Center For Chinese and Wholistic Medicine

Shingles is a outbreak of a rash – or blisters (usually on 1 side of the body) that may be associated with severe pain. It is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. After an attack of chickenpox, the virus lies dormant in the nerve tissue. It can then reappear in the form of shingles.

Symptoms of Shingles include burning, shooting pain, itching and tingling on 1 side of the body. The rash and blisters are present from 1-30 days. After the rash, post ­herhetic neuralgia can occur where there can be mild-severe pain for months to years depending on the person.

Shingles is not contagious, per se, however, if someone who has not had chickenpox has direct or indirect contact with the open blisters of someone with shingles, that person can get chickenpox. However, one person cannot give shingles to another person. Since many people have had chickenpox or the chickenpox vaccine, usually they are not at risk of getting chickexpox from a shingles sufferer.

Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can be very helpful for shingles, as well as homeopathics and antioxidants. Acupuncture and nutritional, herbal homeopathic therapies help shingles by stimulating the immune system to kill the virus, and by relaeasing endorphins which stop the pain.

Some of the supplements which can be used for shingles include: Long dan Xie Gan Wan, Astra isatis and transfer factor. They are potent antivirals. Zinc, Evening Primrose Oil, krill oil, lipoic acid, St. John’s Wort oil, lemon balms, Capsaicin cream, and Echinacea are also natural supplements used for shingles. Hypericum, Ranunculus, Mezerum are potent homeopathics which can be used effectively for Shingles, depending on the patient’s symptom presentation.

Some of the western drugs used for Shingles include: Antivirals such as Acyclovir and Valtrex. They can be used if caught in the first 1-2 days. Corticosteroids, Ibuprofen, lidocaine patches, Lyrica, opioids, trycyclic antidepressants such as Amytryptylene and anticonvulsants can reduce the pain.

Usually, if patients get acupuncture and herbs their pain is significantly reduced and finally eliminated. Chronic cases of shingles post herpetic pain can be totally resolved effectively with acupuncture and herbs.

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Marjorie Singler