We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Are the Benefits of Acupuncture for Shingles?

By Synthia L. Rose
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The main benefits of using acupuncture for shingles are the holistic remedy’s ability to restore life energy, or qi, and its power to mitigate constant pain from a shingles outbreak without the use of prescription narcotics, which can be addictive. Since acupuncture is not addictive and has few known side effects of frequent, long-term use, an additional benefit is that acupuncture can be used as duration therapy to curb the nerve pain that remains long after the lesions have disappeared. There is no scientifically-confirmed cure for shingles, which is caused by the herpes zoster virus and is characterized by aches, lethargy and rash. Doctors can only prescribe treatments to manage the side effects of the disease.

While traditional doctors believe old age and a feeble immune system can make one susceptible to shingles, alternative therapists who practice acupuncture for shingles believe low levels of qi, alternately called chi, renders one susceptible. Deficient qi levels typically occur in the region of the liver. When an imbalance of qi occurs, it can often lead to excess qi in the area of the gall bladder. By inserting needles into pressure points affecting these areas, an acupuncturist is able to restore proper qi distribution and thereby help the body fight off shingles, holistic healers believe.

Needles used in acupuncture can also reportedly relieve pain caused by post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN). This is the residual nerve pain that exists after a bout of shingles. While the rash of lesions and blisters is temporary, pain associated with shingles can last long after visible signs of the illness have dissipated — sometimes even for years.

In addition to using needles to relieve nerve pain, an acupuncturist might also use heat therapy or electronic currents to offer benefits to those with shingles. Heat therapy involves burning dried leaves, such as those from the mugwort plant, over key points of the body associated with certain nerves. Electric currents are used during electroacupuncture, which has been the most successful form of acupuncture for shingles since it is believed to reduce PHN pain more than just needles alone.

Despite the plethora of patient anecdotes affirming the benefits of acupuncture for shingles, mainstream research does not support its effectiveness. Several research reports claim people afflicted with shingles in a clinical study did not show any improvement from the use of acupuncture, whether exposed to acupuncture needles, currents or heat therapy. There are negative side effects to using acupuncture for shingles. The duration of relief is short lasting, at most, eight hours. After that, the patient must use other treatments, suffer or schedule additional acupuncture.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.