Acupressure Acupuncture

What’s better for pain?

Acupuncture can be fantastic at reducing certain types of pain, but not all (this is important to understand).  In over a decade I can I can tell you that acupressure and Tui-na medical massage can be far more effective in treating musculoskeletal problems. The main reasons are the effects acupuncture vs acupressure has on the nervous system.

Acupuncture has a more draining/reducing effect on the body. In Chinese medicine, it is considered to be more yin than yang and is very effective at downregulating the nervous system. Whereas acupressure is more Yang in nature and has more of a strengthening effect. In most musculoskeletal pain, such as back pain, areas of the body have become weakened/vulnerable and cannot transfer strength and power/energy Qi (pronounced chi). This can lead to pain and dysfunction throughout the whole body, and this is called Qi (pronounced chi) stagnation in Chinese medicine. Anyone who has been to see me will know I use a acupressure and Tui-na medical massage to get fast effective changes in pain and strength. When I demonstrate this can sometimes seem like magic. However, it comes down to is clinical experience and understanding what modality is best of certain conditions.

So what type of pain can acupuncture help with?

As stated above any hyperactivity in the body as acupuncture relaxes or downregulates nervous system.

Currently, acupuncture is used to treat conditions like:

  • Chronic migraines
  • IBS/or stomach conditions and pain associated with it
  • Stress-induced or anxiety type pain from too much tension in the body
  • Pains associated with panic attacks
  • Palpitations and perceived tightness in the chest area
  • Overexcited nerves that have become irritated like restless leg syndrome or trigeminal neuralgia

What type of pain can acupressure and Tui na medical massage help with?

First off you must assess the body to determine the cause of pain. You must test the body(ask it questions) and check for vulnerability/weakness. Pain or joint restriction/locking that suddenly develops has absolutely nothing to do with where the problem is. For example, your neck is sore and you struggle to turn your head from left to right. I’m going to tell you your neck is only part of a problem and there are going to be other areas that have compromised. So the mantra is test do not guess!


How to calm Anxiety & Stress

There is no right or wrong way to feel at the moment, given everything that’s going on – and it’s important to acknowledge your feelings and not berate yourself if you are experiencing elevated levels of stress and anxiety.

It’s hardly surprising that you feel this way… a pandemic is something we’ve never had to deal with before and we’re muddling through the best we can and trying to find our way, adjusting to a new way of life for the time being.

What is important to remember is that this situation, as dire as it seems right now, is temporary and it cannot last forever. And there is also a lot you can do from the comfort of your own home to help you manage your feelings of stress and anxiety.

How can I manage my Anxiety?

Focusing on your breath is a brilliant way to help you slow your thoughts, however invasive they may be. There are lots of different techniques you can try but to start off, simply focus your awareness on inhaling and exhaling deep, even breaths.

Once you’ve practiced this, you can start looking at other breathing techniques, such as square breathing which is where you inhale for a count of five seconds, hold the breath for another five seconds, breathe out for five seconds and then repeat.

Really pay attention to the sensations of the breath as it flows in through your nose and out through your mouth. Thoughts may well pop into your head as you do this and you should acknowledge them when they do, but don’t dwell on them – always bring your attention back to your breath. After a few rounds of this, check in with your body and your mind to see if you’re feeling calmer and less anxious.

Where can I get help?

Once this is all over, get in touch with us here a Mill Acupuncture to make an appointment. Chinese Medicine and associated techniques are very effective at treating both stress and anxiety.

Visit the NHS website to find even more stress and anxiety-busting ideas.


Can Acupuncture help turn a Breech Baby before birth?

At around 28 to 30 weeks gestation, most babies begin to turn around so their head faces downwards. However, when mothers-to-be learn their babies still have their legs and bottoms facing down (a breech baby) as their due date approaches, they might try a number of tactics to flip their unborn child around – including acupuncture.

According to Tommy’s, giving birth to a breech baby is not ideal, as it can lead to complications such as an emergency caesarean-section, more pain relief and a long labour. If the baby has not turned by 36 weeks, midwives typically suggest a number of things to do to turn him or her so that labour can be as straightforward as possible.

This includes an external cephalic version (ECV), which involves a healthcare professional applying pressure to the abdomen to attempt to turn the baby manually. However, not only can it be uncomfortable, but it also only has a 50 per cent success rate. 

An alternative to this is acupuncture, with a study published by the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health revealing this ancient Chinese treatment, together with moxibustion, “is more effective than observation in revolving foetuses in breech presentation”.

The trial concluded it, therefore, is a “valid option for women willing to experience a natural birth”.

Real world examples

According to the study of 226 breech cases, 53.6 per cent of those who received this treatment managed to turn their babies around, compared with 36.7 per cent of those who were randomised to observation. As a result, only 52.3 per cent of those in the first group were assigned caesarean sections, compared with 66.7 per cent of the latter cases.

