A 50-something year old male came to me for help with his post-herpetic neuralgia affecting his upper back. Post-herpetic is a complication of shingles; even after the shingles rash disappears, nerve pain and other symptoms still remain. Shingles is due to the same virus that causes chickenpox. It remains inactive in the nerve roots. It is activated into shingles during times of weak immunity and strength.
In Chinese medicine, shingles is often due to some combination of pathogenic wind, heat and damp. It is wind becomes it comes on suddenly, or if there is itching. It is heat if there is burning and inflammation. It is damp if the lesions are pussy. Wind often stirs and rises, so the upper body is more affected by wind. Damp is heavy and sinks, so the lower body is more affected by damp. In post-herpetic neuralgia, these pathogens continue to linger in the channels; they were never fully released.
For this specific patient, his diagnosis in Chinese medicine was post-herpetic neuralgia due to wind and heat still lingering the channels.
Along with acupuncture, I also applied “seven star” technique, involving dermal/shallow needing and tapping along with cupping. With the cupping, the skin durned dark and purple, colors indicating heat and stagnation in the channels.
After this one treatment, the patient reported significant relief of all his related symptoms. During his follow up visit, I performed a similar treatment to see if any wind remained. This time, the skin only turned light pink, indicating that the wind pathogen was no longer active.