Welcome to my blog

Acupuncture specialist for Fertility, Facial rejuvenation, Pain relief.
Based at Kensington and Harley Street 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. 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, facial rejuvenation, acne, various pain conditions, chronic fatigue, menopause and hormone regulation with acupuncture treatment.

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
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  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 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. 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. 


Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Acupuncture is effective to treat endometriosis

Endometriosis is a chonic inflammatory, gynaecological condition that can result in long-lasting visceral pelvic pain and infertility. Also women with more advanced degrees of endometriosis showed higher CA-125 levels in both serum and peritoneal fluid. Much research has shown that acupuncture could be an effective treatment for endometriosis and may relieve pain. Recently a review has analyzed the effect of acupuncture on endometriosis. 10 studies involving 589 patients were included in the review. The main outcomes assessed were variation in pain level, variation in peripheral blood CA-125 level, and clinical effective rate. The result has shown that acupuncture has significant effect on pain reduction, lowing blood CA-125 and increased clinical effective rate compared to the control. Current research has suggested that acupuncture could be an effective way to treat endometriosis and help release the pain and decrease the blood CA-125 level.

Acupuncture releases pain by increasing pain thresholds in human subjects, and it would appear to activate analgesic brain mechanisms through the release of neurohumoral factors, including adenosine, γ-aminobutyric acid, opioid peptide, acetylcholine, nitric oxide, noradrenaline, dopamine) and others. Acupuncture also enhances the ability of the immune system to more actively eliminate malignant cells by increasing the ability of NK cells to kill cancer cells.

References
Xu Y et al Plos One 2017 Oct 27;12(10):e0186616.

Acupuncture reduces jaw joint pain and improves jaw joint movement

Temporomandibular disorder can cause pain in the jaw joint and the muscles that control jaw movement. This is a common condition of chronic jaw joint pain. The aim of the treatment is to reduce pain and increase the motion of the joint. Butts R et al reviewed the non surgical treatments for this condition. Based on the research evidence they suggested that acupuncture can help to release the pain and improve the joint movement. For example a study by Gonzalez-perez et al investigated the effect of needling on temporomandibular disorder. 48 patients were divided into two groups needling group and medication group. Dry needling acupuncture was applied once a week for three weeks and assessment was carried out before and after treatment. They found that needling group has better pain reduction than medication group. Pain reduction, maximum mouth opening, laterality and protrusion movements compared with pre-treatment values had significant improvement. There was no side effect found in the needling group.



References
Butts R et al J Bodyw Mov Ther (2017) 21:541-548
Gonzalez-Perez LM et al Med Oral Patol Oral Cir Bucal (2015) 20: e326-33

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Acupuncture helps restless legs syndrome

Restless legs syndrome is a condition of nervous system which cause irresistible urge to move the legs and also it could accompany with crawling sensation in the legs, feet and thighs. These symptoms are worse in the night. Recently a study has investigated the effect of acupuncture on restless leg syndrome. There were 46 patients with restless legs syndrome participated the study. These patients were either received 10 sessin of acupuncture plus gabapentin or gabapentin alone over 4 weeks. The symptoms of patients were assessed at baseline (before treatment), just after the therapeutic course and 8 weeks later. The criteria used for the assessment included the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS), the International Restless Legs Syndrome Rating Scale (IRLSRS), and the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI). The result has shown that VAS, IRLSRS, and PSQI improved greater in acupuncture group. After therapeutic course termination and in 8 weeks follow up, VAS and IRLSRS had a significant improvement in both groups, but PSQI improved significantly just in the acupuncture group. Based on the findings of the present study, acupuncture was suggested to improve restless legs syndrome.

References
Raissi GR et al J Acupunct Meridian Stud (2017) 10:346-350

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

The mechanism of acupuncture

Research has shown that there were more of nerve fibers/trunks, blood vessels, hair follicles, and sweat glands as well as density of the gap junction in the acupuncture points. Recent research has shown that nitric oxide (NO) level is elevated in the acupoints and is associated with an enhanced expression of NO synthase endowed with transient receptor potential vanilloid type-1. This suggests that acupuncture induces NO-mediated vasodilatation, which increases local blood flow and allows for a flush of algesic or sensitizing substances, leading to pain relief.

References
Ma SX Chin JIntegr Med (2017) 23:812-815

Osteoarthritis and acupuncture

There are growing acupuncture use amongst people with osteoarthritis. Recent research from Australia has studied acupuncture use in people with osteoarthritis. In this study 403 Australia women aged 45 or over with osteoarthritis participated. Analysis revealed that 7.7% of women reported using acupuncture in the previous 12 months for their osteoarthritis. Acupuncture use is positively associated with women experiencing longer duration of time since initial diagnosis of osteoarthritis.

References
Yang L et al Int J Clin Pract (2017) Nov 3. doi: 10.1111/ijcp.13040. [Epub ahead of print]

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Menopause and bone density

Why women have menopause?

Women are born with fixed number of eggs in ovaries. The follicles containing eggs grow and a batch of them grows bigger and one of them mature and the egg is released (ovulated). The follicles also produce sex hormones i.e. oestrogen and progesterone. When the follicles are running out and there are no longer eggs released every month, menopause happens. The ovary does not produce as much oestrogen and progesterone anymore. Declined hormones can cause s series of symptoms and some of them can be disrupting. The menopause starts when a woman stops having periods. This starts from 45-55 year old and is a natural part of aging. Most women will experience some symptoms around the menopause, generally a few months or years before periods stop, known as the perimenopause. The duration and severity of these symptoms varies from woman to woman and they can persist for years. The first sign of the menopause is usually a change in the normal pattern of the periods. Women may start having either unusually light or heavy periods with reduced or increased frequency. Eventually the periods will stop. Other symptoms include hot flushes, night sweats, difficulty sleeping, reduced libido, poor memory and concentration, vaginal dryness and pain, itching, or discomfort during sex, headaches mood changes, anxiety, palpitation, joint stiffness, aches and pains, reduced muscle mass osteoporosis etc. Around 10% women experience the menopause before 40 years of age. This is known as premature menopause or premature ovarian insufficiency. Acupuncture can help reduce the symptoms of menopause and help women with this life change period.

Menopause and insomnia

Menopause is when women no longer have their periods because the ovaries don’t produce oestrogen and progesterone. It is the mark of the end of the reproductive years. This is a normal part of aging process. However many women have experienced many symptoms: such as up to 85% women experience hot flashes; about 60% of menopausal women have sleep problems (insomnia) due to hot flushes and night sweats. Symptoms of insomnia can include difficulty falling asleep; waking up frequently during the night, with difficulty returning to sleep; waking up too early in the morning; feeling tired when waking up and during the day.

Acupuncture can help reduce hot flushes and help sleep.

Oestrogen and skin aging and acupuncture helps to repair

Women in menopause have a rapid decline in oestrogen in the body. Low level of oestrogen accelerates biological aging across the body. This is particularly noticeable in the skin which loses its structure ie the skin becomes thinner, dry, wrinkling and becomes easy to damage. Low level of oestrogen also damages many wound-healing processes, such as inflammation and regranulation which makes wound healing delayed. Acupuncture restores skin thickness by increasing collagen synthesis while limiting excessive collagen degradation. Acupuncture enhances the morphology and synthesis of elastic fibers, collagen. Acupuncture improves water content and reduces dryness of the skin. Acupuncture regulates inflammation and granulation and accelerates wound healing process.

Menopause and inflammation

There are some other changes in the body in women with menopause. Immune system is one of them. Study has shown that after menopause, there is an increase in pro-inflammatory serum markers (IL1, IL6, TNF-alpha), an increase in response of the immune blood cells to these cytokines, a decrease in CD4 T and B lymphocytes and a decrease in the cytotoxic activity of NK cells. Studies suggested that in postmenopausal women, changes of the immune system have been attributed to estrogen deprivation.

Menopause and β endorphins

Β-endophins are neuropeptides which is involved in pain management. Research has found that blood Β-endophins level is significantly decreased in postmenopausal women compared to fertile women. In women after the oophorectomized surgery, Β-endophin levels were decreased by 41% 5 days after the surgery. Also the blood level remains low 6 months after ovariectomy. After hot flushes β-endophins were significantly increased. Β endorphins were found in peritoneal fluid and ovarian follicular fluid in fertile women, but not found in postmenopausal women. These findings suggested that drop of β-endophin levels could contribute to the menopausal syndrome.

Menopause and bone density

Many researches have studied the bone mineral density among post menopausal women. Bone density is declining in menopausal women. Bone loss started and accelerated in late perimenopause and continued through the ealy postmenopause. For example a study with 2000 participants has shown that there was a 1.8- 2.3% annual rate of bone loss in the lumbar spine and 1.0–1.4% in the hip. Another study reported decline of 2.5% in the lumbar spine and 1.7% in the femoral neck. There is also bone loss in various skeletal sites such as forearm etc. FSH level and oestrogen are associated with perimenopausal and menopausal bone loss.

Life style change can help prevent bone loss and consequent bone fracture. These include a well-balanced diet, regular exercise, smoking cessation, avoidance of excessive alcohol consumption and intake of calcium and vitamin D. Acupuncture can help with osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.

References

Wilkinson HN &Hardman MJ Maturitas (2017) 103:60-64. doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.

Gameiro CM et al (2010) Maturitas 67:316-320

Aleem FA Maturitas (1985) 7:329-34.

Petraglia F, Fertil Steril. (1985) 44(5):615-21.

Lo JC et al Obstet Gynecol Clin North Am (2011) 38:503-17

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Rib pain and muscle cramps around the rib cage

Rib cage known as thoracic cage is formed by vertebral column, ribs and sternum. It encloses the heart, big blood vessels and lungs and protects them from damage. There are 24 ribs in human. Rib cage is attached by muscles of the neck, thorax, abdomen and back and covered by the fascia and the skin.

Rib cage pain can happen. The pain can be sharp, dull or achy. It can be caused by heart and lung conditions, fracture of ribs and other bone conditions. If you have rib cage pain, you need to see doctor to find out the underlying causes. Rib cage fascia inflammation and muscle spasm are a common cause of rib cage pain.

