246 First Street #101
San Francisco, CA 94105
What is Biopuncture?
Biopuncture is a therapy whereby specific body locations are injected with biologically active substances which are physiologically regulating. These substances are used to treat pain, swelling, inflammation and toxin accumulation, among other problems. Most injections cause only minor discomfort because they are very shallow, given just under the skin or into the muscle.
What kinds of products are injected?
Products commonly used in Biopuncture are, for example arnica, Echinacea, and chamomile. Arnica is used for muscle pain and Echinacea is used to boost your body’s immune system. Biopuncturists usually inject a mixture of natural products. Traumeel for example is used for inflammation in the setting of sports injuries and inflammation. Zeel is used for chronic joint pain. Spascupreel is used for muscle spasms/cramps. Lymphomyosot is utilized for lymphatic drainage in chronically swollen or congested tissues. These products are combined with a local anesthetic medicine like lidocaine.
Are products safe for me?
The solutions are not in high concentration. They contain diluted products. Therefore, toxic side effects are very unlikely. The medications used in Biopuncture are manufactured by companies that guarantee the production quality of their products. Most of the solutions are made in Germany, under strict quality control regulations. Clinical studies on thousands of patients have confirmed the safety of solutions like Traumeel and Zeel.
How can these dilutions actually have an effect on my body?
The fact that most solutions contain low concentrations of plant extracts is often a reason for conventional physicians to criticize the possible effects of these products. Products used in Biopuncture are not diluted to the extent that the solution contains no active product (as in homeopathy). That’s why we call them “micro-doses.” How does this small dose influence the body? A good example is to think of a tetanus vaccination – only small amounts of the product are necessary to stimulate your immune system (= your defense system) against lockjaw. A few injections can protect your body for several years against this serious disease. Biopuncture injections are not vaccinations of course; however, the mechanism is similar: small doses of the right product can have a strong effect. Biopuncture produces its clinical effects because it stimulates your own immune system and restarts your healing capacity. (The medications used in Biopuncture have no relation whatsoever to the current controversy over childhood immunizations).
Has it been proven that Biopuncture works by stimulating my immune system?
Anecdotally, Biopuncturists have experienced the effects of these injections for decades. Recent research on Biopuncture has revealed new insights into the mechanism of how these products work. In June 2004, in the medical journal, Clinical and Developmental Immunology – a peer-reviewed, conventional medical journal – researchers showed that Traumeel inhibited IL-1ß and TNF-alpha secretion. Both of these immune mediators are associated with increased inflammation and tissue damage. Traumeel has also been shown to shorten recovery time for acute sports injuries. (Orizola A et al. 2007).
Will Biopuncture help me as quickly as conventional therapies?
It’s obvious that injections of micro-doses are less powerful than for example cortisone injections. The dose used is too small to immediately suppress inflammation. But that’s not the goal of Biopuncture! We consider inflammation as an important element of true and lasting healing. The goal of Biopuncture is to stimulate the natural inflammatory processes in order to get a complete and natural healing of the injured tissues. So, we do exactly the opposite of conventional drugs. As a result, the symptomatic relief may take longer, especially for chronic cases. But when approaching acute injuries, such as sports injuries or whiplash, the effects of the injections are apparent almost immediately.
Where are these injections given?
Most people – especially those who are apprehensive about needles and injections because they have had bad experiences – are surprised how easily and quickly these injections are given. In fact, these injections cannot be compared to the “usual” injections given in conventional medicine. They are not as painful used to draw blood or given a knee or shoulder joint injection. The needle is very fine and the quantity injected is very small. In fact, the injection sites look more like little pinpricks. Most of them are given into or just under the skin; others are given into specific muscle points or into ligaments. Your doctor does not give the injections arbitrarily; the injections are administered in carefully chosen locations. The place where the doctor puts the product injects the product is as important as the product itself. It’s different for each patient and each type of problem.
How many injections will I receive each session?
A lot of these injections are given at more than one spot during each session. For example, if your doctor wants to work on your liver to help with detoxification, he or she will give about 7 little injections just under the skin on your abdomen. When you have pain in the elbow, your physician will inject several painful spots in your arm muscles or elbow ligaments. In such a case, you may receive an average of three to 10 injections in your elbow, neck or back. In most cases, injections are given in the specific pain zone.
What are the risks of the treatment?
It is clear that the physician who decides to use Biopuncture will always do so according to the latest technical and therapeutic standards. This includes correct injection technique and appropriate infectious precautions with disposable one-time use needles. The most common adverse effects after treatment are a small red area after injection or small bruise. Serious side effects are rare.
What is a “detox” treatment?
In addition to treating painful areas, detoxification of the body is one of the keys to success. Detoxification refers to “cleaning the body” of toxins that may have accumulated in your body, for example from the environment, poor nutrition, certain medications, smoking or alcohol use. These toxins can interfere with your body’s normal healing response and optimal functioning of your immune system. They can disturb the reflex responses of your nervous system. Elimination of these toxins is important, particularly in the case of chronic pain, but also in cases of optimizing peak performance. Some injections work specifically on the liver, kidney and/or lymphatic system. Improving the function of the lymphatic system with Lymphomyosot is considered very important in Biopuncture.
