Reply To: Acupuncture / Traditional Chinese Medicine?

September 22, 2014 at 5:27 am

Thanks MH for sharing your awareness and opinions. The time frame you suggest is in league with what I’ve read about this illness, but all of the literature and all medical staff I’ve spoken with say that a person’s affliction and prognosis are quite variable. Also there are many unknowns regarding treatment beyond the initial IVIg and plasma filtering; medical technology has not progressed as quickly as with other diseases. Even IVIg, the “gold standard”, is not officially approved yet for GBS but leaks over from other purposes. So we’re on the cutting edge of technology here, with several roads one can take – or none at all, depending on your predilections.

I believe it’s possible that some non-standard GBS treatments might work for some individuals but not all, or not in all circumstances. It’s not my intent (or in my interest) to further a rigorously controlled study with the usual double-blind criteria, but rather, to find out for myself what else might be helpful based on other people’s experiences. Hence I’m asking here about acupuncture and TCM, and I also have some interest in vitamin B12 supplements based on anecdotal suggestions elsewhere that this substance may encourage nerve regrowth. I’ve already modified my diet to include more Omega-3 fish and olive oil combinations – which is not a bad thing in general.

If placebos work, send me to the nearest store and I’ll pick up a batch! Many medical treatments started before the scientific underpinnings where established, though they were not necessarily as effective as they are now with current refinements. It’s not in my interest to do nothing but “wait around” for the slow science to catch up, so as long as these other methods aren’t harmful, why wait? It’s not as though I’m skipping physiotherapy now, but rather, I’m interested to supplement standard treatments with other things which might help, and getting started early in the healing process seems like a good idea (to me, anyway). The TCM opinion is that their medical benefits also take time, usually much slower than Western treatments, but the latter sometimes doesn’t work for some people or has nothing much to offer.

Despite controversy, acupuncture does have some grudging respect in the Western medical establishment as a useful tool to alleviate pain in some circumstances. Fortunately I don’t have much GBS pain now, just some residual foot tingling and numbness, so I’m more interested in finding out if it has additional healing properties for GBS. I do this by looking for other people’s experiences and I’ll summarize my findings here. Is anyone else interested in this, or have experiences to contribute?