Blog

Acupuncture in Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a time when many women encounter  health issues. Hormonal changes combined with carrying the weight of another (albeit tiny) person inside you can lead to a variety of problems including:

  • Morning sickness
  • Lower back pain
  • Pelvic pain
  • Anaemia
  • High blood pressure
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Heartburn and indigestion
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety or depression

Pregnancy is also a time when many women would prefer to avoid taking medication as much as possible. Certain drugs such as paracetamol and antibiotics are safe to take in moderation, but many other drugs can pose a risk to the unborn child.

So if you are expecting and looking for a natural, drug-free solution to your pregnancy-related symptoms, why not give acupuncture a try?

Is Acupuncture Safe During Pregnancy?

Acupuncture is safe during pregnancy providing it is carried out by a qualified practitioner. There are certain acupuncture points which should be avoided or used with caution, so ask your acupuncturist about their experience working with pregnant women before you start treatment.

Acupuncture rarely causes adverse effects and when it does, they are usually not serious. Some of the most common side effects of acupuncture include:

  • Temporary pain at the needle site
  • Minor bleeding
  •  Bruising
  • Tiredness or drowsiness
  • Headaches

Acupuncture for Morning Sickness

Morning sickness is one of the most common problems during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester. Morning sickness can actually happen at any time of day and causes nausea and vomiting which can range from mild to severe.

In very severe cases this is known as hyperemesis gravidarum, a condition that causes frequent vomiting to the extent that the mother may have to be hospitalised to avoid serious dehydration.

If you are suffering from severe morning sickness and are unable to hold down any fluids or food, you should talk to your doctor immediately. However, if your morning sickness is mild to moderate, there is a good chance acupuncture could help.

Acupuncture for Pregnancy Pain

Lower back pain and pelvic pain are common issues during pregnancy, especially in the later stages as the fetus grows larger. Many women also suffer from headaches due to fluctuating hormone levels.

Research on acupuncture for lower back pain in pregnancy has shown that it can effectively relieve pain, sometimes by as much as 50%. It may also make it easier to perform everyday activities and reduce the need for painkillers such as paracetamol.

Acupuncture for Other Pregnancy-Related Conditions

There is little evidence for acupuncture’s effectiveness in the treatment of other pregnancy-related conditions, but many women do find it helpful nonetheless.

Acupuncture is very relaxing, and may help if you feel nervous as your due date approaches. Some women even use acupuncture to induce labour if they go beyond their due date.

Moxibustion for Turning Breech Babies

Babies are often in a breech (bottom down) position throughout the second trimester of pregnancy, but usually turn to a cephalic (head down) position before labour. If the baby remains in a breech position, this can cause complications and a cesarean may be necessary.

Moxibustion is an ancient Chinese therapy which is traditionally used for turning breech babies. It involves warming a point on the little toe with a stick of moxa (a herb in the mugwort family) and is usually repeated over the course of several days. The treatment is most effective if carried out before week 37 of pregnancy.

If you are pregnant and would like to find out more about acupuncture and moxibustion, contact us for a chat and we will be happy to answer any questions.

 

Autumn Healthcare

Autumn is in the air, and now is the perfect time to look ahead and take steps towards protecting your health for the coming winter.

According to Chinese medicine, autumn is the season to pay attention to your Lungs and respiratory system, and you can use this opportunity to build up your immune function and prevent winter coughs and colds.

With the temperature falling and the days growing shorter, autumn is also a great time to initiate healthy habits which will keep you feeling physically and mentally strong well into the long winter months.

Autumn Healthcare

With grey skies above and a chill in the air, it is easy to fall into bad habits at this time of year. However, there are several simple steps you can take to stay well and keep your energy levels stable this autumn.

Spend Time Outdoors

It may be tempting to curl up on the couch with a blanket, but at this time of year it is really important to get outdoors and make the most of the daylight.

Take a walk during your lunch break, and use the weekends to take advantage of the city’s many green spaces. One of my favourite autumn activities is collecting blackberries and the other fruits that the hedgerows have to offer at this time of year. There is something so satisfying about gathering your own food, and these vitamin-packed goodies can be enjoyed straight away or frozen for later on in the year.

Why not take a relaxing stroll along Birmingham’s many miles of canal to dose up on vitamin D, stretch your legs and find a tasty snack along the way?

