Welcome to my blog

Acupuncture specialist for Fertility, Facial rejuvenation, Pain relief, Fatigue.
Based at Harley Street and Kensington Central London.Qualified as a medical doctor in Western medicine in China with a Medical degree from Beijing, China and a PhD degree from the UK. Over 25 year research and clinical experiences

Doctor who is passionate about acupuncture

I love what I do, I am good at it and I am always there for my patients. If you come and see me, you will know why I am standing out.
This blog is to introduce latest development and research of acupuncture and offer a chance of awareness of more treatment options for your condition. The blog is for information purpose only.

About Me

My photo

My specialised areas include fertility, facial rejuvenation, acne, vulvodynia, various pain conditions, chronic fatigue, neurological conditions, digestive problems

Practice contact for appointments and addresses 

Kensington: for appointments at Anamaya center Kensington (Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays) please call at 02030110355 or email at info@anamaya.co.uk
Address: 1 Adam and Eve Mews, Kensington, London W8 6UG
2 min walk from High Street Kensington underground station

Harley Street: for appointments  at Harley Street (Wednesdays) please call ALO clinic at 02076368845 or email at info@aloclinic.com
Suite 3 Harmont House
20 Harley Street, London W1G 9PH
5 min walk from Oxford Circus underground station

My background: I became a qualified medical doctor 25 years ago in Western medicine  in China and was well trained in Western medicine together with Chinese medicine in the best Medical University in Beijing, China. Particularly I was trained with Ji-sheng Han famous professor and neuroscientist in China and with Dr Zheren Xuan--famous orthopedics expert and founder of soft tissue surgery in China. Furthermore I had training in dermatology and oral and maxilofacial surgery in China. Also I had training in fertility and had research experiences in uterine smooth muscles and blood vessels in China and the UK. I am dedicated to treat patients with acupuncture and am recognised as one of the world leading acupuncture specialists.

I obtained a PhD degree in the University of Leeds in the UK.
I had post doctoral training and worked as a senior researcher in St George's hospital, London, UK.
I had frequently presented my research findings in the top international conferences in the field.
I have many publications including ebooks and articles.

I have many year clinical experiences. Over the years of practising, I have developed unique treatment approaches for infertility, skin aging, acne, vulvodynia, bladder pain, neck pain, headache, migraine, shoulder pain, back pain, fatigue, hot flushes, nerve pain, chronic prostatitis, insomnia, Parkison's disease, MS, acid reflex, IBS etc to achieve best treatment results. 

My devotion and skills are highly praised by my patients. 

My eBooks

Facial acupuncture Facial rejuvenation Acne treatment
Know your ovary to get pregnant
Know fertility and acupuncture to get pregnant
Vulvodynia, is vulval pain in your mind
Energy fatigue and acupuncture
Headaches, Neck pain and shoulder pain

Monday, 19 March 2018

Chronic abdominal pain, acupuncture can help

Acute abdominal pain

Everyone at some point of their life will experience abdominal pain. Abdominal pain is one of the most complicated symptoms which can be caused by many factors. Most of the causes are not severe and the pain can be diagnosed and treated with good prognosis. However abdominal pain can be a sign of very severe illness. If the abdominal pain is severe or recurrent and there are some other symptoms associated with such as fever, inability to keep food down, signs of dehydration, bloody stools, inability to pass stool and there is persistent nausea and vomiting, painful or unusually frequent urination, severe tenderness when you touch the abdomen, swelling of the abdomen, skin appears yellow, weight loss, pain is caused by injury to the abdomen etc, it is important to recognise the symptoms that are severe and see doctors to get it diagnosed. Be careful if you want to take over the counter pain killer. Pain killers sometimes can mask the severity of the illness. Acupuncture is not recommended for severe acute abdominal pain.

Chronic abdominal pain

Fortunately in most of cases the abdominal pain is not caused by severe illness, but it can be depressing if the abdomen is always painful. There are many problems that can cause abdominal pain.

Smooth muscle is located in the walls of hollow internal organs, such as the arteries, intestines, bladder in the abdomen. When they contract, the organ is squeezed. Most of the abdominal pain is visceral pain which is pain arising from the internal organs. 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. If stomach or intestine wall becomes spasm, this may result in pain. So do kidneys, gallbladders and other internal organs. When the uterine smooth muscle becomes spasm, menstrual cramps occur. It is often deep, dull or dragging and is typically diffuse and poorly localised. It can be associated with nauseas, vomiting, and changes in heart rate or blood pressure. It can also evoke strong emotional responses. There can be a referred pain which is pain experienced 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.

