Sciatica pain relief with Acupuncture

Sciatic pain (sciatica) typically affects the body unilaterally, with pain extending from the hip / lower back down one leg.  People often describe the uncomfortable sensation as a ‘pain in the butt cheek’, often worse when sitting, as numbness, burning or tingling which runs down the leg or even as sharp and shooting sensations from the hip the calf.

Sciatica is a symptom of an underlying lower back condition such as a structural impingement or compression of the sciatic nerve, which exits the spinal column around the upper sacrum.  Trauma, chronic disk degeneration or even pregnancy can be the cause of the condition.  Sciatica and Piriformis syndrome are two conditions which are often confused, they are quite different structurally however the pain and symptoms are very similar, pain management of both conditions resolves over time, and the symptoms of sciatica can be expected to improve in the absence of significant structural damage.

Sciatica is a condition, which can come and go over time; western medicine typically treats it with surgery, painkillers, anti-inflammatory medicine and even cortisone injections.

Research into acupuncture treatments has shown effective pain relief and the resolution of symptoms are manageable naturally with acupuncture.  Fine needles are inserted into specific sites, which trigger a nerve system response including a cascade of natural endorphins and enkephalins for pain relief. Blood circulation to the area is increased which nourishes the surrounding tissue and over the course of several treatments it is likely to resolve the symptoms and prevent further deterioration of the condition (McDonald & Janz 2017.)

At Root & Branch Oriental therapies, Mark Davis [Dr of Chinese Medicine] treats sciatic pain using a combination of trigger points, electric stimulation, cupping and distal acupuncture using the ankles and wrists.  Increasing blood flow and relaxing the muscles around the lumbar vertebrae is the first step followed by targeting the nerve itself to increase circulation and muscle relaxation along its pathway down the back of the leg.

Manual therapies such as Shiatsu can also contribute significantly to rehabilitation through stretching and by working on the tight muscle tissues of the Glutes, piriformis and hamstrings.

References:

Table 1 & 2 of the Acupuncture Evidence Project (McDonald J, and Janz S, 2017) retrieved from: www.acupuncture.org.au

Further Reading:

https://www.spine-health.com/blog/acupuncture-and-stretching-helped-my-sciatica-open-letter-spine-health-reader

 

Kvass & other lacto-fermented foods.

By Mark Davis, BHSc (TCM).

I have been making Kvass this week, it is basically lacto-fermented raw beetroot cubes with added water, the resulting deep red liquid is taken in small doses internally for its health benefits.

Beetroot is  a powerhouse of nutrition packed full of vitamins and minerals, however it is higher in natural sugars than any other root vegetable, when fermented, enzymes and beneficial bacteria consume the sugars to make the nutrients more bioavailable.  Beetroot is particularly good for heart health, blood production and it is even said to lower blood pressure;  anecdotal evidence suggests that is especially beneficial for the Liver.

Taste-wise, the Kvass is a little sour, sweet and salty all at the same time.  In Chinese Medicine, the sour taste directs foods to the Liver, the sweet taste to the Spleen and salty to the Kidneys.  So you can see already that it is quite a well balanced tonic for all three organs.

Although it’s origins are not Chinese, as an integrated health practitioner, I prefer to mix the best from all traditional health concepts regardless of where they originate.

We have all heard the saying “you are what you eat,” and the famous quote by Hippocrates: “Let food be thy medicine.”

Asian countries have a long history of using fermented foods including miso, tempeh, kimchi, natto etc.  In the West also, particularly Eastern European countries have traditions such as Sourdough, Kefir, Sauerkraut and Kvass.

Before refrigeration was available these processes were used to preserve staple foods so that they were available during the colder seasons when there was less produce, however  as they have been shown to be a valuable resource nutritionally, the tradition continues today and the consumption seems to be gaining popularity.

Regular intake of fermented vegetables will improve digestion, resolve bloating and compliment intestinal health.  Important research is currently exploring the associations between gut health and cognitive function.

In Chinese Medicine dietary guidelines, over-indulgence of fermented foods can result in ‘dampness,’  typically noticed as excess mucous, a heavy feeling, diarrhoea and sluggishness.

So these foods should be enjoyed in small doses, as an accompaniment to meals, on a daily basis.

Other similar blog posts:

Nukazuke  (糠漬け)

IT DOESN’T GET MUCH HEALTHIER THAN BEETROOT SOUP WITH BONE BROTH!

My own private Miso

 

 

Plantar Fasciitis

Acupuncture for Plantar Fasciitis, by Mark Davis, BHSc (TCM).

