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Is Ménière's Disease and/or vertigo treatable with acupuncture?
Acupuncture and Oriental medicine are extremely successful in the
treatment of symptoms associated with Meniere’s disease, especially
What is Ménière's disease?
Ménière's disease is a disorder of the inner ear that can affect
hearing and balance. It is characterized by episodes of dizziness and
tinnitus and progressive hearing loss, usually in one ear. It is caused
by an increase in volume and pressure of the endolymph of the inner ear.
While no actual cause is known for Ménière's disease and/or vertigo, several factors have been linked to it:
Ménière's Disease from an Oriental medicine perspective
- Tension and anxiety can lead to attack
- A high salt intake (probably due to increased fluid retention)
- Some women have premenstrual attacks which are associated with fluid retention
- There is a direct link with migraine in 30% of recorded cases
- Head injury severe enough to cause a concussion
- Glandular or hormonal imbalance (including hypothyroidism)
- High cholesterol levels
- Common factors such as chocolate, smoking, alcohol, dairy products and wheat
- High doses of aspirin (from 14 to 16 tablets per day) can cause
ringing in the ears. This type of tinnitus is reversible, simply by
withdrawing the intake of aspirin
and Oriental medicine usually attribute vertigo to phlegm and dampness
obstruction. This causes the vertigo along with symptoms of nausea and
It is also often diagnosed as kidney yin deficiency
causing liver wind to ascend and cause vertigo, dizziness, headache,
blurred vision and tinnitus.
Points used for vertigo and Ménière's disease
points are chosen depending on the diagnosis. Many points will be on
the scalp and around the ears but they will also be on the body.
For liver wind:
Gallbladder 20 (GB 20) and Liver 3 (Lv 3)
Local points around the ear to restore circulation of Qi:
San Jiao 17 (SJ 17) and Small Intestine 19 (SI 19)
For nausea, vomiting, phlegm and dampness:
Pericardium 6 (Pc 6), Stomach 36 (St 36) and Ren 12 (Co 12)
For kidney yin deficiency:
Kidney 3 (Ki 3)
Dietary measures involve reducing cholesterol, reducing fluid intake,
stopping alcohol, and eliminating added salt from the diet. This
reduction in salt intake is most important, as salt increases fluid
retention and intralabyrinthine pressure in the inner ear. Stopping
coffee and cigarettes is also important because they constrict the
O’Connor J, Benksy D (transl, ed.) Acupuncture: a comprehensive text—Shanghai College of Traditional Medicine. Chicago: Eastland, 1981, 684-85.