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!


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.


Acupuncture ‘could help with frequent migraines’

Good news.

As anyone who suffers from migraines will know, they’re debilitating. When you have to deal with them regularly, this can become a real challenge. The good news is Acupuncture can help.

One GP recently wrote for the Irish News about how acupuncture could be an alternative for people who suffer from frequent migraines and want to avoid taking medication as a preventative measure.

Dr Martin Scurr explained that those who have regular migraines are people who suffer from four or more a month. To cope with these, most will need to take a prophylactic treatment.

“The danger is medication dependency, and falling into the vicious circle of the medication itself causing a withdrawal headache as the drug wears off,” he said.

But there is hope. Dr Scurr highlighted a meta-analysis that recently appeared in the Journal of Neurology. This revealed that acupuncture could be a more effective treatment for regular migraines than medication.

He added that acupuncture is believed to reduce pain by “releasing endorphins or affecting nerve pathways”. Dr Scurr suggested that people who have migraines should therefore consider acupuncture, at the very least alongside any medication they’re taking.

Further research.

There has also been research released recently that indicates there could be a link between back pain and persistent headaches. The team from the University of Warwick who conducted the research suggested both conditions should therefore be considered when choosing treatment.

If you’ve not gotten anywhere with getting effective treatment or medication for your migraines, or if you’re keen to try acupuncture or tui na massage, get in touch with us today to find out whether either treatment could help with your migraines, headaches or back pain.


Acupuncture for hearing loss?

There’s more to Acupuncture than you might think

Acupuncture has so many uses, from relieving back pain to helping to de-stress, but one benefit you might not have considered is how it can repair hearing loss.

As acupuncture is the traditional Chinese medicine of using needles to encourage the body to heal itself, it is thought stimulating the nervous system in this way could send signals to the brain to improve tinnitus and deafness.

There are several studies that date back to the 1940s that assert acupuncture has helped relieve the symptoms of sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL), and even cure tinnitus and deafness.

In February 2015, researchers published their opinions in the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Medicine regarding the “efficacy and safety” of the alternative treatment when it comes to treating SSHL. They looked at 12 studies and determined acupuncture, when combined with medication, can have a positive effect on patients suffering from hearing loss.

There’s more to learn about the effects of Acupuncture on hearing

Healthy Hearing stated that as the sample study was small, there was a lack of efficient data to successfully conclude the link. As a result, the authors of the report suggested further study is required to determine there is a sufficient connection.

A spokesperson from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine said: “The effects of acupuncture on the brain and body and how best to measure them are only beginning to be understood.”

Despite this restriction, acupuncture could be an effective tool to relieve stress and anxiety. As tension can make tinnitus worse, being in a more relaxed state could help improve its symptoms.

Women's Health

Acupuncture for Fertility

Acupuncture for fertility is extremely powerful. I’ve been an acupuncturist for over 11 years now and I’m a huge believer in its benefits for fertility and IVF. I Think for a lot of women though there can be an awful lot of confusing advice and it can be hard to make any sense of it or what to believe.

However, I have some good news for you…..Numerous studies and recent large study from Helsinki in 2016 has shown the acupuncture can, in fact, more than double the success rate of IVF.

So how does acupuncture work?

The best form of acupuncture and the gold standard is Chinese Medicine. It involves the insertion of fine needles into certain powerful points on the body. Each treatment is individualised and tailored to the specific needs of each woman as fertility is such a broad topic.

One of the biggest and often questions i am asked by women is how often and for how long they should have acupuncture before they start their IVF cycles and whether it can influence egg quality in order to achieve a ‘better’ outcome.

I like to enbolden women to have treatment once a week from at least 2-3 months prior to the start of IVF medication. The reason for this is that follicular growth lasts around 375 days but only during the last 90 days of development will follicles have their own blood supply bringing oxygen, hormones and nutrients to, and waste and secretory products from, the follicle. In other words, follicles will become sensitive and responsive to stimuli coming from the ‘external’ environment.

I am positive there are many women who are trying to get pregnant either naturally or through IVF who have been told by their doctors that their eggs are not healthy or are too old, especially if they have been trying for a long time to conceive without success or have had several miscarriages or implantation failures. It is true that the health of eggs will influence whether fertilization will occur and if it will result in a healthy pregnancy.

Egg Quality

With the abouve in mind egg quality is defined by the chromosomal abnormality of the egg. It is well accepted that the aging process and its impact on egg quality are irreversible. However certain negative influences can be avoided and/or improved that are proven to compromise egg health.

These negative factors include:

  • toxic overload
  • an imbalanced hormonal system
  • lack of or too much exercise
  • fatigue
  • compromised absorption and utilization of nutrients
  • lack of sleep
  • sluggish blood flow to the pelvic organs
  • weight
  • stress etc.

These negative factors can all be tackled effectively when coming to see me. One of the biggest factors in all the above is the lymphatic system which I will also access. As its responsible for getting rid of inflammation around the body and preventing toxic overload which is hugely important as your body cannot conceive if is toxic. Other modalities that are highly effective for treatment that can run in conjunction with IVF is herbal medicine. Particularly if a woman is experiencing very and heavy periods with clots or very light periods.

Three studies into acupuncture

Blood flow to the pelvic organs can be greatly improved with acupuncture. In a study, published in 1998, researchers measured the pulsatile index (PI) of the endometrial artery and found that high PI (>3) which would indicate compromised blood flow to the pelvic organs, can be lowered with the administration of electro acupuncture.

A study investigating the optimal number of acupuncture treatments for the best IVF outcomes found that the clients receiving the maximum benefit from IVF were those clients who received more than 8 acupuncture treatments before embryo transfer.

In a recently published study it was concluded that women who had at least 12 acupuncture sessions added to their IVF cycles resulted in higher pregnancy rates and fewer biochemical pregnancies. The study however wasn’t randomized and participants weren’t selected with the same characteristics which might have influenced the results but the women in the ‘Traditional Chinese Medicine’ group, were had higher pregnancy rates compared to those who did not have acupuncture as an addition to their IVF cycles

My Recommendations

In view of these findings, I recommend to start acupuncture at least 2-3 months prior to IVF. This fits well with my clinical experience that women starting Acupuncture a few month before their IVF commences have better outcomes. I believe that optimizing fertility with acupuncture is not a quick fix. It is a process for the body to adjust and repair in order for it to function as optimally as possible indirectly influencing fertility in a positive way.

Assessments on the lymphatic system are important for overall reproductive health, Dietary requirements are important as well as the consideration of pharmaceutical grade herbal medicine.

Lastly, In my years of experince, i have observed during my practice that some women fall pregnant naturally while they prepare for IVF! Which obviously is an added bonus! and also makes you wonder how much pressure women put on themselves 🙂

I offer Free assessments on any health condition especially fertility. Clinics are located in Chester, Sandbach & St Asaph. Call 0800 468 1008 and book now.

With love
Matt Owner of Mill Acupuncture