autoimmune disease

Acupuncture and Autoimmune Disease

Over 50 million Americans suffer from autoimmune disease including Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, Thyroid Disease, Addison’s disease, Pernicious Anemia, Celiac Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Myasthenia Gravis and Guillain-Barre Syndrome. An autoimmune disease occurs when the body’s immune system attacks healthy tissue. Due to the complexity of treating autoimmune diseases, integrative medicine solutions including Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine have received much attention as successful treatment therapies. Acupuncture is specifically known for to relieve pain relief, regulate the immune system, managing symptoms, and improving quality of life.

What Causes Autoimmune Disease?

Under normal conditions, an immune response can’t be triggered against the cells of one’s own body. However, in certain cases immune cells think of healthy native cells as foreign cells and attack the healthy cells by mistake. When this happens, it can cause broad category of over one hundred autoimmune diseases.

The exact mechanism behind autoimmune diseases is not completely understood. Although the exact cause of autoimmune diseases is not clear, it is suggested that they are cultivated by the perfect storm of genetic mutations due to stress, poor diet and gut health, environmental pollutants, and unresolved chronic infection. These factors create a state of chronic systemic inflammation in the body and eventually trigger an autoimmune attack.

As the disease develops, vague symptoms start to appear, such as fatigue, joint and muscle pain, general muscle weakness, rashes, low-grade fever, trouble concentrating, weight gain or loss. Numbness and tingling in hands and feet, dry eyes, hair loss, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, or repeated miscarriages may also suggest that something is wrong with the immune system.

How Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Treats Autoimmune Disease

According to oriental medicine, autoimmune diseases occur when there is an imbalance within the body. Imbalance can come from an excess or deficiency of Yin and Yang that disrupts the flow of Qi, or vital energy, through the body. Acupuncture helps the body restore balance, treating the root of the disorder, while specifically addressing the symptoms that are unique to each individual. Clinical research shows that acupuncture treats autoimmune diseases by activating the immune system. Through activation of the immune system, the body releases immune markers and regulatory proteins that in fact reduce the inflammation, thereby treating the systemic inflammation in a patient. In addition to acupuncture, I create a holistic treatment program to manage your autoimmune disease which may include a combination of therapies, including acupuncture, Moxa, cupping, stress reducing exercises (yoga, meditation), emotional balance, physical activity, herbal medicine, and nutritional support.


    Greco, C., A. Kao, K. Maksimowicz-McKinnon, R. Glick, M. Houze, S. Sereika, J. Balk, and S. Manzi. ìAcupuncture for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: A Pilot RCT Feasibility and Safety Study.î Lupus 17.12 (2008): 1108-116. Print.
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