Integrative medicine offers many options to improve your health and beauty and to heal your pains and injuries. Many of these options are new and unconventional yet scientific and evidence-based. In this article, we will look at one of these unconventional therapies, PRP, which has attracted phenomenal attention around the globe.
What is PRP therapy?
PRP which stands for Platelet Rich Plasma is a naturopathic therapy that uses your own blood to initiate healing of your injuries or to improve you aesthetically.
Plasma is the liquid part of the blood. It consists of mostly water and proteins and acts like a medium for red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets to flow inside the body. Platelets or Thrombocytes are one type of cells that clot the blood and contain growth factors which are responsible for key stages of cell proliferation, healing and regeneration. PRP is the same plasma infused with concentrated platelets typically 10 times more than normal range which makes it more potent due to the concentration of healing proteins and growth factors.
The PRP procedure is quick, easy and almost non invasive. Blood is drown from your vein in your arm and through the use of a harvesting technique such as a centrifuge, it is separated leaving layers of platelets, red and white blood cells. Separated platelets which are now concentrated are injected to treated area in multiple places in order to activate and release Glycoproteins and growth factors to form a fibrin mesh under the tissue. When bind with cellular receptors of your skin, they initiate healing intercellular processes which invite stem cells to the injection site for proliferation of new cells and production of extracellular matrix proteins. Healing takes place within your tissue and will continue for up to 5 weeks after therapy.
The purpose of PRP therapy is permanent tissue re-growth and repair which unlike other injection treatments, it is not reabsorbed or synthesized by bacteria. However, you may require follow up injections according to your needs.
Since PRP uses your own blood, it is safe and can be used on its own or in conjunction with other medical procedures. The amount of blood needed depends on the type of your treatment but in general 10-20 milliliters will suffice. It is best to follow your doctor’s diet guidelines which generally include eating a meal before the procedure to avoid lightheadedness resulted from blood drawing.
PRP takes only less than an hour to complete and you can resume your normal routines immediately after PRP injection unless advised otherwise by your doctor.
At your initial consultation, your integrative practitioner will determine the ideal procedure for you and your goals; therefore, you must inform your doctor about any condition that affects your blood platelets such as blood cancer, HIV or AIDS, Hepatitis C, cardiovascular disease and skin cancer and also any medications you take because some drugs such as ibuprofen, aspirin and blood thinners can affect blood clotting function.
PRP is under more study and research and results hold promise for more cosmetic applications along with healing broken bones, torn shoulder rotator cuff, arthritic knee and torn knee ligaments.
How does PRP benefit your health and beauty?
PRP therapy is incorporated in aesthetic and regenerative medicine for multitude of purposes, from stimulating hair growth to encouraging tissue healing and eliminating inflammation.
The most requested use of PRP therapy. Your practitioner first applies your own plasma on your face and by microneedling across your cheeks and forehead, helps your skin absorb the healing proteins.
Microneedling is a safe procedure that makes series of punctures on your skin using small sterile needles. PRP and microneedling initiate collagen growth and done together, they are more effective.
Depending on the current state of your skin, you may need one PRP therapy every month for up to 3 to 6 months.
Application of PRP for Androgenic Alopecia or male pattern baldness which has responded positively to this therapy because it reduces inflammation that causes hair loss.
For hair loss therapy, the concentrated plasma is directly injected into your hair follicles and since the procedure has minimal discomfort, you will not require any numbing or recovery after therapy.
After the initial injection, you will need to repeat them once every month for a period of three months before moving to a once every three to six months schedule. In the first few months of injections, you will notice less hair loss until you may begin to observe an improvement in thickness or eventual re-growth of your hair.
Helpful for post surgical wound healing can occur faster by PRP therapy due to rapid epithelial differentiation and enhanced dermal collagen organization.
Healing Sport injuries is the oldest use of PRP injection which used to be treated by invasive medical procedures like surgery. Muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints have been healed and repaired frequently by top athletes enabling them to return to competitions. Ligaments specifically are more difficult to heal which makes PRP an attractive treatment for injuries to this tissue group. For orthopaedic purposes, ultrasound imaging is usually used to guide the injection.
Orthopaedic and sports medicine are more focused on hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) to heal injured tendons and to decrease pain. Tendon pain is often related to tendon inflammation and HGF protects tissues from inflammatory damage. Patellar tendonitis (jumper’s knee), pulled hamstring muscles, Achilles tendonitis, tennis elbow and chronic tendon injuries of osteoarthritis are a few areas where PRP has been successful to treat injuries and pain.
Most men will say that the penis is their most important organ in their body. Proper and reliable penile functionality plays a very important role in any relationship. The main issue with erectile dysfunction is that it can be troubling, even devastating, not only to a man, but equally so for his partner as well. Usually, compromised blood flow to the penis is the what causes a majority of erectile dysfunctions.
The good news is that this is that our bodies have the ability to heal themselves by regenerating new tissue. A new, cutting edge therapy called the Platelet Rich Plasma Paripus shot is completely changing the Erectile Dysfunction treatment landscape. PRP involves extracting concentrated platelets, rich in bioactive proteins, which release growth factors to stimulate cellular regeneration and increased blood flow. The benefits of the Paripus shot include:
• Stronger, firmer erections
• Easier to achieve and maintain erections (i.e., improved sexual stamina)
• Increased penile length and girth
• Improvement in or resolution of penile curvature from Peyronie’s Disease
• Resolution of penile pain with erection
• Increased sensitivity in the penis
• Better overall blood flow to the penis
Is there any risk associated with PRP?
There are minimal risks associated with PRP since it is your own blood being used; therefore, your body will not reject the treatment. The treated area is numbed if needed; therefore, minimal pain is involved. In terms of hygiene concern, the environment is considered safe if it is done in a trusted integrative medicine center and injection site on your skin will be wiped by alcohol to remove any bacteria. Depending on your current health status, you may feel mild nausea due to blood being drawn from your system.
Do you need PRP therapy?
Even if you are lucky and do not have tissue injuries, you can benefit from PRP therapy for aesthetic purposes. Your skin can look more youthful by stimulating collagen production which results in firmer texture, glowing shine, eliminated fine lines, even skin tone, reduced acne scars and improved sun damaged skin. PRP is a proven anti aging treatment for your skin.
If you have hair loss problem, depending on the cause, you can enjoy great results with PRP therapy in re-growing your hair.
PRP therapy is an ideal option for you if you do not want chemicals to be injected to your skin or to undergo surgery and if you want to prevent side effects which are almost zero when your own blood is used. You have an unlimited source of blood; therefore, PRP therapy is always an available option.