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Acupuncture for fertility and miscarriage
My Guest blog articles and Reviews
Guest blog articles
Reviews and articles
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
Friday, 8 December 2017
Arranz L et al Am J Chin Med (2007) 35:35-51
Wednesday, 6 December 2017
A new research has shown that acupuncture is effective on fibromyalgia and the related mechanism. This is randomized controlled clinical trial. 775 women with fibromyalgia participated the study. Treatments were applied twice a week for four weeks. The serum levels of serotonin and SP were evaluated before and after the eight sessions. Patients were clinically assessed by visual analog scale (VAS), the number of tender points (NTP), Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), and Nottingham Health Profile (NHP) at baseline, after the last treatment, and one and three months after completion of all treatments. The results have shown that serum serotonin values increased significantly and SP levels decreased after treatment. Significant improvements were found in almost all clinical outcomes after treatment. These continued for three months (followup period) after treatments. They concluded that acupuncture may lead to long-term improvements on clinical outcomes and pain neuromediator values.
How does acupuncture work? Acupuncture stimulates nerve endings leading to releasing endorphins and other neurohumornal factors and changing the processing of pain in the brain and spinal cord; acupuncture reduces inflammation by increasing production of vascular and immunomodulatory factors; acupuncture improves muscle stiffness and joint mobility by increasing local microcirculation.
Iannuccelli C et al Clin Exp Rheumatol (2012) 30:112-6
Karakay S et al Pain Med (2017) Dec 6. doi: 10.1093/pm/pnx263. [Epub ahead of print]
Friday, 24 November 2017
Yang X et al Plos One (2017) 12:e0187723.
Tuesday, 21 November 2017
Acupuncture releases pain by increasing pain thresholds in human subjects, and it would appear to activate analgesic brain mechanisms through the release of neurohumoral factors, including adenosine, γ-aminobutyric acid, opioid peptide, acetylcholine, nitric oxide, noradrenaline, dopamine) and others. Acupuncture also enhances the ability of the immune system to more actively eliminate malignant cells by increasing the ability of NK cells to kill cancer cells.
Xu Y et al Plos One 2017 Oct 27;12(10):e0186616.
Butts R et al J Bodyw Mov Ther (2017) 21:541-548
Gonzalez-Perez LM et al Med Oral Patol Oral Cir Bucal (2015) 20: e326-33
Tuesday, 7 November 2017
Yang L et al Int J Clin Pract (2017) Nov 3. doi: 10.1111/ijcp.13040. [Epub ahead of print]
Wednesday, 18 October 2017
Rib cage pain can happen. The pain can be sharp, dull or achy. It can be caused by heart and lung conditions, fracture of ribs and other bone conditions. If you have rib cage pain, you need to see doctor to find out the underlying causes. Rib cage fascia inflammation and muscle spasm are a common cause of rib cage pain.
Muscles attached rib cage
Intercostal muscles are the muscles between ribs. They move rib cage and play an important role in breathing. Other muscle attached the ribs include that the serratus anterior muscle is a broad, curved muscle located on the side of the chest; the pectoralis minor muscle is the smaller of the two sets of muscles that connect the bones of the chest to the shoulder and upper arm; the external abdominal obliques have their origins along the lateral ribs 5 through 12 and internal abdominal obliques.
The sternum or the breastbone, is a long, narrow flat bone at the front of the rib cage. The muscles attached the sternum include the sternocleidomastoid, pectoralis major, sternohyoid, and sternothyroid muscles. The xiphoid process is the lower end of the sternum provides an important attachment point for the tendons of the diaphragm, rectus abdominis, and transverse abdominis muscles.
Acupuncture can help rib cage pain and rib cage muscle spasm.
Sunday, 15 October 2017
Thursday, 12 October 2017
Transverse abdominis muscle is the deepest muscle on the front and side abdominal wall. It lies between the rib cage and pelvic bone. It starts from the back thoracolumbar fascia, from the top inner surface of the lower six ribs, from the bottom front of the iliac crest and inguinal ligament and it ends at the front abdominal midline called linea alba. It is a very important core muscle in compressing the abdomen, providing thoracic and pelvic stability and supporting abdominal visera. It maintains good posture and help to deliver a baby for pregnant women. Trigger points in transverse abdominis could contribute to the abdominal pain and low back pain. Acupuncture can help release the pain.
The external abdominal oblique muscles are a pair of muscles that lie on the lateral and anterior sides of the abdominal wall. They are broad, thin and on the top layer of the abdominal muscles. They start from ribs 5-12 and end at the midline of the abdomen, pubis and iliac crest of the hip bones. Contraction of this muscle makes lateral bend and rotation of the spine, flexes the spine and also pulls the chest downwards and compress the abdominal cavity.
The internal abdominal oblique muscles lie on the lateral and anterior sides of the abdominal wall just underneath the external abdominal oblique muscles and above the transverse abdominal muscle. It bends the spine forward and bring the shoulder of the side forward and it also bend the spine sideway and rotates it. It compresses abdominal contents and assists digestive process and breathing. If trigger points are present in these muscles, the pain can be felt in following area, in the side, the waist area, the groin area, the low abdomen, across the upper back below shoulder blades, across the low back just above hips, stomach pain, testicle pain, pelvis pain bladder pain. Acupuncture can help to release the pain.
Thursday, 5 October 2017
Dermal fillers or injectable fillers are soft tissue fillers which can be injected into the skin to help fill in facial wrinkles and restore a smoother appearance. Most of the fillers are temporary because they are eventually absorbed by the body. The effect lasts for about six months or longer. There are many different types of fillers; some are natural and some are synthetic, but they all work in similar way to improve the appearance of skin aging. They fill in wrinkles including fine lines and deep creases on the face or lips. plump up the cheeks and contour the face such as jaw line. Common side effects of dermal filler procedure include bruising, redness, pain or itching. Less common side effects include infections or allergic reactions, which may cause scarring and lumps that may require surgical correction. Serious side effects include such as blindness due to retrograde embolization into the ophthalmic and retinal arteries; delayed skin necrosis as a complication of embolization.
Cosmetic acupuncture can eliminate some wrinkles, improve facial muscle tone, improve skin texture with tighter pores, and decrease sagging around the eyes, cheecks, chin, lift droopy eyelids, face and mouth and clear age spots.
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.
The side effect 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.
Yun et al Evid Based Complement Alternat Med (2013) 2013:424313
Barrett Aesthet Surg J (2005) 25:419-24
Imokawa G and Ishida K Int Mol Sci (2015) 16:7753-75
Monday, 18 September 2017
Paterson lq et al J Sex Med (2009) 6:215-21
Friday, 15 September 2017
Connective tissue is the tissue between organs and tissues and it provides structural and metabolic support for other tissues and organs. It links whole body together. All connective tissue consists of three main components: elastic and collagenous fibers, ground substance and cells. Cells are spread through an extracellular fluid. Variations of the fibers and ground substance determine the property of the tissues. For example, Bones, tendons, cartilages have specific forms of fibers and ground substance. There are three types of connective tissues: loose connective tissue, dense connective tissue and special connective tissue such as bone, cartilage adipose, reticular connective tissue and blood etc. Loose connective tissue contains many cells, a loose arrangement of fibers and moderately viscous fluid substance such as the tissue in lymph gland. Dense irregular connective tissue contains a dense network of collagenous fibers arranged irregularly, for example the tissues in joint capsules and muscle fascia are this type of tissue. Dense regular connective tissue which is a special connective tissue contains cells and all aligned fibers and it is found in tendons and ligaments.
Loose and dense irregular connective tissue provides a medium for oxygen and nutrients to diffuse from capillaries to cells and carbon dioxide and waste substances to diffuse from cells back into capillaries. They protect organs from stretching and tearing forces. Special connective tissue’s function depend on the types of the tissues.
Fascia is connective tissue made up with collagen. Fascia can be seen between muscles, bones, ligaments and other internal organs.
