So the shoe was on the other foot recently! Or should that be the needle was in the other back!! He he!
What am ! talking about? Well I found myself being the patient and at a colleague’s acupuncture clinic earlier last week. I recently had a renewed bout of Costochondritis which was getting me down, and after going to the docs last year and being told to take pain killers I knew acupuncture could be more effective at getting to the root cause of the problem.
Costochondritis is a very painful condition, it is where the cartilage between the ribs and sternum becomes inflamed. In my case the pain mainly occurs first thing in the morning, my whole rib cage is sore with stabbing type pains when I move, this is painful enough to wake me up and I just can’t get comfortable! The only relief is to get up, and then it gradually subsides, unfortunately sometimes this is at 5.30am!!
The causes are basically unknown, inflammation is the body’s natural reaction to infection, irritation or injury, so any of these factors could be contributory. In my case I couldn’t find a specific reason in Western medical terms, so I looked to Traditional Chinese Medicine for the answers.
The main organ involved in TCM diagnosis would be the Liver. The Liver is affected by anger and frustration, which in themselves can be caused by fear. Emotions are believed to have a dramatic effect on health, in TCM the mind & body are not separated but have a direct influence on each other. Added to the nature of the Liver, are its functions: -
* Stores the Blood – the Liver controls the flow of Blood to the muscles and sinews during activity, and its return at times of rest
* Maintains the Smooth Flow of Qi - If the free flow of the qi is stagnated by the liver, the blood will in turn stagnate as well leading to pain
* Controls Tendons & Sinews – nourishing the tendons, any Liver deficiency or Qi stagnation will result in tendons and sinews being weak leading to numbness or the dysfunction of joints.
So having ‘diagnosed’ myself (which isn’t always wise!) with Liver Qi Stagnation I wanted to get a second opinion and also being acutely aware that I would not be able to needle all the points required, I headed over to see the lovely Rebecca Geanty @ The Acupuncture Rooms.
She agreed with my diagnosis (phew!) but also pointed out my general Qi deficiency, which I knew about but hadn’t factored in (this is why its not wise to treat yourself, as stated earlier!) this meant that my Kidneys and Spleen both needed strengthening as well as getting my Qi moving, to deal with the Stagnation.
So after having our consultation and general discussion about how fab acupuncture was, I lay on the treatment bed and was ready to become completely relaxed. I’m not going to lie I did feel a few of the needles, but not in a really painful way, just a jolt or a sting or scratch, each one was different! Then once they were all in I was left to relax. It was great I have to say have someone else look after me for a change!
In the following week I did feel a decrease in the severity of the pain and also how early in the morning I was being effected. So we are on the right path, just need to a have a few more treatments, 3 or 4 should do it I would think.
I’ll keep you posted.
If you are suffering with Costochondritis then give me a call on 07794 844196 to see how acupuncture can help
This guy knows what he's talking about! And we know as riders that riding can often take quite a toll on our bodies! Acupuncture is a natural and effect way to help the body heal and balance the systems for optimum health.
Being aware of how 'well' you are can really help your horse!
Cupping is not just a therapy that is used as a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine, it has been found depicted in Egyptian drawings, African artefacts and was widely used in America and Europe up until the 19th century.
Cupping can be used in many therapeutic ways, for pin & injury and generl health improvements.
There are 3 main ways of cupping with some differences within these;
Dry or Suction Cupping – probably the most commonly used nowadays, this form of cupping uses suction created by a hand held pump. The cups are made of strong plastic, which can easily been cleaned or are rubber/silicone which are squeezed to create the suction.
Fire Cupping – this method of cupping uses glass cups. The practitioner uses a piece of cotton wool which is soaked in 95% alcohol, the cotton wool is lit and when it is placed under the cup and then very quickly removed it creates a vacuum on the skin – not used at ENA.
Wet Cupping – with this method the practitioner pricks the skin with a specialised tool to make numerous very small punctures. When the cups are applied blood is sucked up into the cups. This method uses glass cups which can easily be sterilised after use – not used at ENA.
All of the above methods can be used as Static cups, this simple means the cups are applied at one location and left there for a period of time usually between 5 and 25 mins depending on the condition we are treating and the desired outcome. Dry cupping and Fire cupping can also be applied using the Moving cupping method, this means that the cups will be applied and then moved over the skin, in a massage type way to improve circulation for facial treatments and well-being.
At EAST Norwich Acupuncture I only use the Dry Cupping method either as Static or Moving cups depending on the condition. For general well-being, pain & injury treatments I use plastic cups and a hand held pump and for facial treatments I use small soft flexible silicone cups.
Whichever method is used, each client is individually assessed to ensure their particular treatment requirements are met.
Treatment Options -
Tonifying – this means we aim to use the cups as a tonic to the system, strengthening and improving the function of the organs or improving Qi & Blood circulation. We can vary the strength of the cups accordingly -
‘weak’ - for very deficient patients, the client should not feel any discomfort or pain, and there should be no bruising or blistering but could be some slight reddening of the area. This strength of cupping can be used anywhere on the body and on children under the age of 7
‘medium’ - for those with stronger energies but still need tonifying. There could be some light bruising which would lonely last a couple of days. This strength can be used for children over 7
Draining – this means we aim to strongly influence Qi & Blood and also we use this when we wish to eliminate internal/external pathogens and severe stagnation.