Muscles attached rib cage

Intercostal muscles are the muscles between ribs. They move rib cage and play an important role in breathing. Other muscle attached the ribs include that the serratus anterior muscle is a broad, curved muscle located on the side of the chest; the pectoralis minor muscle is the smaller of the two sets of muscles that connect the bones of the chest to the shoulder and upper arm; the external abdominal obliques have their origins along the lateral ribs 5 through 12 and internal abdominal obliques.

The sternum or the breastbone, is a long, narrow flat bone at the front of the rib cage. The muscles attached the sternum include the sternocleidomastoid, pectoralis major, sternohyoid, and sternothyroid muscles. The xiphoid process is the lower end of the sternum provides an important attachment point for the tendons of the diaphragm, rectus abdominis, and transverse abdominis muscles.

Acupuncture can help rib cage pain and rib cage muscle spasm.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Masseter muscle and tooth pain

One of the strongest mastication muscles is masseter muscle. It consists of two heads: superficial head starts from the maxillary process of the zygomatic bone and the anterior two thirds of the inferior border of the zygomatic arch and inserts into the angle of the mandible and inferior half of the lateral surface of the ramus of the mandible; the deep head starts from the posterior third of the lower border and from the whole of the medial surface of the zygomatic arch and inserts into the upper half of the ramus of the mandible. This muscle involves jaw movement. It could be a source of toothache and tooth hypersensitivity to stimuli such as heat and cold. Also the pain over the eyebrow, ear and sinusitis can be caused by masseter muscle. Acupuncture can help release the pain.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

The science of acupuncture

Why your back hurts? Why acupuncture helps?

Abdominal muscles

Apart from travers abdominis and rectus abdominis, there are other two muscles on the abdominal wall: the external abdominal oblique and internal abdominal 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. Acupuncture can help to release the pain.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Transverse abdominis muscle and abdominal pain

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. Acupuncture can help release the pain.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Expression muscles on the face

Expression muscles (mimetic muscles) are a group of muscles on the face which control facial expression. They are innervated by the facial nerve. They are different from other muscles. They attach to the bones at one end and attach to the skin at the other end. When they contract, the skin moves and is folded forming the wrinkle we see on the skin surface. There are five groups of expression muscles. Nasal group includes procerus muscle, nasalis muscle, depressor septi nasi muscle; Ocular group includes corrugators supercilli muscle, orbicularis oculi muscle; oral group includes orbicularis oris muscle, buccinators muscle, metalis, depressor labii inferiors muscle, depressor anguli oris muscle, risorius, levator anguli oris, zygomaticus major and minor muscles, levator labii superioris, levator labii superioris alaeque nasi muscle; other group includes occipitofrontalis muscle; auricular muscles includes anterior, superior and posterior auricular muscles, and temporoparietalis muscle.These muscles are responsible for facial wrinkles and facial tension. Acupuncture relaxes these muscle, gets rid of the wrinkles and releases the tension.

Friday, 6 October 2017

The rectus abdominis muscles and abdominal pain

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 delevering 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. Acupuncture is the effective treatment to get rid of the trigger points and release the symptoms.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Dermal fillers VS cosmetic acupuncture

Dermal fillers VS cosmetic acupuncture

Dermal fillers or injectable fillers are soft tissue fillers which can be injected into the skin to help fill in facial wrinkles and restore a smoother appearance. Most of the fillers are temporary because they are eventually absorbed by the body. The effect lasts for about six months or longer. There are many different types of fillers; some are natural and some are synthetic, but they all work in similar way to improve the appearance of skin aging. They fill in wrinkles including fine lines and deep creases on the face or lips. plump up the cheeks and contour the face such as jaw line. Common side effects of dermal filler procedure include bruising, redness, pain or itching. Less common side effects include infections or allergic reactions, which may cause scarring and lumps that may require surgical correction. Serious side effects include such as blindness due to retrograde embolization into the ophthalmic and retinal arteries; delayed skin necrosis as a complication of embolization.

Cosmetic acupuncture can eliminate some wrinkles, improve facial muscle tone, improve skin texture with tighter pores, and decrease sagging around the eyes, cheecks, chin, lift droopy eyelids, face and mouth and clear age spots.

Acupuncture helps regeneration of healthy skin cells, increase nutrition to the skin's surface, improves the quality of the skin and enhances a healthy glow, stimulates normal breathing of the skin and makes skin healthy and stronger to prevent infections and clogged pores. Good skin circulation takes waste and reduces grease accumulation resulting in deep cleaning of the skin. Acupuncture stimulates the production of collagen and elastin in the skin. Recently a research suggested that wrinkles were improved significantly after facial acupuncture treatment and facial elasticity was also improved in women aged 40 and 59 years.

The side effect was mild bruising (20/140 treatment sessions; 14.28%) at the needle site. No adverse events of scarring, nerve damage, or lengthy recovery periods were observed.

References

Yun et al Evid Based Complement Alternat Med (2013) 2013:424313
Barrett Aesthet Surg J (2005) 25:419-24
Imokawa G and Ishida K Int Mol Sci (2015) 16:7753-75

Saturday, 30 September 2017

How long it takes to recover from tendon injury

Pain and burning in the affected area, decreased strength and flexibility, and pain caused by everyday activities are very common. This is often caused by tendinopathy-tendon injury.

Tendon is a tough band of fibrous connective tissue that usually connects muscle to bone. It is responsible to transmit muscle force to the bone. A healthy tendon is up to twice as strong as the muscle, making the body of the tendon unlikely to tear before the muscle unless the tendon has already been weakened by degenerative changes. The effects of ageing, wear and tear, genetic pre-disposition and inflammation are known factors contributing to tendon injuries. Injured tendon can cause pain, loss of limb function and prevent exercise and activities of daily living. Injured tendons heal by fibrotic repair and are highly prone to re-injury.

Tendons consist of collagens, proteoglycans, glycoproteins, water and cells. It takes over 100 days to make new collagen.

The healing time for injured tendon varies depending on whether treatment starts with early presentation or chronic presentation. Healing time for acute injury can be a few days to 6 weeks. Treatment at an early stage can be as brief as 6–10 weeks. Once it becomes chronic the treatment can take 3–6 months. The effective treatment might take up to 9 months when it is chronic. Knowing these timelines is part of creating an effective treatment plan.

References
MacPherson H et al (2016) Pain Oct 17 Epub ahead of print

New ebook release

Energy, fatigue and acupuncture by [Ju, Dr Maggie]

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Hot flushes treatment HRT vs acupuncture

Hot flushes are the most common symptoms of menopause. Most women experience hot flushes going through the menopause. Women with hot flushes can have sudden feeling of heat and sometimes a red, flushes face and sweating. If this happens at night, they are called night sweats. It may disturb sleep. The severity varies from person to person. Some women have occational hot flushes, while others have it every hour. Hot flashes happen when the bloodvvessels near the skin's surface dilate to cool, making you break out in a sweat. Some women have hot flushes for a very short period of time during menopause, while others may have it for several years or for the rest of their lives. The cause of hot flushes is not clear. They may be caused by hormone changes affecting the body’s temperature control. Recent study has shown that beta endorphins level is low when women have hot flushes.

Hormone replacement therapy known as HRT is recommended by doctors. It can help with hot flushes in many women and other symptoms including vaginal dryness and mood problems. When you stop HRT treatment the hot flushes may come back. Also there is risk of taking HRT including risk of blood cloting, breast cancer, endometrial cancer.

Hot flush, acupuncture is a good choice of treatment

Due to the risk of HRT, an alternative treatment is a good choice. Acupuncture is an effective treatment for hot flushes and is recognised as an effective way to reduce hot flush and there are no side effects and no risk of cancer. The possible mechanism is that acupuncture releases beta endorphins in the body. Borud et al performed a randomised controlled trial to study effectiveness of acupuncture for hot flush. 10 sessions of acupuncture were given to acupuncture group and advice on self-care was for control group. The results showed that acupuncture group has significant improvements in hot flush, sleep and other symptoms. Borud also analysed 16 clinical trial studies. Some studies showed that acupuncture reduces about 50% in hot flush frequency comparing with no specific treatment; the effect of acupuncture on frequency is smaller than that oestrogen therapy. They concluded that acupuncture reduces hot flush. Sunay D et al carried out a sham controlled clinical trial to investigate effect of acupuncture on hot flush and hormone levels. They not only showed that acupuncture relieved hot flush, but also showed that acupuncture lowered LH levels, increased oestrogen levels.

There are other promising research data supporting the effectiveness of acupuncture in hot flushes in menopausal women. Recently Baccetti et al from Italy conducted a randomized trial to investigate the effect of acupuncture treatment for hot flushes. One hundred women in spontaneous menopause with at least three episodes of hot flushes daily were randomly allocated to two treatment groups (50 per group): Women in group A were given diet, self-massage training, and treatment with acupuncture, and women in group B (the control group) were given the same diet and self-massage training. 6 weeks acupuncture treatments were offered for these women. They found that treatment with acupuncture significantly reduced the occurrence of hot flushes and sudden sweating. They also found that other symptoms including sleep disorders, tightness in the chest, irritability, bone pain, feeling depressed were also significantly improved after acupuncture treatments. They suggested that Acupuncture in an integrated system that includes therapeutic techniques such as diet therapy and Tuina self-massage can be used to treat hot flushes and selected symptoms in postmenopausal women.

A study of acupuncture on hot flushes was performed by Borud EK et al from the National research Center in Complementary and Alternative Medicine University of Tromso Norway in 2006/2007. There were 267 participants with hot flashes. Mean age was 53.8 year old. 134 women were in acupuncture group receiving 10 sessions of acupuncture treatment over 12 weeks. The most frequently used 10 acupuncture points were SP6, HT6, KI7, KI6, CV4, LU7, LI4, LR3, ST36 and KI3. 133 women were in control group receiving self care only. In acupuncture group 67 women responded to the acupuncture treatment. 64 women did not respond to the treatment. There were no serious side effects found in acupuncture treatments.