The deep fascia is a highly vascular structure with a superficial and a deep layer, each with an independent rich vascular network of capillaries, venules, arterioles, and lymphatic channels. The presence of mast cells in deep fascia suggests a protective role similar to other connective tissues. The deep layer has few elastin fibers but does have myofibroblasts, suggesting contractile ability. Any active contraction would need to be controlled by a nerve supply and, indeed, one finds myelinated and unmyelinated nerve axons and Schwann cells in these deep fascial layers.
Any active contraction would need to be controlled by a nerve supply and, indeed, one finds myelinated and unmyelinated nerve axons and Schwann cells in these deep fascial layers. The deep fascia is not just a tough barrier structure of collagen and elastin, but is a metabolically active vascular layer which provides gliding and protective functions(16). Deep fascia has parallel longitudinal collagen bundles and rudimentary elastic laminae, giving it both high tensile strength and elasticity. At the junction between the deep fascia and the muscle, without any special secretory cells, the fascia is able to maintain a lubricating layer of hyaluronic acid (hyaluronan) which, like a hydraulic fluid, allows sliding between the fascia and neighboring muscle. However, when the epimysium is disrupted in surgery, overlying fascia does not remain distinct and does not create a gliding layer over the scar(17). More recent findings show that while hyaluronic acid is a lubricant, breakdown products of this large molecule are themselves tissue irritants(18), and fragments from collagen, elastin, and laminins in the extracellular matrix also modulate activities of inflammatory cells
The architecture of the fascia allows continuity of nerves, blood, and lymph vessels between the sliding tissues. With trauma to the muscle, the overlying fascia no longer produces the sliding layer of hyaluronan. Restoring this natural sliding mechanism becomes the next task for the manual therapist.
Fascia, meridians and acupuncture
Under the skin there is a sheet of connective tissue called fascia. Fascia is mainly made up of collagens and it surrounds the muscles and other internal organs. It can be seen between muscles, bones, ligaments and other internal organs. There are three types of fascia, superficial, deep and visceral fascia. Fascia are flexible and are resistant to tension force, this is because the collagen fibers produced by fibroblasts in the fascia are arranged in a wavy manner. Because of the fascia flexibility, it can transmit mechanical force throughout the body and prevent the body from injury. Fascia also provides support to the nerves and blood vessels in the fascia. Fascia is innervated by sensory nerve endings. If fascia is damaged and/or inflamed, it will lose its wavy pattern and flexibility, fasical adhesion and scaring will cause stiffness and pain.
In Chinese medicine, there is a concept of meridians through which the energy will flow throughout the whole body, but the anatomical basis of meridians is not resolved. The recent research data from scanning connective tissue has suggested that fascia network is clearly matched with meridian network. Disruption of fascia can trigger local inflammation and block energy flow causing pain. Acupuncture can reduce inflammation and unblock the meridians improving energy flow.
Chronic pain recovery, fascia remodelling and acupuncture
Nerve endings are surrounded by fascia tissue and play an important role in pain regulation. Disruption of fascia can stimulate pain receptors and provoke inflammation. Recently chronic low back pain has been suggested starting from the fascia inflammation. Pain-related fear leads to a decreased movement, connective tissue remodeling, inflammation, nervous system sensitization and further decreased mobility. The Lumbar Fascia cross the entire lower back region, and is a key component. The lumbar fascia is thickened in patients with chronic low back pain leading to stiffness of the back. Fascia remodelling is a healing process of recovery. Application of acupuncture helps fascia remodelling and reversing the abnormality of fascia.
How the body heals itself
Tissue repair is involved in the healing process which allows restoration of injured tissue. There are four phases during the healing process: blood clotting, inflammation, tissue growth (proliferation) and tissue remodeling (maturation). Blood clotting is initiated within a few minutes of injury. Plate. The inflammatory phase begins with damage to the capillaries, which triggers the formation of a blood clot and the various recruited cells to migrate into wound, such as inflammatory cells (neutrophils and macrophages), fibroblasts and endothelial cells and damaged tissue and cells, bacteria and other debris are cleared out. In proliferation phase, new blood vessels are formed and new tissue cells are crawling onto the top of the wound bed. Meanwhile the wound contract by gripping the wound edge to reduce the size of the wound and bring the tissues closer; new capillaries deliver nutrients and oxygen for the development of granulation tissue and proliferation of fibroblasts. Fibroblasts differentiate to myofibroblasts which have contractile properties containing stress fibres. The last phase of healing is regeneration and scar formation which is involved in a progressive remodelling of the granulation tissue. In this phase many enzymes and their inhibitors play a major role. Vascular cells and myofibroblasts are reduced in numbers. In the final stage, there are two separate processes: regeneration and replacement. In regeneration process, the new tissue completely restored the portions of damaged tissue to their normal state. collagen is realigned and cells no longer needed are removed. In replacement type of healing, severely damaged tissues are replaced by connective tissue forming scarring.
The healing process can become abnormal. These abnormal repair processes are the result of an impaired remodelling of the granulation tissue. If there is the noxious stimulus, excessive extracellular matrix deposition and the continued presence of myofibroblasts is observed. This excess of extracellular matrix deposition leads to the development of organ fibrosis. The installation and persistence of fibrosis is the consequence of an imbalance between extracellular matrix synthesis and degradation by myofibroblasts.
Acupuncture can stimulate normal healing process and restore the balance.
Acupuncture helps with tendon injury
Acupuncture is used to treat tendon injury and it improves pain and functional activity in patients with tendinopathy. This is suggested that acupuncture can modulate both anti-inflammatory and mechanotransduction molecular pathways which can increase type I collagen synthesis. Collagen synthesis is the main factor that influences tendon biomechanical properties. Therefore one reason of acupuncture for tendon healing is that acupuncture increases synthesis and subsequent reorganisation of type I collagen during tendon healing process.
Ludovic Micallef etc Fibrogenesis & Tissue Repair20125(Suppl 1):S5
Yu Bai et al Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 260510, 6 pages
Yu Bai et al Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 260510,
Almeida Mdos S et al Acupunct Med (2014) 32:178-82.
Thursday, 14 September 2017
If you are tired all the time, you might have low β endorphins in immune cells. A study was involved in 16 patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. They found that β -endorphin concentrations in the immune cells of chronic fatigue patients were significantly lower than in healthy subjects. Another study on patients with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia has shown that β endorphins level was significantly lower in these patients. Acupuncture releases β endorphins and is beneficial to patients with chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia.
Adam S Sprouse-Blum etc Hawaii Med J 2010, 69:70-71
Conti F et al Clin Exp Rheumatol (1998) 16:729-32
Panerai AE et al Clin J Pain (2002) 18:270-3
Tuesday, 12 September 2017
Monday, 11 September 2017
Thursday, 7 September 2017
A brief cardiovascular exercise wakes you up, speeds mental processes, and enhances memory storage and retrieval. Exercise has multiple long-lasting positive effects on physical fitness and function, cognition, mood, and behavior. All of these effect helps reduce fatigue and no side effects.
Life style, fatigue and acupuncture
Apart from physical and psychological causes of fatigue, certain life style can make you feel tired, for instance, drinking too much alcohol, having bad diet, less of sleep, stress. You can help yourself with life style change to gain more energy.
Drink less alcohol, Although a few glasses of wine in the evening helps you fall asleep, you sleep less deeply after drinking alcohol. The next day you’ll be tired, even if you sleep a full eight hours.
Eat healthy diet, eat more fruits and vegetables to intake enough minerals and vitamins which are essential for biochemical reaction in the body. Eat regularly. Five essential group of food: Fruits and vegetable; starchy foods like potatos, bread, rice, or pasta; proteins foods like fish, eggs, meat, beans milk; unsaturated fat, unsaturated oils, omega3 etc; high fiber food like fruits,vegetables, beans, brown rice, whole meal etc.
