Shingles – Basics

Shingles is a disease that causes the outbreak of fluid-filled blisters on the skin and/or face. The condition can last one to 14 days, and is caused by the varicella-zoster virus (which also causes chickenpox). After having chickenpox, the virus lies dormant in the body and can reappear years later as shingles. Symptoms begin as a burning or tingling sensation in a specific area on one side of the body and progress to a region of blisters that cause itching and pain that can range from mild to intense.

Chinese Medicine diagnosis

The treatment of conditions with acupuncture can be a complicated endeavour that should only be undertaken by individuals with a deep understanding of the underlying Chinese Medicine theory. There are many approaches, but generally speaking few viable approaches are involved on a point to condition basis. The protocols listed here exemplify some of these clinical approaches.

The following acupuncture treatment protocols may be used with shingles (herpes zoster): Herpes zoster is treated as an overall wind-heat condition, with points then added based on the channels or areas affected – such as BL40 weizhong, SP10 xuehai, LI11 quchi.

Current Research

Liu 2018 SR & MA: Seven RCTs comparing acupuncture versus pharmacologic therapy were included. Meta-analysis was conducted for acupuncture’s effect on postherpetic neuralgia evaluating by pain intensity. Results from 2 RCTs showed that compared with pharmacologic therapy, acupuncture was better in decreasing the pain intensity measured by visual analog scale score; however, overall there was not enough evidence to suggest that acupuncture was superior to pharmacologic therapy in improving global impression or life quality. No adverse effects about acupuncture were reported. In all, acupuncture is safe and might be effective in pain relieving for patients with it(1).

  1. Wang Y, Li W, Peng W, Zhou J, Liu Z. Acupuncture for postherpetic neuralgia: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Medicine. 2018 Aug;97(34).