Wegamed Multidimensional Treatment Concept

Tags: Holistic Medicine, Needless Acupuncture, EAV/EDS Devices, Dr. Voll  Electroacupuncture, Vega/EAV combined, Wegamed Diagnostic, Test Expert Plus, Biofeedback Devices, Bioresonance Devices

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Wegamed, an unwritten book of successful holistic medicine, a new health care system of the 21st century. Which are the causes of all diseases, how to trigger the self-healing process and bring the body back to homoeostasis, which tools do I need for a total cure, these are only some of the questions for which Wegamed found the right answers. We can talk here about a perfect tandem between holistic integrative therapy and diagnostic.

Step 1: Detoxify and reactivate the extracellular matrix. If the organs do not function properly, you have a degenerative or infectious condition, it is because toxins and/or pathogens are blocking or disturbing the cellular and extracellular metabolism. The bio- terrain milieu around the cells is out of balance. Use Med Matrix for 4-6 sessions to detoxify the connective tissue, the healing process is being naturally triggered, the energy flow is re-established, the channels opened up. A unique device with giant therapy capabilities, Med Matrix makes more than 80% of the therapy. 

Step 2: After Med Matrix continue the treatment process with Med Select to balance and fine tune metabolism, harmonise the energy, optimise organs functionality, on your way to homoeostasis. Through different electrodes are collected endogenous and exogenous vibrations from the patients; these frequencies are stored temporary in Wegamed Internal Frequency storage module (IF). Final therapy is generated by using the unique Wegamed System-Information-Therapy (SIT). The new therapy frequencies generated conform the bioresonance principles are combined with pre-stored vibrational information, such as homeopathic organ vibrations, nosodes and homeopathic remedies. Vega-Duplex-Storage (VDS) is a unique module integrated in all Wegamed products where over 2500 frequencies of organs’ preparations (sarcodes) are being pre-recorded. Finally, you can choose more therapy options from prerecorded supporting or from special programs. Due to its intelligent therapy concept, Med Select matches automatically the metabolic status and the burdens of the selected patient.

Step 3: Diagnostic with Test Expert Plus using the unique “wegamed testing method”, a synthesis between TCM, EAV/EDS and Vega method developed over 30 years R & D and practice. Wegamed method basic principle is: when an interfering electromagnetic disturbing field such as that created by toxins, pathogens, stress and psychological trauma is introduced into the circuit patient-electrodes-measuring device, are occurring bioimpedance changes and these are manifested in the measured values. TEP measures the body bioimpedance and carries a synergistic dialog with all meridians and organs. Whether allergies, painful conditions, migraines or rheumatism, TEP helps identify the root cause of many illnesses – quickly, effectively and without any side-effects.

Learn more by watching the video and visiting us at:


The silent killer: Kidney Diseases

Western medicine does not understand the kidneys like Chinese doctors do. Western doctors know that the kidneys are responsible for fluid balance, waste elimination, regulation of blood pH and mineral balance. They also play an important role in red blood cell production, blood pressure regulation and converting vitamin D to its active form, calcitriol. Our kidneys are essential for life.

The worst part about living with kidney disease is that it is a silent killer. However, what makes it more dangerous is the fact that it usually is only recognised at extremely late stages when it is extremely difficult to treat.

Signs and Symptoms

The first symptom of kidney disease is a change in the amount and frequency of the urine you pass. There may be increase or decrease in amount of urine you pass and dark colored urine (darker than usual). According to Dr. Avinash Ignatius, senior consultant nephrologist DaVita, Pune Region, “Frequent urination at night is one of the most common and early symptom of chronic kidney disease and it should not be ignored even though it appears to be harmless. Other symptoms of the disease usually develop at later stage when the kidneys have lost approximately 80% of its function.’

