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Lyme Disease and Acupuncture

Lyme disease is popping up more and more as a hot topic in the medical community.  It is a highly debated and incompletely understood condition that seems to have been rearing its mercurial head with increased frequency of late.  And though it is famously hard to identify for certain, more of our patients are walking through our door with this diagnosis.

Lyme disease is considered an autoimmune condition, which is an instance where the body’s immune system cannot determine the exact enemy, so it becomes confused and eventually begins to attack the individual’s body. This can manifest in a wide range of symptoms.   Antibiotics are the standard and highly effective course of care for immediate exposure to a Lyme infected tick but many people get the tick bite, do not see the red mark, and cross their fingers that they are in the clear.  Occasionally this isn’t the case and Lyme can lurk below the surface, only to manifest months later.  Several things are believed to trigger Lyme manifestations such as other illness or acute or chronic stress and common signs and symptoms include:

      Muscle aches

      Fatigue or depression

      Brain fog

      Joint pain

      Nausea and lack of appetite

      Digestive complaints

      Heavy limbs or headaches


Luckily, practitioners of Chinese Medicine have some very effective methods that we can use to help patients cope with the side effects of Lyme.  Acupuncture can 
provide support for each individual constitution and promotes the body’s general capacity to heal itself. The stronger the body, the more able it is to defend itself from disease.

We treat chronic Lyme disease by reducing inflammation, making it easier for an injured immune system to get back on track. Chinese Medicine always examines the presenting picture and the practitioner addresses the patent and how they present that day.  Each and every individual is treated based on their unique symptoms which change as time progress.  This is why no two treatments are exactly the same!  Acupuncture can be especially helpful in recovery as it can help boost the immune system, relieve pain in the joints and muscles and can help with chronic fatigue and depression and mood changes.

In Traditional Chinese medicine, Lyme disease falls under the greater classification of “Gu Syndrome” which has been successfully treated for thousands of years with Acupuncture and herbal medicine.  “Gu Syndrome” is categorized as a kind of internal condition that is hidden inside the body, which in the case of Lyme disease is the bacteria (spirochetes).

Chinese medicine addresses Lyme with multiple therapeutics, which may include:

•Chinese herbs: healing leach out the bacteria and supporting the constitution of the patient

•Acupuncture: boosting the immune system, relieving pain in the joints and muscles, helping with chronic fatigue and depression

•Cupping: relieving pain in large joints, the back muscles, and can help detox the body of toxins

•Tui na massage: promoting flexibility and improved movement

•Nutritional recommendations and dietary modifications

Please reach out if you or someone you love is struggling with Lyme disease.  We are here to discuss their unique experiences and help get them on a path toward healing and optimal wellness.

-Dr. Sarah Heslip D.A.C.M, L.Ac.