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Maggie Ju (2014) Current opinion in acupuncture on stroke rehabilitation
The Journal of Chinese Medicine And Acupuncture Volume 21 Issue 2 September 2014 P9
Maggie Ju. (2015) What Part Does Acupuncture Play in IVF?
The Journal of Chinese Medicine And Acupuncture Volume 22 Issue 1 March 2015 P21
Maggie Ju (2020) The Potentiality of COVID-19 Treatment with Chinese Herbal Medicine in the UK
The Journal of Chinese Medicine And Acupuncture Volume 27 Issue 2 November 2020 P9
Tuesday, 18 October 2016
Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) or acid reflux disease is a common condition, where acid produced by the stomach leaks up into the oesophagus. At the entrance to the stomach, there is a lower oesophageal sphincter which is a ring muscle that closes the stomach as soon as food passes through into the stomach. If this sphincter becomes loos or opens too often the acid produced in the stomach and go back up to the oesophagus causing acid reflux disease. The symptoms mainly include heart burn, throat burning and sore throat. Heart burn is a burning sensation in the chest just below the breastbone and it sometimes can spread to the throat. The burning sensation is worse after eating, or lying down or bending over. Sore throat is that acid produced in the stomach is brought back up into the throat and mouth which make you constantly clear the throat (persistent coughing) and sour taste at the throat or at the back of the mouth. Other symptoms include bad breath, bloating, feeling sick, pain when swallowing, difficulty swallowing, tooth decay and gum disease. Certain food and drinks can make acid reflux worse such as citrus, tomato, chocolate, mint, garlic, onions and spicy or fatty foods; alcohol, carbonated drinks, coffee or tea etc. There are some complications with acid reflux such as oesophageal ulcers, scarred and narrow oesophagus, barrett’s oesophagus and oesophageal cancer.
Do you know acupuncture can help reducing acid reflux?
Recently much research has been done to investigate the effectiveness of acupuncture on acid reflux. For example, a study compared the effect of acupuncture with that of Omeprazole capsules. They showed that the effect of acupuncture is much superior to this medication to improve acid reflux symptoms. A study has shown that acupuncture improved functional state of esophagus, neurohumoral regulation of lower esophageal sphincter, decrease of acid producing function of stomach. A review analyzed current status of acupuncture on acid reflux. They suggested that acupuncture inhibits acid production, increases gastric and oesophageal motility, improves esophageal peristalsis, limits lower esophageal sphincter relaxation and decreases pain perception. A research involved 30 patients studied the effect of acupuncture on the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux. They found that Compared with pretreatment 24-h intraesophageal pH and bile reflux, endoscopic grading score and symptom score were all decreased significantly indicating acupuncture can effectively inhibit the intraesophageal acid and bile reflux to alleviate patients' symptoms with good safety and is well accepted by patients.
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Skin is an organ which protects us from the environment, controls our body temperature and prevents our body from losing fluid and electrolyte balance.
Skin can be generally divided into three main parts:
The outer part (epidermis) contains skin cells, pigment, and proteins.
The middle part (dermis) contains blood vessels, nerves, hair follicles, and oil glands. The dermis provides nutrients to the epidermis.
The inner layer under the dermis (the subcutaneous layer) contains sweat glands, some hair follicles, blood vessels, and fat. Each layer also contains connective tissue with collagen fibers to give support and elastin fibers to provide flexibility and strength.
There is a network of blood vessels in the two layers of the skin which provides oxygen and nutrients to the skin and takes away the waste from the skin.
Facial skin and facial skin aging
Human body is covered by the skin including face. However facial skin is different from body skin. The skin on the face is thinner than the skin on the body; fat layer is thinner as well. There are more hair follicles, sweat and oil glands on the facial skin. The skin cells on the face are generally smaller than skin cells on the rest of the body. Water is lost from the face more quickly than from the body. Pigmentation, fine lines and outbreaks can be seen on neglected skin. Degradation of collagen leads to dry skin, folds and wrinkles.
How your face changes with aging?
Environmental factors can speed up aging process: such as hormonal imbalance, sun exposure, smoking, stress, diet, diseases etc. This makes people look older than their age.
Face changes when people grow older. This change starts as early as in 30’s year old. The most prominent characteristics by which skin aging is recognized are facial wrinkles and sagging. A study suggested that the average age at which distinct wrinkles occur at the corners of the eyes is 36.5 years old. Wrinkles appear to develop early and rapidly at the corners of the eyes compared with other facial sites. Wrinkles rapidly increase in depth and width in women 40 years or older and reach a plateau at the age of 60 years. The strongest age dependent decline in skin elasticity has been seen at the corners of the eyes. A comparison of wrinkle depth with skin elasticity in the same corners of the eyes revealed that wrinkle severity occurs in proportion to the reduced elasticity of human facial skin. Sun exposure can accelerate facial skin aging and create wrinkles and skin sagging.
