Acupuncture for long COVID

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, public attention has mainly focused on the number of people who become severely ill and die from COVID-19. But what’s become clear in recent months is the large and growing group of people who continue to deal with prolonged symptoms long after their original illness. In a recent study, analysis of an international survey of more than 3,700 respondents with COVID-19 found that over two-thirds were still experiencing numerous symptoms at 6 months, with significant impacts on patients’ lives and livelihoods.

Long Covid symptoms can include fatigue, shortness of breath, difficulty sleeping, anxiety and depression, heart palpitations, chest tightness or pain, joint or muscle pain, not being able to think straight or focus (‘brain fog’), change to your sense of smell or taste, persistent cough, chronic headaches and gastrointestinal issues. For some, it can seem like a cycle of improving for a time and then getting worse again. These long-term effects are not only among those who needed to go to hospital, or even who felt seriously unwell when they first caught the virus.

Gudrun Snyder, DAc, founder of Moon Rabbit Acupuncture in Chicago, says studies have shown that COVID-19 causes what is known as a “cytokine storm” that causes inflammation that could kill tissue and damage organs. A study from Harvard University in 2020 found acupuncture reduced the impact of cytokine storms in mice. Another study from Oxford University found acupuncture treatment for COVID-19 suppressed inflammatory stress, improved immunity, regulated nervous system functions, and helped cancer patients with COVID.
In people suffering from mild to moderate symptoms, acupuncture can play a role in boosting the immune system, including increasing the number of Natural Killer cells and lymphocytes. Whereas in cases of severe COVID-19 symptoms, it can provide anti-inflammatory effect and prevent cytokine storm.
These findings make acupuncture a viable and effective treatment for patients suffering from the debilitating effects of long COVID.



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