I Tried Acupuncture to Help Manage Sarcoidosis Symptoms

Kate Spencer avatar

by Kate Spencer |

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I have an extreme aversion to needles. When I was much younger and needed to have blood drawn, I would pass out during the process. This happened every time, without fail, regardless of how we tried to prevent it.

When my primary care physician, who is also a pulmonologist in his home country of China, said I should try acupuncture to help with my sarcoidosis symptoms, I cringed at the thought. However, I have great respect for this doctor. Despite much hesitation, I agreed to give acupuncture a try.

Prior to my first visit, I did plenty of research and had numerous conversations regarding acupuncture. I learned that tiny, hair-like needles are inserted in key areas of the body during a session. Acupuncture is known for getting energy, or “chi,” moving in your body. In Chinese medicine, disease occurs when energy within the body becomes stagnant or blocked. According to some experts, the benefits of acupuncture may include pain relief, an overall feeling of well-being, and anxiety relief. The process is thought to aid the activity of the body’s painkilling chemicals.

At the time of my first visit, I was experiencing dizziness and vertigo on a regular basis. I was also struggling with tinnitus and fatigue. I was quite restless during the procedure, but I did my best to remain calm as the needles were inserted. I was surprised to discover that the needles are often placed in seemingly unrelated areas of the body. For instance, to address a headache, an acupuncturist might insert needles in the hands or ears, not the head.

I merely felt a slight pinch when the needles were inserted and didn’t experience any bruising or soreness afterward. I felt uneasy trying to lie still after all the needles were in place, but my initial apprehension about the procedure slowly dissipated. I closed my eyes, took deep breaths, and relaxed as my doctor left the room. Forty-five minutes later, I realized I had actually fallen asleep! After my treatment, I left the office feeling relaxed and slept for a solid hour upon returning home.

After three consecutive acupuncture treatments, the tinnitus in my left ear had diminished. I felt more energetic, alert, and refreshed than I had in a long time. I still receive acupuncture treatments every few months, which I call “tune-ups.” Unfortunately, my health insurance still does not cover this treatment. Personally, I feel acupuncture is well worth my $70 out-of-pocket fee to help manage sarcoidosis.


Note: Sarcoidosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sarcoidosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sarcoidosis.


Alan Bart Cameron MD avatar

Alan Bart Cameron MD

As a former (retired medical director for several large healthcare organizations) insurance doc, We have often struggled with guidelines for coverage on acupuncture. The standard is shortest, least intense and least costly level of service known by most providers to be safe and effective to treat a condition producing symptoms which if not treated would lead to deterioration. Acupuncture is accepted for a variety of conditions- nausea in pregnancy, pain conditions, a few other things, but not for cancer although as part of palliative care is fine. I suggest that you contact your insurance company as it is likely that if the bill were presented in the right way, you would be covered. I would guess that there is no treatment of sarcoidosis that is actually listed as approved for any treatment... however if it is presented as for pain, tinnitus, it might well be covered. I have a lot of pain issues with my disease and do not tolerate pain medications well, so that I can have acupuncture as part of my pain treatment program. Acupuncture is a LOT cheaper than many other alternatives (damn narcotics) but you may need to work with your provider to figure it out--- and work on pain issues more and avoid treatments for conditions that do not have good peer reviewed backed justifications. Hint: you are not treating sarcoid, you are managing pain,etc.

Janet avatar


Hi I have Sarcoidosis in my mediastinum! Which cleared by taking prednisone for a year! I hated how the prednisone made me feel! After I was off of that I got Sarcoidosis in my spleen which Is covered with Sarcoidosis and I have a few on my liver and adrenal gland! I was put on methotrexate which I don’t like how it makes me feel also I had a CT scan after 4 months treatment of methotrexate and it hasn’t helped yet! I was wondering if acupuncture Would help? Thank you Janet


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