AURICULAR THERAPY AS A TREATMENT FOR PAIN…

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Auricular therapy as a treatment for pain is a method of healing by stimulating different acupressure points on the surface of the outer ear. These areas are pricked with small, sterile, disposable needles in order to help many complaints.

In auricular acupuncture, the ear is seen as a micro system of the body. Auricular therapists believe that there are over 200 points on the ear that are connected to a particular organ, tissue or part of the body. So, if something is out of sync, its corresponding point on the ear may be sensitive or tender to touch and pressure, or a mark, spot or lump can be visible. Stimulation of the ear is then carried out by means of acupuncture needles, minute electric currents or a laser beam.

An auricular acupuncture session involves placing 5 or 6 small, sterile, disposable needles in each ear. The needles are placed in acupoints corresponding to the area to be treated, so they may place a needle in the neck point if you were suffering from pain in that area. It is claimed that the therapy can be helpful for various chronic conditions including rheumatism and arthritis.

The actual practice of manipulating needles in the ear to cure diseases is not a new therapy, but a very ancient one. It has been used for many hundreds of years in some Eastern and Mediterranean countries and in China and is also now becoming popular in the UK.

An interesting post on the Back, Neck Pain Centre website has some FAQ from interested customers and two questions I thought said it all – Does Auriculotherapy hurt?
For most, the procedure is painless. You may feel a tiny sensation in the ear where the point is being treated. This is usually for a second or two and then the sensation goes away. If it feels slightly uncomfortable we can decrease the intensity to where you do not feel it. Most of the time this isn’t necessary as the treatment is tolerable.

What conditions does Auriculotherapy help? – Auriculotherapy is good for acute painful problems alleviating pain almost immediately or within 24 to 48 hours. Auriculotherapy is good for chronic degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia and other chronic painful conditions. Other conditions include diseases and dysfunctions of the gastrointestinal, respiratory, urinary and cardiovascular systems. Auriculotherapy is very effective for treating addictions. In fact, Auriculotherapy has a seventy five to eighty percent success rate treating patients for smoking or nicotine addiction. There are currently more than 150 indications for the application of Auriculotherapy. Just ask Dr. Peck if Auriculotherapy is right for you.

A good book on the therapy is The Beginner’s Guide to Auricular Therapy: Application of Ear Seeds, by P.Sze There is also a great YouTube Video on the therapy.

THE PROS AND CONS OF ACUPUNCTURE FOR PAIN RELIEF…

The pros and cons of acupuncture for pain relief. We will all try anything to help alleviate our pain and when I first tried acupuncture I was a real advocate of this complementary therapy. It is used in many NHS general practices, as well as the majority of pain clinics ( which is where I first had it) and hospices in the UK.

Acupuncture is often seen as a form of complementary or alternative medicine (CAM).  A UK trial showed patients who received ten acupuncture sessions were far more likely to be pain-free after two years than those who didn’t. An American study saw 60% of back pain sufferers experience a significant improvement after acupuncture.

The word “acupuncture” means “needle piercing”. It is a traditional Chinese medical treatment using very fine needles, which are inserted into the skin at any of the 800 specially-designated points. It originated from a Dutch physician, William Ten Rhyne, who had been living in Japan during the latter part of the 17th century and it was he who introduced it to Europe.

Western medical acupuncture is the use of acupuncture following a medical diagnosis. It involves stimulating sensory nerves under the skin and in the muscles of the body. It works by manipulating the body’s energy flow, or Chi, to help the body to balance and heal itself. Legend has it that acupuncture was developed when it was seen that soldiers who recovered from arrow wounds were sometimes also healed of other diseases from which they were suffering.

This results in the body producing natural substances, such as pain-relieving endorphins. It’s likely that these naturally released substances are responsible for the beneficial effects experienced with acupuncture. A course of acupuncture usually creates longer lasting pain relief than when a single treatment is used

Practitioners who adhere to traditional beliefs about acupuncture believe that when Qi doesn’t flow freely through the body, this can cause illness. They also believe acupuncture can restore the flow of Qi, and so restore health.

