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  • Writer's pictureNicci

Peripheral neuropathy - what acupuncture can do to help and some other complementary options

Updated: Jul 29, 2023

Two open hand palms illustrating peripheral neuropathy
Peripheral neuropathy can affect hands and/or feet

Acupuncture has shown promise in helping to alleviate the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy is a condition characterized by damage to the peripheral nerves, leading to symptoms such as pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness in the hands and feet. It can result from various causes, including diabetes, chemotherapy, infections, and other medical conditions.

Acupuncture can be beneficial for peripheral neuropathy in several ways:

Pain Relief: Acupuncture can stimulate the release of endorphins and other natural pain-relieving substances, which can help reduce the intensity of pain experienced by individuals with peripheral neuropathy.

Improved Blood Circulation: Acupuncture can enhance blood circulation, ensuring that the nerves receive adequate oxygen and nutrients, which may contribute to the healing process.

Reduced Inflammation: Acupuncture's anti-inflammatory effects can help reduce inflammation around the affected nerves, potentially easing symptoms like swelling and discomfort.

Enhanced Nerve Function: By stimulating specific acupoints, acupuncture may help normalize nerve function and improve the transmission of nerve signals, thereby reducing tingling and numbness.

Stress Reduction: Peripheral neuropathy can be accompanied by emotional stress and anxiety. Acupuncture's relaxing and calming effects may help alleviate psychological symptoms associated with the condition.

It is important to note that while acupuncture can provide relief for many individuals with peripheral neuropathy, results may vary from person to person. Some may experience significant improvement in their symptoms, while others may notice more modest effects. Additionally, acupuncture is often used as a complementary therapy alongside conventional medical treatments for peripheral neuropathy.

If you are considering acupuncture for peripheral neuropathy, it is crucial to consult with a licensed and experienced acupuncturist. They can tailor the treatment to your specific needs and medical history, ensuring a safe and effective approach to managing peripheral neuropathy symptoms. Furthermore, it's essential to maintain open communication with your healthcare provider to integrate acupuncture into your overall treatment plan for the best possible outcomes.

Other complementary therapies

Other complementary therapies can play a supportive role in managing peripheral neuropathy, helping to alleviate symptoms and improve overall well-being. It's essential to remember that these therapies should be used alongside standard medical treatments and under the guidance of healthcare professionals. Here are some complementary therapies that may provide relief for individuals with peripheral neuropathy:

Massage Therapy: Massage can help improve blood circulation and reduce muscle tension, potentially easing pain and discomfort associated with peripheral neuropathy.

Physical Therapy: A physical therapist can design exercises to improve strength, balance, and flexibility, which may help individuals with peripheral neuropathy manage their symptoms and maintain mobility.

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS): TENS involves using a small battery-operated device to deliver low-level electrical currents to nerve endings, which may help alleviate pain in some people with peripheral neuropathy.

Tai Chi and Qigong: These mind-body practices can promote relaxation, improve balance, and reduce stress, potentially benefiting individuals with peripheral neuropathy.

Warm Baths and Foot Soaks: Soaking the feet in warm water may temporarily alleviate pain and improve blood circulation in the extremities.

Meditation and Mindfulness: These practices can help individuals cope with the emotional impact of peripheral neuropathy and reduce stress, which may indirectly benefit symptom management.

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