Acupuncture with Doug Beasley
- 9876-7th Street, Sidney, BC ) (250) 888-0035  8 ddbeas@shaw.ca 

Conditions that Acupuncture Treats

What Can Acupuncture Help?

An acupuncturist may be consulted by people with specific symptoms or conditions, such as pain, anxiety, arthritis, eczema, sports injuries hay fever, asthma, migraine, high blood pressure, menstrual disorders, intestinal problems or pregnancy management and delivery.

While extensive practice and research has shown that acupuncture is effective in helping people with such conditions as well as with many others, it does more that simply relieve symptoms. The aim of acupuncture is to treat the whole patient and to restore the balance between the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of the individual.

In traditional acupuncture, since all illness is considered the result of an imbalance of energy, treatment can benefit almost any ill person as long as the degenerative process in the tissues of the body is not too extensive.

Many people also have acupuncture as a preventative treatment or because they feel unwell in themselves but are not `ill' in the Western sense.

Here are a few of the conditions acupuncture treats:

·  Toothache

·  Allergic Rhinitis

·  Dysmenorrhea

·  Amenorrhea

·  PMS

·  Acute and Chronic Back Pain

·  Neck Pain

·  Joint Pain

·  Headache

·  Sciatica

·  Sore Throat

·  Eye Conditions and Diseases

·  Deafness

·  Ringing in Ears

·  Mental Illness

·  Chronic Fatigue

·  Infertility

·  Carpel Tunnel

·  Asthma

·  Bell's Palsy

·  Vertigo

·  Acne

·  Weight Loss

·  Cancer

·  Colitis

·  Aids

·  Diabetes

Acupuncture for Back Pain

Back pain is commonly considered a nerve displacement syndrome. The way it works is that there's some kind of structural problem that inhibits a nerves function as it exits the spinal cord through the spinal vertebrae and out into the body. When there is something displacing one of these nerves as it exits the spine it causes pain because the nerve swells and is inflamed. The common term for this problem is called "subluxation".

One way in which doctors determine if there is a nerve displacement going on is by having the patient lean to the right, then to the left to see if that has any effect on the pain. If it does, then it seems pretty clear that there is a displacement of the nerve going on and if that nerve displacement can be relieved, the pain will go away along with it. That's just one way of testing for a nerve displacement syndrome. This test isn't always the end-all diagnostic tool.

Removing the obstruction to the nerve should remove the nerve pain. But it doesn't always work, or else it requires a surgery which is expensive at best and dangerous at worst.

Acupuncture sees this pain as one of a few possibilities. Let's take a look at those possibilities and talk a little about the suggested treatment for each. Perhaps you'll recognize your own situation below and be able to see an acupuncturist to treat it.

Qi stagnation

Qi is pronounced "Chee" and is sometimes spelled Chi. This is basically the energy that circulates throughout your body and does stuff for you like keep you alive, etc... This Qi flows through a network of channels and meridians. This sounds much like our neurological system. One could say that this Qi stagnation is the nerve displacement syndrome. But its kind of strange, because acupuncture is very adept at treating this frequent cause of back pain without having any effect on the mechanics of the situation. We simply insert needles near the location of the pain as well as a few other strategic locations to stimulate the movement of Qi in the desired area and the pain goes away. But we don't do any adjusting to the spine nor perform any surgery to remove a herniated disc. All that is done is that some thin needles are inserted in the area of the pain to stimulate the flow of Qi and the pain goes away.

Left untreated, the Qi stagnation can lead to blood stagnation, and what was a dull ache that kind of radiates outward from the central location, can become a very sharp fixed pain. And Qi stagnation lower back pain is sometimes found in women who have painful periods. In this case, again acupuncture is the treatment of choice.

Blood Stagnation

There are two main causes of blood stagnation, one is that there was some local trauma such as lifting up something too heavy for you, or some sport's injury. Perhaps even an automobile accident. Any specific trauma to the back will give rise to what we call blood stagnation. The treatment principle is the same as the Qi stagnation. We just get the blood moving and the pain goes away.