Acupuncture practitioners – sometimes called acupuncturists – use acupuncture to treat a wide range of health conditions. However, the use of acupuncture isn’t always based on rigorous scientific evidence.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) provides guidelines for the NHS on the use of treatments and care of patients.

Currently, NICE only recommends considering acupuncture as a treatment option for:

Acupuncture is also often used to treat other musculoskeletal conditions (of the bones and muscles) and pain conditions, including:

  • chronic pain, such as neck pain
  • joint pain
  • dental pain
  • postoperative pain

However, in many conditions where acupuncture is used, there’s less good quality evidence to draw any clear conclusions about its effectiveness compared with other treatments.

Acupuncture is sometimes available on the NHS, most often from GPs or physiotherapists, although access is limited. I had access to this at the pain clinic. My initial trials were for my neck and arm pain and it was extremely successful. We then tried for my low back pain but it didn’t help this at all so I do feel you have to try this treatment first before you know if it will help or not.

An initial acupuncture session usually lasts 20-40 minutes and involves an assessment of your general health, medical history, and a physical examination, followed by insertion of the acupuncture needles.

Courses of treatment often involve up to 10 separate sessions, but this can vary.

Picture of a person having acupuncture

The needles are inserted into specific places on the body, which practitioners call acupuncture points.

During the session, you’ll usually be asked to sit or lie down. You may also be asked to remove some clothes so the practitioner can access certain parts of your body.

The needles used are fine and are usually a few centimeters long. They should be single-use, pre-sterilised needles that are disposed of immediately after use.

According to the NHS Acupuncture practitioners choose specific points to place the needles based on your condition. Up to 12 points may be used during a typical session, sometimes more depending on the number of symptoms you have.

The needles may be inserted just under the skin, or deeper so they reach muscle tissue. Once the needles are in place, they may be left in position for a length of time lasting from a few minutes up to around 30 minutes.

You may feel a tingling or a dull ache when the needles are inserted but shouldn’t experience any significant pain. If you do, let your practitioner know straight away.

In some cases, your practitioner may rotate the needles or stimulate them with a mild electric current (known as electroacupuncture).

There’s no statutory regulation of acupuncture in England, but many non-medical acupuncture practitioners are required to register with their local authority.

If you choose to have acupuncture, make sure your acupuncture practitioner is either a regulated healthcare professional such as a doctor, nurse or physiotherapist or a member of a recognised national acupuncture organisation.

The British Acupuncture Council holds a register of practitioners that have been vetted and approved by the Professional Standards Authority. If you decide to have traditional Chinese medicine acupuncture, you can visit this website to find a qualified acupuncturist near you.

When it’s carried out by a qualified practitioner, acupuncture is generally very safe. Some people experience mild, short-lived side effects such as:

  • pain where the needles puncture the skin
  • bleeding or bruising where the needles puncture the skin
  • drowsiness
  • feeling sick
  • feeling dizzy or faint
  • worsening of pre-existing symptoms

If you have a bleeding disorder, such as hemophilia, or are taking anticoagulants, talk to your GP before you have acupuncture.

Acupuncture is also not usually advised if you have a metal allergy or an infection in the area where needles may be inserted.

It’s generally safe to have acupuncture when you’re pregnant. However, let your acupuncture practitioner know if you’re pregnant because certain acupuncture points can’t be used safely during pregnancy.

There are a number of good sites on this therapy, but a good starter is Acupuncture UK  and an excellent book is ‘The Acupuncture Handbook – How acupuncture works and how it can help you’, by Angela Hicks, which is available from Amazon and other good bookshops.

NYR Natural News wrote in their December issue that ‘Treating children with chronic pain can be complex, due to kids’ vulnerability while they’re growing and the fear of causing long-term effects. To make matters worse, studies into the therapeutic options for treating children’s pain is limited’.

‘Angela Johnson, MSTOM, MPH, a practitioner of Chinese medicine of Rush’s Cancer Integrative Medicine Program, led a recent study that found that acupuncture may be a safe and effective add-on integrative medicine treatment for chronic pain in children. Results of the study were published in Alternative and Complementary Therapies‘.

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With any alternative or complementary therapy, pain relief can react differently with each person but if you find this helps then it’s worth going for this treatment even privately. I find it beneficial for my neck but not for my lower back and I also feel that some practitioners are better than others. Check out if someone can recommend an acupuncturist before booking one.

As a form of alternative medicine, acupuncture is one of the most popular options that is used routinely today. It has the potential to relieve many different types of pain, reduce stress levels within the body, and numerous other well-being needs that someone may have. There is even the potential of relieving joint pain that is associated with arthritis. In return, there are some specific disadvantages that must be considered before receiving a treatment according to Health Research Funding. 

The pros and cons of acupuncture.

  1. Useful for a wide array of health conditions with a 4000-year track record of proven results
  2. Relatively no side effects or adverse reactions
  3. The focus is on increasing your overall health, instead of just reducing symptoms
  4. It has the potential to provide people with higher levels of energy.
  5. It may help with other certain physical conditions as well.
  6. It can be incorporated into a treatment plan with traditional medical techniques.
  7. Some health insurance policies actually cover acupuncture.
  8. New forms of acupuncture don’t even require needles. Instead of using needles, some acupuncturists are using low-intensity laser beams.
  9. Acupressure may help to provide relief without the cost or risk of acupuncture.
  10.  It can be a reassuring practice.
  11. Acupuncture is a noninvasive treatment.

The cons of acupuncture being –

  1. It can quickly cause infections to occur.
  2. The training of the acupuncturist can affect the quality of the treatment.
  3. There is no guarantee of success.
  4. The symptoms that brought someone to an acupuncturist may get worse.
  5. It can disrupt lifestyle routines.
  6.  It often takes a lot of time to experience success.
  7. Treatments can be costly and often aren’t covered by health insurance policies.
  8. Needles inserted incorrectly can cause physical harm.
  9. Acupuncture is known to create high levels of fatigue.

REIKI THERAPY FOR FIBROMYALGIA AND OTHER CHRONIC PAIN…

Reiki (pronounced Ray-key) is a complementary therapy which was named after Dr. Mikao Usui, a Japanese theologist.

Reiki is a Japanese word, meaning Universal Life Energy, an energy which is all around us. It is regarded as ‘life’s energy’ and creates a feeling of deep relaxation. Energy blockages are removed, allowing a free flow of life energy throughout the body. Toxins are removed from the body with other waste products leaving the system much more quickly. Then, with the toxins removed from your body, more energy can be received and your vital processors and functions become more highly tuned.

The hands are the main instrument used in the healing by Reiki, and can be effective through clothing. It has also been useful for anyone taking drugs to help reduce some of the side effects. They say it is possible to heal acute injuries but chronic injuries can take longer to heal. Reiki is a therapy available to anyone, and can help the receiver of the therapy to achieve a more relaxed approach to life and greater harmony.

On the UK Reiki Federation website – you can find all you need to know about this type of therapy as well as finding yourself a good therapist.

A great book on this subject, of which there are many is ‘Essential Reiki: A Complete Guide to an Ancient Healing Art’ by Diana Stein.

CRYOTHERAPY FOR CHRONIC PAIN…

An article on Health Central says that lately, researchers have been studying the potential health benefits of cryotherapy using cold air chambers. Cryotherapy started in Japan and uses a device called a cryosauna. For the procedure, a patient stands in a chamber with their head sticking out the top, and they wear socks and gloves. Volunteers are exposed to extremely cold (-1100c to -1400c) air for up to three minutes. The delicate body parts like the hands and feet are protected while the rest of the body experiences a sudden drop in temperature. After a few sessions, the body experiences measurable changes that can help to relieve pain.