Skeletal muscles are attached to the bones. When the muscle contracts, the related body part moves. As a result, we can move around without problems. The abdominal wall muscles are skeletal muscles which extend from the superior border of the pelvis to the inferior border of the ribcage. There are four pairs of muscles: transverse and rectus abdominis and the internal and external obliques.

Abdominal muscles and chronic abdominal pain

The rectus abdominis muscles

The rectus abdominis muscles are a pair of long flat muscles lie vertically along the middle line of abdomen. Each muscle is divided by narrow bands of tendon into four muscular bodies. It originates from the edge of the pubis bone and thepubic symphysis in the pelvis and ends at the inferior edges of the costal cartilages of the fifth through seventh ribs and at the xiphoid process of the sternum. The rectus sheath is a covering connective tissue surrounding the rectus abdominis muscles where the internal and external oblique muscles attach. The linea alba a thick mass of white fibrous connective tissue is in the mid line of the abdomen and joins the two rectus abdominis together. The important function of rectus abdominis muscles is to flex the spine when they contract. Contraction of the abdomen results in increased pressure within the abdominopelvic cavity and is useful to push substances out of the body during exhalation, defecation, and urination. It helps delivering a baby. If there are trigger points present in these muscles, you could feel the pain at the abdomen, lower and mid back region. The symptoms include pain at the low abdomen, period pain, stomach cramping, heart burn chest pain, indigestion, nauseas, vomiting bloating, genital pain, bladder problem, low and mid back pain etc.

Transverse abdominis muscle

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.

External and internal oblique muscles

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.

Chronic abdominal pain may be present for weeks to months, or even years. Acupuncture can help with some chronic abdominal pain such as indigestion, inflammatory bowel diseases or muscular pain, benign ovarian cysts, pain with frequent urination, kidney problem, and muscular pain from the abdominal muscles.

Bloating is a common symptom accompanied with chronic abdominal pain. Most people have experienced this symptom, when the abdomen is stretched, puffy and uncomfortable. The common cause is constipation which is caused by too little fluids and fibers and lack of exercises. Food allergy and intolerance can be caused excess wind production causing bloating. Inflammation in abdomen such as irritable bowel syndrome can lead to bloating. Pain conditions such as low back pain, hip pain, abdominal pain can accompany bloating because of alteration of the nerve activities. Acupuncture can help reduce bloating and chronic abdominal pain.


Chao and Zhang World J Gastroenterol (2014) 20:1871-1877

Shi ZM et al Zhongguo Zhen Jiu (2011) 31:607-9

Effect of acupuncture on chronic Achilles tendonitis

Why can acupuncture help tendon injury?

Tendon is tough fibrous connective tissue which connects muscles to bones. Tendon is made of collagen. Tendon injury includes acute and chronic injury is very common. The symptoms include pain, redness, warmness, swelling, tenderness near the injured tendon. Pain increases with activity. Also pain can radiate to other part of the body. Rest, ice, steroids injection, massage can be used to treat tendon injury. Acupuncture is proven to be effective for tendon injury. Clinical study showed that acupuncture improves pain and functional activity in patients with tendon injury. Recent studies showed that acupuncture can modulate anti-inflammatory and mechanotransduction molecular pathways which subsequently increase collagen synthesis and reorganisation. This underlies acupuncture tendon healing mechanisms.

Effect of acupuncture on chronic Achilles tendinopathy

Achilles tendon is the tendon at the back of the lower legs and it passes posterior to the ankle. It is the thickest and strongest tendon in the body. Achilles tendinopathy (also called Achilles tendonitis) is pain and swelling you can get in your Achilles tendon. Achilles tendonitis is an inflammation in Achilles tendon which is caused by an overuse injury to the thick Achilles tendon at the back of the ankle. It is very common in runners. Achilles tendonitis can be either acute or chronic. Acute Achilles tendonitis is a new injury and usually more painful. Chronic Achilles tendonitis is a prolonged injury and it may follow the acute Achilles tendonitis. The characteristic of this condition is pain and inflammation at Achilles tendon. Many factors contribute to developing the condition. 1, increased activity, for example, suddenly increase distance, speed in running. 2, change to soft training surface, for example running on the soft surface can put on excessive stretch to the tendon. 3, weak calf muscles increases the strain on the Achilles tendon. 4 running on the hill will put on more stretch on the tendon. 5 Wearing high heels constantly shortens the tendon and calf muscles. Sudden change to flat shoes from high heels for exercising will put abnormal stretch to the tendon.

