Tales from the Practice of Medicine: (Part V) Herpes Zoster (Shingles)

Dr. Li Defu

PureInsight | January 13, 2003

[PureInsight.org] I would say that the disease of herpes zoster (shingles) is evil, and like a thief. It usually cannot be prevented because it comes on and develops quickly, and can only be diagnosed after it has attacked. In Chinese medicine, it is called "snake twining" or "fire red spots." Aside from causing a great deal of pain, if it extends to the cornea, it may cause a corneal ulcer or blindness. So, one should have it treated as soon as possible.

One day a patient came to see me. She felt a burning pain in her shoulders, neck and elbows. On my initial examination, I couldn't find anything wrong. The range of motion of her shoulders was normal, but she seemed to be in pain and had a slight fever. It was flu season, and there were many patients in my clinic with coughs, runny noses, headaches and stomach disorders. At first, I thought she had the same flu symptoms of pain throughout the body, especially in the shoulders, and a stiff neck.

When I acupunctured her, I found a small read mark on her right shoulder. It looked like an insect bite. I asked, "When were you bitten by an insect?" She said, "I have no idea." It was the middle of winter. How could she get an insect bite on a covered area? An idea flashed through my mind. I took a closer look. Aha! It was actually a small blister. In light of her symptoms, I determined immediately it was that "thief."

Ha! It was a perfect time to display my skill. I had her sit upright, and took a thin string to measure the circumference of her head. I used this length of string and encircled her neck. Then, I dragged it backward along the centerline of her back. At the spot where the string reached, there usually is a small pink or light-yellow mole, which is called the "thief's net" or "spider's net."

I treated this point with moxabustion, using Aizhu, a burning stick of Artemisia leaves. The treatment using one stick was sufficient.

Two hours later she called me from home, telling me that the pain had mostly gone. The flu symptoms were all gone. This meant that this method had eliminated the "thief's net."

Translated from: http://www.zhengjian.org/zj/articles/2002/12/20/19666.html

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