Sugar and fatigue
There are two types of sugar: simple sugar and complex sugar. Simple sugar is digested quickly and release sugars rapidly into the bloodstream. It gives you a rush of energy which wears off quickly. Fluctuation of blood sugar too much can make you feel tired. Simple sugars are found in foods such as sweets, cakes, biscuits, chocolate, and some fizzy drinks and juice drinks. These are the sugary foods you should cut down on. Sugars also occur naturally in foods such as fruit, vegetables and milk, but you don't need to cut down on these types of sugars. Complex sugars are present in starchy foods such as potatoes, bread, cereals and pasta. They're a good source of energy and the main source of a range of nutrients. They release energy gradually. Starchy foods should make up just over a third of everything you eat.
Drink more water, cut out caffeine, caffeine may make you not sleep well. Cut down caffeine can help you sleep. Dehydration can make you tired. Drinking more water to keep the body hydrated.
Sleep well, go to bed regularly and take some time relax before sleep. These can help sleep quantity and quality.
Lose weight, if you are overweight and you feel tired, you need to lose weight.
Exercises, You might feel too tired to exercise, however in the long run exercise will help with fatigue and make you feel less tired.
Reduce stress, acupuncture is an efficient way to reduce stress.
Monday, 21 August 2017
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.
Acupuncture increases blood perfusion and reduces skin aging
Recent years researchers are trying to find how acupuncture works from a scientific aspect. 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.
Tsuchida Y J Dermatol Sci (1993) 5:175-81
Sunday, 20 August 2017
Acupuncture increases blood perfusion and reduces skin aging
Acupuncture is used to treat many conditions in China. Its mechanism is based on meridian theory which is not accepted by Western medicine theory. Recent years researchers are trying to find how acupuncture works from a scientific aspect. 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.
Tsuchida Y J Dermatol Sci (1993) 5:175-81
Saturday, 19 August 2017
Botox is a neuro toxin. It has been used to treat various medical conditions. Recently it was approved for using in cosmetic purpose to reduce wrinkles on the face. This is because botox paralyses facial muscles. Botox injection is a procedure in which botox is injected into the desired area using injected needles. Following the treatments visible result can be seen within days or a couple of weeks. They tend to last for up to three or four months. Botox does not actually erase lines but relaxes them which means that deeper lines will become less deep and superficial lines will nearly disappear. Bleeding, bruising , swelling or redness at the site of injection is short term side effects. Other risks include headache, pain, and flu-like illness. In rare cases, there may be inappropriate facial expression, a drooping lid or eyebrow area, or double or blurred vision, dry mouth, fatigue and allergic reactions. If the toxin could travel back to the central nervous system, this would cause long-term damage.
Apart from botox injection, there is an alternative way to reduce wrinkles which is by facial acupuncture. 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.
What is cosmetic acupuncture, how does it work?
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, improveing skin texture with tighter pores, and decrease of sagging around the eyes, cheeks, chin, and neck, lifting of droopy eyelids, face and mouth, clearing or fading of age spots. Skin becomes more delicate and fair and at the same time overall appearance and health enhanced.
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.
Yun et al Evid Based Complement Alternat Med (2013) 2013:424313
Barrett Aesthet Surg J (2005) 25:419-24
Imokawa G and Ishida K Int Mol Sci (2015) 16:7753-75
Friday, 18 August 2017
Does facial acupuncture moisturise skin? Is there any scientific evidence for such type of application? A study from Japan has shown that there was increased water and oil content for facial skin after cosmetic acupuncture suggesting that acupuncture can modulate the water and oil content of the skin. Facial acupuncture is a new approach for moisturising your facial skin.
As a result your skin achieves glowing, moisturizing, smooth and healthy, wrinkles disappear and muscles are relaxed. Skin elasticity is also restored. This helps to get rid of the stress and its further impact to the skin. As a result the skin aging slows down.
N. Donoyama et al (2012) Acupuncture in Medicine30: 152–153,
Tuesday, 11 July 2017
Two small adrenal glands are above the kidneys. These glands produce various hormones. As mentioned above, cortisol is one of them and it helps the body deal with physical and psychological stress. Adrenal fatigue is not a proven medical condition but a description. When you are stressed, your adrenal glands might not be able to work properly. This may cause you to feel very tired. However there is no evidence there is anything wrong with the adrenal glands and also there is no specific investigation or treatment for adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue is a term applied to a collection of nonspecific symptoms, such as body aches, fatigue, nervousness, sleep disturbances and digestive problems etc. Acupuncture can help to improve these symptoms.
If you suspect that your fatigue is caused by adrenal insufficiency, you can get adrenal glands checked by blood tests. Adrenal insufficiency (Addison's disease) refers to inadequate production of hormones by adrenal glands. Signs and symptoms of adrenal insufficiency may include: fatigue, body aches, unexplained weight loss, low blood pressure, lightheadedness, loss of body hair, skin discoloration (hyperpigmentation).
Monday, 10 July 2017
Idiopathic hypersomnia (unexplained daytime sleepiness) is a condition in which excessive sleep or sleepiness interferes with everyday life. There is no underlying cause found. People with this condition are sleepy throughout the day, despite sleeping for a very long time at night. They are struggling to stay awake during the day and are usually compelled to take frequent long naps. The excessive sleepiness may have a negative impact on the person's work, relationships and social life, and they may also have anxiety, depression, fatigue mood changes think or speak slowly poor memory and difficulty to concentrate etc. There are no medicines specifically designed to treat idiopathic hypersomnia. Why not try acupuncture?
Lack of concentration, acupuncture can help
Most people have experienced a periodic event of difficulty concentrating. This is often accompanied with tiredness and stress. Many medical conditions can cause lack of concentration such as insomnia, chronic pain, brain trauma, stroke etc. Psychological conditions can also interfere with concentration such as anxiety, depression, emotional trauma, and stress etc. However in most of cases there are no medical reasons found. Prolonged lack of concentration and feeling tired can be very frustrating. People often turn to stimulants like sugar and coffee to help.
There are many things that you can do to help to improve your brain concentrating.
Diet. Consequence of poor diet does not provide enough nutrients to the brain and this would affect brain function. Healthy diet such as nuts with high proteins is good for the brain.
Exercise. Exercise improves circulation and stimulates brain.
Vitamins. Vitamin B12 is needed to make blood cells and maintain healthy brain and nerve function and helps with memory and concentration Vitamin B12 is found in animal products such as meat, shellfish, milk, cheese, and eggs. Make sure you get enough B12 from these foods. Vitamin D also helps to maintain memory and concentration. Vitamin D is created in the skin by the natural sunlight. Make sure get enough sun shine.
Reduce stress and balance hormones. Stress and imbalanced hormones can affect brain function. Acupuncture can help reduce stress and balance hormones, improve concentration and make mind sharp.
Vitamin D deficiency and fatigue
The main source of Vitamin D is produced by the skin when it is exposed to sunlight. Vit D is also present naturally in some foods such as some fish, fish liver oils, egg yolks, dairy and grain products. It is essential for strong bones by helping the body absorb calcium from the diet. Low vitamin D leads to bone abnormalities and worsens muscle strength. Fatigue is a common complaint and it is also described as tiredness or low energy. Most patients with fatigue have no obvious cause. The cause can only be found in 5% people with fatigue such as cancer, stroke, heart problems, respiratory conditions, liver problems, anemia, autoimmune diseases, infections etc. Low vitamin D can be the cause of fatigue. If you feel tired all the time, get vitamin D level checked out.
Folic acid deficiency and fatigue
Folic acid or folate is vitamin B9 one of the B vitamins. It is essential for the body to make DNA, RNA and amino acids; and it is essential to make red blood cells. The human body cannot make folic acid, it has to come from the food. It is important to eat food containing folic acid to get enough for the body need. Folic acid mainly contain in dark leafy vegetables, fruits, beans, peas, sprouts, dairy products, poultry, meat and liver. If you don’t take enough folic acid or you have digestive system problem which disturb folic acid absorption, you can have folic acid deficiency. The symptoms of deficiency include feeling tired, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, gray hair, mouth sores, poor growth, and swollen tongue, anemia etc.
