Leech therapy is one of the oldest healing methods in the history of medicine. It undoubtedly allows conclusions to be drawn about treatment success that can be observed again and again. Not only the millennia of experience gives the therapy quite right clinical-medical studies allow a positive description.
Enclosed you will find all the important information you need to have before treatment with leeches.
What diseases can leeches help with?
For arthrosis (this indication appears to be particularly successful), thrombosis, varicose veins, heart attack, strokes, calcification of the vessels, tinnitus, rheumatism, intervertebral disc problems, strains, bruises, muscle pain or muscle injuries.
An example based on arthrosis
In Germany, every fifth person over 65 suffers from knee osteoarthritis. Healing is rare. In most cases there is only continuous therapy with pain relievers. At the Essen-Mitte clinic, doctor Andreas Michalsen is on the trail of the pain-relieving effect of leeches. His study of leech applications in osteoarthritis of the knee caused a sensation worldwide.
In the study, he put 400 leeches on his knee. 80 percent of the patients experienced significant pain relief and a surprising increase in mobility. “We have found impressive pain-relieving effects: the pain decreased significantly after the leech was applied once. People were able to run better again, get into the car more easily and, above all, climb stairs, which is a problem for many knee osteoarthritis patients.
Despite one-time therapy, this effect persisted in the majority of patients over a longer period of time. This means that the animals are superior to all previously known methods for pain and inflammation relief.
The effects of leeches go far beyond what is known from acupuncture or painkillers, ”says Andreas Michalsen.
In a comparative study, the doctor compared the gel therapy to a classic treatment with analgesic ointment. Half of the patients received a single local treatment with four to six leeches, the other half a 28-day therapy with an ointment that contained the classic pain reliever diclofenac. The result: Just seven days after the start of the study, the patients treated with leeches felt significantly fitter and more mobile than those in the control group. The joint function and the overall symptoms were even superior in natural therapy over the entire observation period of 91 days.
"While leech therapy was ineffective in about a fifth of the patients, pain relief was particularly clear for the rest," emphasizes Michalsen. So far, it has not been possible to predict which patients will benefit from the therapy. In any case, success does not depend on the patient's attitude towards treatment. Due to the success of the treatment, the naturopath and his colleagues have also used the leeches against thumb arthrosis and tennis elbows. The effect was also very convincing.
What side effects can occur?
Slight pain during treatment
Bleeding (prolonged bleeding)
Itchy reddening of the skin around the bite (allergy-like)
Infection (skin infection)
Temporary swelling of the lymph nodes
Pigment disorders, scarring at the bite site
occasionally temporary swelling of the treated body part, arm or leg
When should leech therapy not be used?
Blood clotting disorder caused by medication (e.g. by Marcumar)
acute stomach ulcers and erosive inflammation of the stomach
Immunodeficiency (AIDS, chemotherapy ...)
Severe chronic diseases (advanced cancer, dialysis, etc.)
Known pronounced wound healing disorders (e.g. with poorly controlled diabetes, considerable excess weight, cortisone long-term therapy)
Known allergies to leech ingredients
Tendency to form keloid, excessive scarring