Does Acupuncture help with long COVID?
What is long COVID?
Long COVID is a complex and confounding condition that has left doctors and scientists scratching their heads. At its core, Long COVID refers to a collection of symptoms that persist long after the acute phase of COVID-19 has passed. What’s remarkable about Long COVID is that it seems to affect people in different ways, with symptoms ranging from fatigue and brain fog to joint pain, brain fog and shortness of breath.
Its prevalence spans across all age groups and disease severities, with the highest percentage of diagnoses found among those aged 36 to 50 years. Interestingly, the vast majority of Long COVID cases occur in non-hospitalized patients with a mild acute illness, representing the majority of COVID-19 cases.
Conservative estimated incidence of long COVID is 10%. With some studies showing that 32 per cent of people diagnosed with covid-19 still experience fatigue 12 weeks later, while 22 per cent have cognitive impairments.
Hundreds of biomedical findings have been documented, revealing that many patients with Long COVID experience a plethora of symptoms that can affect multiple organ systems. Indeed, Long COVID can lead to the onset of various diseases, including cardiovascular, thrombotic, and cerebrovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), and dysautonomia, with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) being a common example.
Unfortunately, symptoms of Long COVID can last for years, and in some cases (new-onset ME/CFS and dysautonomia), they are expected to be lifelong.
Can acupuncture help to recover from Long COVID?
In the world of medicine, there are often mysteries that confound even the most skilled practitioners. Long COVID is one such puzzle. However, recent studies have shed light on the potential of acupuncture and Chinese medicine in treating the symptoms associated with this condition. We also have some success with our patients.
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine have emerged as promising treatments, offering a hope in the fight against this elusive condition. Some studies exploring the potential of acupuncture and Chinese medicine in treatment of COVID and sequelae offered encouraging results. We also have seen success with our patients.
Nonetheless, the reality is, there is still little understanding what is causing the symptoms associated with Long COVID. Despite this uncertainty, acupuncture and Chinese medicine are certainly worth exploring. In fact, specialized post-COVID clinics abroad have already incorporated acupuncture into their recovery programs with great success. It’s important to note, however, that these treatments are still considered experimental
On 15 September 2022 New Zealand Ministry of Health released “Clinical Rehabilitation Guideline for People with Long COVID in Aotearoa New Zealand”. This comprehensive document emphasizes the importance of a multi-disciplinary approach to treating Long COVID, recognizing that a wide range of medical professionals and treatments may be necessary to combat this elusive condition and give acupuncture a nod: under the complementary medicines section referring to this study.
“Recent reports provide early evidence of acupuncture’s effectiveness in managing Long COVID symptoms and may also have disease-modifying benefits.”
Study by Emperor’s College of Traditional Medicine, Santa Monica, CA, USA.
If you’re suffering from Long COVID symptoms consider acupuncture as a part of multidisciplinary approach.