Iron deficiency and fatigue
Iron in the human body forms complex compound with oxygen in hemoglobin and myoglobin. Hemoglobin is the iron- and oxygen-binding protein in the red blood cells and myoglobin is the iron and oxygen binding protein in the muscle cells. Iron is important in making red blood cells which carry oxygen around the body. Most people should be able to get all the iron they need by eating a varied and balanced diet. The food in rich of iron includes red meat, liver, beans, peas, leafy vegetables etc. Signs and symptoms of iron deficiency may include brittle nails, swelling or soreness of the tongue, cracks in the sides of the mouth, an enlarged spleen, and frequent infections. Iron deficiency can cause anemia. The signs and symptoms of iron-deficiency anemia depend on its severity. The most common symptom of all types of anemia is fatigue (tiredness). Fatigue occurs because your body doesn't have enough red blood cells to carry oxygen to its many parts. Anemia also can cause shortness of breath, dizziness, headache, coldness in your hands and feet, pale skin, chest pain, weakness etc.
Wednesday, 5 July 2017
Energy resources of the body
Where is energy coming from? It comes from the food we eat. This becomes general knowledge that our body’s energy comes from food we eat. There are three resources of food that provide us with energy: carbohydrates such as sugar and starch, protein, and fat. Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred and principle source of energy and they break down into glucose which is an immediate source of energy or fuel for the body especially for the brain and muscles. Fat is the storage of the energy and is the body’s most concentrated source of energy, providing more than twice as much potential energy as carbohydrate or protein. Protein is used to build, maintain, and repair body tissues, as well as to synthesize important enzymes and hormones. It is only used as small percentage of energy source. In some situations when the glycogen reserve is depleted such as when we eat too few calories daily or not enough carbohydrate, as well as during latter stages of endurance exercise, the body will sacrifice to break down protein to keep constant energy supply.
The brain is a large energy consumer. Although the brain constitutes only 2% of the body mass, it consumes 50% of total body glucose utilization. The brain does not store energy and it needs constant energy supply. On the contrary, the muscles can store energy and use it later on during exercises when more energy is needed.
How much energy does one need? This depends individually. In this case the energy is balanced. What food and how much you eat is a key step to get balanced energy. Healthy diet gives you balanced energy.
Energy balance and acupuncture
Energy balance of the body is the balance of calories obtained through eating and drinking (energy in) compared to calories burned through physical activities (energy out). Weight watch is simple and effective way to know how much energy you need and get balanced energy. If you eat food with more energy than you need, the excessive energy will turn into fat and store in the body and you gain weight. If you eat food with less energy than you need, the body will burn existing body fat to make up for the difference and you lose weight. If you eat the food with energy that equals to what you used, your weight will remain unchanged.
Many people are focusing on what they eat and how much calories are taking in from the food. What you eat is important to get balanced energy. However this is only one aspect. There are many aspects that are equally important as well. For example, food absorption of the body, this is related to digestive system function. If your digestive system is functioning well, all the nutrients can go into the body. Otherwise, the nutrients you eat just pass through without entering the body, in the case of diarrhea, for example. Blood circulates throughout the body and brings the energy to the cells to function. It is also a key step to get balanced energy. If blood circulation is poor, the nutrients will not reach the cells which need energy to do the work. You will see symptoms of blocked energy. Fatigue is a typical symptom of lack of energy.
What is detoxification?
In physiology, detoxification is a process of removal of toxic products in the body. This task is mainly carried out by liver and kidney. There are many metabolic products in the body are toxic to the body if they are accumulated. For example, free radicals reactive oxygen species are generated from normal essential metabolic processes in the body or they can be obtained from external sources such as exposure to X-rays, ozone, cigarette smoking, air pollutants, and industrial chemicals. If free radicals are accumulated in the body, this causes oxidative stress to the body and adversely alters lipids, proteins, and DNA and triggers some many illnesses. A balance between free radicals and antioxidants is necessary for proper physiological function.
Acupuncture improves body energy supply and detoxification by increasing blood circulation
System circulation is the part of the cardiovascular system. Microcirculation is blood circulation in the smallest blood vessels which comprise arterioles, capillaries and venules. Arteriole wall is made up of smooth muscles, while there are no smooth muscles on the capillary and venule wall. Lymphatic circulation consisting of lymphatic capillaries also contributes to the microcirculation function. It carries oxygenated blood away from the heart through the arteries, capillaries to the tissues of the body. It provides the functional blood supply with oxygen and nutrients to the cells to all body tissue. It picks up carbon dioxide and waste products and returns deoxygenated blood through veins back to the heart. Circulation is the key for body function. It provides energy that body needs and detoxifies the body. If some part of the body or whole body circulation is compromised, the body will not function well and illness will occur.
Acupuncture improves blood circulation and this was proved by scientific research. For example, Sandberg et al investigated the effects of acupuncture on skin and muscle blood flow. Blood flow recordings were performed intermittently from 10 min prior to the intervention to the end of the trial. They found that skin and muscle blood flow increased after acupuncture stimulation. Another example Kuo et al also studied the effect of acupuncture on skin blood flow. After acupuncture treatment skin blood flow and skin temperature increased. By increasing blood circulation, acupuncture improves body energy flow and helps with detoxification of the body. Why you are very tired? No medical causes found. Poor circulation is contributing to the fatigue. If microcirculation is poor, the organs don’t get enough oxygen and nutrients and the toxins accumulate in the organs, this could make you tired all the time. Acupuncture improves digestive function and blood circulation to help the body obtain energy and get rid of the tiredness.
Sandberg et al Eur Appl Physiol (2003) 90:114-9
Kuo et al Am J Chin Med (2004) 32 :117-29
Fehm HL et al Prog Brain Res (2006) 153:129-40
Kocalevent RD et al BMC Res Notes 2011 Jul 20;4:238. doi: 10.1186/1756-0500-4-238.
Sunday, 25 June 2017
Hormones are produced in the endocrine glands. There are many endocrine glands in the body, such as the pituitary gland, thyroid, adrenal glands, and pancreas, testis in men ad ovaries in women. These glands produce specific chemicals and these chemicals act on the target organs and play a role in body function such as growth, metabolism, sexual function, reproduction and mood etc. Hormones are powerful molecules and only a tiny amount can cause big changes in the body. Too much or too little hormones can cause serious conditions. For example, if ovaries don’t produce enough hormones ie oestrogen and progesterone, it can cause infertility. If pancreas does not produce enough insulin, it can cause diabetes.
Hormonal balance is very important to the health. If the hormones are not balanced, there are many signs to indicate.
Irregular periods and spotting, Women in reproductive ages have regular periods. If the periods are not regular, or there are spotting between periods or missing periods. This indicates that the hormones are not balanced. They should not have vaginal bleeding between the periods, but many women experience spotting (light vaginal bleeding) between their periods sometimes. This is considered not normal. If you have difficulty to get pregnant and you have persistent spotting every month, this could be the problem. One of the common causes of spotting is hormone imbalance. Eostrogen and progesterone levels drop causing uterine lining breaking down which leads to spotting. Chronic acne, chronic acne is caused by excess of adrogens. If your acne does not clear up for long period of time, this indicates imbalanced hormones. Chronic fatigue and headaches, if you always feel tired, this can be caused by imbalanced hormones. Periodic headaches can be caused by imbalanced hormones. Mood swing and depression, hormones imbalanced can affect the brain and cause mood changes and depression, sleep problems and poor memory. Digestion problems such as bloating, diarrhea, stomach pain, nausea, appetite changes etc. Other signs include vaginal dryness, loss of libido and breast changes.
Light period, Periods are menstrual bleeding from the uterus. Every month hormones produced in the ovaries have cyclic changes. These changes cause uterine inner lining shed from the uterine wall and bleeding from the uterus. The normal bleeding days are 5 days from 4-7 days and the normal blood loss during the period is between 20-60 ml. The period with less 20 ml of blood loss is light period. Imbalanced hormones causing thin uterine lining is the common cause for this. Inflammation in and around the pelvis is another common cause and this can cause tension and block the blood flow to the uterus. If your period is too light, this could affect you from getting pregnant, because the uterine lining is not good enough for embryo to implant into the uterus and pregnancy would not occur.
