Articles, Research & Useful Links
Acupuncture - the most effective form of CAM for musculoskeletal conditions - Journal Chinese Medicine, June 2014
Acupuncture is the most effective CAM for treating musculoskeletal conditions and one of the only few therapies that is supported by current medical evidence, according to a report commissioned by the charity Arthritis Research UK. The report, which examined trial data on 25 therapies such as copper or magnets for musculoskeletal disorders. The therapies that were shown to be the most effective were acupuncture for osteoarthritis, low back pain and fibromyalgia, massage for fibromyalgia and low back pain, tai chi for osteoarthritis and yoga for back pain. (Practitioner based complementary and alternative therapies for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia and low pain back).
Chinese Medicine beneficial for menopausal symptoms - The Journal of Chinese Medicine, February 2015
A pilot study from the UK suggests that Chinese medicine treatment is beneficial for menopausal symptoms. In a case series design, 117 perimenopausal women were treated for menopausal symptoms by six experienced practitioners of Chinese medicine. The practitioners were instructed to treat as closely to their usual practice style as possible, using Chinese herbal medicine and / or acupuncture along with dietary and lifestyle advice. A maximum of 12 treatments over six months was allowed per patient. Patients showed significant improvement across all domains measured by two menopause symptom scales. Reduction on the MenQoL scale between first and last visit was from 4.31 to 3.27 and on the Green climacteric scale from 21.01 to 13.00. Liver and kidney function tests showed no abnormal liver or kidney function during the course of the study (Chinese medicine treatment for menopausal symptoms in the UK health service: Is a clinical trial warranted? Maturitas. 2014 Nov 20. pii: S0378-5122(14)00354-5).
Stress reduces conception chances - Journal of Chinese Medicine, Feb 2011
A study by US and UK investigators suggests that high levels of stress le- ay reduce the chances of a woman conceiving during the fertile days of her monthly cycle. The team looked at 274 healthy women aged between 18 and 40 who were trying to become pregnant. During the study, the women provided saliva samples to test for levels of the stress hormone cortisol and alpha-amylase (an indicator of adrenalin levels). They found that those women with high levels of alpha amylase (but not cortisol) across their fertile window were less likely to succeed in conceiving. The results showed that the chances of getting pregnant for women with the highest levels of alpha-amylase were roughly 12% lower than the quarter of women with the lowest levels of alpha-amylase. The authors comment that their findings support the use of relaxation techniques, counselling and approaches such as yoga and meditation to increase the chances of conception. (Stress reduces conception probabilities across the fertile window: evidence in support of relaxation. Fertil Steril. 2010 Aug 5. [Epub ahead of print]).
Acupuncture outperforms counselling and usual care for depressed patients with pain - Journal of Chinese Medicine, June 2014
Acupuncture has been found to outperform counselling and usual care for patients suffering from depression complicated by pain. A secondary analysis of data from 755 patients in a UK-based pragmatic randomised controlled trial found that patients with moderate-toextreme pain did better at three months if they received acupuncture compared to those who received counselling or usual care. Reductions in both depression and pain were most marked in the acupuncture group, followed by the counselling group and then the usual care group. (Acupuncture, counselling or usual care for depression and comorbid pain: secondary analysis of a randomised controlled trial. BMJ Open. 2014 May 2;4(5):e004964). http:/ /www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ pubmed /24793257
Acupuncture Perimenopause Relief
31 MAY 2015
Acupuncture is safe and effective for the treatment of perimenopause. Researchers from Heilongjiang University of Chinese Medicine and Henan University of Chinese Medicine investigated the effects of acupuncture on perimenopausal syndrome as it relates to metabolism, reproductive endocrinology, and the immune system.
Clinical and laboratory findings reveal important biochemical benefits induced by acupuncture and electroacupuncture.
Onset of perimenopause may occur years prior to menopause. It may occur in the 40s, 30s, or earlier and is related to a decrease in estrogen production by the ovaries. Perimenopause typically lasts approximately four years. Indications of perimenopause include hot flashes, fatigue, increased premenstrual syndrome (PMS), irregular menstrual cycles, insomnia, vaginal dryness, decreased libido, mood swings, anxiety, and breast tenderness. Conventional treatments include hormone replacement therapy, antidepressants, and vaginal lubricants.
This broad body of research confirms acupuncture’s ability to regulate bodily systems.
