Chinese medicine categorizes edema into various syndromes, depending on where and how it arises in the body. In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), hand edema can be blamed on Heart Qi Deficiency while Kidney Deficiency causes ankle edema.
An ancient Chinese healing procedure, acupuncture can treat a variety of illnesses, including edema, utilizing pressure points situated in the feet and hands.
Traditional Chinese Medicine’s Perspective on Edema
According to TCM, edema can arise from the following organs: kidney, spleen, and lung. The fundamental principle behind this condition is the failure of these organs in transforming and moving body fluids causing water to be stored throughout the body resulting in edema.
Acupuncturists classify edemas under either disorder of yin or yang. Yin edemas tend to slowly develop. They begin at the legs and ankles and don’t go beyond the lower part of your body. Yang edemas, on the other hand, are acute and develop quite rapidly. Initially, they develop on the face and at the head before they move downwards.
These two classifications of edema are subdivided further. For each classification of edemas, there are three subcategories
Yin edema’s three subcategories are:
1. Edema as a result of spleen and stomach deficiency: Edema of this type leads to a sallow skin. In the morning, it is found in the head and after physical exertion or later in the day moves to the limbs
2. Edema associated with declining kidney qi: This manifests as a pitted edema that is more obvious in the body’s lower half. Its symptoms include mental fatigue, shortness of breath, back pain, and cold limbs.
3. Edema due to spleen yang deficiency: Also manifests as pitted edema that develops in the body’s lower part. Symptoms include coldness in the limbs, low volume of urine, abdominal distention, poor appetite, and diarrhea.
The three subcategories of Yang edema are:
1. Edema due to damp heat: This manifests as tightness in the chest, low urine output, thirst, and fever.
2. Edema as a result of dampness retention: Symptoms include distended stomach, fatigue, low urine output, and pitted edema on the legs.
3. Edema due to exogenous wind: The edema first develops on the face, concentrates in the head, and then moves to the limbs. Symptoms include pitted edema that is caused by either wind-cold or wind-heat. The skin is shiny, thin, and taut on the affected part of the body. It is an edema that manifests signs and symptoms like a racy pulse, coughing, soreness, and fever.
A unique combination of acupuncture points or acupoints are used for each type of edema. Moxibustion and acupuncture are both effective on these acupoints. Moxibustion is a treatment that involves the burning of moxa or mugwort over certain acupoints.
Acupuncture treatment for edema is solely the job of qualified and licensed acupuncturists since the location of the correct set of acupoints and understanding the proper sequence of stimulating them can be very daunting for novices.
Some of the acupoints that are used in treating specific form of edema are listed below:
Edema that occurs during menstruation: Du 4 (Ming Men), Ren 4, (Guan Yuan), UB 7 (Tong Tian), and B 20 (Pi Shu).
Edema developing during pregnancy: B 23 (Shen Shu), B 20 (Pi Shu), S 36 (Hsu San Li), and Sp 9 (Yin Ling Quan).
Edema due to an inefficient spleen: S 36 (Hsu San Li), Liv 13 (Shang Men), Ren 12 (Shong Wan), S 44 (Nei Ting), Sp 6 (San Yin Jiao), Sp 9 (Yin Ling Quan), and P 6 (Nei Guan).
Edema due to wind-dampness: Ren 12 (Shong Wan), S 36 (Hsu San Li), Sp 9 (Yin Ling Quan), G 31 (Feng Shi), G 20 (Feng Chi), Du 3 (Yang Ling Quan), and Sp 6 (San Yin Jiao).
Edema as a result of qi constriction and stagnation of blood vessels: Ren 9 (Shui Fen), Sp 10 (Hsue Hai), Sp 6 (San Yin Jiao ), S 36 ((Hsu San Li) ), Sp 9 (Yin Ling Quan), Liv 3 (Tai Chong), P 6 (Nei Guan), and LI 4 (He Gu).
The approach acupuncturists use in treating edema can be gleaned from moxibustion therapy of pedal edema. Acupoints Stomach 36 (St 36) and Spleen 9 (Sp 9) are usually selected.
Stomach 36 can be found a few inches below the knee’s knuckle on the shin bone. Spleen 9 is located on the inside and below the knee. This acupoint is found under the knee’s medial condyle bone.
A burning moxa stick is oftentimes used during acupuncture edema treatment. It is held for five minutes about two inches above the St 36 (Stomach 36) and Sp 9 (Spleen 9) points.
Acupuncture edema treatment also usually combines the use of herbs. These herbs have diuretic properties that are able to boost circulation and are often served in the form of decoctions.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
Acupuncturists have the ability to locate and address the underlying imbalances and deficiencies that bring about edema. They treat these issues using acupuncture and herbs. Usually deemed as a deficiency symptom in Chinese medicine, edema is typically treated within 10 to 12 sessions in order to achieve long-term results.
The Western medicine perspective of edema is quite different to that of Chinese medicine. Western medicine just sees it as an unhealthy accumulation of fluid in the cavity or cavities of the body or below the skin.
The volume of fluid is generally defined by homeostasis; the impaired removal of this fluid or increased fluid secretion into interstitial spaces leads to edema. Acupuncture addresses the imbalances in the metabolic processes that underlie the development of edema.
Edema has a couple of varieties in Chinese Medicine: Water Edema and Qi Edema. It is the responsibility of your acupuncturist to determine the affected organ systems and the kind of edema you have. Your acupuncturist will then select the appropriate herbal formula and acupuncture points for you.
Acupuncture and the Types of Edema
Various forms of edema conditions like facial edema, macular edema, ankle edema, arm edema, and lymph edema can all be effectively treated with acupuncture.
However, acupuncture may not work well enough in treating edemas caused by surgical trauma even if it can significantly treat edemas resulting from lymph node extraction in breast cancer surgery.
Chinese medicine in general and acupuncture in particular is a very safe healing approach and therefore should be considered by people. Acupuncture treatment often leads to a diminution of edema.
Research shows that acupuncture lessens edema significantly. Some medical studies have revealed that the treatment boosts cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that relieves inflammation and pain.
Before you go ahead and get acupuncture treatment, you must consult with your doctor or healthcare provider first. Even if acupuncture’s safe, it may be contraindicated for patients with specific illnesses.
It’s important to choose an acupuncturist who is state licensed and has been in practice for a long time.
With regards to macular edema, acupuncture may be able to treat your vision loss; nonetheless, you may still be suffering from an underlying problem that needs to be treated. Therefore, it’s important to follow properly the recommendations of your eye doctor.
You may also want to consider taking Capisette and other natural fluid retention remedies. Capisette, contains herbs such as buchu extracts, ginkgo biloba, horse chestnut, and dandelion extracts.