Neuropathy: Origins and Treatment from a TCM Perspective


Peripheral neuropathy is a disease of the peripheral nerves affecting an estimated 20 million people.  It most commonly affects the hands and feet and is associated with muscle weakness, pain and numbness. There are numerous causes of peripheral neuropathy ranging from physical trauma, diseases directly or indirectly leading to nerve damage and toxin exposure.

Walking for those suffering from peripheral neuropathy can prove difficult due to pain and an inability to accurately perceive both the ground and the position of the feet. The latter can also lead to a loss of balance. People often describe it as walking on pillows or the sensation of pebbles beneath the feet.  

fingers workingTraditional Chinese Medicine views neuropathy as the result of a deficiency and/or blockage leading to poor nourishment of the tissue. Treatment involves the use of acupuncture needles to stimulate and nourish blocked areas. Thin needles are often placed in acupuncture points near areas of numbness and pain as well as distally, based on the root cause of a patient’s neuropathy as seen from a Chinese Medical perspective. The treatment should be painless. Herbal medicine may also be prescribed to help alleviate pain and promote the flow of ‘qi’( or energy ) to the hands and feet.  Patients often notice a difference after one treatment, though it will take repeat visits to sustain the relief.

Amelie de Mahy L.Ac, providing acupuncture and Chinese herbs to the communities of Walnut Creek, Lafayette, Danville, Concord and Pleasant Hill.