The main symptom is Achilles pain at the back of the ankle, just above the heel bone. There is stiffness in the Achilles tendon especially in the morning or after a long period of rest. This is thought to be due to adhesions between the tendon sheath and the tendon itself. Redness and swelling are often seen in acute stage. Nodules or lumps may be found in the Achilles tendon, particularly 2-4cm above the heel. Tenderness of Achilles tendon can be seen during examination.

Chronic Achilles tendonitis is a difficult condition to treat due to its poor blood supply.

In acute stage, rest is a must. Continuing to train on a painful Achilles tendon could lead to the injury becoming chronic and more difficult to treat. Appling ice within 24-48 hours of injury will reduce pain and inflammation. Wearing a 1cm high heel pad can take some strain away from Achilles tendon. Achilles tendon taping technique which uses elastic bandages to support the tendon can help. Acupuncture can improve blood flow, improve oxygen supply and nutrients supply to the tendon. Also acupuncture can reduce pain and decrease inflammation. In later stage apply heat to the tendon is beneficial. Pain killers can be used in acute stage, but they may not be very effective. Long term use could delay tendon healing. Steroid injection directly into the tendon is not recommended because this can increase the risk of a total rupture of the tendon in future. Right running shoes prevent from future injury.

Once you can perform daily activities pain-free, move on to next stage which focus on improving the flexibility of the calf muscles. Massage will help prevent adhesions forming within the tendon which stop the tendon sliding smoothly in its sheath and help blood flow of calf muscles. Eccentric exercises have been proven to be very effective in the treatment of chronic achilles tendonitis. If the injury has been severe and required a sustained period of rest and the neural control or co-ordination of the ankle has been affected, proprioception which is the neural control or co-ordination of a joint may need to be improved. Finally when the pain has disappeared at least a week and the range of motion at the ankle has improved then you can begin to return to training.

There are some examples of research that suggested that acupuncture is effective to treat Achilles tendinopathy

There was a clinical study of acupuncture for chronic Achilles tendinopathy. This study investigated whether acupuncture treatment would improve outcome in chronic achilles tendinopathy. In this study, 64 patients aged from 18-70 year old with chronic Achilles tendinopathy were recruited and randomly allocated into two groups: acupuncture treatment group and control group (received eccentric exercises). The effects were assessed at the start of the treatments, 8, 16 and 24 weeks after the treatments. They found that 8, 16 and 24 weeks acupuncture significantly improved the pain sensation and activity in patients with chronic Achilles tendinopathy compared with the eccentric exercises. This finding provided an alternative treatment option for patients with chronic Achilles tendinopathy.

A case report of Achilles tendinopathy

There was a case report of conservative treatment of Achilles tendinopathy. This was a 77 year old female patient with chronic Achilles endinopathy. The pain was present in the midportion of the Achilles tendon for 8 months. The pain was progressing. Activity makes the pain worse. Her tight lower leg was swelling around the right Achilles tendon. Right ankle movement was limited. There was tenderness and soft tissue thickening. Acupuncture and electric stimulation were applied for the treatment. Also physiotherapy exercise programme was performed. The treatment was twice a week for 4 weeks and then once a week for 4 weeks. The total treatments were 12. Gradual improvement was seen during each treatment. At the end of week 9, the improvement was significant. The only symptom was the mild tenderness of the Achilles tendon. Other tests were all within normal range. After finish whole course of treatments, the patient was encouraged to continue exercise programme. At 12 month follow-up, there was no recurrence occurred.

How can acupuncture help with Achilles tendinopathy? Studies have shown that acupuncture releases pain, increases in local blood flow and oxygen and nutrients supply to promote tissue healing.


Almeida MD et al Acupunct Med 2013 Dec 11Doi:10.1136

Zhang BM et al Chin J Integr Med (2012) Dec 21

Papa JA J Can Chiropr Assoc (2012) 56:216-24

Kubo K et al Int J Sports Med (2011) 32:807-13

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Suffer from ankle pain? acupuncture can help

The ankle is a large joint made up with three bones: two are from the leg tibia known as shin bone and fibula –the bone next to the shin bone; one foot bone talus sitting above the heel bone. Ankle joint moves the foot up and down and from side to side. Ankle joint bones are surrounded by numerous ligaments binding the bones together. All ligaments have a specific range of motion and boundaries that allow them to keep the joints stabilized and mobilized.

Ankle sprain is an acute condition that causes ankle pain. It is casued by damage to one or more of the ligaments in the ankle by accidentally twisting the ankle in an awkward way. This causes pain, swelling, bruising stiffness and tenderness, difficulty to walk and putting weight on the ankle.

