Healing by the Leech
Humans have used leeches for medical treatment for several thousands of years. The peak of their usage falls on XVII-XVIII centuries, when blood-letting was considered one of the most effective remedies. Up to 20-30 leeches were simultaneously placed on the patient. Along with wet cups they were considered a method for localized blood-letting.
In the end of XVIII century G.Highcraft had discovered a substance in the leech extract which prevented blood coagulation and was later named hirudin. It became clear that when the leech sucked, hirudin entered the wound and played an essential role in the leech’s remedial effect.
Only in the second half of the XX century did it become clear that the leech inserts not only hirudin, but a multi-component secretion into the wound. It contains a whole complex of biological compounds. There are over twenty ingredients, although popular publications usually introduce the number 100. Perhaps, this number itself astounds the authors. These ingredients are what modern scientists ascribe hirudotherapy effect to.
Our research and analysis of over 35 years of treatment experience, began by Yuri Kamenev, demonstrates that the process is still more complex then inserting even a unique natural compound into the patient’s body. The leech’s influence is a result of the interaction of two living organisms.
The therapeutic effect of the leech is a complex combination of the following:
1. The reaction of the body to the inflicted wounds. There are many factors involved: the affected places, the number of leeches, treatment frequency. The emerging reaction depends on the skin metabolism in the point of treatment. It also depends on the overall condition of the body. With the correct treatment, the immune and other systems are enhanced. Reaction of the body to other methods of treatment is also improved.
2. A highly complex reaction to a localized blood-letting evolves. If the points are chosen correctly, after the removal of leeches blood circulation and the outflow of lymph from tissues are improved. This creates a powerful cleansing and nourishing effect, the so called trophic effect. The cells, previously weakened by the disease, receive oxygen and nourishing substances, and are freed from metabolism by-products. Recuperating tissues regain the ability to fight the illness.
3. The leech secretion activates complex biochemical reactions in the body. Most of them are local reactions, and their effect is very vigorous. Although most of the substances inserted by the leech are washed out with the blood flowing out, they sharply increase the anti-inflammatory and trophic potential of the tissues involved. Immune cells are activated, blood viscosity is reduced, vessel spasms are relieved.
4. Leech treatment has a very powerful psychological effect on the patient. When properly utilized, this natural method allows to mobilize the body’s own huge reserves.
Hirudotherapy, as one of the most ancient and powerful methods of natural medicine, demands talent and almost artistic skill from the doctor. He who had mastered it has a great instrument at hand.