Wrap Up Warm

Autumn weather can be changeable, with warm sunshine one minute and icy rain the next. Be sure not to get caught out by carrying plenty of layers and an umbrella whenever you go outside.

According to Chinese medicine, exposure to wind and cold is one of the major causes of colds and flu. Your neck is particularly susceptible, so a scarf or hooded top is a must at this time of year. And if you do get caught in a shower, be sure to dry yourself properly afterwards. Sitting around in damp clothes is not only uncomfortable, but can also have a negative impact on your health.

Eat White Foods

Chinese medicine theory states that the best foods to protect your Lungs are white and have a slightly pungent flavour. This includes foods like onions, garlic and radish which encourage good circulation of qi and prevent stagnation.

Moistening foods are also said to benefit the Lungs, and tofu and juicy pears are ideal. Honey is another excellent autumn food due to its sweet, nourishing properties and its ability to relieve sore throats and coughs.

Get Enough Sleep

With shorter daylight hours, we tend to feel more tired in the autumn and winter. Listen to your body and go to bed when you are sleepy. This may involve adjusting your normal bedtime by an hour or two, but it will ensure that you have enough energy to carry out your daily tasks and will improve your overall health and well-being too.

Have a “Seasonal Tune-Up” Treatment

Sometimes it can take your body a while to catch up with the change of the seasons, and now is the perfect time for a seasonal tune-up with acupuncture. We will select points traditionally used to support Lung function and immunity, as well as addressing any other symptoms you may have.

Appointments are available in the multibed clinic for just £25. Contact us for more information or if you would like to book in.

 

Acupuncture Basics – Yin and Yang

The concept of yin and yang is extremely important in acupuncture and Chinese medicine. This simple idea is thousands of years old, and is rooted in observations of the natural world as well as the human body.

Most people have heard of yin and yang, but don’t realise the impact that they can have on their daily lives, health and well-being. In this article, we will take a closer look at yin and yang, and how you can use them to your benefit.

Yin and Yang

Yin and yang are the two complementary, but opposing forces of nature. Yin represents night-time, winter, coldness, stillness, water, and the feminine. Yang represents daytime, summer, warmth, activity, fire and the masculine.

However, yin and yang are not two separate entities, but two halves of one whole. To fully understand this, we need to look at their Chinese characters. Yin is written 阴 and shows the radicals for a hill and the moon. Yang is written 阳 and it shows the same hill radical, but this time with the sun. Therefore yin and yang can be considered as the shady side and the sunny side of a mountain. Neither is completely yin or completely yang, one cannot exist without the other, and they transform into one another as the sun moves across the sky throughout the day.

This relationship is also well illustrated by the yin-yang symbol that most people recognise. A circle is split into two halves which are black (yin) and white (yang). The two halves appear to be flowing into one another, and each contains a dot of the other colour, showing that there is always yang within yin and also yin within yang.

Yin and Yang in the Human Body

Everything in the human body can be classified as more yin or more yang in nature. Yin applies to the bottom half, the front and the interior of the body. The yin organs are dense and solid and they include the Heart, Spleen, Lungs, Kidneys and Liver. Yang applies to the top half, the back and the exterior of the body. The yang organs are hollow and include the Stomach, the Intestines, the Bladder and the Gallbladder.

The yang within our bodies provides warmth for all of our physiological functions to take place, and the yin prevents it from overheating. Therefore, the most important condition of yin and yang within the body is that they should always be in balance with one another. If yin and yang become imbalanced for any reason, this is when illness can occur.

Yin, Yang and Your Health

As you now know, your health depends on a constant state of harmony between yin and yang. For example, if your yin energy is weakened, this can leave your yang energy unbalanced and lead to symptoms such as fever, restlessness, irritability and insomnia. If your yang energy is weakened, there will be nothing to warm and power your yin organs and you may suffer from symptoms such as chills, exhaustion and poor digestion.

Most people tend to naturally have a more yin (cold) or a more yang (hot) body type. Whether you have a yin or yang body type influences your health and the type of diseases that you will be prone to. More yin people tend to suffer from conditions such as fatigue, cold hands and feet, fluid retention and so on. More yang people are prone to conditions such as high blood pressure, insomnia and headaches.

