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Hirudotherapy – treatment with leeches at home

The first mention of the treatment of leeches belong to the period of the third Millennium BC. The procedure of hirudotherapy is depicted on Egyptian frescoes, and later on this technique was written in his works, the famous healer Hippocrates, and Avicenna. By the seventeenth century, hirudotherapy reached its peak of popularity in Old Europe: at the time the cause of all diseases was considered "bad blood" that needed to blow off with a scalpel or leeches.

Medical statistics show that during the period from 1829 to 1836 in France alone was used in 33 million leeches, and in England, 7 million. For comparison, the British Peninsula then were just over two million people. Remarkably, the main supplier of leeches in Europe (about 70 million) was made by Russia, with its vast prudovyi farms.

As any method of treatment, hirudotherapy should be used intelligently, cautiously and dosed, and private physicians of the nineteenth century put their patients leeches on any occasion, sometimes up to two hundred at a time on one patient, which led to the discrediting of treatment. Young professionals contemptuously rejected this methodology as a barbaric relic of the past. Piyavochnoe boom ended, and with it went the interest in medical leeches, but only from time to time.

In 1884, the English doctor John Haycraft found in the saliva of leeches hirudin enzyme and described its therapeutic anticoagulant effect, and in 1902 appeared the first drugs based on hirudin. And although the beginning of the third Millennium, humanity has managed to thoroughly explore the properties of leeches and to develop synthetic analogues of almost all nutrients included in the composition of their saliva, the procedure of treatment does not replace, and the benefits from it are huge. That's why leeching is still relevant to this day.

The content of the article:

The effect of treatment on the human body

The oversight body in leeches have on the human body, the following types of therapeutic effects:

  • The reflex – in this senseleech therapy is similar to acupuncture. Leeches sit on the acupressure points related to specific organs and systems, and do it consciously. And prokusyvanie skin and sucking the blood has a much more pronounced stimulating effect on the active point, rather than setting needles according to the method of su Jok or Chzhen-Tszyu;
  • Krovoisliania – a leech sucking one treatment from 5 to 10 ml of blood, depending on session duration and size of the worm, and the bleeding from the wound continued for another 6-24 hours after the removal of leech, as it injected substances interfere with blood clotting. Thus, there is efficient removal of congestions and unlock of small vessels, compressed, swollen and filled with blood clots;
  • Decongestions – piyavochnoe enzyme hyaluronidase reveals drainage ways and helps the lymph flow in patients active tissues and organs, due to the breakdown of hyaluronic acid and resistance to human heparin. Thus, during the procedure of treatment greatly increases the permeability of cell membranes achieved the most profound draining effect;
  • Anticoagulant – another important piyavochnoe enzyme, hirudin, normalizes blood clotting, is opposed to the formation of clots, provides antiischemic effect and promotes saturation of cells with oxygen. And it was cellular hypoxia is the main cause of all non-inflammatory pathologies, including cancer;

  • Immunostimulant – local influence is achieved through living in the digestive tract of leeches bacteria that enters the wound and causes human immune response. Increases the number of lymphocytes, macrophages aktiviziruyutsya and strengthening the body's defenses;

  • Hypotensive active lymph circulation, eliminate edema, release of blocked blood vessels and capillaries in combination with the actual reduction in the amount of blood as a result of exhaustion leads to a natural lowering of blood pressure;

  • Antiphlogistic – leeches not only help the immune cells to cope with germs and bacteria, contributing to the synthesis of interleukins and removal of blood brain barriers, but also secrete into the blood substances similar on the action of antibiotics, and destroying the pathogen directly in the hearth, in the place of setting leeches;
  • Analgesic the leech injects into the wound a substance, acting as a local analgesic, and also increases the level of endorphins and reducing the level of bradykinin. Thus, hirudotherapy can help to cope with muscle, joint and headaches;

  • Anti-sclerotic substance secreted by the leech, accelerate the breakdown of fats, normalize lipid balance of the blood and help lower levels of LDL ("bad" cholesterol). Therefore, leech therapy is indicated for obesity and atherosclerosis of blood vessels;

  • Regenerating is the procedure of hirudotherapy activates the processes of cellular regeneration, which promotes rapid recovery after injuries of soft tissues and joints;
  • Neurotrophic substance contained in the saliva of leeches, support the viability of neurons and stimulate their growth and activity, and thus help the brain and strengthens the nervous system as a whole.

