What Is Moxibustion Used For

Many of us are aware that acupuncturists use needles, but what about moxa (mugwort)? What is moxibustion used for.

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Spongy Herb

I wrote about the family of moxa devices in a previous blog. Moxa is a spongy herb used to facilitate healing. It is an integral part of traditional Chinese medicine. Moxibustion refers to the lighting of small pieces of moxa herb to release heat in a carefully controlled manner on or around the skin.

Moxibustion is not for everyone. It may be contraindicated in those with high blood pressure or symptoms of overheating. This aside, moxibustion is an extremely helpful technique to benefit poor circulation and low energy in particular. It has gained a particular reputation for turning breech babies, possibly due to its effect in increasing pelvic circulation. Browse the facts here. It can also be used to assist with fluid movement – for example with arthritis and chest congestion. But this is merely the tip of the iceberg for this wonderful herb.

what is moxibustion used for

What Is Moxibustion Used For

The best way to illustrate what moxibustion may be used for in practice is by example.

Patient Mary is seeking treatment for fertility issues. She passes all the standard medical tests and is given a diagnosis of ‘unexplained infertility’. On examination it appears that her lower abdomen is much cooler than the rest of her trunk. This suggests that there may be reduced circulation to her ovaries and uterus. She also has cold hands and feet and feels chilly.

I treat her with needles and send her home with a supply of moxa to warm a point on the inside of her ankle daily. It should be noted that the moxa device used here applies heat without touching the skin.

On each visit her lower abdomen is warmer until after three weeks it is normal. She also reports feeling warmer generally. She is hopeful of becoming pregnant soon.

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Susan was a farmer’s wife suffering from plantar fasculitis, a painful condition affecting the underside of the foot. After three sessions of acupuncture she was only 10% better, so I applied some moxa (the size of a tiny piece of thread) to the underside of her foot and lit it. The aim was to produce a microtrauma the size of a pin head. Within a minute she was experiencing tingling session running up her calves. Within a few days 90% of the symptoms had gone and she went on to make a full recovery.

What Is Moxibustion Used For

 

Paul consulted me with acute sciatica. As part of his treatment I used a moxa stick to warm the pathway of the sciatica down his leg. The finished effect was a visible red stripe. He gained much relief from this.

Pleasant Heating

These are just three examples of what moxibustion can be used for. Many acupuncturists will use this alongside needle therapy. The sensation from this therapy is a pleasant heating that penetrates into the skin.

Pick up the phone and call acupuncturist Martin Dean on 07969413158

 [ What is moxibustion used for ]

 

What On Earth Does An Acupuncturist Do?

Worried About Picking Up A Phone?

People are sometimes worried about picking up the phone and calling a traditional  acupuncturist. Common perceptions range from ‘it must be painful’ to ‘will he/she be professional’ or simply a fear of the unknown. So what is the reality? What happens when you book a session. What do people say?

What On Earth Does An Acupuncturist Do?What On Earth Does An Acupuncturist Do?

Not Nothing But Not Painful

When asked about the sensation of having needles inserted into your body I often describe acupuncture as ‘not nothing but not painful’. When I asked some of my patients for feedback, one said ‘you don’t really feel it do you?’, and another said ‘its much better than waxing’. Read my previous blog on this topic. http://theacupunctureblog.co.uk/comfortable-needling/

Also take a look at this video.

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Whilst many practitioners generally don’t work in an NHS setting, if you choose a British Acupuncture Council registered acupuncturist (in the UK) you will get someone who has trained for a minimum of three years to degree level (or equivalent) in acupuncture. They will be fully insured and bound by the highest professional standards.

The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) has a membership of around 3,000 professionally qualified acupuncturists. It is the UK’s largest professional/ self-regulatory body for the practice of traditional acupuncture and was one of the first organisations to become a PSA Accredited Register. The Accredited Register scheme is designed to recognise that an accredited organisation maintains high standards of training, safe practice and professional conduct where the operational sector is not covered by statutory regulation.

Initial Consultation

The first session with an acupuncturist will generally last longer to include taking a full case history. This is more than a nicety – it is a solid foundation on which to create a treatment plan suited to your individual needs. In general you are advised to wear loose, comfortable clothing to an acupuncture session.

You may be surprised to learn too that acupuncturists do more than just insert needles into you. We are caring, sympathetic and willing to listen. Treatments may also include moxibustion (warming therapy), guasha (friction massage), cupping, dietary advice according to traditional Chinese theory, auricular therapy and more. Chinese exercise forms may be recommended too.

What On Earth Does An Acupuncturist Do?

Moxa Is Used for its Warming Properties

So rest assured when you call an acupuncturist you are not entering a portal to an alien world! We are professionally trained human beings backed by one of the oldest established healthcare systems in the world and regulated by a leading self-regulatory organisation.

Martin Dean

The Acupuncture Pain Centre

07969413158

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[What On Earth Does An Acupuncturist Do?]

Acupuncture Fertility – Recognising Individual Circumstances

Exciting Developments

You may not realise it, but fertility acupuncture is one of the most exciting developments within the field of acupuncture at the moment. Here’s why.