Acupuncture help to reduce the pain for ankle sprain

Recently Park J studied current status of acupuncture for ankle sprain. There were 17 studies involving 1820 participants that they analysed. About acupuncture interventions, acupuncture interventions given to patients with ankle sprain were either alone or as an add-on to the control intervention. There were different kinds of acupuncture used in these studies: manual acupuncture, electroacupuncuture, warm acupuncture. About the effects of acupuncture as an alternative treatment: 797 participants in 9 trials reported global symptom improvement. Approximately nine sessions of acupuncture were given over 11.5 days. About effects of acupuncture as an add-on treatment there were 926 participants in 11 trials reported effect of acupuncture. An average of 10 sessions of acupuncture over 9 days was given. Acupuncture had significantly better improvements of all symptoms compared with other treatments. About the effects of acupuncture on pain intensity, one study reported that acupuncture significantly reduced pain intensity immediately after acupuncture treatment and after 2 years after the treatment. One study reported that acupuncture in addition to functional exercise shortened the time to return to normal activity by 3.4 days compared with a functional exercises only group. About health-related quality of life, one study reported acupuncture improved quality of life immediately after the treatment and 2 years after the treatment. About acupuncture type, manual acupuncture had an additional effect on symptom improvement compared with controls. When added to massage and infrared radiation, the effect of acupuncture was significantly better than that of massage and infrared radiation only. From this study, we can see that acupuncture is a good treatment option for ankle spray management.

Chronic ankle pain is long term pain (lasts more than three months) at the ankle. This is usually caused by inflammation in the ligaments and tendons surrounding the ankles. Pain is accompanied with swelling and tenderness.

Acupuncture is effective for chronic ankle pain

There was a study compared the efficacy differences between acupuncture and physiotherapy interventions in improving lateral collateral ligament injury of the ankle joint. There were 15 patients in acupuncture group and 15 patients in physiotherapy group. Patients in acupuncture group were received acupuncture in acupoints Qiuxu (GB40), Kunlun (BL60), Shenmai (BL62), Jiexi (ST 41) and Ashi-points etc. Patients in physiotherapy group received TDP irradiation of the regional lateral malleolus treatment. The treatments in both group were performed 3 times a week for 8 weeks. Before and after the treatment, ankle joint’s active and passive repositioning error angles were measured by using a joint angle ruler. They found that the average error angle values of active and passive reposition tests of the injured ankle-joint in acupuncture group reduced significantly after the treatment compared with those before the treatment, whereas there was no significant change before and after the treatment in physiotherapy group. Average error angle, average active and passive reposition angles of the injured ankle in the acupuncture group were significantly lower than those in the physiotherapy group.


Tang WJ et al Zhen Ci Yan Jiu 2013 38:314-8
Park J et al BMC Complement Altern Med (2013) 13:55

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Acupuncture provides hope of conceiving for women with premature ovarian failure

When women reach age 45, their ovaries may stop functioning. There is no egg supply and no ovulation. Hormone levels are changing. This is so called menopause. The signal for arrived menopause is stopped period which indicates the end of fertile life in a woman. This is a stage that every woman has to go through. For some women, their ovaries stop working before 40 years old. This is called premature ovarian failure (POF), or primary ovarian insufficiency (POI), or premature menopause or hypergonadotropic hypogonadism. POF is the result of premature exhaustion of the follicle pool or follicular dysfunction, such as due to mutations in the follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) receptor. This is a common condition, affecting 1-2% women younger than 40 years of age and 0.1% of women younger than 30 years of age. The cause for POF could be genetic, because there is family history found in 10-20% women with POF. It also could be due to poor ovarian blood supply. Autoimmune damage could contribute to the cause of POF. Ovaries could be damaged by cancer therapies.

The main symptoms of POF include no regular periods, low blood oestrogen level and high FSH under the age 40. Anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) level is low. Oestrogen is produced by follicles and its blood level is low if follicles are short of supply or dysfunctional. FSH is produced in the pituitary gland at the base of the brain and it stimulates follicles growing. If a woman is running out of eggs in ovaries in the case of POF, resulting in low level of oestrogen, the pituitary gland will work hard to produce more FSH in order to stimulate ovaries to make more good eggs. AMH is a substance produced only in small ovarian follicles and its level is quite constant correlating strongly with the number of growing follicles. Since this hormone is not dependent on hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis function and decreased to undetectable level at menopause, it could potentially help assess remaining function of ovaries and egg supply.

