Autoimmune

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Frequently Asked Questions

Autoimmune diseases pose a complex challenge. Chinese medicine has encountered these diseases throughout its long history and has developed a sophisticated understanding and an array of tools to help manage them. Tracey offers acupuncture, lifestyle and Chinese Medicine dietary advice. The aim is to reduce the effects of the disease, improve quality of life and where possible reduce medication and facilitate disease remission. In China, Chinese herbs are often prescribed and this will be considered, by referral to a practitioner specializing in herbs. Western dietary nutrition and supplementation may also be considered.

Tracey’s experience shows that one of the major contributions that Chinese medicine can make in treating autoimmune diseases is an appreciation of the underlying pathologies that need to be addressed. Whilst the use of steroids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAIDs), disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and immunosuppressive drugs may be effective in managing acute presentations, they are sadly lacking when it comes to effecting a deeper and more lasting change. Chinese Medicine interventions aim to address underlying causes to restore normal physiological function and prevent reoccurrence of disease.

Treatment is usually over a number of months and up to a year in some cases, with ongoing maintenance sessions. If symptom relief is only required, for example, to ease muscular aches then one-off sessions will help. However to address underlying disease more prolonged and often frequent treatment is necessary. In China, patients are treated daily or every other day during acute flare-ups and less frequently for more chronic cases. The number of sessions will depend on the seriousness of the patient’s condition and the improvement noted as treatment continues.

Some commonly treated conditions are included below. If your condition is not listed contact Tracey to see if she can help. You should always consult your GP if you have any concerns or talk to Tracey before booking an appointment.

The British Acupuncture Council have been provided a Fact Sheet for Rheumatoid Arthritis and non-autoimmune conditions. The Fact Sheets provide accurate and unbiased summaries of research and how acupuncture may be beneficial. Conditions include:

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Seronegative arthropathy
  • Systemic lupus erthematosus
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Sjögrens syndrome

If your condition is not listed, contact Tracey to see if she can help you.

Most autoimmune diseases are chronic diseases and over time the body gradually becomes depleted and debilitated. Chinese Medicine focuses on controlling the symptoms and helping to prevent or minimize relapse. Many symptoms of autoimmune diseases are bought effectively under control by Western Medicine, although sometimes at the cost of relatively severe side-effects in some patients. Western Medicine is generally more effective at treating acute, severe or complex symptoms of autoimmune diseases and brings relatively quick results. Whereas Chinese Medicine works slowly and over the long term can balance the body’s systems to restore functioning. To quote an example of this, Doctor Shen Pi’an (Director of Rheumatology and Immunology at Shanghai Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital) says:

Chinese Medicine when employed over a longer period, is extremely effective for autoimmune diseases. For example, in our hospital, SLE patients treated with Chinese herbs and acupuncture for periods of between six months and 3 years have not only been able to reduce their dose of prednislone (and in some cases stop taking it completely), but the cumulative effect of herbal medicine and acupuncture has also resulted in an improvement of the underlying disease and relief or resolution of the symptoms, thereby benefiting the patients’ quality of life and enabling them to live normal lives and even return to full-time work.

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