ACUPUNCTURE, IS IT AS GOOD AS THEY SAY IT IS?

Acupuncture, is it as good as they say it is?

Back in 2009, after having numerous spinal surgeries and also being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia I was at a stage where no matter what gambit of drugs I was taking I was still in a lot of pain.

I was already having regular aromatherapy massage on my back which I found amazing, but the relief was short-lived, so I decided to go down the complementary therapy route and try something new.

Also, at that time, Acupuncture was available at my NHS pain clinic, so I was able to go for regular sessions which were to mainly treat my neck and arm pains. I found these to be beneficial and could notice a difference by the end of each session but as my treatments were only one session every two weeks, I soon found that my pain was back before my next session.

Acupuncture works by stimulating your own body’s healing mechanisms to help with pain and recovery. The concept has been part of traditional Chinese medicine since 1000BC where it was written in scripts on the holistic concept on how it can help heal the body.

Without balance in our bodies, there are many health-related problems we can encounter and having an Acupuncture treatment can help to restore your body systems to the right balance. They are quite often referred to as Yin (which is negative) and Yang (which is positive).

The Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapist’s explains how Acupuncture works. The acupuncture needle will stimulate the flow of QI [pronounced ‘chee’], which circulates in channels or meridians within the body. The QI circulates within the deeper organs of the body but connects to the superficial skin. In the state of a normal healthy body, a balance exists between these systems. Both the superficial energy and the deeper energy can be influenced by the stimulation of specific acupuncture points. If injury, disease, emotional trauma or infection occurs, the natural flow of QI within the meridians and organs may well be affected and the result is an altered flow, either a slowing or stagnation of QI causing pain and inflammation, or a deficit of QI, which may cause weakness, exhaustion and longer debilitating disease. The stimulation of relevant acupuncture points may free stagnation, reduce excess or indeed, increase QI to the specific area or organ and thus help to restore normal QI flow and balance.

There are several techniques in applying Acupuncture by Acupressure or Electro-Acupuncture which enhances the repair mechanism and enables an improved recovery time.

The conventional Acupuncture involves the use of single-use, pre-sterilised, disposable needles of varying widths, lengths and materials that pierce the skin at the Acupuncture points. The Physiotherapist will determine the locations of the Acupuncture points, based upon the assessment of the cause of the imbalance. A number of needles may be used at each treatment and these are typically left in position for some 20-30 minutes before being removed.

Trigger point Acupuncture may also be used to facilitate relaxation in specific muscles following trauma such as whiplash injury; for longer-term unresolving muscle pain such as repetitive strain injury (RSI) or as a means to obtain increased muscle length in order to aid stretch and rehabilitation such as sports injuries. Here the needle is placed into the affected muscle until it is felt to relax under the needle and then removed. Trigger point needling is often much quicker and therefore does not require the 20-30-minute treatment time.

Acupressure uses the Physiotherapist’s hands over Acupuncture or trigger points in order to relieve muscle tightness or to stimulate QI flow and balance the body. It is a healing art that uses the fingers of the Physiotherapist on the key Acupuncture points. The amount of pressure used varies according to the condition and requires trained sensitive hands. It is often used with sensitive patients, patients with a needle phobia, children or frail patients.

I do personally believe that Acupuncture and Acupressure can help heal and therefore relieve some pain but what I do not seem to have been able to achieve with this treatment is momentum.

Should it be used weekly, fortnightly, less or more? Is it something you could use to treat yourself? With alternative therapies being preferred by many sufferers for pain relief it’s a case of working out the correct balance of treatments that you need. Unfortunately, my local NHS Pain Clinic no longer offers this form of pain relief which then also means funding it yourself which for some people I am sure is out of the question due to the cost.

 

HOW TO USE ACUPRESSURE POINTS FOR SHOULDER PAIN AND FIBROMYALGIA…

For anyone suffering from fibromyalgia, knowing where to apply self-acupressure may help ease some of the symptoms associated with the disorder. I am suffering greatly at the moment with fatigue and nonrestorative sleep due to fibromyalgia and bulging disc problems in my neck and lower back.

I seem to fall asleep fine but then I am awake for hours before I settle again especially during a cold spell. Last night I decided to start trying acupressure which is something I have done in the past but it’s not easy to get to certain points by yourself.

I got my phone out and looked up the best pressure points to work on my shoulders which I hoped would have a knock on effect on my neck pain.

To help ease shoulder pain they say you should press your thumbs or middle fingers on to the top of your shoulders where the outer collarbones join the shoulders. Press the thumbs or middle fingers to these points and massage for at least a minute several times.