When should my physician suggest Biopuncture?
Biopuncture cannot heal all of your medical problems. It is not a miracle therapy. It is up to your doctor work with you to decide what conditions can and cannot be treated. The majority of patients choose Biopuncture because they are in pain which has not responded to treatment with conventional medications (i.e. NSAIDS like Advil, steroids or opiate pain-killers) or they prefer to treat their conditions with complementary medicine approaches. It is critical to recognize that Biopuncture is not designed to “take away the pain” as with conventional pain killers. Pain is seen as an important ‘signal’ from your body that something is going wrong. It is like the warning light on your dashboard of your car: the goal is not just to relieve the pain and restore function, but to treat the deeper cause. This means that if pain can be alleviated with Biopuncture – without prescription or over-the-counter medications – there is good reason to conclude that the deeper cause of that particular pain has been eliminated.
I’ve heard that things can get worse immediately after my first treatment. Is this correct?
Every case is different. Some patients improve immediately after the injection, sometimes within minutes. Critics sometimes describe this phenomenon as a “placebo effect” by saying that you feel better because you believe you should feel better. In Biopuncture, such an immediate improvement is most common with acute soft-tissue injuries, such as an ankle sprain or acute neck or back strain. Chronic problems which have been present for many months or years need more time to heal. Some patients report feeling a little worse (especially the day after the first treatment) – this is the exact opposite of the placebo effect. A temporary worsening is generally considered to mean that the healing process has been activated. In Biopuncture we call this the “reaction phase.” When you understand that this means that healing is underway, most patients find these reactions to be minor and acceptable.
When should I consider Biopuncture?
Most physicians use Biopuncture or minor orthopedic problems. Biopuncture would not be a considered a treatment for a fracture, large herniated disc with neurologic weakness or serious underlying medical illness. Common indications for Biopuncture include: neck, mid back, lower back and sacro-iliac pain; various tendon problems (tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, patellar tendonitis); shoulder pain; knee pain, tension headache etc. Biopuncture is very successful for treating sports injuries. The use of biotherapeutic injections can benefit patients who have tried conventional medicine but have had no success, or for those who have had to stop taking conventional medication because of side effects. Some Biopuncturists specialize in treating patients with bronchitis, sinusitis, hay fever, eczema and other chronic inflammatory conditions.
Can Biopuncture be combined with other treatments?
Some people believe that one has to stop conventional treatments when choosing natural medicine, this is not true. For many patients it may be best to combine treatments. When you are being treated with Biopuncture, you can continue the medications you already take. Your treating MD can discuss the specifics of your situation with you. For orthopedic problems, it is often recommended that patients receive physical therapy or exercise regularly to achieve optimal results. Often patients are in a very weakened and deconditioned state and they benefit tremendously from a progressive strengthening program. Biopuncture can also be combined with chiropractic, osteopathic manipulation and other techniques. Often nutritional status is a key component to recovery. Your physician may inquire about your diet and supplements regime to optimize healing.
When is Biopuncture not appropriate?
Let us be very clear. Biopuncture cannot heal cancer, diabetes, a heart attack or AIDS, among other serious conditions. Nor is it an appropriate treatment for high blood pressure, Parkinson’s disorder, depression, significant organ failure (emphysema, kidney disease) or epilepsy. You doctor will help you determine if you are a candidate for biopuncture. In many patients, the disease is too serious or too aggressive, and can only be treated through conventional medications, radiation therapy or surgery. It is critical to have a diagnosis from a medical doctor or other medical professional before starting with Biopuncture. In cases of doubt you can also consult with your primary care physician.
Patient Education Handout
Adapted from Jan Kerschott, MD Founder of Biopuncture
Biopuncture is a safe and effective technique in complementary and integrative medicine. It uses biotherapeutic injections to stimulate the natural self-healing capacities of your body. It is worth considering if it can help with your personal health problems. Consult your medical professional for more information about Biopuncture.
- Patient Education Handout. Adapted from Jan Kerschott, MD Founder of Biopuncture
About Dr. Lee Wolfer
Dr. Wolfer received her MD from the University of California, San Francisco. She did her residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School. She is also Fellowship Trained. She completed the prestigious Spine and Sports Medicine Fellowship at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. She also did a fellowship in Interventional Spine with Richard Derby, MD at the internationally-known Spinal Diagnostics and Treatment Center in Daly City, CA.
She is Board-Certified in three specialties: Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Pain Medicine and Sports Medicine. She also performs Electrodiagnostic testing (for carpal tunnel syndrome, neuropathy, radiculopathy, etc)
Dr. Wolfer believes strongly in treating patient holistically, bringing together the best of traditional medicine with alternative medicine. She individualizes each patient’s rehabilitation program, to include physical therapy, nutritional supplements/diet counseling, chiropractic, acupuncture, yoga/pilates, prolotherapy, medications or injections. As a former Elite Rower and final candidate for the United States Rowing Team, she also specializes in treating elite athletes and triathletes.
Can Biopuncture Help You?
If you would like to find out more information about Biopuncture, and see if it can help you. Please call our office at (415) 495-2225 or use our Contact Form to send us an email.