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Acupuncture for Long COVID


Fluctuating Symptoms of Long COVID


Long COVID, post-COVID, and chronic COVID are umbrella terms used to describe the wide range of symptoms that linger 12 or more weeks after infection with the COVID-19 virus. In some cases, symptoms may persist for years after the initial diagnosis.


As a consequence, these long term effects cause multi-system multi-symptomatic conditions, including autoimmunity, that may not return to their normal pre-infection baseline. Adding to the complexity of Long COVID, 70% of survey participants on https://patientresearchcovid19.com/ reported new and/or fluctuating symptoms over time, making it difficult for Long COVID patients to find relief and manage their health.


Long COVID Symptoms & Conditions According to Organ Systems


The results of multiple surveys of over 3700 participants with Long COVID report as many as 200 symptoms across 10 organ systems, making for a complex clinical landscape. Based on symptoms alone, there is no consensus of a succinct clinical definition of Long COVID.


The most common Long-COVID symptoms and conditions (categorized by organ system) are:


  • Systemic: Fatigue, malaise, post-exertion fatigue, reduced exercise capacity, hair loss.

  • Neuropsychiatric:  Anxiety, depression, sleep disruption, brain fog, headache.

  • Musculoskeletal: Myalgia (muscle pain), Arthralgia (joint pain), Fibromyalgia.

  • Respiratory: Dyspnea (shortness of breath), hypoxia (low oxygen levels), reduced exercise capacity.

  • Cardiovascular: Arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat), tachycardia (rapid heartbeat), chest pain.

  • Endocrine: Type 2 diabetes, thyroid disorders, bone loss, immune system dysfunction, mood disorders, metabolic disease, cardiovascular disease, hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis disruption which can lead to fertility issues.


A Promising Path Through Acupuncture as an Evidence Based Therapy


Fortunately, individuals experiencing Long COVID can take a proactive approach to manage their condition. A growing body of research shows how acupuncture addresses Long COVID through a holistic model of healing.


Acupuncture's unique ability to influence multiple body systems at once make it an ideal therapy to address the diverse range of Long COVID symptoms. The effectiveness of acupuncture stems from its ability to apply Traditional Chinese Medicine principles to restore the normal flow of energy in the body, as well as regulate promote balance between multiple interdependent organ systems.


Two models for how acupuncture might benefit Long COVID:


  • The Symptomatic Model: Employing a highly focused approach, acupuncture targets specific Long COVID symptoms with pinpoint precision.

  • The Systemic Model: Recognizing Long COVID as a systemic imbalance rather than isolated symptoms, acupuncture restores harmony by simultaneously healing multiple interconnected systems.


Here's why acupuncture is a multifaceted approach in addressing systemic health issues:


  1. Targeted Approach: Precision needle placement influences specific acupoints, triggering various biological processes throughout the body.

  2. Anti-inflammatory Effects: Suppresses pro-inflammatory signals while promoting anti-inflammatory mediators to manage conditions.

  3. Pain Relief: Influences pain pathways and promotes the release of natural pain relievers like endorphins, enkephalins, and serotonin to alleviate pain.

  4. Nervous System Regulation: Modulates both sympathetic and parasympathetic systems, reducing stress, improving sleep, and enhancing immune function.

  5. Hormonal Balance: Adjusts cortisol, melatonin, and sex hormones, as well as addressing stress, sleep, fertility, and menopausal symptoms.

  6. Enhanced Circulation: Stimulates widening of blood vessels to improve blood flow, support cardiovascular health and organ function.

  7. Increased Mobility: Alleviates muscle and joint stiffness, fostering improved joint function and increased overall mobility.

  8. Improved Metabolism: Balances blood sugar levels and boosts insulin sensitivity, contributing to improved metabolic well-being. Activates and revitalizes the digestive system, resulting in enhanced bowel movements, alleviation of constipation, and addresses concerns such as overeating or loss of appetite.

  9. Minimal Side Effects: Low risk compared to many conventional therapies, providing a safe option for overall health enhancement.

  10. Sustainable Wellness: Supports long-term health, maintaining hormonal balance, regulating the nervous system, and addressing underlying imbalances contributing to systemic health issues.

  11. Integration with Therapies: Seamlessly combines with other therapies, offering a comprehensive and personalized approach to systemic health.


By embracing both  symptomatic and systemic models, acupuncture becomes a  a valuable option for individuals pursuing Long COVID management. Acupuncture alleviates the burden of immediate symptoms while concurrently orchestrating a deeper systemic rebalancing, laying the foundation for holistic recovery.


Please give us a call at 301.880.3232 and it will be our pleasure to schedule a comprehensive evaluation including a personalized treatment plan to support your specific systematic needs and health conditions.


 

References:


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