The Plain Truth

The Plain Truth
God's Hand Behind the News

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Leeches sucked away my aches and pains! Sceptical?

But, as it turns out, the leeches aren’t too thrilled at the prospect either. Maryam had already warned me not to use any heavy perfumes or body lotions as their smell can repel the leeches, stopping them from attaching. I had showered that morning in nothing but warm water but the leeches still weren’t keen. I’ve faced rejection in my time, but being snubbed by a leech is a new low.

‘Sometimes leeches just don’t take to a person,’ says Maryam. ‘It might be your shampoo, what you ate last night, or it could be that your blood is too thick or too sweet. They like the taste of salt though, so sweaty people are good.’

As my neck has been rejected, Maryam tries to attach a leech to my right hand. Being a writer means I have a repetitive strain injury in my wrist that is getting worse. Maryam assures me the leeches will sort it out — again thanks to their pain- relieving chemicals.

A leech eventually sinks its teeth in, and I feel a sharp nip like a bee sting. It’s quickly joined by another thirsty companion. This being my first treatment, I am only permitted to have two leeches as I am expected to bleed for a long time afterwards.

As you have more treatments, your body builds up immunity to the leeches’ chemicals, meaning you can subject yourself to a greater number. Maryam’s tells me her most regular client has 70 attached all over his body in a single session.

Demi Moore, 51, travels to Austria for the leech therapy she credits for her youthful looks
Demi Moore, 51, travels to Austria for the leech therapy she credits for her youthful looks

While I’m being eaten alive, Maryam explains that the leeches are a specially bred medical variety and supplied by a farm in Wales. They are hermaphrodites, meaning they have male and female reproductive parts, and each one has 300 tiny teeth and three sets of jaws.

At the end of their sucking session, each leech has consumed 50ml of my blood. I imagine they feel like I do after a big meal, when I need to undo the top button of my jeans and lie down on the sofa. 

One of them falls away naturally but the other — greedy so-and-so — refuses to budge and has to be encouraged off by Maryam with a firm yank.

The bad news for the leeches is that, for hygiene reasons, this feast  is their last supper as they are only used once then disposed of with a generous sprinkling of kitchen salt, which makes them shrivel and die.  

After they’re removed, the blood flows and my hand is heavily bandaged to mop up the damage. Maryam tells me I should expect to bleed for 12 hours.

The next day, the wound is still wet but the bleeding has stopped. The leeches have each left a distinct Y-shaped mark where they sunk their teeth in — it truly looks as though I’ve been bitten by a vampire.

A fortnight after the treatment, the marks have still not faded — but my wrist has not hurt once. I’m currently writing a book and have been typing on my laptop more than ever yet I’ve not had a single twinge. Nothing.

Maybe it’s just the strangest of coincidences or maybe those slippery little suckers really do possess magical, if yucky, healing powers. I, for one, am convinced. 
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