‘strong’ - is only used where the client has strong Qi and requires this action to remove excessive amounts of Heat or pathogenic factors. There could be some very dark purple bruises appear which may last a number of days. This method should be introduced slowly, building up over a number of treatments. It is not suitable for children under 14 years old, during pregnancy or the for very frail or weak patients. Not suitable on the face, stomach or abdomen.
Give me call on 07794 844196 if you would like to find out how cupping could help you. Some typical conditions which benefit from cupping are;
Really difficult to choose just 5, but I gave it a go! Some I luv cos I like to needle them, some because of the amazing actions they have and the results I get.
1. First up is Large Intestine 4 (on the hand)
This is one of the most powerful points on the body and probably the most commonly used. Great for any pain or discomfort of the head, inc. ear, nose and throat problems.
It can also be paired with other points to have an even more powerful effect, this is the one we use (along with SP6) to bring on labour when the baby is overdue!
Used with LIV3 it improves the circulation of Qi and Blood, so used for many conditions where stagnation and pain are involved. Its a great relaxation point too.
2. Spleen 6 (on the lower leg)
The Chinese name for this point SanYinJiao, is translated as Three Yin Crossing, this is because at this point 3 of the major Yin channels in the body cross over each other. Yin channels are important for maintaining many of the key functions in our bodies.
This therefore makes SP6 a very powerful and useful point when we are treating someone who needs strengthening.
It can be used for many menstrual conditions, insomnia, dizziness, tinnitus and other Yin deficiency related conditions. The Spleen channel is paired with the Stomach channel so we also use this point for digestive and absorption related conditions. The Spleen rules the Muscles so we use as a support point when treating many muscular skeletal problems. An all round top point!
3. Liver 3 (on top of the foot)
This powerful point helps calm the Liver, clear heat, reduce inflammation and importantly gets things moving, its Chinese name is translated as Great Rushing.
Used with LI4, on both hands and feet, these points together are known as the Four Gates. They are used to move Qi and Blood when there is stagnation, pain or injury. Its uses are basically endless!!
4. Bladder 23 (on the Lower Back)
This point is the most important point when treating lower back pain, though strictly speaking its 4 points as it works best as part of a formula, with BL24, BL52 and GV4. What we find is that many people with lower back pain have what we call, Kidney Yin Deficiency. By using this formula we can strengthen this system and this has amazing effect on back pain, with most people finding significant relief after only a few treatments.
5. YinTang (between the eyebrows)
Last but certainly not least is YinTang. This point is actually what is called an extra point, that is its not classed as being part of the 12 main meridians on the body, though uniquely amongst extra points it does actually lie on a the Governing Vessel meridian!!
Perhaps I should have mentioned this one first, as I often needle this first during a treatment, as it has a significant calming effect. It’s great to use for any stress or anxiety related conditions. It’s great for what’s known as ‘monkey mind’ when you just can’t stop those chattering monkeys in your head!
Call me on 07794 844196 to see if any of these points can help you
What's this then?
Pain and/or reduced movement in the major temporomandibular joint. This is located by the ear and joins the mandibular (jaw bone) to the skull. You can easily be feel it when you clench your teeth together and the muscle bulges out slightly.
The causes of TMJ are not clearly known, but there are a number of factors that can contribute;
* Oversensitivity of the jaw muscles, this is most associated with jaw clenching at night which can be due to stress and anxiety
* Increased sensitivity to pain (its not known why this happens!)
* Wear and tear to the joint, which could be caused by arthritis, either rheumatoid or osteoarthritis
* Injury or blow to the jaw
* Misaligned jaw or dental problems
* Resting, gentle massage and the use of bite guards used at night can help to relieve the cycle of oversensitive muscles
* Anti-inflammatory painkillers
* Physiotherapy – the correct exercises and use of ultrasound can be helpful
* Steroid Injections or surgery as a last resort could be offered in severe cases
Please note it is important to visit your dental professional to ensure there are no contributory physical factors with your jaw or teeth.
What’s the alternative?
First up, acupuncture doesn’t claim to treat certain conditions, we do not diagnose or cure!
But what we can do is look at ALL of the factors in your life and the resulting symptoms that may be contributing to a particular condition. This way acupuncture gets to the root cause and we are able to offer relief.
In Chinese Medicine the body is seen very differently, and the systems within it are credited with different attributes and functions to those in Western Medicine. The focus is on the balance and harmony of these systems. Where we have imbalance we have ‘dis-ease’. Acupuncture looks to balance those areas to bring relief from pain and discomfort.
In the case of TMJ there are several patterns which can possibly contribute to imbalance, these include mainly Qi and/or Blood deficiencies in the Liver, Spleen and Kidney systems*
The Liver stores the Blood and rules the Tendons, the Spleen dominates the limbs and rules the Muscles and the Kidneys rule the Bones. When there are deficiencies in one or more of these systems symptoms can occur.
Emotions play a huge part in the pathology of many conditions both in Western and Eastern medicine. Over-worrying and stress can cause excess in the Liver, resulting in irritability and anger. Excessive brooding, worrying and concentrating, weakens the Spleen. Fear and anxiety depletes the Kidneys and can also lead to insomnia, tinnitus lower back pain etc
Acupuncture can balance out these deficiencies and excesses, to give relief to a condition which can become chronic and difficult to treat with Western medicine.
I recently did a survey of horse riders, the results made interesting reading!
Hi I'm Colette Ogle owner of EAST Norwich Acupuncture, and I want to share with you interesting snip-its, reviews and news on TCM, Acupuncture and general ways in which you can improve your health. I hope you find these informative and helpful, if you would like to see more of a certain topic, just let me know.