The other cause of blood stagnation would be a long history of Qi stagnation. The Qi is said to move the blood. Should the Qi be stagnated for long enough, then the local body fluids that are supposed to be flowing around begin to stagnate as well and that includes blood. We might see some emotional component in this particular pathology. For instance a long history of frustration, resentment or some other really bitter emotional pathology. We all get frustrated once in a while and that can give rise to the Qi stagnation type of back pain, but if it goes on for long enough it becomes more tight, compacted, the body begins to really manifest that stagnation in the form of lumps, tumors, sharp pains and other blood circulation problems.

Damp Heat

This pathology can cause radiating pain that actually circles the lower back down into the groin area. This kind of symptom may suggest some problems that would be better addressed by Western medical attention. Check in with your MD and if your pancreas and liver are okay, go visit your practitioner of Chinese medicine, we have some great answers for you.

Basically, this is a back pain, normally in the lower back that is associated with a kind of infection in the urinary tract or other area in the lower abdomen. This might be kidney stones, this might be a bladder infection. This is often some uro-genital disorder that may include a local infection of some sort.

Kidney Pathology

Like the damp heat problem listed above, this is not a nerve impingement syndrome but an issue that deals with the organs found beneath the skin in the lower back. Those are the kidneys. Kidney pathologies run the gambit from stones, to a deficiency of Yin or Yang in the body. Yin deficiency tends to include lower back ache that is a long term problem, six months minimum with no history of trauma. It just started hurting one day and never went away. Other symptoms of Yin deficiency include hot flashes, night sweats, tinnitis, irritability, restlessness and the feeling that your hands and feet are too hot. Acupuncture treatments would be consistent with stimulating the kidney functions and herbal medicines such as Liu Wei Di Huang Wan would be employed to treat the root cause of the pain.

A deficiency of Kidney Yang could also give rise to lower back pain. Other symptoms of Kidney Yang deficiency would be early morning diarrhea, cold hands and feet, lack of energy, pale face, hearing loss, feeling cold all the time, frequent urination, low libido.

In either case, we would seek to strengthen these most important organs to take away the lower back pain. This might take a little longer to achieve than the Qi or Blood stagnation problems. But it is still very treatable with acupuncture for the specific pains and herbal medicines that go a little deeper into the organs to strengthen what is weakened.

Backaches are a common pathology among people everywhere and thanks to the Westward expansion of traditional Chinese medicine, people everywhere are coming to appreciate the age old medical wisdom of the Orient, especially in regards to back pain.

Acupuncture and Sciatica

Traditional Chinese medicine can quickly treat the symptoms of pain associated with the pinching of the sciatic nerve as it leaves the spinal cord in the lower back.

There are a few reasons that one could get sciatica pain.

From the biomedical perspective, the cause is generally considered structural in nature, the symptoms having to do with the sciatic nerve, itself.

If the bones of the spine are damaged, or just lined up poorly, they can pinch or irritate the sciatic nerve as it leaves the spine. Often times, the irritation comes about because of a portion of the disc that should remain between the spines sticks out a little bit from between the spines and pinches the nerve as it exits the area. This creates the pain in the lower back as well as the pain we feel traveling down the back of the leg and into the foot. Acupuncture can make quick work of the pain, but you may need to see a chiropractor or osteopath if you have serious structural problems in your back that require more mechanical attention. On the other hand, the problem could be something as simple as a bad chair that you're sitting in.

From the perspective of traditional Chinese medicine, we look at the pain as one of a number of problems.

In American culture, we commonly talk about catching a cold. In Chinese medicine, we can catch a cold as well as many other environmental factors such as catching a damp or wind. Not only that, but these factors can settle into the acupuncture meridians causing pain that may feel hot, or cold, they may move around like wind, or become kind of thick and turbid like dampness. In the case of sciatica, we say that one of a few different external factors has settled into one the meridians that traverse the leg. Usually, that is the urinary bladder meridian.

