Welcome to my blog

Acupuncture specialist for Fertility, Facial rejuvenation, Pain relief.
Based at Kensington Central London.Qualified as a medical doctor in Western medicine over 20 years ago in China with a Medical degree from Beijing, China and a PhD degree from the UK. Many 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 for women and men, facial rejuvenation, acne, various pain conditions, chronic fatigue and hormone regulation with acupuncture treatment.

Practice contact for appointments and addresses 

Kensington: for appointments at Anamaya center Kensington 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 please call ALO clinic at 02076368845 or email at info@aloclinic.com
Address
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 in Western medicine 20 years ago in China and was well trained in Western medicine together with Chinese medicine in the best Medical University in Beijing, China. Also I was trained with Dr Zheren Xuan--famous orthopedics expert and founder of soft tissue surgery in China. I am dedicated to treat patients with acupuncture and am recognized 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 practicing, I have developed unique treatment approaches for infertility, skin aging, acne, vulvodynia, neck pain, headache, migraine, shoulder pain, back pain, fatigue, hot flushes, Parkison's disease etc to achieve best treatment results. My devotion and skills are highly praised by my patients. 


Thursday, 28 July 2016

Acupuncture helps IVF success in women with declined ovarian reserve

Recently there was a study about acupuncture on IVF/ICSI involved in 63 women with declined ovarian reserve. They were divided into two groups: acupuncture group and control group. In acupuncture group acupuncture was given twice a week until second menstrual cycle of oocyte retrieval. The patients in the control group were treated with IVF-ET but no acupuncture. The ovarian reserve function, including basic follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), estradiol (E2), antral follicle count (AFC), number of retrieved oocytes, number of fertilization and number of high quality embryo, were compared and analyzed before and after acupuncture in the acupuncture group. The differences of outcomes of IVF-ET, including the cycle cancellation rate, implantation rate, the clinical pregnancy rate, were compared between the two groups. Their result has shown that Compared before acupuncture, the E2, AFC, number of retrieved oocytes, number of high quality embrgo and number of fertilization were all increased after acupuncture in acupuncture group. Compared with the control group, levels of the E2, the number of retrieved oocytes, number of fertilization and number of high quality embryo were all increased in acupuncture group. Also, the implantation rate, the clinical pregnancy rate were improved and cycle cancellation rate was reduced.

References
Zhou L et al Zhongguo Zhen Jiu (2016) 36:25-8

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Acupuncture is for hot flashes

Hot flashes are one of the menopausal symptoms in women. They can be associated with anxiety, nausea, tachycardia, and tachypnea, as well as pressure in the head and chest. Night sweats can be severe enough to cause sleep disturbance. The physiology of hot flashes is not clear in detail, but probably involves the core body temperature, neuromodulators, and peripheral vasculature and sweat glands. Women with hot flashes have an increased core temperature and a reduced thermoneutral zone compared with women without flashes. Decrease in estrogen production during the menopausal transition is related with vasomotor symptoms. Decreased endogenous estrogen concentrations also decrease hypothalamic β-endorphins and serotonin that lead to an instability in the hypothalamic thermoregulatory centre. When the set point in the thermoregulatory center is suddenly lowered, reactions are initiated that decrease body temperature, acting in the same way as when the upper limit of the thermoneutral zone is exceeded. The reduced β-endorphin and serotonin concentrations increase the release of noradrenaline, and this may in turn cause sudden drops in the set point in the thermoregulatory centre in the hypothalamus and elicit inappropriate heat loss. According to this hypothesis, any intervention that increases estrogen, β-endorphin, or serotonin concentrations or decreases noradrenalin levels may be expected to reduce hot flashes.

Acupuncture is effective in reducing the intensity and frequency of hot flashes in women and it has been found to decrease the number of hot flashes by at least 50% The physiological processes involved in acupuncture treatment are not fully known, however acupuncture increases central β-endorphin activity and also affects serotonin and noradrenalin activity in the central nervous system and thus has the potential to influence the thermoregulatory centre, making it more stable and decrease vasomotor symptoms. Other factors of importance may include changes in autonomic nerve functioning and may affect hormones such as cortisol, oxytocin, neuropeptides as β-endorphin, serotonin, and cytokines and alterations in collagen network communication. Acupuncture may also have peripheral effects and cause the release of substance P, vasoactive intestinal peptide, and CGRP.