Once you know your body type, you can start making appropriate dietary and lifestyle changes. This will help you to keep your yin and yang more balanced and improve your general health and well-being.

Balancing Your Yin and Yang

The basic idea behind yin and yang is very simple, and luckily this means that it is easy to keep them in balance too!

One of the most effective ways of keeping yin and yang running smoothly is to maintain a good balance between activity and rest (this applies to both physical and mental activities). Exercise regularly, but ensure that you get enough downtime and go to bed early to ensure that you get enough sleep.

Eat a wide variety of foods with different colours, flavours and textures every day. If you eat more yin foods such as green vegetables, use yang cooking methods such as roasting or stir-frying. If you eat more yang foods such as warming spices or meat, use yin cooking methods such as stewing. Eat more cooling foods such as cucumber, citrus fruits and watermelon in summer, and more warming foods such as root vegetables, garlic and onions in winter. If you have a very yin body type, avoid cold or raw food altogether, and if you have a very yang body type, avoid stimulants such as caffeine, chilli and alcohol.

Pay attention to the seasons and act appropriately. Wrap up warm in winter and stay cool in summer. However, you should remember not to overdo either of these things. If you are so hot that you start to sweat, then your body is being cooled rather than warmed. And if you cool yourself too much with iced drinks and cold food, you could hinder your digestion.

Another great way to keep your yin and yang in balance is to go for regular acupuncture treatments. Your acupuncturist will be able to detect minor imbalances before you develop symptoms and may even be able to stop an illness in its tracks. Prevention is always better than cure, and according to Chinese medicine, keeping yin and yang in harmony is one of the best ways to do this.

To find more about yin and yang, identify your body type, and learn how you can adapt your lifestyle to suit this, just contact us for a chat or book an appointment today. We will be more than happy to answer any questions.

Acupuncture for Osteoarthritis Knee Pain

What is Osteoarthritis?

The term “arthritis” is very broad and simply means inflammation of the joints. There are many different types of arthritis; rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, gout, lupus and fibromyalgia are just a few examples. One of the most common types of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which is caused by wear and tear on a particular joint over time.

All joints are protected by a substance called cartilage. This helps the bones to slide over one another smoothly and without friction. When this cartilage wears away, the bones can begin to grind together, causing inflammation, stiffness, swelling and pain.

Osteoarthritis mainly affects the weight-bearing joints such as the hips and knees. It is more common in older people and people who are overweight.

Treatments for Osteoarthritis Knee Pain

Some of the most common conventional treatments for osteoarthritis knee pain include anti-inflammatory drugs, painkillers and steroid injections. These treatments help to reduce inflammation and relieve pain, but they do nothing to address the underlying cause of the disease. They also carry the risk of side-effects, especially when used over a long period of time.

In severe cases of knee osteoarthritis, surgery may be an option, but this carries its own set of risks, and does not always offer good relief.

Acupuncture for Osteoarthritis Knee Pain

Acupuncture may help to relieve knee osteoarthritis in a number of different ways:

  • Acupuncture influences the central nervous system to relieve pain
  • Acupuncture stimulates endorphin activity (endorphins are your body’s natural painkillers and also give a sense of general well-being)
  • Acupuncture reduces inflammation to relieve stiffness, swelling and pain
  • Acupuncture increases local circulation to promote healing

While acupuncture may not be able to repair cartilage that has already been damaged, it can offer relief from the symptoms of knee osteoarthritis. It is safe for people of all ages, and can be used alongside your regular medication. Your acupuncturist will also be able to offer you dietary and lifestyle advice to help you to manage your condition better.

Managing Knee Osteoarthritis Naturally

If you have been diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis, there are many ways to manage your condition naturally. Some of these tips may also help to prevent you from developing osteoarthritis in the future.

Eat an Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Anti-inflammatory diets are rich in whole foods, fresh fruit and vegetables and healthy fats. Base you meals on whole grains such as brown rice or wholemeal pasta. Ensure that you are getting enough fruit and veg, especially leafy greens which are full of vitamins and minerals. Eat more healthy fats which can be found in oily fish (sardines, mackerel, salmon etc.), nuts and seeds, avocados and olive oil. Some spices, especially turmeric, are thought to have anti-inflammatory properties, so use these to flavour your meals or consider taking a supplement.

