General notions. Principles
Hirudotherapy, also known as leech therapy, is a completely natural complex method of treating a large range of conditions. The flowing count as the few pathologic exceptions: hemophilia, anemia, hemorrhagic diathesis. The strict observance of recommendations, rules and techniques of application, as well as of contraindications, will prevent the occurrence of unwanted side effect or of post therapeutic complications. Provided that such elements are not integrated in the therapy session, sundry unpleasant effects can occur, mostly related to the leech application points which do not correspond to the treated condition. The efficiency of leech therapy resides in its complexity, but also to the fact the application points correspond to reflexogenic areas, energetic meridians or subtle resonators (chakras).
The application of hirudotherapy enforces a perfectly customized approach of each and every single patient, depending on their medical history, personal psycho-physical elements and even subtle-energetic aspects. The duration of treatment and the number of sessions are established for each patient individually. Generally, we speak of a 2 to 6 weeks duration, when 1 to 3 sessions a week are to be carried out. Also, there are exceptions in the case of which leech treatment is to be applied between 16 to 24 months.
The legislation in force concerning the status of using leeches in hirudotherapy stipulates, according to Ministry of Health’s Decree from 2001, that medicinal leeches should be disposable within a single therapy session.
The history of “modern” hirudotherapy starts in year 1990, when the World Society of Hirudologists was founded, after which, a year later, the first World Congress on Hirudology was held.
Ample researches and studies carried out in countries like Russia or USA have led to certain interesting conclusions: leech saliva contains few biologically active elements, decisively contributing to the generation of the therapy’s beneficial effects. Following the studies, several biologically active substances were identified in the leech saliva, substances which ensure curative effects. These effects relate to mechanic, biologic, reflexogenic components, depending on the points chosen for the application of leeches.
The mechanic effect consists of loosening the local blood flow. The leech’s musculature, which perforates the skin in the reflexogenic points, will create a series of effects specific of acupuncture. The secretion of leech saliva activates biologically active and anticoagulant (hirudin) substances important in decreasing the level of fats in the blood, featuring major benefits in conditions like: intravascular coagulation syndrome, arterial hyper and hypotension, edema (with complications at the level of blood and lymph microcirculation), inflammations, thrombosis, conditions of the immunity system, cellulitis. At the same time, extracts of the salivary gland of the leech are used in treating infectious diseases and in reducing sensitivity to pain, in case of plenty of illnesses.
Recent therapeutic approaches take into account the application of hirudotherapy in combination with other alternative therapies (reflexotherapy, phytotherapy, homeopathy, etc.) and / or allopathic therapies integrated in a structure of combined procedures grounded in the diagnosis established by the allopath doctor.
Hirudotherapy – Therapeutic mechanism
Defense and feeding mechanism of most invertebrates are based on the chemical bio-feedback principle. The substances involved in this process are the result of their own cells’ biochemistry, and are managed according to situational necessities. In case of Hirudo Medicinalis, this biochemical response, materialized in countless active substances, manifests at the level of salivary glands, the active substances being released in the patient’s body. At the same time, some of these substances remain in the digestive tract of the leech in view of processing the extracted blood. In other words, the source element of the active mechanism of hirudotherapy consists of the leech’s salivary glands.