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(leech therapy)



tel. 790 731 253

          791 842 977

leech therapy




is a precursor of holistic medicine on the Polish market.

In holistic medicine, before initiating a treatment, it is important to identify the cause of the disease, not only to relieve its symptoms or effects, and also to restore the balance of the body, so called homeostasis, by the application of any and all possible methods of health care, starting with conventional medicine, therapies offered by spa centres, psychotherapy and finishing with alternative medical procedures, hirudotherapy (leech therapy), larval therapy (maggot therapy), acupuncture or herbal treatment.

An advocate of holistic medicine was Hippocrates (c. 460 377 BC), a famous Greek doctor, the father of medicine, the most prominent representative of medical school from the Isle of Kos. His fundamental principle was “primum non nocere” – first do no harm. Hippocrates’ medical practice was based on a rational evidence, in-depth observation of the patient and experience, which allowed him to establish a diagnosis and select the best possible methods of treatment. In his profession he cared about the health of his patients as he believed that “salus aegroti suprema est” – the well-being of the patient shall be the most important law”. Hippocrates’ treatment methods involved supporting natural healing processes.




tel. 790 731 253

          791 842 977

Leech Therapy Course online

leech therapy





Holistic medicine includes among others two ways of “combating” diseases. They are leech therapy (hirudotherapy), which uses leeches for medical purposes, and larval therapy (maggot therapy), which uses larvae of the common green bottle fly for hard-to-heal wounds.


“Any method is good if it is effective...”                                                                        Hippocrates


leech therapy



tel. 790 731 253

          791 842 977



Most important substances produced by salivary glands (SGS) of the medicinal leech


Hirudin – the most known substance produced by medicinal leeches, discovered by Hycraft in 1884. In 1903 Jacobi gave the substance its present name. It is a highly specific thrombin inhibitor, i.e. by deactivating thrombin it prevents the natural process of coagulation

Calin – a thrombocyte adhesion and aggregation inhibitor; it prolongs the time of bleeding after the application of leeches

Bdelins – inhibitors of trypsin, plasmin and acrosin. They are located all over the body of a leech but the greatest number of bdelins is found in the external reproductive organs. Bdelins inhibit the activity of inflammatory factors and prevent them from spreading over tissues. There are two forms of this inhibitor: bdelin A and bdelin B

Hirustasin – serine proteinase which is an inhibitor of kallikrein chains, tripsin, chymotripsin and cathepsin G, i.e. substances needed to keep regular blood pressure

Apyrase – plays an important role in reducing blood viscosity

Antielastase – inhibits the activity of elastases, i.e. the enzymes which destroy skin elastin and effectively slows down the process of skin ageing

Eglins – a strong anti-inflammatory substance (an inhibitor of inflammatory factors) and effective antioxidant. Eglin C is the best known of all eglins produced by leeches.

Destabilase – a substance which has strong antiaggregating properties causing decomposition of clotted blood. Destabilase also contains a unique low molecular substance – prostaglandin, which regenerates blood vessels, the digestive tract and controls the level of blood sugar

Hyaluronidase – a substance which plays two functions. It is a strong antibiotic and facilitates tissue permeability. Due to these properties neighbouring body cells and tissues can easily permeate through the cellular membrane. Another interesting property of this enzyme is the ability to dissolve polisaccharides which are components of endospore walls of many microorganisms.

LDTI – Leech Derived Tryptase Inhibitor is a substance secreted by leeches when they incise the host’s skin. LDTI protects the mouth part of the leech against the proteolytic enzyme (tryptase) produced by the immune system of the host

Factor Xa inhibitor – a substance which is a component of the Xa complex. In the cascade of blood coagulation the substance is responsible for conversion of prothrombin into thrombin. The complex deactivates the Xa factor, which results in the inhibition of the coagulation process

Carboxypeptidase A inhibitor – a substance which increases the blood flow and to some extent, removes clots which appear when the leech feeds on the host

Anaesthetics, neurotransmitters – strong analgesic factors, however not yet really identified. It is supposed that the analgesic properties are connected with neuropeptides produced by leeches. They include endorphins, which are known as happy hormones. Apart from killing pain endorphins eliminate a feeling of anxiety and euphoria, bring calmness, remove physical and mental addictions, negative emotions, nausea, depression and other symptoms observed in drug and alcohol addicts.

Substances dilating blood vessels – very similar to histamine; an organic compound, not yet well identified

Antibiotics – demonstrate strong antibacterial properties. They are produced by bacteria called Aeromonas veronii biotype sobria, which lives in a symbiosis with the medicinal leech


leech therapy


Warszawa ul.Senatorska 18




PL 80 1140 2004 0000 3602 4349 6468


body parts for application of leeches larval therapy in outline

ISBN 978-83-937188-2-5


  • History of leech therapy

  • Outline of human anatomy for hirudotherapists

  • Morphology of peripheral blood – interpretation of laboratory tests

  • Functional morphology and physiology of the leech

  • Surgery for medicinal leech therapy – regulations. 