Some studies have shown a decreased activity, measured by fMRI, in the amygdala and hypothalamus, when acupuncture is given. It seems possible that during an incident of hot flashes there is a high neuronal activity in the hypothalamus and that acupuncture may reduce this activity, perhaps mediated by increased β-endorphin release and decreased noradrenalin activity.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

One of the mechanisms of acupuncture effect is increasing blood circulation

Acupuncture is originated from China 2500 thousands years ago and is a part of traditional Chinese medicine. It spread to the Far East and Europe, then to America during the 19th century. Its theory is based on energy (Qi) flow through the body. Qi flow freely through body is fundamental for health. Interruption of this Qi flow is responsible for diseases. Acupuncture needles are inserted into the skin at particular points on the body to unblocks the blockage and restore balances of Qi flow in the body. As a result it achieves therapeutic effects.

The theory is based on the meridians. Scientific research on acupuncture provided evidence of the mechanisms of acupuncture. In 1950s Chinese government began to invest in research on acupuncture. The interest in acupuncture is increased not only for medical professionals all over the world, but also for researchers. They would like to know how the needles work. Since 70’s, acupuncture becomes more and more popular in US and European countries. In 1971, a report in the New York Times inspired American doctors to China to study analgesia effect of acupuncture. In 1990s there was a remarkable increase in acupuncture research. The publications of acupuncture research continue to increase. Acupuncture has received an enormous boost in the last few years. In 50 years the achievements of acupuncture research is extraordinary. The National Institute of Health consensus conference in 1997 recognised acupuncture (and by extension Traditional Chinese Medicine) as a legitimate branch of scientific medicine. Acupuncture seems very likely to be accepted and incorporated into Western medicine. Acupuncture becomes popular than ever.

Acupuncture increases local blood flow.

Regulating blood flow both centrally and peripherally are important in contributing mechanism of acupuncture.

Recently a study investigated the changes of local blood flow in response to acupuncture stimulation. In this study eight random controlled trials involved 205 participants were included. In most of the selected studies, acupuncture was performed at points located distal to the elbows and knees such as LI4, ST36, and PC6, whereas one study simultaneously used several acupoints on the extremities. In one study the GB21 acupoint on the posterior region of the shoulder was stimulated with an acupuncture needle. All eight studies selected for the present review observed acupuncture-induced changes in blood flow in the skin, whereas three studies observed changes in blood flow in the muscle. Four reported significant increases in blood flow following acupuncture compared with control, whereas one other study observed reductions in microcirculation immediately after acupuncture needling. The studies that assessed patients with either fibromyalgia or trapezius myalgia found significant increases in blood flow in the skin and muscle. Additionally, the degree and duration of increases in microcirculation varied depending on the condition of the subjects and the manipulation technique.

Another study about effect of acupuncture in peripheral tissue perfusion has been done on two healthy subjects. Acupuncture was performed on two acupoints (LI4 and SI3) which are in the hands three treatments within 1 week. Local blood perfusion on the hands was measured before and after acupuncture treatments. The result has shown that the blood perfusion rates of the hands were noticeably increased immediately after acupuncture at the first treatment in both cases. At the third treatment the increased blood perfusion was seen in one case, not the other one.

Hsiu H et al studied the microcirculatory blood flow response following acupuncture stimulation using beat to beat laser Doppler flowmetry (LDF) which could provides important information on the circulatory regulatory activities. Changes in the arterial pulse transmission or the opening condition of arteriolar opening might change the fluctuation pattern of the microcirculatory blood supply. They measured LDF signals to study the microcirculatory blood flow response at the needled site particularly at Hegu LI4 acupuncture point) after acupuncture stimulation. They selected 29 male healthy volunteers to measure microcirculatory blood flow after acupuncture stimulation. The measurements were at three times: before acupuncture stimulation, immediately after acupuncture stimulation and about 1 hour after acupuncture stimulation. They found that acupuncture not only improves local blood supply and but also regulates microciculatory blood flow by altering microcirculatory blood supply parameters. Their findings could help to identify the mechanism underlying the effects of acupuncture stimulation.