Acupuncture can help improve hormone balance and reproductive blood flow and improve the chance to get pregnant.
Hormones and pain
Many chronic pain conditions have cyclical variation. This variation is related to menstrual cycles. Clearly period pain is a typical one. Other conditions such as chronic pain syndrome, chronic pelvic pain, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), interstitial cystitis (IC) and migraine can also show cyclical variation. Research has shown that chronic pain symptoms occur when oestrogen levels are low or fall rapidly. This supports the use of the combined oral contraceptive pill (COCP) to give a more constant hormonal level can improve pain and other symptoms. β-endorphin produced in the brain had a potent analgesic effect, and up to 33 times more potent compared to morphine on a molar basis. Acupuncture treatment raises β-endorphin level and improves pain.
Oestrogen and menopause
Menopause is when a woman’s periods stop permanently. This could be a life change in the women. As women are approaching menopause, the ovaries function is declining and the body makes less oestrogen and progesterone. Eostrogens are produced in adrenal glands and fat instead of ovaries. The periods become irregular and less frequent and eventually stop. Menopause occurs naturally when a woman is in her 50s, but some women may experience early menopause in their 30s or 40s. Due to hormones change, there are some symptoms associated with it. The most common symptoms is hot flushes --- suddenly feeling hot and going red in the face. These may be associated with bouts of sweating during the day as well as at night. It is also common to find that the vagina feels dry and uncomfortable, which may make sex painful. Other symptoms include tiredness, irritability, trouble sleeping, feeling depressed and less interest in sex.
For most women, menopause is not an illness, but a phase of natural transition in later life. Sometimes the symptoms associated with menopause can be distressing and they may last for several years. If you are bothered by the menopause symptoms, you need to do something to help. Acupuncture is a natural way to help to reduce menopause symptoms such as hot flushes etc.
Hot flushes are the most common symptom of the menopause. Three out of four menopausal women have hot flushes. The symptoms include a sudden feeling of heat which can be accompanied sweating, palpitation, red flush, sleep disturbance, and mood changes. The severity varies from woman to woman. Estrogen levels decline in menopause, norepinephrine levels rise, leading to an upregulation of hypothalamic serotonin receptors, which are involved in temperature regulation. However, absolute estrogen levels are not solely responsible for hot flashes, because researchers have found no significant correlation between plasma, urinary, or vaginal estrogen levels and the appearance of this symptom. Instead, it is the relative decline in estrogen levels that appears to mediate these central changes in norepinephrine and serotonin. Significantly lower levels of plasma beta-endorphin levels were found at the onset of the hot flushes than five to 20 minutes before. These changes affect the brain temperature control center causing hot flushes.
Treatment suggested effectively for hot flushes is HRT. Apart from medication, do you know acupuncture can stop hot flushes? Acupuncture is effective for controlling hot flushes by stimulating the body releasing b endorphins It has no side effect and is a safe method to treat hot flushes.
Hot flushes treatment HRT vs acupuncture
Hot flushes are the most common symptoms of menopause. Most women experience hot flushes going through the menopause. Women with hot flushes can have sudden feeling of heat and sometimes a red, flushes face and sweating. If this happens at night, they are called night sweats. It may disturb sleep. The severity varies from person to person. Some women have occational hot flushes, while others have it every hour. Hot flashes happen when the bloodvvessels near the skin's surface dilate to cool, making you break out in a sweat. Some women have hot flushes for a very short period of time during menopause, while others may have it for several years or for the rest of their lives. The cause of hot flushes is not clear. They may be caused by hormone changes affecting the body’s temperature control. Recent study has shown that beta endorphins level is low when women have hot flushes.
Hormone replacement therapy known as HRT is recommended by doctors. It can help with hot flushes in many women and other symptoms including vaginal dryness and mood problems. When you stop HRT treatment the hot flushes may come back. Also there is risk of taking HRT including risk of blood cloting, breast cancer, endometrial cancer.
Hot flush, acupuncture is a good choice of treatment
Due to the risk of HRT, an alternative treatment is a good choice. Acupuncture is an effective treatment for hot flushes and is recognised as an effective way to reduce hot flush and there are no side effects and no risk of cancer. The possible mechanism is that acupuncture releases beta endorphins in the body. Borud et al performed a randomised controlled trial to study effectiveness of acupuncture for hot flush. 10 sessions of acupuncture were given to acupuncture group and advice on self-care was for control group. The results showed that acupuncture group has significant improvements in hot flush, sleep and other symptoms. Borud also analysed 16 clinical trial studies. Some studies showed that acupuncture reduces about 50% in hot flush frequency comparing with no specific treatment; the effect of acupuncture on frequency is smaller than that oestrogen therapy. They concluded that acupuncture reduces hot flush. Sunay D et al carried out a sham controlled clinical trial to investigate effect of acupuncture on hot flush and hormone levels. They not only showed that acupuncture relieved hot flush, but also showed that acupuncture lowered LH levels, increased oestrogen levels.
There are other promising research data supporting the effectiveness of acupuncture in hot flushes in menopausal women. Recently Baccetti et al from Italy conducted a randomized trial to investigate the effect of acupuncture treatment for hot flushes. One hundred women in spontaneous menopause with at least three episodes of hot flushes daily were randomly allocated to two treatment groups (50 per group): Women in group A were given diet, self-massage training, and treatment with acupuncture, and women in group B (the control group) were given the same diet and self-massage training. 6 weeks acupuncture treatments were offered for these women. They found that treatment with acupuncture significantly reduced the occurrence of hot flushes and sudden sweating. They also found that other symptoms including sleep disorders, tightness in the chest, irritability, bone pain, feeling depressed were also significantly improved after acupuncture treatments. They suggested that Acupuncture in an integrated system that includes therapeutic techniques such as diet therapy and Tuina self-massage can be used to treat hot flushes and selected symptoms in postmenopausal women.
A study of acupuncture on hot flushes was performed by Borud EK et al from the National research Center in Complementary and Alternative Medicine University of Tromso Norway in 2006/2007. There were 267 participants with hot flashes. Mean age was 53.8 year old. 134 women were in acupuncture group receiving 10 sessions of acupuncture treatment over 12 weeks. The most frequently used 10 acupuncture points were SP6, HT6, KI7, KI6, CV4, LU7, LI4, LR3, ST36 and KI3. 133 women were in control group receiving self care only. In acupuncture group 67 women responded to the acupuncture treatment. 64 women did not respond to the treatment. There were no serious side effects found in acupuncture treatments.
Borud EK et al Acupunct Med (2009) 27:101-10
Borud EK et al Menopause (2009), 16: 484-93
Borud E et al Auton Neurosi (2010), 157: 57-62
Sunday D Acupunct Med (2011), 29: 27-31
Baccetti S et al J Altern Complement Med (2014) May 14
Thursday, 22 June 2017
Spinal column or spine provides the main support for the body, allowing the body to stand upright, bend, and twist, while protecting the spinal cord from injury. The spine is made of 33 individual bones (vertebrae) stacked one on top of the other. Strong muscles, flexible tendons and ligaments, and sensitive nerves are surrounding the spine. Any of these structures affected by strain, injury, or disease can cause pain.
Spinal nerves and acupuncture
Spinal nerves are mixed nerves carrying motor, sensory and autonomic nerve fibers and conducting signals to innervate whole body. There are 31 pairs of spinal nerves which are on each side of the spinal column. They are divided into four groups by their location: eight pairs of cervical nerves at the neck, twelve pairs of thoracic nerves at the upper back, five pairs of lumbar nerves, five pairs of sacral nerves and one pair of coccygeal nerves. Motor nerves innervate muscles and bring nerve signals to the muscles to perform motion task. Sensory nerves innervate organs, carry different sensory signals to the spinal cord and the brain. Autonomic nerves innervate internal organs such as smooth muscles and glands and a control system for internal organ function such as cardiac vascular system, respiratory system, digestive system, urinary system and reproductive system. If there is a problem with the neck and back, this may irritate autonomic nerves and have related symptoms, such as abnormal urination, infertility, indigestion, diarrhea or constipation etc.