Acupuncture is for hot flashes in patients with cancer

Acupuncture is suggested to treat hot flushes in women with breast cancer and men with prostate cancer. How long does the effect last after the end of the acupuncture treatment period? Recently researchers analysed existing data including 172 patients. The data has shown that the average reduction of hot flashes from the start of acupuncture to the end of acupuncture was 43.2%. The 153 of 172 patients were followed up. After 3-9 months (average 5.8 months) from the end of the treatment period 45.6% of the patients remain at the same level of reduction. From this existing data, it can be seen that acupuncture effect on the hot flashes could last at least 3 months.

References

Borud EK et al Acupunct Med (2009) 27:101-10

Borud EK et al Menopause (2009), 16: 484-93

Borud E et al Auton Neurosi (2010), 157: 57-62

Sunday D Acupunct Med (2011), 29: 27-31

Baccetti S et al J Altern Complement Med (2014) May 14

Frisk JW et al Support Care Cancer 2014 Jan 30

Monday, 18 September 2017

Genital pain and pelvic pain after childbirth

Genital pain and pelvic pain are common in the early postpartum period and the pain can last much longer. A recent research has shown that 50% of the participants with genital or pelvic pain last three or more months. 10% continued to experience pain that had begun after they last gave birth. This pain was described at various locations (e.g., vaginal opening and pelvic area), as moderate in intensity and unpleasantness, and most often as burning, cutting, or radiating. Although it was triggered by both sexual and nonsexual activities, none of the mothers affected were receiving treatment. They concluded that postpartum genital and pelvic pain persists for longer than a year for a significant percentage of mothers. Women with a history of other chronic pain appear to be particularly vulnerable to developing persistent genital or pelvic pain. Do you know acupuncture can help this condition? Why live with the pain without treatment?

References
Paterson lq et al J Sex Med (2009) 6:215-21

Friday, 15 September 2017

How the body heal itself? Acupuncture accelerates the process

Connective tissues in the body

Connective tissue is the tissue between organs and tissues and it provides structural and metabolic support for other tissues and organs. It links whole body together. All connective tissue consists of three main components: elastic and collagenous fibers, ground substance and cells. Cells are spread through an extracellular fluid. Variations of the fibers and ground substance determine the property of the tissues. For example, Bones, tendons, cartilages have specific forms of fibers and ground substance. There are three types of connective tissues: loose connective tissue, dense connective tissue and special connective tissue such as bone, cartilage adipose, reticular connective tissue and blood etc. Loose connective tissue contains many cells, a loose arrangement of fibers and moderately viscous fluid substance such as the tissue in lymph gland. Dense irregular connective tissue contains a dense network of collagenous fibers arranged irregularly, for example the tissues in joint capsules and muscle fascia are this type of tissue. Dense regular connective tissue which is a special connective tissue contains cells and all aligned fibers and it is found in tendons and ligaments.

Loose and dense irregular connective tissue provides a medium for oxygen and nutrients to diffuse from capillaries to cells and carbon dioxide and waste substances to diffuse from cells back into capillaries. They protect organs from stretching and tearing forces. Special connective tissue’s function depend on the types of the tissues.

Fascia is connective tissue made up with collagen. Fascia can be seen between muscles, bones, ligaments and other internal organs.

The deep fascia is a highly vascular structure with a superficial and a deep layer, each with an independent rich vascular network of capillaries, venules, arterioles, and lymphatic channels. The presence of mast cells in deep fascia suggests a protective role similar to other connective tissues. The deep layer has few elastin fibers but does have myofibroblasts, suggesting contractile ability. Any active contraction would need to be controlled by a nerve supply and, indeed, one finds myelinated and unmyelinated nerve axons and Schwann cells in these deep fascial layers.

Any active contraction would need to be controlled by a nerve supply and, indeed, one finds myelinated and unmyelinated nerve axons and Schwann cells in these deep fascial layers. The deep fascia is not just a tough barrier structure of collagen and elastin, but is a metabolically active vascular layer which provides gliding and protective functions(16). Deep fascia has parallel longitudinal collagen bundles and rudimentary elastic laminae, giving it both high tensile strength and elasticity. At the junction between the deep fascia and the muscle, without any special secretory cells, the fascia is able to maintain a lubricating layer of hyaluronic acid (hyaluronan) which, like a hydraulic fluid, allows sliding between the fascia and neighboring muscle. However, when the epimysium is disrupted in surgery, overlying fascia does not remain distinct and does not create a gliding layer over the scar(17). More recent findings show that while hyaluronic acid is a lubricant, breakdown products of this large molecule are themselves tissue irritants(18), and fragments from collagen, elastin, and laminins in the extracellular matrix also modulate activities of inflammatory cells

The architecture of the fascia allows continuity of nerves, blood, and lymph vessels between the sliding tissues. With trauma to the muscle, the overlying fascia no longer produces the sliding layer of hyaluronan. Restoring this natural sliding mechanism becomes the next task for the manual therapist.

Fascia, meridians and acupuncture

Under the skin there is a sheet of connective tissue called fascia. Fascia is mainly made up of collagens and it surrounds the muscles and other internal organs. It can be seen between muscles, bones, ligaments and other internal organs. There are three types of fascia, superficial, deep and visceral fascia. Fascia are flexible and are resistant to tension force, this is because the collagen fibers produced by fibroblasts in the fascia are arranged in a wavy manner. Because of the fascia flexibility, it can transmit mechanical force throughout the body and prevent the body from injury. Fascia also provides support to the nerves and blood vessels in the fascia. Fascia is innervated by sensory nerve endings. If fascia is damaged and/or inflamed, it will lose its wavy pattern and flexibility, fasical adhesion and scaring will cause stiffness and pain.

In Chinese medicine, there is a concept of meridians through which the energy will flow throughout the whole body, but the anatomical basis of meridians is not resolved. The recent research data from scanning connective tissue has suggested that fascia network is clearly matched with meridian network. Disruption of fascia can trigger local inflammation and block energy flow causing pain. Acupuncture can reduce inflammation and unblock the meridians improving energy flow.

Chronic pain recovery, fascia remodelling and acupuncture

Nerve endings are surrounded by fascia tissue and play an important role in pain regulation. Disruption of fascia can stimulate pain receptors and provoke inflammation. Recently chronic low back pain has been suggested starting from the fascia inflammation. Pain-related fear leads to a decreased movement, connective tissue remodeling, inflammation, nervous system sensitization and further decreased mobility. The Lumbar Fascia cross the entire lower back region, and is a key component. The lumbar fascia is thickened in patients with chronic low back pain leading to stiffness of the back. Fascia remodelling is a healing process of recovery. Application of acupuncture helps fascia remodelling and reversing the abnormality of fascia.

How the body heals itself

Tissue repair is involved in the healing process which allows restoration of injured tissue. There are four phases during the healing process: blood clotting, inflammation, tissue growth (proliferation) and tissue remodeling (maturation). Blood clotting is initiated within a few minutes of injury. Plate. The inflammatory phase begins with damage to the capillaries, which triggers the formation of a blood clot and the various recruited cells to migrate into wound, such as inflammatory cells (neutrophils and macrophages), fibroblasts and endothelial cells and damaged tissue and cells, bacteria and other debris are cleared out. In proliferation phase, new blood vessels are formed and new tissue cells are crawling onto the top of the wound bed. Meanwhile the wound contract by gripping the wound edge to reduce the size of the wound and bring the tissues closer; new capillaries deliver nutrients and oxygen for the development of granulation tissue and proliferation of fibroblasts. Fibroblasts differentiate to myofibroblasts which have contractile properties containing stress fibres. The last phase of healing is regeneration and scar formation which is involved in a progressive remodelling of the granulation tissue. In this phase many enzymes and their inhibitors play a major role. Vascular cells and myofibroblasts are reduced in numbers. In the final stage, there are two separate processes: regeneration and replacement. In regeneration process, the new tissue completely restored the portions of damaged tissue to their normal state. collagen is realigned and cells no longer needed are removed. In replacement type of healing, severely damaged tissues are replaced by connective tissue forming scarring.

The healing process can become abnormal. These abnormal repair processes are the result of an impaired remodelling of the granulation tissue. If there is the noxious stimulus, excessive extracellular matrix deposition and the continued presence of myofibroblasts is observed. This excess of extracellular matrix deposition leads to the development of organ fibrosis. The installation and persistence of fibrosis is the consequence of an imbalance between extracellular matrix synthesis and degradation by myofibroblasts.

Acupuncture can stimulate normal healing process and restore the balance.

Acupuncture helps with tendon injury

Acupuncture is used to treat tendon injury and it improves pain and functional activity in patients with tendinopathy. This is suggested that acupuncture can modulate both anti-inflammatory and mechanotransduction molecular pathways which can increase type I collagen synthesis. Collagen synthesis is the main factor that influences tendon biomechanical properties. Therefore one reason of acupuncture for tendon healing is that acupuncture increases synthesis and subsequent reorganisation of type I collagen during tendon healing process.

References
Ludovic Micallef etc Fibrogenesis & Tissue Repair20125(Suppl 1):S5
Yu Bai et al Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 260510, 6 pages
Yu Bai et al Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 260510,
Almeida Mdos S et al Acupunct Med (2014) 32:178-82.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Beta endorphins, chronic fatigue and acupuncture

β endorphins are endogenous opioid neuropeptides and peptide hormones or endogenous morphine like substance originated from within the body. β endorphins are produced in the brain. Recent research suggested that cells of the immune system are also capable of beta-endorphin synthesis. In the peripheral nervous system (PNS), beta-endorphins produce analgesia by binding to opioid receptors and then inhibiting release of substance P, a key protein involved in the transmission of pain. In the central nervous system, beta-endorphins similarly bind opioid receptors. However, instead of inhibiting substance P, they exert their analgesic effect by inhibiting the release of GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter, resulting in excess production of dopamine. Dopamine is associated with pleasure. They decrease feeling of pain and produce a feeling of euphoria. They also modulate appetite, release sex hormones and enhance immune response. Stress and pain are the two most common factors leading to the release of β endorphins. They act on the opiate receptors in a similar way to morphine and codeine, but endorphins don’t have addiction or dependence effect. With high endorphin levels, we feel less pain and fewer negative effects of stress. The body produces endorphins by responding to exercises. Endorphin release varies among individuals, which means that two people who exercise at the same level or suffer the same degree of pain will not necessarily produce similar levels of endorphins. Acupuncture stimulates β endorphins release and reduces pain feeling and stress.