In the saliva of medicinal leeches contains the following biologically active substances:

  • Hirudin;
  • Inhibitors of plasmin, trypsin, alpha-chymotrypsin, hematine, elastase, subtilisin, cathepsin, kallikrein, neutral proteases of granulocytes and factor 10 blood clotting;
  • The enzymes hyaluronidase, apyrase, destabilase, collagenase, cholesterinester, triglycerides;
  • The prostanoids, antihistamines, analgesics and many others.

What are leeches used for treatment?

In nature, occurs more than four hundred species of annelids, from the tiny length of a few millimeters to huge sorokametrovym giants. But for therapeutic purposes, using only the medical leech (Hirudo medicinalis) and its three subspecies. They are grown in the laboratory and implemented through the network of pharmacies.

Even if you are well versed in Zoology, and is able to "know in person"need leech, you should not pretend to be duremara from the tale of Pinocchio and the Golden key, and go to the pond with a net. Living in nature, leeches are almost always full, as in need of saturation only once in a year or two, and no shortage of victims do not. To determine the degree of fullness of the eye is impossible, so, rather this, you'll have"Pets" a couple of years before they will agree to you to stick.

Indications forhirudotherapy

To start treatment with leeches need examination and consultation with a doctor, as this technique is not always relevant, and has a number of contraindications. Skilled girudoterapevt, having on hand your medical records and test results, can determine accurately, it will help you leeches, where, in what quantity and at what time to put them, how many sessions will be required. Patients with severe illnesses or injuries it is recommended to undergo the procedure in the hospital under the supervision of a physician, because during the session you may experience unwanted effects and complications.

But there are diseases in which allowed leech therapy at home:

  • Hypertension, migraine, chronic headaches and menopausal hot flashes – leeches put vertically on the mastoid region behind the ears, as far as possible from passing close to the veins;

  • Thrombosis, thrombophlebitis and varicose veins of leeches placed directly over a patient vein or venous junction, unless the skin in this place is not too thin, then the leeches should be placed near, at a distance of 1 cm on both sides from the patient's vein;

  • Local inflammatory processes, trauma, bruises, swelling, hematoma , directly inflammation and around;

  • Diseases of the liver and biliary tract – put leeches on the coccyx and in the right hypochondrium;
  • Renal failure and nephritis – just above the waist;

  • Nail felon, furuncles and other abscesses near the hearth, on the painful area.

You can carry out home procedures of hirudotherapy and alcoholism, loss of strength, chronic fatigue, as well as to accelerate rehabilitation after traumas and operations, including, on the heart, but before that requires a thorough examination and consultation with a doctor.

The list of diseases, in varying degrees, amenable to treatment with leeches:

Hirudotherapy should not be considered as independent and the only method of treatment is much more effective to combine the treatment with leeches and acupuncture, physiotherapy, homeopathy and traditional drug therapy. Moreover, the action of drugs can be significantly enhanced if you put a leech on the site of subcutaneous injection.

Leech therapy at home

To conduct a home procedure of hirudotherapy any person, there is nothing complicated. But before starting treatment you need to consult with a doctor to determine the exact number of leeches, a place of setting and time of the session.

The procedure of hirudotherapy is composed of several stages:

  1. Preparation of the skin. Completely wash baby soap in the treatment area and vigorously RUB it dry with gauze before the red light to excite the appetite of leeches, and don't use washing cosmetics with a pungent odour that will repel them.

  2. Statement of leeches. Grab a leech by using a clean vial or test tube and gently lift her front suction Cup to the desired point. If the leech is reluctant to bite, take another, or try to lubricate the skin sugar water, or lightly puncture with a sterile needle, so that blood came. When setting leeches on the active points by the method of girudoterapii perforation is required.

