In the naturopathically oriented medical and 'Heil-raktiker'clinics 'neural therapy' as described by 'Huneke' (1925) has been considered to be one of the best therapeutic measures and empirically evaluated skills against degeneration, pain and disease.

The term 'neural therapy' has been coined to distinguish this approach from the pure 'local – or surface-anaesthesia' concept. They both treat the nervous system, but unlike the mere local analgesic effect, 'neural therapy' claims to have a beneficent effect on many more diseases and often complex reflexogenic physiological disturbances.

Head Zones: The body segments (Head zones) are named after the spinal cord segments. Dependant on where the nerves leave the spinal cord, they are referred to as: 8 Cervical segments (C1–C8); 12 Thoracic segments (Th1–Th12); 5 Lumbar segments (L1–L5); and 5 Sacral segments (S1-S5). Skin, segment tissue and inner organs, which are supplied by the same spinal cord segment, can be seen as a functional unit. Graphic re-worked from an original in ‘The Anatomical Atlas of Chinese Acupuncture Points’, Shandong Science and Technology Press, 1982.
Anterior View                                                                Posterior View
Head Zones: The body segments (Head zones) are named after the spinal cord segments. Dependant on where the nerves leave the spinal cord, they are referred to as: 8 Cervical segments (C1–C8); 12 Thoracic segments (Th1–Th12); 5 Lumbar segments (L1–L5); and 5 Sacral segments (S1-S5). Skin, segment tissue and inner organs, which are supplied by the same spinal cord segment, can be seen as a functional unit.
Graphic re-worked from an original in ‘The Anatomical Atlas of Chinese Acupuncture Points’,
Shandong Science and Technology Press, 1982.

For a long time a commonly used approach for the suffering of intense acute or chronic pain has been the therapeutic destruction of pain-conducting (nociceptive) pathways by applying heat, cold, chemicals – and the ultimate deterrent: the surgeon's knife.

Nervine or neural treatment techniques instead aim to influence the signal transmission itself somewhere along the conductive nerve fibre.

This can be achieved by exciting or depressing the membrane potential of the myelinated fibre itself or by interfering with the pool of incoming (afferent) signals in the dorsal column of the spine. The result will be an inhibition of excitatory impulses within the grey matter of the spinal cord and a segmental analgesic effect. Pluri-segmental inhibition is also a well observed physiological phenomenon and is often used to account for the multi-level success achieved during a neural therapy treatment. And of course also the simple direct effect of the 'local anaesthetic (l.a.) upon the unmyelinated B and C-fibres and small Ad-fibres of the injected tissues can often provide the immediate explanation for the reduced nociception or local analgesia. However, it is important to distinguish the simple local switch-off effect from a narcotic substance in the tissues – the 'local anaesthesia' effect – from the more complex 'neural therapy phenomenon' where, as in other holistic therapies (e.g. acupuncture, osteopathy, shiatsu etc.), the curative effect will rarely be only limited to the simplistic dermatomal and myotmal demarcation lines of scholastic and sometimes very geographical neurology. Instead in many of these manual therapeutic disciplines the artificial stimuli generate descending inhibitory impulses which interrupt the pain reflexes, spasm, poor circulation cycle at the segmental level. Along with this, improved autonomic self-regulation is induced which further opens the way for increased tissue perfusion, elimination of metabolites and the shortening of recovery time from pain and disease which, can be easily observed after the application of neural therapy.

The Local Anaesthetics Used

In search for an ideal 'local anaesthetic' during the 'cocaine-era' at the beginning of this century Leriche and Wischnewski first stumbled across an unspecific analgesic effect of Lignocaine/Novocaine by carrying out experimental injections after this substance was first synthetically produced by Einhorn in 1905. The Huneke brothers reproduced these results in a similar way, but also for the first time managed to observe a distant or systemic effect after experimenting with its intravenous use. On one occasion a migraine headache attack was instantly alleviated when this local anaesthetic substance (l.a.) was added to some anti-rheumatic drugs used on one of their sisters. More systematic experiments followed and many therapists could reproduce these findings in their practices.

The Treatment

The treatment procedure itself involves local injections with these local anaesthetics (l.a.s) which inhibit nerve (neural) conduction by their 'sodium-channel blocking' properties. The most commonly used ones are Lignocaine, Bupivacaine and Procaine. Their tissue clearance rate after injection varies; Procaine is short-lasting, Lignocaine medium and Bupivacaine long-lasting (several hours). It is, however, always surprising that the pain-reducing (analgesic) effect turns out to last many times longer than the expected analgesic effect from the simple 'pharmacological half life' of the drug would suggest. This being the result of their membrane-stabilising, circulation-improving-vasodilating effect, these local anaesthetics are not only used for surface-anaesthesia, but also nerve blocks, epidurals, anti-arrhythmic treatment. In addition l.a.s also lower high temperatures, have anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory properties and have a mildly diuretic effect. Hypersensitivity reactions occur very rarely and can be safeguarded against by using a small test dose before using a large number of injection points. Understandably the selection of the injection sites is of fundamental importance; they can be tissue trigger points, acupuncture points, veins and arteries, inner organs, segment zones and 'Storfelder (irritation-zones)'.