The analgesic (pain-relieving) effects of cryotherapy are related to three specific changes in the body. First, the nerve signal transmission is slowed. Reducing a number of nerve signals getting through to the brain might relieve pain in some individuals. Second, nor-epinephrine levels increase after cold immersion. This stress-induced chemical reduces pain sensitivity as a protective mechanism in times of life-or-death situations. And lastly, cryotherapy can reduce pain intensity and frequency by reducing inflammation. All of these potential benefits can be measured in the lab, but how does cryotherapy measure up in the real world?

Arthritic joints, frozen shoulders, muscle injuries and other types of painful conditions have all been found to benefit from cryotherapy. People with these conditions experience less pain and are able to return to normal activities sooner. How much cold is necessary and for how long are still questions being worked out. Not everyone has access to expensive cold air chambers, but a little cold could go a long way towards helping those with chronic pain.

Fibromyalgia Treating feels that the use of whole-body cryotherapy to treat fibromyalgia seems to have a promising outlook. Since the treatment is not an approved medical treatment by the FDA, the treatments are not covered by most insurance. Cryotherapy facilities usually charge between $60-75 per treatment, and most offer reduced rates when you sign up for several at a time or sign up for a membership that offers unlimited treatments. It is important to discuss adding whole body cryotherapy to your treatment plan with your doctor before trying it.

Brrrrrr, it makes you feel cold just thinking about it.

IV KETAMINE INFUSION FOR FIBROMYALGiA…

A very interesting read on (IV) ketamine infusion therapy from Fibromyalgia Treating  

Anyone with fibromyalgia knows that there are hundreds of treatments that address the varied symptoms of fibro. It is because there are so many different ways that the disorder manifests itself, with so many different symptoms. Addressing each symptom can lead to a plethora of treatments. There is a newer treatment that seems to help several fibro symptoms, as well as addressing the causes of the disorder. This treatment is intravenous (IV) ketamine infusion therapy. Here is a closer look at how IV ketamine infusion works, and what is promising about using it to treat fibromyalgia.

Ketamine has been used in medicine for around fifty years now. The drug is often used as an anesthetic for surgery because at that dose it causes a person to become unconscious and blocks the body’s ability to feel pain. This happens because the drug blocks the nerve receptors that transfer pain signals. The same substance has also been used to help psychiatric issues, including depression, which many fibro patients deal with.

IV ketamine infusion therapy helps to treat fibromyalgia by using the same neurological blocking properties that make it so useful to anesthesiologists. The IV ketamine infusion uses a far lower dose, and it is injected over a long period of time. Studies show that, when applied in this way, patients can have significant relief of pain symptoms for up to 3 months. The process is repeated several times in a few days or weeks. The end result is that the nervous system gets a pain response reboot. This process must be repeated to maintain the same level of relief. IV ketamine infusion therapy is generally reserved for patients that have been resistant to all other forms of treatment, and that suffer severe neurological pain. Many who suffer from fibromyalgia definitely meet that standard. To get ketamine treatments for your fibro symptoms, you need to talk to your doctor. If the doctor thinks that it would be beneficial for your case, then he/she will give you a referral to a clinic that performs the procedure

The IV ketamine infusion process is relaxing. When undergoing the infusion you basically go into a chemically induced sleep for several hours. Certain motor functions are still left intact with this medicine, so if you have to use the restroom in the middle of the treatment you may wake up. For anyone who suffers from lack of restful sleep due to their fibro, the idea of a chemically induced slumber does not sound too bad.

Ketamine also agitates the receptors that regulate glutamate (a mood modulator), that has a role in depression. Because of this, it provides quick results as an antidepressant. Many fibro patients suffer from depression. The combined ability of ketamine to treat both depression and chronic neurological pain make it a great option for treatment of fibromyalgia.