Avoid eating too much meat, and if you do, choose organic produce which will have fewer toxins. Processed foods, fried foods and refined sugars can all contribute to inflammation and should be kept to a minimum.

The Mediterranean diet and DASH diet are both good examples of anti-inflammatory diets.

Control Your Weight

Being overweight is known to contribute to osteoarthritis, as carrying around extra body mass can increase the pressure on your joints. Keeping your weight under control will not only help to prevent or improve osteoarthritis symptoms, but will protect you against a wide range of other health conditions too.

Exercise Regularly

Exercising regularly can help you to manage your weight and relieve joint pain. It can also help to strengthen the surrounding muscles and improve flexibility, mobility and balance.

Choose low-impact exercises which will not put too much strain on your joints. Swimming, yoga and tai chi are all good choices, but even short, gentle walks will help.

Listen to Your Body

Many people find that their osteoarthritis pain is worse in cold or damp weather. If this is the case, make sure that you keep your knees warm throughout the autumn and winter. Applying heat packs or massaging in some warming cream or gel may also help  to relieve stiffness and pain.

If your joint pain is worse in hot weather, or your joints feel very hot and swollen to touch, ice packs and cooling creams or gels may give you some relief. Listen to your body, and it will usually tell you what it needs.

If you are suffering from osteoarthritis knee pain, or joint pain of any kind, why not contact us to find out more about how acupuncture could help you?

 

 

Acupuncture for Jaw Pain Relief

What is Jaw Pain?

Jaw pain, also known as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain, is pain in the joint that connects your jaw to your skull. It can cause a number of different symptoms including:

  • Jaw pain and stiffness
  • Locking of the jaw
  • Clicking or popping with movement of the jaw
  • Headaches
  • Earache or ear pain

It is often worse when chewing, yawning, during stressful periods or after dental appointments.

There are many different reasons why you may be suffering from TMJ pain. It can come on following an injury or infection, as a result of wear and tear, a misalignment of the jaw, or teeth grinding.

Jaw Pain and Teeth Grinding

One of the most common causes of TMJ pain is teeth grinding. People who grind their teeth often do so as a result of stress and are usually unaware that they are doing it. Teeth grinding often happens at night, and you may not realise what is going on until you begin to experience jaw pain.

Other symptoms that might indicate that you are grinding your teeth include:

  • Facial pain
  • Headaches
  • Disturbed sleep (for you or your partner)
  • Damaged teeth or fillings

If you suffer from jaw pain, it is important that you visit a dentist who will be able to confirm whether you are grinding your teeth. They may also be able to prescribe a special mouth guard to help.

Acupuncture for Jaw Pain

Acupuncture can help with jaw pain in several different ways:

  • Acupuncture influences the sensory nerves to relieve pain
  • Acupuncture boosts endorphins (your body’s natural painkilling chemicals)
  • Acupuncture reduces inflammation
  • Acupuncture relieves stress and relaxes the muscles
  • Acupuncture improves circulation to promote healing

There are many acupuncture points located around the jaw which can be used locally to relieve pain. Other points may also be selected to help you to relax and keep your stress levels down. If you also suffer from headaches or neck pain, we can address those symptoms too.

Relieving Jaw Pain Naturally

Acupuncture is a great way to relieve jaw pain naturally, but there are plenty of things you can try at home too. By taking a little extra care of you jaw, you can help to relieve TMJ pain and prevent it from happening again in the future.

Eat Soft Food

One of the best ways to relieve and prevent jaw pain is by eating food which doesn’t require too much chewing. Soups, stews and pasta are all good choices, but avoid serving them with crusty bread which can strain your jaw. You should also steer clear of hard fruit such as apples, chewing gum and chewy sweets.

Yawn Carefully

Opening your mouth wide to yawn can really aggravate jaw pain, so try and train yourself to yawn carefully, with your mouth open just a little.

Learn to Relax

Stress is a leading cause of jaw pain, and practising relaxation techniques may help. Other stress related habits such as nail biting or chewing on pen tops can make TMJ pain worse, so finding alternative ways to cope with pressure will certainly help.

Massage and Exercise

Regularly massaging your jaw, face and neck can relieve tension and reduce pain. Practising TMJ exercises may also help. These exercises are thought to stretch the jaw to improve mobility and strengthen the surrounding muscles to reduce pain.

