Can Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine treat Psoriasis, Eczema or Acne?

Skin complaints such as psoriasis, eczema and acne are among the most unpleasant chronic health problems today. Not only may the condition be accompanied by severe symptoms such as intolerable itching, the appearance of affected skin can be a major issue in confidence and self esteem. Many sufferers are also concerned about the possible side effects of treatments such as steroid creams.  In understanding skin problems, Chinese Medicine not only offers effective ways of clearing the skin but also addresses these underlying issues in order to bring about a lasting improvement.

Treatments available in Chinese Medicine include:

Chinese Herbs: Herbs have a deserved and proven reputation for clearing chronic skin conditions and are probably the most effective treatment available anywhere for such problems.

Acupuncture helps to move energy in the skin and can have remarkable and rapid effects. It is best combined with Chinese Herbs for a lasting cure.

Dietary Therapy: Chinese dietary principles are an essential support to herbal therapy. A short “fast” on a limited range of healing foods is often the first step to improvement.

Massage can release blocked emotions which contribute to skin problems. Massage with Chinese healing oils is effective to rebuild skin tissue after herbs, diet and acupuncture have cleared inflammation and congestion.

Can Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine treat Arthritis?

It is estimated that at least 80% of the population will experience arthritis at some point in their life. The pain and stiffness of this debilitating condition is one of the hardest signs of ageing. The consequent loss of mobility and quality of life is equally distressing. Conventional medicine has little to offer and in the alternative health field new “miracle” cures come and go. Chinese medicine on the other hand has been treating arthritis effectively for over 2000 years. The Chinese call arthritic conditions ‘painful blockage syndrome’ and view it as obstruction in the flow of energy around the body resulting from overuse, old injuries and exposure to cold and damp occurring against a background of lowered vitality.

The methods of Chinese medicine seek to boost overall vitality and free up obstructed energy. They are effective in stopping pain, reducing swelling and inflammation and restoring joint mobility.

Rheumatoid Arthritis
The progressive joint inflammation and deformation of rheumatoid arthritis is all too common. Western medicine sees this condition as auto-immune in origin and without cure. Chinese medicine has a special understanding of such auto-immune diseases and their possible roots in long-term imbalances in diet, emotions and lifestyle.

Studies in China and elsewhere have shown that the early and effective application of Chinese medicine can encourage long term remission from rheumatoid arthritis. For people in whom rheumatoid arthritis is already well advanced Chinese medicine can offer relief from pain and slow the progress of the disease.

How does Chinese Medicine help arthritic conditions?

Acupuncture: is one of the most remarkable systems of pain relief available and offer enormous benefit to arthritis sufferers.

Chinese herbs: Individually formulated prescriptions of Chinese herbs are effective for reducing swelling and inflammation and restoring vitality. The combination of acupuncture and Chinese herbs is a particularly powerful approach to arthritis.

Chinese massage can keep joints supple and flexible and is recommended to maintain mobility once acupuncture and herbs have cleared acute symptoms.

Exercise: Qigong and Tai Chi exercises are a safe and enjoyable way of strengthening joints, increasing flexibility and releasing tension.

Diet: The Chinese Qing Dan diet, high in complex carbohydrate and fresh vegetables can have significant effect especially on rheumatoid arthritis.

Can Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine treat Hay Fever, Sinusitis or Asthma?

Hay fever or allergic rhinitis, is a chronic inflammation of the nose, throat and sinuses. It is induced by external irritants, usually pollens carried in the air. Spring hay fever is related to tree pollen, summer to grass pollen and autumn to weed pollen. Non seasonal allergies are usually due to household irritants such as dust, animal hair, droppings of the house dust mite, mould, mildew, insect stings and bites. People with pollen sensitivities have a hard time as it is difficult to avoid pollen because it is in the air that we breathe.

For many people with hay fever, spring and summer represent a real nightmare. A small number of hay fever sufferers experience symptoms that significantly interfere with everyday life are difficult to control with medication. On average about 1 person in 90 suffers badly enough to consult a doctor, and many other people have the disorder in a milder form. No one knows why certain people are hypersensitive to an otherwise harmless pollen grain or other airborne particles. People who have another allergic condition such as asthma or eczema or if any such conditions run in the family are particularly susceptible. The general increase in conditions such as hay fever and asthma may be related to the increased amount of environmental toxins and polfutants to which we are all becoming more regularly exposed. A combination of pollution in the environment and exposure to household chemicals may weaken the body’s resistance. If this occurs, it lessens the body’s ability to control its response towards allergies.

There are many preparations that can be bought over the counter or with a doctor’s prescription. However, possible side-effects and inconvenience of treatment may be more troublesome than the condition itself. Antihistamine drugs are temporarily effective for relieving hay fever symptoms. However, they should be used sparingly as they tend to dry out the mucous membranes and thereby increase sensitivity to antihistamine. After taking them for more than a month or so, they become less and less effective. The side effects of drowsiness and dryness of the nose and throat may be more troublesome than the hay fever itself. However, they don’t affect the underlying sensitivity. Nose sprays are usually of limited value and their prolonged use may actually cause symptoms or make them worse. All drug treatments merely suppress symptoms and do not alter the basic allergic reaction. Some sufferers of hay fever have ‘desensitisation’ injections. If a skin test has succeeded in identifying the offending substance then the sensitive individual is injected with increasing concentration of the allergen. This usually needs to be done over a period of two years. This treatment sometimes works well, but sometimes does not. Thankfully, acupuncture provides another avenue of relief for hay fever sufferers.