Acupuncture increases blood perfusion around the acupoints.

Researchers are using modern techniques to study the mechanisms of acupuncture to explain the phenomenon from modern science aspect. Li XM et al studied influence of different acupuncture manipulations at Zusanli (ST36) on skin microcirculation blood perfusion in healthy subjects. They measured local blood perfusion at ST 36 acupuncture points after acupuncture stimulation at 1min, 5 min, 10, 15min, 20 min, 25 min and 30 min. They also compared blood perfusion levels of microcirculation around the acupoints among the different manipulation techniques. They found that microcirculation around the selected acupoint was significantly increased from 1-10 min following simple needle insertion, from 5 -30 min after uniform reinforcing-reducing manipulation, from 1-30 min after reinforcing manipulation, and from 1-25 min following reducing manipulation respectively. The reinforcing manipulation was superior to other techniques. From this study we can see acupuncture increases local blood perfusion in normal subjects. The reinforcing manipulation had better effect.

What is happening in the tissue around the tip of acupuncture needle?

When acupuncture needles are inserted into skin, biochemical reaction is occurring at the acupuncture points selected. Some research showed that histamine and adenosine which are effective biomolecules of acupuncture were produced at the acupuncture points. During the needling manipulation process, the needle is being wrapped by connective tissue which activates certain biomolecule changes at the specific points. These changes are greater at acupoint than at non acupoint leading to greater therapeutic effect at acupuncture points. For example, experiment showed that the analgesic effect at ST36 acupuncture point is greater than at non acupuncture point. The density of Mast cells is higher at acupoint for instance ST36 than non acupoint. Degranulation of Mast cells at acupoint occurs after acupuncture which linked to analgesia effect and inflammatory response. This local effect activates immune system and spreads the local effect to entire body.

Current scientific research in animal and human demonstrates that acupuncture can cause many biological responses. These responses happen locally which is closed to the acupuncture points and remotely in the brain mediated by sensory neurons. For example, Acupuncture analgesia and anesthesia the mechanism of endorphin release is clarified. The acupuncture‘s analgesia effect is widely accepted. Research on acupuncture analgesia has shown a substantial basis for acupuncture and promoted the development of neurophysiology. Acupuncture stimulation may also activate the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland altering the secretion of the neurotransmitters and neurohormones which are important in endocrine system regulating hormone balance in the body.

Recent research suggested that local molecular and cellular changes occur at and around the location of the needled acupoint. For example, the activities of adenosine, which is a neuromodulator with antinociceptive properties, and the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) pathway, which is involved in the local mechanisms associated with acupuncture, are altered following treatment and might mediate the varied effects of acupuncture, including analgesia. Additionally, it has also been suggested that the morphological changes induced by acupuncture in connective tissue and fibroblasts are involved in this process.

The body fluids carries acupuncture effective biomolecules

Morden research showed that body fluids carries acupuncture effective biomolecules.Cerebraospinal fluids (CSF) is a clear colorless bodily fluid found in the brain and spine. After electroacupuncture endorphins were increased in the CSF. This is correlated with acupuncture analgesia effects. Different frequencies of stimulation can affect the release of different neuropeptides. For example, low frequency electroacupuncture increases the contents of beta-endorphin and met-enkephalin in the CSF, whereas high frequency accelerated the release of dynorphin. Serum includes all of the proteins not used in blood clotting and all the electrolytes, antibodies, antigens, hormones, and any exogenous substances (such as drugs and microorganisms). Serum was also recognized as carrier of acupuncture effective biomolecules. For example acupuncture stimulation may produce many types of components of antiasthma in the serum.

