By Dr. Carol Wentz Randaci
Treating macular degeneration and vision problems with Eastern medicine and acupuncture.
Not long ago, I received a call from a friend whose mother was diagnosed with adult onset macular degeneration (AMD). Terribly upset, she asked me: “Can you imagine being told there is nothing to be done to save your eyesight over the long run?”
While there may not be anything biomedicine can do to relieve her mother of this chronic condition, I said, “There is hope.” It is possible to treat vision degeneration—including AMD, glaucoma, macular hole, wrinkling, pucker, cataracts, ischemic optic nerve disease, retinitis pigmentosa (RP), diabetic retinopathy, and dry eyes—by addressing imbalances in the body’s metabolic systems.
Using the principles of Oriental medicine, a healthy physical and energetic environment can be created so your body’s own systems can regenerate and maintain a correctly functioning network. Acupuncture, nutritional elements and regeneration programs all play a powerful roll in this healing process.
How it Works
Acupuncture needles are put in various positions on the body (but not the eyes). Since everything is connected, various combinations of acupuncture points in the hands, feet, legs, face, head, and ears are used to improve blood flow and stimulate nerve activity in the whole body—resulting in improvements to the macula. Acupuncture activates nerve impulses to the brain to stimulate the optic nerve, retina and, specifically, the nerve cells in the macula, awakening dormant cells and regenerating low-functioning cells. It dilates the blood vessels around the eyes and increases blood flow to bring fresh food and oxygen to the retinal cells. And, most importantly, acupuncture initiates your own stem cell production to rejuvenate tissue.
Microcurrent is an adjunct therapy used to aid in the treatment of AMD and improve the health of your eyes. Research has shown that there is a 500 percent increase in cell activity after low levels of microcurrent. This therapy has been used since the 1970s to treat muscular conditions in athletes, and in orthopedic healing and facial rejuvenation. Microcurrent works in five basic ways: improves circulation; stimulates cellular activity; reduces scar tissue; reduces inflammation; and stimulates stem cell activity.
On the nutrition front, oxidative and nitrosative stress and chronic, low-grade inflammation are major risk factors contributing to the degeneration of body, brain and eye health. This is why antioxidants and anti-inflammatory plant-derived foods are so beneficial. Studies have shown that the consumption of a diet rich in phytochemicals can reduce neuro-inflammation and activate the expression of crytoprotective and restorative proteins.
It’s clear from thousands of studies that animal and animal byproduct consumption is a leading factor in inflammation. Numerous studies (from Harvard Medical School, Cleveland Clinic and other scientific institutes) designed to examine the relationship of diet to AMD based on the Alternative Healthy Eating Index have concluded that a healthy non-animal diet will not only prevent the complications of inflammation, clogged arteries, diabetes, high blood pressure, IBS, leaky gut, chronic pain conditions and other illnesses, but also reduce the dietary risk of age related macular degeneration.
The benefits of acupuncture ophthalmology as part of a comprehensive treatment plan can last from a few months to years. Each case is different and factors like coexisting health issues, medications, diet, stress levels, lifestyle complexities, and compliance all play a role in how well the treatments take effect and how often someone may need to return for follow-up treatments. All patients require some degree of follow-up treatment to maintain healthy blood flow to the macula, and advanced cases usually require additional treatments closer together. On average, most patients come for maintenance once to twice a year, and those with early-stage AMD can benefit by receiving treatment every one to two years.
AMD Treatment Protocol
If you are wondering what an AMD protocol might look like, our ReVision Eye Clinic offers a 10-day treatment program. We look at physical problems and emotional issues that are contributing to eye problems, as well as nutrition. During the 10 days patients receive two full acupuncture treatments each day including:
o Constitutional Oriental medicine diagnosis
o Micro-acupuncture, microcurrent treatment
o E-stimulation and frequency-specific therapy
o Sound and light therapy
o Oriental medicine formula and homeopathy
o Vital essential oil therapy
o Post treatment acupuncture check-ups at one, three and six months.
East Meets West
Many patients with wet macular degeneration also receive regular injections for retinal bleeding from a Western medical doctor. When East meets West in the medical world, you are getting the knowledge and experience of a holistic, naturopathic, Oriental medicine perspective, along with cutting-edge diagnostic treatment from conventional doctors. Of course, it is always best when physicians are supportive of treatments to help you heal any condition you have. However, remember that most physicians today are in a difficult position and not free to recommend anything outside of what’s customary within their field of specialization, so educate yourself and find an acupuncture physician/Oriental medicine doctor knowledgeable in treating AMD.
“The Eyes are the window to your soul”—William Shakespeare
Dr. Carol Wentz Randaci is the director of the Vegan Culinary Institute in Sarasota, FL, a board certified Oriental Medicine Doctor and Acupuncture Physician, Energy Therapist, Naturopath and Hopeful Human. Dr. Carol has trained with alternative medicine’s finest physicians and has practiced Raja Yoga meditation under the guidance of Ram Chanrda, Babuji Maharaja for 36 years. You can reach Dr. Carol at AiZen Healing Center by emailing email@example.com or calling 941.284.8894.