Acupuncture Treatment for Pain Management
Pain is one of the most common reasons that people seek treatment with Chinese medicine, especially acupuncture.
There are several ways that acupuncture helps with pain conditions, such as:
- releasing knots and trigger points that create referral pains
- relaxing tight muscles
- reducing inflammation
- reducing nerve transmission of pain
- releasing pain-stopping hormones
- stimulating healthy blood flow
- triggering the “relaxation response” that tells the body to switch to “repair mode” and heal problem areas
Acupuncture is very commonly used to treat a wide variety of pain conditions such as:
- lower back pain, including acute lumbar sprain
- back pain
- twisted ankle
- golf elbow and tennis elbow
- frozen shoulder
- rotator cuff tear or sprains
- knee problems eg ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) sprain
- healing from tendon or ligament tears or sprains
- plantar fasciitis
- heel spur
- bursitis of hip or shoulder
- carpal tunnel syndrome or repetitive strain injuries
- tension headache
- abdominal pain
- osteoathritis or rheumatoid arthritis
- pain associated with cancer
- pain associated with surgery recovery
If your pain is acute – either recent onset and/or resulting from recent injury – then regular treatment is very helpful in the early stages. Scientific studies have found that the effect of acupuncture at the site of treatment – the acupoint – continues to be active for about three to four days after the acupuncture session.
So receiving acupuncture twice a week in the early stages – every three to four days – keeps your recovery moving in the right direction. Not only does this make you more comfortable, it is also very important to prevent chronic pain from developing.
Chronic pain can arise when the nerve pathways in the brain become stimuated by acute pain and create long-lasting pathways so that you may feel the sensations even if the local area has started to heal. (Of course, this is not the only cause of chronic pain.)
Therefore, in the early stages of acute pain, its important to commit to regular and frequent acupuncture, and perhaps other therapies where appropriate such as osteopathy, physiotherapy, chiropractic, or remedial massage.
I also recommend that for injuries or strong pain such as acute lumbar sprain, that you follow your doctor’s advice on appropriate pain relief and/or anti-infammatory medication. It is wise to be mindful of becoming dependent on any medication, but at the same time the risk of developing chronic pain syndrome is reason enough to take all helpful therapies at the acute stage. Once pain becomes chronic, it often becomes more difficult to tease apart the contributing factors.
Treatment of chronic pain
Chronic pain, as mentioned above, can be a complex problem.
If you have a chronic painful condition and feel like you have “tried everything” but nothing has given you lasting relief, then it is likely that you have a multi-factor pain condition that will need a multi-layered approach.
You probably have not tried acupuncture AND nutritional supplements AND appropriate graded exercise AND osteopathy AND meditation and breathing AND appropriate Western medication, for example. I think there is a temptation to try one therapy at a time so that we can gauge its effect. A lot of us are natural scientists in this regard – we want to keep all things constant, make one change and measure the effect.
If you have been trying this for some time, however, without lasting results, then it could be time to gather those therapies that have given you SOME relief, and start adding them together. If you start feeling better, your inner scientist will be frustrated that they never found the “one” thing that “worked”!
But you will be feeling better, which means you will be reversing the pain pathways in the brain and laying down pathways of feeling healthier and happier. This will propel your recovery forward.
Acupuncture is very useful in a program of chronic pain recovery.
Acupuncture for Pregnancy & Fertility
- Nausea & vomiting
- Varicose veins, haemorrhoids and vulval varicosities
- Urinary tract infections
- Musculoskeletal conditions
- Fatigue and exhaustion
- Anxiety and depression
- Vaginal discharge and itching
- Itching during pregnancy
- Pregnancy induced hypertension
- Small for date babies
- Breech and posterior babies
- Pre-birth acupuncture
- Acupressure in labour for pain relief
- Post birth recovery
- Breast milk problems such as mastitis and insufficient supply
Acupuncture can provide a safe, effective solution to the frequency and severity of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. Weekly treatments during the first trimester are aimed at reducing nausea that can be experienced at this time. I can also demonstrate the points to apply acupressure to yourself.
