Lyme disease has become a very common infection in the woodsy parts of New Jersey where I have my acupuncture practice. If treatment is delayed or ineffective, Lyme symptoms can last for many years with severe consequences. I have seen many patients, from age 4 to the elderly, who have had severe Lyme syndromeincluding headaches, joint pain, fever, fatigue, skin rashes, anxiety and depression with episodes of weakness so severe that they’ve needed to go on disability. Many of these patients have had several Lyme exposures over a number of years before they turn to acupuncture. Therefore I often treat chronic and difficult syndromes. Often these patients have acute flare-ups from Herxheimer or “die-off” reactions which can mimic and exacerbate Lyme symptoms. Herx reactions are often caused by a response to antibiotics or natural form of Lyme disease treatment that kill the Lyme spirochete causing a release of endotoxins that will circulate through the body for up to 72 hours.
Recently I treated Melinda, a 28 year old woman who has been battling Lyme disease for more than 6 years. She is going to an integrative MD who uses powerful anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic therapies along with fasting and detox diets. Melinda also follows a strict healing diet of no gluten, dairy, sugar and meat which can also cause die-off responses that contribute to Herx reactions.
Melinda’s main complaints were headaches, fatigue, muscle stiffness, and brain fog which made it difficult for her to focus and find words. She also had intestinal pain, bloating and diarrhea. Traditional Chinese Medical examination and diagnosis indicated a complex of patterns including weak absorptive and digestive energy, and a cold deficient Qi syndrome. Because Lyme disease is a chronic, debilitating condition my therapeutic strategy was to focus on gentle stimulation of her Kidneys and Spleen using acupuncture, tonifying herbs and a warm, nourishing diet. At the onset of treatment Melinda’s headaches and joint stiffness improved. With the addition of a warming and moving herbal formula with angelica, cinnamon and lovage as the primary herbs Melinda began to notice more energy, regular menstrual periods with less cramping and improved concentration. I recommended she limit her raw food intake and increase warming, cooked foods to strengthen her Spleen and Stomach.
Melinda has made steady progress and is feeling much stronger. She continues to alternate her detox protocols but her Herx reactions are much reduced and she is able to handle the symptoms much easier. Within a few months of this combined integrative approach and acupuncture and herbs I expect Melinda’s Lyme condition to be fully cured.
Post by Dr. Peter Kadar L.Ac D.O.M