About leech therapy
Leech therapy – on the primacy of traditional therapy over the means of mainstream medicine
Contemporary medicine puts forward an apparently inexhaustible range of treatments and interventions for all types of disorders or illnesses which can prejudice, temporarily or permanently, the human organism. Yet, what is amazing is, if we overcame our fascination for the mainstream medicine innovations and if we looked back to what time has left as therapeutic traditions, we can stumble upon a heritage unrightfully overshadowed by contemporary recipes which promise the cure or alleviation of our conditions.
Leech therapy (alternately, leech reflexotherapy) is one of the therapies practiced within sundry cultural spaces for centuries, but currently considered with skepticism, sometimes even with repugnance, by patients exclusively oriented to mainstream therapies. Leech therapy is based on applying leeches on strategic points on the patient’s body, known by the therapist. Leeches’ action is twofold: on the one hand, they extract what the vernacular language calls “bad blood” and, on the other hand, they release a series of biologically active substances, such as hirudin.
Leeches are not randomly applied, which is why leech therapy must be exclusively practiced by specialists. The application is highly precise, since it must correspond to the organ (organs) where the pathologic hotspot is located. Generally, the areas of the body affected by a perturbation of the blood microcirculation are taken into account. The bleeding caused by the leech sting is meant to ameliorate microcirculation up to the point where it reaches a normal stage. This mechanical effect of loosening circulation is complemented by a chemical process of decreasing the coagulation potential due to the fact the leech releases hirudin in the patient’s blood flow (as well as it releases other anticoagulation, anti-inflammatory, calming, antibacterial and detoxification active substances).
Concretely, such generalities on leeches’ action on the human organism translate on a large range of therapeutic applications. While leeches used to be exclusively employed in order to normalize blood pressure (often deemed symptoms of certain phenomena ancestors expressed in terms of breaking curses or curing the evil eye, in which the bad reputation of leech therapy as pseudoscientific practice linked to superstition), at present they are used in a much more diverse range of pathologies: artheriosclerosis, cardiosclerosis, cerebrosclerosis, varix, stenocardia, prostate illnesses, eye pathologies, thrombophlebitis, not to mention arterial hypertension.
Moreover, leech therapy has also proven its virtues in respect to curing or alleviating disorders like periodontitis, otitis, sundry forms of nephritis, hemorrhoids, various gynecological disorders and even infertility, as well as skin diseases (eczemas, lupus, furuncles, irritations). As a plus, leech therapy can yield extraordinary results in case of patients who, as a measure of the last mainstream resort, need surgical intervention, offering them the chance to cure while avoiding, at the same time, invasive procedures such as surgery itself.
But leech therapy is not exclusively therapeutic. Subsequently to the onset of diseases or following surgical interventions, leech therapy sessions can prevent complications of certain cardiovascular conditions and they can accelerate the post-operatory recovery process. The list of benefits patients can enjoy as a result of such sessions is as comprehensive as it gets, largely exceeding the examples cited above. Yet, in brief, leech therapy is an alternative worth taken into account: it renders redundant various contemporary procedures based on invasive interventions or on overwhelming the organism with aggressive medication.
Moreover, leech therapy can be successfully used in combination with a series of other alternative therapies which enhance the beneficial effects of applying leeches. We mainly speak here of acupuncture and phytotherapy, while its association to physiotherapy sessions is also recommendable. Obviously, leech therapy remains a therapeutic point of reference worth taking into account. A patient’s entire challenge is to overcome the psychological barrier delineated by the repulsion to the leech.