Over the years I have worked with many couples to help them achieve their dreams. In my experience the key is to really understand the complex needs of each individual. So how do I do this?

Through very careful observation, enquiry about your current state of health and looking through your medical test results and diagnosis, we can build up a detailed picture of your reproductive health. As part of this the majority of my patients will chart their daily temperature – the so-called basal body temperature. The overall aim is to develop a strategy that will improve your chances through a greater understanding of how your body is working.

To give some specific examples of what I mean, are you able to regulate your temperature well? What do you think is the reason for your current problems? Do you suffer from pre-menstrual symptoms? Does your digestion serve you well? Are you sleeping sufficiently?

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And one other point. I rarely talk about infertility. A more appropriate expression would be subfertility.

One of the Oldest Healthcare Systems in the World

So where does Acupuncture fit into all this? It is one of the oldest healthcare systems still in use around the world. Acupuncture has been used for centuries to improve health by balancing and regulating the key organ systems of the body. It is based on principles that go back over two thousand years.

According to The Fertility Foundation, fertility acupuncture works by :-

  • Regulating hormones
  • Improving blood supply to the ovaries
  • Improving Sperm Quality and quantity
  • Helping with embryo implantation
  • Reducing stress

The following clip  illustrates this in more detail.

Not all of these may be applicable to you of course – but the key is to identify and improve those that are. The key steps are:-

  • Diagnosis
  • Plan
  • Treatment

Traditional Treatments

The following traditional treatments may also be offered alongside acupuncture :-

  • Moxibustion (warming therapy) see earlier blog
  • Cupping
  • Traditional Chinese dietary advice
  • Gua sha (Chinese friction massage)
  • Auricular acupuncture
  • Lifestyle advice
  • Listening

mini moxa

So let me share a typical example. A couple have been trying to get pregnant for 2 ½ years. A simple hands-on check shows that the female partner has a very cold lower abdomen. I inserted two needles into the patient’s hand and two into her ankles. Within minutes her abdomen has warmed up dramatically, something which her partner was able to feel with his own hands. ‘You are a bloody magician’ he said. Three months later the couple were able to announce a pregnancy. Co-incidence?

Here’s to making a difference! Explaining the unexplained.

Martin Dean is a British Acupuncture Council registered acupuncturist who practices in Nottingham, UK.

Tel: 07969413158

Web: www.acupuncturefertilitycentre.co.uk

[Acupuncture Fertility – Recognising Individual Circumstances]

Onions and Garlic – Acupuncture Medicine

Too Common and Crude?

According to Ayurveda – traditional Indian medicine – onions and garlic can be ‘stimulating to the desires’. For this reason it is usually avoided by those who practice meditation and other spiritual paths. In Chinese herbal medicine, garlic is often considered too common and crude to be included in classic herbal recipes. So why might we consider onions and garlic acupuncture medicine?

onions and garlic acupuncture medicine

Are Onions and Garlic Acupuncture Medicine?

So how should we regard onions and garlic? Does they have a good side? Could it be helpful for improving our health?

According to traditional Chinese acupuncture dietary theory onion and garlic, both of which hail from the Alium family, are pungent in nature and warming. This can help to move stagnant Qi (energy), activate the lungs and act as a digestive.They are considered excellent for improving circulation, and for resolving phlegm and dampness (fluid retention) in the respiratory system. This makes these foods a great asset during the autumn cold and flu season in the UK, set against a backdrop of increasing damp and cold.

onions and garlic acupuncture medicine

According to author Henry C. Lu ‘onion is used in Chinese folk medicine as a diuretic and an expectorant’. Other members of the Alium family including spring onions, chives and leeks offer up similar properties.

Feeding Gut Bacteria

An analysis of 64 studies by researchers at King’s College London found prebiotic fibres in onions and garlic which are known to have a positive effect on ‘good bacteria’ in the gut, specifically Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus. These bacteria are required for a healthy digestive system to function effectively. Also refer to http://theacupunctureblog.co.uk/the-microbiome-diet-bugs-that-count/

At this time of year therefore a good addition to one’s diet would be a hearty vegetable soup created from a stock of onions, garlic and leeks. Enjoy good health this autumn.

[Onions and garlic acupuncture medicine]

There’s Nothing You can Do About Sperm Quality (Or Is There?)

Are you a male struggling with low sperm parameters?

I recently came across an article by York Acupuncturist Ali Longridge which I wanted to share with you.  I have had many male patients who have checked in with low sperm count, morphology or motility. The mantra they arrive with is ‘there is nothing that can be done is there?’ But is this really true?

After a course of acupuncture treatment and dietary changes, a repeat sperm test will often show a marked improvement.

There's Nothing You can Do About Sperm Quality (Or Is There?)

In this well researched article Ali points out that that there is indeed much that can be done. As she points out –

Fertility acupuncture has been shown to increase the delivery of nutrients, antioxidants and oxygen to the sperm-making cells.

Read her article at:-

https://www.integratedhealthcareyork.com/myths-about-sperm-quality/

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There’s Nothing You can Do About Sperm Quality (Or Is There?)

