Guillain-Barré syndrome Treatment
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine for GBS
Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is a rare and serious condition that has a major impact on the nervous system. It affects roughly 1 in every 100,000 people every year and is more prevalent amongst adults and males. This condition mainly affects the feet, hands and limbs and creates problems such as numbness, muscle weakness and wasting and pain. These sensations can quickly spread and can lead to complications including paralysis across the whole body. At its most severe GBS is a medical emergency, and even in the early stages the majority of people with the condition will need to be hospitalised to receive treatment.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) however offers a ray of hope to people living with this condition. There is significant evidence to suggest that acupuncture and Chinese Herbal medicine can help to reverse the symptoms of GBS, regain their strength and ability to live an independent life. In this article we will find out more about GBS from a Western and Chinese medical perspective and discover more about Chinese medicine for GBS and helpful Guillain-Barré syndrome treatment suggestions and lifestyle advice.
How do we get GBS?
The exact cause of Guillain-Barre syndrome is unknown however it is thought that there may be a link to having been exposed to infection – around two-thirds of patients report symptoms of a respiratory or gastrointestinal infection in the six weeks preceding.
Symptoms of GBS
Symptoms often start in the feet and hands before spreading to your arms and legs and include:
- Numbness and pins and needles
- Muscle weakness
- Impaired balance and co-ordination
Guillain-Barré syndrome treatment
Chinese Medicine for GBS: What is the TCM perspective?
According to TCM, GBS is recognised as a flaccidity syndrome – Wei Zheng. This is caused by many factors including Dampness, Excess Heat and exposure to poison. In addition an improper diet, working too hard or chronic disease can all leave us susceptible to this condition. Wei Zheng leads to problems with our vital energy – our Qi, blood that is unable to flow smoothy, and fluid deficiency. This situation leads to a lack of nourishment being available to the tendons, blood vessels nerves and muscles…all of which create GBS. The result will be a progressive wasting away of the nerves and muscles and blood stasis which will further inhibit recovery.
In order to successfully treat GBS with Chinese Medicine it is essential that the underlying causes of the disease are cleared. Treatment will focus on clearing out Lung Heat which damages fluids, restoring the function of nerves along the spinal column, clearing the invasion of Damp/ Heat and boosting the levels of Kidney reserve – this is vital for restoring strength as our Kidneys are our body’s repositories of energy.
Acupuncture for GBS
Acupuncture is uniquely placed to help patients with nerve disorders. Extensive research demonstrates that stimulating specific acupuncture points with sterile acupuncture needles can restore nerve function damaged by a variety of neurological disorders and there is growing evidence to show that Acupuncture for GBS is a valid and effective treatment.
There are several acupuncture points that are very effective at building up and nourishing blood, muscle and energy levels. These are located along the top of the shin bones, in the feet, and also in the hands. Through the use of expertly placed acupuncture needles an acupuncturist is able to shift the flow of Qi, Your practitioner may decide to combine acupuncture treatment with some moxibustion and massage treatments to intensify the healing effect.
Case study – Acupuncture for GBS
GinSen recently treated Hassan for GBS. He went into hospital for a minor injury one day a fit, sporty and healthy young man and came out 2 years later with GBS. He was unable to stand, walk and had no energy. His doctors had told him to prepare for a life lived in bed. Within 2 months of treatment with our expert GinSen practitioners he was literally back on his feet again, able to walk and was making steady progress towards living an independent life.
Lifestyle and Diet changes
Making some extremely simple changes to your lifestyle and diet can be very helpful in helping you to take back some control over GBS.
Take Ginseng. This herb is well known for its energy-boosting properties. It has also been shown to stimulate brain function, making it a sought-after herb for improving sports and mental performance. In a number of human studies, supplementing with ginseng been shown to improve physical performance in sedentary and active people, offer anti-fatigue properties, and boost mental alertness.
Try Mugwort to boost energy levels. People also take this natural herb for stomach and intestinal conditions including constipation, cramps, weak digestion and persistent vomiting. Mugwort is also used to stimulate gastric juice, build appetite and improve bile secretion. Mugwort is the herb that is used to warm acupuncture points prior to needling. A very versatile herb!
Add some Rosemary The humble herb rosemary is a marvellous nerve protector. The polyphenols and terpenes in rosemary are great weapons against inflammation because they’re naturally occurring antioxidants.As a result of taking this everyday herb veins and arteries are less likely to become narrowed or clogged, and may lessen pain, swelling, and stiffness associated with neuropathy. This can be sprinkled on to food and is delicious as well as good for you.
Focus on a healthy diet. Healthy foods can help you build your strength. These include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. Try to limit the amount of cold and raw food that you eat as these are difficult to for your body to process and digest and instead try to nourish your Spleen with warm, easy to digest food such as broths or soups.
Avoid, better give up smoking. Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes and cigars can cause lung damage and this put you at risk of further infection.
For more information about how Chinese Medicine can help you with Guillain-Barré syndrome, book your free consultation with our Chinese Medicine experts today
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We can’t guarantee the treatment result, as the symptoms of conditions are unpredictable and vary greatly from person to person. The treatment length and recovery time also varies for individual. Please visit our clinics website: GinSen where a specialists will discuss your care and provide a consultation, and the treatment will be designed to meet your individual needs.