Intern. Center for Hyperthermia
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26384 Wilhelmshaven, Germany
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Leeching – diverse fields of application of a proven therapy for millennia


Basics of leeching

The medical leech (Hirudo medicinalis) is the most famous leech of over 300 species. It has been used for centuries in medicine for the treatment of various diseases. He sucks on the skin and "saws" with his sharp teeth. He takes up to 5 ml of blood. His saliva, which he releases into the blood, contains a true active substance cocktail of about 20 different substances. A particularly important active ingredient among these is hirudin, which has a blood-thinning and anticoagulant effect and thus improves the flow of the blood. These already provide great therapeutic approaches:

1. The stroke risk might be lowered.
2. The heart attack risk can be positively influenced.
3. A thrombosis, such as in the leg, can be treated concomitantly.
4. Phlebitis can be greatly reduced.


Another active ingredient is calin, which inhibits the clumping of platelets and thus can be a good method for the prophylaxis of vascular occlusions. In addition, the active ingredient organase ensures that the vein walls dilate and the venous blood can flow better. At the same time, the lymphatic current is stimulated, which can contribute to the removal of the affected limb (limb).


Performing the treatment

The leech is attached to the pathological or painful area and sucks there. He stays in that position and does not crawl around. The treatment lasts up to 2 hours. It should be worn comfortable, not too tight clothing and perfumed skin (perfume, shower gel, ointments) should be avoided. The animals spontaneously dissolve as soon as they are saturated. The affected area is wrapped in a thick bandage after treatment to absorb the low rebleeding.


Reasons not to apply leeching therapy

The therapy should not be carried out in cases of coagulation disorders (congenital or acquired). Therapy is also not recommended if you are taking coumarin derivatives such as marcumar. In severe anemia, this natural form of therapy is also contraindicated. ASA and similar preparations should be discontinued after medical examination, five days before treatment.



The leech therapy is a low-side-effect and gentle treatment for many different diseases and is also a helpful option for prophylactic especially vascular diseases.