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Published On: Fri, May 24th, 2019

The treatment of endocrine disorders using acupuncture therapy

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Healthy living With Dr. Nanchak Nimzing
Pone No: 08036787758, 09052597025

Acupuncture is known to have effects on the hypothalamic – pituitary-adrenocortical axis. Physiological effects such as an increase in the thickness of the adrenal cortex, increase in the circulating blood levels of ACTH and an increase in the urinary excretion of 17-Ketosteroids occur after acupuncture needling. No doubt, other complex humoral mechanisms are also called into play. The discovery of endorphins and enkephalins have added a whole new dimension to the acupuncture phenomenon.
Principles of treatment:
a)​Use of points of the Ren and Stomach Channels situated in lower abdominal area.
b)​Use of points of the Urinary Bladder Chanel in the low back area.
c)​Use of the main Tonification points especially where there is under-activity of gland function.
d)​Use of the points of the Kidney Channel (in traditional Chinese medicine the Kidney includes the adrenal glands, the testes and the ovary).
e)​Use of the point Jianjing (G.B. 21), which is a specific endocrine point that may be used in all endocrine imbalances.

Hypogonadism denotes the failure of the functions of one or both of the testes, these being the production of spermatozoa and the secretion of androgens (i.e. hormones which control the secondary sex characteristics, such as the distribution of hair and the deepening of the voice). When this condition occurs before puberty, the external genitalia and the secondary sex characteristics fail to develop. If it occurs after puberty, there will be a gradual loss of pubic hair and the external genitalia will atrophy. Fatigue, loss of initiative and loss of sex drive are common symptoms.
In several of these cases hormonal therapy had been given over a number of years, with no visible improvement. After a few courses of acupuncture therapy rapid progress was observed as shown by the growth of facial hair in males and the pubic hair in both sexes. Marked improvement in libido was also reported by several of these patients. (In treatment of impotence in men, similar points were used with good results).

Just as the testes in the male produces androgens or the male sex hormone, the ovary in the female produces the female sex hormone, or oestrogens. However, both testes and ovary produce hormones of each variety but in the male the testes produces more of androgens and conversely in the female there is more oestrogens. (This is an excellent example of a Yin-Yang relationship).
Thus masculinization symptoms in women may mean that there is too much androgen being produced.
However, another gland, the adrenal cortex, also produces sex hormones, especially androgens. The cause of masculinization must therefore be elucidated with particular attention being paid to the possibility of the presence of tumors affecting the adrenal cortex and causing the over production of androgens.

This is an enlargement of the mammary gland in the male. The enlargement is usually bilateral but a unilateral enlargement may also occur. It is due to endocrine disorder which may result in symptoms which include impotence and atrophy of the testicle. Liver disease may also cause gynaecomastia.

Goitre is an enlargement of the thyroid gland. The swelling may be:
a)​simple, i.e. not associated with the under-activity (hypothyroidism) or over activity of the gland (hyperthyroidism).
b)​malignant (not frequent);
c)​associated with hyperthyroidism – known as toxic goiter (also Graves’ disease, thyrotoxicosis);
d)​associated with hypothyroidism (myxedema).
The common forms of this disease are simple and toxic goiter.
Simple goiter may arise from a lack of iodine in the diet. The gland is then stimulated to hypertrophy in an attempt to secrete more thyroxine, the principal hormone of this gland. Large goiters, besides being unsightly, may compress the neighbouring structures such as the trachea, veins and nerves and cause symptoms.
Hyperthyroidism is characterized by an increase in the basal metabolic rate. The patient becomes irritable, loses weight and has an increased pulse rate. It is a disease found commonly in adult females. The thyroid is usually uniformly enlarged and is not as large as in a simple goitre.
In solitary adenomas, the most effective treatment is not needling. Hot needling in solitary adenomas of the thyroid is done with satisfactory regression of the tumour.
The “hot needle” is specially made for this purpose with silver mixed with a little platinum to make it durable. The technique of using this needle is extremely important. The needle is held to the flame and heated till it is red hot and then swiftly and precisely inserted into the lump and removed with the same movement. The needle stays in the body only for a fraction of a second. The lump is subjected to cauterization from inside by the heat of the needle and slowly regresses. In cases where it is necessary to carry out thyroidectomy, acupuncture can also be employed as the anaesthesia.

This is a condition in which there is faulty carbohydrate metabolism due to an insufficiency of insulin. The deficiency may arise out of a faulty utilization of this hormone as well. It is a disease which more usually afflicts persons who have passed middle age, and more so if they are obese. If the disease comes on earlier in life it could be expected to be more severe.
It is therefore important to inquire from every patient whether he is having any other disorder for which he is taking medication because of the homeostatic action of acupuncture. Similar complications may arise in the case of hypertension. Diabetics and hypertensives who are undergoing acupuncture therapy for other disorders should, therefore, have their medications tailored to the level of hyperglycaemia or the degree of hypertension respectively.
Recently, we have discovered, and this is on the increase, that diabetics under five (5) years of the disease can live completely free of drugs after about six months to one year of therapy whereas those over ten (10) to fifteen (15) years of having the disease can live completely free of drugs after one to two years of therapy. This of course is combined with prescribed exercise and dietetic advise.

This is similar to the treatment carried out for obesity as described under management of addictions in the section on “Psychiatric Disorders”. The cause of the obesity must be determined and suitable dietetic advice should be given.

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