Other factors that can lead to sciatica, from the traditional Chinese perspective include a deficiency of the Kidney and Liver organs, or the stagnation of the blood circulation through the acupuncture meridian. I'll get to those later in this article.

The pain associated with sciatica follows almost exactly, the path of the urinary bladder meridian in Chinese medicine, from the lower back all the way down to the foot. When there is pain along that line, it suggests to the acupuncturist that the Qi energy is stagnated there and needs to be helped along in its circulation. What is causing the stagnation of the Qi energy can be one of many factors such as wind, damp, cold, or heat, as I mentioned prior. The fact that it occurs in the urinary bladder's meridian doesn't actually suggest that there is anything wrong with the patient's bladder. Its the same thing as understanding that a pinched nerve doesn't mean that you have a problem with your brain, even though the two are connected.

Syndrome Differentiation

Sciatica due to an invasion of wind, cold or dampness:
Pain is aggravated by overcast or rainy weather. The quality of the sciatica pain could include a heaviness, numbness and/or cold sensation along the pain pathway.

Sciatica due to deficiency of the Liver and Kidney:
Sciatica pain along with listlessness and weakness in the knees and lower back. This is usually a long term condition.

Obstruction of the channels by the stagnation of blood due to local trauma:
Sciatica pain that follows a fall, or accident where the leg or lower back has been injured.

Treatments

Acupuncture:

Fine needles, some so thin as to appear more like wires than needles, would be inserted along the pathway of the pain to move the Qi energy locally and dissipate the external pathogen as well as activate the movement of the Qi energy to remove the pain. Sometimes other points in the body would be used to treat the damp or cold or wind that may have spread out into the rest of the body in addition to the urinary bladder meridian.

Electric stimulation ("electro-stim") can be used on the needles that pass through the leg to provide an even greater amount of stimulation. Electro-stim is a more recent invention applied to acupuncture. While the treatment principle is not at all "traditional Chinese medicine", it is a commonly used tool within the acupuncture clinic. The reasoning is that with minute pulses of electricity, the local nerves are over stimulated, not with pain, but with a painless electrical shock. This over-stimulation makes the nerves turn down their own sensitivity, and hence, all the other pain that travels through those nerves is also diminished. This is the basis behind acupuncture anesthesia. And it is applicable to sciatica.

Ear Acupuncture:

Ear Acupuncture can be used for additional assistance in treating the pain associated with sciatica. Once the needles are removed, seeds can be taped into the ears so as to supply on-going stimulation to these points. These seeds, or even magnets can be worn for a few days at a time. Of course, care should be given to the condition of the ear's skin so as to avoid any infection caused by dirt or moisture collecting beneath the tape used to affix the ear seeds. There are a number of products that your acupuncturist will have access to that make use of flesh color tape, not unlike the flesh color Band-Aid bandages. These pieces of tape needn't look funny in your ears.

In the past, subcutaneous needles have been used instead of ear seeds. Subcutaneous needles are like really tiny thumbtacks. They are also effective, but because the skin is broken, and often times, the needles are not changed everyday, the risk of infection increases. For this reason, I don't personally suggest this treatment. However if you're in a position to change the little subcutaneous needle everyday and clean the ear, then they can be an effective adjunct to acupuncture for your sciatica pain.

Qi Gong (Chi Kung):

These exercises direct the Qi in the body toward the area of the body where the Qi energy is either deficient or stagnant. Personally, I think that Qi Gong exercises and acupuncture have something in common. In Qi Gong training, it is said that the Shen leads the Qi. That means that if you're doing an exercise in which you are focusing your mind (Shen) on your lower back, then the Qi goes there, and healing takes place. Acupuncture performs the same function. The funny thing about having a needle stuck into your back is that you think about it. You're acutely aware of it. It forces the mind to become conscious of that area, and so the Qi is lead to that area. Qi Gong exercises are used in between acupuncture treatments.

