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Acupuncture and Diet for Hepatitis B
By: Vanessa Vogel Batt, L.Ac., MSTOM

Hepatitis B is a major liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). This liver disease is divided into two categories: acute and chronic. An acute infection lasts for less than six months, and patients often make a full recovery. A chronic infection, on the other hand, lasts more than six months and poses a significant risk for serious complications, such as liver cancer or cirrhosis. Cirrhosis occurs when permanent scarring disables the liver from functioning properly.

Symptoms of hepatitis B can differ from person to person and may occur from 1-4 months after exposure to the virus. Sometimes, it may even takes years for symptoms to develop, or they may be so mild that the person is not aware of them.  Symptoms of hepatitis B include abdominal pain, dark yellow or brownish urine, fever, vomiting and nausea, fatigue, pain in the joints and jaundice (yellowing of the whites of the eyeballs).

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine often categorizes symptoms of hepatitis B as relating to the liver. There may very well be other organs involved depending on the specific symptoms each patient manifests, but most likely the liver will require treatment due to its close relationship with the blood.

It may be necessary to create an acupuncture treatment plan that can help the liver filter out toxic substances and fight infections found throughout the body. The liver channel traverses the inside of the legs and ends in the chest. A channel, or meridian, is the pathway through which Qi (energy) flows in the body. By accessing the Qi in the liver meridian via acupuncture needles, imbalances in the liver may be addressed.

For patients who experience abdominal pain, vomiting and nausea, acupuncture points may be selected for their ability to address the digestive organs. This may require the insertion of acupuncture needles on the stomach directly, acupuncture points found on the stomach meridian, or a combination of both.

It is also important for a patient with hepatitis B to maintain a healthy appetite as the nutrients provided by food are vital in the production of healthy blood. Healthy blood is a primary requirement for a healthy immune system. To avoid overburdening the liver, try reducing or eliminating alcohol and high-sugar food items from your diet, as an excess of these can prove toxic for anyone, especially a person suffering form hepatitis B. Instead, incorporate seaweed, burdock root, beets, carrots, garlic, ginger, as well as drinking warm green tea. These are all foods--with the exception of green tea--that help the body gently rid harmful substances and viruses.

Maintaining a healthy diet is something you can do that may help to boost the effectiveness of acupuncture treatments. Talk with your acupuncture and Oriental medicine practitioner to discover which foods and treatment plan can help address your symptoms of hepatitis B.

Find an Acupuncturist near you to learn how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help you!

About the Author:  Vanessa Vogel Batt, L.Ac., MSTOM, studied at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, and practiced acupuncture and Oriental medicine in New York for several years. Vanessa enjoys traveling the world, and has published articles on acupuncture and Oriental medicine and related health topics for websites and publications in both the U.S. and abroad.