q. I have sarcodosis and my lymph have flared up, leaving me with no circulation from my knees to my toes would acupuncture help me?
A. You will not be surprised to know that there has been very little research into the use of acupuncture for treating sarcoidosis and its related problems. The occasional case study appears, but it is always dangerous to draw conclusions or make recommendations from small amounts of information.
However, the great strength of Chinese medicine is that it has a different way of interpreting symptoms through an understanding of the body as a flow of energy and the organs as a set of functions which control the flow of energy. When symptoms appear it is a matter of undertaking a kind of detective work to understand which parts of the system are not functioning as they should. There is also a level of blockage in the more superficial levels of energy which can cause swelling and inflammation, and this can very occasionally be very considerably helped by needling in the area where the swelling occurs.
There are one or two functional disturbances which can cause the sorts of problem with which you are having to cope, and if there are clear indications that these are the cause of your problems then there may be a chance that you might benefit from treatment. Obviously there are no guarantees, and with problems which are a little out of the ordinary we are always keen to set very clear limits to how much treatment we are prepared to offer before drawing a line in the sand. We do not want to have people running up a large bill getting nowhere, and after three or four sessions most of us have an idea of what may be possible and whether there is a chance of longer term improvement. It is also very helpful to establish as objective a measure as possible of change.
The best advice, then, is to visit a local BAcC member for an informal chat about the possible benefits of acupuncture. Most are happy to offer a few minutes without charge to prospective patients so that they may make an informed choice.
Another option you might want to investigate is manual lymph drainage, a form of massage which concentrates on lymphatic flow. This can sometimes have a dramatic effect, but you will need to make sure that the person who you see is properly qualified. Many offer this as a service, but there is a recognised standard of specialist training, and for your problems this would be essential.