 

Plantar fasciitis is sometimes referred to as “Runners Heel,” it is an inflammation of the muscles on the underlying surface of the foot – the long, flat ligament that runs along the sole of the toes. It is one of the most common & painful foot problems which some people typically experience when getting out of bed in the mornings, or after being seated for prolonged periods.

Plantar fasciitis is usually caused from repetitive strain to the heel area, it is a common, and very persistent injury afflicting runners, walkers and hikers, and people who stand on hard surfaces like concrete & tiled surfaces for extended periods.

Although pain is typically felt between the arch and heel of the foot, plantar fasciitis pain often originates in the muscles of the lower legs and calf. When these muscles are tight and overstretched, it puts strain on the plantar fascia on the bottom of the foot. Being quite a stubborn condition, people can often see many health practitioners and typically invest quite large amounts of money in ongoing treatment for cortisone injections and orthotics.

At Root & Branch Oriental therapies, we have found quite a good success rate using manipulation of the calf muscle with heat therapy, combined with distal acupuncture which avoids upsetting the already inflamed facia of the plantar surface; typically most cases resolve within 3-4 consultations. Several products such as liniment patches and foot soaks are available to compliment the physical intervention between treatment.

Medical Science shows similar results; Xu Xuemeng et al., Guangzhou Dongcheng Hospital randomly divided 66 plantar fasciitis patients into an acupuncture group and a conventional therapy control group. The acupuncture group received standard acupuncture and the control group received triamcinolone acetonide acetate injections and local blocking therapy. The results were assessed 6 months after the completion of all treatments. The acupuncture group achieved a total effective rate of 97% and the drug therapy group had a 76% effective rate.

The aforementioned research is not an isolated finding; Guangzhou Social Welfare House researchers (Tang et al.) performed a meta-analysis of 19 independent plantar fasciitis clinical trials. A total of 16 of the 19 studies made extensive use of Ahshi acupuncture points. Based on the data, the researchers determined that acupuncture is effective for the treatment of plantar fasciitis. The following are some of the studies included in the meta-analysis.

Acupuncture has a proven and lengthy track record for producing significant positive outcomes rates for patients with plantar fasciitis. The data indicates that access to acupuncture, moxibustion, and TCM herbal foot baths is an adequate solution for the vast majority of patients.

Additionally it is worth considering that adverse reactions to acupuncture and trigger point therapy under controlled conditions by a properly accredited practitioner are rare.

References:

Tang, Cuanqi, et al. “Progress of Clinical Research on Acupuncture and Moxibustion for Heel Pain.” World Chinese Medicine 9.1 (2014): 120-123.

Gao F, Zhao B, Fan XH. Thrust acupuncture and injection therapy in treating plantar fasciitis 150 cases [J]. Yunnan TCM Herbs Journal, 2015, 36(6): 80-81.

 

Herbal Foot Soaks, for pain of the feet & ankles.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – try Acupuncture first!

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Herbal Foot Soaks, for pain of the feet & ankles.

Foot/ heel pain relief available in clinic now.

Our feet are the connection between heaven and earth.  It is easy to forget just how important they are to us, in modern day life we wear shoes and forget to re-connect with the earth.  Our feet bear the weight of our entire body,  700 times each for every kilometre we walk.  Each foot contains more than 7000 nerve endings, 107 ligaments, 19 muscles & 26 bones (1/4 of all the bones in the body).  For many people, feet are a low priority when it comes to ongoing care….  And yet, all it takes is the slightest irritation on the smallest toe to give discomfort to our whole being!

Herbal foot soaks are beneficial to most conditions related to pain and overuse of the muscles and tendons of the feet, from diabetic foot neuropathy, plantar fasciitis, heel pain, bone spurs and achilles tendonitis.  Prolonged use of herbal foot baths (> 2 weeks) may also be beneficial to general wellbeing including reduced stress levels, insomnia, migraines, fatigue, IBS and hormonal imbalances.

Western science is slowly catching up to the knowledge of traditional Chinese Medicine.  In a recent study done by Harvard, a simple warm bath before you go to bed at night can significantly increase your sleep. Click here to read the study.

HOW TO:  Initially 3-4 tea bags should be simmered for around 10 minutes.  Next the temperature needs to be equalised when the hot tea is transferred to the bucket, ensuring that the solution is below 45 DEC C to prevent scolding.  Best results are expected after >40 minutes use, a kettle of hot water kept handy can ensure the water is topped up regularly to keep the solution close to the desired 40 DEC C mark.

EVEN BETTER:  Take this time to relax, read a book, meditate or listen to some guided self hypnosis.

