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Acupuncture and Natural Medicine for Lupus
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), or simply lupus, is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the
body's protective antibodies attack various tissues. It is characterized
by episodes of fever, pain, swelling (especially in the joints),
inflammation, fatigue, and distinctive skin rashes.
SLE afflicts women ten times more often than men and is more prevalent and more severe in Asian and black populations.
SLE's distinctive rashes include malar rash, which produces a reddish
band across the face from one cheek to the other that resembles sunburn;
and discoid rash, which is also reddish, but with raised or rough
Typically, SLE sufferers experience flares, or active periods, that are
followed by quiet periods called remissions. As the disease progresses
it can affect your kidneys
, joints, skin, nervous system and other organs. When the disease causes inflammation in the kidneys it is called lupus nephritis
There is no cure for lupus, but fortunately there are ways that people
with this disease can learn to manage their symptoms and live a full and
Mild cases of lupus are often treated with
acetaminophen or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These
are sometimes used along with anti-malarial drugs like
hydroxychloroquine. Low dose corticosteroids may also be prescribed. In
severe cases, higher doses of corticosteroids, such as prednisone, and
drugs that suppress the immune system, such as cyclophosphamide,
methotraxate, azathioprine, belimumab, or mycophenolate mofetil may be
These drugs should be used with caution, particularly when treating
non-cancer-related illnesses, since all of them have serious, sometimes
fatal, side effects. They can also harm or cause the death of an unborn
The most common side effects of chemotherapy drugs (such as
methotrexate) are nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, dizziness, skin
damage, memory loss or brain fog, and hair loss.
How We Can Help
At Maryland Holistics, we offer acupuncture
and natural care options that can help to manage the symptoms of lupus
and restore a sense of control and well being to your life. We emphasize
an inclusive approach to wellness that combines a variety of natural,
non-pharmacological treatment therapies tailored to your individual
needs and circumstances.
Acupuncture can reduce fatigue and many
types of chronic pain, often reducing the need for powerful
pharmaceutical drugs that come with serious side effects, especially
with prolonged use. It can also restore more restful sleep and reduce
the stress, anxiety and depression
so often experienced by people with autoimmune disorders, and promote a deep sense of well being.
first randomized clinical trial (RCT) of acupuncture that specifically
addressed SLE was conducted in 2008 and was supported by the National
Institutes of Health and the University of Pittsburgh. Building on
earlier RCT's that showed acupuncture reduces the pain and fatigue
caused by chronic osteoarthritis
researchers concluded that acupuncture was feasible and safe for
patients with lupus and could be considered a useful non-pharmacological
method for managing pain.1
In addition to acupuncture, we offer expert advice on proper diet and nutrition
, the right amount of exercise, work/life adjustments, as well as meditation
and other stress reducing therapies. We believe these are critical
factors in managing lupus as part of an overall medical treatment plan
that can help you reach your health goals.
Greco, C.M., Kao, A.H., Maksimowicz-McKinnon, K., Glick, R.M., Houze,
M., Sereika, S.M., Balk, J.,Manzi, S. (2008). Acupuncture for systemic
lupus erythematosus: a pilot RCT feasibility and safety study. Lupus, 17 (12), 1108-16. doi:10.1177/0961203308093921
"Lupus can affect various organs and systems in different ways, with the
most significant or worrisome effects often occurring in the kidneys or
nervous system. Most of my patients with lupus have said they felt
acupuncture was helpful for their condition. During the acute phase, I
often schedule appointments weekly. Once stabilized, patients appear to
have benefited from treatment on a monthly schedule."
Dr. Eric Windsor, D.Ac.