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Autoimmune diseases are commonly understood as a process whereby a person's immune system attacks his or her own body. It is sometimes seen as an allergic response, in which the body is allergic to some part of itself. Often, the organs (such as the brain in multiple sclerosis), or the joints (as in rheumatoid arthritis) are attacked. There are a multitude of autoimmune diseases, affecting millions of people.
However, there is a different, new and powerful approach to autoimmune diseases by Heidi Hawkins, MAc, LAc. Her view of autoimmune diseases is that they are not a case of the body mistakenly attacking itself, but rather an attack of the immune system on a lingering pathogenic factor (LPF). In a nutshell, LPFs are often a virus or other infection that lingers in the body, causing a low-level chronic infection. Such chronic conditions tend to do a lot of damage slowly over a period of many years, leading to all kinds of serious diseases and ultimately to death. LPFs usually have a presence in a particular location in the body, such as an organ or part of the brain, or in the blood. The immune system attacks, but is unable to eliminate the pathogen. When the immune system attacks an LPF in the thyroid, for example, it creates a constant festering in that organ. The same is true of any location in the body. LPFs don't always show up on Western medical tests.
I internalize Heidi's approach, and this approach make it clear why acupuncture and herbal medicine can help to fight, or better certain autoimmune diseases. Acupuncture and herbal medicine can help to get rid of lingering diseases and strengthen/ balance the immune.