The turning of breech babies using moxibustion (moxa) therapy from 33 weeks is a safe and effective alternative to medical intervention. Moxa is a plant that is compacted into a stick, which is heated and held above an acupuncture point on each toe. This can encourage the baby to gradually turn into the correct position for birth. The great benefit of this procedure is that you can continue the treatment in the comfort of your own home with your partner/friend once you have been taught the technique and advised the frequencies of treatments.
Pre birth acupuncture is a series of weekly treatments from 35-36 weeks onwards. The aim of the treatments is to prepare the body naturally for childbirth by;
- Loosening tendons and ligaments in the pelvic cavity to provide an easy passage for baby
- Ripening the cervix and pelvis for labour (aiding cervical dilation)
- Promoting relaxation, reducing stress and anxiety
- Boosting energy and nourishing blood
- Aiding a quicker post birth recovery
Feedback from midwives in New Zealand is that pre birth acupuncture helps to:
- Reduce the time in labour by up to two hours
- Reduce the chance of medical intervention (reduce inductions, epidurals and emergency caesarian deliveries)
- Increased normal vaginal deliveries (i)
The final weeks of pregnancy can be a stressful time for some women. Many complain of feeling 'fed up', 'over it' and aches and pains have set in. Pre-birth acupuncture can help address any anxieties regarding the birth, as well as any aches that have arisen. Women are constantly commenting how much they look forward to the treatments as a place to 'zone out' and relax, whilst preparing their bodies as best they can to birth their baby. By starting to prepare your body naturally in the weeks before your estimated due date, you are less likely to be 'overdue' and require a medical induction. In the final sessions I will show you some points to apply pressure to in the last week of your pregnancy to continue the preparation at home.
Acupressure in labour for pain relief
Acupressure can offer women a drug free alternative to pain relief during labour. I know first hand how effective these points are having used them myself during the birth of my son. I can organise a session with you and your birthing partner to teach the location of each point and how best to use them to your advantage during your labour, postnatally and during breastfeeding. A booklet is available with basic instructions and locations of the points.
- Regulates menstrual cycle
- Improves sperm parameters
- Regulates hormones and reduces stress
- Improves ovarian function and endometrium
- Improves blood flow to ovaries and uterus
- Lessens uterine contractions after embryo transfer
- Aids relaxation
Facial acupuncture is a non-surgical alternative to reducing the signs of ageing using the finest, smoothest needles in the world. Although the name “facial acupuncture” may sound like a superficial, purely cosmetic procedure, facial acupuncture is actually a complete system of facial rejuvenation aimed at not only rejuvenating your facial appearance but also revitalizing your overall health so you’ll look and feel amazing.
Facial acupuncture works on 3 levels- The skin level, muscle level and organ/constitutional level.
Texture, colour and lustre of the skin are improved. Facial acupuncture increases the blood flow and Qi which carries nutrients and oxygen to the cells. Facial lines can be softened and collagen is increased.
Muscle groups that are either over used or under used are treated with “motor points” to reset the muscle fibres. The muscle motor points relax and reset the muscles, smoothing your brow and opening your face for a more relaxed and refreshed look.
This is where your personal constitution is considered. The health of your internal organs plays a major part in how your face looks. Traditional Chinese Medicine will hone in on any imbalance weather inherited or due to lifestyle and guide you towards a harmonious solution which will be reflected in your face
Many people feel deeply relaxed during a facial acupuncture treatment due to the effect acupuncture has on the hormonal system, increasing relaxing hormones such as serotonin.
As well as receiving acupuncture, my facial acupuncture treatments incorporate a luxurious facial including; cleanse, tone, mask, peel, serum, moisturiser and a light massage with jade rollers which gently roll over your skin promoting further circulation and blood flow, removing toxins and stimulating collagen and elastin. Your diet and nutrition may also be adjusted and herbal formulas prepared to balance your body from the inside out. These treatments are tailored to each individual, and depend on what treatment option you choose.
- Minimises fine lines and wrinkles
- Tightens pores
- Improves muscle tone
- Brightens complexion
- Reduces the appearance of scars
- General wellbeing