Qi Gong, is about as close to yoga as the Chinese get. Like yoga, that are hundreds of kinds. Some Qi Gongs move, some stand still, some sit, some stand. Some require superhuman patience and strength, others only require a little mental focus.

External Qi Gong:

Sometimes, your practitioner will apply Qi to your body from his or hers by placing his or her hands onto your body. Often times, their hands will be very warm, signifying that they've successfully directed their own Qi energy into their hands for "expression" into you.

As with any therapy that requires touching, it is absolutely essential that you feel comfortable with the treatment. If you don't, your muscles will tighten up and the therapy will produce negative effects. You don't want that. If you don't know how you feel about being touched with either external Qi Gong or even massage, your body will tell you. Muscles tightening up beneath the pressure of a therapist is called a guarding response. Your body is guarding itself from further injury. If your body senses the opportunity for further injury due to the activities of your practitioner you need to honor that body knowledge. Your body's really smart, and regardless of how much you like the practitioner, or believe in his or her medicine, your body has the last word, and if it doesn't believe in what's happening, then believe me, nothing will happen.

If you're uncomfortable with this type of therapy, please tell your practitioner.

On the other hand, if you are comfortable with it, you'll find that with the right practitioner, this can be among the most significant and moving of all therapies. This technique of external Qi Gong can certainly begin to look much like the more Christian "laying on of hands" and can have some truly divine manifestations in your life.

Chinese Massage or "Tui Na":

Massage therapy for sciatica can't be underestimated. Massage therapy is given for twenty minutes. Massage therapy usually requires daily sessions.

Acupuncture And Women's Conditions

Traditional Oriental Medicine (acupuncture, herbal medicine and other therapies) is rapidly growing in acceptance in the West simply because it works. It's strongest feature is probably its ability to treat chronic conditions for which conventional medicine has no answers, no treatments and no relief other than harsh chemicals with potentially unpleasant side effects. Traditional Oriental medicine treats women's health very differently from conventional Western medicine. This article describes some typical problems that woman have treated with Oriental medicine.

Traditional Oriental medicine is based on the law of Yin and Yang. This law teaches that health only comes from a balance between these two fundamental principles. In the same way as American culture is struggling to find equality between the sexes, Chinese culture has, for thousands of years, understood that health only comes about after the masculine (Yang) and feminine (Yin) principles within ourselves are balanced and working in harmony.

Applying the law of Yin and Yang socially is the basis for men's and women's groups in our culture. Oriental medicine seeks to insure health through this same concept as applied to one's bodily functions.

Menopause

Traditional Chinese Medicine approaches Menopause as a variety of syndromes. All of them have been successfully treated by acupuncture and herbal medicine. The most typical cause for the symptoms associated with menopause is the slowing of the flow of "Yin." When applied to the health of the physical body, this is the Chinese concept of the hydration or the cooling system within the body. Typical symptoms of this deficiency of Yin includes hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, insomnia, and heart palpitations.

Sometimes, instead of the Yin level dropping down, it is the Yang that becomes deficient. The Yang in the body represents the warming function of the cells, their metabolism and other active processes. When the Yang is deficient, symptoms include: water retention, edema, weight gain, indigestion, hypertension, and a raised cholesterol level.

Left untreated, Yin or Yang deficiency can lead to Qi deficiency. Qi is pronounced "chee." It's the Chinese word for internal energy. Symptoms of a Qi deficiency can include: feeling "run-down," fatigue, decreased sex drive, dry vagina, cold extremities, lower back pain, weakened knees and incontinence.

In China, maturity is highly revered, perhaps that is why they call the time after menopause to be a women's "second spring." It is this reverence for the elder years that Oriental herbal therapies have evolved to their current beneficial status. Menopause can be made much smoother through Chinese herbal therapy.

