Acupuncture & COVID: Post Infection; When I see you



In the past year I have seen a number of patients suffering from long haul covid symptoms. I say suffering, because they can't take a full breathe, they can't sleep, their digestion is off, and they cannot enjoy their food with a loss of senses. I am going to reference some research, but I want to address the human connection and compassion of being treated by an acupuncturist. The reason acupuncture is so effective is that we take the time to really listen and understand who is in front of us. We don't treat the symptom, we treat the patient. I have treated patients that haven't been able to take a deep breath in weeks with just 2 points with 4 needles, while other patients need many more points, qi gong movements and dietary adjustments. This is the beauty of our medicine, there is no one size fits all prescription.


Looking at research on acupuncture and post viral loss of taste and smell, I find this has been an issue long before covid. It is documented in many ancient medical texts as well as modern medical textbooks. One study on an individual that lost his sense of smell years prior from unknown causes was able to regain it after 1 month of a simple auricular (ear) electro acupuncture protocol. A 2012-2013 studied the effect of acupuncture on anosmia in post viral patients, and found a statistically significant improvement in olfactory (smell) function as well as scent discrimination. Researchers also found that there was greater response to treatment the shorter the length of time from when one lost their sense of smell.



References:

Drews, T., Hummel, T., Rochlitzer, B., Hauswald, B., & Hähner, A. (2022). Acupuncture is associated with a positive effect on odour discrimination in patients with postinfectious smell loss-a controlled prospective study. European archives of oto-rhino-laryngology : official journal of the European Federation of Oto-Rhino-Laryngological Societies (EUFOS) : affiliated with the German Society for Oto-Rhino-Laryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, 279(3), 1329–1334. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00405-021-06872-9

Liebell D. (2019). Waking Up and Literally Smelling the Coffee: Inducing Olfactory Function with 3-Phase Auricular Therapy. Medical acupuncture, 31(1), 45–48. https://doi.org/10.1089/acu.2018.1326

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