With aging, various spots and pigmentation are easily seen. These are not only changes in the aging skin. Also with aging, outer skin layer becomes thinner. Spots including age spot, liver spots etc may appear especially in sun-exposed areas. Skin’s strength and elasticity are reduced with the changes in the connective tissue. The blood vessels of the dermis become more fragile leading to bruising, bleeding under the skin. Skin becomes dry and itching because of less oil produced. The fat layer becomes thinner which reduces skin insulation and padding and one feels more difficult to keep warm in cold weather. The sweat glands produce less sweat which makes it harder to keep cool. Skin tags and warts are common with aging.
Aging change not only happens on the surface of the skin, but also underneath the skin surface such as fat muscle and bone etc. Loss fat volume and muscle mass on the face makes the face loss its fullness. Fat pulls downwards and the skin becomes loose and sagging due to gravity and muscle force. Bone also losses its mass and muscles are shortened and straightened. Corners of the eyes and mouth drop, tip of the nose drops as well and ears become longer.
Rejuvenation is the reversal of aging. This could be done by repairing or replacing damaged tissues. When people grow older, they want to delay the aging process. Can they? Facial rejuvenation is a cosmetic treatment which helps bring back youthful look. This can be achieved through surgical or non-surgical procedure. Facial rejuvenation procedure is more popular than ever. In 2013, over133,000 facelifts and nearly 216,000 eyelid surgeries were performed in the USA which was 6% increase from 2012. The current trend of facial rejuvenation is towards less invasive procedures. For example, facial rejuvenation procedures experienced the most growth is botulinum toxin type A injections; in 2013, it reached 6.3 million injections in USA, which increased 6% from previous year. Non surgical procedure is preferred because of less invasive, less expensive and quick recovery from the procedure.
What is cosmetic acupuncture, how does it work?
Facial acupuncture can help reducing wrinkles. Thin acupuncture needles are inserted in acupuncture points on the face. This is a natural way to relax facial muscles and reduce wrinkles. Also skin is better nourished by increased facial blood flow and becomes healthier. There is no side effects for acupuncture treatments apart from a small chance of little bruising which would disappear in a few days time.
Recently, cosmetic acupuncture has been introduced as an intervention for skin rejuvenation. It is a natural and healthy way to look and feel years younger. Why acupuncture can play a role in cosmetic purpose? Treatment benefits include elimination of some wrinkles and decrease in length and depth of others, decrease of facial edema, decrease of acne, improvement of facial muscle tone, improving skin texture with tighter pores, and decrease of sagging around the eyes, cheeks, chin, and neck, lifting of droopy eyelids, clearing or fading of age spots. Skin becomes more delicate and fair and at the same time overall appearance and health enhanced.
Acupuncture increases blood circulation leading to homogonous distribution of oxygen and nutrients as well as cellular regeneration. Facial mimetic muscles gradually straighten and shorten with age as a result of increased resting muscle tone and acupuncture can improve the muscle tone. Acupuncture helps regeneration of healthy skin cells, increase nutrition to the skin's surface, improves the quality of the skin and enhances a healthy glow, stimulates normal breathing of the skin and makes skin healthy and stronger to prevent infections and clogged pores. Good skin circulation takes waste and reduces grease accumulation resulting in deep cleaning of the skin. Acupuncture stimulates the production of collagen and elastin in the skin. Recently a research suggested that wrinkles were improved significantly after facial acupuncture treatment and facial elasticity was also improved in women aged 40 and 59 years.
Is there side effect of facial acupuncture? A study has shown that the most commonly reported adverse event that was clearly attributable to FCA treatment was mild bruising (20/140 treatment sessions; 14.28%) at the needle site. No adverse events of scarring, nerve damage, or lengthy recovery periods were observed.
Research shows that acupuncture improves blood circulation
Skin blood flow significantly decreased with increase in age. Skin blood flow is 40% less at age 65 than at age 25. This is because skin blood flow decreases with decreased pumping blood from heart; skin blood flow significantly decreased with increase in total cholesterol and systolic blood pressure; less blood is redirected to the skin from other part of the body; blood vessel movement is impaired with aging and blood vessels are not relaxed to increase the blood flow.
Many research data suggested that acupuncture improves blood perfusion. For example, there was a study of acupuncture on 140 healthy volunteers. In this study, acupuncture was applied in LI4’ skin blood flow was measured using a Moor full-field laser perfusion imager before and after acupuncture stimulation. Recently study has shown that stimulating LI4 also increased facial blood flow and hand blood flow. After acupuncture of the right LI4 acupuncture the change ratio of mean blood flux in the left LI4 was increased significantly compared with the control group 60 minutes after acupuncture stimulation. Another study has shown that acupuncture at LI4 and LI11 increased blood circulation along the meridian. Study at ST36 point also has suggested increased skin blood perfusion around the acupuncture point in healthy subjects. In 22 healthy volunteers acupuncture at PC6 point increased microcirculation blood perfusion units along the meridian. Increased blood circulation was also seen at the back acupuncture point study. This also demonstrated in some conditions For example, in a study patients with dysmenorrhea were treated with acupuncture. After 10 sessions of acupuncture treatment, microcirculation was increased and the symptom scores, pain index, and visual analog scale decreased significantly in treatment group.
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