China has long history of using acupuncture to treat shingles. When I was working in the hospital in China, shingles was one of the most common conditions that we saw clinically in acupuncture department, specially in the spring and fall. I have treated a few cases recently and I would like to share how acupuncture can help people with shingles.
Acupuncture can relieve pain, reduce the need for painkillers, speed up the healing of herpes zoster lesions, and reduce the incidence of postherpetic neuralgia(PHN).
After a few treatments, most cases will see significant reduce in pain. Generally speaking, it is better to start treatment as soon as possible. The earlier the better. Evidence from a systematic review of studies assessing the treatment of herpes zoster with acupuncture suggests that acupuncture therapy is effective for this condition. Acupuncture is believed to stimulate the nervous system and cause the release of neurochemical messenger molecules. The resulting biochemical changes influence the body’s homeostatic mechanisms, thus promoting physical and emotional well-being. Stimulation of certain acupuncture points has been shown to affect areas of the brain that are known to reduce sensitivity to pain and stress (Hui 2010) .
Tianjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine reseachers combined acupunctue with standard drug therapy. Patients receiving both treatment protocol had superior patient outcomes compared with patients using only drug therapy.