Women with POF could experience menopause symptoms, for instance hot flushes, night sweats and vaginal dryness, similar to those going through a natural menopause. POF could result in many health problems, such as osteoporosis, heart diseases etc. Associated with the development of POF is the loss of fertility, which in most cases is due to the absence of follicles, and in other cases the inability of remaining follicles to respond to stimulation. For most women, there are no obvious signs before the stop of periods. Most women have a normal period history, and possibly fertility before the start of POF symptoms. A common presentation is for women to fail to resume period after a pregnancy or after stop of taking oral contraceptive pills. For most of women, it is a deeply upset diagnosis not only with unpleasant symptoms, but also with infertility. It may have a huge psychological impact on those diagnosed this condition. Infertility is a significant issue for most women with POF, though many women may ovulate at some points, this cannot be predicted with any reliability.

There are treatments that can help some of the symptoms; however women with POF are unlikely to get pregnant without treatments because their ovaries do not work properly. There is no proven medicine to improve a woman’s ability to get pregnant, if she is diagnosed with POF. A number of treatment regimens have been evaluated with the aim of restore fertility; however, treatments with clomiphene, gonadotrophins, GNRH agonists or immunosuppressants do not significantly improve the chance of conception and are not used. Use of donor eggs is only a reliable option from Western medicine point of view. Is there really nothing you can do apart from accepting that you will no longer have a chance to have a child naturally with your own eggs? Why not try acupuncture? There is a chance to conceive naturally with acupuncture treatment.
According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) theory, POF is mainly caused by kidney qi deficiency. Liver and spleen qi deficiency may also contribute. Qi deficiency causes blood stagnation and blockage of channels resulting in ovaries losing function. Acupuncture unblocks the channels and restores qi flowing and blood supply to ovaries. From western medicine point of view, acupuncture improves function of hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis regulating blood hormone levels; acupuncture increases ovarian blood flow improving ovarian function. Acupuncture also regulates nervous system function.

There was a case report in Chinese acupuncture website about effectiveness of acupuncture treatment for POF. There were 76 patients aged from 26-40 with POF diagnosis for 1-9 years. These cases were treated from 1990-1996. Acupuncture treatment was given for 6 months. 68% patients restored normal period, ovulation or pregnancy. FSH level decreased to normal and oestrogen level increased significantly.

Recently research provided evidence of effectiveness of acupuncture on POF. Kehua Zhou et al investigated the effects of acupuncture on FSH, oestrogen (E2) and LH in women with POF. They also studied the menstruation changes in these women. They recruited 11 women with diagnosed POF for 4 months to 10 years. Ages of these women were from 25-39. These women had no menstrual period for at least four months or longer. They had high FSH over 40 iu/l. Before acupuncture treatment, they stopped all medications that possibly affect hormones. After the treatments, there was three month follow-up. Assessments were done before the treatment, at the end of three month treatment and at the end of three month follow-up. They found that after acupuncture treatment, E2 increased while FSH and LH decreased which last at the end of three month follow-up. 10 out of 11 patients resumed menstruation; 9 of them still had menstruation at the end of follow-up. Other symptoms such as night sweating, hot flashes and mood swings were reduced during acupuncture treatments and at the end of follow-up.
The advantage of acupuncture treatment for women with POF is that it is not only effective for improving symptoms caused by POF, but also increases fertility.

Kehua Zhou et al Evid Based Complement Alternat Med (2013) 2013: 657234 Published on line 2013 Feb 28

Suffer from knee pain, acupuncture can help

Thanks to the knee joint, we can move around freely and go wherever we want without any difficulties. Knee is the largest joint in the body which can bend and straighten bringing us about. It bears most of the body weight and pressure loads. It supports 1.5 times the body weight when one walks and 3-4 times the body weight when one climbs stairs. Knee is vulnerable which can be injured and can suffer from some diseases causing pain, swelling, stiffness, redness, locking, weakness or instability etc. The symptoms may vary depending on the type of injury. Pain may occur when you bend or straighten the knee. There could be difficulty bearing weight on the knee and trouble with knee motion.

Many muscle around the knee joint. The muscles of the knee include the quadriceps, hamstrings, and the muscles of the calf. These muscles work in groups to flex, extend and stabilize the knee joint.

The quadriceps is at the anterior surface of the thigh and they include the four muscles of femoris group (vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, vastus intermedius, and rectus femoris). These large muscles originate in the ilium and femur and insert on the tibia. They extend the knee.

The hamstring muscle group is at the posterior surface of the thigh from the ischium of the pelvis to the tibia of the lower leg. It includes three individual muscles: biceps femoris, semitendinosus, and semimembranosus. The hamstrings work together to flex the knee.