A new research from China studied mechanism of acupuncture from biochemical aspect. High-throughput metabolomics which is the new techinique used for assessing endogenous metabolite within a biological system was applied in this study. In this study, one of the most commonly used acupuncture point ST36 (zusanli). ST-36 is a point of stomach meridian and often used to treat many conditions such as gastrointestinal disorders including stomach ache, abdominal pain and distension, constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, dysentery, indigestion etc. Acupuncture use performed bilateral ST36 for 30 min, once a day for 14 days. Urine samples before acupuncture treatment and 14 days after acupuncture were analysed and compared. 53 specific metabolites relevant to ST36 were identified. These metabolites were significantly changed (3 decreased and 20 increased) after 14 days acupuncture treatment. Also five unique metabolic pathways were altered by acupuncture treatment. From this study, it can be seen that the mechanism of acupuncture in treating disorders could be involved in altering biochemical pathways.

Acupuncture stimulates brain network

There was a study about acupuncture stimulating brain functional network. This study was based on sample entropy of electroencephalograph (EEG) under magnetic stimulation at PC6 acupoint which is on your forearm and near your wrist. Magnetic stimulation at acupuncture point is a new method for studying the theory of acupuncture. It helps to investigate brain network and understand how brain works. This study was trying to provide evidence for the mechanism of acupuncture which is a part of traditional Chinese medicine. The magnetic stimulation of PC6 acupoint was performed and EEG signals were recorded. By analysing the results they found the brain network topology was changed after acupuncture at PC6 acupoint, the connection of the network is increased, the efficiency of information transmission is improved and the small-world proper is strengthened through stimulation the PC6 acupoint.

Acupuncture at different acupoints may alter brain activities in different area.

Recent acupuncture research study the effect of acupuncture on brain activity using functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Wang W et al used electro-acupuncture to stimulate the cerebral activated areas. They compared the altered activation areas of the acupuncture point LI4 on the right hand with some non acupuncture points on the face. There were 6 people in the LI4 group and 5 in the facial nonacupoint group. MRI ws performed before and after acupuncture. They found that activation or deactivation was found the multiple cerebral areas in both groups. In the LI4 group, activation was found in the areas including medline nuclear group thalamus, left supra marginal gyrus, left supra temporal gyrus, right precuneous lobe, bilateral temporal pole, left precentral gyrus and left cerebellum; deactivation areas include bilateral hippocampus, parahippocampal gyrus, amygdale body area, rostral side/audal side of ingulate gyrus, prefrontal lobe and occipital lobe as well as left infratemporal gyrus. In the control group, the activation and deactivation areas were different from LI4. They concluded that the deactivation area by LI4 was a similar area distribution of pain area in the brain and closely related to the anatomic structure of limbic system which is possibly related to pain relief. Activation of left anterior gyrus by LI4 represents the movement of facial muscles and activation of cerebellum is possibly related to effect of LI4 in treating facial palsy and facial muscle spasm.

Fang JL et al compared the effects of electroacupuncture at acupoints ST36 and CV4 using MRI in 21 healthy volunteers. The similar deactivation effects in the anterior cingulated and medial prefrontal cortices were induced by acupuncture at ST36 or CV4 acupoint. The functional brain network was significantly changed after acupuncture. The instant postacupuncture effects were mainly found in the ventral medial prefrontal cortex and ventral anterior cingulated cortex in the limbic-paralimbic-neocortical network and the effects were stronger at ST36 than that CV4.

References
Kim S et al Evid Based Complement Alternat Med (2016) 9874207. doi: 10.1155/2016/9874207. Epub 2016 Jun 14.
Li XM et al Zhen Ci Yan Jiu (2013) 38:297-300
Wang W et al Chin J Integr Med (2007) 13:10-6
Fang JL et al Zhen Ci Yan Jiu (2012) 37:46-52
Yan G et al Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2013: 2013:429703
Guo L et al Biomed Mater Eng. 2013 23(0):S1115-S1121
Hsiu H et al Microvasc Res (2013) Jun 24
An Y et al Med Devices (Aucl) (2014) 7:17-21

Friday, 15 July 2016

Acne has great impact on quality of life, stress makes acne worse, acupuncture can help

Acne has great impact on quality of life

Acne is a very common disease in adolescents. Acne has great impact on quality of life. A study involved in 600 high school students investigated this aspect. There were 303 girls and 260 boys aged between 13 and 19. 83% of them was self reported acne. 40% was mild, 36% was moderate and 6.5% severe. This was correlated with dermatologist’s assessment. Acne was more prevalent and severe in boys than girls. There was a direct link between subjective, severety of acne and symptoms of anxiety, depression and lower self-esteem.