Muscles, tendons and ligaments problems are very common.
There are two main muscle groups that affect the spine are extensors and flexors. The extensor muscles which are attached to the back of the spine enable us to stand up and lift objects. The flexor muscles which are in the front and include the abdominal muscles enable us to flex, or bend forward, and are important in lifting and controlling the arch in the lower back. The ligaments are strong fibrous bands that hold the vertebrae together, stabilize the spine, and protect the discs. There are two ligaments anterior longitudinal ligament and posterior longitudinal ligaments which located in the front and at the back of vertebras separately and run from the top to the bottom of the spinal column. They prevent excessive movement of the vertebral bones. Between the lamina of each vertebra there are also ligaments attached called ligament flavum. Between adjoining spinous processes of each vertebra thin and membranous Interspinous ligament is attached. They limit the flexion of the spine. Supraspinous ligament lie on the tips of the spinous processes from the seventh cervical vertebra to the sacrum. They continue above seventh cervical vertebra with ligament nuchal. They limit the over flexion of the spine.
How tendon changes with aging
Aging is natural and inevitable. The rate of aging is highly individual and depends on many factors, including genetics, lifestyle, and former disease processes. The degenerative changes can be seen in late thirties. Tendon also has aging changes. There are many cellular and vascular changes within the aging tendon. As a result the aged tendon becomes weaker than it used to be and more likely to tear or get overuse injury, when there is increased stress and strain. With aging process, the density of tendon cells decrease and nucleus becomes bigger, long and thin; cell metabolic activity decreases such as protein and amino acids synthesis. Extracellular changes occur with aging: for example, Elastic fibers and water content decrease which contribute to the tendon stiffness and gliding reduction; collagen content changes little, but the relative amount of collagen, volume density and mechanical stiffness increase due to decrease of water content; collagen synthesis and mechanical properties, solubility decrease. Blood Vessels in tendon change. Tendon blood flow and the number of capillaries per unit of surface area decrease with increasing age. The decreased arterial blood flow and thus decreased nutrition and oxygen transport have been suggested to be the main etiological factors behind the age-related tendon degeneration.
How the spine is related to back pain? There are many structures around spine as mentioned above which can be the source of back pain. For example, nerves around the spine are irritated; muscles are strained; ligaments, bones and joints are injured are worn; disc is slipped etc.
Gravity line and gravity center
The human body encounters gravity constantly in posture and movement. There is gravity line and gravity center of the body. The gravity line is located frontally along a vertical line passing through the middle of the sacrum (lower spine) and perpendicular to the ground, and laterally through a vertical line situated slightly to the rear of the femoral heads. This gravity line must fall within the base of support. The gravity center of the human body is the point where the human body rests under normal conditions without rotating, remaining balanced without active effort to remain upright. This center lies in anterior to the second sacral vertebra and it shifts following the posture and movement to keep the body in balance without falling. When the gravity line falls outside supporting base, compensation is required. Long term compensation can result in overuse the muscles and create inflammation causing pain. Such as low back pain.
Monday, 1 May 2017
If there is injury somewhere in the body, it leads to the feeling of pain. Pain is a vital function of the nervous system. It is both a sensory and emotional experience, affected by psychological factors such as past experiences, beliefs about pain, fear or anxiety. We feel the pain because we have pain receptors in the body. Pain receptors are specialized sensory receptors. They are responsible for the detection of noxious stimuli (including mechanical, thermal or chemical stimuli), transforming the stimuli into electrical signals (these signals will then be conducted to the brain). Inflammatory mediators (such as bradykinin, serotonin, prostaglandins, cytokines, and H+) are released from damaged tissue and can stimulate pain receptors directly. They can also act to reduce the activation threshold of the receptors so that the stimulation required to cause activation is less. This process is called sensitisation. Acupuncture can stimulate the body to release anti-inflammatory substances to reduce the stimulation of the pain receptors and desensitize the pain receptors to release the pain.
Three types of pain
Somatic pain is caused by the activation of pain receptors in either the body surface skin and connective tissues or musculoskeletal tissues. It is usually dull pain or aching. Generally speaking, somatic pain is usually provoked by activity and relieved by rest. It is often caused by inflammation, trauma, excessive activity, vigorous stretching, and muscle contractions etc.
Visceral pain is pain coming from the internal organs. It is deep, dull or dragging pain. It can be associated with autonomic changes such as nausea, vomiting, and changes in heart rate or blood pressure. It can also evoke strong emotional responses. Visceral pain is triggered by smooth muscle distension or contraction, stretching of the capsule surrounding an organ, ischaemia and necrosis, or irritation by chemicals produced during inflammatory processes. Referred pain could occur at a site distant from source of the pain. It is due to the convergence of different afferents on to the same dorsal horn neurones in the spinal cord.
Neuropathic pain is caused by damage to nerves in the central or peripheral nervous system. For example, trauma, diabetes mellitus, ischaemia etc can cause the damage. Pain is burning or like an electric shock. Pain is likely spontaneous.
Acute pain vs chronic pain
Acute pain usually comes on suddenly and goes away a few weeks to a few months, if the cause has gone and is treated properly. For example, sudden pull of the back muscles causes back muscles damage and acute back pain. The pain could be severe and accompanied by anxiety and emotional distress. It goes within a few days to a week time. If acute pain persists, it can become chronic. Chronic pain is pain that usually lasts longer than six months, such as headache, back pain, neck pain, and shoulder pain. Chronic pain can cause stress on the body and mind, such as tense muscles, limited ability to move around, a lack of energy and fatigue, anxiety, change of mood, depression and agitation etc.
Acupuncture can help both some acute and chronic pain.
Friday, 28 April 2017
When one relaxed, one must think the muscles must completely rest without any activity. Actually this is not the case. Muscles in the body are constantly in contracted state which creates muscle tone. Muscle tone is formed from the continuous and passive partial contraction of the muscles at resting state. Because of the muscle tone, muscles are resistant to passive stretch. It helps maintain posture, balance and respond to sudden pull and stretch. If a sudden pull occurs, the muscles are automatically increased the tension to prevent the body from danger. Generally speaking, low tone increases flexibility and decreases strength and high tone decreases flexibility and increases strength. However there are many exceptions. For example, if the muscle becomes cramped, it loses its strength. Poor posture can result in high muscle tones in related group of muscles.
Muscle tension is formed when muscles remain semi-contracted involuntarily for a period time. Muscle tension can be caused by stress and inflammation. One can feel headache, muscle pain, muscle tightness and stiffness. Muscle tension is a condition in which some muscles of the body remain semi contracted status. It is typically caused by the physiological and/or psychological stress. The tension could happen anywhere in the body. Face and back are common places of accumulation of tension. You may feel tightness and tension or you may not feel anything. Factors affect muscle tension: lack of sleep, excessive nervous system activity such as too busy schedule, excessive exercises, expose to the cold, too much coffee, smoking, chronic inflammation, fatigue, poor posture, anxiety etc.
Muscle changes with aging and muscle tightness, acupuncture can help
With aging changes in the skin and hair are common and more noticeable. People might not realise that muscles are also changing with aging. This change could start at age 30 and accelerate at age 50. Muscle fibres reduce in number and shrink in size. Muscle tissue is replaced more slowly and lost muscle tissue is replaced with a tough, fibrous tissue. Also changes in the nervous system cause muscle to lose tone and ability to contract and become rigid. Muscle loses strength because of a decrease in the production of anabolic hormones such as testosterone, growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor-1 and impairment of protein production. This can contribute to fatigue, weakness and reduced tolerance to exercise. The types of muscle fibers are affected by aging as well. The numbers of muscle fibers that contract faster decrease much more than the numbers of muscle fibers that contract slower. Thus, muscles are not able to contract as quickly in old age.
