This interesting opinion paper has been released by the UK's Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in relation to the use of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine for the treatment of chronic pelvic pain (CPP) in women. Although there was no reliable evidence for the effective treatment of CPP, the paper calls attention to the effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of contributing conditions such as dysmenorrhoea and irritable bowel syndrome. There are also some interesting thoughts on the use of sham acupuncture in clinical trials. You can read the full paper online.
Acupuncture has been shown time and again to benefit couples who are experiencing difficulty conceiving. So how does this relate to the issue of weight? For some excellent info on this topic check out this excellent article by Zita West, the renowned acupuncture and fertility specialist, written for the lovely people at rollercoaster.ie, Irelands best online resource for pregnancy and childcare. Zita West has a practice in Harley St and specializes in fertility. She is an acupuncturist, nutritionist and midwife and the author of many excellent books relating to these issues. To learn more about acupuncture and fertility in general check here for more details
To learn more about the Zita West approach to fertility you can check out her book Plan to get Pregnant on Amazon.
If you are chronically unwell then usually you will be emotionally ‘off’ as well. We mostly assume that being unwell causes negative emotions such as grumpiness, short tempers, even misery and depression. However, according to Chinese medicine, this street runs both ways. For several thousand years Chinese physicians have understood the close relationship of emotions to health and have fine tuned a method to cure emotional ill health through the body and physical ill health through working with the emotions.
In order to understand better where your chronic illness may be coming from, you will need to take an honest look at what kind of person you are. In Chinese medicine we are broadly divided into 5 categories described metaphorically as Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. Each of these 5 Phases or Elements corresponds to a pair of internal organs, to a predominating emotion and most importantly, to a virtue. When the emotion or the organ is out of harmony, then negative emotion and illness begin to take root.
The Wood or Liver type of person likes to control and organize. They are affected by tight muscular contraction, often around shoulders and knees, headaches, burning eyes, acid refux, to name a few. Anger, irritability and eventually depression are the result of disharmony. Organisation and kindness are the virtues.
The Fire or Heart type loves to laugh and enjoy life. They can be affected by palpitations, heart murmurs and irregular heart beats. Over excitement and exciteability are the result of disharmony. Joy, good humour and humility are the virtues.
The Earth or Spleen type is caring and sympathetic. They are prone to digestive disorders, IBS, diarhea, constipation, bloating after eating, to name a few. Worry and overthinking are the result of disharmony. Caring, sympathy and faithfulness are the virtues.
The Metal or Lung type is analytical. They are prone to respiratory disorder, hayfever, asthma, bronchitiis and so on. Out of harmony they suffer from sadness and grief. Their virtue is fairness.
The Water or Kidney type is creative. They tend towards bladder, kidney and low back disorders. Out of harmony they are prone to fearfulness. Functioning correctly they are courageous and wise.
How you think and feel not only makes you the kind of person you are, it also can dictate the kind of patient you may become and the specific way that your illness will try to teach you. If you are chronically ill then take some time to see what this is telling you about your thoughts, your emotions and about who you are as a person. There is always something new to learn. While achieving insight about your constitutional type may not ‘cure’you of an ailment overnight, it may well put you on the road to a long term recovery andl will enable your Chinese Medicine practitioner to help you more effectively.
What is the difference between acupressure and acupuncture? When would you choose one over the other?
Well for some people the choice is simple. If you don’t like needles but you have heard that there is strong clinical evidence for the use of acupuncture points and Traditional Chinese Medicine then acupressure can be a nice alternative. It is also often more appropriate for children, partly because they don’t like needles and partly because they respond so well to acupressure and Tuina and don’t require needling.
On the other hand you may be open to both but don’t know which one would be best. Well here are some of the pros and cons of both.
Acupressure is more indicated in musculoskeletal conditions of pain due to contracted muscle tissue, scar tissue, etc. It can also be very relieving for digestive and bowel conditions such as IBS, diarrhea and constipation.
Acupuncture is more indicated for non-musculoskeletal and can be particularly effective for conditions where heat needs to be released, such as inflammatory conditions where piercing the skin is said to allow pathogenic heat to leave the body.
In our clinic we tend to mix both, as most musculoskeletal and digestive conditions will also respond quite well to needling. Acupressure and massage will tend to give immediate relief while acupuncture tends to work at a deeper and more precise energetic level to bring long lasting healing results. When massage and acupressure alone are used then relief may be quick but not long lasting and when acupuncture alone is used the result may often be delayed by a day or even 24 hours so there is long term healing, but not an immediate relief of symptoms. Using both Tuina (massage and acupressure work) and acupuncture is a most effective combination to work on both these levels and to provide the best possible service to our clients.