Other symptoms include:

  1. difficulty or pain while urinating,
  2. blood in the urine,
  3. foamy urine,
  4. swelling or oedema,
  5. extreme fatigue,
  6. anaemia,
  7. generalised weakness,
  8. dizziness and inability to concentrate
  9. feeling cold all the time, cold back, cold hands and feet
  10. shortness of breath
  11. when severe enough a build-up of fluid in the lungs, or because of anaemia (a common side effect of kidney disease), starves your body of oxygen making you suffer from breathlessness.
  12. fast shallow breathing, as opposed to abdominal breathing, which does not allow the energy and oxygen to reach down to touch the kidneys
  13. Severe pain in the back or sides. This is a common indicator of kidney disease but is not seen in everyone who suffers from the condition. The pain is characteristic and you may feel a severe cramping pain that spreads from the lower back into the groin
  14. sore or weak low back, knees, or ankles
  15. bone or tooth problems
  16. dark circles under your eyes
  17. hearing problems
  18. premature graying or thinning of your hair
  19. thyroid problems or extreme reactions to the climate—feeling really cold or having lots of hot flashes
  20. oedema, kidney stones
  21. infertility, sexual dysfunction, menopause, andropause, prostate problems
  22. impaired immunity, chronic inflammation
  23. high blood pressure, heart irregularities
  24. anxiety, loss of physical drive and poor concentration

Inherent kidney energy may be low from birth is progressively depleted with age. It is particularly vulnerable to exhaustion due to factors such as overwork, a hard-driven lifestyle, insufficient fluid intake, multiple pregnancies and chronic illness or stress.

Functionality of the Kidneys

Western physiology and anatomy limits its description of the kidney to the actual organ itself, whereas Chinese medicine sees and defines the kidneys not just as an organ but a group of functions, as well as being the root of energy and matter creation for the entire body. This matches perfectly the Krebs cycle biochemistry according to which amino acids are creating creatinin and uric acid, which is excreted. Kidneys can sometimes reverse this cycle, and store uric acid (gout and uraemia), convert creatinin into original amino acids, a reason why hair is lost and is thinning. It is a fear and anxiety reflex triggering kidney ducts blockage, water retention and inversion of Krebs cycle.

In Chinese medicine the Kidney, with a capital ‘K’ to denote the organ-meridian system  is important as it is the source of the body’s constitutional or inherited energy and matter and is regarded as the organ-meridian system that governs the structural integrity and function not only of the kidneys themselves but also the adrenal glands, ovaries, testes, brain, spinal cord, skeletal structure (especially the lumbar region), teeth, anus, urethra and inner ear. The Kidney system also governs hormones and other substances produced by the kidneys, adrenals and sex glands, as well as reproduction, growth and the faculty of will power.

Dehydration and Kidney Disease

Thus under normal circumstances many of us flirt with mild dehydration over sustained periods. Shortness of breath is a common symptom of dehydration and so is low energy. When someone is dehydrated and experiencing these symptoms one merely has to drink several glasses of water to feel the body’s almost instant response to hydration. Add some sodium bicarbonate and the response is even greater.


Courtesy of Brian D. Foltz

It makes perfect sense that chronic dehydration would be a problem for the kidneys. The element in nature associated with the Kidney is water, which is appropriate and symbolic in that water is the source of all life. The organ paired with the Kidney is the Urinary Bladder, and together both organs govern water metabolism in the body.

Sexuality and creativity are emotional components of the Kidney system. As the organ that governs survival through reproduction, the Kidney system is responsible for libido and strength of sexual attraction.

The emotions associated with kidneys are fear and fright. Fear has the ability to shake you to your core, and chronic fright translates into something very much like unrelenting stress, which is extremely damaging to the Kidney. In Western medicine, your adrenal glands pump out adrenaline (stress hormones) and are located right next to your Kidneys.

Natural Remedies for Kidney Disease

Remembering that our kidneys are damaged by stress, it behoves us to get our stress under control. Whatever you choose, whether it is Yoga, Tai Qi, meditation, or fishing, any stress relief measures will benefit your Kidney. It is vital for kidney patients to be able to measure their stress. In addition, slowing and deepening the breathing is a powerful way of bringing stress under control.

Foods that are particularly nourishing to your Kidney include those that are very dark in color. These would include dark fruits and vegetables, and foods like black beans, black sesame seeds, and black walnuts. The water element comes into play when choosing foods for your Kidney. Foods from the sea, such as fish, shellfish, seaweed, kelp, and sushi are all excellent Kidney tonics.

Your acupuncturist has a number of tools to help you strengthen your Kidney organ system.  They can combine acupuncture with moxibustion (heat treatments) and herbal formulas specifically designed to nourish your Kidneys.