With aging bone has changed as well. Bones lose calcium and other minerals and become less dense. This change becomes dramatic after menopause due to hormones change in both female and male. With aging joint movement becomes stiffer and less flexible because the amount of lubricating fluid inside the joints decreases and the cartilage becomes thinner. Ligaments also tend to shorten and lose some flexibility, making joints feel stiff. Also the connective tissue within ligaments and tendons becomes more rigid and brittle. This change also limits the range of motion of joints.
What to do?
Exercise can prevent many age-related changes to muscles, bones and joints – and reverse these changes as well. Exercise can make bones stronger and help slow the rate of bone loss; muscle-strengthening can increase muscle mass and strength; Stretching helps maintain joint flexibility; walking is a good exercise for maintenance of bone mass.
Acupuncture is a good way to release muscle tension. Acupuncture helps improving blood circulation and improves nutrition and oxygen supply to the muscles and bones and improves metabolism of muscles and bones. Acupuncture helps reduce inflammation, release and repair any damage of the tendons and ligaments.
Muscles tightness, acupuncture can help.
Muscle tightness is that muscles feel tight and stiff which is caused by muscle contractions. Some people feel pain of muscles. Muscle tightness often develops from overuse, trauma, stress or illness. Muscles shorten over time and they become weaker over time. Muscle contraction leads to ischemia and degeneration of the muscle fibers which further weaken the muscles. Loss of balance can occur. Muscle tightness also increases the risk of muscle strain or tearing of muscle fibers during activity. It is important to maintain flexibility to relieve muscle tightness and reduce risk of injury.
Fascia is dense connective tissue sheets and it plays an important role in transmitting force in human posture and movement regulation. Fascia is usually seen as having a passive role, transmitting mechanical tension which is generated by muscle activity or external forces. However, there is some evidence to suggest that fascia may be able to actively contract in a smooth muscle-like manner and consequently influence musculoskeletal dynamics. Myofibroblast cells are a special type of cells with smooth muscle like contractility. These cells are present at skeletal muscle tendons, ligaments and many organ capsules. They are also reported in fascia. The density is higher in younger people. Fascia contraction contributes to the tension and stiffness of the muscles, such as back pain, frozen shoulder and headaches etc. Releasing fascia contraction could improve muscle tension and stiffness.
Tendon also has aging changes. There are many cellular and vascular changes within the aging tendon. As a result the aged tendon becomes weaker than it used to be and more likely to tear or get overuse injury, when there is increased stress and strain. With aging process, the density of tendon cells decrease and nucleus becomes bigger, long and thin; cell metabolic activity decreases such as protein and amino acids synthesis. Extracellular changes occur with aging: for example, Elastic fibers and water content decrease which contribute to the tendon stiffness and gliding reduction; collagen content changes little, but the relative amount of collagen, volume density and mechanical stiffness increase due to decrease of water content; collagen synthesis and mechanical properties, solubility decrease. Blood Vessels in tendon change. Tendon blood flow and the number of capillaries per unit of surface area decrease with increasing age. The decreased arterial blood flow and thus decreased nutrition and oxygen transport have been suggested to be the main etiological factors behind the age-related tendon degeneration.
As mentioned above that acupuncture can release muscle tightness and relax your muscles.
Muscle knots and muscle pain, acupuncture can help
Muscles in the body are connected and overlapped. This brings the body moving around and doing various activities without problem. Sometimes the muscles can lose some mobility and flexibility. Injury and overuse are common cause for muscles problems. For example muscle knots are one of the common problems. It can happen to any muscles.
Muscle knots are initially formed by muscle fiber contraction or spasm. This is commonly caused by acute injury or chronic overuse. The muscles knots are very sensitive causing stillness and pain. Severity of the pain varies. If the knots are not treated properly, inflammation can persist, and adhesion and scar tissues make the knots and related muscles lose elasticity and the knots become harder and more difficult to get rid of.
Do you know acupuncture can help to get rid of muscle knots effectively?
Allen RE and Kirby KA Am Fam Physician (2012) 86:350-5
R. Schleip et al Medical Hypotheses (2005) 65, 273–277
Wednesday, 8 March 2017
How can acupuncture help IUI? Acupuncture before IUI could help improve egg and sperm quality in both female and male by helping hormonal balance and improving local microcirculation. Acupuncture could also help uterine inner lining development and ready for implantation. Acupuncture could also help relax fallopian tubes and uterus for eggs, sperm and embryo passing through and embryo implantation. Acupuncture could help reducing stress, any inflammation in the body to improve fertility.
Sunday, 12 February 2017
Infertility is a disorder of reproductive system and it is when a couple failed to achieve a clinical pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sex. Getting pregnant for some couples is natural, but for others it becomes difficult. Due to delayed child bearing age, environmental changes, and other reasons, one in seven couples have difficulty to conceive in the UK. After years of trying and no cause found, they could be put on IVF treatment straight away. In 2011, 48,147 women had a total of 61726 cycles of IVF or ICSI in the UK. Is there any other less invasive treatment available to help these couples to conceive?
Acupuncture is an alternative way to treat couples with infertility. Acupuncture is called ancient art. The use of acupuncture treatment in couples seeking fertility care is dramatically increased in last decades. A survey in the US has shown that one in five couples with infertility have tried acupuncture over 18 months of observation period. In the UK treatment for infertility with acupuncture increased fivefold in 10 years time. In Switzerland, Germany and Austria, one third of the fertility centres offer acupuncture treatments. If you are seeking IVF treatment for your fertility, acupuncture treatment as an adjunct treatment helps you to achieve best IVF success rate.
Fertility acupuncture, how does it work?
Is there scientific ground for the application of acupuncture on infertility treatment? Or is it only based on ancient theory? Or is it like some people thinks: acupuncture will work, if I believe it. As a matter of fact, there were many research data available to support this application. Since 1990s, much research has been done in animal experiments and clinical trials. Based on recent research evidences, it is suggested that for women acupuncture mediates endogenous opioid peptides in the central nervous system affecting fertility hormone balance; it increases uterine artery blood flow; it reduces inflammation; and it reduces stress which affects fertility hormone balance. Acupuncture also relaxes fallopian tubes. As a result, it could help improving egg production and egg quality and improving uterine receptivity and embryo implantation. Consequently reproductive health is improved and there is better chance to get pregnant. Acupuncture also helps improving men’s fertility. Research data on this aspect start emerging and suggested that acupuncture can increase sperm counts and improve sperm quality by improving testicular blood flow and reducing inflammation.
If you are interested in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) idea, any blockage of Qi in the body will cause illness in TCM theory. Acupuncture acts at the specific acupuncture points in the meridians and clears off the blockage and makes Qi flowing freely in the body, as a result the organs will function well again. This improves your fertility as well as your overall health.
Acupuncture helps your fertility return after stop contraception methods
Women are fighting not to get pregnant and then fighting to get pregnant. When you start using contraception methods do you ever think about that your fertility will return when you stop? What is the chance to get pregnant, if you want to? A research has shown that women who stopped using a barrier method to achieve a planned pregnancy conceived most quickly: 54% were delivered after one year vs 39% of intrauterine device and 32% of oral contraceptive users. There was no association between fertility and duration of oral contraceptive use: However, short term intrauterine device users (< 42 months) showed a fertility pattern more favourable than seen in those discontinuing oral contraceptives, with increasing duration of intrauterine device use being associated with decreasing fertility. The fertility of women who had used the intrauterine device for 78 + months was the most impaired (28% were delivered by 12 months vs 46% of short term users). What is the chance to get pregnant, if you don’t have fertility problem? 92% will get pregnant during one year at ages 19-26 and 82% will get pregnant during one year at ages 35-39.
Do you know that acupuncture improves ovarian and uterine blood circulation and helps with your return of fertility, after you stop discontinuing contraception methods?