PrognosisVery good. Although the symptoms associated with "the change" are obviously transitory, Oriental medicine has helped women for thousands of years to enjoy their second spring without any the growing pains of the first.

It is interesting to note that many women, after menopause, because of the slowing of the flow of "Yin," discover their Yang principle and go on to achieve, for the first time in their lives, success in business and other areas which have been traditionally dominated by men and their prominent "Yang" principle. In the same way, men, after the age of fifty or so, often find the time to discover their "Yin" or feminine principle and develop a more refined sense of compassion and nurturing in life.

PMS

For thousands of years, Chinese medicine has been treating the symptoms of pre-menstrual syndrome. PMS is a reasonably simple syndrome to treat with Chinese medicine, however, left untreated, this little problem can become a big one. According to traditional Chinese medical theory, the same condition that gives rise to PMS is also a precursor to lumps, cysts, lesions, and even cancerous tumors in the breasts and uterus.

Acupuncture and herbs can provide enormous relief from PMS, however the underlying cause of PMS is often times due to one's lifestyle, or the way in which one relates with the world. Methods such as meditation, relaxation techniques and exercises that require mental focus, can be employed to treat the root causes of PMS.

According to Chinese medical theory, PMS is mostly indicative of a disharmony in the Liver. Organs in traditional Chinese medicine theory are very different from the organs as we know them according to modern Western science. That's why organs are capitalized in this article, to denote the Chinese concept for the organs, not the Western.

The Liver initiates the menstrual cycle and the Spleen controls the creation of the blood in the body. When there is any disharmony in the Liver, symptoms arise such as the mood swings that we often associate with PMS, including periods of depression, sadness, irritability, crying, and anger. When the Spleen is also involved, a woman can develop symptoms such as a foggy sense of clumsiness, a dull pain of the abdomen and/or breasts, or insomnia.

PMS comes about when the Liver's function is impaired. In Chinese medicine, all of the body's functions are regulated and energized by what the Chinese call "Qi." That's pronounced "chee", sometimes spelled "chi". It could translate to anything from bioelectric energy to cellular metabolism. For our purposes, calling it simply "energy" is probably best.

Among the jobs that the Liver is expected to do in the body, according to Chinese medicine, is maintain the free flow of this Qi energy. When the Qi is moving well, we feel flexible, flowing and graceful within our bodies as well as within life. When there is a problem in the Liver, its function of circulating the Qi is compromised and one manifestation of this Qi stagnation is what we call PMS.

Chinese medicine is based on Taoism. This philosophy teaches that health comes from a balance between the masculine and feminine principles (or "Yin" and "Yang") within everything. For instance, the Yang nature of the Liver makes us want to move forward and succeed, but this must be balanced with the Liver's Yin aspect which represents the ability to move backwards, to be flexible, and to respond to conditions in new and spontaneous ways. Where there is a lack of Liver Yin, we tend to become angry or frustrated. When there is no Liver Yang, we can become overly timid.

When the Yin element of the Liver is deficient we can become violently angry when we encounter barriers to what we want, obstacles to our future, or any shortcoming to our expectations in life. Another typical Liver disharmony that comes from excessive attachments to goals is the lack of free flow of Qi energy within the body.

PMS is what a woman feels when the Qi's free flow is compromised. Disharmonies of the Liver will have two effects on the menstrual cycle. One is Liver Qi stagnation which causes moodiness and unexpectedly intense emotions. The other problem that comes from Liver disharmony is a painful period. It is said that anger makes the Qi rise to the head. That's why our eyes get red, we get headaches, dizziness, and even nosebleeds when we're very angry. However, for the menstrual flow to begin the Qi must be descending. Without the free descending flow of Qi at the onset of the menses, there is pain.

PMS doesn't always have to mean that there is anger at the root of the condition. However, anger is part of the symptomatic picture because of the Liver's involvement.

