There may be no cure, but there’s hope for managing your autoimmune condition. This is especially true if you’ve tried and failed to find a way to manage your symptoms.
We want to show you a different — a more natural — way to start feeling better. Here, our naturopathic expert at Nirvana Naturopathics, Dr. Lana Moshkovich, explores how acupuncture and herbal medicine could be the answer to control your autoimmune condition.
A closer look at your immune system
Your body comes equipped with a built-in defense mechanism. You know it as your immune system. It protects your body from harmful foreign substances, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and toxins.
There are two parts to your immune system: innate, the part you’re born with, and acquired, which develops over time as you’re exposed to outside invaders.
With help from your innate immune system, your acquired immune system develops antibodies that respond to specific invasions. It can take several days for your body to produce antibodies, but the next time you meet that same pesky invader, your body is all set to respond quickly.
Your immune system is complex and gets its power from several places in your body. Organs that make immune system cells include:
- Lymph nodes
- Lymphatic vessels
- Bone marrow
- Peyer’s patches
All these structures work together to give your body a fighting chance against illnesses and toxins.
What can go wrong with your immune system
It’s comforting to know that your body has an innate and adaptive ability to protect you from harm, but your immune system is far from perfect. It can even turn against you.
A healthy immune system knows the difference between foreign cells and healthy cells. When you have an autoimmune disease, your immune system mistakenly identifies parts of your body as dangerous.
It then releases antibodies that attack and destroy healthy cells. Some autoimmune conditions, like Type 1 diabetes, affect a single organ. Others, like lupus erythematosus, have whole-body consequences.
There are over 80 different autoimmune conditions, but the the most common are:
- Type 1 diabetes
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis
- Multiple sclerosis
- Systemic lupus erythematosus
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Pernicious anemia
- Celiac disease
Though autoimmune conditions have unique symptoms, the early warning signs are usually similar. You should seek medical attention if you experience chronic fatigue, achy muscles, low-grade fever, skin rashes, trouble concentrating, and swelling or redness.
We can diagnose an autoimmune condition with an antinuclear antibody test and other condition-specific tests.
Although there are no cures for autoimmune conditions, you can manage your symptoms and reduce inflammation with immune-suppressing medication, over-the-counter inflammation reducers, and a healthy diet.
Many stop there, but we don’t. We go a step further and offer acupuncture and herbal medicine to give you more options for getting your symptoms under control. Here’s what you should know.
Acupuncture for autoimmune conditions
Acupuncture is a form of ancient Chinese medicine that involves inserting thin, stainless steel needles into various points of your body. This stimulates a positive, whole-body response and works to calm your immune system.
Most of our patients say that acupuncture is painless, and some say it’s downright relaxing.
With your immune system stabilized, you’re less likely to respond to factors that trigger and exacerbate your condition.
Herbal medicine for autoimmune conditions
We may also recommend herbal medicine (another component of ancient Chinese medicine) to manage your autoimmune conditions. These medicines are made from natural plants and botanicals and offer a variety of health benefits.
Echinacea and goldenseal, for example, have properties that support your immune system. Other herbal medicines, such as black cohosh, Ginkgo biloba, and ginseng, can help you optimize your health and wellness by improving your body tone and increasing your circulation.
If you’re sick and tired of failing treatments for your autoimmune condition, it may be time to try some alternative methods. Our patients swear by these ancient Chinese remedies — and so do we.
To find out if they can ease your autoimmune symptoms, call our Deerfield, Illinois, office today.