According to Healthline Acupuncture has been extensively studied as a treatment for neck pain. While there is some evidence that acupuncture works for neck pain, acupressure is not universally accepted as a neck pain treatment. Researchers wonder, for example, if the needles from acupuncture stimulate chemicals in your body that provide pain relief. If that is indeed the case, stimulating pressure points with massage instead of needles wouldn’t provide the same pain relief. 

But that’s not to say that acupressure should be ruled out as a holistic neck pain treatment. Stimulating pressure points may relieve neck pain and soothe aching muscles. According to several reviews of the scientific literature, the answer is that we just don’t know.

I think it did help me to settle down but whether that was just because I was so tired I am not sure but I’ve been having such a hard time with it at the moment that I will try anything. I’ve sat and researched it today and I have just ordered a book from Amazon called Treat Yourself with Acupressure: An easy way to relieve pain, tension, anxiety and stress, by Adriana Apollonia Germain (Author)

It says it’s a easy to understand and highly visual book with step by step guidelines for effective self treatment.

Acupressure and Acupuncture both use same points on Surface of Human Body for healing the problems. But Acupuncture is applied through Needle and Acupressure is applied through Pressure of Hand (Especially by Thumb and Fingers). Acupressure gives pressure to such points that results in Releasing Muscular Aches, Enhance Blood Circulation and gives relaxation to the Human Body.

The theory and practice of acupuncture originated in China. It was first mentioned and recorded in documents dating a few hundred years before the Common Era. Earlier instead of needles sharpened stones and long sharp bones were used around 6000 BCE for acupuncture treatment.

Acupressure is generally said that in a Chinese Medicine Method, but it was firstly discovered in India which latterly disappeared. Acupressure nowadays has many methods as Reflexology, Meridian and Sujok Therapy. Reflexology is an American invention, Meridian is Chinese invention while Sujok is discovered by Korea.

Acufinder explain that aside from these points, it is important to recognize that psychological stresses can play a significant role in the presentation of fibromyalgia. Employing self-acupressure can help one regain emotional well-being and better control the onset of symptoms. For best self-acupressure results, apply gentle yet firm pressure from your middle-finger as you make tiny circular motions. This may be done as little as once a day or as much as once every hour.

Here are some locations on the body where self-acupressure can help to alleviate symptoms of fibromyalgia:

  • Yintang – located between the eyes, at the level of the eyebrows. This point is renowned for its ability to soothe anxiety and promote a general relaxation of the body. Stimulation of this point may help with obsessive and unproductive thoughts.
  • Ear Shen Men – located on the upper portion of the ear in the triangular fossa, nearly a perfect fit to gently place a fingertip and press. The name of this point speaks for itself, stimulation here brings the potential for great relief from any kind of physical and/or emotional pain, metaphorically allowing the patient to enter ‘heaven.’
  • Ren 17 – located in the center of chest at the level of the fourth intercostal space, at the same level as the nipples. This is a great point to help relieve the sensation of rising anxiety and help the body physically relax as well.
  • Pericardium 6 – located on the lower, inner side of arm, four finger widths from the wrist crease and between the two tendons in the middle of the arm. Gentle pressing can help promote a sense of well-being and relief from nausea.
  • Stomach 36 – located about four finger widths down from the outer eye of the knee, then over about the width of the middle finger, from the shin bone. This invaluable point is known for its ability to promote general wellness by stimulating the immune system, stopping pain anywhere in the body and calming the shen. According to the theory of acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, “calming the shen” refers to the stabilization of negative mental and emotional states.

5 OF THE BEST YOGA APPS…

YOGA WAKE UP...

Wake up to the sounds of yoga and meditation. The Yoga Wake Up app for iPhone delivers yoga audio sequences you can do from bed for an easier transition from dreamland. Find a variety of yoga routines from the world’s top yoga instructors and wellness warriors. Choose from Wakeups that feature slow, delicious morning stretches from the warmth of your covers or Wakeups that get you energized and out of bed. There are even mindful breathing meditations and Wakeups to do with kids.

Studies have consistently shown that traditional alarm clocks and snooze buttons not only disturb your sleeping patterns but can leave you feeling groggy for the rest of the day. Discover a new wakeup routine designed by renowned yogis and never have to hit that snooze button again. Wake up more peacefully with Yoga Wake Up.

YOGA STUDIO…

For a comprehensive collection of yoga classes, opt for Yoga Studio. They offer 15-, 20-, and 30-minute pre-made classes, plus allow you to make up your own class using their library of 280 yoga poses (they’ll suggest the sequence so it actually flows together). The other nice thing about this app is that you can download the workouts to use offline, or stream the classes on your Apple TV or laptop.

