Acupuncture’s role in peripheral neuropathy

AcupuncturePeripheral Neuropathy is a common neurologic condition that affects the peripheral nerves. The most common symptoms associated with peripheral neuropathy are weakness, numbness and pain. The pain is usually in the hands and feet, but can affect other areas of the body. Some people experience the uncomfortable sensation of “pins and needles”, stabbing, burning or tingling pain (especially at night) in their hands or feet. Others may suffer even more extreme symptoms such as muscle wasting, paralysis, or organ dysfunction.

A number of conditions can cause peripheral neuropathy. These include diabetes, thyroid disorders, autoimmune diseases, vitamin (B12) deficiency, alcoholism, exposure to toxins such as heavy metals, inflammatory or ischemic disease, AIDS, chemotherapy drugs and certain types of cancer. In recent years, researchers estimate that about 20% of people with cancer will develop peripheral neuropathy. These can be caused either by a tumor pressing on a nerve or a tumor growing into a nerve. More often, when certain chemotherapy drugs are administered in high doses, this can injure peripheral nerves. Radiation therapy can also injure nerves.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, acupuncture regulates the flow of a vital energy force called “Qi” (pronounced “chee”). Qi and blood travel through the body along pathways known as meridians. In cases of peripheral neuropathy, most often the Qi and blood are deficient. These can lead to a blockage along the affected meridians and pain occurs.

Multiple studies demonstrate the effectiveness of acupuncture for relief of pain and numbness due to peripheral neuropathy. During the acupuncture treatment, an Acupuncturist can determine whether deficiencies or blockages are occurring, and which meridians are affected. An Acupuncturist may do an interview and ask questions about perspiration, sleep, diet and exercise; and how, where and when you feel pain. The practitioner may also take your pulse and observe the tongue. This interview and physical examination will help your Acupuncturist create a treatment plan specifically for you. Each patient is treated according to his or her specific and unique health conditions.

The frequency and duration of acupuncture treatment required depends on the cause of the neuropathy, symptoms, and your overall health. Typical treatments last from 30 to 60 minutes, once or twice a week. Some symptoms are relieved after the first treatment, while more severe or chronic ailments often require multiple treatments.

Acupuncture is a safe, effective and natural modality that can heal and restore an overall sense of wellness. It can treat the physical as well as emotional effects of peripheral neuropathy.



Acupuncture treatment improves nerve conduction in peripheral neuropathy.

EurHYPERLINK “” J Neurol. 2007 Mar;14(3):276-81


Treating Peripheral Neuropathy with Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine.


Acupuncture for chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN): a pilot study using neurography.

By: Sven SchroederHYPERLINK “”1,2Gesa Meyer-Hamme1Susanne HYPERLINK “”Epplée