Infrared Therapy

Keeping the kidneys warm is one of the best treatments for them. Infrared therapy using a Biomat, which one uses all night long while sleeping is perfect for treating cold conditions. Everyone with cold hands and feet, lower back pain and advanced kidney disease will enjoy treating their low body temperature. Weak kidneys will get wonderful support with infrared therapy. FIR heat expands capillaries, stimulating increased blood flow, aids in regeneration, improved circulation and oxygenation.

Magnesium and Kidney Disease

As we age, our kidneys lose their efficiency in regulation of magnesium. Magnesium absorption decreases with age. Around the age of 70 it becomes two-thirds of what it usually is at around the age of 30.

The kidneys are dumping from the blood excess nutrients that the body does not need or cannot process in the moment. Magnesium-deficiency studies on the kidneys have shown intraluminal calcareous deposits in the corticomedullary area and damage to the tubular epithelium. Damage to the kidneys from magnesium deficiency creates a negative feedback loop that intensifies magnesium deficits.

Micropuncture studies have shown that most active renal tubular reabsorption of magnesium occurs at sites that are potentially damaged by magnesium deficiencies, meaning these conditions can cause renal tubular magnesium wasting.

When you introduce magnesium into a human body calcium dissolves; it becomes more water-soluble. The same thing happens in your bloodstream, heart, brain, kidneys, and all the tissues in your body. If you do not have enough magnesium to help keep calcium dissolved, you may end up with calcium-excess muscle spasms, fibromyalgia, hardening of the arteries, and even dental cavities. Another scenario plays out in the kidneys. If there is too much calcium in the kidneys and not enough magnesium to dissolve it, you can get kidney stones.

It is magnesium that controls the fate of calcium in the body. If magnesium is insufficient, calcium will be deposited in the soft tissues (kidneys, arteries, joints, brain, etc.). Calcium intakes above 2.6 grams per day may reduce the uptake and utilisation of magnesium by the body, and excessive calcium intakes increase magnesium requirements.

Dr. Norman Shealy says, “Every known illness is associated with a magnesium deficiency” and that, “magnesium is the most critical mineral required for electrical stability of every cell in the body. A magnesium deficiency may be responsible for more diseases than any other nutrient.” The benefits of drinking water are amplified greatly when water contains high amounts of magnesium and bicarbonates.

One of the nicest treatments for the kidneys is done with magnesium oil, which is applied transdermally to the lower back as well as the rest of the body.

Baking Soda and Kidney disease

Sodium Bicarbonate is one of the most basic medicines we have for kidney disease. New research by British scientists at the Royal London Hospital shows that sodium bicarbonate can dramatically slow the progress of chronic kidney disease.

Dr. SK Hariachar, a nephrologist who oversees the Renal Hypertension Unit in Tampa Florida stated, upon seeing the research on bicarbonate and kidney disease, “I am glad to see confirmation of what we have known for so long.  I have been treating my patients with bicarbonate for many years in attempts to delay the need for dialysis, and now we finally have a legitimate study to back us up. Not only that, we have the added information that some people already on dialysis can reverse their condition with the use of sodium bicarbonate”.

Military manuals suggest doses or infusions of sodium bicarbonate to help alkalinize the urine if uranium contaminates the kidneys. This makes the uranyl ion less kidney-toxic and promotes excretion of the nontoxic uranium-carbonate complex. The oral administration of sodium bicarbonate diminishes the severity of the changes produced by uranium in the kidneys.

Medical marijuana, like sodium bicarbonate, is one of the few medicines that helps when there is radiation contamination, which the kidneys are especially sensitive to.

Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana is effective with chronic kidney diseases. Hemp oil kidney disease treatment works on two fronts: curing the underlying causes of kidney failure like HIV and saving the kidney from damaging blood cleansing after pharmaceutical treatment.

Studies have shown that marijuana is effective in reducing the effects and symptoms of HIV, Hepatitis B and prostate cancer. All of these conditions are major contributors to kidney diseases. Therefore, when they respond to hemp oil treatment the kidneys are preserved.

Hemp oil treatment protects patients from kidney failure by giving them an option beyond the chemical medicines used as painkillers and treatment of other conditions. Chemical consumption in whatever form is harmful to the kidneys. For instance, NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) that are commonly used to treat pain and inflammation contain a high amount of substances that are toxic to the kidneys.

