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neuropathy treatment

Understanding Neuropathy: Home Treatment Options and Remedies

foot pain hand pain neuropathy

Neuropathy pain includes a variety of sensations like numbness, tingling, pins and needles, or burning sensations.  Usually it affects people on their fingers or toes.  

As a holistic practitioner, my first question is always "WHY is this happening?"

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the answer is pretty clear, "Qi and Blood stagnation."  Something is blocking the free-flow of Qi and Blood.  

Here are some of the underlying causes of neuropathy.  


Research suggests that obesity and type 2 diabetes alter blood flow patterns. 

I say this not to cause alarm or depression.  In fact, I'd argue that panicking over a blood test or weight gain is counter-productive.  That said, so is doing nothing.  

The best thing you can do if you're in this boat is simply to take it as a warning sign from your body.  The "check engine" light is on.  What are you going to do about it?  

Some ideas:  

  • plan what you're going to cook and eat for the week (don't wait until it's 5 pm and you're tired and hangry after work to decide what's for dinner)
  • eat real food (vegetables, proteins, fruits, unprocessed dairy, whole grains and beans, etc.)
  • don't worry about the latest fad diet or prescription drug (there's a new one every month...)
  • take a walk after dinner every night (flopping in front of the TV is OK every once in a while, but it's not a healthy lifestyle)

Cold Blockage

This is an underlying cause of neuropathy that Western medicine is - I'd argue - completely ignorant about.  Simply visit a freezing cold clinic or emergency room to notice.  

Cold causes constriction.  This is science!  It works the same in your body too - vaso-constriction in your blood vessels.

Any-body can end up with "Evil" Cold, especially if you're drinking ice-cold drinks regularly, eating a lot of cold food (raw salads, frozen smoothies, sushi...) without warm food to balance them out, or if you live or work in a cold environment and don't have adequate coverage, especially on your neck, abdomen, or feet.  

Other signs of cold damage include - menstrual cramps, diarrhea, bloating, and joint pain. 

The solution =

  • Eat more warm food and room-temp drinks.  At the very most, drink refrigerator-cold water or tea, but not freezing cold. 
  • Use warming spices in your food - cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, garlic, etc. 
  • Cover yourself up in cold environments.  Use slippers or socks on your feet at home and keep a sweater or scarf in your bag for cold rooms or going to the grocery store.  

Stagnant Blood 

The other potential cause of neuropathy is just "regular" old stagnant blood.  This could be from injuries, stress, compression in your spine, or lack of movement.  

If you're in too much pain to move comfortably, try acupuncture or talk to me about therapeutic exercises that can help.  

Acupuncture is helpful for breaking up scar tissue and returning blood flow patterns to normal.  To successfully treat neuropathy, most people need at least 10 treatments.  What you should expect is feeling a little bit better each time.  

If the pain is such that it's better after acupuncture, but returns within a day or so, it could be related to mobility issues in your spine, hips, or shoulders.  Not to fret - these things are often fix-able without surgery.  We just need to assess your posture, and come up with a regimen that will steadily return your blood flow back to normal.  

Blood Deficiency 

The 4th potential underlying cause of neuropathy is stagnation due to deficiency.  Blood Deficiency in TCM is a similar idea to anemia - but it doesn't always show up with an official anemia diagnosis.  

This type tends to show up in people who have a history of major illness such as cancer therapy or significant blood loss.  Women who have heavy periods may get this type of neuropathy.  People who avoid eating animal protein may have more tendency to develop this type of neuropathy as well.  

How do you know if you have Blood Deficiency-related neuropathy? 

You'll probably also notice you have a pale (whitish) tongue color and general fatigue.  

To treat it, use herbs that nourish Blood such as rehmannia, dong gui, or shisandra.  Other herbs can help recover from illness include astragalus, licorice, or ginseng. 

You may want to add more animal protein into your diet.  Eggs, grass-fed beef, buffalo, and lamb are all great for nourishing Blood.  Plants such as dark leafy greens, beets, and mushrooms are helpful as well.  Supplementing Vitamin B12 is a quick and easy way to get a similar effect in the body as eating these vitamin-rich foods.  "Take it or eat it!"

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