Frequent questions

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How does hirudotherapy work, exactly?

The effects on the body and organs are a result of a combination of multiple properties of the medicinal leech saliva, including anticoagulation effects, thrombolytic effects, anti-inflammatory effects, immunomodulation effects, and lymphotropic effects. These properties work together to thin the blood, improve circulation and lymphatic drainage, reduce inflammation and pain, and restore normal immune function.

The best part? Up to 90% of human ailments and pathology can be successfully treated with hirudotherapy. It's a safe, natural, and effective way to promote healing and restore balance in the body.

Of course, we always encourage patients to continue working with their primary medical team of practitioners. Hirudotherapy should not be used as the ONLY medical intervention. But for those seeking a holistic, natural approach to healing, hirudotherapy may be just the solution they've been looking for.

Does leech therapy hurt?

No. With the exception of a very gentle initial “bite” through the superficial skin layer, the duration of therapy does not produce any painful sensation. Occasionally, the leech will re-”bite” to get a better access to your blood and lymph. 

Is it covered by insurance?

No. Like many very effective and successful treatment modalities, Hirudotherapy in general is not covered by insurance companies when performed outside of the hospital. When this therapy is administered by surgical services in an acute hospital setting, it is generally covered. 

Does this therapy actually work?

Yes. This therapy is a very powerful tool that helps to heal a myriad of human conditions with a solid track record of being in use for three and a half thousands of years. Can you think of another medication or a medical procedure that has such an extensive record?

What do you do with leeches when done?

The leech in the US is considered to be a “single use device” and therefore is discarded after each application. It is euthanized and placed into a medical waste container like any other medically related waste.

Will I have a scar?

Rarely leeches may leave a long term mark at the site of the bite. With proper wound care any of the scarring will resorb in time. We offer a special cream to aid with skin healing after the application.

How many sessions will I need?

This largely depends on the condition being treated. We always start with just a single trial session to see if a treated individual can fully tolerate the treatment. In acute conditions 3-5 treatments may be sufficient. In chronic conditions, one may need as many as 10 treatments. You will receive an estimate of the number of treatments needed after your first consultation. 

Will I feel the effects right away?

This depends on the condition being treated. Most of the time, there will be a sense of a general improvement felt within a few hours after the initial treatment that may have lasting effects. Most conditions treated will require some time to improve as the Hirudotherapy per se does not “cure,” but rather it makes your own body heal better and faster. This may take days or weeks, or sometimes months depending on your age and overall health status. 

How much does it cost?

Each session will cost anywhere between $200-$250 depending on the number of treatments planned. We give discounts for pre-payment for multiple treatments. As prices are subject to change, kindly call our clinic for more accurate pricing.

Is this safe for anyone to be treated?

Hirudotherapy is very safe and can be used for the vast majority of patients with very few contraindications. Contraindications for uses of leech medicine are severe anemia (very low blood count) and presence of hemophilia, previous allergic reaction (relative contraindication as this therapy becomes more tolerable with more treatment), severe cachexia (extremely poor nutritional status). Although not a true contraindication in most of the world, in the US Hirudotherapy would not be used on pregnant patients and someone who is taking blood thinners largely because of potential legal issues, rather than medical contraindications.

What are the potential side effects?

Most common side effects are post-application itching and skin redness, unexpectedly prolonged bleeding (rare), and severe allergic reaction (very rare). Also, prolonged marking of the skin is common, and scarring is possible, but rare. 

For how long will I bleed?

On average, discharge of blood and interstitial lymphatic fluid may continue between 12-24 hours.

Why is this therapy not being used more by other doctors?

After many years of this powerful tool being essentially dormant and being brushed off by allopathic medical practitioners to favor pharmaceuticals and surgical procedures, Hirudotherapy is experiencing a true renaissance. It is currently being used in some hospitals for plastic surgery and trauma applications, and in outpatient settings it is largely being utilized as a cosmetic treatment (rejuvenation) and a well-being treatment. In the US, Hirudotherapy is not being taught in any medical schools or residency programs and therefore doctors simply know next to nothing about this amazing modality. In many countries around the world, Hirudotherapy is used in everyday mainstream medical practice. The practitioners in our clinic learned Hirudotherapy in Siberia, Russia. 

How long do Hirudotherapy sessions take?

Hirudotherapy sessions usually take anywhere from 40 minutes to over an hour. This depends on the objectives of therapy and the patient's response to the treatment.

Where can I learn more about leech therapy?

We would not suggest using conventional internet search for this topic as the results that you may find may be very inaccurate. Instead, we suggest reading an excellent book: “Leech Therapy: an introduction to a natural healing alternative” by Matt Isaac that explains the essence of Hirudotherapy that is available for purchase in any major online book retailer: