Shingles? Yikes!

A close friend of mine recently had an out break of shingles and I thought to myself, how could I help her make this nasty rash disappear quickly?


Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a virus caused by the varicella-zoster virus which happens to be the same virus that causes chickenpox. Shingles can occur anywhere in the body however it most commonly is found on the skin of the abdomen below the ribs.  Personally, i have also seen the virus present on a clients head, as well as a client who experienced pain from the neck and down the left arm with blisters on her wrist. Apparently other common areas include inside the mouth.

Most adults have contracted chickenpox as children. This common disease causes a fever and a rash that is extremely itchy. Once the varicella-zoster virus has entered the body and has caused chickenpox, it doesn’t go away. The disease may lie dormant in the spinal cord and nerve ganglia for years. If the immune system has been compromised, the virus may reappear again however this time in the form of shingles. If you have never had the chickenpox as a child, you have a very low chance of getting shingles because shingles is not very contagious.

Having an attack of shingles typically includes three or four days of chills, fever and achiness. Generally the area affected is excruciatingly painful and sensitive to touch.  Often the pain runs along the nerve route and to the affected area where blisters occur. The blisters form in cluster or in a line. Other symptoms include numbness, fatigue, depression, tingling, shooting pains, painful lymph nodes, and headaches. Scaring can also occur in extreme cases.


Common factors of an outbreak include stress, cancer and the use of anticancer drugs, spinal cord injuries, and any other condition which suppresses the immune system. In all of the cases i’ve personally seen, the virus was present during an extremely stressful period  of time for the client where their bodies where overly fatigued.

Throughout the world, the incidence rate of herpes zoster every year ranges from 1.2 to 3.4 cases per 1,000 healthy individuals, increasing to 3.9–11.8 per year per 1,000 individuals among those older than 65 years. Most cases of shingles is present for a course of a few weeks however a more severe case can last longer and would need more aggressive treatment. Those who have had the virus and the blistering has come and gone could have a reoccurring pain along the route of the nerve for months to even years after the outbreak has disappeared. It is possible that blindness may occur if the virus is close enough to the eye. In extreme cases where the immune system is compromised, the virus can affect internal organs.

You want to talk to your doctor and/or natural path if you feel you are experiencing an outbreak however there are some natural healing recommendations to try. Because the virus is often caused by stress, you may want to take some time to rest, relax and keep stress to a minimum. Massage (not on or near the affected area) is a way to relax your nervous system and calm the nerves. Sleeping and taking the time to rest your body is important so it can fight the virus quickly.

Nutrients to help include:

L-Lysine (an amino acid) which is important for fighting the virus and has been found to reduce 2.4 % of outbreaks.

Vitamin C, which aids in fighting the virus and boosting the immune system.

Vitamin B Complex, which is needed for nerve health and counteracts deficiencies.

Calcium and magnesium, for nerve function and healing.

Garlic, which is excellent for building the immune system.

Zinc, enhances immunity and protects against infections.

Vitamin A, boots the immune system and protects against infections.


Keep calm and keep those blisters away!

Michelle Wolfe, RMT

One response

  1. good article–matches my experience–pain never went away completely–shingles returned 18 months later for a second episode–STRESS is cause–caregiver for stroke survivor–one of the consequences of caring!

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