Can Acupuncture Help with Hidradenitis Suppurativa?

Although the evidence for acupuncture's potential to alleviate hidradenitis suppurativa symptoms is primarily anecdotal, it may do so by harmonising the body's energy channels and promoting natural healing.

Acne inversa, orhidradenitis suppurativa (HS), is a chronic inflammatory skin disorder that is typified by painful nodules, abscesses, and draining tunnels. These frequently appear in areas like the groyne, underarms, and armpits where there is a lot of skin friction.

Given the drawbacks and possible adverse effects of traditional treatments like antibiotics, some HS patients look to complementary and alternative medicine in hopes of finding some relief.

Chinese medicine might offer a distinctive viewpoint on HS by characterising it as an illness that disturbs particular energy channels in the body, primarily impacting the kidney, liver, and spleen meridians. Heat, moisture, and toxins build up as a result of this disturbance.

The ultimate goal of addressing these imbalances using acupuncture is to promote the body's natural healing processes by lowering inflammation, promoting circulation, and promoting circulation.

Can acupuncture treat hidradenitis suppurativa?

Although acupuncture has been investigated by some individuals with hidradenitis suppurativa as an alternative therapy, there is little scientific data to suggest its efficacy in treating HS.

People with HS who had battlefield acupuncture (BFA), a form of ear acupuncture originally utilised in military and Veterans Administration healthcare settings, did not significantly improve in terms of pain, according to a 2023 systematic literature review.

Acupuncture has been shown in other studies to alleviate acne and certain skin conditions. However, the study did not concentrate on HS.

There will soon be further studies conducted especially to evaluate BFA's efficacy in treating HS patients.

How does acupuncture for hidradenitis suppurativa work?

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) views HS as a disorder originating from the body's fight to facilitate tissue regeneration and detoxification, frequently associated with a lack of "yang" energy, which is the energy associated with activity and warmth.

TCM practitioners may use "Wen-tong" or "Heshi Santong" therapy, which entails acupuncture needling, to treat HS. The purpose of the carefully placed acupuncture needles is to produce heat and a sensation inside the body.

It is thought that the heat and this sensation will increase the body's Qi, or vital energy, and strengthen its defences against outside aggravating forces.

Although the location of needles might vary, common locations are frequently found along the meridians of the spleen, liver, and kidney, which are linked to the organs and bodily systems that are pertinent to HS.

For example, spleen meridian points can aid in the removal of toxins and moisture. This is supposed to improve blood circulation in impacted areas and encourage Qi flow, which will lessen the symptoms of HS.

Possible side effects of acupuncture for hidradenitis suppurativa

Acupuncture side effects could include:
  • infection
  • dizziness or fainting
  • soreness
  • pain or discomfort during needle insertion
  • bruising or bleeding
  • uncommon side effects, such as incredibly uncommon consequences like nerve injury or organ puncture

Other alternative treatments for hidradenitis suppurativa

Additional non-traditional therapies for hidradenitis suppurativa could involve:

  • Ayurveda: a type of holistic therapy that balances the body's doshas and treats inflammation by using herbal medicines, diet changes, and cleansing techniques.
  • Chinese herbal medicine: herbal remedies are designed to treat fundamental imbalances.
  • Cupping therapy: a treatment that improves circulation and lessens discomfort by using suction cups.
  • Moxibustion: To promote healing, moxibustion, a kind of TCM, involves burning dried mugwort close to acupuncture points.
  • Dietary therapy: This treatment emphasizes particular foods according to your TCM diagnosis.
  • Aromatherapy: Aromatherapy helps reduce HS symptoms by using essential oils that have anti-inflammatory qualities.
  • Lifestyle recommendations: One sort of lifestyle modification you can use is the decrease of stress and guidance on exercise.
  • Emotional and psychological support: Counselling and stress-reduction strategies may improve your general health.
  • Homoeopathy: Customised to each individual's unique symptoms and constitution, homoeopathic treatments help to activate the body's natural healing processes.
  • Nutritional supplements: Some supplements, like curcumin, zinc, and vitamin D, may be utilised because they may help lower inflammation in HS patients.
  • Balneotherapy: To alleviate the symptoms of HS, this therapy makes use of therapeutic baths, such as mud or saltwater baths.

Bottom line

A promising treatment option for anyone looking for an alternative to conventional methods for HS is acupuncture, an ancient practice that balances Qi and stimulates the body's healing abilities.

Even though there isn't much scientific proof now available and a more thorough study is required, some research and anecdotal reports indicate it may help treat HS-related pain and inflammation.

With more study, acupuncture may prove to be a beneficial adjunct to the treatment of HS, providing a comprehensive strategy to address the psychological as well as the physical components of this difficult illness.


Are they close to finding a cure for HS?

There is currently no cure for HS.

Can people with HS live a long life?

Some evidence suggests that HS may significantly reduce life expectancy

Can you donate blood if you have HS?

HS itself will not stop you from donating blood

Can someone with HS have kids?

Increased preterm birth and pregnancy loss.

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