Can acupuncture be used to treat peripheral neuropathy?
01/17/2019 // Mary Miller // Views

Your central nervous system consists of your brain and your spinal cord, while your peripheral nervous system connects these to the rest of your body. Peripheral neuropathy occurs when your peripheral nervous system malfunctions, causing weakness, numbness, feelings of "pins and needles," and pain in your body. If you suffer from peripheral neuropathy, you may be able to find a solution in the ancient healing art of acupuncture.

Peripheral neuropathy is a common neurological disorder that is associated with damaged peripheral nerves. It can be caused by a number of health conditions that may damage your nerves including thyroid issues, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, AIDS, inflammatory or ischemic disease, a deficiency in vitamin B12, and some types of cancer. It can also be a result of exposure to certain toxins such as heavy metals, certain chemotherapy drugs, or alcohol. Possible symptoms that may accompany peripheral neuropathy may include paralysis, muscle wasting, or organ dysfunction.

How can acupuncture treat peripheral neuropathy

Acupuncture is a technique used to alleviate pain and discomfort; as such, it may prove to be an effective treatment for peripheral neuropathy and other neurological disorders. It works by inserting sterile, hair-thin needles into specific pressure points along your body. This regulates the flow of "qi" or "healing energy" to promote your body's self-healing capabilities. According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), your qi travels around your body through certain pathways called "meridians." It is believed that peripheral neuropathy is a result of a deficiency in qi and blood in the affected areas of the body. By regulating the flow of qi, acupuncture can open up the blocked meridians to improve the circulation of qi and restore balance to your body. (Related: Acupuncture Treats Peripheral Neuropathy.)


Once you find a qualified acupuncturist whom you trust, you can undergo acupuncture therapy to treat both the physical and emotional effects of peripheral neuropathy. It is important to be open with your acupuncturist as he/she will need vital information on your sleep, diet, exercise patterns, pain threshold, and other health-related issues to customize a unique treatment for your body's specific needs. An in-depth interview and physical examination are often necessary to determine the cause of your condition and its subsequent treatment. Acupuncture sessions tend to last for about half an hour to a full hour, and are often done once or twice a week.

According to research, relief from chemotherapy-related neuropathy can be achieved in as little as six weeks of acupuncture therapy. In one study, 86 percent of patients with neuropathy exhibited significant improvements with their symptoms after undergoing acupuncture treatments.

Other treatments for peripheral neuropathy

You can maximize the effectiveness of your acupuncture treatment by supplementing it with any of these natural home remedies:

  • Regular exercise. Get your heart pumping and your blood flowing with regular exercise. Physical activity can increase the circulation of blood throughout your body to strengthen it. It also aids in weight loss and the restoration of damaged nerves. Additionally, exercise triggers the release of endorphins in your body. Endorphins are the happy hormones that serve as your body's natural painkillers.
  • Warm baths. Another way to increase circulation is to take a warm bath to soothe neuropathic pain. The warm water can both relax and stimulate your body.
  • Limit alcohol intake. The consumption of alcohol can have a negative impact on your nerves and may even aggravate nerve damage. By reducing your alcohol intake, you also reduce your risk of peripheral neuropathy.

Learn more about the health benefits of acupuncture and other healing arts by visiting

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