Generally speaking, hemotherapy is a term used to describe the use of blood in the treatment of a certain condition. This involves the transfusion of blood to a patient. Most recently, the term is often used to refer to autohemotherapy, which is when a patient is injected with their own blood as treatment.
In some cases, the blood is first treated with medication or some kind of holistic treatment before being reintroduced to the body. The blood transfusion may take place immediately after the blood is drawn, or some time later. Hemotherapy and autohemotherapy is fairly popular in Europe and has only recently begun to be used in the United States. Advocates say it helps strengthen the immune system, can help wounds heal faster, and may be able to soothe symptoms from skin and joint conditions.
During a typical session, a doctor may wrap a tourniquet around a patient’s arm to encourage a vein to stand out against the skin. The doctor then usually draws a single vial of blood and bandages the needle wound. The blood is then injected back into the patient, usually on a muscular part of the body, like a thigh or buttock. Re-injection is rather like receiving a vaccine, so the blood doesn’t need to be injected back into a vein. Rather, it goes into the muscle and is distributed throughout the body.
Proponents of hemotherapy say that it helps patients recover more quickly from illness and disease by strengthening the immune system. The idea is that when the patient’s blood is reintroduced to the body, the immune system will rise and attack the blood because it carries traces of the disease. This sudden onset of strength is supposed to help push the last of any infection out of the body entirely. Hemotherapy is often used to treat viral infections, like the common cold or influenza.
Some doctors like to use hemotherapy for skin conditions as well. Eczema, psoriasis, and healing burns can also be candidates for hemotherapy. In these cases, not only does the body double its efforts to fight the disease but the injection also pulls more blood into the affected area. This promotes healing by helping the cells renew themselves more quickly.
In the above cases, doctors also sometimes treat the drawn blood with medicine or oxygen. When it is re-injected, the blood then carries the medicine directly to the affected area. Many patients who receive hemotherapy see very fast results because the medicine doesn’t have to travel through the entire bloodstream. Blood treated with oxygen often nourishes cells and helps them to function more strongly, giving them a better chance of fighting off the condition.