Conditions suitable for leech therapy:
Acute and chronic bronchitis, bronchial asthma, pulmonary heart disease associated with chronic obstruction of the lungs and bronchial asthma, heavy pneumonia with difficulty breathing, Pickwickian syndrome, arteries with thrombosis (in the lungs), tuberculosis accompanied by blood vomiting.
Pyelonephritis (type of urinary tract infection) with hypertension syndrome, hypostases (settling of the blood in relatively lower parts of an organ or body due to impaired circulation), chronic nephritic syndrome, cystitis (urinary bladder infection).
Radiculitis (pain associated with nerves stemming out from the spine), arthritis.
Hemorrhoids, pancreatitis, blood stasis in the liver, cirrhosis, cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder), and other chronic inflammations of the abdominal cavity.
Asystole, Raynaud’s disease, high blood pressure, stoppage of lymph flow, ischemic heart trouble, stenocardia, pre heart attack symptoms, heart attack, inflamed blood vessels, poor blood circulation, heart muscle diseases, obliterative arterial disease; obliterative thromboangititis, trophic ulcer of veins and arteries.
Obstetrics and gynecology:
Inflammatory conditions, complications during the postnatal period, problems with mammary glands, thrombophlebitis of the pelvic region, menopause. Also non-cancerous fibroids, endometriosis, adenomyosis, and ovarian cystic disease.
Scleroderma, eczema, lupus, toxidermia, chronic dermatitis, psoriasis, erysipelatous inflammation of the skin.
Nose, Throat, Ears:
Acute and chronic pain of the auditory nerve, tinnitus, acute and chronic otitis, auditory canal infection, antritis, inflammation of the frontal sinuses, inflammation of cells in the ethmoid bone.
Burst blood vessels in the eye, macular retinal dystrophy, inflammation of blood vessels in the eye, glaucoma.
Neuropathology (nervous system):
Atherosclerosis, thrombosis, and neuropathy.
Stomatology (diseases of the mouth):
Gingivitis, periodontitis, and acute and chronic cancer sores.
Postoperative blood clots, infiltration, and deficiency of blood flow after microsurgery and reconstructive surgery.
To fully understand why leech therapy works in such a wide range of applications, remember that the therapeutic activity of the leech is not based on a single mechanism of action, but on a combination of multiple effects. It reduces the viscosity of the blood while simultaneously dilating the blood vessels, accelerating lymph flow, inhibiting platelet aggregation, blocking numerous mediators of tissue infection, and exerting local analgesic and anesthetic effects, thus minimizing the pain of treatment. The medical term for such a cornucopia of effects is called a “multifactorial mechanism.”
Here is a little more specific information on conditions not covered elsewhere on our website:
Allergies are the response to an immune system overreaction to an external substance. Allergies result in micro circulation and lymphatic malfunctions in the veins and venous system.
Bronchitis – both acute and chronic – are inflammatory conditions in the airways of the lungs, the bronchial tubes. Acute bronchitis is usually caused by viruses and certain bacteria. Chronic bronchitis is frequently a reaction to the environment and develops over time due to cigarette smoke, exposure to chemicals, and air pollution. Chronic bronchitis is most often an allergic reaction and it weakens the immune system, particularly in the elderly. When producing thick mucus, leech therapy can be very effective by strengthening the immune system, improving metabolism, and decreasing the venous plethora.
Gastritis is an inflammation of the stomach lining. It has many possible causes – unhealthy diet, accumulation of waste products in the body, and stress are common. It can lead to damage of the liver and gall bladder. A course of leech therapy may consist of 7 sessions.
Glaucoma is usually accompanied by a constant or periodic increase of intraocular pressure and nerve damage in the eye. The root cause is usually a poorly functioning regulation of fluid in the eye. Leech therapy acts a a defense against the primary causes of this disease by improving fluid circulation while reducing swelling.
Hemorrhoids are similar to varicose veins, but they affect the veins of the rectum. They are caused by high blood pressure in the veins of the anus. They can be internal or external. Typically a person with hemorrhoids has pain, swelling, inflammation, and bleeding. The person also may be prone to thrombosis and the buildup of blood clots. By placing leeches on the tailbone area, one is able to simultaneously drain the affected area and divert the blood flow, which in turn, has a strong healing effect. One patient who had undergone two surgeries and “tried everything” did not find relief until she began leech therapy.
Chronic pancreatitis is widespread. It affects the stomach’s functions causing pain and an inability to properly digest and absorb food. Leech therapy has been shown to be an effective treatment, especially in the presence of blood stasis in the abdominal cavity.
Prostate enlargement is widespread. It is not uncommon to see an adenoma, a benign tumor. By restoring proper blood circulation to the area, leech therapy attacks the core of the disease.
Shingles (Herpes Zoster) requires timely treatment – within one week after the initial appearance of symptoms. A series of 4 to 5 treatments may be done at three- to four-day intervals.
Thrombophlebitis is caused by blood clots attacking a regular blood flow through the veins. There is hardly a better approach to this type of condition than the application of leech therapy. If leeches are applied in the early stages when only a reddening of the veins (phlebitis) is detected, then it is possible to prevent the development of blood clots.
Thrombosis – formation of a blood clot in a blood vessel – is a major cause of death and disability from heart attack (myocardial infarction), stroke, peripheral ischemia (narrowing of the arteries leading to lack of blood and oxygen getting to tissues), and pulmonary embolism (blockage of an artery in the lung). Standard heparin has been used successfully for the prevention and treatment of thrombotic disorders. However, its use has several limitations, including a variable anticoagulant effect, an inability to inhibit clot-bound thrombin, and the potential to cause thrombocytopenia. Direct thrombin inhibitors such as hirudin do not share these limitations.
Hirudin is the most potent non-covalent inhibitor of thrombin. It is a single peptide chain of 65 amino acids with molecular weight of ~7000. It is isolated from the salivary gland of the medicinal leech, Hirudo medicinalis. It selectively binds thrombin in a 1:1 fashion at each of two sites on the enzyme: 1) the domain that recognizes fibrinogen, and 2) the catalytic domain. Because of the specificity of binding, hirudin does not inhibit other enzymes in the coagulation or fibrinolytic pathways, such as factor Xa, factor IXa, kallikrein, activated protein C, plasmin or tissue-type plasminogen activator.
Tinnitus, or ringing of the ears, is said to be caused by different things, including exposure to loud noise, a build-up of ear wax, allergies, infection, trauma, high or low blood pressure, tumor, cardiovascular disease, or long-term use of certain medications such as aspirin and anti-inflammatories. Mechanically, it is thought to be a disruption of the tiny “hair” cells in the inner ear, or affecting the nerve pathways between the inner ear and the brain. Typically, leech therapy may consist of 6 sessions, a week or two apart.
Ulcers of the stomach and duodenum are often caused by weakening of the stomach wall. Leech therapy can be the primary treatment, especially when there are signs of inflammation. Or it can be a supplemental therapy used to accelerate the healing process.
Varicose veins are associated with a weakening of the structure of the veins’ walls that cause them to stretch and swell. They are a sign that the entire circulatory system is stressed to some extent. Venous disease is one of the best-established traditional indications for leech therapy.
Wounds that are called non-healing are the results of circulatory problems and blood clots, and lead to the tissue’s inability to health. Leeches improve micro circulation and blood circulation, while removing hypostasis, blood stasis, and stimulating the immune system which helps to clean and heal the wound.