Have you ever wondered why our kampung folks are a very healthy lot, compared to those living in the urban areas ?
Of course, they work hard, ploughing padi fields everyday, but do you know that they were also exposed to leech bites that lived in their farms ? Their body systems are free of toxin and that's one of the reason why they live longer.
I know some of us may probably be worried about side effects. Well, you can be rest assured that there are none. Just look at it as a "natural medicinal treatment" that are now becoming very popular as anti-coagulants, detoxifying agents and anaesthetic healers. Apart from beauty treatment, leech therapy is also known to be good for gout, migraine and joint aches.
Of course you can't see the difference or the effect immediately. Like every other treatment, it takes time. You must constantly do the treatment to see the effect.
Any pain ? Well, from own personal experience, what you'll feel is just the initial minor sting, quite similar to an ant bite actually. After that you'll feel almost nothing, especially when you are not aware that they are there sticking on your legs etc. Once the sucking job is done, you'll feel a bit itchy at the places where the leeches are.
The above photos were taken when I went trekking to Gunung Jerai (1217 m ASL) in Kedah somewhere in August 2005. Gunung Jerai is well known for its leech-infested jungle, especially along the trails to the summit. In fact, none of our 30 odd trekking members were spared - all were bitten in one way or another !
I realized that I was actually stung at 20 different locations throughout my body from the leg up to the mid abdomen area only when I took a shower at home later that day. Some of them even managed to climb up to my lower chest area. Nasib baik, those "blood thirsty monsters" did not attack or suck my "vital organs" ... phewwh :)
I did'nt get "angry" for what they did to me, as i know they were just doing their things - that is, to suck out those nasty "bad blood" and toxins from my body. In fact I thank them for giving me those "free" health treatment - the natural way !
For information, these leeches will only hook on if they find the "ideal area" - which is often the strategic locations where our "dirty blood" and toxins are stored. Don't be surprised that during each feeding (or rather sucking !), they can suck 5-15 ml of blood easily - that is several times its own body weight.
Leech therapy has a long history. Records indicate that Egyptians used leech therapy 3,500 years ago. They were very popular during the Middle Ages. In the 1800's American physician used the method to treat a variety of diseases.
In the 1980's medicinal leech therapy got a boost by plastic surgeons who used the leeches to relieve venous congestion, especially in transplant surgery.
So the next time you go trekking, especially in a leech-infested jungle, don't panic or shy away. Let them do their things, and you do yours. Thank you to Allah for creating such "beautiful creatures".