If you are tired all the time, you might have low β endorphins in immune cells. A study was involved in 16 patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. They found that β -endorphin concentrations in the immune cells of chronic fatigue patients were significantly lower than in healthy subjects. Another study on patients with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia has shown that β endorphins level was significantly lower in these patients. Acupuncture releases β endorphins and is beneficial to patients with chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia.

References
Adam S Sprouse-Blum etc Hawaii Med J 2010, 69:70-71
Conti F et al Clin Exp Rheumatol (1998) 16:729-32
Panerai AE et al Clin J Pain (2002) 18:270-3

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Acupuncture in Press

Back pain is a very common condition. Many people take painkillers to help. Do you know that drugs are no longer the first line of treatment for back pain, but acupuncture is? The American College of Physicians (ACP) has announced that drugs should no longer be the first line of treatment. Instead of reaching for paracetamol or ibuprofen, you should try treatment such as heat (superficial), massage or acupuncture.

References
https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/feb/27/do-painkillers-offer-any-help-for-back-pain

Monday, 11 September 2017

Temporal muscle, jaw pain and acupuncture

The temporal muscle is a broad fan shaped muscle on each side of the head covering much of the temporal bone. It is one of the muscles involved in jaw movement and is the most powerful chewing muscle of the temporomandibular joint. You can see and feel the muscle contracting while the jaw is clenching and unclenching. The muscle is innervated by a branch of trigeminal nerve. This muscle is likely to be involved in jaw pain, teeth pain, facial pain and headaches. Dental work and chewing gum can lead to trigger points in the temporal muscle. These trigger points can cause pain in the side of the face in temple region and the pain can radiate to the face, eye brow, jaw, upper teeth, head and neck. Acupuncture can help release the pain.

Hamstring muscle strain and acupuncture

The hamstring muscle group is made up of three separate muscles: the semitendinosus, semimembranosus and biceps femoris. They originate from the lower part of the pelvis, lie on the back of the thigh and insert into the back of the shin bone. They mainly bend the knee and extend (straighten) the hip joint when contracting. Hamstring strain is a very common condition. When the muscles are pulled, a sudden sharp pain at the back of the thigh can be felt. This pain is sudden onset often after certain activity. The muscle will often feel tight and tender and go into cramp. Walking may be painful. In severe case, there could be swelling and bruising. It is likely to get hamstring strain, if the activities involved in hamstring such as running, jumping or sudden stopping and starting; if you don’t warm up before exercising, if the muscles in front of the thigh are tight since they pull the pelvis forward and tighten the hamstring, if glutes are weak, Glutes and hamstring work together weak glutes can make hamstring overloaded and become strained. Acupuncture can reduce the pain and help hamstring recovery.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Fighting fatigue, caffeine vs exercises, acupuncture can help

Many people drink coffee to help them keep their energy level up. A cup of coffee improves attention, alertness, reaction time, and mood, especially when you are tired. Why does coffee have such effect? That is because of the caffeine contained in the coffee. Caffeine can stimulate the brain to make you feel more energetic and more awake; caffeine increases urination, increases release of acid in the stomach and increases blood pressure. There are many side effects of caffeine, such as insomnia, headaches, dizziness, restless, shakiness, anxiety, dehydration, abnormal heart rate. If you stop taking caffeine, you could experience withdrawal symptoms including headaches, drowsiness, fatigue, irritability, difficulty of concentrating, nausea etc. Other risks of taking caffeine include lower risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity, but may increase cholesterol bone loss and rheumatoid arthritis.

A brief cardiovascular exercise wakes you up, speeds mental processes, and enhances memory storage and retrieval. Exercise has multiple long-lasting positive effects on physical fitness and function, cognition, mood, and behavior. All of these effect helps reduce fatigue and no side effects.

Life style, fatigue and acupuncture

Apart from physical and psychological causes of fatigue, certain life style can make you feel tired, for instance, drinking too much alcohol, having bad diet, less of sleep, stress. You can help yourself with life style change to gain more energy.

Drink less alcohol, Although a few glasses of wine in the evening helps you fall asleep, you sleep less deeply after drinking alcohol. The next day you’ll be tired, even if you sleep a full eight hours.

Eat healthy diet, eat more fruits and vegetables to intake enough minerals and vitamins which are essential for biochemical reaction in the body. Eat regularly. Five essential group of food: Fruits and vegetable; starchy foods like potatos, bread, rice, or pasta; proteins foods like fish, eggs, meat, beans milk; unsaturated fat, unsaturated oils, omega3 etc; high fiber food like fruits,vegetables, beans, brown rice, whole meal etc.

Sugar and fatigue

There are two types of sugar: simple sugar and complex sugar. Simple sugar is digested quickly and release sugars rapidly into the bloodstream. It gives you a rush of energy which wears off quickly. Fluctuation of blood sugar too much can make you feel tired. Simple sugars are found in foods such as sweets, cakes, biscuits, chocolate, and some fizzy drinks and juice drinks. These are the sugary foods you should cut down on. Sugars also occur naturally in foods such as fruit, vegetables and milk, but you don't need to cut down on these types of sugars. Complex sugars are present in starchy foods such as potatoes, bread, cereals and pasta. They're a good source of energy and the main source of a range of nutrients. They release energy gradually. Starchy foods should make up just over a third of everything you eat.

Drink more water, cut out caffeine, caffeine may make you not sleep well. Cut down caffeine can help you sleep. Dehydration can make you tired. Drinking more water to keep the body hydrated.

Sleep well, go to bed regularly and take some time relax before sleep. These can help sleep quantity and quality.

Lose weight, if you are overweight and you feel tired, you need to lose weight.

Exercises, You might feel too tired to exercise, however in the long run exercise will help with fatigue and make you feel less tired.

Reduce stress, acupuncture is an efficient way to reduce stress.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Oestrogen and menopause

Menopause is when a woman’s periods stop permanently. This could be a life change in the women. As women are approaching menopause, the ovaries function is declining and the body makes less oestrogen and progesterone. Eostrogens are produced in adrenal glands and fat instead of ovaries. The periods become irregular and less frequent and eventually stop. Menopause occurs naturally when a woman is in her 50s, but some women may experience early menopause in their 30s or 40s. Due to hormones change, there are some symptoms associated with it. The most common symptoms is hot flushes --- suddenly feeling hot and going red in the face. These may be associated with bouts of sweating during the day as well as at night. It is also common to find that the vagina feels dry and uncomfortable, which may make sex painful. Other symptoms include tiredness, irritability, trouble sleeping, feeling depressed and less interest in sex.

For most women, menopause is not an illness, but a phase of natural transition in later life. Sometimes the symptoms associated with menopause can be distressing and they may last for several years. If you are bothered by the menopause symptoms, you need to do something to help. Acupuncture is a natural way to help to reduce menopause symptoms such as hot flushes etc.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

What is hormone?

Hormones are produced in the endocrine glands. There are many endocrine glands in the body, such as the pituitary gland, thyroid, adrenal glands, and pancreas, testis in men ad ovaries in women. These glands produce specific chemicals and these chemicals act on the target organs and play a role in body function such as growth, metabolism, sexual function, reproduction and mood etc. Hormones are powerful molecules and only a tiny amount can cause big changes in the body. Too much or too little hormones can cause serious conditions. For example, if ovaries don’t produce enough hormones ie oestrogen and progesterone, it can cause infertility. If pancreas does not produce enough insulin, it can cause diabetes.

Monday, 21 August 2017

How your face changes with aging?

Face changes when people grow older. This change starts as early as in 30’s year old. This change not only happens on the surface of the skin, but also underneath the skin surface such as fat, muscle and bone etc. Loss fat volume and muscle mass on the face makes the face loss its fullness. Fat pulls downwards and the skin becomes loose and sagging due to gravity and muscle force. Bone also losses its mass and muscles are shortened and straightened. Corners of the eyes and mouth droop, tip of the nose droops as well and ears become longer. Of course, wrinkles, various spots and pigmentation appear on the face.

Environmental factors can speed up aging process: such as hormonal imbalance, sun exposure, smoking, stress, diet, diseases etc. This makes people look older than their age.

Acupuncture has anti-aging effect and rejuvenates your face. All my patients with facial acupuncture love it.

Skin aging, skin blood flow and facial acupuncture

Skin blood flow significantly decreased with increase in age. Skin blood flow is 40% less at age 65 than at age 25. This is because skin blood flow decreases with decreased pumping blood from heart; skin blood flow significantly decreased with increase in total cholesterol and systolic blood pressure; less blood is redirected to the skin from other part of the body; blood vessel movement is impaired with aging and blood vessels are not relaxed to increase the blood flow.

Acupuncture increases blood perfusion and reduces skin aging

Acupuncture is used to treat many conditions in China. Its mechanism is based on meridian theory which is not accepted by Western medicine theory. Recent years researchers are trying to find how acupuncture works from a scientific aspect. Many research data suggested that acupuncture improves blood perfusion. For example, there was a study of acupuncture on 140 healthy volunteers. In this study, acupuncture was applied in LI4’ skin blood flow was measured using a Moor full-field laser perfusion imager before and after acupuncture stimulation. Recently study has shown that stimulating LI4 also increased facial blood flow and hand blood flow. After acupuncture of the right LI4 acupuncture the change ratio of mean blood flux in the left LI4 was increased significantly compared with the control group 60 minutes after acupuncture stimulation. Another study has shown that acupuncture at LI4 and LI11 increased blood circulation along the meridian. Study at ST36 point also has suggested increased skin blood perfusion around the acupuncture point in healthy subjects. In 22 healthy volunteers acupuncture at PC6 point increased microcirculation blood perfusion units along the meridian. Increased blood circulation was also seen at the back acupuncture point study. This also demonstrated in some conditions For example, in a study patients with dysmenorrhea were treated with acupuncture. After 10 sessions of acupuncture treatment, microcirculation was increased and the symptom scores, pain index, and visual analog scale decreased significantly in treatment group.