The researchers conclude that acupuncture is effective in the treatment of perimenopause “by improving clinical symptoms such as menstrual disorders, hot flashes, sweating, insomnia, and mood disorders.” They add that acupuncture benefits perimenopausal women by:
- increasing estrogen levels
- decreasing levels of FSH and LH
- increasing estrogen receptor protein expression
- inhibiting GnRH
- transforming androgen into estrogen
Immunity system benefits of acupuncture include increasing E-selectin and L-selectin and also by regulating immune cell estrogen receptor expression. Neuroendocrine benefits of acupuncture include:
- increasing dopamine and GABA
- decreasing aspartate and glutamate
- free radical regulation via nitric oxide and superoxide dismutase
- blood lipid regulation
- oxidative stress suppression
- bone metabolism regulation of alkaline phosphatase and D
'Back to Health' Campaign
The British Acupuncture Council recently launched their 'Back to Health’ campaign. Below is an article that I wrote for the latest York Natural Health magazine:
Did you know that Acupuncture can help you ‘Back’ to Health?
As a leading cause of disability, lower back pain is one of the most commonly treated muscular problems that I see in practice.
As a way of coping with the condition people often use painkillers to relieve discomfort. Although a useful short-term solution, as a longer-term option they can often mask the problem rather than addressing the underlying cause of the back pain.
With traditional acupuncture we look at the root of the condition, as well as the symptoms, in order to relieve pain, improve mobility and promote longer-term health and wellbeing. Many of my patients have found acupuncture to be extremely beneficial for acute and chronic pain.
Although acupuncture is often sought for chronic back pain, many people are unaware of how effective it can be in bringing relief to acute back conditions. There are some very useful acupuncture points that can immediately reduce muscular pain and spasm bringing much needed respite. It’s often those patients that manage to get to the clinic early on, who experience the most profound alleviation of symptoms.
Treatment itself involves a consultation and examination followed by the placing of very fine sterile needles at specific points to trigger a healing response, which inevitably releases muscular spasm, tightness and inflammation.
10 Ways Traditional Acupuncture can help with Lower Back Pain
1) Talk about it
“Don’t live with pain, have it treated! If you’re not happy with your current situation or diagnosis get another opinion. I will be happy to discuss your problem and help you understand whether acupuncture can help you, before you commit to having any treatment.”
2) Tailored for you
“Traditional acupuncture is an effective therapy that treats the whole person. This means each patient is treated as a unique individual so the acupuncture points chosen for one person with lower back pain may be different for another person with the same symptoms. This bespoke style is one of the key reasons traditional acupuncture is so effective as it’s not a one-size fits all approach.”
3) Pinpoint pain
“Contrary to popular belief, traditional acupuncture is an incredibly relaxing experience. Some people of course will be naturally wary of the needles but they’re sterile and the same width as a human hair so they’re extremely fine!
4) Natural pain relief
“By stimulating nerves located in muscles and other tissues, traditional acupuncture helps release “happy” hormones including endorphins and oxytocin, which are the body’s own natural pain-relieving hormones. These hormones can change the way the body processes pain, helping to reduce discomfort and distress.” This can replace the need for synthetic drugs, without the risk of side effects.
5) Reduces inflammation
“Traditional acupuncture has also been shown to reduce inflammation and swelling by stimulating blood flow to the affected area and dispersing excess fluids to promote healing and aid recovery.”
6) Get moving again!
“Many patients find that even after one session of traditional acupuncture their movement and mobility will be improved and their muscles don’t feel as stiff. The number of sessions needed will depend on each individual and whether their pain is chronic or not. I will put together an individualised treatment plan during your initial consultation.”
7) Minimise medication
“Many back pain sufferers are sick and tired of being continuously on medication (understandably!). Traditional acupuncture can potentially reduce the need for the long-term use of medications without the side effects often attributed to some pharmaceutical drugs.”
8) Better outlook
“The holistic approach of traditional acupuncture means that the whole person is treated, both body and mind. These two are often linked, especially when there is chronic pain. Once a patient has started to feel the benefit of treatment, the therapy can often restore a feeling of hope and positivity.”
“Finally, if you’re reliant on your painkilling tablets you’ll be pleased to hear traditional acupuncture works just as effectively alongside modern medication. In fact it can even speed up the recovery process. Be sure to consult with your GP before undertaking numerous treatment plans.
Acupuncture has been demonstrated to have clinically meaningful
improvements in pain reduction, improvement in quality of life, and
improvement in function.
Acupuncture Awareness Week
The focus of this year’s Acupuncture Awareness Week was Sports Injuries. As you can see in this video Olympic Gold medal winner Rebecca Adlington was the spokesperson for this year’s campaign. She talks about how acupuncture helped her recover from a shoulder injury.
Traditional acupuncture offers a sophisticated way of helping with most musculoskeletal injuries, helping to treat not only the initial injury but also aiding in recovery.
It is one of the best treatments for pain relief and recovery, and is highly effective at treating knee, back, shoulder and neck pain.