Factors which may lead to weakening of protective Qi include:

  • inherited susceptibility
  • long term use of antibiotics, oral contraceptives and hormones
  • diet rich in sugar, dairy and refined wheat products
  • stress and nervous tension, worry and anxiety
  • childhood immunisations
  • poor breathing habits

Chinese Herbs: are clinically proven in both boosting protective Qi and clearing symptoms. Acupuncture is a very old medical art. It is often associated with pain control but in the hands of a well-trained practitioner it has much broader application. The modern scientific explanation is that acupuncture stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals in the body that influence the body’s own internal regulating system. The improved energy and biochemical balance produced by acupuncture results in stimulating the body’s natural healing abilities. It can help to strengthen the body’s resistance and can regulate the body’s antigen-antibody’s reactions. This is important in helping to relieve hay fever and other allergic reactions such as asthma.

Dietary Therapy: Adoption of an appropriate diet is an essential foundation. Breathing exercises help to strengthen lungs and decongest nose. These methods will give rapid relief during the hay fever season. Although the most severe cases will need to continue herbal and dietary therapy through the following winter to bring bout lasting improvement.

Can Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine treat Premenstrual Tension and Period Pain, Infertility or Menopausal Symptoms?

For some women, menstruation may be accompanied by unpleasant symptoms for example a percentage of women experience abdominal pain, commonly referred to as ‘cramps’ and medically referred to as dysmenorrhea. Self-medication with ‘pain-killers’ may have little effect and the ‘Pill’ is often prescribed for young women. This is not the best solution. Acupuncture at the right time in the menstrual cycle, can help. It is based on the principle that our health is dependent on the balanced functioning of the body’s motivating energy, known as Qi. Qi flows throughout the body, but is concentrated in channels beneath the skin, known as meridians. The atm of treatment is to restore the balance between the equal and opposite qualities of Qi, namely the Yin and the Yang. Acupuncture a centuries old procedure, uses very fine needle to stimulate specified points, selected in accordance with the patients unique malady and basic constitution. Its strongest feature is its ability to treat conditions for which conventional medicine has no answer, no treatment and no relief other than with potential unpleasant side effects.

Another frequent problem with menstruation that some women experience is distressing physical, psychological and behavioral changes, collectively known as Pre-menstrual Syndrome (PMS). These changes may include headache, backache, fatigue, feeling bloated, breast tenderness, depression, irritability, unusually aggressive feeling and social withdrawal. Conventional medicine may treat the symptoms of PMS with diuretics, antidepressants or high doses of progesterone which make symptoms worse. TCM sees the person as an integral mind and body and so does not treat just symptoms. It stimulates the body’s natural healing potential by treating the root causes. There are no invasive procedures and drug therapies with known and unknown side effects.

At some point in a woman’s life, she will stop menstruating altogether. This is the menopause sometimes known as the ‘change of life’. Whilst menopause can be taken as an opportunity for growth and development, it can be a time of difficulty for some women. It can be a time for emotional distress, anxiety or depression with physical symptoms such as hot flushes, intermittent bleeding, palpitations, weight gain, insomnia and headaches. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) still poses many questions regarding safety especially for long term use. Menopause can be helped made much smoother through TCM. The practitioner can help bring about regulation and harmony giving the women another avenue rather than the question whether to use or not to use HRT.

Acupuncture has been used successfully to treat the above women’s health problems. It can also help other menstrual abnormalities such as irregular or heavy periods. It can help endometriosis and infertility as well as during the period through pregnancy and childbirth. Endometriosis and female infertility are two women’s health problems which have gained wide attention in recent years. The incidence of endometriosis seems to be on the rise. With more women attempting to have children later, often in their late thirties, the incidence of female infertility also seems statistically to have risen. Modern western medicines diagnosis and treatment of these two conditions is expensive, invasive and often ineffective. Treatment according to the theories of Chinese Medicine with Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine is more humane, safer and gentle, and along with changes in diet, exercise and lifestyles can be both beneficial and effective. Many people also have acupuncture as a preventative treatment on the path towards optimum health.

Most women today believe that physical or emotional symptoms before or during a period are an unavoidable burden. For some the severity of the symptoms plays havoc with work, relationships and quality of life. Conditions such as endometriosis, fibroids and cysts carry the additional concerns about fertility.

Chinese Medicine considers that gynaecological symptoms such as pain and swelling, irregularity and emotional disturbance, excessive bleeding, fatigue and infertility reflect underlying imbalances in a woman’s overall health. The primary causes relate to emotional factors, diet, lifestyle and increasingly the use of oral contraceptives, hormone therapies and other drugs. By addressing these underlying issues, Chinese Medicine does not simply alleviate symptoms but can bring about an overall improvement in health and happiness.