More and more expectant mothers have been trying acupuncture as a way to avoid a breech delivery, including Eva Amurri, daughter of actress Susan Sarandon and Italian director Franco Amurri.

The 34-year-old actress recently revealed on her Instagram Story that she was about to try acupuncture to encourage her third baby to flip around.

She updated fans to say: “We did some pressure points to get baby to move around a bit and then I relaxed for a while. He is definitely transverse right now so hoping he will move a bit tonight head down.”

The Undateable star is not the first celebrity to opt for acupuncture for this issue, as both Pretty Little Liars actress Shay Mitchell and former Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson also revealed they tried the treatment as a natural alternative to turning their babies.

It is often used together with moxibustion, which involves burning a cone or stick of ground mugwort leaves called a moxa on or near acupuncture points. This heat is thought to stimulate these, increase circulation, and improve the flow of qi around the body. While it has other health benefits, such as to relieve menstrual cramps, asthma symptoms, and cancer-related nausea, it is best known for its role in helping to turn a breech baby.

As well as assisting with this, acupuncture can also help during pregnancy, as many expectant mothers turn to the ancient treatment to relieve them of challenging symptoms.

For instance, it has been shown to be effective for morning sickness and lower back pain, both of which are incredibly common during pregnancy.

To find out more about Acupuncture, including its effects, get in touch today.


5 strange and interesting facts about Acupuncture

There’s a lot of an abundance of information and ‘training’ out there about Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. Not all of it is of good quality, so I want to give you the facts and remove the bunkum. Acupuncture has achieved an accepted status as being now an accepted part of mainstream medicine – perhaps even more than chiropractic and osteopathy. Some people swear by acupuncture, citing it as a “miracle” to improving their quality of life because it’s said to be able to treat everything from depression and allergies to morning sickness and even in cosmetic beauty treatments.

So, here’s a few things you might not know:

  • Back in the day, Chinese Acupuncture practitioners were paid to keep people healthy. People paid their doctor a regular fee unless they got sick. Then the doctor would not be paid until they were better. Clearly, this shows that Chinese medicine is a preventative form of medicine.
  • The very first acupuncture needles were made of stone. Bian Shi (stone needle) was a sharpened, polished stone used to treat illness during the New Stone Age in China. Much later, needles were made of silver and gold. Some practitioners still use silver or gold needles on occasion, but most opt for stainless steel.
  • When President Richard Nixon visited China in 1971, New York Times journalist James Reston, one of the accompanying media journalists, developed appendicitis and needed surgery. His recovery was aided by acupuncture, which he decided to write about in The New York Times, which was likely the first exposure many Americans had to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).
  • Most acupuncturists today use guide tubes for needle insertion. The reason we have them can be traced back to the 1600’s when Waichi Sugiyama, widely regarded as the Father of Japanese Acupuncture, invented them. He invented them because at a young age he actually lost his eye sight, and needed the tubes to guide the needles.
  • There’s a good chance that at some point your acupuncturist has asked to take a look at your tongue. Your tongue tells us about your overall health as well as how specific organ systems are functioning. Variations in the colour, shape, coating, and texture can clue us in on a disharmony that may be happening in your body.

Get your own hands-on experience.

So, if that’s piqued your interest to find out more, or you want to experience to the benefits of acupuncture, get in touch. Or check out our acupuncture information for more.


Football fans risk Heart Attacks due to stress

Football can be stressful

While some people would say football is just a game, for diehard fans, there is nothing more important than seeing their team or national side win. So much so that footballer supporters are putting themselves at risk of a heart attack as their stress levels can get so high.

This is according to a study from the University of Oxford, which examined the spit samples of 41 Brazil fans before and after the 2014 World Cup matches.

The findings, published in the journal Stress and Health, revealed levels of cortisol – the ‘stress hormone’ – surged in the semi-final, when Brazil lost 7-1 to Germany.

Dr Martha Newson, researcher at the Centre for the Study of Social Cohesion at Oxford, said: “Fans who are strongly fused with their team – that is, have a strong sense of being ‘one’ with their team – experience the greatest physiological stress response when watching a match.”

She added: “Fans who are more casual supporters also experience stress, but not so extremely.”

Dr Newson recommended clubs offer heart screenings to their biggest supporters, as they could have health complications from watching their team get defeated.

So what?

Indeed, when levels of the hormone cortisol are high for a prolonged period of time, this can cause blood pressure to rise, blood vessels to constrict, and put pressure on the heart if it is already weak. Therefore, it can increase the chance of developing a heart attack among the most devoted supporters.

