What is autologous blood therapy?
For autologous blood therapy, the practitioner takes some blood from a vein. It is then injected directly under the skin or into a muscle. Alternatively, after the blood has been drawn, various substances are first added to it or prepared for homeopathy before it is reintroduced into the body. This can be done by injection (syringe), but sometimes also by oral ingestion.
The autologous blood therapy or autologous blood treatment was first documented by surgeon August Bier in Germany at the beginning of the twentieth century. Beer used it because he thought it would speed up the healing of broken bones. Autologous blood treatment is one of the stimulus therapies. These are assigned to alternative medical procedures. This type of therapy works with various stimuli to which the body is exposed, for example in the form of heat, cold or homeopathic remedies. This should stimulate the self-healing powers.
In the case of autologous blood therapy, the stimulus supplied consists in a tiny amount of your own blood. Because the blood was outside the body for a short time and itself
The body no longer recognizes some of the blood components as a part of the body, but treats it as a foreign substance. In this way, various reactions are to be initiated, which should ultimately lead to healing. Autologous blood therapy is used, among other things, for pollen allergy and hay fever, neurodermatitis and acute or chronic inflammation.
Important note: autologous blood therapy may only be used by doctors and naturopaths. If in doubt, ask your family doctor whether autologous blood treatment is advisable in your case and whether there may be health issues that speak against it.
Types of autologous blood therapy
There are various methods of performing autologous blood therapy. Most people first take a small amount of blood from the arm vein. This blood is then either returned to the body untreated or treated in different ways. This usually happens intramuscularly (the blood is injected into a muscle) or subcutaneously (the blood is injected directly under the skin). We will briefly present the most common types of application below.
Unchanged own blood
For treatment with unchanged autologous blood, a small amount of venous blood is withdrawn and immediately returned to the body. This is usually done in the form of a muscular injection (intramuscular); For example, the gluteal muscle is often used for this. The amount of blood withdrawn during the first treatment is usually between 0.5 milliliters and one milliliter. In the following treatments, the amount of blood can slowly be increased to up to five milliliters.
Autologous blood therapy with various additives
Various additives are added to the blood before it is returned to the body.
For example, you can add a homeopathic remedy to the blood. The choice of agent depends on the patient's initial situation and the desired healing effect. For example, Echinacea (coneflower) in the form of a homeopathically prepared solution for injection is often used to strengthen the immune system.
Other additives that can be added to the blood are oxygen or ozone. This should be helpful, for example, in the case of circulatory disorders.
Potentiated autologous blood (autologous blood nosode)
With this form of autologous blood therapy, a drop of blood is taken from the patient. This is then potentiated according to homeopathic regulations. The teaching of homeopathy assumes that the more diluted a starting material is, the stronger it is. Through dilution and shaking, the starting active substance is potentiated, i.e. an increased effectiveness from a homeopathic point of view.
With a D potency, the ratio is 1:10, with a C potency, the dilution is 1: 100. For example, you add ten drops of alcohol to a drop of blood, shake both together ten times and thus obtain the potency D1. A drop is again taken from this prepared solution, again placed in ten drops of alcohol and shaken ten times. This gives the power D2 and so on. In order to obtain C potencies, one would correspondingly shake each time with a hundred drops of alcohol until the desired potency is reached.
The choice of the appropriate potency depends on the type of illness and the health situation of the patient and belongs in the hands of a therapist experienced in homeopathy.
The potentiated autologous blood is taken orally and not administered with a syringe. Therefore, it is mainly used in children or, for example, in people who are afraid of injections.
Note: Alternative practitioners are not allowed to manufacture homeopathic remedies in Germany for legal reasons. This also includes the preparation of your own blood nosode. This may only be made by an authorized manufacturer.
Hemolyzed autologous blood
In this form of application of autologous blood therapy, the red blood cells (erythrocytes) in the drawn blood are decomposed before it is returned to the body. This is achieved by adding sterile, distilled water.