The Techniques Used

Several techniques may be mentioned:

  • Field blocks
  • Nerve blocks
  • Segmental therapy
  • Storfeld-therapy
  • Regulative therapy
  • Combination therapy

The first two belong more to the skill base of the medical officer in the casualty department or the anaethetist. The remaining four, if applied via injection technique, should also be carried out by therapists who not only have background experience in giving injections but also are aware of the vasovagal or pneumothorax risks from inappropriate injections. The practical skill itself consists of placing small subcutaneous depots of Lignociane/Procaine (quaddles) by use of a hypodermic needle – alongside or at the centre of fibrotic tissue areas, – diffusely over whole pain dermatomes, – more accurately into related reflex-zones or acupuncture areas or meridians, an approach that would come under Regulative therapy. In the Combination therapy approach other therapeutic substances such as homoeopathic remedies can be mixed together with the injected l.a. provided they are mixed isotonically under sterile conditions.

Segmental Therapy

The Segmental Therapy approach is based on the findings of Sir Henry Head who already at the beginning of this century described the geography of visero-somatic reflexes.

The injections consist of bee-sting like small local subcutaneous depots of l.a. (described as wheals or quaddles) placed under the skin into the appropriate segment of pain or disease projection. This form of Segmental Therapy does not require specialist training and is therefore the one we mostly relate to in this article. The injection areas may depend upon the therapist's preferred system or method of diagnosis, whether the neurological pain-pathways, local nerve plexi, ganglions etc. are used or other diagnostic models instead, such as: reflex-zones; segments of palpated 'altered tissue texture'; areas of stiffness; trigger-point activity; hypomobility; deficient perfusion zones etc.

The Storfeld Concept

Regarding the 'Storfeld'-concept, energy medicine describes a flow of Chi alongside hypothetic channels maintained by differences of polarity between the thorax and the head. On its course from the chest to the head this energy flows along the arms via the fingers and on its course from the head back to the chest it flows along the legs via the toes. External and internal injuries, any scars cause energetic blockages within this linear distribution system of vital energy resulting in stagnation of Chi and circulation deficiency further along.

Common examples are tonsillectomy and appendectomy scars, but also superficial scars caused by vaccinations, tattoos, scars from tooth extractions, internal scars of ruptured ligaments, scars related to ulcers, caesarean sections may be mentioned. It remains important to say that the 'Storfeld' is not merely a mechanically obstructed area, it is also a source of disturbances from toxins and from alterations in the electric charge of the tissue due to inflammation, stagnation, deposit of metabolites etc. Common foci of such irritation are caused by poor dentistry, chronically inflammed sinuses or middle ear cavities, stones in the digestive or urinary tract, lymphatic organs like tonsils, the appendix, prostate etc.

The duration of the curative process depends upon the chronicity of the problem and like other therapies may take up almost half the time of the initial disease development phase. But it is important to mention that certain types of distresses, –pain, – congestion, –pressure symptoms often find instant relief after or even during the neural-therapy treatment. This has been described as 'Sekunden-Phenomenon' a type of spontaneous reflexogenic release process.

Restrictions in Britain

Injection therapies in this country are legally restricted to licensed health professionals. For therapists without these rights, Neural-Therapy can nevertheless be practised by using a technique known as Iontoforesis where the analgesic substance is introduced electronically rather than by needle injection. For the chosen area of treatment an artificial electric field is created by an machine (as for example described by Knoch, Lindeman) inducing a flow of 'ionised diffusion of the analgesic fluid' transdermally to provide the desired pain relief or trophic changes in the tissues. Instead of creating reservoirs, a dispersed way of tissue infiltration is used in this method, often with similar baffling results.

Indications for Neural Therapy

The range of indications is so immense that it is easier to sum up the diseases where neural therapy is not successful or not indicated: mental / psychiatric illnesses, deficiency diseases, hereditary diseases, congenital convulsive disorders, advanced infectious illnesses or immunological diseases like MS, advanced degenerative disease like liver cirrhosis, kidney or heart failure, arrhythmias, bleeding disorders and anti-coagulation therapy.

Summary

Neural therapy aims at restoring circulatory flow within vital tissues found to be often compromised by the degenerative factors such as pain, spasticity, tissue acidity (low p.h. from toxic – metabolic waste products), scar tissues, contractures, adhesions, external toxins to name a few. The remedies used are polarised electrically charged substances capable of directly affecting redox-potentials in living tissue.

This in combination with the therapeutic skill and knowledge of correct application or injection has provided the highly rated value of neural therapy within the healing arts.

Amongst the celebrity patients treated was J.F. Kennedy who, according to one of his biographers, recovered from an army trauma to his spine, which forced him to use crutches and even wheelchairs in his daily life. After many years of debilitating pain it was a series of Procaine injections which started off the recovery process and made him symptom-free soon after. But the spectrum of ailments indications for neural therapy lists not only back and joint pains. There is also undisputed empirical value for treatment success upon a much wider range of disturbances such as endocrine and systemic diseases and even skin disorders.