References
Tsuchida Y J Dermatol Sci (1993) 5:175-81

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Acupuncture can help to reduce skin aging

Skin blood flow significantly decreased with increase in age. Skin blood flow is 40% less at age 65 than at age 25. This is because skin blood flow decreases with decreased pumping blood from heart; skin blood flow significantly decreased with increase in total cholesterol and systolic blood pressure; less blood is redirected to the skin from other part of the body; blood vessel movement is impaired with aging and blood vessels are not relaxed to increase the blood flow.

Acupuncture increases blood perfusion and reduces skin aging

Acupuncture is used to treat many conditions in China. Its mechanism is based on meridian theory which is not accepted by Western medicine theory. Recent years researchers are trying to find how acupuncture works from a scientific aspect. Many research data suggested that acupuncture improves blood perfusion. For example, there was a study of acupuncture on 140 healthy volunteers. In this study, acupuncture was applied in LI4’ skin blood flow was measured using a Moor full-field laser perfusion imager before and after acupuncture stimulation. Recently study has shown that stimulating LI4 also increased facial blood flow and hand blood flow. After acupuncture of the right LI4 acupuncture the change ratio of mean blood flux in the left LI4 was increased significantly compared with the control group 60 minutes after acupuncture stimulation. Another study has shown that acupuncture at LI4 and LI11 increased blood circulation along the meridian. Study at ST36 point also has suggested increased skin blood perfusion around the acupuncture point in healthy subjects. In 22 healthy volunteers acupuncture at PC6 point increased microcirculation blood perfusion units along the meridian. Increased blood circulation was also seen at the back acupuncture point study. This also demonstrated in some conditions For example, in a study patients with dysmenorrhea were treated with acupuncture. After 10 sessions of acupuncture treatment, microcirculation was increased and the symptom scores, pain index, and visual analog scale decreased significantly in treatment group.

References
Tsuchida Y J Dermatol Sci (1993) 5:175-81

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Skin aging and facial acupuncture

How your skin changes with aging?

Skin is an organ which protects us from the environment, controls our body temperature and prevents our body from losing fluid and electrolyte balance.

Skin can be generally divided into three main parts:

The outer part (epidermis) contains skin cells, pigment, and proteins.

The middle part (dermis) contains blood vessels, nerves, hair follicles, and oil glands. The dermis provides nutrients to the epidermis.

The inner layer under the dermis (the subcutaneous layer) contains sweat glands, some hair follicles, blood vessels, and fat. Each layer also contains connective tissue with collagen fibers to give support and elastin fibers to provide flexibility and strength.

There is a network of blood vessels in the two layers of the skin which provides oxygen and nutrients to the skin and takes away the waste from the skin.

With aging, skin changes including wrinkles and sagging skin are easily seen. These are not only changes in the aging skin. Also with aging, outer skin layer becomes thinner. Spots including age spot, liver spots etc may appear especially in sun-exposed areas. Skin’s strength and elasticity are reduced with the changes in the connective tissue. The blood vessels of the dermis become more fragile leading to bruising, bleeding under the skin. Skin becomes dry and itching because of less oil produced. The fat layer becomes thinner which reduces skin insulation and padding and one feels more difficult to keep warm in cold weather. The sweat glands produce less sweat which makes it harder to keep cool. Skin tags and warts are common with aging.

Do you know anything about facial skin and facial skin aging?

Human body is covered by the skin including face. However facial skin is different from body skin. The skin on the face is thinner than the skin on the body; fat layer is thinner as well. There are more hair follicles, sweat and oil glands on the facial skin. The skin cells on the face are generally smaller than skin cells on the rest of the body. Water is lost from the face more quickly than from the body. Pigmentation, fine lines and outbreaks can be seen on neglected skin. Degradation of collagen leads to dry skin, folds and wrinkles.

The most prominent characteristics by which skin aging is recognized are facial wrinkles and sagging. A study suggested that the average age at which distinct wrinkles occur at the corners of the eyes is 36.5 years old. Wrinkles appear to develop early and rapidly at the corners of the eyes compared with other facial sites. Wrinkles rapidly increase in depth and width in women 40 years or older and reach a plateau at the age of 60 years. The strongest age dependent decline in skin elasticity has been seen at the corners of the eyes. A comparison of wrinkle depth with skin elasticity in the same corners of the eyes revealed that wrinkle severity occurs in proportion to the reduced elasticity of human facial skin. Sun exposure can accelerate facial skin aging and create wrinkles and skin sagging.

Facial acupuncture helps facial rejuvenation.
References
Yun et al Evid Based Complement Alternat Med (2013) 2013:424313
Barrett Aesthet Surg J (2005) 25:419-24
Imokawa G and Ishida K Int Mol Sci (2015) 16:7753-75

Botox injection vs cosmetic acupuncture

Reduce wrinkles by botox injection
 
Botox is a neuro toxin. It has been used to treat various medical conditions. Recently it was approved for using in cosmetic purpose to reduce wrinkles on the face. This is because botox paralyses facial muscles. Botox injection is a procedure in which botox is injected into the desired area using injected needles. Following the treatments visible result can be seen within days or a couple of weeks. They tend to last for up to three or four months. Botox does not actually erase lines but relaxes them which means that deeper lines will become less deep and superficial lines will nearly disappear. Bleeding, bruising , swelling or redness at the site of injection is short term side effects. Other risks include headache, pain, and flu-like illness. In rare cases, there may be inappropriate facial expression, a drooping lid or eyebrow area, or double or blurred vision, dry mouth, fatigue and allergic reactions. If the toxin could travel back to the central nervous system, this would cause long-term damage.

Apart from botox injection, there is an alternative way to reduce wrinkles which is by facial acupuncture. Thin acupuncture needles are inserted in acupuncture points on the face. This is a natural way to relax facial muscles and reduce wrinkles. Also skin is better nourished by increased facial blood flow and becomes healthier. There is no side effects for acupuncture treatments apart from a small chance of little bruising which would disappear in a few days time.

What is cosmetic acupuncture, how does it work?
 
Recently, cosmetic acupuncture has been introduced as an intervention for skin rejuvenation. It is a natural and healthy way to look and feel years younger. Why acupuncture can play a role in cosmetic purpose? Treatment benefits include elimination of some wrinkles and decrease in length and depth of others, decrease of facial edema, decrease of acne, improvement of facial muscle tone, improveing skin texture with tighter pores, and decrease of sagging around the eyes, cheeks, chin, and neck, lifting of droopy eyelids, face and mouth, clearing or fading of age spots. Skin becomes more delicate and fair and at the same time overall appearance and health enhanced.

Facial mimetic muscles gradually straighten and shorten with age as a result of increased resting muscle tone and acupuncture can improve the muscle tone. Acupuncture helps regeneration of healthy skin cells, increase nutrition to the skin's surface, improves the quality of the skin and enhances a healthy glow, stimulates normal breathing of the skin and makes skin healthy and stronger to prevent infections and clogged pores. Good skin circulation takes waste and reduces grease accumulation resulting in deep cleaning of the skin. Acupuncture stimulates the production of collagen and elastin in the skin. Recently a research suggested that wrinkles were improved significantly after facial acupuncture treatment and facial elasticity was also improved in women aged 40 and 59 years.

Is there side effect of facial acupuncture? A study has shown that the most commonly reported adverse event that was clearly attributable to FCA treatment was mild bruising (20/140 treatment sessions; 14.28%) at the needle site. No adverse events of scarring, nerve damage, or lengthy recovery periods were observed.

References
http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/brain-and-nervous-system/medicines/botox.html
Yun et al Evid Based Complement Alternat Med (2013) 2013:424313
Barrett Aesthet Surg J (2005) 25:419-24
Imokawa G and Ishida K Int Mol Sci (2015) 16:7753-75

Friday, 18 August 2017

Facial acupuncture, a new moisturiser for your face

Nowadays more people have dry skin due to changes in environments such as widespread heating and cooling. This makes skin aging quickly. Moisturising of the skin becomes an important anti-aging skin care. The balance of the water content, oil content and natural moisturising factors in the skin are important factors in maintaining moisturisation. Skin moisturisers are widely used. Skin moisturisers are complex mixtures of chemicals specially designed to make the external layers of the skin softer and more pliable. They increase the skin’s hydration by reducing evaporation. Apart from skin moisturisers is there other way to moisturise skin?

Does facial acupuncture moisturise skin? Is there any scientific evidence for such type of application? A study from Japan has shown that there was increased water and oil content for facial skin after cosmetic acupuncture suggesting that acupuncture can modulate the water and oil content of the skin. Facial acupuncture is a new approach for moisturising your facial skin.

As a result your skin achieves glowing, moisturizing, smooth and healthy, wrinkles disappear and muscles are relaxed. Skin elasticity is also restored. This helps to get rid of the stress and its further impact to the skin. As a result the skin aging slows down.

References

N. Donoyama et al (2012) Acupuncture in Medicine30: 152–153,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_skin_care

Facial skin care with facial acupuncture

Sun exposure damages the skin

In the summer people enjoy under the sun. Do you know too much sun exposure can cause skin damage? The sun produces ultraviolet (UV) light which can damage the skin, and cause sunburn, dry skin, dark spots, wrinkles. The sun cause facial muscle contracting and break down collagen and elastin which contribute to wrinkle formation. As a result you can add years to your looks. Research shows that 80% skin aging is caused by UV exposure. Is there any way you can turn back the clock? Facial acupuncture helps release facial muscle contraction reducing the wrinkles, improve skin microcirculation accelerating skin repairing.

