Leech therapy started from the ancient Egyptians, Indians, Arabs, and Greeks mainly for therapeutic purposes, skin diseases, dental problems, nervous system problems, inflammation, etc. This therapeutical process just got recognized due to its health benefits in many parts of the world. For example, 50,000 leeches were used at the Royal Hospital in Manchester, the UK in 1831.
Leech therapy, also called hirudotherapy, is still used by many health professionals today. The leech experienced a revival in popularity in the 1970s due to finger surgery and facial soft tissue surgery. Leech therapy is also mostly used after microsurgery, such as reconstructive or plastic surgery.
Leech is beneficial for both medical and cosmetic purposes. The traditional use of leeches is to have the leech draw blood from the patient’s body to relieve symptoms such as headache and aggravate the pain. Leech oil is known in the local population to improve human sexual ability. In India, it is used to prevent hair loss. Chinese medicine uses leeches as an ingredient in various treatments. Modern medicine uses the ingredient extracted from leech to cure blood-related diseases that are now used in modern medicine.
Other uses of leeches include black eye treatment. Hirudin, the leech anticoagulant, can be used to treat middle ear infections. It is also under development for experimental use as a systemic anticoagulant and can prove useful in vitro blood collection. By extracting the anticoagulant serum from leeches, the researchers isolate new pharmaceutical compounds for possible treatment of heart diseases.
Historically, the leech was indispensable for bloodshed in 19th-century medicine, a practice that is viewed as a cure for everything from headaches to gout. The medical leech wins in modern medicine thanks to the work of Dr. Roy Sawyer, an American scientist who founded the world’s first leech farm, gained popularity.
Thousands of patients owe the successful attachment of body parts to technological advances in plastic and reconstructive surgery. At least some of these operations could have failed if the leeches had not been reintroduced into the operating room. The key to success comes from what the leech bite contains that pierces a wound that literally bleeds for hours. The leech saliva contains substances that help to anesthetize the wounded area, the saliva also dilates the blood vessels to increase blood flow and help in the prevention of blood clots. Usually, the surgeon can circulate blood through the reconnected arteries, but not through the veins. If the venous circulation is severely impaired, the blood flowing to the reattached finger becomes blocked; the attached part becomes blue and lifeless and there is a risk of losing it. From this point on, leeches play a major role in the release of coagulation blood.
Leech breeding is an industry that is becoming increasingly popular as more and more leeches are used. One reason is the number of leeches that decrease in the wild after the heavy use of insecticides and pesticides. Other research is ongoing to discover the use of leeches that can help us cure blood problems like heart disease and high levels of cholesterol in our body. The role of leech becomes a great help to our health from a blood-sucking creature that is feared by many people.
Insight on how Leech therapy is being carried out?
Leeches are known to have three jaws with rows of teeth that are tiny. They stick their teeth into a person’s skin and add blood thinners to their saliva. Leeches can then draw blood from the subject for 20 to 45 minutes, which is a relatively small amount of blood of about 15 milliliters per leech.
Leech therapy serves different purposes and different health benefits, it benefits those who are at risk of limb amputation due to the effect of diabetes, it also benefits those who have been diagnosed with heart disease, and those that may lose part of their soft tissue due to plastic surgery. This therapy is also ideal for the treatment of blood clots and varicose veins.
Note that people diagnosed with anemia, blood clotting disorders, or weakened arteries can’t benefit from Leech therapy. Children under the age of 18 and pregnant women are also advised to avoid this.
The medical applications for Leech therapy
The medical application of Leech therapy occurs when live leeches are attached to the target area in other to draw blood, after which proteins and peptides are released by the sting of the leech to prevent clotting. This process helps to improve blood circulation and prevents tissue death. Also, note that you would be left with small Y-shaped wounds that normally heal without scars after the whole therapy is done.
Leeches promote blood circulation and break down blood clots. Leech therapy is ideal for the treatment of blood circulatory disorders and cardiovascular diseases. Also, be aware that the chemicals that are derived from leech saliva are now being processed into medicines that can treat:
- High blood pressure
- Varicose veins
- Skin related problems
Different research studies carried out also concluded that Leech therapy is also a suitable treatment for osteoarthritis of the joint disease.
Highlights on the benefits of Leech therapy
Leech therapy is beneficial in the treatment of heart-related diseases
Due to the potential source to improve inflammation and blood flow, Leech therapy has helped patients with heart disease. Leech therapy is also known to be an alternative therapy for people with vascular diseases and disorders.
Leech therapy is ideal for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases
Leeches have been used to treat cardiovascular diseases, because of the enzyme hirudin that is present in the saliva of leeches, a substance that contains systemic anticoagulant effect. A patient who has had a stroke or a heart attack can also benefit from Leech therapy.
Leech Therapy Near Me
Looking for a leech therapy specialist in Philadelphia? Just google for leech therapy near me and find Dr. Konstantin Lakeev at the Philadelphia Holistic Clinic.
Contact our Clinic (267) 403-3085 to book your appointment for leech therapy treatment.