Stress makes acne worse

Psychological stress has also been identified amongst factors that worsen acne. Recently a study involved in 160 students was carried out to investigate the association between acne severity and stress levels as well as the mechanism for this. They demonstrated a statistically significant positive correlation between increased self-reported stress and increased severity of acne; there was no correlation between increased stress and sebum levels. They explained that increased acne severity may result not from increased sebum secretion and excretion but from changes in neuropeptide secretion and sebum lipid composition. Other studies have shown that stress may affect the production of inflammatory mediators and specific lipids involved in inflammation by the sebaceous glands rather than the quantity of sebum. Acupuncture reduces inflammation and is used to treat acne effectively. Have you tried acupuncture?

Acupuncture is effective and efficient to treat acne

Acne is a common chronic inflammatory disorder in hair follicles. Treatments can take months to have some effects. Acupuncture is used to treat acne efficiently. There was a study using acupuncture to treat acne. In this study the criteria of participant selection is that they (older than 13 year old) had more than 10 papules and less than 10 nodules on the face and had acne for more than 3 months (chronic stage). They did not use retinoids, antibodies or herbal medicine for acne before. They did not have chemical peeling, intense pulsed light or laser treatment within the past month. After 6 week treatments, there was a significant reduction in the inflammatory acne lesion counts.

They suggested that acupuncture treatment of moderate acne vulgaris was associated with reduction of inflammatory lesions and improvement of the quality of life. The significant effects can be obtained in 6 weeks.

Acupuncture has better effect for treating acne than oxycycline

A study has compared the efficacy differences between acupuncture and oxycycline tablets for the treatment of moderate to severe acne vulgaris. Sixty cases of moderate to severe acne vulgaris were involved in this study and they were divided into acupuncture group and medication group with oxycycline treatment). The treatment duration was 20 days. The fading time of skin damage, including papule, pustule, nodule and cyst in the two groups was recorded and clinical efficacy was compared. After the treatment, two-month follow-up was performed to observe the recurrence rate in the two groups. The results have shown that the curative rate was 69.0% (20/29) in the acupuncture group, which was significantly higher than 40.0% (12/30) in the medication group. The fading time of each type of skin damage in the acupuncture group was shorter than that in the medication group. Recurrence rate was similar between two groups.

Vitamin D deficiency is related to acne

Vitamin D is suggested to play a role in acne development in vitro study. Recently Vitamin D level is compared between acne patients and healthy control. It was found that the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency was significantly higher in patients with acne compared to healthy controls. There was a negative link between level of vitamin D deficiency and severity of acne. There was also a possible link between the extent of vitamin D deficiency and the degree of acne inflammation.

First, people might think that acne is caused by a poor diet. This is not true and no food was found to cause acne.

Second, there is an opinion that acne is caused by dirty skin and poor hygiene and it can be washed away. Acne occurs underneath the skin, not on the surface of the skin, so the dirty skin does not cause acne and acne cannot be washed away.

Third, squeezing the spots can get rid of acne. Spots cannot be get rid of by squeezing, on the contrary it can make spots worse causing infection and scarring.

Fourth, sun exposure can help with the symptoms of acne. There is no research evidence showing that sun exposure improves acne.

Fifth acne is infectious. This is not true. Acne cannot pass from person to person. It is not infection disorder.

What foods promote acne?

Foods that are related to promote acne are three classes 1) hyperglycemic carbohydrates, 2) milk and dairy products, 3) saturated fats including trans-fats and deficient ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). Foods with a high glycemic index, such as sugar, white bread, and white rice, are rapidly absorbed, leading to higher serum glucose levels and corresponding elevated levels of insulin. Insulin and IGF-1 have been shown to increase sebum production, stimulate adrenal androgen synthesis, and increase androgen bioavailability, all of which play a role in the pathogenesis of acne. Here are some examples. A 10-week low glycemic load diet resulted in improvement of acne, with histopathological examination of skin samples revealing decreased inflammation and reduced size of sebaceous glands. A 12-week low glycemic load diet resulted in improvement of acne, with a corresponding improvement in insulin sensitivity, a reduction in testosterone bioavailability, and a decrease in adrenal androgens.

