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.

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.