  • Procedure with the use of medicinal leeches

  • Contraindications and indications for the application of hirudotherapy

  • Body areas used in leech therapy

  • Larval therapy

  • Psychology – principles of good contact with patient

  • Leechtherapy and larval therapy in veterinary medicine

  • Curiosities from the world

                                                                                                                    e-book PRICE   25 Euro





Hirudotherapy (leech therapy), like any other therapies, can cause complications. Thus, before taking a decision to apply the therapy with leeches it is important to know contraindications for that kind of treatment. The following contraindications and information should be given consideration:

  • haemophilia

  • anaemia

  • pregnancy

  • extreme exhaustion

  • arterial pressure 80/60 or lower

  • children under the age of 10 (except for reattachment procedures)

  • cases of allergy should be individually treated

  • gastric ulcer and erosions

  • cerebral stroke

  • disturbances in wound healing

  • dermatomycosis

  • menstruation

  • low level of haemoglobin

  • blood coagulation disorders

  • skin neoplasms

  • neoplasms

  • post-chemotherapy and post-radiotherapy complications

  • haemorrhagic diathesis

  • administration of acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin) derivatives

  • patients treated with anticoagulant medicines (antithrombotic drugs) as these partly or completely inhibit the process of blood coagulation. The drugs are applied in the prophylaxis of thrombosis, atherosclerosis and other disorders which might result in the formation of a hazardous or life-threatening thrombus. Antithrombotic drugs include:





Hirudotherapy (leech therapy) can be an effective supplement in treating many diseases and it is helpful in:


  • skin disorders

  • gynaecology

  • eye diseases

  • urology

  • cardiology

  • dentistry

  • cosmetology

  • otolaryngological diseases

  • neurology

  • rheumatology

  • gastroenterology

  • respiratory diseases

  • common colds

  • gastrointestinal disorders

  • vascular diseases

  • urinary system diseases

  • sexual disorders

  • breast pathology

  • locomotion-resistance system diseases

  • metabolic diseases

  • cardiovascular diseases

  • allergy

  • renal diseases


leech therapy
Leeches in dermatology
and cosmetology

Methods of improving the beauty of a body and inhibiting the process of skin ageing with the application of leeches have been known since the most ancient times. Facial and body masks combined with fragrance oils mixed with the blood of leeches were applied by Japanese geishas, so famous for their beautiful skin. Countess Potocka applied leeches from her own pond to make herself younger. Hirudo compounds circulating around the body have rejuvenating properties because they are strong antioxidants. Moreover, the salivary glands of the leech secrete many other substances which inhibit the process of skin ageing. Lipids, antithrombotic and anti-inflammatory compounds, phosphatidic acid, free fatty acid, proteins, phospholipases, lipases, collagen, serotonin, cortisol, testosterone or progesterone are only some of the substances which improve the skin tension, blood flow and oxidation. Antielastase slows down skin ageing processes, inhibits the enzyme which decomposes elastin and in that way, prevents from degeneration of the elastic tissue. In dermatology leeches are effective in the treatment of discolourations, visible venules, cellulitis, acne, eczema, psoriasis, scleroderma; they prevent sebaceous ducts from being clogged, reduce the excess of sebum, have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, lighten the skin, stimulate epidermal regeneration and moisten the skin. 

leech therapy
leech therapy
leech therapy
Patient during
a facial lifting
leech therapy facial lifting

The facial mask:

  • enhances and leaves the skin smooth

  • improves the skin tone and gives it a nice look

  • makes wrinkles less visible

  • improves the face contour

  • nourishes and enriches the skin with oxygen

  • stimulates the production of collagen and elastin

  • relieves irritations

  • actively moisturizes the skin by penetrating its deep layers

leech therapy
Demi Moore admits to bizarre beauty secret: 'I let leeches suck my blood'

"I was in Austria doing a cleanse and part of the treatment was leech therapy. These aren't just swamp leeches though - we are talking about highly trained medical leeches.

External morphology

of medicinal leeches

Size and body shape

The body size of the leech can range from a few millimetres up to 40 centimetres. The shape can also be different: cylindrical, ribbon-like or leaf-like.

Medicinal leeches are flattened dorsoventrally. Adult leeches can be 10 – 15 centimetres long.


The body of the leech is divided into 34 segments and each is segment is subdivided into annules. The number of annules is different for a different order, family and even genus but ranges between 3 and 14 annules in each segment. Hirudo leeches have segments consisting of 5 annules.


Body colour

Leeches, similar to other animals, are equipped with pigment-containing cells (chromatophores) which are found in the skin. These cells give an animal its own characteristic colour. The leech exhibits a variety of colours – different shades of green, brown and black.

The medicinal leech Hirudo is characterized with two orange stripes on the dorsal side and a regular patterns of bands on the green-olive background. On the lateral parts of the body there are yellow lines, whereas the ventral side is plain, green-olive and the lateral parts are covered with black lines.


Number and location of eyes

Leeches are equipped with a different number of eyes, between one and five pairs, depending on the family, genus and even species. There are also species of leeches which lack this organ. The medicinal leech of the Hirudo genus has 5 pairs of eyes located in the shape of semicircle, on the anterior part of the body.

maggot therapy

larval therapy