Researchers have demonstrated an association between dairy consumption and acne. Some studies have noted a stronger connection with skim milk versus other types of dairy. One suggested mechanism relates to hormones. As milk is meant to increase the growth of calves, it naturally contains growth hormones and anabolic steroids. Another suggested mechanism relates to the carbohydrate content of dairy products, with related effects on serum insulin and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1). Finally, many dairy cows in the United States are treated with bovine growth hormone to increase their milk supply, and milk from these cows has been shown to contain higher levels of IGF-1.

Study has shown that increased intake of saturated fat aggravates acne whereas a higher intake of fish, a nutrient source enriched in ω3-fatty acids, exhibited an acne-protective effect.

Eating chocolate may make acne worse

Chocolate has become one of the most popular food types and flavors in the world. What happens, if you have acne? Does chocolate make the acne worse or better? A study has assessed the effect of chocolate on acne in males between the ages of 18 and 35 with a history of acne. This is a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized, controlled trial. They found that there was significant increase in the mean number of total acneiform lesions including comedones, papules, pustules, nodules. There was a link between the amount of chocolate each subject consumed and the number of lesions each subject developed. They suggested that the consumption of chocolate worsens acne.

Inflammation occurs during acne lesion formation

Acne affects about 80% of adolescents and it often continues to adulthood. Acne is most common on the face particularly on the cheek, forehead and chin. Apart from hormones imbalanced, inflammation plays a key role in acne lesion formation. Acne lesions develop in the oil gland follicles. Increased oil production and accumulation combined abnormal inner lining cells growth cause the formation of pimples. Bacteria colonize in the follicles and trigger immune response causing inflammation which contributes to the acne lesion formation. Inflammation occurs in the early stage of lesion development and is present throughout the whole process of development of acne lesions until the later stage.

Due to the critical role of inflammation during the acne lesion formation and its connection with bacteria in the follicles, anti inflammatory agents are applied to effectively treat acne and antimicrobials are also used to kill the bacteria to treat acne.

Acne patients used antibiotics too long

Acne is not a life threatening condition, however it affects patients quality of life so much. The spots take their happiness away. Women cannot go out without covering the spots up first. They often use over-the-counter creams, prescription gels, and finally: oral antibiotics. Antibiotics was used too long and increased the antibiotic resistance makes antibiotics loss their effects. A research study at a dermatology practice in an academic medical center has shown that the average duration of antibiotic use was 331.3 days. In all, 21 patients (15.3%) were prescribed antibiotics for 3 months or less, 88 patients (64.2%) for 6 months or more, and 46 patients (33.6%) for 1 year or longer. Patients treated only at the study site had a mean duration of antibiotic treatment of 283.1 days whereas patients who also received antibiotics from another institution had a mean duration of 380.2 days.

References
Gil Yosipovitch et al Acta Derm Venereol 2007; 87: 135–139.
Jiang M et al Zhongguo Zhen Jiu (2014) 34:663-6
Bodo C Melnik, Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology 2015:8 371–388
Caperton et al J Clin Aesthet Dermatol (2014) 7:19-23
Naqler AR et al J Am Acad Dermatol (2015) Oct 29. pii: S0190-9622(15)02254-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2015.09.046
Son et al Acupunct Med (2010) 28:126-9

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Acupuncture points and low back pain

Acupuncture points used in the treatment re very important. Recently a study compared two different acupuncture methods with different acupuncture points to treat sacroiliac joint injury which presents low back pain. In one group, 9 Ashi points were used and in another group as a control Huantiao (GB 30), Zhibian (BL 54) and Weizhong (BL 40), etc were used. Treatment durations and frequencies are the same. Two course with each course containing 10 treatments were given. After the two course of treatments, the pain scale and function recovery were found in the both groups, but the group with Ashi points had better effects. From this example, we can see acupuncture points selected are very important to achieve the best treatment results.

