Genital and oral herpes is not related to another type of herpes that causes shingles: herpes zoster.

Anatomy of the Skin

Oral or genital herpes is caused by a virus known as Herpes simplex.  They can be the result of a sexually conveyed infection. Shingles or Herpes zoster can occur due to a re-functioning of a dormant chicken pox disease. Shingles usually cause blisters (vesicles) on the body and can manifest along stretches of skin beginning on the area of the spine that may virtually enfold the entire body.  As the name suggests, genital and oral herpes is limited to the genital or oral cavity (lips and mouths).

Western conventional medicine views the viruses and mechanisms causing these conditions as different; traditional Chinese medicine, on the other hand, sees them as almost identical. This makes it easy for acupuncturists to treat the shingles and herpes quickly and effectively, no matter where the condition occurs on the body.

The symptoms and causes of shingles and herpes

Herpes Zoster (Shingles)

Herpes zoster can cause a painful rash. Shingles can develop at any part on the body, although it often affects only one side of the body and limited to a stretch of skin known as a dermatome that starts along the spine. Another name shingles is known by is chickenpox caused by the varicella-zoster virus.  People who never developed chickenpox will never develop shingles. After the person has been infected with chickenpox, the virus resides and stays latent in some of the cells along the spinal cord. After several years, and during times of great stress or in a weak immune system, the virus can become active resulting in shingles. Though not dangerous, shingles can become severely painful. When shingles occur, blisters may form along the dermatome vessels. People with shingles describe the pain as electric, searing or burning. Two weeks after the break out, the vesicles dry up, causing crust formation that then eventually heals.

After crusting and the eventual healing, it may be typical for the person to experience pain. This is called as post-zoster pain or post-herpetic neuralgia. Chinese herbal therapy and acupuncture can aid in decreasing the magnitude of the flare ups of shingles and stop the pain. These two combinations can also help treat post-zoster pain, as well.


Genital herpes is often accompanied by blisters (sores), itching and pain. A lot of people with this infection do not manifest any visible symptoms or signs. But whether or not the signs and symptoms are visible, herpes is considered an infectious disease. The HSV or herpes simplex virus is responsible for this condition.  Mouth -to-genital or skin-to-skin contact can spread herpes. When one becomes infected, the virus can stay dormant in the body that may come back alive a number of times a year.

Acupuncture treatment for Shingles and Herpes?

Pain and Itching are classical signs of shingles and herpes.  Clinical studies have revealed that acupuncture can quell itch and stop pain.  Modern western medicine explains that acupuncture affects the nerves. It helps produce and release neurotransmitters that intercept the pain and itchy impulses sent to the brain. According to traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture helps to balance the body’s energetics and organ systems to stop pain and itch.

When acupuncture is combined with Chinese herbal medicine, the results are even faster and stronger.  Acupuncturists almost always give all their patients with shingles and herpes topical herbs that help stop the itching and pain. The herbs may come in tea-form. It can be applied to problem sites. It can be gargled for those suffering from oral herpes, utilized as a sitz bath or douche for genital herpes, or for shingles, applied on the skin with a piece of cotton.  Some acupuncturists also prescribe their patients with herbal medicine that can be used internally. All these preparations can be used during outbreaks to neutralize the itch and pain.

Ni Nan Healing Art Center
2579 Merrick Rd
Bellmore, NY 11710
Phone: (516) 442-7408