Rich Simpson says, “From my experience with hemp medicine, I have found that most pharmaceutical medications are no longer needed once a person starts using hemp oil. Hemp oil seems to mix well with most natural medications but I have had a few reports from people trying to take hemp oil and pharmaceuticals who experienced stomach pain etc. All problems ceased when they stopped taking the prescription drugs.”

CBD, a special form of medical marijuana, is legal everywhere can also be used instead of hemp oil with THC.

Herbal Medicine

K-B Formula

The herbs in Dr. Schulze’s K-B Formula is highly recommended and has been shown to have three useful actions to promote health: healthy urine flow, cleansing functions and dissolving calcium deposits. Herbs such as Uva Ursi Leaf, Juniper Berry, Corn Silk, Horsetail Herb, Parsley Leaf and Root and others in this formula have been used for centuries as diuretics. Diuretics stimulate healthy kidneys to excrete urine, which produces a natural disinfectant action in the kidneys and bladder. Some of these herbs, like Juniper Berry and Uva Ursi Leaf, are also powerful cleansers for your kidneys and bladder.

Uva Ursi Leaf contains powerful phytochemicals, such as volatile oils, arbutin, quercetin, and malic and gallic acids. Arbutin supports a healthy and clean urinary tract. Quercetin protects the trillions of capillaries in the delicate kidney filtering system. Malic and gallic acids (the same as found in apples and apple cider vinegar) have long been used for kidney and bladder health.

Thus for oral magnesium supplementation, I recommend and personally use MYO-MAG, which has high dosages of malic acid included. Spirulina and chlorella (both high in magnesium) are excellent for kidney problems. I recommend Rejuvenate Plus for anyone with kidney problems.

Nutrient Combo Proven to Prevent Death by Heart Attack

Anyone who suffers from heart disease, may be able to cheat death by taking two supplements: Q10 and Selenium. But what’s even more incredible — these heart-protective supplements can also protect you for years after you stop taking them.

A Simple Protocol: 
This research, a double-blinded controlled trial, was published in the journal PLOS ONE. It focused on the effect of two powerful antioxidants — selenium and CoQ10 — on the risk of death caused by heart disease.

The study participants included 433 elderly folks living in rural Sweden. The subjects were given a 200 mg dose of CoQ10 and a 200 mg dose of selenium daily, or a placebo. These supplements were given, along with their regular medications, for four consecutive years.

At the end of four years, the participants were taken off the supplements, but were monitored for cardiac-related deaths for the next 10 years. It’s in these 10 years that researchers found the most amazing results.

For the 10 years after ending the selenium and CoQ10 supplementation, folks including those with diabetes and increased cardiovascular risk, saw a drastic decline in the risk of death from a heart disease when compared to those who took the placebo. This means that just four years of taking the supplements protected them for the next 10 years!

The reason CoQ10 and selenium work so well to fight heart disease is because they’re strong opponents of oxidative stress and inflammation. It’s thought that increased inflammation and oxidative stress can add to the progression of heart disease.

Keep Your Heart: These results are impressive. Many times, supplement studies only show improvements in certain markers of health, like cholesterol or inflammation levels. But they fail to show whether people actually live longer from taking the supplement. However, in this instance, there is a clear, positive result for those taking the selenium and CoQ10 protocol — reduced risk of death by heart disease. This means, by duplicating the supplementation regime, you too could be protected.

Since there is a decline in your ability to absorb nutrients from your diet with age, supplementing with selenium and CoQ10 may lead to stronger results for elderly people, as it did in this study. However, adults at any age can use this supplement combo to start protecting their hearts now.


Provided by Natalie Moore

NOTE OF Dr. Christine Siepe: perfect and correct. I would only add L-Carnitine 850 mg/day, Vitamin K full spectrum, Magnesium glycinate 2000 mg/day, OPC (Grape seed extract) and Strophantus, either as homeopathic tincture D4/D6 or as mother tincture, or strophantin capsules. You will never have a stroke, a heart attack or COBP, as well you will be active and perform well into your older years. Your blood pressure will auto-regulate in the best range for you, arteries will not add plaque.



