Hirudotherapy - the benefits and harm

символ гирудотерапии — медицинская пиявка 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, the invention of synthetic anticoagulants gradually fell out of use.

Today, interest in hirudotherapy is gradually increasing, so we can talk about its revival. Let us consider some of its features, what this procedure is, what is the use of it, is there any harm.

Hirudotherapy - what is it

Hirudotherapy is a very old method of treatment, known 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 relieve pain and suffering, leech treatment was prescribed by famous antiquity doctors - Hippocrates, Avicenna, Galen.

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In the XVIII – XIX centuries, hirudotherapy experienced its heyday. But the doctor of antiquity seemed to overdo it with such treatment, and even up to two hundred leeches were prescribed to the patient. This soon discredited hirudotherapy, and more and more doctors began to refuse it.

Today, there is a surge of interest in hirudotherapy, what it is, doctors around 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

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medicinal leech

The medicinal leech is a ringed worm. Refers to parasites that feed on the blood of mammals. It is found in the wild, but due to widespread industrial fishing, its amount is reduced.

This worm has a peculiar sucker on its back and front end. In the front of the suction cup is located mouth opening. The leech eats very rarely - having stuck to the victim, it absorbs blood until it is completely saturated and can then go without food for several months. A hungry leech can swallow up to 15 ml of blood.

In the stomach of the worm, the blood does not clot due to the presence of anticoagulants in it - substances that prevent blood coagulation. The leech remains full for a long time, and only a few months after feeding can suck blood again. Leeches that have not been eaten for about 4–5 months are used in hirudotherapy, since it is believed that only then can they reach the “degree of hunger” sufficient for effective treatment.

When hirudotherapy, there is a strict scheme of leech suction points. Usually, she herself crawls for some time in the area bounded by a specialist to select the place of suction. They are never placed on the vein itself, as there can be very heavy bleeding. In addition, they can be placed in the upper abdomen, in the groin area, lower back, coccyx.

Depending on the disease, the places where leeches are placed will differ. There are rules for their production.

  1. With varicose veins, they are placed along the thrombosed vein, but in any case not on the vessel.
  2. на какие места ставятся пиявки For migraine and hypertension, mastoid processes are used.
  3. In inflammatory diseases of the pelvic organs, hemorrhoids and prostate leeches are placed on the coccyx, near the anus.
  4. In case of eye diseases, the temporal zone is selected.
  5. When radiculitis leeches are placed on the lower back, on both sides of the spine.
  6. If you need to treat diseases of the gallbladder, liver - use the area around it.
  7. Leeches can be placed around the inflamed joints with arthritis.
  8. In case of kidney diseases, a zone is selected, slightly above the waist.

Leeches do not put near the eyes, on the scrotum.

How is the procedure of hirudotherapy

For hirudotherapy sessions, only medical leeches specially grown for this purpose in biological factories are used. They are used only once.

Leech bites the skin, while you feel a little pain, like a mosquito bite. Since the leech contains painkillers in the saliva, any discomfort during treatment quickly resolves. The worm injects all substances that are beneficial to the body, and they are gradually spread with the blood flow.

Complications of hirudotherapy are practically excluded. This is due to the fact that in one act of “blood sucking” the 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.

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After the session, the bite site is closed with a pressure bandage, as in the case of venous bleeding. The release of blood from the bite site can last for about 24 hours, which should not be scary and is considered normal.

Before the procedure of hirudotherapy can not use perfume, drink alcohol.

Hirudotherapy procedure duration

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 arrival, a different number of leeches is put - sometimes two or three is enough, and sometimes they need more.

Usually the treatment consists of ten sessions. Although there are diseases in which two or three procedures will be quite enough. The course of treatment must be repeated once or twice a year.

The benefits of hirudotherapy

Today, many doctors are talking about hirudotherapy, its pros and cons. Many of them agree that these worms have on the human body:

  • reflex;
  • mechanical;
  • and biological effects.

гирудотерапия — точки присасывания пиявок схемы Points for hirudotherapy are only in the reflexogenic zones. This is the essence of the reflex impact - biting through the skin in strictly defined places, the leech thereby has a powerful effect on some body systems.

The mechanical effect of hirudotherapy is that after the leech disappears, the bleeding does not stop - anticoagulants prevent blood from clotting.

The biological effect of hirudotherapy - with saliva in the body enters over one hundred active substances.

All these mechanisms of influence have a mild 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 use of hirudotherapy

What treats hirudotherapy? The use of leeches for therapeutic purposes has proven its effectiveness in such diseases:

  • применение гирудотерапии при заболеваниях кожи
    skin diseases and hirudotherapy

    skin diseases - furunculosis, psoriasis, eczema, alopecia;

  • gynecological diseases;
  • kidney disease;
  • male diseases, including secondary infertility;
  • obliterating endarteritis;
  • arterial and venous thrombosis;
  • hemorrhoids;
  • dental diseases;
  • with cellulite, for the correction of wrinkles and poor complexion;
применение пиявок при целюлите
  • in glaucoma (a disease characterized by increased intraocular pressure), as well as the pathological condition of the fundus vessels;
  • in diseases of the ear, nose and throat;
  • in neurology in the treatment of neuritis and paresis;
  • for the treatment of rheumatic diseases;
  • with constipation, cholecystitis, pathologies of the biliary tract, as well as 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 has been the subject of scientific research for more than a decade. Doctors are trying to most thoroughly investigate all aspects of such treatment.

There is the possibility of infection when pathogenic microbes enter the body along with saliva. However, this is currently completely excluded. In some cases, substances that prevent blood clotting can irritate the skin.

For some time, it was believed that leeches can get inside the body and cause dangerous diseases. Today this is, of course, excluded.

анализ крови для безопасности гирудотерапии

To determine how safe leech treatment is for a person, it is necessary to pass tests before starting treatment. Doctors recommend taking these:

  • blood clotting test;
  • on RW, HIV, viral hepatitis;
  • complete blood count, including the erythrocyte sedimentation rate.

Such blood tests should be done primarily due to safety concerns. Subject to all rules of hirudotherapy does not harm.


There are diseases and conditions in which it is impossible to put leeches. Contraindications for hirudotherapy are as follows:

  • противопоказания гирудотерапии obstructed blood clotting;
  • low weight and signs of exhaustion;
  • low blood pressure;
  • tendency to allergic reactions;
  • various autoimmune diseases;
  • During pregnancy and breastfeeding;
  • exacerbation of infections;
  • any types of poisoning in the acute phase;
  • oncological pathology.

So, hirudotherapy is a very effective means of treating the body. New theoretical knowledge about leeches make it possible to achieve the best results in the treatment of many diseases. Do not be afraid of such treatment, as it is safe and completely natural.