Shingles: What Is It? Can Acupuncture treat it (in Anoka, MN)?

What is Shingles?

Shingles is a painful skin rash that, left un-treated can cause long-term nerve damage and residual nerve pain.


What Causes Shingles?

Shingles is caused by a virus called Herpes Zoster, a latent chicken pox virus. Once someone has had chicken pox (usually as a child) the virus goes dormant within the body. Most never have to deal with it again.

However, some experience this dormant virus being “re-activated” within the nerve cells by stress and a lowered immune system, particularly after the age of 50.


Signs and Symptoms of Shingles

Shingles looks like a red rash, usually on one side of the body around the ribs, scalp, face, neck and arm (possibly lower body). Sores may blister, burst open and crust over.

How Does Acupuncture Work?

It is best to have acupuncture treatments right away, in order for optimal results. Waiting too long may result in nerve damage and long-term nerve pain which may include burning, tingling pain and headaches, sometimes lasting months to years…

Acupuncture may still help at this later stage, though it will be limited to reducing symptoms, not resolving them if long-term nerve damage has taken root.

Schedule your acupuncture appointment at Aleesha D Acupuncture today.


Acupuncture treats Shingles by treating the overall TCM patterns of Wind Heat and by clearing Blood Heat and what is called Dampness. It also treats the Channels (energy pathways) and local areas affected.

  • Acupuncture lowers inflammation
  • Acupuncture may help avoid nerve damage
  • Acupuncture helps other symptoms:
    • Headaches
    • Nausea
    • Nerve pain
    • Fatigue
    • Stress
    • Acupuncture helps strengthen weak immune system
      • This helps fight the virus
      • This helps virus return to dormant state

Conventional (Western Medicine) Treatment:

Medications include:

  • Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory meds
  • Prescription narcotics
  • Steroids
  • Antihistamines (for itching)
  • Anti-viral drugs at onset (may reduce severity)

Risk Factors

  • A weakened immunity
  • Age 50 and older
  • Higher risk of a complication called Post-herpetic Neuralgia (nerve pain may become chronic if not treated)



  • You cannot catch Shingles from someone from Shingles
  • Shingles is due to latent chicken pox virus
  • You may catch chicken pox from someone with Shingles

(if you have not had chicken pox)

Tips to Use at Home

  • Visit a licensed acupuncturist during acute (early) stage
  • Apply topical capsaicin cream
  • Apply turmeric paste (may stain clothing and skin)
  • Apply a tincture of myrrh to the affected area 3x daily
  • A vaccine is available called Zostavax (50% success rate)
  • Your licensed acupuncturist may also go over other lifestyle recommendations according to your pattern, including diet and stress reduction tips.

Prompt treatment is important to avoid complications, especially if severe, whether seeking Acupuncture treatment as part of Traditional Chinese Medicine or Western Medical treatment.

Written by Aleesha Ackerman, LAc.

Aleesha Ackerman treats all types of pain including headache, migraine and back pain. She specializes in Women’s health treating patients with Anxiety, Mild to Moderate Depression, Endometriosis, Auto Immune Disease such as Hashimoto’s Hypothyroid Disease and syndromes such as Fibromyalgia.

Aleesha treats low mood and energy using acupuncture, TCM diet and other lifestyle recommendations when appropriate to you as an individual.

To schedule with Aleesha, visit


This article is not intended to replace any health care.

No information on this site should be relied on to determine medical diagnosis or treatment for a medical condition. As with any health concerns, always be sure to consult your health care provider with any health concerns.

Licensed Acupuncturists Serving Andover, Anoka, Big Lake, Blaine, Champlin, Coon Rapids, Dayton, East Bethel, Elk River, Fridley, Ham Lake, Isanti, Minneapolis, Now Then, Oak Grove, Maple Grove, Osseo, Saint Francis, Saint Paul, Spring Lake Park and Ramsey, MN 55303.

Zip codes we treat: 55304, 55303, 55309, 55014, 55434, 55449, 55316, 55433, 55448, 55327, 55330, 55432, 55040, 55401, 55402, 55403, 55404, 55406, 55407, 55408, 55409, 55410, 55411, 55412, 55413, 55416, 55418, 55419, 55421, 55422, 55011, 55311, 55369, 55102, 55103, 55104, 55105, 55106, 55107, 55108, 55101, 55109, 55110, 55111, 55113, 55114, 55116, 55117, 55120, 55124, 55125, 55115, 55118, 55119, 55121, 55122, 55123, 55126, 55129, 55130, 55146, 55127, 55128, 55133, 55144, 55145, 55155, 55164, 55165, 55166, 55166, 55168, 55170, 55175, 55187, 55188, 55171, 55172, 55014, 55025, 55371, 55398, 55308, 55960

Serving Anoka County, the north metro and Minneapolis area.


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