Use Heat or Cold Packs

Using heat packs or ice packs is another way to easily relieve TMJ pain at home. It may be especially helpful to use these after visiting the dentist or any other activity that makes your pain worse.

If you are suffering from jaw pain or any related conditions, and would like to learn more about how acupuncture could help you, contact us today and we will be happy to answer any questions.

Acupressure Massage for Neck Pain

Neck pain is a common issue, but luckily it can often be relieved by using this simple acupressure self-massage. Acupressure uses the same points as acupuncture, but they are stimulated using finger pressure rather than needles. This makes it a safe and easy treatment that anyone can do when they need fast relief.

This acupressure massage can be done almost anywhere, but it is best to choose a quiet spot where you can relax without interruptions. Focus on your breathing throughout the massage and perform each movement slowly and with intention. The entire massage should take five to ten minutes.

First you will need to locate the point numbered GB20 at the base of your skull. You will find it between the trapezius muscle which runs over the top of your shoulder and the sternocleidomastoid muscle which runs down the side of your neck.

Place your hands on the sides of your head with your two thumbs on the points on either side. Use your thumbs to press into the points, pushing them up towards your eyes. Hold for a few seconds and take some deep, calming breaths. Then use your thumbs to massage the point in small circles using medium to firm pressure. You should be able to feel the points, but it should not be uncomfortable. Continue to massage the points in this way for one or two minutes.

Next, use your index and middle fingers to massage the muscles either side of your spine. Work your way down your neck, using small, circular motions. Repeat three times.

Then you will need to locate the vertebra at the base of your neck (numbered C7). It should be slightly prominent compared with those above and below it. Midway between the tip of this vertebrae and the tip of your shoulder, you will find the point GB21. Massage this point with your index and middle fingers using medium pressure for one to two minutes. (Note: If you are pregnant, you should skip this stage)

You will then need to locate two more points located just behind GB21. These are numbered TB15 and SI13. The three points are in a straight line, around a fingers width apart. Repeat your circular massage on these points one by one, spending around one to two minutes on each.

After that, use the flat surface of your fingers to sweep down your neck and over your shoulders in long, smooth strokes. You may find it easier to do this by reaching across your body and using the opposite hand to the side you are massaging. Repeat this action three times on each side.

Finally, take a few deep breaths. Turn your head gently and slowly to the left, then the right and look up and down. Repeat this several times, shake out your arms and relax for a few moments before going back to your day.

 

 

Acupuncture for Neck Pain Relief

Neck pain is as extremely common problem. It can be caused by something as simple as sleeping in an odd position or staring down at your smartphone for too long. In these cases, your neck pain will usually resolve by itself in a day or two without the need for further action. However, sometimes neck pain can become chronic, and that’s where acupuncture comes in!

Some of the most common causes of chronic neck pain are:

  • Whiplash injury
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Ankylosing Spondylitis
  • Prolapsed disc
  • Pinched nerve

So if you have neck pain that doesn’t go away by itself, what should you do?

Treatments for Neck Pain

The most common medications for neck pain are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, and painkillers. These drugs are good for providing short term relief, but in the long run they may cause side effects and should only be used as a temporary measure.

Other therapies such as chiropractic and osteopathy are also popular, and use physical manipulation to correct structural imbalances and relieve pain. These treatments can be highly effective, but must be carried out by a properly trained professional or you could make the problem worse.

Massage is also a great way to relieve neck pain and release muscular tension. Many people see massage as an expensive treat, but it needn’t cost a fortune. Our basic acupressure self-massage for neck pain is quick, easy and can be done at home or in the office, absolutely free!

Acupuncture for Neck Pain

Acupuncture is another great way to provide relief from chronic neck pain. It works in a number of different ways:

  • Acupuncture relieves pain by influencing the central nervous system
  • Acupuncture increases the action of endorphins, your body’s natural painkillers
  • Acupuncture relieves muscular tension
  • Acupuncture reduces inflammation
  • Acupuncture increases blood flow to the local area to promote healing

Acupuncture also helps to reduce stress, another common cause of neck pain. If you are holding a lot of physical tension in your neck and shoulders due to stress, acupuncture could be perfect for you. Not only is it incredibly relaxing, but it can also help with other symptoms of a high-pressure lifestyle such as headaches and migraines.

