Hirudotherapy - good and bad
Hirudotherapy is one of the areas of alternative medicine that uses a medical leech to achieve a therapeutic effect. Previously, such treatment was generally accepted, however, in the twentieth century, with the invention of synthetic anticoagulants gradually disappeared.
Today, interest in hirudotherapy is gradually increasing, so we can talk about its revival. Let's consider some of its features, what is this procedure, what is its use, is there any harm.
Hirudotherapy - what is it?
Hirudotherapy is a very old way of treatment, known even a thousand years before our era. Even the Egyptian pharaohs used a leech to treat many diseases. Information about this worm is found in the Bible and the Koran. To alleviate the pain and suffering, the treatment with leeches was prescribed by well-known doctors of antiquity - Hippocrates, Avicenna, Galen.
In the XVIII-XIX centuries hirudotherapy experienced its heyday. But the ancient Aesculapius, it seems, overdid it with such treatment and prescribed patients even up to two hundred leeches. This soon discredited hirudotherapy, and more and more doctors began to refuse it.
Today there is a surge in interest in hirudotherapy, what it is, doctors all over the world know and use leeches to treat more and more diseases. This is not a tribute to fashion, but a sign of a serious attitude towards health.
What is a medical leech?
Medical leech is a ringworm. Refers to parasites feeding on the blood of mammals. It is found in the wild, but due to widespread commercial fishing, its quantity is decreasing.
This worm has peculiar suckers at the back and front end. In the anterior sucker there is a mouth opening. The leech very rarely eats - having sucked to the victim, it absorbs the blood until it is completely saturated and can then dispense with food for several months. A hungry leech can absorb up to 15 ml of blood.
In the stomach of the worm, blood does not collapse due to the presence in it of anticoagulants - substances that prevent blood from clotting. The leech remains full for a long time, and only a few months after feeding can again suck blood. Leeches, which did not eat for about 4-5 months, are used in hirudotherapy, since it is believed that only then they reach sufficient for effective treatment of the "degree of hunger".
With hirudotherapy there is a strict scheme of suction points of leeches. Usually she herself crawls for a while in the area, limited by a specialist to choose the site of suction. They are never put on the vein itself, as there can be very heavy bleeding. In addition, they can be placed in the upper abdomen, in the groin, lower back, coccyx.
Depending on the disease, the places where the leeches are put will differ. There are rules for setting them.
- With varicose veins, they are placed along the vein thrombosed, but not in any case on the vessel.
- Migraines and hypertension use mastoid processes.
- In inflammatory diseases of the pelvic organs, hemorrhoids and prostatitis leeches are placed on the coccyx region, near the anus.
- In case of eye diseases, the temporal zone is selected.
- With radiculitis leeches are placed on the lower back, on either side of the spine.
- If it is necessary to treat diseases of the gallbladder, the liver - the area around it is used.
- Leeches can also be placed around inflamed joints with arthritis.
- With kidney diseases, a zone is chosen, slightly above the waist.
Leeches do not put near the eyes, on the scrotum.
How is hirudotherapy performed?
For sessions of hirudotherapy only medical leeches are used, specially grown for this purpose in biological factories. They are used only once.
Leech bites the skin, while you feel a small pain, such as a mosquito bite. Since saliva contains lethargic substances, any discomfort during treatment quickly passes. The worm injects all the substances useful for the body, and they gradually spread with the blood flow.
Complications of hirudotherapy are practically excluded. This is due to the fact that for one act of "bloodsucking" leech absorbs no more than 15 ml of blood. So even ten leeches in one session can suck less blood than, say, a donor loses.
After the session, the bite site is closed with a pressure bandage, as in venous bleeding. The release of blood from the bite site can last about 24 hours, which should not be intimidated and is considered the norm.
Before the procedure hirudotherapy you can not use perfume, drink alcohol.
Duration of hirudotherapy
The question of the duration of hirudotherapy and how many sessions are needed is decided only by the doctor, depending on the disease. In one parish, a different number of leeches is put - sometimes two or three are enough, and sometimes they need more.
Usually the treatment consists of ten sessions. Although there are diseases in which there will be enough and two or three procedures. The course of treatment should be repeated once or twice a year.
The Benefit of Hirudotherapy
Today many doctors speak about hirudotherapy, its pluses and minuses. Many of them agree that these worms have on the human body:
- and biological effects.
Points for hirudotherapy are only in the reflex zones. This is the essence of the reflex action - by biting the skin in strictly defined places, the leech thus has a powerful effect on some body systems.
The mechanical effect of hirudotherapy is that after the leech falls off, the bleeding does not stop - anticoagulants do not allow blood to clot.
Biological action hirudotherapy - together with saliva in the body gets over a hundred active substances.
All these mechanisms of influence have a soft effect on the human body. The saliva of this worm also has antimicrobial properties. It consists of enzymes, substances that normalize sleep, appetite, mood.
Indications for hirudotherapy
What treats hirudotherapy? The use of leeches for medical purposes has proven effective in such diseases:
Skin diseases - furunculosis, psoriasis, eczema, baldness;
- gynecological diseases;
- kidney disease;
- male diseases, including secondary infertility;
- obliterating endarteritis;
- thrombosis of arteries and veins;
- dental diseases;
- with cellulite, to correct wrinkles and a bad complexion;
- in glaucoma (a disease characterized by increased intraocular pressure), as well as the pathological state of the vessels of the fundus;
- with diseases of the ear, throat, nose;
- in neurology in the treatment of neuritis and paresis;
- for the treatment of rheumatic diseases;
- with constipation, cholecystitis, pathologies of the biliary tract, and also with inflammation of the large intestine;
- for the treatment of obesity, gout.
Is there any harm in hirudotherapy?
Discussion of the harm and benefits of hirudotherapy - the subject of scientific research is not one decade. Doctors try to explore in detail all aspects of such treatment.
There is a possibility of infection when, together with saliva, pathogenic microbes enter the body. However, at present this is completely excluded. In some cases, substances that prevent blood coagulation, can irritate the skin.
For some time it was believed that leeches can get inside the body and cause dangerous diseases. Today such, certainly, is excluded.
To determine how safe the treatment with leeches is for a person, it is necessary to pass tests before starting treatment. Doctors recommend taking these:
- blood coagulation assay;
- on RW, HIV, viral hepatitis;
- a general blood test, including the rate of erythrocyte sedimentation.
Such blood tests must be done primarily because of safety concerns. With all the rules, hirudotherapy does not cause harm.
There are diseases and conditions in which it is impossible to put leeches. Contraindications to hirudotherapy are as follows:
- difficult clotting of blood;
- insufficient weight, as well as signs of exhaustion;
- low blood pressure;
- propensity to allergic reactions;
- various autoimmune diseases;
- During pregnancy and breastfeeding;
- exacerbation of infections;
- any type of poisoning in the acute phase;
- oncological pathologies.
So, hirudotherapy is a very effective treatment for the body. The new theoretical knowledge about leeches gives the opportunity to achieve the best results in the treatment of many diseases. Do not be afraid of this treatment, because it is safe and completely natural.