Leech Therapy

Leech therapy, also known as hirudotherapy, is a medical practice that involves the use of leeches to draw blood from the body. Leeches have been used for medicinal purposes for centuries, and they are still used today in some parts of the world.

How Does Leech Therapy Work?

When a leech attaches to the skin, it secretes a number of substances into the wound. These substances include hirudin, an anticoagulant that prevents blood from clotting; hirulipase, an enzyme that breaks down blood clots; and allantoin, a substance that promotes wound healing.

The combination of these substances causes the leech to draw blood from the wound, which can help to improve circulation, reduce inflammation, and promote wound healing.

What Are the Benefits of Leech Therapy?

Leech therapy has been shown to be effective in treating a variety of conditions, including:

  • Venous insufficiency: This is a condition that occurs when the veins in the legs do not function properly, causing blood to pool in the legs. Leech therapy can help to improve circulation in the legs and reduce swelling.
  • Chronic wounds: This includes diabetic foot ulcers, pressure ulcers, and venous leg ulcers. Leech therapy can help to promote wound healing and prevent infection.
  • Post-surgical edema: This is swelling that can occur after surgery. Leech therapy can help to reduce swelling and improve circulation.
  • Tinnitus: This is a condition that causes ringing in the ears. Leech therapy has been shown to be effective in reducing tinnitus in some cases.

Are There Any Risks Associated with Leech Therapy?

Leech therapy is generally safe, but there are some risks associated with it. These risks include:

  • Infection: Leeches can carry bacteria, so there is a risk of infection. However, this risk is low if the leeches are properly sterilized.
  • Allergic reaction: Some people may have an allergic reaction to leech saliva. This reaction can be mild or severe.
  • Blood loss: Leeches can draw a significant amount of blood, so there is a risk of blood loss. However, this risk is usually low.

Is Leech Therapy Right for Me?

If you are considering leech therapy, it is important to talk to your doctor. Your doctor can help you decide if leech therapy is right for you and can refer you to a qualified practitioner.


Leech therapy is a safe and effective treatment for a variety of conditions. However, it is important to talk to your doctor before you start leech therapy to make sure that it is right for you.

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