While nothing can make your team win other than good players and a tactical manager, those who suffer from stress would benefit from having a course of treatment, including Acupuncture.  This ancient treatment has been shown to be effective at reducing stress levels, enabling fans to watch games without causing damage to their hearts.


Quarter of youth Mental Health referrals rejected

A worrying trend in mental health.

Young people are being abandoned by NHS services, after a report revealed a quarter of those who have been referred to a mental health specialist have been rejected for treatment.

This is according to the Education Policy Institute (EPI), which revealed as many as 133,000 young people have not been given the support they needed, despite some having a history of abuse or self-harm.

Author of the report Whitney Crenna-Jennings said: “There is a vast treatment gap, meaning the needs of hundreds of thousands of young people in England are not being met.”

The EPI document, which was based on Freedom of Information responses, showed 26 per cent of referrals to child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) were rejected due to the fact the child did not meet eligibility criteria.

It went on to say there was “patchy” provision for young people in England, as a result of inconsistency across the services.

Mental health charity Mind told the BBC these findings are “deeply concerning”.

Spokesperson for the organisation Vicki Nash said: “We know that particularly for young people, timely and appropriate help can prevent further issues in later life. Too often the NHS is failing to provide this.”

Access to good-quality CAMHS is essential, as a previous study from Mind revealed three in five young people in the country have either been close to someone with a problem, or have had first-hand experience of one themselves.

It also found that 14 per cent of adolescents between 11 and 19 believe the state of their mental health is poor or very poor.

Acupuncture can help.

As I’ve written about before, Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine can improve your mental health. Anyone struggling with their mental health might consider, as it has been shown to be effective at relieving symptoms of depression and anxiety. If you want to book in a session, please get in touch


Just what is the Opioid Crisis?

Mill Acupuncture offer pain relief options to a variety of different clients who have had problems with, or do not want to use other forms of pain relief – such as an Opioid. Some patients may have chronic pain that necessitates the use of opioids alongside their Acupuncture, and some use Acupuncture as a way of avoiding heavy pain medication.

The opioid crisis in the US has received a lot of attention from a broad range of sources, and some areas have looked at the potential pf acupuncture to help patients.

States looking to cut opioid prescriptions have been experimenting with extending Medicaid coverage for acupuncture as another option for pain treatment. When Vermont commissioned a small pilot study on acupuncture for chronic pain in its Medicaid population, it concluded that 32 percent of people taking opioids for pain cut back. They were eligible for up to 12 treatments over two months.

The opioid crisis in the US has seen a spike in the number of people dying from opioid overdoses in the past decade. Over 40 per cent of these were as a result of prescription opioid use. There has also been a rise in the incidence of new-borns experiencing withdrawal syndrome due to opioid use and misuse during pregnancy.

In 2017, a national emergency was called over the opioid crisis in the US, which has led to increased focus on opioid prescription in the UK. However some doctors are concerned that mismanaged pain could lead to increased mental health issues and suicide among patients.


Can you have Acupuncture while Breastfeeding?

Those looking for acupuncture in Cheshire in the postpartum period, may be interested to know if they can have acupuncture while breastfeeding?

There are a number of reasons women may
have acupuncture while breastfeeding. Some may wish to use it as a drug-free
treatment for sciatica pain or pelvic girdle pain that hasn’t cleared up after
the pregnancy ended. Some may want to use it to treat problems they are
experiencing with breastfeeding itself. So, what is the evidence for using
acupuncture while breastfeeding?

Traditional Chinese medicine argues the
case for acupuncture used at specific sites can promote the production of
prolactin and oxytocin. These two hormones are both involved in the production
of breastmilk. However there is no evidence for the use of acupuncture to help
with breastfeeding problems, in part due to the difficulty in producing a
double blind study using acupuncture as people are pretty aware of whether they
are having needles poked into them!

One study in Poland looked at the impact of
acupuncture on prolactin levels in women who had breast milk secretion for 1-9
years after stopping breastfeeding. It found that the acupuncture’s effect was
not due to prolactin secretion, suggesting using acupuncture for this
particular method of action is unsupported with evidence.

A survey of 50 Swedish maternity units in 2007 found that 60% of hospitals used acupuncture to treat engorgement, 18% used acupuncture to treat mastitis, and 2.2% each used it for painful breastfeeding or to improve milk supply. The authors found there was no evidence to back up its continued use for breastfeeding issues.

One systematic review found that
acupuncture of sites around the ear resulted in a positive effect on milk
production, onset of lactation, serum prolactin, breast fullness, neonate
states, and frequency of newborn urination and defecation. 

There have been no studies done on the
impact of acupuncture applied to the mother on their breastfed babies, though
there have been no reports of adverse effects either. The reason for the lack
of evidence is that there are some ethical issues to do with running studies on
babies that are unlikely to be of benefit to them.