Other techniques include warming with lamp or moxa and the use of cupping to enhance the effect of massage. Combined with massage, acupressure and acupuncture, this blend of ancient techniques can be highly effective in bringing both short and long term relief to a wide variety of conditions.
1 in 10 People Affected
About 1 in 10 people or more are affected by IBS according to the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders. While there is no known cause for IBS, stress is a common factor which exacerbates symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation, bloating and cramping.
The pain can be extreme in some cases and is thought to be caused by uncoordinated intestinal contractions, meaning that as one part of the bowel pushes the following area is not yet prepared, causing obstruction, spasm and pain.
While the smooth functioning of the digestive system is dependent upoin the autonomic or involuntary nervous system, we know that stress activates sympathetic part of the this system, disrupting the harmony of the system. It is this component of IBS which lends itself to treatment via the practice of yoga and treatment with acupuncture.
Yoga As Effective As Drugs in Clinical Trials
Meditation and relaxation exercises have a deeply calming and relaxing effect which has been shown to carry over therapeutically to distress in the bowel. Studies conducted in India have shown that Yoga is as effective as the use of drugs for IBS while having none of the side effects but many considerable additional benefits. One study in Banaras Hindu University showed that a combination of drugs together with Yoga was considerably more effective than either drugs or yoga alone.
Particularly useful poses include forward bends, side twists and poses that massage the abdominal area such as Prone Boat or Locust Pose.
Acupuncture for IBS
IBS may also be treated effectively by acupuncture. As stress is a component, acupuncture treatment is highly effective in beating the symptoms of stress. While acupuncture has not yet conclusively been shown to cure IBS, it has a known scientifically proven effect upon the autonomic nervous system which is linked to the pain and discomfort of this condition. For a detailed description, follow this link to hear Neelam Misra, MD, Assistant Medical Director, Manhattan Total Health, discuss the effect of acupuncture on the autonomic nervous system.
IBS is a widespread and poorly understood condition, however, a combination of prescribed medication, together with a course of yoga practice and 4 to 6 treatments of acupuncture can be a highly effective way of dealing with this problem.
Dip Ac, Lic Ac (China), Dip Tuina, MAFPA
British Medical Association Recommends Acupuncture
After a two year study the BMA’s board of Science and Education recommended the use of Acupuncture for the treament of conditions including nausea, vomiting, back pain, dental pain and migraine headaches. See the article in the British Medical Journal here.
As a practicing acupuncturist I am often confronted with scepticism about the benefits and effectiveness of acupuncture therapy. This no longer surprises me as despite being used for nearly 200 years in Western Europe, still the general level of knowledge about the scientific underpinnings of Chinese Medicine remains quite low, however, the BMA however, is one of the most respected medical institutions in the world and with this kind of backing the use of acupuncture gains immense credibility.
Acupuncture in the Lancet
While acupuncture may seem new to many, the history of its practice in the west is really quite extensive. While most people are aware that acupuncture has been used in China for several thousand years, not so many people know that already in the 1600s knowledge of this ancient practice was brought from China to Europe by Jesuit missionaries. Acupucture was then practiced quite extensively in Britain during the early 19th century. Indeed the very first edition of the Lancet in 1823 included an article on the effectiveness of acupuncture for a variety of conditions including rheumatism and ear infections.
The literature today presented by the BMA recommends its use for muscular, bone and joint pain, IBS, migraine, dental and back pain (as mentioned above), nausea (including morning sickness and nausea induced by medications), accelerated recovery after stroke, support in withdrawal from drug use, and help for those suffering from asthma.
Acupuncture: A Safe Therapy!
Again the BMA recommends acupuncture for its excellent track record in safety, with the caveat that you should seek out a registered acupuncturist. Here in Ireland there is no state register for acupuncturists (although acupuncturists are pushing for this legislation), however, there are at least two main, well established and highly reputable professional associations for Chinese Medicine practitioners, the AFPA and the TCMCI. If you are seeking therapy in Ireland you should check to see with whom your practitioner is registered.
Cost of Treatments Reimbursed
Once your practitioner is registered with either of these associations then you should have no problem in claiming back in full or in part the cost of your therapy with the main health insurance providers.
Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have, leave a comment or find us on facebook and click the Like button to receive Eur 5 off your initial acupuncture consultation.
BA, Hdip, Lic Ac (China), Dip. Ac, Dip Tuina.
In the never ending quest to improve both our therapy service and yoga classes, I am very happy to announce (and provide some pictures of) our latest and greatest venue for classes and therapy in Gorey.
Having practiced acupuncture and massage in the lovely offices of the Tropical Medical Bureau for the last nigh on two years, the time seems right now for a change and we have moved to the therapy rooms of the Gorey Holistic Centre on Fort Rd (continue up John St past Petits & Gorey Theatre on your right, King Cod on your left).
The centre has been renovated and looks really beautiful now. I have already begun treating clients in the therapy rooms and will teach my first class in the yoga space this Friday May 20th.
There is plenty of free on-street parking outside and you are within short walking distance of cafes & shops on and just off Gorey Main St. if you fancy it after / before your class or therapy.
Any questions about finding us or about the Centre in general, don't be afraid to email or give us a call!
I heard the most interesting report today on Newstalk regarding new evidence suggesting that Aspirin can be effective in preventing cancer related to inflammatory bowel conditions such as Crohn's disease. Professor Dermot Kelleher of the Institute of Molecular Medicine in Trinity College Dublin was interviewed and apparently the research is of the highest quality with every indication that this simple, every day medicine may well be prescribed to patients suffering from these conditions.
As an acupuncturist my first thought is that there may be a role to play for therapies such as acupuncture and electro-acupuncture in this kind of preventative medicine. There is no research as yet that I am aware of that has been carried out on this and the research on Aspirin is itself very recent, however, bearing in mind the well known anti-inflammatory effect of acupuncture would it be impossible that regular acupuncture treatments could also have a preventative effect on this kind of cancer?
If this were the case then of course it would bring with it the inherent advantages of acupuncture therapy including the absence of side-effects that may be a risk even with something as benign and every day as aspirin. In addition to this acupuncture treatments, whatever the main aim of treatment, will tend to give an overall health and well-being effect including boosting the immune system thus preventing colds, flus etc. With holistic therapy one tends to get general health benefits regardless of the targeted condition.
It is common knowledge that despite centuries of investigation that there is
no known cure for the common cold. Warm drinks, chicken soup and stay in be
d, wait it out etc are all common pieces of advice. What research has shown
however is that the common cold is a virus. You may not necessarily be
'catching' a cold from someone else, so much as being weakened enough or run down
enough for an existing virus to temporarily gain the upper hand.
Acupuncture is the treatment par excellence for this kind of condition. Care
ful selection of points by a qualified practitioner will allow your immune
system to regain the upper hand and to shake off the annoying symptoms of the
common cold. Usually only a few points are needed and the effect can be quite
dramatic. A point or two on the Large Intestine, Lung and Stomach channel
s are usually enough and already your symptoms of stuffy nose, chills, fever,
etc will begin to abate.
For more info don't hesitate to contact me at email@example.com
Take care, stay warm and enjoy the thaw (if it is thawing wherever you are!)
A sensation of burning in the eyes can have several causes both from a western medical and from a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective and the two diagnoses may or may not be related.
In Chinese medicine the Liver is said to be associated with the eyes and therefore any condition affecting the them may be an indicator of a disturbance in the energy of this organ. Energy is said to rise from the Liver into the eyes causing them to burn, itch, become red, or feel gritty and dry. This rising of energy may be caused by excessive anger or frustration, perhaps repeated over an extended period, or may be alcohol or food related. It may also occur as a result of illness in the western anatomical equivalent of the energy system described by the term Liver in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Treatment for this kind of symptom is relatively simple in Chinese medicine and involves the use of acupuncture points on the body to draw energy down from the eyes, to calm and 'smooth' Liver energy and to strengthen other organs or energy systems that have been affected by Liver energy. Clearing heat may also be involved if there are heat symptoms. Calming mood and addressing emotional issues through acupuncture may also be involved.
If you would like to discuss this or a similar issue, please don't hesitate to contact us on 086 408 2428 or firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have a medical issue please consult with a medical professional. This blog is informational only and is not intended for self-diagnosis or as a substitute for professional medical advice.
Liam Byrne, Yoga & Pilates Instructor, Acupuncturist, Physical Therapist, Sports Massage Therapist,