Leech Therapy

3 mins read

Alternative medicine continues to amaze mankind with path breaking techniques. Some of these date back years and are practiced with proven results. Leech therapy counts among the top most healing techniques with an unconventional approach to cure diseases.

Origin Of Leech Therapy
Leech therapy comes from ancient times. The method had been practiced in order to cure certain chronic health conditions and illnesses. As repulsive as they look, leeches are used in the therapy to treat ailments by way of bloodletting. This traditional way of healing is rampant even today across many parts of the world, thanks to its amazing results surpassing modern medicine.

Benefits Of Leech Therapy
Leech therapy is applied to cure the following conditions:

  • Leech’s saliva serves as an anticoagulant agent because of varied enzymes and hormones. Hirudin present in the saliva combines with thrombins and helps in restricting the coagulation of blood.
  • Bdellins found in leech’s saliva is an effective compound that acts as an anti inflammatory agent.
  • Reduces chronic pains
  • Restricts the growth of harmful bacteria in the human body
  • Acts as an excellent blood thinner
  • Helps prevent formation of blood clots
  • Normalizes blood pressure in individuals suffering with hypertension
  • Improves blood circulation across the body
  • Heals wounds and lesions caused due to diabetes
  • Boosts the immune system with the bacteriostatic agents
  • Treats arthritis
  • Helps cure ischemic diseases related to heart
  • Cures bronchitis and bronchial asthma
  • Improves the quality of gastro intestinal tract
  • Helps heal skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema and herpes
  • Effective in curing brain related ailments such as infantile cerebral palsy

How Is Leech Therapy Performed?
Of over 600 species identified, only 15 of them are applied for medical purposes. These leeches are classified as Hirudo Medicinalis. They are referred to as medicinal leeches. Leeches that suck are called heamophagic leeches. These blood eating creatures attach themselves to the host until they are full and then fall off. They slowly digest what they sucked post detaching.

  • During the process, the leeches are placed on specific parts of an individual’s body (legs, back etc). They then start sucking blood.
  • They are then allowed to fasten their mouth on patient’s skin
  • By way of sucking impure blood, leech’s saliva enters the body. The saliva contains essential enzymes and anticoagulants required for treating conditions
  • These enable thinning blood and improving the quality of circulation
  • The process also allows to get rid of any blood clots present in the body

The therapy is also done to relieve chronic pains and inflammation. A leech once used on a particular individual is not used again for treating any other subject, as there is a risk of infection to spread.

Contraindications And Risks Pertaining To Leech Therapy
There are few contraindications surrounding the therapy:

  • Leech therapy is not advised for patients who are HIV infected
  • The therapy is risky for patients suffering from AIDS
  • Not ideal for individuals on immunosuppressive drugs
  • Leech therapy is risky for patients with conditions like bacterial sepsis

If you wish to avail leech therapy to cure specific conditions, it is recommended that you consult an experienced practitioner who will administer therapy after studying your health profile.

1. Uzun G, Ozdemir A, Yildiz S, Tanyuksel M. To suck or not to suck: medicinal leech therapy for lower extremity wounds in patients with peripheral arterial disease. Int Wound J. 2014 May 28. doi: 10.1111/iwj.12304. [Epub ahead of print] No abstract available. PMID:24872226

2. Whitaker IS, Maltz M, Siddall ME, Graf J. Characterization of the digestive tract microbiota of Hirudo orientalis (medicinal leech) and antibiotic resistance profile. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2014 Mar;133(3):408e-418e. doi: 10.1097/01.prs.0000438461.06217.bb. PMID:24572887

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