Page last updated at 14:33 GMT, Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Demi hails blood-sucking therapy

Demi Moore
Moore said she hoped the treatment would improve her health

Actress Demi Moore has confessed to indulging in an unusual alternative therapy - blood-sucking leeches.

The 45-year-old told US talk show host David Letterman she tried the treatment in Austria as part of a detox plan.

She said: "You watch it swell up on your blood... then when it's super drunk it just kind of rolls over like it is stumbling out of the bar."

Leeches have been used in medicine for centuries and are often used today in reconstructive surgery.

The anticoagulant secreted by the creatures fights blood clots and helps restore blood flow to inflamed body parts.

'Bite down'

But Moore said the leeches were allowed to bite her to release a "detox enzyme".

"It detoxifies your blood... generally you bleed for quite a bit and your health is optimised, and I'm feeling very detoxified right now!

"I did it in some woman's house lying on her bed. We did a little sampler first, which is in the belly button.

"It crawls in and you feel it bite down on you... Then you relax and work on your Lamaze breathing just to kind of relax."

She joked: "These aren't just swamp leeches though - we are talking about highly trained medical leeches."

The actress, who was previously married to Die Hard star Bruce Willis, says she is convinced the treatment worked and plans more.

"I only got four leeches and I felt a bit cheated," she added.

But Mr Andrew Wilmshurst, consultant plastic surgeon at Ninewells Hospital, near Dundee, said he was doubtful leeches would have a "detoxifying" effect on the body.

"Leeches are used as standard treatment in plastic surgery units around the UK, but only in two very specific areas," he said.

"Alternative therapies are not based on scientific fact... and it sounds like a load of mumbo jumbo to me."

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