Biotonometry deals with the measurement of autonomic nervous system (ANS). Biotonometry was discovered by Dr. S. Rilling, who is the father of biotonometer device. Autonomic Nervous System works without the centers of the cerebral cortex and thus it functions without a conscious mind control. It is synergistically functioning with the hormonal system, being controlled by hypothalamus and the brainstem, especially by Medulla oblongata und the Brainstem Pons. ANS is responsible for all vital functions:

  • Blood circulation
  • Heart beat
  • Breathing
  • Body temperature regulation
  • Blood pressure
  • Control gastric juice secretion

ANS consists of two parts working antagonistically: SYMPATHETIC NERVE (S) and


Biotonometry is the single method which makes possible to record ANS’ activity in seconds. This works by electronic measuring at the same time of Tissue Resistance (R value) and Tissue Capacity (C-Value).


Applications of Biotonometer:

  • Thousands of cases realistically treated and measured with the Biotonometer
  • There is no other device which can evaluate ANS and guide you through the most suitable therapy application
  • Based on measured R and C values it can be avoided an irritation either of P or of S
  • Parasympathicotonia irritation may be a result of wrong medication
  • Placebo effects can be measured
  • Good therapies must be customized and not applied as “STANDARD CARE PROCEDURES”
  • Biotonometer measures life the effects of specific remedies, supplements, of treatments on any kind of patient, for each known health condition
  • Biotonometry is very fast, realistic, reproducible and cost effective
  • Biotonometer must be in any practice, clinic, hospital
  • Biotonometer must be supervised by a doctor

Learn more by watching this video:


Bioscan-Swa is a unique, state of the art biocybernetic analysis system of the human bioenergetic and biochemical profile, a representation of the health/illness state of patients. Bioscan collects information from patient’s body through an electrode in about 1.5 minutes; it measures more than 250 parameters compiled in 31 different parameters groups such as:

  • Gastrointestinal indexes
  • Cardio and Cerebrovascular indexes
  • Digestive system function
  • Liver function
  • Large Intestine
  • Gallbladder function
  • Function of Pancreas
  • Kidney function
  • Lung function
  • Function of Brain nerves
  • Bone diseases
  • Bone mineral density
  • Rheumatic Bone diseases
  • Bone growth index
  • Blood sugar
  • Trace elements
  • Vitamins
  • Amino acids
  • Coenzymes
  • Endocrine System
  • Immune system
  • Homotoxins
  • Severe metals
  • General body condition
  • Allergy
  • Adipositas
  • Skin
  • Eyes
  • Collagen
  • Prostate
  • Gynecology
  • Male sexual
  • Brest (woman)


Scan results for supplements


Vitamins and Heavy Metals Results


Measurement results of Indexes

Main Features


Bioscan-SWA The biocybernetic Body Scanner

In order to measure reasonable values, the device uses an increased resonance, by stimulating the body at its resonant frequency to generate bolder vibrations, which then can be more precisely measured.

All information shown are related to the present manifested health condition, although illnesses show in the energy field long before they are physically visible.

In order to maintain a certain energy and treating dynamics, the bioscan-swa takes – after the first measurement – the previous values in its calculations and evaluations.

BIOSCAN-SWA works in scalar electromagnetic field; modern electronics is used to measure the very weak magnetic field of our cells. In this way, the state of health can be determined plus main problems can be analyzed and standard recommendations for improvement can be recommended.

BIOSCAN-SWA is very similar to cell communication in our body concerning its function. By doing so, it is possible to get information about stress, disbalance, shortages and surpluses of biochemical components supply to any of our body systems.

Our organ communication takes place by resonance phenomena (synchronization versus desynchronization). Our living cells are very small dipoles (polarizable), “oscillating batteries” working through their specific electrical circuits; therefore, cells and groups of cells (organelles), group of organelles (organs) and groups of organs (tissue) perform different electromagnetic jobs generating and at the same time specific oscillation(s). The characteristics of these oscillation(s) give information about vitality, functionality and anatomic state of each single cell. Due to this, each organ and organs’ system can be measured and its functionality, and health state can be correct represented.

Each living tissue strives to synchronize and bioresonante in the “master” frequency field, this being the physiologically and energetically the best state. Cells’ communication takes place through cells’ resonance.

The by BIOSCAN-SWA uses electromagnetic waves and frequencies penetrating the skin only a few millimeters, so called scalar waves. The scalar waves feed in the body are naturally channeled to those parts of the body with which it can build up resonances. The thus emerged concentration of scalar waves may be high enough in case of a surplus or creates a shortage, despite a low transmitting power. Thus by using the sensor, resonance phenomena can be compared with the resonance specter of standard values for nutrients and different biochemical, specific for a healthy or sick state. Conclusions based on many parameters as trace elements, amino acids, liver, heart, kidney functions, vitamins etc. within the information field can be drawn now and made visible.

