Perry had been diagnosed with TB of the spine many years ago, albeit not before severe damage was done. His spine he joked was like “Swiss cheese”. Part of the pain management was a Fentanyl patch which still allowed serious breakthrough pain every second day. When Perry was brought in for acupuncture by his wife, I noticed that he appeared to have the hiccups. It turned out that he had been dealing with that side effect of the Fentanyl for over ten years. It was causing continual spasm (myclonus of the diaphragm) . Perry said kids would try to scare the hiccups out of him!
I felt there must be an answer to this and encouraged him to come once a week. Primarily our goal was to help with his breakthrough pain. He came for just over two months, nine or ten times and one day came in grinning broadly saying something was missing... His hiccuping had quit during the night and he awoke free of those wracking spasms for the first time in ten years! Two years later they had not returned.
His back pain was also less severe, but we never did manage to alleviate it, given the damage done to the spine.
With the cessation of the myoclonus, Perry also began to swallow properly again, dysphagia being something else that he had suffered with for so long. The side effect acupuncture is to subtly and gently restore the body's self healing powers.
If you are looking for a quick fix, acupuncture is not for you. It is usually not a quick fix. People who come for one session looking for that silver bullet are often disappointed. Healing is a process and it demands patience . Your body is programmed to heal or rather regain balance and that takes time. Acupuncture, one of the two main pillars of Chinese Medicine (along with Herbal Formulas) involves true healing, not masking symptoms with a prescription drug. .
The nature of Chinese medicine insists that you slow down and get in touch with your body. Diagnosis and treatment can only move forward with your input as a patient. For example, you know that your headaches are migraines. To be effective, your practitioner will need to know more… Is it one-sided? How often does it occur? Does the painful area like pressure or not? Is it related to changes in the weather? What else is going on with your health? Seemingly unrelated details are frequently big clues, and your practitioner can only be effective if they know those details. And for that to happen, you need to pay attention to your body. This is a good thing, as it leads to insights about your health that you might not have considered otherwise.
Acupuncture is not only slow, but it is also gentle. Western medicine offers drugs and surgery. Chinese medicine offers herbs and an hour or so of relaxation on a massage table during an acupuncture session. For example, each acupuncture appointment is 60 minutes long. During these appointments the practitioner reviews a patients health emotionally and physically. Appointments are typically weekly to bi monthly over long periods of time.
The acupuncturist truly gets to know and understand their patient which is part of the treatment goal. Better communication and understanding of a patient helps the practitioner treat more effectively.
Which would you rather do?
In slow medicine, a patient must participate in their own treatment, as lifestyle is a major factor in their condition. If your diet is making you sick, you are responsible to make changes. If over working is leaving you exhausted and irritable, acupuncture can only do so much. So if change is part of your treatment plan, you can plan on it taking some time. The improvements you will feel are real, not the effect of medication that has temporarily alleviated symptoms, but left the cause in place.
If you have the choice between the gradual and gentle deep healing of acupuncture, over drugs and surgery, which will you choose?
A study carried out in a Tunisian hospital emergency department has found that, compared with morphine, acupuncture was associated with faster, more effective analgesia and was better tolerated. Clinicians allocated 300 patients with acute moderate to severe pain to either acupuncture or intravenous morphine. The acupuncture protocol allowed acupuncture points to be selected from a pool of predetermined points for each condition, and included the use of ashi points, thus providing sufficient standardisation to assist replication, while being flexible enough to allow for individualised treatments. The success rate (defined as a drop in pain intensity of at least 50% from baseline) was significantly different between the two groups (92% in the acupuncture group versus 78% in the morphine group). Pain resolution time was 16 minutes in the acupuncture group, compared with 28 minutes in the morphine group. Adverse effects were also significantly fewer in the acupuncture group.
Acupuncture vs intravenous morphine in the management of acute pain in the ED. Am J Emerg Med. 2016 Jul 20. pii: S0735-6757(16)30422-3.
document source: copyright 2014 Acupuncture Media Works
A few weeks ago, I asked for your most pressing acupuncture questions. I've compiled the most common questions and I noticed one distinct trend - there are a lot of questions about the needles. Some of you must be nervous about getting needled!