Other traditional Chinese therapies such as cupping may also be used, and acupuncture can be safely employed alongside other therapies such as chiropractic, osteopathy and massage.

How Many Treatments will I Need?

People with neck pain can normally feel some relief after just one or two treatments. However, in order to get the maximum benefit from acupuncture we recommend a minimum of four to six weekly treatments. Following this, you may wish to come for maintenance treatments at less frequent intervals to provide ongoing relief.  The exact number of treatments needed will depend on the nature of your condition and how long you have had it.

How to Prevent and Relieve Neck Pain Naturally

Straighten Out Your Sleeping Habits

The position that you sleep in has a strong influence on your spine health. Choose a firm mattress and a low pillow to keep your back and neck straight when sleeping.

Stay Mobile

It is important to keep your neck and shoulders mobile to prevent stiffness and pain. Perform gentle exercises such as looking up and down and side to side or neck circles throughout the day. If you have a neck injury such as whiplash, it is no longer recommended that you use neck collars. It is better to keep your neck moving and allow it to heal more naturally.

Check Your Posture

Poor posture is a major cause of neck pain, so try and become aware of your neck’s position as you sit or stand. This is especially important if you work at a computer or in another job which requires you to stay in one position for a long time.

Use Hot or Cold Packs

Heat packs and ice packs are another great way to relieve neck pain naturally. Generally speaking, it is better to choose ice packs for new injuries (to reduce inflammation) and heat packs for chronic neck pain and stiffness. Experiment with both and see which works for you.

If you are suffering from neck pain and would like to know more about how acupuncture could help, feel free to contact us and we will be happy to answer any questions.

Acupuncture for Back Pain Relief

Back pain is a common complaint and one of the most well known conditions that can be treated with acupuncture. According to statistics published by the NHS, back pain is a leading cause of disability, with lower back pain alone accounting for an amazing 11% of all disabilities among the adult population.

What Causes Back Pain?

Back pain is usually a result of inflammation due to either injury, overuse or poor posture. As human beings, we are not designed to sit for long periods. However, in this digital age, more and more of us are finding ourselves tied to a desk for work and then slouching on a sofa in the evenings. Over time, this changes the structure of our backs, leading to inflammation, muscular tension, stiffness and pain.

Our spines are made up of string of small bones called vertebrae. The joints between these can also become inflamed as we age. Repeated bending, twisting and lifting can all take their toll and lead to an increased risk of back pain.

Back pain can also be caused by issues such as prolapsed discs. These discs are actually small sacs, filled with a gel-like substance which help to cushion our vertebrae as they move. If a disc begins to protrude from between the vertebrae, it can put pressure on the surrounding nerves causing back pain and other symptoms such as sciatica.

Medication for Back Pain

The most common medications for back pain are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen. These effectively reduce inflammation and can be very helpful in an acute flare-up of back pain. However, if you are suffering from chronic back pain, they are not such a great solution. Long-term NSAID use can damage the lining of the digestive tract, increasing the risk of bleeding and ulcers. Additionally, they should not be taken by asthmatics, people with high blood pressure or heart disease, or during pregnancy.

Painkillers such as paracetamol or co-codamol may also be prescribed for back pain, but these are not problem free either. Long-term use of painkillers can lead to what are known as “rebound headaches” and other unwanted side effects such as constipation or drowsiness.

The other problem with these medications is that although they may effectively mask the symptoms of the problem, they do nothing to address the root cause. Therefore, if you are suffering from back pain, it is important that you see your doctor for a proper diagnosis before self-treating with over-the-counter medicines.

Acupuncture for Back Pain

Acupuncture provides a drug-free alternative for treating chronic back pain. It works in a number of different ways:

  • Acupuncture relieves pain by changing the way our brains interpret pain signals received from the nerves of the back
  • Acupuncture stimulates the release of endorphins, your body’s natural painkillers
  • Acupuncture and other therapies such as cupping relax the muscles of the back relieving tension and stiffness
  • Acupuncture relieves inflammation
  • Acupuncture improves local circulation to encourage faster healing

Because acupuncture is a natural treatment, it can be used safely by people of all ages. It stimulates the body’s ability to heal itself and works gently and effectively to relieve back pain.