There can be various other symptoms along with moodiness and pain in PMS. Sometimes, the Liver gets so angry that it lashes out at the Spleen. This causes the Spleen's functions to be compromised. Symptoms associated with this portion of PMS include: cravings (especially for sweets), water retention, fatigue, abdominal bloating, breast tenderness with possible lumps, and of course, pain, especially toward the end of the period.

On a mental or emotional level, this so-called "Liver attacking Spleen" can show up as obsessions in our lives. The Spleen is in charge of the digestive system, but it also controls the digestion of our experiences in life. When we talk about "processing" an old relationship, or a change in our lives, it is the energy of the Spleen that is performing this function. So, when the Liver is attacking the Spleen, not only do we feel angry, but we can't get it out of our heads. We obsessively think about the object of our desire all the time. Nothing is ever really processed, or digested in our minds because the Liver is making it difficult for the Spleen to do its job. Plus, with all this Spleen energy being used in the mental and emotional realms, the physical digestive system suffers, leading to further aggravation of the symptoms mentioned above.

Treatments for PMS

Acupuncture will gently break free the stagnation of the Qi in the body. This also has the effect of easing the emotions and pain associated with menstruation. As with many menstrual problems, it may take a few menstrual periods to regulate the cycle completely, although some improvement can often be seen after the first month, or even after the first treatment.

There is a special Chinese herbal formula which is often used for PMS called Xiao Yao Wan (sometimes spelled Hsiao Yao Wan), pronounced "shao yao wan". Confusing, isn't it? Ironic too, since it translates to "Free and Easy Pill." Many know of individual herbs such as Dang Gui that are effective for women's health, but this herb is rarely used alone. Chinese herbal formulas are created with balance and harmony in mind. Xiao Yao Wan has Dang Gui as well as many other ingredients to relieve Qi stagnation, nourish the Blood, strengthen the Spleen, sedate the Liver and relieve pain. They all support each other to increase their various functions. Xiao Yao Wan is widely available at stores that carry Chinese herbs.

Sometimes, an herbal pharmacy will create its own brand of Xiao Yao Wan and call it something else. The K'an Herbals brand "Free & Easy Wanderer" is an example of a domestically produced Xiao Yao Wan.

Complications of PMS

When the Liver is angry, the Qi stops flowing smoothly. When there is stagnation of this Qi energy, other things get stopped up behind it. Qi Stagnation can lead to Blood stagnation which can lead to lumps, cysts, lesions, and even cancerous tumors in the breasts and uterus.

Tai Chi or Qi Gong (breathing exercises to amplify and invigorate the Qi energy) helps at the root of the problem. Even meditation will have this same effect. Pulling the consciousness into "The Now" makes the Liver less attached to preplanned goals. With this added flexibility, we can become more able to accept obstacles in life which allows us to find appropriate and creative solutions consistent with the needs of the moment.

Also, Qi Gong's breathing exercises stimulate the functions of the Lungs which help to sedate the Liver. In the same way that the Liver can attack the energy of the Spleen, so it is that the Lungs can sedate the Liver. This is all due to the way in which the organs relate to each other within the paradigm of Chinese medicine.

There are also many lifestyle changes that can be incorporated into your life to help control PMS at its root level.

Taoism would suggest that you live in accordance with nature. Many suggest that this includes a vegetarian diet, living off the land, going to bed with the stars, and getting up with the sun, but in the middle of the city in the 20th century, this is very difficult. Instead, it would be wise to become sensitive to the nature within yourself. If you're doing something you don't feel comfortable doing, don't do it anymore.

If you can't live with yourself within traditional female roles, listen to your nature and create the life that is consistent with your heart's stirrings.

If you want to be a mommy instead of a high power account executive, then make that change and watch your health improve. If you must work to survive, then find a job that allows for more of your nurturing side to come out.

These sorts of changes in one's life are not easy, nor is it something that can be adequately addressed in an article about PMS, but it is amazing how our health issues clear up when the internal issues are resolved.

