which puts a strong emphasize in boosting the patient's own immune system with acupuncture to fight off or deactivate the virus thus providing a lasting pain relief, rather than numbing the pain for temporary relief.  Each treatment will last about half an hour with patient sitting relaxed in a comfortable chair for about 15 minutes.  With Dr. Lee's approach, the hair-thin disposable pins are comfortably placed on the neck, arms and legs-far away from the site of the shingles-affected area thus avoided aggravating the existing pain.  A list of dietary recommendations will be given to patient along with other suggestions.