Leech therapy is an ancient natural medication used by the Egyptian since 2000 years ago. It has been used as an alternative treatment for diseases and disorders in the present day ranging from diabetes, varicose veins and heart problems to menstruation pain. Specifically on the treatment and relief of joint discomfort, leech therapy has been applied to conditions of various joint pain conditions, joint inflammation, gout and arthritis.
In 2005, the first American hospital Beth Israel Medical Centre in New York City obtained FDA approval of leech therapy for Osteoarthritis of the knee. Various hospitals are known to use leech therapy for treatment in diabetes and after surgery care. The surprising medical benefits from this little creature have further seen its application used in plastic surgery and wound curative management in hospitals in various parts of the world.
Leeches are little blood sucking worm-like critters. The miraculous benefits that these tiny creatures claimed to provide as an all natural alternative to joint pain treatment promises an interesting approach not for the faint hearted though. Some people may not accept the looks of a slug, let alone being feed on! Leech therapy has gained its popularity these days as more and more people are seeking for alternative treatments to diseases and disorders. It is also noted that leech therapy does not have harmful side-effects.
In any therapy these leeches are only used once. Medicinal leeches are classified as Hirudo Medicinalis and are known to possess enzymes and compounds in its saliva with the following effect;
• Anti-Inflammatory – the anti-inflammatory effect has vivid in its usefulness in healing joint inflammation
• Anti-Coagulating – the effect of inhibiting the coagulating of blood
• Clot Dissolving – the effect to dissolve blood clot and improve blood flow
• Vasodilation – the ability to widen the blood vessels and improve blood circulation
• Anesthetic – the effect that numbs the nerves and thus pain relief
A study on 113 patients with advance chronic knee joint pain due to osteoarthritis was conducted by the University Hospital Aachen in Germany using leech therapy in 2008. They were randomly divided into 3 groups; group I with single leech therapy, group II with double leech therapies and the controlled group III. The study concluded that it reduces symptoms caused by osteoarthritis. The repeated therapy improved the outcome was evident in group II with repeated leech therapy.
Leech therapy does promise an alternative to relieve pain for its anti inflammatory and pain relief effects. Chronic joint discomfort patients may find the many medications available to treat the pain and inflammation far from satisfactory; leech therapy may be one avenue.