Symptom family: Muscle Spasms and Twitching
Tetany, also known as hypocalcemic tetany or neuromuscular hyperexcitability, is a medical condition characterized by involuntary muscle spasms, cramps, and contractions. It occurs due to low levels of calcium in the blood, leading to increased excitability of the nerves and muscles.
This heightened sensitivity can cause muscles to contract spontaneously, resulting in symptoms such as muscle twitching, spasms, and stiffness. Tetany can be triggered by various factors, including calcium deficiency, hormonal imbalances, or underlying medical conditions affecting the parathyroid glands.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), tetany is viewed as a disruption of the body's Qi and Blood circulation, leading to imbalances in the meridians and organ systems. Unlike Western medicine, which focuses on correcting calcium levels and neuromuscular function, TCM approaches tetany holistically, considering the interplay of energetic pathways and internal organs.
According to TCM principles, tetany may arise from patterns of disharmony such as Liver Wind stirring, Liver and Kidney Yin Deficiency, or Blood Deficiency. Identifying the specific pattern is essential for determining the appropriate TCM treatment strategy.
TCM attributes tetany to various patterns of disharmony within the body's energetic system. Common causes include Internal Liver Wind, characterized by internal Wind disrupting the flow of Qi and Blood, leading to muscle spasms and tremors. This pattern of disharmony may arise from factors such as emotional stress, dietary imbalances, or prolonged exposure to environmental toxins.
TCM utilizes acupuncture to regulate the flow of Qi and Blood and restore balance to the body's energetic system. Recommended acupoints for tetany include Luxi (TB-19) and Sizhukong (TB-23) in the Triple Burner Channel, which help relieve tetany symptoms and benefit the ears.
Other acupoints such as Ganshu (BL-18) and Wuchu (BL-5) in the Bladder Channel, Changqiang (Du-1) in the Governing Vessel, and Chengjiang (REN-24) in the Directing Vessel are also used to address tetany-related imbalances and promote overall well-being.
Explore below some acupoints used to address tetany, organized by meridian.
Posterior to the lobule of the ear, in the depression between the mandible and mastoid process.
In the depression at the lateral end of the eyebrow.
To address tetany in TCM, practitioners may recommend herbs that pacify Internal Liver Wind and stop tremors. Centipedes (Wu Gong) and scorpions (Quan Xie) are often used to calm Liver Wind and alleviate muscle spasms and cramps associated with tetany. These herbs help restore balance to the Liver and promote the smooth flow of Qi and Blood, thereby reducing the hyperexcitability of the nerves and muscles.
Tetany can be treated by these herbs when caused by internal wind from Liver disharmony, often manifesting in symptoms like spasms or tremors.
One such herb is Centipedes (Wu Gong), which is directly recommended for tetany.
Other herbs of this category are listed in the table below.