Stress affects fertility in both female and male and acupuncture reduces infertility related stress
Psychological stress is strongly associated with infertility. Infertility itself is stressful, due to the pressures, testing, diagnosis, treatments, failures, endless waitings and associated economic costs. There is an association between stress and infertility. Infertility causes stress and stress (both acute and chronic) may cause infertility. Stress can increase after diagnosis of infertility, follow-up appointments, and failed IVF treatments. Coping with various life styles also affects fertility.
Psychological stress affects 30% of women who attend infertility clinics, possibly due in part to infertility diagnosis and treatments. Women with infertility experience emotional stress. They tend to keep things to themselves and delay starting the treatments because of a desire to conceive naturally. This does not happen and makes them very stressed which turn to have negative impact to their fertility. There is a link between infertility and psychological distress. Greil et al studied the variation of fertility specific distress (FSD) associated with different types of infertility. They found that women with infertility have intention to have a child and seek treatment have higher levels of FSD than those women without intention to have a child and don’t seek treatment. Women with primary infertility (They have no prior pregnancy) have higher level of FSD than those women with secondary infertility (They have had at least once prior pregnancy with or without live birth. Older women with infertility tend to have higher distress level than younger women. General distress doesn’t vary between different types of infertility. A study of 430 couples on association between stress and conception showed that decreased conception occurred in those most stressed women. Women received treatment showed less stress and more hopeful. Fertilization of oocytes also decreased when stress increased. Stress acts through different mechanisms, not only by inhibiting the HPA axis but also by altering the concentration of fertility hormones (FSH, GnRH and LH) as well as other substances such as cortisol, opioids and melatonin. It alters the follicular levels of glucocorticoid hormones. The blood flow in the fallopian tubes could be reduced.
Males who experienced more than two stressful life events before undergoing infertility treatment were more likely to be classified below WHO standards for sperm concentration, motility, and morphology. Stress such as a job, life events, and even social strain were seen to have a significant impact on sperm density, total sperm counts, forward motility and morphology. Semen parameters may potentially be linked to stress. Actively coping with stress, such as being assertive or confrontational, may negatively impact fertility by increasing adrenergic activation, leading to more vasoconstriction in the testes. This vasoconstriction results in lower testosterone levels and decreased sperm production. Stress and depression are linked to reduce testosterone and luteinizing hormone (LH) pulsing, disrupt gonadal function, and ultimately reduce spermatogenesis and sperm parameters.
Very recently there was a study about stress on male fertility. This study evaluated the effect of psychological stress on male fertility hormones and seminal quality in male partner of infertile couples. Seventy male partners of infertile couples were evaluated for level of psychological stress using Hospital Anxiety and Depression Score (HADS) questionnaire, serum total testosterone, luteinising hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) by electrochemiluminescence assay and serum GnRH by ELISA. Seminal analysis was performed. 27% of them had HADS anxiety and depression score ≥8 which was abnormal HADS score showing stress condition. The persons having abnormal HADS had lower serum total testosterone, higher serum FSH and LH than those of persons having normal HADS. Serum total testosterone correlated negatively with HADS. Sperm count, motility and morphologically normal spermatozoa were lower in persons having abnormal HADS. Abnormal sperm motility and morphology were related to lower testosterone and higher LH and FSH levels. This study suggested that psychological stress affects male fertility and sperm quantity and quality.
Stress is also accompanied with fertility treatment. Before start of treatment such as IVF, fear of failure makes women stressed. Unsuccessful treatment raised stress level, while success treatment makes negative emotion disappeared. Studies found that high stress level reduced IVF success rate and live birth rate. Higher stress level during egg collection and embryo transfer was found in women failed IVF cycles than those who achieved pregnancy in IVF cycles. As mentioned above stress affects women’s fertility. Stress affects the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) altering hormones including CRH, ATCH and cortisol production. These hormones also mediate hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadotropic axis (PG) which is an axis regulating sexual hormone secretion. As a result follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) level decreased which affects fertility. Coyle M and Smith C conducted a survey to study the health status for women undergoing ART and examined the relationship between health status, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and Western medicine diagnosis underlying the cause for their infertility. Women with infertility undergoing ART were recruited and health was checked by TCM and western medicine questionnaire. They found that mental health status not physical function for these women was lower than that for general population. For TCM diagnosis, Qi and blood stagnation was common. And these women tend to have low score in the health questionnaire.
Stress management and stress reduction should be an important part of the infertility management. Lower stress levels improves female and male natural fertility and lower stress levels result in better fertility treatment outcome. Acupuncture is a useful treatment for reducing fertility related stress in female and male.
In vitro fertilisation (IVF) provides great chance for those couples who have difficulty to conceive. However IVF does not always produce pregnancy, actually the success rate is not high. It can be physically and emotionally challenging. Isoyama et al studied the effect of acupuncture on symptoms of anxiety in women undergoing IVF. 43patients participated in the study. 22 patients were in acupuncture group while 21 patients were in the control group. The anxiety level of each patient was analysed before and after treatment. Four weekly sessions were performed. Acupuncture points including HT7, PC6, CV17, GV20 and Yingtang were used for the needling. Their result showed that after 4 week treatment the anxiety score for acupuncture group was significantly lower than for the control group. This indicated that acupuncture can reduce anxiety symptoms in women undergoing IVF.
There is perceived stress on the day of embryo transfer (ET). Balk J et al in University of Pittsburgh studied effect of acupuncture on perceived stress and pregnancy rate on the day of ET. In this study, 57 patients with infertility and undergoing IVF or IVF/ISI were involved. These patients were undergoing ET with or without acupuncture as part of their standard clinical care. The result showed that women who received acupuncture treatment achieved 64.7% pregnancy rate while those who didn’t receive acupuncture treatment had 42.5% pregnancy rate. Women with acupuncture had lower stress score both pre-ET and post-ET compared to those without acupuncture. Women with lower stress score had higher pregnancy rate. They concluded that acupuncture reduced stress both before and after ET and it is the possible reason for improving pregnancy rate. Lower perceived stress on the ET may improve pregnancy rate.
Smith CA et al studied the effect of acupuncture on psychological distress for women with infertility. They run a pilot randomized controlled trial to investigate effectiveness of acupuncture for reducing infertility related stress. They found that 6 sessions over 8 weeks of acupuncture could reduce infertility related stress. Women in acupuncture group have less social and relationship concerns. They have improved self efficacy and less anxiety compared to waiting-list control group. Women described the experience and impact of acupuncture as positive relating to a sense of relaxation and time out, the engagement with the practitioner, and an intervention that had very few negative side-effects. Changes were also perceived after treatment with women describing a physical and psychologic sense of relaxation and calmness, and a changed perspective in relation to coping. This suggested that acupuncture may be a useful intervention to assist with the reduction of infertility-related stress.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is characteristic of polycystic ovaries, hyperandrognism, irregular menstrual cycles, and abnormal metabolism including insulin resistance and obesity. PCOS increases risk of depression and anxiety and negatively affects health-related quality of life. Life style change on diet and exercise is essential and proved that this decreased depression and improved quality of life. E Stener-Victorin et al studied the effect of acupuncture and exercises on depression, anxiety and impaired quality of life in women with PCOS. 72 women with PCOS were recruited in the study. 28 women were offered acupuncture and 29 women were offered physical exercise and 15 women were assigned with no intervention. The treatments were lasted for 16 weeks for different interventions. Acupuncture was given twice a week for 2 weeks, once a week for 6 weeks and once every other week for 8 weeks. Total 14 treatments over 16 weeks were offered. Physical exercise program included regular exercise, such as walking, cycling or any other aerobic exercise at a self-selected pace. The frequency of exercise was at least 30 min and at least 3 times a week. This lasted 16 weeks. The assessment was at the end of 16 week treatment and 16 week follow-up after the last treatment. The results showed that depression and anxiety scores were reduced at the end of the treatment and the follow-up in the acupuncture group; the quality of life such as physical, energy/vitality, general health perception and the mental component was also improved in the acupuncture group. The quality of life such as general health perception, physical functioning and emotion was improved in exercises group.
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