Head Zones: The body segments (Head zones) are named after the spinal cord segments. Dependant on where the nerves leave the spinal cord, they are referred to as: 8 Cervical segments (C1–C8); 12 Thoracic segments (Th1–Th12); 5 Lumbar segments (L1–L5); and 5 Sacral segments (S1-S5). Skin, segment tissue and inner organs, which are supplied by the same spinal cord segment, can be seen as a functional unit. Graphic re-worked from an original in 'The Anatomical Atlas of Chinese Acupuncture Points', Shandong Science and Technology Press, 1982.

Case Studies


Case Study 1
   65 year old female, generally in good health inquired about alternative treatment options for a longstanding tinnitis problem which could not be shifted with any of the conventional methods. During the consul-tation it became clear that several years after chronic catarrhal symptoms in her infancy she eventually underwent a tonsillectomy operation. Overall this did little to her initial complaint, and with time she just ‘grew out’ of her ear, nose and throat problems and she did not consult anyone else until she was 62. Suddenly problems started again by experiencing an almost permanent low pitched rustling noise in her left ear which was there even at night when she woke up during her sleep.
   After various other unsuccess-ful steps we decided to inject her tonsillectomy scars with 1%-Lignocaine which instantly reduced the degree of acoustic distress by 50%. My subsequent treatment involved small Procaine injections at several subcutaneous – periosteal locations around the mastoid bone which gave another 30 or 40% relief. We haven’t heard anything since from this patient and presume that she is well.

Case Study 2
   Male in his mid-thirties complaining of pain in the sole of his foot, described as a burning unpleasant sensation which worsened after a day of activity. After further enquiries about the character of his pain he described it to be sharp and stinging in a well localised spot, triggered during the pushing off phase when walking, or even worse when accelerating during sports activities. At other times the whole plantar area of his foot could be affected by a diffuse ache. After receiving several small ‘neural therapy’ injections infiltrated into the surrounding tissues of the posterior tibial nerve location near the medial malleolus his symptoms disappeared a few days later.

Case Study 3
   Middle-aged female suffered for several years from the after-effects of an accident caused by a falling piece of furniture that was unloaded from a van when she tried to walk past. The traumatic impact affected her upper back and caused intense suffering for several days. With analgesic drugs, sleeping tablets and rest she eventually got over the acute phase of the injury but was left with a delayed reaction and experienced permanent pins and needles, a cold-sweat-sensation throughout the whole right arm and associated stiffness and a worrisome loss of grip strength. Examination showed weakness of several muscle groups which excluded the the idea of the singular nerve entrapment. Further findings were a certain amount of upper limb muscle wasting and inappropriate hyperalgesic reactions initiated by mere touch, most noticeable over the T3/4 area. Disappointing for the mechanical diagnosticians electromyographic examinations and CT-scans carried out at specialist centres could only come up with the explanation of a trauma induced dysregulation (algo-dystrophy) of autonomic nerve fibres but not with any suggestion for further therapeutic actions. Not surprisingly this patient showed increasing signs of despair and generalised depression. My interest in this case became further enhanced at this stage.
   Several sessions of vertebral osteopathic adjustments improved her curved posture and the mobility of her neck and shoulder, however, the ‘referred pain’ phenomenon still came back in between treatment sessions and continued to show the same typical shoulder-hand symptoms with the same intensity as before.
   It was the praiseworthy ‘neural therapy’ approach that finally initiated recovery. Over three treatment sessions several small amounts of Lignocaine were injected in a peri-scapular location subcutaneously over an A5-size area at T3/4 segment level. Already after one application she began to use her arm a lot more. The next session consisted of the same procedure but a sinuvertebral nerve block using a 2%-Ligno-caine injection followed by the oral intake of the homoeopathic remedy Kalium carbonicum added to the treatment.
   Her depression started to lift and the confidence in using her right hand grew by the day. Two weeks later after the third neural therapy she was virtually cured and asymptomatic to an extent that her husband a disting-uished Neurosurgeon withdrew his compensation claims against the furniture company. To my surprise he did not make further enquiries about the neural therapy approach that cured his wife.

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About Angelica Hochadel and Sigfried Trefzer

Angelika Hochadel trained in Germany and qualified as a Complementary Medical Practitioner (Heilpraktiker). She practices EEA-Photography and Colour-Puncture as well as Acupuncture, Aurico-Acupuncture, Reflexology, Neural Therapy and other alternative treatments. Angelika represents the Swiss-based ‘International Mandel Institute’ in the UK. She also taught Neural Therapy at the Paracelsus School for Healing Arts in Mannheim. For further information concerning training contact 01732 700263.
Siegfried Trefzer, a qualified M.D., trained in various European countries and currently practises conventional and complementary medicine as a GP in the South West London area and on an NHS-basis at the Royal London Homoeopathic Hospital. As a Musculo-Skeletal Specialist he uses Osteopathy and Acupuncture but also Homoeopathy and Herbal Medicine. Enquiries concerning treatment and appointments: phone 0171-486 9200. His practice address is: 30A Wimpole Street, London W1M 7AE. He also practices in Richmond, Surrey.

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