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Acupuncture and TCM for Autoimmune Disease

More than 50 million people in the United States suffer from some type of autoimmune disease. It is the third leading chronic illness following heart disease and cancer. Women are more than twice as likely as men to suffer from autoimmune disease.

Some of the most common autoimmune diseases include:

  • Ulcerative Colitis

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome

  • Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

  • Type 1 Diabetes

  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

  • Crohn’s Disease

  • Psoriasis/Psoriatic Arthritis

  • Lupus

  • Thyroid Disease

  • Addison’s Disease

  • Celiac Disease

  • Myasthenia Gravis

  • Graves’ Disease

  • Guillain–Barré Syndrome

  • Pernicious Anemia

  • Sjogren’s Syndrome

  • Autoimmune Vasculitis

  • Pernicious Anemia

  • Myasthenia Gravis

Autoimmune diseases are characterized by the the body’s immune system attacking healthy cells that are actually meant to protect the body. Pain and inflammation are major characteristics of autoimmune disease, however other symptoms can vary greatly as there are many different kinds of autoimmune diseases.

In addition to pain and inflammation, many of the overall symptoms of autoimmune diseases are very similar. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Joint Pain

  • Fatigue

  • Muscle Pain

  • Rashes

  • Muscle Weakness

  • Difficulty Concentrating

  • Swelling and Redness

  • Dry Eyes

  • Low-Grade Fever

  • Numbness & Tingling in the Hands & Feet

  • Shortness of Breath

  • Hair Loss

  • Trouble Concentrating

  • Repeated Miscarriages

  • Heart Palpitations

  • Weight Loss

The cause of autoimmune disorders is not fully understood. They are very complex diseases. It is generally thought that autoimmune diseases might be triggered by the combination of a genetic predisposition with factors such as bacteria, viruses, toxins, and some drugs.

Unfortunately there is no cure for most autoimmune disorders at this time. But there are ways that symptoms can be managed, as well as methods to prevent further development, and even support remission.

Many people are able to enjoy a very high quality of life with the right support.

How Acupuncture and TCM May Help Autoimmune Disorders

TCM stands for Traditional Chinese Medicine, and has been practiced for thousands of years. In TCM, autoimmune diseases are believed to occur as as result of an imbalance in the body. Acupuncture and other TCM treatments work to restore balance and support the body’s natural healing capabilities. These modalities go right to the root to promote health, wellbeing, and balance.

Acupuncture involves the insertion of tiny, hair thin needles at specific location on the body. Research has been found that acupuncture effects the body’s systems and functions, including the the immune system, endocrine system, blood flow, neurotransmitters, stress, pain, the gastrointestinal tract, infertility, migraines, thyroid hormones and functioning, and asthma.

With regards to autoimmune diseases in particular, studies have found that acupuncture stimulates physical responses related to immune functioning. This include the stimulation of hormones, nerve cells, the pituitary gland, and parts of the brain.

Research has also found that acupuncture impacts the parasympathetic nervous system response. This may help autoimmune disorders that are characterized by impaired parasympathetic abilities, such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and Lupus. Additionally, many autoimmune diseases are exacerbated by stress. Acupuncture and TCM are highly effective methods of managing stress. What’s more, acupuncture can help with pain and inflammation that is associated with autoimmune diseases. In fact, one of the science-backed benefits of acupuncture is that it stimulates the release of the body’s natural pain-killing hormones, called endorphins. In studies, 85% of patients living with chronic pain have reported relief from acupuncture.


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