How Many Treatments will I Need?

Acupuncture is not a quick fix like taking a painkiller, and it is likely that you will need several treatments to provide lasting results. Some people experience relief from back pain very quickly with acupuncture, but for others it may take a few weeks. Generally speaking, the longer you have had the pain and the more severe it is, the longer it will take to resolve.

How to Prevent and Relieve Back Pain Naturally

Stay Active

It is important to exercise regularly to keep your back strong and flexible in order to prevent back pain. If you suffer from back pain, avoid high impact sports like running which could make it worse. Swimming is a great choice as it takes the pressure of your back and joints as you exercise. Yoga, Pilates and tai chi are all great options too.

Check your Workstation

If you work at a desk, your posture can really suffer. Make sure that you have your workstation set up correctly with your monitor at eye-level, feet flat on the floor and your elbows and knees resting at a 90 degree angle. Take regular breaks to get out of your seat and stretch, or try some of these simple desk yoga exercises.

Spread the Load

If you regularly carry a bag, choose a rucksack which can be carried over both shoulders and do not overload it. Split shopping bags between both hands to keep your spine straight and your back happy.

Lift Carefully

If you need to lift a heavy load, using a good lifting technique can help to protect your back and prevent injury. Let your legs do the hard work and always ask for assistance if you need it.

Taking these simple steps could help to protect your back and prevent developing back pain. But if you are one of the millions of people already suffering from chronic back pain, why not put the painkillers to one side and give acupuncture a try?

Acupuncture for Headache and Migraine Relief

Headaches and migraines are two of the most common conditions that we treat here at Acupuncture JQ. In fact, they are two of the most common medical conditions in the world. Statistics from the Migraine Trust estimate that headache disorders including migraines cost the NHS around £250 million every year!

Almost everyone suffers from the occasional headache. Some of the most common causes include stress, muscle tension, tiredness and dehydration. If you only get a headache once in a while, it can usually be treated simply by taking some paracetamol and resting. However, if you get more frequent headaches, you might want to find a more permanent solution.

Acupuncture offers a safe and natural way to relieve and prevent both headaches and migraines without the need for medication. It does this in a number of different ways:

Acupuncture Relieves Stress

If your headaches or migraines are triggered by stress, acupuncture offers an opportunity to relax and unwind after a busy day. Having the chance to simply lie down and do nothing can be relaxing in itself, but acupuncture works for stress on a much deeper level too.

Acupuncture regulates the central nervous system and the levels of certain neurotransmitters involved with our mood and emotions. It also triggers the release of endorphins which bring about a sense of general well-being as well as relieving pain.

Acupuncture Relaxes the Muscles

A common cause of headaches is muscular tension, especially the muscles of the neck and jaw. Acupuncture and other treatments such as cupping help to relieve this tension, allowing your headaches to simply melt away.

Acupuncture Reduces Inflammation and Improves Circulation

Inflammation is a common cause of pain, and may also be involved in certain types of headache. By reducing inflammation and improving local circulation, acupuncture can help to speed up the time it takes you to recover from a headache and reduce the chances of getting them in the future.

Acupuncture Relieves Nausea

If you suffer from migraines with nausea, acupuncture may be of great benefit. The acupuncture point PC6, also known as Neiguan, is located on the inside of the forearm, three finger widths from the wrist crease. This is a very useful point in the treatment of many conditions, but is most famous for its ability to relieve nausea and prevent sickness.

How Many Treatments will I Need?

If you are suffering from chronic headaches or migraines, acupuncture can be extremely helpful. However, it is not a quick fix and you may need several treatments before you can notice a big difference in your symptoms. Realistically, you may also need ongoing treatment to manage your condition in the long-run.

At Acupuncture JQ, we recommend a minimum of 4 – 6 weekly treatments to get your symptoms under control. You can then come for less frequent “top-up” treatments to keep your headaches or migraines at bay.

Managing Headaches and Migraines Naturally

There are many things you can do to try and combat headaches and migraines without the need for medication. Here are some of our top tips for natural headache and migraine relief:

Avoid Stress

This may be easier said than done, but if you can keep your stress levels down, you will reduce your chances of getting a headache or migraine too. Try relaxation techniques such as meditation or breathing exercises to keep you feeling calm throughout the day.