What stress does to your skin?

Stress can affect your whole body including your face. It has a powerful effect on your facial skin. It accelerates aging process though the exact relationship of stress on aging is complex and isn't fully understood. Stress causes a chemical response that makes skin more sensitive and reactive. It also causes skin dryness and dehydration which leads to fine lines and wrinkles. It causes tension of facial muscles which leads to deep wrinkles and facial pain. Stress causes an inflammatory response in the body and leads the pores to become clogged and break causing acne. Skin losses its radiance which is result of skin blood flow slowing down. Skin also losses its elasticity and forms sagging skin.

Take care of your skin to prevent from damaging and rapid skin aging. This will help keep your skin healthy and glowing and delay the natural aging process.

Protect yourself from sun. Sun exposure can cause wrinkles, age spots and increasing skin aging process.

Reduce stress. Stress makes wrinkles and accelerates skin aging process. Stress also makes skin more sensitive and causes other skin problems.

Natural skin care with facial acupuncture

Natural skin care is that you care the skin with naturally derived products however according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) all ingredients are chemicals by definition. And also natural does not have medical meaning to dermatologists.

Acupuncture in skin care. Facial acupuncture is putting acupuncture needles on the particular points on the face. Facial acupuncture is absolutely natural in facial skin care. It stimulates skin endogenous metabolisms and improves skin blood circulation and reduces stress.

Acupuncture improves skin blood supply

The skin contains a network of small blood vessels which provides nutrition to the skin. The blood vessel wall can contract and relax to regulate blood supply to the skin. If the blood vessels contract more than normal, less blood passes through them and the skin becomes pale and white. When the blood vessels are completely relaxed, this allows more blood to pass through the skin and the skin appear red. Improving skin blood flow will improve skin nutrition status.

Recently many studies have shown that acupuncture increases blood flow and microcirculation in the skin.

These are examples of the studies

Kuo TC et al Am J Chin Med (2004) 32:117-29

Mori H et al Acupunct Med (2014) 32:167-71
Hsiu H et al Microvasc Res (2013) 89:34-9
Kimura et al Acupunct Med (2013) 31:74-80

Huang T et al J Tradit Chin Med 92012) 32:40-4

Hsiu H etal Evid Based Complement Alternat Med (2011) 2011:435928

Hsiu H et al ConfProc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc (2008) 2008:2916-9

Hsiu H et al Lasers Med Sci (2009) 24:353-8

Hsiao SH and Tsai LJ J Acupunct Meridian Stud (2008) 1:42-50

Kimura K et al Am J Chin Med (2006) 34:189-96

Sandberg M et al Eur J Appl Physiol (2003) 90:114-9

Zhang D et al Sheng Wu Yi Xue Gong Cheng Xue Za Zhi

Baloqun JA Disabil Rehabil (1996) 18:523-8

In these studies, different acupuncture points are tested and all are found increased skin blood flow. One of the studies measured facial skin blood flow and skin temperature and showed the skin blood flow was increased after acupuncture treatments.

These studies provided scientific evidences for the application of facial acupuncture to improve facial skin blood flow and nutrition. Acupuncture is potentially a new approach to contribute to anti aging.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Spinal nerves and acupuncture

Spinal nerves are mixed nerves carrying motor, sensory and autonomic nerve fibers and conducting signals to innervate whole body. There are 31 pairs of spinal nerves which are on each side of the spinal column. They are divided into four groups by their location: eight pairs of cervical nerves at the neck, twelve pairs of thoracic nerves at the upper back, five pairs of lumbar nerves, five pairs of sacral nerves and one pair of coccygeal nerves. Motor nerves innervate muscles and bring nerve signals to the muscles to perform motion task. Sensory nerves innervate organs, carry different sensory signals to the spinal cord and the brain. Autonomic nerves innervate internal organs such as smooth muscles and glands and a control system for internal organ function such as cardiac vascular system, respiratory system, digestive system, urinary system and reproductive system. If there is a problem with the neck and back, this may irritate autonomic nerves and have related symptoms, such as abnormal urination, infertility, indigestion, diarrhea or constipation etc. If this is the case, acupuncture can help.

Monday, 7 August 2017

How tendon changes with aging

Aging is natural and inevitable. The rate of aging is highly individual and depends on many factors, including genetics, lifestyle, and former disease processes. The degenerative changes can be seen in late thirties. Tendon also has aging changes. There are many cellular and vascular changes within the aging tendon. As a result the aged tendon becomes weaker than it used to be and more likely to tear or get overuse injury, when there is increased stress and strain. With aging process, the density of tendon cells decrease and nucleus becomes bigger, long and thin; cell metabolic activity decreases such as protein and amino acids synthesis. Extracellular changes occur with aging: for example, Elastic fibers and water content decrease which contribute to the tendon stiffness and gliding reduction; collagen content changes little, but the relative amount of collagen, volume density and mechanical stiffness increase due to decrease of water content; collagen synthesis and mechanical properties, solubility decrease. Blood Vessels in tendon change. Tendon blood flow and the number of capillaries per unit of surface area decrease with increasing age. The decreased arterial blood flow and thus decreased nutrition and oxygen transport have been suggested to be the main etiological factors behind the age-related tendon degeneration.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Acupuncture is effective to reduce stress

Stress is a part of every person's life. Research by the American College Health Association's National College Health Assessment indicates that in 2015, 42.8% students reported more than average stress in the past 12 months, with 10.7% reported being under tremendous stress. Furthermore, 30% of college students reported that stress had negatively impacted academic performance, and 76% of students reported feeling overwhelmed with all they had to do. A research studied effectiveness of acupuncture in the perception of stress specifically in patients who study or work on a large urban college campus. All participants were allocated into two groups: acupuncture group ad control group. Each participant completed the Cohen's global measure of perceived stress questionnaire at five timepoints: prior to treatment, at 6 week treatment, at 12 weeks which is the completion of treatment, 6 weeks post completion, 3 months post completion of the treatment. There was no difference in mean stress score between acupuncture group and control group pretreatment. Significant improvement of the stress score was observed in acupuncture group started from 6 week treatment and last for 3 months when the study completed.

References
Stefanie Schroeder et al (2017) J Acupunct Meridian Stud 2017 Jun;10(3):165-170. doi: 10.1016/j.jams.2017.01.002. Epub 2017 Jan 16.

Facial acupuncture increases brain blood flow

A new research studies the effect of facial acupuncture on brain blood flow. In this study brain blood flow and heart rate were measured before and after acupuncture treatment. The result has shown that brain blood flow was significantly greater in the brain more specifically in the prefrontal cortex in the acupuncture group. Heart rate was reduced.

References
Waki H et al Acupunct Med (2017) Aug 1. pii: acupmed-2016-011247. doi: 10.1136/acupmed-2016-011247. [Epub ahead of print]

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, adrenal fatigue and acupuncture

Stress causes changes of many systems in the body. In response to stress, the level of various hormones changes, such as glucocorticoids, catecholamines, growth hormone and prolactin. This allows the body to cope with stress situation. Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis consists of a serial of endocrine organs including hypothalamus, pituitary gland and adrenal glands. In response to stress, this axis is activated to promote survival. Stimulation of this axis results in hypothalamic secretion of corticotrophin-releasing factor (CRF). CRF then stimulates the pituitary to adrenocorticotropin (ACTH), 8-lipotropin and 3-endorphin. Plasma levels of these hormones can increase two- to fivefold during stress in humans. ATCH stimulates adrenal glands to produce glucocorticoids which are a class of steroids. cortisols stimulate the formation of glucose and activates antistress and anti-inflammatory pathways. Stimulation of the pituitary-adrenal axis is also related to release of catecholamines which increased cardiac output, skeletal muscle blood flow etc.

Two small adrenal glands are above the kidneys. These glands produce various hormones. As mentioned above, cortisol is one of them and it helps the body deal with physical and psychological stress. Adrenal fatigue is not a proven medical condition but a description. When you are stressed, your adrenal glands might not be able to work properly. This may cause you to feel very tired. However there is no evidence there is anything wrong with the adrenal glands and also there is no specific investigation or treatment for adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue is a term applied to a collection of nonspecific symptoms, such as body aches, fatigue, nervousness, sleep disturbances and digestive problems etc. Acupuncture can help to improve these symptoms.

If you suspect that your fatigue is caused by adrenal insufficiency, you can get adrenal glands checked by blood tests. Adrenal insufficiency (Addison's disease) refers to inadequate production of hormones by adrenal glands. Signs and symptoms of adrenal insufficiency may include: fatigue, body aches, unexplained weight loss, low blood pressure, lightheadedness, loss of body hair, skin discoloration (hyperpigmentation).

Monday, 10 July 2017

Drowsiness and excessive sleepiness

Drowsiness refers to feeling abnormally sleepy during the day. People who are drowsy may fall asleep in inappropriate situations or at inappropriate times. Many conditions can cause drowsiness, such as, chronic pain, diabetes, insomnia sleep apnea underactive thyroid, depression, anxiety etc. Life style such as night shifts, not sleep long enough, alcohol abuse and stress etc can also cause drowsiness.

Idiopathic hypersomnia (unexplained daytime sleepiness) is a condition in which excessive sleep or sleepiness interferes with everyday life. There is no underlying cause found. People with this condition are sleepy throughout the day, despite sleeping for a very long time at night. They are struggling to stay awake during the day and are usually compelled to take frequent long naps. The excessive sleepiness may have a negative impact on the person's work, relationships and social life, and they may also have anxiety, depression, fatigue mood changes think or speak slowly poor memory and difficulty to concentrate etc. There are no medicines specifically designed to treat idiopathic hypersomnia. Why not try acupuncture?