From the Buddhist standpoint, the calming of the Liver might include seeing things As They Are, without any additional meaning. Things that make us mad do so because of the weight that we give to the things that bother us. Buddhism teaches detachment. With detachment comes the ability to see things as they are, because there is no need to make events in your life signify anything other than the random experiences that they ultimately are. Chinese medicine says that the Liver is attached to the eyes. Seeing life clearly with complete acceptance and a lack of interpretation provides the Liver with the freedom to attack life or retreat from it as is appropriate to the moment. With this balance, the free flow of Qi is restored, anger and frustration are calmed.

PrognosisBoth acupuncture and herbs give excellent results for PMS. As with all menstrual problems, it will take a minimum of 3 menstrual periods to regulate the cycle completely, although some improvement can often be seen even after the first month.

Dysmenorrhea

Pain occurring before, during or after menstruation.

This pain often occurs in the lower abdomen or lower back. Associated Western conditions include; mittelschmerz, endometriosis, uterine fibroids and myoma.

From the Chinese point of view, this comes from either of lack of "Blood" in the body (this approximates anemia in Western terms, though it has other meanings as well), or stagnant Qi or Blood. Stagnated Qi or Blood can both effect and be effected by emotion. Stagnation makes you emotional, and emotions make you stagnant. Chinese Medicine seeks to free up the stagnant Qi and blood, nourish and increase the amount of Blood in circulation Blood, remove the pain and ease the emotions.

Left untreated, stagnated Qi leads to a stagnation of Blood. This causes intermittent sharp pains in the abdomen, or what the West calls mittelschmerz. If the Blood stagnation is allowed to slow the circulation of Qi or Blood for a long time, a soft nodule can appear in the area. This is one way of describing endometriosis. Again, should the soft nodule go untreated and the stagnation in the body remain, in time it can become a harder nodule like a uterine fibroid. Should that nodule begin to grow more rapidly, it can become what the West calls myoma, or cancer.

Pain tends to come from stagnated Qi or Blood in Oriental medicine. At that stage its a simple matter of getting that Qi or Blood moving again to remove the monthly pain, however, left untreated, other complications can appear. It isn't the intent of this article to frighten anyone with the discomfort associated with menstruation, but it is a reminder that pain is nature's way of reminding us to be aware of our body's needs. Often times pain is simply a first alert to a problem that can be solved as by something as simple as expressing your emotions or feeling better understood.

Menorrhagia or Metrorrhagia

Excessive menstrual flow or spotting.

The reasons for these condition according to Chinese medical theory are numerous. They include Qi Stagnation due to emotional strain, and Qi deficiency due to a variety of situations including overwork, too much sexual activity, chronic illness, or childbirth. Another cause could be "heat" in the Blood which would likely be associated with a feelings of restlessness, fever and constipation. One could even spot after the period because of a weakness in the Spleen. Symptoms associated with a Spleen deficiency might include an abnormally low appetite, shortness of breath and a pale complexion.

In the case of excessive flow or spotting after the period, the treatment principle could range from wearing "shields" in the case of spotting that falls within normal limits to an aggressive treatment plan to rebalance all of the various organ systems involved with this condition.

Acupuncture Treatment For Breast Lumps

Breast lumps could occur in women at any age, but are more common in middle age. Most breast lumps are benign, if they are not attached to surrounding tissues and skin and they are movable when being manipulated with the fingers. When breast lumps are present, patients often notice distending pain or a painful pressure within the breast. Typically, the skin over the breast is not red or swollen. Hard lumps can be felt within the breast or on the upper, lateral portion of the breast. These lumps are round in shape with an uneven surface, the lumps have distinct edges. Subcutaneous blood vessels are rarely visible through the skin and lymph nodes under the armpits are seldom enlarged. These lumps may occur on one breast or both breasts.