Also see http://theacupunctureblog.co.uk/cordyceps-mushrooms-endurance/

(Please note that unfortunately we are usually unable to help with VERY low sperm counts.)

Acupuncture Review Finds Evidence Of Effect

Acupuncture Review Finds Evidence Of Effect

Acupuncture Review Finds Evidence Of Effect

What Is Acupuncture Good For?

I am often asked which conditions acupuncture is good for. A recent review commissioned by the Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association, provides an up to date evidence based guide to the effectiveness of acupuncture using scientifically rigorous methods.

In this study they considered 122 different health conditions and assigned them to one of four categories –

  • Positive effect (8)
  • Potential positive effect (38)
  • No evidence of effect (5)
  • Unclear/insufficient (71)

For the eight best supported conditions the evidence was consistently positive and acupuncture was recommended by the review authors. The eight conditions are:-

  • allergic rhinitis
  • back pain (chronic)
  • headache (tension type, chronic) and migraine
  • knee osteoarthritis
  • nausea and vomiting (either postoperative or due to chemotherapy)
  • post operative pain

The ‘potential positive effect’ list of 38 conditions includes neck, elbow, heel and shoulder pain, asthma, IBS, anxiety, depression, insomnia. It also includes primary and secondary stroke treatment. This is a condition which is the most common inpatient indication for acupuncture in Chinese hospitals.

Acupuncture Review Finds Evidence Of Effect

To be clear, no evidence of effect does not mean that acupuncture is ineffective, rather that there is currently no evidence of effect. These results reflect only what research has been done to date, they are not neccesarily a good indication of how someone would get on with acupuncture in normal practice. Interestingly however, the study authors do point out that :-

“it is no longer possible to say that the effectiveness of acupuncture is because of the placebo effect, or that it is useful only for musculoskeletal pain”.

Read the study

{Based on an article by Mark Bovey, Research Manager British Acupuncture Council}.

Topic: Acupuncture Review Finds Evidence Of Effect

My Body Has Held Me To Ransom

“I can’t believe my body has held me to ransom for all these years”.

This is a sentiment I have heard expressed in so many ways over the years. As a man it is often difficult to truly appreciate what a woman puts up with each month, particularly when things don’t go smoothly. As an experienced fertility acupuncturist though I have treated many many women with a large variety of menstrual difficulties over the years and I have to say the results are often profound. Of course you don’t have to be trying to get pregnant to get help with your cycle.

So how could acupuncture help? Before starting it is a great idea to seek a medical diagnosis so do have a talk with your GP first in order to rule out anything more serious. On your first visit to an acupuncturist you will be asked a whole lot of detailed questions about your menstrual and general health to establish what is behind your symptoms and how best to move forward.My Body Has Held Me To Ransom

I have come to regard the female menstrual cycle as something which needs to ‘flow’ smoothly. This means for example that the monthly blood flow should be smooth and fluid (so no clots) and free from ‘stop-start’ bleeding. You should be largely pain-free and emotionally consistent for the whole month (so no mood swings or energy drops). Any other symptoms that occur during your menstrual cycle such as bloating (bowels not flowing well) or fluid retention (impeded fluid flow) will be taken into account.

In some of my more poetic moments I am drawn to consider my role as a ‘plumber’, opening taps, removing blockages, turning up the water pressure and improving heat distribution. To translate this into ‘acupuncture speak’, one of the most common diagnoses is ‘Liver Qi Stagnation’ which has amongst its symptoms, moodiness, fluctuation of mental state, a churning feeling in the stomach and feeling ‘wound-up”. Does this sound familiar? Yes we are talking about PMS. Treating acupuncture point ‘Liver 3’ (located on the foot) during the premenstrual phase often produces the most dramatic treatment outcomes. It is like opening a tap.

So go on – get your life back!

Martin Dean

07969 41 31 58

 

 

 

 

 

 

Acupuncture Increases Ovulation Frequency in Women With PCOS

In a recent Swedish study 32 women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) were given acupuncture in combination with low frequency electrical stimulation (‘electrocupuncture’). After 10-13 weeks of intervention, circulating levels of a variety of hormones (including estrone, estrone sulphate, estradiol, DHEA and testosterone) were found to have decreased in the acupuncture group and were significantly lower than in the control group.
[Source : British Acupuncture Council]

What can we do for you?

Acupuncture point P6

If you have ever used those sea sickness travel bands you attach to your wrists, you will be familiar with acupuncture point Pericardium 6 (or P6), also called Nei Guan in Chinese (meaning Inner Pass). Located on the middle of the forearm three fingers width above the wrist, this point is indicated for palpitations, insomnia, nausea and vomiting [source Peter Deadman, Manual of Acupuncture]. Two interesting uses for P6 are to calm morning sickness in pregnancy and to treat mild insomnia, both of which prove to be effective in clinical practice.
The pericardium is the ‘wrapping’ of the heart, which is said to store the spirit. According to Deadman, P6 is “one of the main acupuncture points for regulating and calming the spirit and treating a wide range of emotional disorders”.