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About Labyrinthitis

Labyrinthitis is an inflammation of a structure in your inner ear called the labyrinth. You have a labyrinth in your inner ears, deep in the bone at the base of your skull. It contains the delicate structures that control your hearing and balance. The symptoms of labyrinthitis can include: dizziness, a feeling of spinning or moving when you are still (vertigo), loss of balance, especially towards your affected side, feeling sick, vomiting, headache, uncontrollable flickering of your eyes (nystagmus), changes in your hearing – such as ringing in your ears (tinnitus), and deafness.

Western Medicine View

Viral labyrinthitis usually lasts between 1 and 3 weeks. Your body will fight the virus off on its own, so during this time treatment is designed to reduce any symptoms you are feeling. Your GP may prescribe you medicine to reduce your dizziness (vestibular suppressants) and anti-sickness medicine (anti-emetics) if you are feeling or being sick. Bacterial labyrinthitis is treated with antibiotics to fight the infection.

Chinese Medicine View

Acupuncture has been proved – through controlled trials – to be an effective treatment for such symptoms of labyrinthitis as nausea, vomiting and headache. The World Health Organisation also recommends acupuncture for deafness because treatment by conventional and other therapies is difficult*.

Labyrinthitis is treated in the same way as dizziness. In Chinese medicine dizziness is called Xuan Yun. Xuan means “blurred vision”, while Yun means “dizziness”. The symptoms may range from a very slight dizziness, to very severe vertigo with loss of balance and feeling that everything around seems to be spinning.

According to Chinese Medicine theory acupuncture and Chinese herbs can be prescribed to relieve the main factors effecting dizziness which are Liver-Yang, Liver-Fire, Liver-Wind and Phlegm.

Lifestyle Advice

You should reduce stress, as emotional strain affects the Liver and may cause Liver-Yang to rise (in the Yin-Yang medicinal theory, Yang refers to a lack of the body’s essential, vital warm energy) and will cause a high amount of dizziness. Overwork and/or excessive sexual activity should be reduced, as over time this will weaken the kidneys and not enough marrow will be produced to nourish the brain, which will also cause dizziness. Greasy foods, dairy products or irregular eating should also be reduced as this will weaken the Spleen and lead to Dampness and Phlegm. When this happens and there is a deficiency of Qi (the body’s essential energy) dizziness will also occur.

For personalised advice on diet and lifestyle, please ask the doctor during your consultation. Please be reminded that we offer free online health advice.



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