Calf muscle is at the back of the leg which originats from the distal end of the femur through the calcaneal (Achilles) tendon and ends to the calcaneus of the heel. It flexes the knee.

There are other muscles around the knee assisting with the movements of the knee.

The tensor fasciae latae contracts the iliotibial band of fibrous connective tissue that helps to stabilize the femur, tibia, and thigh muscles.

The sartorius muscle is the longest muscle in the entire human body. The sartorius muscle originates from the anterior superior iliac spine on the lateral edge of the hip bone. From the lateral hip, it descends obliquely across the hip joint and thigh, running medially and inferiorly toward the medial edge of the knee. It is a long, thin, band-like muscle. The Sartorius muscle flexes and rotates the thigh at the hip joint. It also helps to flex the knee.

The popliteus muscle rotates the tibia bone when the knee is flexed.

The articularis genus muscle elevates the suprapatellar bursa and capsule of the knee joint when extending the knee.

Some of the most common reasons for knee pain are

Knee injury: a knee injury can affect any of the ligaments, tendons, bone or fluid-filled sacs (bursae) that surround the knee joint as well as the bones, cartilage and ligaments that form the joint itself.

Other conditions that cause knee pain include as follows:

Bursitis: A bursa is connective tissue below the skin over the knee. Overuse, a fall, or repeated bending and kneeling can irritate the bursa overlying the knee cap (patella), causing pain and swelling.

Illiotibial band syndrome: The iliotibial band is a piece of tough tissue that runs from your hip down to the outer part of your knee. If it's irritated by overuse or other problems, it can become inflamed and cause pain on the outer side of the knee.

Hip or foot pain: If you have hip or foot pain, you may change the way you walk and this can place extra stress on the knee joint. In some cases, problems in the hip or foot can refer pain to the knee.

Overuse during repetitive motions as are found during certain exercises (jogging, skiing) or work conditions (long periods of kneeling) can cause breakdown of cartilage and lead to pain.

Others Include osteoarthritis, dislocated kneecap, patellofemoral pain syndrome and patellar tendonitis, a condition caused by inflammation of the tendons around the knee.

Acupuncture can help release the pain by reducing the inflammation and improving circulation to speed up the healing process.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Having pain at the groin area? Acupuncture can help

The groin is the area of the hip between the inner, upper thigh and lower abdomen. Five muscles (adductor brevis, adductor longus, adductor magnus, gracilis and pectineus) from the thigh originated here. Four abdominal muscle including transverses abdominis, rectus abdominis, external oblique and internal oblique muscles end there. Pain can develop in groin. Groin pain can be mild discomfort to severe pain. The most common cause of groin pain is muscle, tendon or ligament strain during exercise such as running, skating, kicking in soccer, or playing basketball or during doing work such as lifting, pushing, or pulling heavy objects. Groin pain may occur soon after an injury and it can also have swelling and bruising. The pain may come on gradually over a period of time: weeks or even months. The pain may be worsened by continued use of the injured area. Overuse is another common cause for groin pain. This often happens when you do too much an activity or repeat the same activity day after day. It put too much stress on the area and can lead to muscle strains or tears or may cause swelling.

There are many other conditions which can cause groin pain, such as a bone fracture, a hernia, kidney stones, bladder infections, prostatitis or a testicle condition.

Groin pain not caused by an injury to the groin may be coming from other parts of the body such as leg muscles, ligments and tendons injury.

If you have groin pain, you need to see doctor and get it checked out. If the groin pain is caused by muscle, tendon and ligament strain, acupuncture is very effective to reduce the pain.

Why the neck hurts? poor posture? Acupuncture can help.

Neck pain

Neck pain is very common. About 2 in 3 people had neck pain at some point in their life. A survey in the UK has shown that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 5 men between ages 45 and 75 had current neck pain.

The cervical spine and the muscles and ligaments are at the back of the neck. The cervical spine is made up of seven vertebraes between which is a disc. Spinal cord is within the spine and protected by the spine. Nerves come out from the cervical spine and innervated the neck and arms.

Non specific neck is the most common type of neck pain. The exact cause is unknown. It may caused by minor strains to the muscles and ligaments in the neck. Poor posture is often related to the neck pain.

The nuchal ligament and neck pain

The nuchal ligament is a ligament at the midline of the neck which extends from the bottom of the skull to the spinous process of the seventh cervical vertibrae which is the lowest cervical vertebrae on the neck. It forms a septum between the muscles on the either side of the neck. There are four muscles including trapezius, splenius capitis, rhomboid minor and serratus posterior superior attached the nuchal ligament. The nuchal ligament limits flexion of the neck, stabilizes the neck and affects muscular activity in the neck. Trauma and overuse of nuchal ligament can result in ossification of the ligament which causes neck stiffness and pain, progressive cervical spine instability and malalignment and nerve route irritation. Acupuncture can help release neck stiffness and neck pain.

