Welcome to my blog, discover acupuncture with Dr Maggie Ju

Qualified as a medical doctor in Western medicine in China with a Medical degree from Beijing, China and a PhD degree from the UK. Many year research and clinical experiences. This blog is for information only.

Friday, 26 October 2018

How to get rid of melasma and make your face brighter?

Melasma is a common skin condition of adults. It presents as brown or greyish patches of pigmentation, usually on the face. Most people get it on their cheeks, bridge of their nose, forehead, chin, and above their upper lip. It also can appear on other parts of the body that get lots of sun, such as the forearms and neck. It is more common in women, particularly during pregnancy (when up to 50% of women may be affected), so it is also called as pregnancy mask. Sometimes men may also be affected. The exact cause of melasma is unknown. For some reasons, the skin cells that produce melanin (which colours the skin) make more melanin that they should do, this causes pigmentation on the skin. Several factors can contribute to developing melasma: sun exposure, hormonal changes such as pregnancy, taking contraceptive pills, hormone replacement therapy etc. Skin affected by melasma darkens more than the surrounding skin when exposed to light. One of the most important things to prevent melasma worsening is protecting the skin from UV radiation.

Acupuncture can be used to treat melasma effectively. In a study, patients in the acupuncture treatment group received acupuncture needling on the Yangming meridians. Patients in the control group received oral administration of vitamin C and 3% hydroquinone topical cream. Hydroquinone is a cream used to lighten dark patches of skin. The acupuncture treatment group achieved a total efficacy rate of 82.22% and the drug control group achieved an efficacy rate of 62.50%. The acupuncture treatment did not have any serious adverse effects.

The effect of facial acupuncture on melasma was also studied. In this study, women suffering with melasma were randomly assigned into: 1) facial acupuncture (n = 20); or 2) facial/body acupuncture (n = 21). Each group was given 2 sessions per week for 8 weeks. Melasma area and darkness of its pigmentation were assessed using digital images.

Results have shown that

95.2% and 90% of participants in facial/body and facial acupuncture, respectively, had decreased melasma areas. 66.7% (facial/body acupuncture) and 80.0% (facial acupuncture) of participants had lighter melasma pigmentation compared to their baselines. The conclusion is that facial acupuncture, with or without body acupuncture, was shown to be effective in decreasing the size of melasma areas.

References
https://www.healthcmi.com/Acupuncture-Continuing-Education-News/1869-acupuncture-beats-drug-for-melasma-treatment
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1744388115300128

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Fascia thickening, back pain and acupuncture

Fascia is a band or sheet of connective tissue consisting of collagen lying under the skin that attaches, stabilizes, encloses, and separates muscles and other internal organs. Fascia is classified by layer, as superficial fascia, deep fascia, and visceral or parietal fascia, or by its function and anatomical location.

A recent study by Helen Langevin a researcher at the University of Vermont has suggested that people with chronic and recurrent low back pain had 25 percent greater fascial thickness than a low back pain-free group. She concluded that increased thickness and disorganization of connective tissue layers may be an important and so-far neglected factor in human LBP pathophysiology. Another study in Skeletal Radiology, 2005,2 found that pathological Achilles tendons showed increased thickness and 89 percent were painful.

Antonio Stecco, MD, recently completed an unpublished study3 using ultrasonography on chronic (longer than 3 months' duration) neck pain patients, evaluating fascial thickness in the distal third of the SCM and scalenus medius. The deep fascia in both muscles were thicker due to the increased amount of loose connective tissue between the layers of the deep fascia (usually three layers) and the loose connective tissue between the deep fascia and the muscle. Study has shown that there was a correlation between the intensity of the pain and the thickness of the fascia compared to the control patients. Besides the thickening of fascia beneath the deep fascia and muscle, there may be thickening between the superficial and deep fascia, and the intramuscular fascia surrounding perimysium and endomysium.

Acupuncture can help reduce chronic pain.

References
Warren Hammer Dynamic Chiropractic (2012) Vol. 30 Issue 11

Monday, 22 October 2018

How to get ready for pregnancy

Eat well.

To boost your fertility from food aspect, you don’t have to make a long list for what you eat. To make it simple, what you eat need to include a few resources:

1 proteins: Proteins come from fish, meat, bean, nuts, eggs and milk.

2, minerals and vitamins: They come from fruits and vegetables.

3 fibres: They come from whole grains, some fruits and vegetables.

4, unsaturated fat: they come from nuts and seeds, oliver oil,fish, yogurt.

Sleep well.

Poor sleep damages body function and potentially causes illness. Heart disease, diabetes, obesity and poor brain function are all linked to bad sleep. Disruption of hypothalamus-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis function by poor sleep can affect fertility in both in women and men. Getting good sleep will help to boost fertility.

Life style changes

Stop smoking, reduce caffeine and alcohol consumption.

About alcohol affecting. It became common knowledge that alcohol affects health. If a couple are trying to conceive, their fertility could be affected by alcohol. There are studies that show the link between alcohol and infertility. Alcohol has negative impact on men’s fertility, such as testicular atrophy, decreased libido, and decreased sperm count, sperm morphology, sperm motility and semen volume. Alcohol has also negative impact on women’s fertility. Though the amount of alcohol is linked to fertility is not clear yet. Study showed that amounts of alcohol ranging one drink a week to 5 units a day can have various effects on fertility, for example, anovulation, luteal phase dysfunction, increased time to pregnancy, decreased probability of conception rate by over 50% and decreased implantation rate, abnormal blastocyst development, increased both the risk of spontaneous abortion and of fetal death.