Benefits of Bioscan: Fast – Reproducible – Convincing

Add a new dimension to your diagnostic and therapeutic work and offer your patients and clients on a soft basis, insides based on the analysis of more than 2000 health parameters as for instance trace elements, vitamins, heavy metals, thyroid etc., which represent a human being on all “layers”.

Analysis within seconds, which gives important pieces of information. BIOSCAN-SWA cannot and shall not replace a blood analysis and anamnesis but it provides additional information, which may be very important. Meanwhile BIOSCAN-SWA is very popular among doctors, non-medical practitioners and clinics worldwide. Within 90 seconds, it gives information and pieces of advice for a more detailed evaluation and targeted therapy.

  • Absolutely painless and not invasive
  • Not necessary to give blood or other fluids for analysis
  • Fast, reliable and reproducible
  • It is possible to control health and to express further developments
  • Can be used for therapy efficiency monitoring or control of a diet plan, medication, supplements
  • Shows a maybe existing shortage, which is not recognizable by a blood analysis 

Bioscan in your practice:

  • The doctor gets in almost 2 minutes very important insides regarding the functionality and state of the patient’s health
  • The patient does not need to wait long time for his/her lab test results
  • Between 2 measurements of the same type, you must allow min 1 day, preferably 3 days for system relaxation
  • All measurements influencing factors such as mobile phones, metallic parts must be minimum 2-4 meters away from the body
  • Patient must lay down and not be allowed to monitor the program as this may already have an influence on his/her tested values
  • Women in menstruation should not be measured, since there may be significant measurement errors
  • Bioscan tests results (indexes) is a compendium of an “energetic evaluation” of different organs’ parameters when a kind of therapy is applied; therefore, Bioscan results cannot be compared with classical lab blood tests
  • Bioscan identifies poor parameters comparing these with healthy parameters.


Bioscan SWA

Science of conventional medicine does not acknowledge the existence of information scalar field, thus BIOSCAN-SWA is not recognized by medical establishment. However, an increased number of doctors are using Bioscan-SWA as an additionally and very efficient analysis system of the patient’s health.

Applications of Bioscan-SWA:

  • Evaluation & Scans of health state
  • Analysis of efficiency of individual therapies
  • Prevention
  • Public health counselling
  • Performance Boost in fitness centres and competitive sports
  • Ecaluation of supplements and nutrients in health shops

Scope of delivery:

  • Hardware with hand electrode
  • Software bioscan
  • Connecting cables


Bioscan hard and software

Do Opioids Make Pain Worse?

The opium poppy is arguably the oldest painkiller known to man, with its use being described by the ancient civilisations. Opium mimics the body’s home-made painkillers—endorphins and the like—and has given rise to the modern class of drugs called opioids that include morphine, fentanyl, methadone, and oxycodone. Opioids are very effective, and they remain the cornerstone of moderate to severe pain management.

Opioid prescriptions have dramatically escalated over the past few decades, a fact that has attracted significant media attention. With evidence-based medicine only becoming mainstream at the close of the 20th century, the science is still catching up on the long-term effects of opioids; older drugs like morphine have largely been grandfathered into modern medicine. Consequently, we’re still learning new things about this old class of drugs.

The latest finding is that opioids may actually worsen pain; morphine can persistently exacerbate pain in rats. The medical community has recognised that opioids can cause abnormal pain sensitivity—termed opioid-induced hyperalgesia—but the sensitivity was only understood to occur while opioids were still present in the body. The surprising new twist is that morphine can increase pain for months after the opioid has left the body.

Pain Lasted Longer With Morphine

We experimentally induced neuropathic pain—a type of chronic pain caused by damage or disease of nerves—in the rats by loosely constricting the sciatic nerve in the thigh. This created pain similar to sciatica. We measured pain in the rats by assessing their hind paw sensitivity to a poke from a plastic filament that is not normally painful. Once the neuropathic pain was fully established 10 days later, the rats received morphine or saline control (salt water) for five days via injections under the skin. From the injections, the drug circulates through the whole body.

