Over 50 million Americans suffer from autoimmune disease; an autoimmune disease occurs when the bodys immune system attacks healthy tissue. Autoimmune disorders include Rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, thyroid disease, Addison’s disease, pernicious anemia, celiac disease, multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis and GuillainBarré syndrome. Due to the complexity of treating autoimmune disorders, integrative medicine solutions including acupuncture and Oriental medicine have received much attention as successful therapies in their treatment. Acupuncture is specifically noted for its use in pain relief, regulating the immune system, managing symptoms and improving quality of life.What Causes Autoimmune Disease?Under normal conditions, an immune response cannot be triggered against the cells of one’s own body. In certain cases, however, immune cells make a mistake and attack the very cells that they are meant to protect. This can lead to a variety of autoimmune diseases. They encompass a broad category of over 100 diseases in which the person’s immune system attacks his or her own tissue.The exact mechanisms causing these changes are not completely understood, but bacteria, viruses, toxins, and some drugs may play a role in triggering an autoimmune process in someone who already has a genetic (inherited) predisposition to develop such a disorder. It is theorized that the inflammation initiated by these agents, toxic or infectious, somehow provokes in the body a “sensitization” (autoimmune reaction) in the involved tissues.As the disease develops vague symptoms start to appear, such as joint and muscle pain, general muscle weakness, possible rashes or low-grade fever, trouble concentrating, or weight loss. The following symptoms may point toward something being wrong: numbness and tingling in hands and feet, dry eyes, hair loss, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, or repeated miscarriages can also be caused by an autoimmune response.
Acupuncture Effective for Crohn’s Disease
In a study published in the journal, Digestion, acupuncture was found effective for treating Crohn’s disease.Crohn’s disease is an autoimmune disease which involves chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. The main symptoms of Crohn’s disease are abdominal pain, fever, fatigue and persistent, watery diarrhea. Symptoms range from mild to severe, and can come and go with periods of flare-ups.In this German study, 51 patients with mild to moderately active Crohn’s disease had a decrease in disease activity after receiving 10 sessions of acupuncture. Study members also showed an improvement in general well-being and reported an improvement in quality of life.