Administration at acupuncture or pain points
Depending on the clinical picture, some practitioners select certain points on the body into which they inject their own blood again after they have been drawn. These can be known acupuncture points or places where there is an increased sensitivity to pain.
How does autologous blood therapy work?
So far, there is no scientific proof of the effectiveness of the treatment with autologous blood. This applies to many alternative medical procedures, but does not mean that these therapies are actually ineffective. It only means that there is no evidence of its curative effects accepted by conventional medicine.
One possible explanation for the possible effects of autologous blood therapy is as follows: Regardless of whether oral blood is taken or injected, both variants expose the body to the smallest of stimuli. When self-blood is injected, a bruise (hematoma) occurs at the injection site. This irritates the surrounding tissue and causes reactions such as slight swelling and redness, i.e. local inflammation. This can spread to the entire body as a weak infection. The immune system reacts and has to deal with the penetrated stimulus, i.e. your own blood.
The number of leukocytes increases, antibodies and phagocytes are formed, and the body temperature may even rise slightly. At the same time, a healing process for the actual disease is initiated. In the opinion of the supporters of this alternative medical form of therapy, this is based on the fact that the activated immune system is stimulated by the treatment in such a way that it not only “fights” the stimulus of the own blood, which is now recognized as foreign, but also a whole series of actual pathogens such as different bacteria and viruses.
Sometimes it can happen that a so-called initial worsening occurs after the first injection or oral intake. This means that the symptoms worsen for the time being, but this should quickly change to the opposite.
If it is an allergy treatment, autologous blood therapy is seen here as a so-called training for the immune system. The immune system is supposed to be made not to "overreact", as is the case with an allergy, but to produce a normal defense again. When treating pollen allergy and hay fever, care should be taken to start autologous blood therapy during the symptom-free period. It is also advisable to use the lowest possible dose for any type of allergy during the first treatment in order to test how strongly the body's reaction is individual. This can reduce the risk of allergic shock.
How often should autologous blood therapy be performed?
The duration and frequency of application depend on the patient's clinical picture. In acute illnesses, frequent use with increasing amounts of blood is said to have proven itself; in chronic illnesses, the interval between uses should be larger and the amount of blood injected less. In some cases autologous blood is given daily, in others only about every two weeks. On average, around eight to ten treatments are carried out.
Areas of application
Autologous blood therapies are used, for example, for allergies or bronchial asthma. Treatment with autologous blood should also be helpful in the case of a weakened immune system. The use of autologous blood therapy should also have a positive impact on diseases such as neurodermatitis (atopic eczema), psoriasis (psoriasis), various fungal infections, rheumatic and chronic inflammatory processes and circulatory disorders. In any case, please talk to your doctor or health care professional about possible risks and potential benefits before deciding on autologous blood therapy.
When should autologous blood therapy not be used?
Autologous blood therapy should not be used for bleeding disorders, phlebitis, acute bleeding and severe debilitating diseases, as well as for glucocorticoids, blood thinners or immunosuppressants. The doctor treating you can advise you individually on whether autologous blood therapy is permitted and useful in your case. (sw, kh)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
Susanne Waschke, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch
- Bierbach, Elvira (ed.): Naturopathic practice today. Textbook and atlas. Elsevier GmbH, Urban & Fischer Verlag, Munich, 4th edition 2009.
- Peter W. Gündling: autologous blood therapy for allergy; in: empirical medicine, Volume 67, Issue 01, page 31-37, 2018, thieme-connect.com
- U. Will, P. Zimmermann: Terminal autologous blood therapy after abscess drainage; in: Ultrasound in Medicine, Volume 40, Issue 01, page 52-53, 2019, thieme-connect.com
- Marcus Maurer, Thomas Buttgereit, Rainer Stange: autologous blood treatment for urticaria; in: Journal of Complementary Medicine, Volume 11, Issue 03, page 14-19, 2019, thieme-connect.com
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