Therapies include:

Chinese Herbs: can usually bring about a significant and lasting improvement in PMS and period pain within three menstrual cycles. More serious conditions can also be effectively treated although the timescale may be longer. Acupuncture is a very powerful way of rebalancing the body’s energy to relieve pain, congestion and emotional tension particularly if received in the premenstrual phase.

Dietary Therapy: is an essential support to Chinese herbs and acupuncture. The focus on soya products in Chinese dietary therapy is now understood to have a beneficial effect on hormonal balance.

Massage: can release trapped emotions and tension and is an excellent way to keep healthy after herbs and acupuncture have relieved serious symptoms.

Exercise: Tai chi and Qigong help to calm the mind, circulate energy and put us in touch with our body.

Can Chinese Medicine treat Digestive Problems, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Bowel Disorders or Bloating?

We live in a world today where digestive problems are almost accepted as normal, including indigestion, ulcers, bloating, food intolerances, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, constipation, candida overgrowth, obesity etc. Conventional treatments are either rudimentary or non-existent and there is a bewildering and contradictory range of dietary advice available through books and the media.

Can Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine treat Migraines, Stress Headaches or Tension Headaches?

Although recurrent headaches and migraines are a very common problem, western medicine has little understanding of their causes. Painkillers are often the only treatment offered.

For those who suffer the misery of severe pain, nausea and sensory disturbance associated with migraines Traditional Chinese Medicine offers a clear view of why such symptoms arise and how they can be prevented. Chinese Medicine looks at the totality of a person’s health and lifestyle rather than focusing on a single symptom. While most headaches are associated imbalanced energy rising and becoming stuck in the head, this often occurs against a background of fatigue and stress, digestive problems or hormonal imbalance. The approach in Chinese Medicine is therefore firstly to address these underlying issues and then to rebalance the body’s overall energy.

The body responds to stress with a particular set of biochemical reactions called the stress response. At stressful times, the body quickly releases chemicals into the blood. This sets into motion a series of physical changes. These include a faster heart beat and breathing rate, high blood pressure and increased muscle tension. These physical changes give the body added strength, energy and alertness. They prepare the body to deal with stressful events such as giving a speech, aiding an accident victim, or fighting for fleeing from attack. For short periods there is no damage, the situation is survived and the individual can relax. However if the stress becomes chronic or out of proportion, this healthy response can become pathological. Over alertness may progress to mental strain, anxiety, insomnia and exhaustion; raised breathing rate to dysnoea or panic attacks, raised heart rate to palpitations and increased muscular tension, pain or tremor.

Some of us commonly live under a constant state of stress, continually triggering the stress response and depleting valuable reserves of energy. Those who surpass individual limits of stress suffer the consequences. Stress manifests itself in many ways. Common symptoms are headache, backache, skin disorders, gastric problems and sleeping disorders. Psychological symptoms may include depression, anxiety, poor concentration, poor memory and loss of self confidence. There is mounting evidence that chronic stress can lead to long term health problems such as hair loss, strokes, asthma, skin conditions, high blood pressure, heart disease, irritable bowel syndrome etc. Some studies indicate that as many as 60-90% of visits to ‘health care professionals’ are for stress related conditions.

The methods used In Chinese Medicine include:

Acupuncture: Acupuncture is primarily concerned with regulating the individual’s I life force, the body energy or ‘Qi’ and has a number of beneficial physiological effects. Acupuncture has a relaxation response with decreased heart rate, lowered BP, stress reduction and increased energy and tissue regeneration. It has been shown to produce a calming or tranquilizing action that is of particular interest to people in states of stress. Acupuncture can relieve feelings of anxiety and depression, which may be serious handicaps for people trying to cope with difficult domestic, social and work problems. It can give a person a feeling of well-being and self-confidence. It is an effective substitute for sleeping pill, tranquilizers, and antidepressant drugs. Acupuncture can be used in many cases not only as an alternative to these drugs but also to treat side effects and dependence. In fact a number of patients have come for acupuncture treatment specifically to come off their antidepressants. There is considerable evidence that acupuncture could substantially reduce the consumption of drugs such as Prozac.

Acupuncture can provide a safe and effective tool for stress. It will not, of course, change the circumstances of a person’s life but it will usually produce a feeling of well-being. The practitioner can help restore balance and thus protect health by identifying each individual’s unique energy profile to see where the weak spots are and where support is needed to restore balance. Acupuncture can open a window of opportunity. As the heavy feelings of stress are relieved a person feels more confidence in his ability to cope with unpleasant aspects of his life situation and make necessary changes.

Chinese Herbsare used to rebuild deficiencies in the body’s energy and correct digestive and hormonal issues.

Dietary Therapyis an essential support to acupuncture and Chinese Herbs and can on its own make a significant difference to many headaches.

Chinese Massage: can relieve much of the muscular tension which builds up in chronic headaches and effectively release trapped emotions which contribute to energy rising to the head.

Exercise: Gentle Tai Chi and Qigong exercise provides on-going support, helping us to stay relaxed and be in touch with our health.