Exercise.

Is exercise good for your fertility?

In men moderate amount of exercise can be good for their fertility. Study has shown that all sperm parameters are higher in men who did an hour exercise three times a week compared with those who did more frequent and rigorous exercise. Riding bicycle for over five hours per week has negative impact on sperm. In women excessive exercise can have negative effect on their fertility too. Increased frequency, intensity and duration of exercise were significantly related with infertility in women who exercised every day.

Blood flow is reduced in your reproductive system when you exercise

Blood flow (BF) increases with increasing exercise intensity in skeletal, respiratory, and cardiac muscle. In humans during maximal exercise intensities, 85% to 90% of total cardiac output is distributed to skeletal and cardiac muscle. During exercise BF increases modestly and heterogeneously to brain and decreases in gastrointestinal, reproductive, and renal tissues and shows little to no change in skin. If the duration of exercise is sufficient to increase body/core temperature, skin BF is also increased in humans. Because blood pressure changes little during exercise, changes in distribution of BF with incremental exercise are essential approach the body used to supply adequate oxygen to the active skeletal muscles.

Recognise anything unusual related to fertility

In women, if you have irregular cycles, spotting, shorter or longer cycles, chronic abdominal pain, chronic low back pain, severe period pain, these could potentially be a problem of fertility.

In men, sperm checking could identify any problems from sperm.

Acupuncture

Blood supply to the reproductive system is key for eggs and sperm to get nutrients and oxygen. Acupuncture increases blood flow to reproductive system and boosts fertility for both women and men. Acupuncture can reduce inflammation and balance hormone to improve eggs and sperm quality.


Friday, 12 October 2018

Acupuncture possible treatment for dental anxiety

Dental anxiety affects up to an estimated 30% of the adult population in countries world-wide. Patients can experience nausea, difficulty breathing and dizziness at the thought of going to the dentist, during an examination, and following treatment.

Acupuncture possible treatment for dental anxiety

A review of six trials with 800 patients studied this subject. A points scale was used to measure anxiety and studies and the result has shown that anxiety reduced by eight points when dental patients were given acupuncture as a treatment. This suggests that acupuncture could be a possibility for tackling dental anxiety.

references

https://www.york.ac.uk/news-and-events/news/2018/research/acupuncture-possible-treatment-for-dental-anxiety/

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

How the body get its energy?

Food provide energy to the body. How does it work? Digestive system is the first line to turn food to nutrients and then turn it into energy for body use. Digestive system includes mouth, throat, esophagus (food pipe), stomach, small intestine, large intestine, rectum and anus. They are different sections of a long pipe where food pass through. In addition to this pipe, there are three organs pancreas, liver and gallbladder which are helping food digestion. Digestion starts from as soon as the food are put into mouth. Chewing breaks down the food into small pieces that are easily digested; stomach store the food and grinder them for short time; small intestines continues the breaking down process intensively and absorb them into blood stream. The unwanted food (waste) was moved to the large intestines and store them waiting to excrete. Pancreas produces enzymes to break down the food, gallbladder produce liquid to help food absoption and liver clean the blood from intestine with absorbed food.

Stomach contains acid to digest the food. This acid can burn the lining of the stomach causing inflammation and it can also go backward to the esophagus and causing damage to the esophagus lining. Large intestines also easily get inflamed causing irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). If these happened, abdominal pain, tenderness can be seen. Fatigue is a common symptom for these conditions. Acupuncture can help reduce inflammation and reduce, fatigue, abdominal pain and tenderness.

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Acupuncture for chronic pain

Acupuncture is widely used to manage chronic pain, but the effectiveness is still debating. Recent research analysed the data from previous research using large amount of induvial patient data from high quality control trials of acupuncture for chronic pain and. The research studied the effectiveness of acupuncture and the cause of the factors that affects the effects. The available individual patient data set included 29 trials and 17,922 patients. The chronic pain conditions included musculoskeletal pain (low back, neck, and shoulder), osteoarthritis of the knee, and headache/migraine. The result has shown that acupuncture is effective to treat these chronic pain condition and reduce the pain significantly. Also the effect of acupuncture lasts over 12 months as far as the research goes. The update to the research has shown that acupuncture was superior to sham as well as no acupuncture control for each pain condition including randomized trials of acupuncture needling versus either sham acupuncture or no acupuncture control for nonspecific musculoskeletal pain, osteoarthritis, chronicheadache, or shoulder pain. There is clear evidence that the effects of acupuncture persist over time with only a small decrease, approximately 15%, in treatment effect at 1 year. There is no obvious association between trial outcome and characteristics of acupuncture treatment, but effect sizes of acupuncture were associated with the type of control group, with smaller effects sizes for sham controlled trials that used a penetrating needle for sham, and for trials that had high intensity of intervention in the control arm. Of course, the specific effects of needling at correct acupuncture point locations are most important to the treatment effect. The conclusion is that acupuncture is effective for the treatment of chronic pain, with treatment effects persisting over time. Although factors in addition to, decreases in pain after acupuncture cannot be explained solely in terms of placebo effects. Variations in the effect size of acupuncture in different trials are driven predominantly by differences in treatments received by the control group rather than by differences in the characteristics of acupuncture treatment.

References

Vickers AJ et al J Pain. 2018 May;19(5):455-474. doi: 10.1016/j.jpain.2017.11.005. Epub 2017 Dec 2.

MacPherson H et al Pain. 2017 May;158(5):784-793. doi: 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000000747.

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