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March 7, 2011

Fast and Effective Chinese Medicine Treatments for Shingles

Written by: Matthew Wagner, L.Ac., M.S.O.M.

Chinese medicine can oftentimes treat Shingles more quickly and effectively than anti-viral drugs, and without the side effects. Shingles is a painful skin condition mostly found along the abdomen, inguinal groove, and lower back. It is caused by a flare-up of the same virus that causes chicken pox, herpes zoster, and occurs when an individual is sick, stressed, of advanced age, or in any other way immune compromised. When someone recovers from chicken pox, they never get rid of the virus. It lies dormant in the nerves, (primarily the dorsal nerve), held in check by a strong immune system. When the immune system is weakened there is the potential that the herpes zoster virus flares up as Shingles. Although Shingles will usually clears up on its own in a few weeks, it is an incredibly painful condition that most people seek treatment for.

The standard course of treatment is antiviral drugs such as Acyclovir (Zovirax), Valacyclovir (Valtrex), and Famciclovir (Famvir). Pain killers and anti-depressants may be prescribed for the pain, as well. Treatment usually lasts two weeks.

The down side of such drugs is that common side effects include nausea, vomit, diarrhea, and headache. Less common side effects include confusion, agitation, muscle pain, and seizures. Additionally, while these anti-viral drugs may help to resolve Shingles, they don’t alleviate the severe pain that people feel. For this reason, people often have to take pain killers, such as codeine, and anti-depressants.

By contrast, Chinese medicine, including Chinese Herbal Medicine and Acupuncture is very effective at treating all stages of Shingles, not just the beginning stages. Chinese Medicine can also shorten the healing time from several weeks to as little as one week or less, depending upon the severity. Chinese Medicine quickly and effectively treats the pain syndrome, as well, dramatically relieving pain as it dries and clears the Shingles eruptions. Lastly, there are no harsh side-effects associated with Chinese Medicine in the treatment of Shingles. Therefore, patients can go about their day feeling normal and well, as they quickly get better.