  3. The process of krovoisliania. At the time of prokusyvanie leather (1.5-2 mm in depth), there is a slight burning sensation which disappears after 10-20 seconds, as soon as the analgesics of the salivary glands. A leech attaches itself by the two suction cups and stays on the skin for themselves, so the bubble can be removed. If she reluctantly sucks the blood (on the body hardly noticeable undulating motion), you have to dip your finger in warm water and gently Pat leech down from the top of the back.

  4. The completion of the procedure. After 30-60 minutes, the leech will be filled and will disappear by itself, but if the testimonythe patient needs more short sessions (15-25 minutes, less pointless), you need to remove sucking leech. To do this, just bring to the front suction Cup with a cotton swab dipped in any aggressive-smelling liquid – alcohol, vinegar, iodine, ammonia. If this does not help, you can fumigate the leech of cigarette smoke. Pull, cut or pick off her absolutely not – any violent action to force the leech to bite further into the skin.

  5. The period after the session. Within 6-24 hours from the wound, having the form of a three-beam star will continue bleeding. It is normal and even useful. Just change sterile swabs or bandage. In any case, do not disinfect and does not lubricate the place of procosa. A small scar will disappear completely in 2-3 weeks.

  6. Disposal of leeches. Satiated leeches should be destroyed by placing in a container with chlorine bleach. Even if they were filled not until the end, setting on another patient a few months later may cause infection of those pathogens that were found in the blood of the first patient (Staphylococcus, tuberculosis, HIV and many others).

On average, one treatment session takes from two to five leeches, at least ten. On the head not recommended to put more than four units. Before beginning the procedure of treatment can be done by subcutaneous injection of medicinal drugs, in order during the session of their admission to the blood and spreading throughout the body accelerated. And after such procedure, the blood sucked by leeches, and also they can be used as raw material for medical masks.

How to keep leeches?

The idea of home detention leeches is questionable, because even if they are used to treat the same patient, will have to wait at least a year and a half until they get hungry again. However, if the procedures are carried out regularly for many years, you can keep the house a few containers and mark them with the date of last use of leeches.

All the issues are leeches in the water is changed twice a week. The water should be pure, separated, like aquarium fish. During the change and wash the cans should carefully review all of the species to sort the dead and the sick, if they suddenly find. Related leeches shows muddy water – even despite the presence of waste products of leeches, the water in the system should be transparent.

Liter jar will fit up to eighty individuals and in three-liter and up to two hundred. The cover needs to be donesome vent holes, but such that leeches are unable to crawl away. The best option – fine strong mesh. The shell banks, it is best to wrap the paper, and keep the leeches in a dark place with a comfortable, cool temperature.

Side effects and complications of treatment

Adverse reactions to leech therapy are rare, here is a list of possible complications:

  • Lymphadenitis – inflammation and lymph node enlargement, as a consequence of too much work. Usually clear up in a couple of weeks, but if the lymphadenitis accompanied by fever and pain, you need to seek help from a doctor, you may need antibiotics;
  • Local allergic reactions – swelling, pain and itching in the area of setting leeches, long not healing wounds. This side effect is easily removed by taking antihistamines;

  • Common allergic reactions – rash, hives, difficulty breathing, in severe cases, angioedema and anaphylactic shock. Need urgent help, and further treatment with leeches can not be carried out;

  • Darkening of skin and severe scars – sometimes the bite changes skin pigmentation, then you have to resort to vacuum therapy or autologous blood injections;
  • Prolonged bleeding – may indicate hemophilia – bleeding disorders. Such patients are not recommended to resort to treatment in the future;
  • Massive hematomas almost always result from improper setting leeches, too close to major veins.

Contraindications to hirudotherapy

There are diseases and conditions in which leeching is contraindicated:

  • Pregnancy;
  • Hemophilia;
  • Hypotension;

  • Asthenia;
  • Cachexia;
  • Iron deficiency anemia;
  • The tendency to allergic reactions cases of angioedema and anaphylactic shock in history;
  • Acute infectious diseases accompanied by fever;

  • Severe immunodeficiency States, including AIDS;

  • Poisoning the body with toxins and heavy metals;
  • Some cancers (need adviceoncologist).