However, observational studies could be
useful here, would have little to no impact on a baby, and the results could be
beneficial for a number of families.

So what if you are looking at using
acupuncture to deal with a problem unrelated to breastfeeding, is it safe? The
answer seems to be yes. This is as long as it is given alone and not alongside
any herbal medicines, which could affect supply or the breastmilk itself.

In fact, acupuncture is often used on
pregnant women due to its drug-free nature, though we would suggest a
specialist practitioner is sought due to the positions a pregnant women can
adopt for extended periods of time being limited, much like with massage.

If you want to talk to us about your
postpartum issues and the options for acupuncture treatment then get in touch
asap so we can go through your needs and design a plan just for you.


Top tips on relieving Stress over Christmas

Christmas is the time of the year when everyone feels as though they should be happy, smiley and jolly. However, the pressure to be cheerful or to create a perfect Christmas while being surrounded by relatives can cause a lot of people to suffer from stress over the festive period.

Here are some tips on how to take a break from the madness and relieve some of the stress associated with Christmas.

Lower expectations

There are many factors that can contribute to poor mental health over the holidays, one of which being the high expectations we place on Christmas. Those who are in charge of hosting feel the burden to create an idealised day for their loved ones, while parents are under a lot of pressure to make sure their children have the most magical time of the year for several weeks leading up to December 25th.

Even people who aren’t organising festivities might have unrealistic expectations of how the day will pan out, which could be ruined by illness, family fall outs, bad weather, or workload being too heavy.
An article in the Guardian stated: “Life is just too complex and messy to ever guarantee the mainstream portrayal of a perfect Christmas. And yet, we still expect it.”

Social media exacerbates these expectations, with users thinking that everyone else is doing more exciting things and having a better time than themselves with these sites not painting an entirely truthful picture.

Therefore, one of the best ways to reduce anxiety is to forget about all the lavish extras that you try and do over the festive period. Having a self-imposed ban on social media until the new year could also be a good idea, so you don’t end up comparing your holiday with other people’s.

Eat well

Most of us love to indulge at Christmas, with a report by Discount Supplements revealing Britons will collectively put on a huge 20 million stone by January 1st due to the amount of sweets, cakes, alcohol, cheese and biscuits we love to consume.

However, while we might like not worrying about what we eat for a week or so, eating fatty and sugar-laden foods as well as high quantities of alcohol can actually make us feel more stressed and less positive.

As well as not taking in vital nutrients that will provide us with energy, vitamins and minerals, feeling bloated, uncomfortable, unable to fit into clothes and hungover will also add to our stress levels.

Instead, Mind recommends snacking regularly, avoiding foods that make your blood sugar levels spike, drinking six to eight glasses of water a day, eating five portions of fruit and vegetables, lowering caffeine intake, adding protein to meals, and cutting out fatty foods.


Another way to reduce your stress over Christmas is to steal some time to yourself, away from the chaos. You might enjoy a long walk in the fresh air, taking part in a Yoga class, practising some mindfulness or reading a book. Alternatively, acupuncture not only gives you some time out to recharge and relax, it is great for those suffering from anxiety, insomnia and depression. 


Physical Therapy and Yoga ‘Useful in treating Back Pain’

Physical Therapy could be the answer

As anyone who suffers from chronic lower back pain will tell you it can be debilitating. Often a side-effect of the condition is interrupted sleep and in some cases insomnia. While there is pain relief medication that can be prescribed, a recent study in the US has found that physical therapy and yoga can be just as effective at alleviating symptoms and helping people to enjoy better quality sleep.

Science Daily shared the findings of the study by the Boston Medical Center. It revealed that patients who undertook 12 weeks of yoga classes or one-on-one physical therapy experienced improved sleep quality lasting up to 52 weeks.

Eric Roseen, DC, MSc, researcher and study leader at the department of family medicine at the medical centre, commented: “Identifying holistic ways to treat these conditions could help decrease the reliance on these medications as well as keep patients safer and more comfortable.”

As well as improving the quality of sleep, both yoga and physical therapy were found to improve physical function among those who suffered from chronic lower back pain.

If you’re having issues with lower back pain, and are suffering from disturbed sleep as a result, you may want to try Tui na massage, as this is a form of physical therapy from traditional Chinese Medicine.

There are other things you can try as well, as an article for Everyday Health recently pointed out. The news provider made several suggestions for those who suffer from inflammatory back pain, including staying physically active and regularly stretching to relieve pain. Strengthening specific muscle groups is also advised.

Other tips include regularly doing deep breathing exercises to make sure you’re maintaining your lung capacity, and choosing the right kind of mattress to encourage you to maintain a good posture while you’re asleep.