Leeching is based on the principle of drawing toxins up to the skin and out through the blood (see 'Treatments to draw toxins from the body'). Leeches are placed at selected points on the body, i.e. where there are specific complaints. The aim of leeching is that, while the leech is feeding, it should secrete as much of its anti-inflammatory and anticoagulant compounds as possible into the patient's bloodstream. This thins the blood and improves its flow.
The use of medicinal leeches (hirudo medicinalis) is also referred to as 'hirudotherapy'.
Aim: Encourage blood flow, improve wound healing and ease pain