Piriformis syndrome is an uncommon neuromuscular disorder. In this condition the sciatic nerve is compressed by piriformis muscle which is a flat, band-like muscle located in the buttocks near the top of the hip joint. This muscle is important in lower body movement and it is used in almost every motion of the hips and legs. Through the piriformis muscle sciatic nerve passes and goes down the back of the thigh and leg. The spasm of the piriformis muscle can compress the nerve to cause some symptoms which include pain, tingling, or numbness in the buttocks. The pain can be sever and spread down to the leg and foot. The pain can be triggered by sitting for long periods of time, climbing stairs and running.

Management of piriformis syndrome include avoiding positions that trigger pain. Rest, ice and heat may help reduce symptoms. Exercises and stretches may help reduce sciatic nerve compression reducing symptoms. Pain killers, muscle relaxants or local injection with corticosteroid or anesthetic may help with reduction of pain.

Acupuncture can be helpful. There were case reports showing effectiveness of acupuncture for priformis syndrome. For example, Liu JM et al observed 80 patients with piriformis syndrome. They found that after a course of acupuncture treatments, the pain threshold values were improved significantly. Another study by Chen RN and Chen YB has shown similar results that acupuncture reduced pain instantly in patients with piriformis syndrome. Shu also reported a case study. In this study there were 39 males and 36 females, at the age of 22-85; they suffered piriformis syndrome for from 3 days to 10 years. After acupuncture treatments, symptoms and signs of pain in the hip and thigh disappeared and the patient can move freely in 55 patients. Symptoms were obviously reduced, and signs were partially improved with basically normal walking and movement, but there was still pressure pain on piriformis in 24 patients. There was no effect in 2 patients. Here was a typical case in this study: A 71 year old lady had pain on her back for 10 months and the pain spread to her hip and thigh. The pain severity changed from mild to severe. There was tender point on the piriformis muscle. After 3 sessions of acupuncture treatments, the pain was reduced significnalty. Followed another 5 sessions of acupuncture, the pain was completely disappeared.

References
Kuang J et al Zhongguo Zhen Jiu (2016) 36:359-63
Liu JM et al Zhongguo Zhen Jiu (2013) 33:422-5
Chen RN and Chen YB Zhongguo Zhen Jiu (2009) 29:550-2
Shu H J Tradit Chin Med (2003) 23:38-9

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Acupuncture points used for trigeminal neuralgia

The acupuncture that you get could be very different, if you see different acupuncturists. For example, a study analysed acupuncture points used for trigeminal neuralgia. In this study 180 papers were included and in these papers 148 acupuncture points were used and were distributed in 14 meridians. The most frequent used points are Hegu (LI 4), Xiaguan (ST 7), Fengchi (GB 20) and trigger points. Other points included crossing points, yuan-primary points and five-shu points. They were widely used, accounting for 65. 9%. As for the branch of trigeminal nerve, the top-3 selected acupoints were Yangbai (GB 14), Yuyao (EX-HN 4), Cuanzhu (BL 2) in the first branch, Sibai (ST 2), Quanlian (SI 18), Yingxiang (LI 20) in the second branch, Jiache (ST 6), Xiaguan (ST 7), Dicang (ST 4) in the third branch. It can be seen that right points need to be chosen to get best effects.

References
Tao S et al Zhongguo Zhen Jiu (2016) 36:207-11

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Acupuncture accelerates the time for conceiving

There is new evidence that acupuncture improves women’s fertility. This new study asked whether providing a multiphasic fertility acupuncture protocol to women with infertility would increase their awareness of fertility and achieve normalisation of their menstrual cycle compared with a lifestyle control. women with infertility were offered an intervention of acupuncture and lifestyle modification or lifestyle modification only. There was a statistically significant increase in fertility awareness in the acupuncture group (86.4%, 19) compared to 40% (n = 8) of the lifestyle only participants. There was no statistical difference in the pregnancy rate with seven women achieving pregnancy during the course of the study intervention however those receiving the acupuncture conceived within an average of 5.5 weeks compared to 10.67 weeks for the lifestyle only group. In acupuncture group women’s fertility awareness and wellbeing increased, and those who conceived did so in half the time.

References
Cochrane S et al Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2016;2016:3587569. doi: 10.1155/2016/3587569. Epub 2016 May 3.