More and more people are coming into OAP seeking help with symptoms of Long-COVID. What exactly is Long-COVID you ask? That is a great question and one that doesn’t really have a great answer. The mechanisms that cause Long-COVID are not yet well understood, it is a diagnosis used to describe a collection of symptoms that develop after a person is acutely infected with COVID-19. There is no way to predict who might develop Long-COVID, it can affect both those who become seriously ill, and those with initially mild infections. There is a wide range of symptoms associated with Long-COVID (the CDC lists some of them here) and those symptoms can vary in terms of severity and predictability as well. This variability and the lack of understanding around the causes of the disease mean that there are not very many cohesive treatment strategies for Long-COVID, which can be disheartening for people dealing with it.
Fortunately for us, we don’t need to understand the mechanisms of Long-COVID to help its sufferers manage their symptoms and feel more resilient. One of acupuncture’s magical qualities is its ability to activate the parasympathetic nervous system- often referred to as our rest and digest state. It is the optimal state to be in if we are trying to reduce inflammation, promote healing and elevate mood. And while we might be biased on this one, we think community acupuncture is especially powerful for people who are dealing with chronic illness because feelings of isolation are known to have a big impact on how well we heal.
At the same time that we are helping our Long-haulers cope, they are helping us by sharing their experiences and the lessons they have learned so far on their journeys. One of our amazing patients put together this resource document for us to share with other patients. (Thank you! You know who you are:) It contains the information they have gathered in the 18 months they have been living with Long-COVID. It includes a bit about what is known about Long-COVID, a link to a support group for Long-haulers and a nation-wide crowd-sourced document of practitioners who are starting to focus on treatment for Long-COVID.
For anyone out there dealing with Long-COVID we encourage you to stay hopeful, and get empowered. Check out these resources, connect with others, gather information and get acupuncture!