As we expected, the neuropathic pain due to sciatic nerve constriction continued for another four weeks in the rats that had received the saline control. But for the rats that had received morphine, the neuropathic pain continued for 10 weeks. The five-day morphine treatment more than doubled the duration of neuropathic pain!

A separate experiment in the same study showed that morphine also worsened the neuropathic pain, an effect that lasted for more than a month after morphine treatment had ended.

We also showed that morphine did not have the same pain-promoting effects by itself—that is, when neuropathic pain was not present. A group of sham control rats underwent surgery, but the sciatic nerve was not constricted. The same five-day morphine treatment produced transient pain in these rats, but it lasted no longer than 24 hours. This means that long-lasting pain cannot be explained by morphine addiction or withdrawal, but by an interaction between morphine and the biological mechanisms underlying neuropathic pain.

How Does Morphine Prolong Pain?

To answer this question, we need to step back and discuss how chronic pain works.

If your hand is in harm’s way—on a hotplate, or under a falling hammer—this damaging event is detected by nerves in the skin and muscle. The nerves send electrical signals warning of danger to the spinal cord, and then up to the brain. The brain interprets the signal as ‘ouch’ and sends another signal back down to move the hand away from danger.

When these nerves are damaged, several adaptations can occur, leading to painful sensations being exaggerated, and touch being misinterpreted as pain. Chronic neuropathic pain, which serves no useful purpose, occurs when these adaptations persist long after the original damage has healed. Why these adaptions persist and cause chronic pain in some people, but not others, is still not well understood.

This abnormal pain signalling has historically been viewed as an exclusive dialogue between nerves. But nerves only make up about 10 percent of the brain and spinal cord; the other 90 percent are glial cells—immune-like housekeepers that provide nutritional support for nerves, and clear away metabolic waste.

Research over the last two decades has shown that glial cells do much more than cook and clean. Glia recognise chemical signals from nerves, and respond by releasing chemical immune signals that influence communication between nerves. With abnormal pain signalling from nerves, glia respond by turning up the volume in spinal cord pain pathways. This results in the adaptations of painful sensations being exaggerated, and touch being perceived as pain.

As it so happens, opioids like morphine are also a chemical signal for glia. In our recent study, when morphine was administered in the presence of neuropathic pain, the glial cells went into overdrive. The glia released more immune signals, keeping the ‘pain volume’ turned up higher and for longer, than had they only been exposed to signals from the injured nerve. If the abnormal function of spinal glia was inhibited with drugs during morphine treatment, the pain was not prolonged.

This exaggerated glial response may also explain why some people develop chronic pain, but not others. Their glial cells may have been repeatedly stimulated with chemical signals—maybe morphine, or something else like an infection—to prolong pain from the initial injury.

Is This a Death Knell for Opioids?

Our study is optimistic about the future of opioids in a clinical setting. By demonstrating that glial cell dysfunction is essential for morphine to prolong pain, we have identified a solution. Opioids achieve their desirable, pain-relieving effects by silencing nerves in pain pathways. Inhibiting the activity of glia with other drugs doesn’t interfere with pain relief; just the prolonged pain.

Research from my colleagues also suggests that inhibiting glia may eliminate other unwanted effects like addiction and tolerance, which leads to the need for ever increasing doses to achieve the same pain relief. Several labs are developing new drugs to inhibit glial dysfunction, which may improve the medical benefit of opioids.

The Big Picture and Applications for Humans

The recently published study focused on very specific conditions: neuropathic pain, morphine, a 10-day treatment lag, and male rats. Our latest results suggest that pain is still prolonged, even when these variables are changed. It holds up for other types of pain, like post-operative pain after surgery, if the treatment delay is shortened from 10 days, and occurs to a similar, if not greater degree in female rats. Similar effects are predicted for other opioids, like fentanyl and oxycodone, since they are also chemical signals for glia.

This study in rats has implications for humans. Our study is supported by troubling clinical reports that opioid use during surgery or for lower back pain is associated with subsequent chronic pain and increased disability. While opioids are the best painkillers available for the management of moderate-to-severe acute pain, the use of this drug class to manage pain lasting longer than a year does not have scientific support.

This study does not fill that gap in medical knowledge, but it should encourage clinical researchers to evaluate the long-term effects of opioids on pain. Better pain management is a goal worth striving for, and targeting glial cell dysfunction may be the answer.