Do Acupuncture needles hurt?
This question is always a little tricky because it depends on what you mean by "hurt."
Acupuncture needles do not feel like getting a shot. Unlike hypodermic needles, acupuncture needles are thin, tiny and flexible. They are not inserted deeply.
However, you might feel something . Sometimes you may a prick - like getting a mosquito bite. You may feel tingling or fullness when I adjust the needles. But in most cases, you'll forget about the needles. But in most cases, you'll forget about the needles as you rest on the table.
Are there any side-effects from acupuncture?
There are rarely side-effects from acupuncture. Sometimes there may be bruising or soreness, especially if you have a cupping of Gua Sha. Or you may feel light-headed or ungrounded after a session. Occasionally there is an emotional release.
When people complain of worsening symptoms or fatigue from acupuncture, often it is actually a sign of healing. If your Qi has been blocked, it can cause uncomfortable symptoms as it resumes flowing. To understand this, imagine a garden hose with a kink in it. The kink stops the water from flowing; when you straighten it out, the water bursts out of the hose before it begins to flow normally again. Qi behaves the same way.
If you notice your symptoms getting worse after a treatment, contact me. I can suggest ways to reduce your discomfort and speed your healing.
Is acupuncture a placebo?
This is a hotly contested question in the scientific community. Periodically a new study comes out, proving or disproving acupuncture.
Of course, I don't think acupuncture is a placebo, I have seen acupuncture work on many patients and I've seen extraordinary results. I have no doubt about its efficacy and confidently recommend it to everyone.
But research has mixed results and it's hard to weed through all the studies to come to a conclusion. Many studies about acupuncture are poorly designed with too small a sample or subjective results. Some studies focus on acupuncture for a single disease or condition and don't translate their finding s into broad conclusions. And of course, "acupuncture" is a broad term describing many techniques and many styles of practice. It's hard to study all the variations.
One big stumbling block to proving that acupuncture works is that western science doesn't understand how it works. There are many theories but none of them cover all the effects of acupuncture all of the time. Since scientists can't figure it out, they continue to question if it really exists.
I think the biggest question to ask yourself is if you have seen results. Does acupuncture work for you? Do you feel better after an appointment?
Why do you turn the needles?
Turning the needles helps them work more effectively. It both helps move the Qi and tells me if the Qi has started to move.
Can you poke through my organs?
No, it will not poke through any organs other than your skin. Acupuncture needles are very thin and tiny, and are only inserted skin-deep.
However if you Google this topic, you will find alarming articles which claim that acupuncture can lead to lung collapse. Many of these articles refer to a study by the National Health Services (NHS) in the UK, which found some cases of pneumothorax (collapsed lung) caused by acupuncture.
I don't know the details of these cases but they are very surprising. It's hard to imagine a situation where a well-trained acupuncturist would puncture a lung. And it's interesting to note that the NHS (the source of the study) concludes that acupuncture is a "low harm" treatment. The NHS notes that these cases are very, very rare compared to the millions of acupuncture treatments each year.
If you are really concerned about the health risks of acupuncture, contact me. Let's talk. I will answer all of your questions openly and honestly so you can make an informed choice.
Will acupuncture needles make me bleed?
Generally, no. Sometimes there is a tiny droplet of blood but it is easily wiped away with a cotton ball. Acupuncture needles are very fine.
Can you treat young kids?
Acupuncture is effective for all ages, all stages of life, from babies to the elderly. I welcome kids and have found some kids respond even more quickly to treatment than adults.
Does acupuncture help ___________?
I get all sorts of questions about what acupuncture can help. Can it treat infertility? Does it help turn a breech baby? Willit help me stop smoking?
Instead of answering each question individually, I'll share a list of the types of conditions it helps. If you don't see your condition answered here, call me. This list is not comprehensive.
* Abdominal pain
* Cancer pain
* Chronic gastritis
* Menstrual issues
* Knee pain
* Low back pain
* Morning Sickness
* Nausea & vomiting
* Neck pain
* Post-operative pain
* Pregnancy issues
* Premenstrual syndrome
* Sore throat
* Tennis Elbow