Vitmain B12 deficiency and fatigue

Vitamin B12 (B12) is a water-soluble vitamin which means that it does not store in the body for long and is flushed away if there is excessive B12 in the body. Also the body does not make vitamin B12, it has to be obtained from food with B12, or from supplements. B12 is absorbed in distal small intestine called ileum after it is bound to a protein and a gastric intrinsic factor produced in the stomach. The richest natural sources of B12 are liver and kidney. Also B12 is presented in other animal products such as dairy products, eggs, fish, meat, and poultry. B12 plays a key role in the function of brain and nervous system apart from formation of red blood cells. Deficiency of B12 can damage the brain and nervous system. The symptoms include fatigue, weakness, lightheadedness, depression, poor memory, breathlessness, heart palpitations, headache, numbness, tingling, muscle weakness and problems walking, pale skin the smooth tongue etc. In some circumstances, one can have B12 deficiency. For example, with age, it can be harder to absorb B12; after stomach surgery (remove a part of the stomach), it disturbed B12 absorption; other conditions such as atrophic gastritis, small intestine problems can affect B12 absorption.

Vitamin D deficiency and fatigue

The main source of Vitamin D is produced by the skin when it is exposed to sunlight. Vit D is also present naturally in some foods such as some fish, fish liver oils, egg yolks, dairy and grain products. It is essential for strong bones by helping the body absorb calcium from the diet. Low vitamin D leads to bone abnormalities and worsens muscle strength. Fatigue is a common complaint and it is also described as tiredness or low energy. Most patients with fatigue have no obvious cause. The cause can only be found in 5% people with fatigue such as cancer, stroke, heart problems, respiratory conditions, liver problems, anemia, autoimmune diseases, infections etc. Low vitamin D can be the cause of fatigue. If you feel tired all the time, get vitamin D level checked out.

Folic acid deficiency and fatigue

Folic acid or folate is vitamin B9 one of the B vitamins. It is essential for the body to make DNA, RNA and amino acids; and it is essential to make red blood cells. The human body cannot make folic acid, it has to come from the food. It is important to eat food containing folic acid to get enough for the body need. Folic acid mainly contain in dark leafy vegetables, fruits, beans, peas, sprouts, dairy products, poultry, meat and liver. If you don’t take enough folic acid or you have digestive system problem which disturb folic acid absorption, you can have folic acid deficiency. The symptoms of deficiency include feeling tired, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, gray hair, mouth sores, poor growth, and swollen tongue, anemia etc.

Iron deficiency and fatigue

Iron in the human body forms complex compound with oxygen in hemoglobin and myoglobin. Hemoglobin is the iron- and oxygen-binding protein in the red blood cells and myoglobin is the iron and oxygen binding protein in the muscle cells. Iron is important in making red blood cells which carry oxygen around the body. Most people should be able to get all the iron they need by eating a varied and balanced diet. The food in rich of iron includes red meat, liver, beans, peas, leafy vegetables etc. Signs and symptoms of iron deficiency may include brittle nails, swelling or soreness of the tongue, cracks in the sides of the mouth, an enlarged spleen, and frequent infections. Iron deficiency can cause anemia. The signs and symptoms of iron-deficiency anemia depend on its severity. The most common symptom of all types of anemia is fatigue (tiredness). Fatigue occurs because your body doesn't have enough red blood cells to carry oxygen to its many parts. Anemia also can cause shortness of breath, dizziness, headache, coldness in your hands and feet, pale skin, chest pain, weakness etc.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

What do you know about the brain and acupuncture?

What do you know about the brain?

The brain is the central control organ in the body and is protected by the skull bones of the head. Though the brain function is not fully understood, it is known that it controls the activities of the body including processing, integrating and coordinating the information it receives from the sense organs and takes action accordingly, such as send signal to the body to react. Sensory nervous system is involved in receiving and processing sensory information, such as the skin is a sensory organ and senses touch, pressure, pain vibration and temperature. Motor system controls muscle function and body movement. Emotion and cognition are a part of the brain function. The brain is a big energy consumer and it receives 20% of total body oxygen and energy consumption and 25% of total body glucose utilization. The brain mostly uses glucose for energy, and deprivation of glucose causes loss of consciousness. Sleep can reduce brain oxygen and energy consumption and help restore brain energy supply.

Stimulation of acupuncture points change brain network function

Acupuncture is widely used worldwide, and its theory is based on meridian in Chinese medicine. Scientists try to study the mechanisms of acupuncture based on current science development. Guo L et al used a new technique magnetic stimulation at acupuncture point to provide a new method for studying the theory of acupuncture. They stimulated acupuncture points PC6 and recorded electroencephalograph (EEG) signals. The signals were analysed and compared between quiescent and stimulated states. They found that the network connection was increased after PC6 stimulation. Also the efficiency of information transmission was improved.

Acupuncture altered brain activity and releases low back pain

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is a new technology that is used to study brain. Pain stimulus could induce extensive activations in the limbic system [anterior cingulated cortex (ACC), periaqueductal gray (PAG), prefrontal cortex] and somatosensory system (thalamus, primary somatosensory cortex (S1), secondary somatosensory cortex (S2), posterior parietal cortices, insula, supplementary motor area, striatum, and cerebellum) areas as well as the pain matrix (S1, S2, insular, frontal lobe and parietal lobe). The pain matrix showed a strong relationship with pain, which plays an important role in the conduction and communication of pain. This can be seen changes on fMRI. Low back pain (LBP) is one of the most common clinical syndromes and affects 80–85% of people at some point in their life. Most LBP is nonspecific which does not have a definitive cause.

In a recent study, an experimental acute LBP model and fMRI was used to study the neural mechanisms of acupuncture analgesia. All LBP subjects first underwent two resting state fMRI scans at baseline and during a painful episode and then underwent two additional fMRI scans, once during acupuncture stimulation (ACUP) and once during sham stimulation, at the BL40 acupoint. They found that acupuncture induced more deactivations and fewer activations in the brain. Acupuncture can alter brain activity and this contributes to mechanism of analgesia of acupuncture to LBP.

Acupuncture response is not associated with needle sensations

Needles stimulate nerves at acupuncture points and have been used to treat illness. During the application of needling, people are experiencing different sensations. There was a study that investigated the sensations of the transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation over acupuncture points (acu-TENS) and the changes of the sensations related to changes in autonomic nervous system activity. There were 36 healthy subjects who were in three groups experimental group which was given acu-TENS on right LI4 and LI11points, control group which was given acu-TENS to bilateral kneecaps, or placebo group (sham acupuncture on right LI4 and LI11 points). There were significantly physiological changes in experimental group and control groups which were given acupuncture at different sites. There was no physiological change in placebo group which was not given active acupuncture. There was significant difference between the groups. There was no association between sensation intensity and physiological responses in any groups. From this study, we can see that even if people experience different sensation during acupuncture, they all have physiological responses to the needling.

Why different people have different sensitivity to acupuncture?

Acupuncture is used to treat variety of conditions worldwide. This is a safe intervention and effective treatment for many people, but different people have different sensitivity to acupuncture. Everyone is different, but why is that? Researchers found a scientific explanation for this. Li LM et al in China studied effect of acupuncture stimulation of Zusanli (ST36) on cerebral regional difference in healthy subjects with different acupuncture analgesia sensitivity using MRI techniques. There are 45 healthy subjects with different sensitivity to acupuncture. These people were divided into three groups: insensitive group, normal group and sensitive group. The pressure pain threshold (PPT) of the Zusanli ST 36 region before and after acupuncture stimulation at the point was assessed. And two weeks later after acupuncture stimulation, resting-state fMRI images were obtained using MRI scan to assess the cerebral regional homogeneity (ReHo). They found that there was significant increase in PPT levels in the normal and sensitive groups after acupuncture at ST36 point, while there was no change in insensitive group. In normal group there was a significant increase of ReHo in the regions including left brainstem, the right cerebellum posterior, right parahippocampa gyrus, right fusiform gyrus, left angular gyrus, temperal lobe and the left frontal lobe; and a significant decrease of ReHo in the regions including the occipital lobes and the right superior temperal gyrus after acupuncture at ST36. In sensitive group a marked increase of ReHo was found in the regions includig the left brainstem, bilateral cerebellum posterior lobes, left inferior temporal gyrus, basal ganglia, the left insular lobe, anterior cingutate, frontal lobe, inferior parietal lobule and the right supplementary motor area; decrease ReHo was found in the regions including the bilateral occipital lobes, fusiform gyrus, posterior central gyrus, the right posterior cingutate, the left temporal lobe and the left paracentral lobule. While in the insensitive group, only a significant decrease of ReHo was found in the regions including the left fusiform gyrus, left inferior temporal gyrus, bilateral postcentral gyrus, and left anterior central gyrus. So brain constitution associated needling sensation may be an important factor for acupuncture analgesia effect. Brain react differently in different people which is responsible for different sensitivity to acupuncture.

References
Shi Y et al Evid Based Complement Alternat Med (2015) 2015:210120. doi: 10.1155/2015/210120. Epub 2015 Jun 16.
Guo L et al Biomed Mater Eng 2014 24 1063-9 doi:10.3233/BME-130904
Yu DT et al Acupunct Med 2013 Nov 1.doi10.1136/acupmed-2013-010428
Li LM et al Zhen Ci Yan Jiu (2013) 38:306-13

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Lack of concentration, acupuncture can help

Most people have experienced a periodic event of difficulty concentrating. This is often accompanied with tiredness and stress. Many medical conditions can cause lack of concentration such as insomian, chronic pain, brain trauma, stroke etc. Psychological conditions can also interfere with concentration such as anxiety, depression, emotional trauma, and stress etc. However in most of cases there are no medical reasons found. Prolonged lack of concentration and feeling tired can be very frustrating. People often turn to stimulants like sugar and coffee to help.

There are many things that you can do to help to improve your brain concentrating.

Diet. Consequence of poor diet does not provide enough nutrients to the brain and this would affect brain function. Healthy diet such as nuts with high proteins is good for the brain.

Exercise. Exercise improves circulation and stimulates brain.

Vitamins. Vitamin B12 is needed to make blood cells and maintain healthy brain and nerve function and helps with memory and concentration Vitamin B12 is found in animal products such as meat, shellfish, milk, cheese, and eggs. Make sure you get enough B12 from these foods. Vitamin D also helps to maintain memory and concentration. Vitamin D is created in the skin by the natural sunlight. Make sure get enough sun shine.