According to TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), lumps are generally caused by blood and QI (energy) stagnation. Acupuncture, a main branch of TCM, is very effective in treating these lumps. There are many different causes for breast lumps. However, three of the most common are related to injury, diet and stress.

Injury

Occasionally, breast lumps are a result of trauma, injury, and accidental compression. Patients have sharp pain at or around the lumps most of the time. For this condition, several key acupuncture points are selected to stimulate the blood flow and soften the lumps. Normally, these are NEI GUAN, TAN ZHONG, DA LING, GE SHU and ASHI (painful) POINTS.

Diet

Consuming too much hot and spicy food can result in stomach fire (heat) which results in abnormal blood and Qi flow, also blocking the channels and generating breast lumps. Acupuncturists often treat this problem with needling the points on the stomach and spleen channels plus ZHONG WAN and QI HAI on the Ren channel to sedate the heat in the stomach, tonify the spleen and improve the blood and QI circulation.

Stress

Most cases of benign breast lumps are caused by emotional stress. In this condition, breast pain is usually apparent or more severe just before the menstrual period and relieved or lessened afterward. Some patients have the accompanying symptoms as insomnia, dry mouth, bitter taste in the mouth, bloating in stomach, distending pain in lower abdomen, chest or ribs, poor appetite and loose bowels. Some patients may experience constipation.

According to TCM theory, the nipple belongs to the liver channel, and the breast belongs to the stomach channel. Blockage of these channels can cause blood and Qi stagnation resulting in breast pain and lumps. Anxiety and anger can cause liver Qi stagnation, which attacks the stomach and impairs stomach functioning. This, in turn, blocks the blood and Qi on the stomach channel. Consequently, the liver and stomach channels are the main channels to be regulated in TCM treatment. The treatment principle includes calming liver, relieving anxiety, tonifying spleen, sedating stomach fire (heat) and activating blood flow, thus dissolving the lumps. Using this treatment, points on the liver, stomach, spleen and Ren channels along with confluential and ASHI points are needled to clear the blockages and return Yin and Yang into balance.

Treatment ResultsFor all these conditions, patients often experience reduction or complete elimination of pain after the first acupuncture treatment and the lumps are diminished or completely eliminated after several treatments. Normally, the treatment requires 10 -15 office visits. Even after the symptoms have totally disappeared, the patients should continue the treatment to completion to assure a long lasting effect.

Acupuncture For Varicose Veins

Veins of the lower extremity (leg) become enlarged, widen, bulging, swollen, winding, extending. The veins under skin are visible showing pink, red, purple, blue or black lines with possible clots. In some severe cases the twisted veins look like earthworms. Varicose veins can cause skin changes, damage, sclerosis, heaviness, weakness, tiredness and pain on the leg.

Acupuncture is a branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine which has more than 2000 years of history. This ancient treatment method has very good effects on varicose veins. However, it is rarely known to the Western world. According to Chinese medicine theory, varicose veins are caused by stagnant blood which could be produced by many factors. Under this condition, the blood flow is abnormal. Acupuncture can improve the blood circulation effectively. By inserting the tiny needles into the key points along the meridians, the acupuncturist forces the blood to move in the veins and surrounding areas. Meanwhile, the points for coordinating the internal organs are selected to enhance the energy and blood flow to supply and develop the source of blood to the area. Like the clogged pipe being washed wide open by a forceful supply of water.

Acupuncture is not as painful as people imagine. Patients usually feel a tingling, or heavy, distended sensation. It has no side effects. It is normal that some patients may feel itchy-- deposited blood in veins and peripheral blood vessels starts moving, but the blood still can not circulate until the stagnant blood in the vessels is washed away by the new blood completely. Patients can see the improvement gradually. The dark color becomes lighter and lighter and the lines, clots spread out to a wider area. Finally the varicose veins disappear. Some patients need to use a hot herbal decoction to soak and wash the area to speed up the healing process. The more treatments the patient receives, the more progress will show.

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