Acupuncture treatment for chronic neck pain

Chronic neck pain is a long-lasting pain on the neck or back. This pain commonly started from improperly healed acute injury. Scar tissues formed during the healing process. These scar tissues are called fibrosis. They can develop inside of the body, under the skin, muscles, tendons or inside of a joint capsule. Fibrosis always occurs at the end stage of inflammation and it causes adhesion which grabs the connective tissue and surrounding muscles together causing pain and tension, limiting the function. There are more pain receptors in the fibrosis tissue making the area more sensitive to protect the area by the body automatically.

Acupuncture can help to release the pain and tension to help the area functioning. Also acupuncture can help the body repair to get rid of the scar tissue and remodel the tissue.

Acupuncture for sudden severe pain in the neck

Acute neck pain is a sudden-onset pain in the neck. It is often due to neck muscles strain and muscle spasm. This can be caused by poor posture, sleep in an awkward position, carrying heavy loads, stay in one position for a prolonged period of time etc. One might not find exactly causes. The pain is sudden and can be very severe. This makes the person with the pain panicking. Movement of the neck is restricted because of the pain. The recovery can take a few days or a week. Acupuncture can help release the pain and speed up the recovery.

Acupuncture helps a stiff neck

Neck pain or a stiff neck is a common problem. The neck becomes sore and tender and movement is limited. it is difficult to move the neck and turn the head to the side. It could be associated with a headache, neck pain, shoulder pain or arm pain. The most common cause of a stiff neck is a muscle strain or soft tissue sprain. The levator scapula muscle located at the back and side of the neck connecting the neck with the shoulder is most affected. These muscles can be strained by everyday activities: for example, sleep in an awkward position, use a computer for a prolonged period of time, have a bad posture or have some sports injury such as swimming sudden fall, hold a phone between the neck and shoulder etc. Anxiety and stress can cause tension in the neck muscles leading to neck pain. Tight muscles are often chronic and need to be treated. Tight muscles block blood circulation of the body and muscles don’t get enough nutrition and become weak and easily get further damage. Because of blocked energy supply, you will feel tired all the time. Poor posture is a common cause of tight neck and shoulders. This causes overuse some groups of muscles and causes micro injury to the muscles which become tight to protect themselves from further injury. Furthermore the tight neck and shoulders will make poor posture worse. It becomes a viscous circle. This needs to be treated, otherwise tight neck and shoulders would not resolve itself. Stretching the muscles, applying heat or warm bath may help. Acupuncture is very effective to release the muscle tension, reduce the tightness, correct poor posture and improve blood circulation. Acupuncture can help stiff neck by relaxing muscles spasm.

Poor posture, acupuncture can help

Poor posture is a major cause of neck pain; while neck pain prevents the neck from getting back to normal posture. Poor posture results from certain muscles shortening and lengthening in an abnormal way. Poor posture can place strain on the related muscles and other soft tissues causing pain, such as neck and back pain. Inflammation is one of the causes of poor posture. If there is an inflammation in somewhere in the body, it causes pain. The body automatically protects itself to avoid the pain resulting in an abnormal posture. For example, people with neck pain would tilt the head involuntarily to one side to avoid the neck pain. Acupuncture can help to reduce the inflammation and pain to help to correct the poor posture.

Acupuncture treatment is recommended for acute and chronic neck pain

Current interventions for neck pain include themal, electrotherapy, ultrasound, mechanical traction, laser, and acupuncture. But definitive knowledge about optimal modalities and dosage for neck pain is limited. Granham N et al from McMaster University, Hamilton Canada analysed existing data to provide the evidence for recommendations on physical modalities for acute to chronic neck pain. The data included was from January 2000 to July 2012. Their result showed that short term pain relief- moderate evidence of benefit: acupuncture, intermittent traction and laser were shown to be better than placebo for chronic neck pain. Moderate evidence of no benefit: pulsed ultrasound, infrared light or continuous traction was no better than placebo for acute whiplash associated disorder, chronic myofacial neck pain or subacute to chronic neck pain. There was no added benefit when hot packs were combined with mobilization, manipulation or electrical uscle stimulation for chronic neck pain, function or patient satisfaction at six month follow-up. They concluded that the current state of the evidence favours acupuncture, laser and intermittent traction for chronic neck pain.

