How does leech therapy work?

We could talk about the wonders of leech (hirudo) therapy for days or even weeks, but here I will try to simplify it. Old folklore explains that leech therapy works by leeches sucking out the “bad" blood out of a patient. However, this theory is of course short-sighted and false. If you think about it, how much “bad” blood could this tiny animal suck out to effectively rid a person of illness? On top of all that, how could a leech selectively suck out the “bad" blood from the "good" in this oversimplified understanding?

Many attempts have been made by researchers to find the answer to the age old question: Just how do these tiny creatures cure you?

Well, there are hundreds of bioactive ingredients found in these tiny creatures’ medicinal hirudo saliva. From the very first drop of blood a medicinal leech draws from a patient, the tiny leech instinctively and reflexively reacts. The leech begins to compose a specialized mixture of bioactive ingredients in its saliva to inject into the patient’s bloodstream. This concoction is formulated based on the patient’s physiological information that the leech gathers from that first drop of blood “analysis.” Once injected, the hirudo medicinal leech’s treatment triggers the patient’s own self-healing mechanisms.

Why would the leech go to such lengths and not just suck its host’s blood? The answer is quite simple. The hirudo medicinal leech establishes a symbiotic relationship with the patient. The leech is only interested in keeping its host’s body alive as long as possible and provides nourishment to help its host achieve healthy wellness. The leech’s survival depends on its host’s survival. A simple yet healthy exchange!

A well trained hirudo therapist knows exactly where a patient's problem is and how the leech should be applied to the patient's body. The healing can sometimes kick in immediately and the effects can sometimes remain long term. Depending on the health issue, you should periodically repeat the treatment for maintenance or use it to prevent problems in the future.

Copyright © First Hungarian Leechterapy Center, 2016