Reduce stress and balance hormones. Stress and imbalanced hormones can affect brain function. Acupuncture can help reduce stress and balance hormones, improve concentration and make mind sharp.

Feeling tired, low energy? acupuncture can help

Fatigue is a very common complaint. 36% of fatigue in the general population is associated with unhealthy lifestyle or the coping skill. Recently a study from Germany investigated the relation of fatigue and perceived stress. 2483 people participated this study. 9.7% of individuals reported substantial fatigue lasting six months or longer; 25.9% of male and 34.5% of female respondents reported fatigue during the last 6 months. This study has shown that women have a higher risk of fatigue and higher rates of stress perception. The elderly (over 61 years) had the highest risk of fatigue. Marital status is significantly correlated to both fatigue and stress perception; being divorced or separated increases the probability of both. Employment status contributes only substantially to stress perception not to fatigue. Respondents with a lower socioeconomic status have significantly higher risk for fatigue than those from middle or high social classes. Poorly rated health is strongly associated with both a high stress perception and fatigue. If you feel exhausted, you are not alone. Fortunately it is not anything physically wrong at most of the time. Psychological tiredness is far more common than that caused by a physical problem. It is usually linked with mood and the accumulation of lots of little stresses in life. However before you reach a conclusion, you need to exclude physical reasons that make you tired. Many conditions can cause tiredness, such as anemia, underactive thyroid gland, diabetes, insomnia and many more. Inflammation could be the cause of your excessive tiredness. It may surprise you that you could have a problem with inflammation without knowing it. When there is fatigue, chronic inflammation is usually present somewhere in the body. It could be associated with or without chronic pain. Chronic inflammation is different from acute inflammation. Acute inflammation is characterized with heat, redness, swelling, and pain while chronic inflammation is low grade sometimes unnoticeable. Recent research has shown that the inflammatory markers such as C-reactive protein (CRP), cytokines etc. are linked with excessive fatigue, such as chronic fatigue syndrome and general fatigue. Inflammation also interacts with a part of the brain called basal ganglia and lower basal ganglia activity which makes you tired. Inflammation can affect immune system causing stress response of the body and this makes you feel tired.

Energy resources of the body

Where is energy coming from? It comes from the food we eat. This becomes general knowledge that our body’s energy comes from food we eat. There are three resources of food that provide us with energy: carbohydrates such as sugar and starch, protein, and fat. Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred and principle source of energy and they break down into glucose which is an immediate source of energy or fuel for the body especially for the brain and muscles. Fat is the storage of the energy and is the body’s most concentrated source of energy, providing more than twice as much potential energy as carbohydrate or protein. Protein is used to build, maintain, and repair body tissues, as well as to synthesize important enzymes and hormones. It is only used as small percentage of energy source. In some situations when the glycogen reserve is depleted such as when we eat too few calories daily or not enough carbohydrate, as well as during latter stages of endurance exercise, the body will sacrifice to break down protein to keep constant energy supply.

The brain is a large energy consumer. Although the brain constitutes only 2% of the body mass, it consumes 50% of total body glucose utilization. The brain does not store energy and it needs constant energy supply. On the contrary, the muscles can store energy and use it later on during exercises when more energy is needed.

How much energy does one need? This depends individually. In this case the energy is balanced. What food and how much you eat is a key step to get balanced energy. Healthy diet gives you balanced energy.

Energy balance and acupuncture

Energy balance of the body is the balance of calories obtained through eating and drinking (energy in) compared to calories burned through physical activities (energy out). Weight watch is simple and effective way to know how much energy you need and get balanced energy. If you eat food with more energy than you need, the excessive energy will turn into fat and store in the body and you gain weight. If you eat food with less energy than you need, the body will burn existing body fat to make up for the difference and you lose weight. If you eat the food with energy that equals to what you used, your weight will remain unchanged.

Many people are focusing on what they eat and how much calories are taking in from the food. What you eat is important to get balanced energy. However this is only one aspect. There are many aspects that are equally important as well. For example, food absorption of the body, this is related to digestive system function. If your digestive system is functioning well, all the nutrients can go into the body. Otherwise, the nutrients you eat just pass through without entering the body, in the case of diarrhea, for example. Blood circulates throughout the body and brings the energy to the cells to function. It is also a key step to get balanced energy. If blood circulation is poor, the nutrients will not reach the cells which need energy to do the work. You will see symptoms of blocked energy. Fatigue is a typical symptom of lack of energy.

What is detoxification?

In physiology, detoxification is a process of removal of toxic products in the body. This task is mainly carried out by liver and kidney. There are many metabolic products in the body are toxic to the body if they are accumulated. For example, free radicals reactive oxygen species are generated from normal essential metabolic processes in the body or they can be obtained from external sources such as exposure to X-rays, ozone, cigarette smoking, air pollutants, and industrial chemicals. If free radicals are accumulated in the body, this causes oxidative stress to the body and adversely alters lipids, proteins, and DNA and triggers some many illnesses. A balance between free radicals and antioxidants is necessary for proper physiological function.

Acupuncture improves body energy supply and detoxification by increasing blood circulation

System circulation is the part of the cardiovascular system. Microcirculation is blood circulation in the smallest blood vessels which comprise arterioles, capillaries and venules. Arteriole wall is made up of smooth muscles, while there are no smooth muscles on the capillary and venule wall. Lymphatic circulation consisting of lymphatic capillaries also contributes to the microcirculation function. It carries oxygenated blood away from the heart through the arteries, capillaries to the tissues of the body. It provides the functional blood supply with oxygen and nutrients to the cells to all body tissue. It picks up carbon dioxide and waste products and returns deoxygenated blood through veins back to the heart. Circulation is the key for body function. It provides energy that body needs and detoxifies the body. If some part of the body or whole body circulation is compromised, the body will not function well and illness will occur.

Acupuncture improves blood circulation and this was proved by scientific research. For example, Sandberg et al investigated the effects of acupuncture on skin and muscle blood flow. Blood flow recordings were performed intermittently from 10 min prior to the intervention to the end of the trial. They found that skin and muscle blood flow increased after acupuncture stimulation. Another example Kuo et al also studied the effect of acupuncture on skin blood flow. After acupuncture treatment skin blood flow and skin temperature increased. By increasing blood circulation, acupuncture improves body energy flow and helps with detoxification of the body. Why you are very tired? No medical causes found. Poor circulation is contributing to the fatigue. If microcirculation is poor, the organs don’t get enough oxygen and nutrients and the toxins accumulate in the organs, this could make you tired all the time. Acupuncture improves digestive function and blood circulation to help the body obtain energy and get rid of the tiredness.


References

Sandberg et al Eur Appl Physiol (2003) 90:114-9
Kuo et al Am J Chin Med (2004) 32 :117-29
Fehm HL et al Prog Brain Res (2006) 153:129-40
Kocalevent RD et al BMC Res Notes 2011 Jul 20;4:238. doi: 10.1186/1756-0500-4-238.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Hormones and pain

Many chronic pain conditions have cyclical variation. This variation is related to menstrual cycles. Clearly period pain is a typical one. Other conditions such as chronic pain syndrome, chronic pelvic pain, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), interstitial cystitis (IC) and migraine can also show cyclical variation. Research has shown that chronic pain symptoms occur when oestrogen levels are low or fall rapidly. This supports the use of the combined oral contraceptive pill (COCP) to give a more constant hormonal level can improve pain and other symptoms. β-endorphin produced in the brain had a potent analgesic effect, and up to 33 times more potent compared to morphine on a molar basis. Acupuncture treatment raises β-endorphin level and improves pain.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Spine, back pain and acupuncture

Spinal column or spine provides the main support for the body, allowing the body to stand upright, bend, and twist, while protecting the spinal cord from injury. The spine is made of 33 individual bones (vertebrae) stacked one on top of the other. Strong muscles, flexible tendons and ligaments, and sensitive nerves are surrounding the spine. Any of these structures affected by strain, injury, or disease can cause pain.

Muscles, tendons and ligaments problems are very common.

There are two main muscle groups that affect the spine are extensors and flexors. The extensor muscles which are attached to the back of the spine enable us to stand up and lift objects. The flexor muscles which are in the front and include the abdominal muscles enable us to flex, or bend forward, and are important in lifting and controlling the arch in the lower back. The ligaments are strong fibrous bands that hold the vertebrae together, stabilize the spine, and protect the discs. There are two ligaments anterior longitudinal ligament and posterior longitudinal ligaments which located in the front and at the back of vertebras separately and run from the top to the bottom of the spinal column. They prevent excessive movement of the vertebral bones. Between the lamina of each vertebra there are also ligaments attached called ligament flavum. Between adjoining spinous processes of each vertebra thin and membranous Interspinous ligament is attached. They limit the flexion of the spine. Supraspinous ligament lie on the tips of the spinous processes from the seventh cervical vertebra to the sacrum. They continue above seventh cervical vertebra with ligament nuchal. They limit the over flexion of the spine.

How the spine is related to back pain? There are many structures around spine which can be the source of back pain. For example, nerves around the spine are irritated; muscles are strained; ligaments, bones and joints are injured are worn; disc is slipped etc.

Gravity line and gravity center

The human body encounters gravity constantly in posture and movement. There is gravity line and gravity center of the body. The gravity line is located frontally along a vertical line passing through the middle of the sacrum (lower spine) and perpendicular to the ground, and laterally through a vertical line situated slightly to the rear of the femoral heads. This gravity line must fall within the base of support. The gravity center of the human body is the point where the human body rests under normal conditions without rotating, remaining balanced without active effort to remain upright. This center lies in anterior to the second sacral vertebra and it shifts following the posture and movement to keep the body in balance without falling. When the gravity line falls outside supporting base, compensation is required. Long term compensation can result in overuse the muscles and create inflammation causing pain. Such as low back pain.

Acupuncture releases back pain, have you tried acupuncture treatment?