 

 

Yoga Studio includes 75+ ready-made classes; including Yoga for Back Pain, Yoga for Runners, our new Hip Hop Collection and many more! Choose your level (beginner, intermediate or advanced), duration (15, 30 or 60 minutes) and focus (strength, flexibility, relaxation, balance or combination) to find the perfect class for you. They think learning how to move from one pose to the next is important – just as important as learning the poses themselves. That’s why all their classes come with full HD video and teacher commentary that’s clear and easy to follow.

Vinyasa yoga might sound like a snooze, but this app makes it more interesting with three different class structures and accompanying playlists. Each time you use the app, Down Dog will mix up the workout so you never have to repeat a flow. (BTW, the free version is great, and you’re not missing much if you opt out of the pro membership.) Down Dog

The Down Dog App provides a studio-like yoga experience in the comfort of your home.

Each time you practice, Down Dog creates a brand new vinyasa yoga sequence so that you never run out of content. Clear vocal instruction and a matching playlist round out the experience for a true studio-quality class.

DAILY YOGA…

There are yoga workouts for all levels on this app, but if you’re just starting off you’ll find the set plans very helpful. The programs range from one week to 30 days long, and focus on a theme, like fitness or mindfulness. They even have specialised courses to help you learn to safely do a split or shoulder stand.

Daily Yoga inspires yogis worldwide with the largest yoga pose base. Enables you to practice yoga on all mobile devices and multiplatforms.

ASANA REBEL…

The yoga routines offered on this app combine interval training and traditional yoga to help you build strength, so be prepared to break a sweat and do lots of planks. There are distinct categories for the yoga flows (like strength, flexibility, and relaxation), so you can dial it up or down depending on your mood.

  • Hundreds of modern yoga workouts from fatburn to strength
  • Mini-sessions for busy schedules
  • High-quality programs designed by our experts

 

DEALING WITH BACK PAIN, MY GUEST POST ON SCOPE…

Dealing with Back Pain is a guest post I have written for Scope which you can find here.

Homepage - Scope logo

Scope exists to make this country a place where disabled people have the same opportunities as everyone else.

They provide support, information and advice to more than a quarter of a million disabled people and their families every year. They raise awareness of the issues that matter. And with your support, they will keep driving change across society until this country is great for everyone.

You can get involved by working in one of their charity shops, campaign for change, fundraise, make a donation, partner with them or work for Scope. 

They have a very active online community in which anyone can join groups, actively comment on discussions within the community or talk to a community advisor.

You can also find hundreds of practical tips contributed by disabled people and their families to help make life a little easier.

MINDFULNESS TO HELP EASE STRESS, PAIN AND ANXIETY…

Mindfulness for Beginners is an ebook by Beatrice Annhata…

Do you feel like you are…

Losing control of your emotions?
Experiencing anxious thoughts?
Feeling unusually irritable?
Unable to concentrate?
Stressed out more than usual?

You are about to discover an easy, straightforward plan to help you ease stress and anxiety, helping you reclaim the joy in your life YOU deserve!

In this powerful new e-book, you’ll discover

32 simple mindfulness exercises that you can practice virtually anywhere at any time! Its effective strategies help to minimize stress and bring you to a state of instant relaxation. It has proven techniques to eliminate anxiety and quickly regain rational thinking. There are powerful quotes to keep you inspired and motivated!

Mindfulness is simply being fully present in the moment…And it’s one of the most powerful techniques available to decrease stress and anxiety.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 40 million adults in the US are affected by anxiety, and millions more are afflicted with depression-related disorders. Overall, they estimate 18% of all adults have some form of mental illness.

Think about it…

Job Loss, Parenting, Marriage, Divorce, Moving, Financial Obligations, Illness – all contribute to stress and anxiety.

We are literally bombarded with stress at EVERY TURN.

Make no mistake about it – stress is no longer just an epidemic, it’s a PANDEMIC….

And it can adversely impact not only your mental and physical health, but your professional and personal relationships as well.

But here’s the good news…

Mindfulness for Beginners gives you all the necessary tools and techniques you need to decrease anxiety and experience renewed peace of mind.

Mindfulness can also…

* Increase brain functioning
* Lower blood pressure
* Enhance immune function
* Decrease heart rate
* Heighten awareness

The benefits of Mindfulness are far-reaching and can significantly increase your quality of life!

This ebook is loaded with 32 proven mindfulness exercises to select from, Mindfulness for Beginners provides a bounty of fun and fresh exercises for you to enjoy practically anywhere at any time!