Neural Therapy was originally developed in Germany by the Huneke brothers. It involves the injection of Procaine (also known as Novocain), a common local anesthetic, into various but very specific areas. Neural Therapy is based on the theory that trauma can produce long-standing disturbances in the electrochemical function of tissues. Among the types of tissues affected by trauma include scars, nerves or a cluster of nerves called ganglions. A correctly administered Neural Therapy injection can often instantly and lastingly resolve chronic long standing illness and chronic pain.
The basis for Neural Therapy started with the use of cocaine as a local anesthetic in the late 1800’s by the great scientists, Pavlov and Sigmund Freud. In 1906, the German surgeon, Spiess, discovered that wounds and inflammatory processes subsided more quickly and with fewer complications after injection with the newly discovered Novocain (procaine), which did not possess the addicting qualities of cocaine.
The famous French surgeon, Leriche, performed the first nerve block into the stellate ganglion in 1925 for the treatment of chronic intractable arm pain. He described the injection of Novocain as the surgeon’s “bloodless knife.” Ganglion blocks are now commonly used for the treatment of neck, shoulder, arm, leg, and low back pain. In addition, Procaine can be used directly in the nerves of the autonomic nervous system, peripheral nerves, scars, glands, acupuncture points, trigger points, and other tissues. Even intravenous Lidocaine has treated chronic somatic pain, including cancer pain.
Modern Neural Therapy owes its discovery to an accident in 1925, observed and interpreted by two physicians, Ferdinand and Walter Huneke. They had for years attempted in vain to help their sister, who often suffered severe migraine attacks. During one particularly violent attack, Ferdinand injected his sister intravenously with what he thought was a remedy for rheumatism. While he was still administering the injection, the blinding migraine headache simply vanished, together with the flashing sensation in front of her eyes, dizziness, nausea and depression. Her headaches never recurred! After witnessing this miraculous recovery, Ferdinand and Walter realized their sister’s intravenous injection actually contained Procaine. After much further experimentation, it became clear that it was Procaine alone that had produced the startling cure, and therefore Procaine could also be used as a treatment remedy, as well as a local anesthetic.
There are several theories on how and why neural therapy works. It can be understood better by a short review of nerve cell physiology. Normal resting nerve cells have a “resting membrane potential” which is the difference between the electrical charges inside the cell and outside the cell. While at rest, a healthy nerve cell does not generate nerve impulses. In most neurons, this resting membrane potential has a value of approximately 70 mV. If there is a stimulus to the cell, the membrane resting potential drops. When it drops to approximately 45 mV there is an “action potential” generated and the nerve fires an impulse. In a nerve cell damaged by surgery or trauma, the resting membrane potential is chronically low—for example, it may be at 47 or 50mV. This means the nerve will fire off a nerve impulse with much less of a stimulus.
While different theories exist as to the mechanism of action for local anesthetics, it is well known that these substances raise the resting membrane potential, making the nerve less likely to fire a nerve impulse even with more stimuli. In addition, studies with procaine have shown its ability to increase the refractory period (time interval between nerve firing). Kidd sums this up: “A pathological reduction (usually) or increase (less often) in membrane resting potential leads to a reduced threshold of excitation within the affected tissue. The lower threshold creates chronic low-grade excitation, impaired intracellular metabolism and ion exchange, and persistent inability to maintain a normal resting potential, resulting in chronic neurophysiologic instability.” Since the half-life of local anesthetics is short, how does treatment with a local anesthetic affect long-term change? It is believed that by repeatedly infiltrating the local anesthetic around the cell wall, the ion pumps progressively resume normal activity and eventually the autonomic nervous system starts functioning properly again.
Neural therapy is performed with local anaesthetics, usually procaine or lidocaine, and occasionally carbocaine if allergy problems are encountered. These anaesthetics should never contain epinephrine. The standard solution I use for superficial infiltration (scars) is 1% procaine or 1% lidocaine with a small amount of sodium bicarbonate to buffer the PH and decrease the pain of the injection, although the sodium bicarbonate is optional.
The nerves of your autonomic system provide a vast network of electrical circuits, having a total length of twelve times the circumference of the earth, and connecting every one of your 40 trillion cells to form a living whole human organism. This autonomic (or neurovegetative) system controls the vital processes everywhere in your body. It regulates your breathing, circulation, body temperature, digestion, metabolism, hormone formation and distribution. It causes your heart to beat and your lungs to breathe automatically, even when you are asleep. It does in fact control all of the numerous automatic processes without which you could not live. In other words virtually every cell in your body is connected not only to each other through the autonomic nervous system but is also in large part controlled by your autonomic nervous system.
As Fleckenstein showed, scar tissue can create an abnormal electric signal. In turn this signal is transmitted throughout the rest of your body via the autonomic nervous system. Procaine is delivered by direct injection to scars or through other nerves that travel into deeper scars through tiny tubules in the cellular matrix to these areas of bio-electrical disturbance for treatment. As a result, Procaine is capable of eliminating autonomic regulatory dysfunctions. Since the autonomic nervous system is the master controller of the body, Neural Therapy can have a profound impact on your condition and your ability to heal.
In 1940, Ferdinand Huneke observed the first “lightning reaction” or the “Huneke phenomenon,” discovering that a scar can produce an “interference field.” A patient presented to him with a severely painful frozen right shoulder that had been resistant to all kinds of therapies. Huneke injected the shoulder joint directly with Procaine without obtaining any pain relief. However, within several days of the shoulder injection, the patient developed severe itching in a scar in her left lower leg where she had surgery years prior and just before developing the painful shoulder. When she returned, Huneke injected Procaine into the itchy scar in her left leg. Almost immediately she obtained full and painless range of motion in her right shoulder joint. The shoulder problem never recurred. The left leg scar injection had apparently “cured” her shoulder problem. This was the first observation of what Neural Therapy is capable.