Liang Z et al in China studied the effect of acupuncture on chronic neck pain. 178 patients with chronic neck pain were recruited. These patients were allocated into two groups 88 in acupuncture group and 90 in control group which received acupuncture and placebo treatment respectively. The Northwick park neck pain questionnaire (NPQ), visual analogue scale (VAS), short from 36 health survey (SF-36) and doctor’s judgement were applied for measuring effectiveness. The effect was assessed before treatment, immediately after the treatment, at the end of first month of follow-up and at the end of third month follow up. They found that the NPQ, VAS and SF 36 scores in acupuncture group were significantly improved after the treatment and the two follow-ups compared with before the treatment. Acupuncture group had better effect than that for control group. They concluded that acupuncture has immediate effect and lasting effect for chronic neck pain.

Another research of effectiveness of acupuncture on neck pain by Dong and Lin was published recently. They compared different effects of acupoints. 60 patients with neck pain were divided into two groups with 30 patients of each group. In first group, the acupoints selected at the start and end of trapezius muscle including Tianzhu (BL10), Fengchi (GB20), Quyuan (SI 13), Jugu (LI16) and Ashi points. In the second group, Jiaji (Ex-B2) on the neck were selected. The patients received acupuncture 5 times a week for 2 weeks. The Pain Rating Index (PRI, VAS and Present Pain Intensity (PPI) were measured before and after the treatments. They found that the scores were significantly reduced in both group. The better effect in first group was observed. They concluded that the points at the start and end of trapezius muscle had better effects than Ex-B2 points.

How many needles are suitable for neck pain treatment with acupuncture?

How many needle numbers are used to obtain best effect? Ceccherelli F et al from University of Padova Italy studied this subject. They compared the clinical efficacy of different number of needles used in patients with mayofascial pain. There were 36 patients between 29-60 years of age with cervical myofacial syndrome participated the study. These patients were divided into two groups: 18 patients were in the first group and treated with 5 needles; another 18 patients were in the second group and treated with 11 needles. The same of needle stimulating time and the same cycle of treatment were applied to both groups. Pain intensity was evaluated before, immediately after and 1 and 3 months after the treatment. The needles in the two most painful trigger points were inserted deeply and other needles were applied superficially. They found that a good treatment effect was obtained in both groups and this is not associated with the number of needles used. Their conclusion was that the number of needles either 5 or 11 used is not essential to obtain good therapeutic effect when the simulation time remains the same.

Physiotherapy and chiropractic treatments are popular options for treating neck pain. Do you know that physiotherapist and chiropractors also use acupuncture to treat neck pain? What treatment options are available for neck pain? There was an international survey with Canada having the largest response to investigate physical medicine, complementary and alternative medicine utilization amongst 360 clinicians treating patients with neck pain. Both physiotherapist and chiropractors used exercise and manual therapies which is 98-99%. Physiotherapists used exercise, orthoses and 'other' interventions more, while chiropractors used phototherapeutics more. 46% acupuncture is used by these professions to treat neck pain. If you go to see a physiotherapist or a chiropractor, you may get an acupuncture treatment from them.

A review by Trinh K et al from Canada summarised the most current scientific evidence on the effectiveness of acupuncture for neck pain. They found 27 studies investigated this subject. Of the 27 included studies, three represented individuals with whiplash-associated disorders (WADs) ranging from acute to chronic (205 participants), five explored chronic myofascial neck pain (186 participants), five chronic pain due to arthritic changes (542 participants), six chronic non-specific neck pain (4011 participants), two neck pain with radicular signs (43 participants) and six subacute or chronic mechanical neck pain (5111 participants). They found that acupuncture is beneficial at immediate-term follow-up compared with sham acupuncture for pain intensity; at short-term follow-up compared with sham or inactive treatment for pain intensity; at short-term follow-up compared with sham treatment for disability; and at short-term follow-up compared with wait-list control for pain intensity and neck disability improvement. Acupuncture appears to be a safe treatment with minor adverse effects. Reported adverse effects include increased pain, bruising, fainting, worsening of symptoms, local swelling and dizziness. These studies reported no life-threatening adverse effects and found that acupuncture treatments were cost-effective.


Ceccherelli F et al Clin J Pain 2010 26:807-12

Liang Z et al Complement Ther Med (2011) 19 supple 1:S26-32

Dong WK and Lin XH Zhongguo Zhen Jiu (2012) 32:211-4

Graham N et al Open Orthop J (2013) 7:440-60

Carlesso LC et al Chieopr Man Thera (2014) 22:11

Trinh K et al Cochrane Database Syst Rev (2016) May 4;5:CD004870. [Epub ahead of print]