What Is The Difference Between Only Acupuncture And Acupuncture Plus Chinese Herbs?

We are back in the mailbag today!

George writes what Is the difference between only acupuncture and acupuncture plus Chinese herbs?

Dr. Rosenfarb:  They both work, first of all. I think what you are really asking George is  what is acupuncture doing and what is the Chinese herbs doing? And Chinese herbs also with, in my perspective, incorporate other supplements like the fish oils or Vitamin A type of thing and we’ll get to those supplements.

But you’re basically talking about acupuncture versus supplementation. What the acupuncture seems to do, base on our research, we know it increases blood flow to the eyes. Research has shown that through an ocular Doppler. We also know that it stimulates the visual cortex which is the part of the brain in the back that lights up, that interprets the messages. Basically, we have a light image that hits the eye and the eyes will look like a camera. It’s the brain that actually sees. So, the brain lights up and the acupuncture will stimulate the visual process.

We also have seen documented stimulation of the optic nerve, the photoreceptor cells in the eye which is the retina, the macular so on and so forth. We also believed that it can increase the cellular energy output in the form of ATP in the mitochondria which are the cells if you guys remember back to cell biology in high school. This is little parts of the cells called the mitochondria, what they do is they produce energy in which we call the ATP.

Now, that’s critical. Because, without getting too into this, we’ll see if somebody asks more about the question. But in RP, that system seems to break down. It’s called the mitochondrial dysfunction. And that’s one of the big issues that occur with RP. In some other eye conditions too, we need to know what causes that but that’s kind of like the mid marker of what happens.

The acupuncture handles all that stuff.  It increases blood flow, regulates the ATP mitochondrial function and stimulates the nerve and the brain, in the eyes, in the optic nerve and the retina. So it’s more of a stimulus and increased blood flow.

The Chinese herb and the supplements what they do is actually they’re used once we identify the underlying condition which in different cases can be metabolic, it can be autoimmune or it can be chronic inflammatory. In non-RP, which is non-genetic like rod-cone dystrophy, there could be microbial infections in the body or toxicity issues and other things that affects the vision that mimic the genetic RP.

So we use herbs and supplements to really address those things, those health doctors or disease processes to kind of control that. For example if there’s more circulatory issues, we’re going to use Chinese herbs and supplements to really help improve the circulation. If there’s more inflammation, we’re going to use the Chinese herbs to help regulate that.

In addition to that, we use eye nutrients. A lot of people will take things like preservation or eye formula nutrients like Vitamin A or Lutein or Zeaxanthin – all these types of supplements, B- complex. These are eye food. So once we use acupuncture in some of these therapies – eye exercises or acupressure – to increase the blood flow to the eye. Now, we need to nourish the eye. The eyes are like a little person. It needs food. It needs air. It need oxygen. It needs to breathe and it needs to eliminate.

If the blood vessels are constricted and there’s so much junk built up in the eye, you’re going to have impaired blood flow and you’re not going to get the nutrition into the eye. If the eye doesn’t receive nutrition, it’s going to break down and degenerate. And that’s part of what happened, starvation of the retina.

Again, the Chinese herbs and the supplements really address the nutritional aspect and also manage the underlying issue where the acupuncture really works towards stimulating the eye, increasing the blood vessels, stimulating the nerves and the ATP energy function.