What is Neural Therapy?
As you might expect from the name, Neural Therapy is a collection of treatments that focuses on the nerves. Not typically so much the "I feel so stressed and nervous" type but the actual ones that transmit information through the body. Typically these are treated with various forms of injections with local anesthetics - usually either procaine (the old "novocaine") or lidocaine (the stuff they use to numb your mouth at the dentist).
History of Neural Therapy
In the 1920's, not too long after the discovery of procaine two German brothers, Ferdinand and Walter Huneke, decided to try using it to treat chronic pain. They found that repeated injections into painful areas would in time bring a permanent resolution of their patients' pain. They became very good at treating not only pain but all sorts of conditions, neurologic and otherwise. A profound breakthrough came one day when treating a woman for shoulder pain and other conditions. Injections into the area of the pain didn't help but trial and error led them to inject a scar on her leg which instantly resolved all of her symptoms. They called it the "Lightning Reaction", and this is the basis of the scar therapy we do in the clinic today. Neural therapy became very popular in Germany and remains so to this day, allowing for treatment of all sorts of things that would otherwise be very difficult to treat.
How Does It Work?
Local anesthetics (like procaine and lidocaine) temporarily reset the nerves which they come in contact with - kind of like rebooting a computer. The theory is that after the nerves have been "rebooted" they will function more normally.
Also, resetting the nerves in an area can relax the smooth muscle cells in the blood vessels in the area, allowing for increased blood flow and assisting with healing.
Injecting around some of the autonomic "automatic" nerves can do things like calm down blood pressure, slow down heart rate to normal, and increase relaxation.
Interestingly, experience suggests that injecting into just the outer layer of the skin can oftentimes calm down tissues and organs beneath them, suggestive of some kind of nerve reflex that affects the area.
With regards to scars, the theory is that a scar can interrupt the electrical signals that travel through the skin, and resetting these with procaine or lidocaine can restore the normal electrical flow allowing for healing to take place.
Diseases Neural Therapy Effective For
Probably the closest thing to an English version of neural therapy "bible" is the "Manual of Neural Therapy According to Huneke" by Drs Peter and Mathias Dosch. In this textbook-sized tome they spend a full 32% describing the numerous conditions (in the hundreds) that neural therapy can be used for. It describes everything from arthritic pains to abdominal problems to thyroid issues to snake bites to infections, and the list goes on... After reading the text cover to cover, attending the two major neural therapy courses in the United States, and practicing for years, he has found neural therapy particularly useful in calming down abdominal pains, helping with post-traumatic stress, calming down radiating / burning pains anywhere in the body to name a few. It has frequently been particularly helpful for calming down some of the neural symptoms of Lyme or "Lyme-like" illnesses. Asthma is another condition treated remarkably well using both traditional neural therapy as well as the Infraspinatus Respiratory Reflex (IRR) discovered by Dr Philibert from Louisiana.
How Is It Done?
In neural therapy, procaine or lidocaine is typically used, and injected either into muscles (trigger point injections), into scars (interference field therapy), around nerve roots (ganglion injections), around teeth or tonsils (dental injections) or in the outer layer of the skin ("quaddles). Dr Vance has made a modification so that oftentimes there is essentially no pain with the injections at all - with patients complaining of it tickling as much or more than hurting.
Usually effects are immediate with the duration of the relief being variable but typically at the very least the duration of the anesthetic effect and frequently MUCH longer. Repeated treatments are often required.