Eat and Drink Regularly

Hunger and dehydration can both cause headaches, so be sure to eat at regular intervals and drink enough fluids. Limit your intake of tea and coffee as caffeine can cause withdrawal headaches if you drink a lot and suddenly stop. Alcohol is another well known cause of headaches and should be kept to a minimum.

Get Your Eyes Checked

It is important to get your eyes checked regularly, especially if you work with computers. If you need glasses or are wearing glasses with the wrong prescription, this can cause headaches as well as problems with your eyesight.

Keep a Diary

Keep a diary of your headaches or migraines including symptoms, severity, and what you have done and eaten/drunk on that day. This should help you to identify triggers and avoid them as much as possible. Many women find that they get headaches or migraines around the time of their period, and this can be an especially beneficial time to come for acupuncture treatment.

Finally, if you suddenly develop a severe headache with other symptoms, or if you get regular headaches for a long time, see your GP for further tests and advice.

 

How Acupuncture Relieves Stress and Anxiety, Naturally

Acupuncture is often touted as a natural way to relieve stress, and most people report feeling relaxed after a treatment. But how does this ancient therapy really work to reduce stress and anxiety?

Understanding the Autonomic Nervous System

The autonomic nervous system (ANS) is responsible for our involuntary actions such as breathing and digestion. It has two branches, the sympathetic and parasympathetic. The sympathetic branch is responsible for our “fight or flight” response to stress, while the parasympathetic branch is responsible for rest, repair and relaxation.

When we are under long-term stress, our bodies can switch into sympathetic overdrive resulting in both physical and emotional symptoms. In order to combat this, it is necessary to restore balance within the ANS. The sympathetic branch needs to be calmed and the parasympathetic branch stimulated.

The ANS is a complex system which relies on both chemical and electrical signals to work. Acupuncture relieves stress and anxiety by influencing these signals and changing the way that the body communicates with the brain.

Acupuncture Restores Autonomic Balance

This study on how acupuncture regulates the nervous system showed that acupuncture affects the levels of neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers of the ANS.

Neurotransmitters play an important role in everything from our mood to our memory, and in conditions such as chronic stress, anxiety and depression they can become imbalanced.

Acupuncture regulates the levels of these neurotransmitters, especially serotonin, dopamine, GABA and glutamate. It is no coincidence that these are the the neurotransmitters most involved with our mood and emotions.

Acupuncture has also been shown to increase activity in the vagus nerve. This nerve runs from the brain to the abdomen and plays an important role in parasympathetic function. An increase in vagus nerve activity is associated with reduced stress and an increased state of relaxation.

Acupuncture Alters Your Brainwaves

Brainwaves have long been used to measure electrical activity in the brain and nervous system. There are four major types of brainwaves; alpha, beta, theta and delta.

Alpha brainwaves are dominant when we are awake, but relaxed and calm. Beta brainwaves are dominant when we are awake and active, thinking and problem solving. Theta and delta brainwaves are associated with deep relaxation, and can be measured during sleep or meditation. They are involved in learning, memory and dreams.

Acupuncture has been shown to increase alpha and delta brainwaves to aid sleep and reduce anxiety, another way in which it can help to relieve stress.

Acupuncture Gets You High

Well, sort of. Acupuncture works on the endogenous opioid system. This is the part of the brain which is influenced by painkillers such as morphine. These drugs block pain by binding with opioid receptors in the brain, and as a side effect, produce a sense of well-being or a “high” which is part of what makes these drugs so addictive.

But did you know that your body can also make its own opioids? These are known as endorphins. These are your personal, natural painkillers and also what give you that buzz after a good workout or sex.

Acupuncture not only triggers the release of endorphins, but may also increase the number of opioid receptors in your brain. This is what makes acupuncture so effective in treating pain and also contributes to its stress-busting abilities.

Acupuncture Relieves Stress and Anxiety, Naturally

Aside from all the evidence about how acupuncture works for stress and anxiety, having acupuncture is relaxing in itself. Simply lying quietly while the needles do their work is extremely calming, and many people even fall asleep during their treatments.

So if you think having needles stuck in you doesn’t sound like a relaxing experience, think again. Or why not try it for yourself and see?