Here is a link to a breathing technique I particularly like:

Practical tips for dealing with stress & anxiety

Eastential Chinese Medicine, David Yao Chi Guan, Four Seasons Wellness Centre, Shinma Acupuncture, Acuuncture Abbotsford Convent, Abbotsford Medical & Acupuncture Centre, Yuki Murata

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Topical Liniment for pain relief

liniment-for-pain-relief

There are lots of generic liniments on the market, but nothing beats the Dr’s own formula for musculoskeletal pain! The herbs which have been soaked for more than 12 months are chosen for quality & efficacy to speed up recovery, relax muscles and tendons to reduce inflammation, dispels stagnation & promotes circulation. Dit Da Jow has traditionally been used for trauma associated with martial arts, but suitable for strains, sprains, and muscular tightness and everyday aches and pains. For external use only, not suitable for open wounds.

Mark will often use the ‘Dit Da Jow’ in combination for needling of musculoskeletal conditions, sports injury and in conjunction with electronic muscle stimulation.

Eastential Chinese Medicine, David Yao Chi Guan, Four Seasons Wellness Centre, Shinma Acupuncture, Acuuncture Abbotsford Convent, Abbotsford Medical & Acupuncture Centre, Yuki Murata

 

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Have you tried Cupping yet? Detox naturally with Chinese Medicine

Dry Needling Abbotsford

Shiatsu Masa does great SHIATSU Massage Melbourne!!

 

Have you tried Cupping yet? Detox naturally with Chinese Medicine

Cupping is a tradition from China, but it also fins its root in many other ancient societies from the Middle-East to Southern Europe.

Now, with the Spring Solstice just around the corner, your timing couldn’t be better!  We are all naturally susceptible to becoming run down around the time of seasonal changes, get in now to try it out, most people find it totally INVIGORATING!

The most common question I get is “Are those bruises healthy?”

Actually they are not bruises, but simply petechiae of non-circulating old blood which is drawn to the surface.  The effect will stimulate the new production of blood, increase circulation and have a detoxifying effect.  Usually the marks should be gone within 4-6 days; a darker colour means that there is a high level of toxins and stagnation in the section of the body that has been treated. In this case, the marks can last a little longer. However, if there are hardly any toxins, the coloring could be just a light pink and is likely to dissipate within a few hours.

Cupping is often beneficial when used for coughs, cold and flu, muscular pain, stress relief and even for anxiety.  Cupping can be a stand-alone treatment, or incorporated as part of your Acupuncture or Shiatsu treatment.

 

 

 

Eastential Chinese Medicine, David Yao Chi Guan, Four Seasons Wellness Centre, Shinma Acupuncture, Acuuncture Abbotsford Convent, Abbotsford Medical & Acupuncture Centre

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Ear Acupuncture

Did you know that ear acupuncture can be similar to foot reflexology? Both areas of the body represent organ maps which can be beneficial to heath. The main difference between the two micro-systems is that while finger pressure is applicable to the plantar surface of the foot, the ear is smaller, thus it is necessary to use fine needles to elicit a reaction. The needles are almost completely painless and often we will send you away with a small sticky ear tack which can remain in pace for a few days to compliment body acupuncture treatment, and these can usually stay in place for up to 4-5 days. There is a famous protocol which was established in the early 1970’s called the ‘NADA protocol,’ which is still in use today for smoking cessation and heavily relied upon in drug and alcohol rehabilitation clinics.

Eastential Chinese Medicine, David Yao Chi Guan, Four Seasons Wellness Centre, Shinma Acupuncture, Acuuncture Abbotsford Convent, Abbotsford Medical & Acupuncture Centre

IT DOESN’T GET MUCH HEALTHIER THAN BEETROOT SOUP WITH BONE BROTH!

Have you tried Borscht before?

In Eastern Europe where Borscht it is a staple food, it is said that ‘Eating Borscht is as good as having a blood transfusion!’

Beetroot is an incredibly rich source of nutrients, combined with the gut healing benefits of bone broth and honestly I can’t think of any food, which would be a more complete source of nutrition!  Almost anyone would benefit from the goodness, but it is a particularly good all round recipe to have weekly for anyone who is considering maximising fertility. It can be served at room temperature on a hot summers day with a dollop of natural Greek yoghurt and some griddle-toasted sourdough with a lightly salted cultured butter!

There are many recipes online for bone broth, you can use anything from chicken wings to marrow bones, or even ox tails; of course organic bones are the best choice.
I like to pressure-cook the soup as it dramatically reduces the time to make the stock. It is very similar to making normal soup stock, however the extra pressure or time will extract the nutrients from the bone marrow, which makes the stock so nutrient dense.
 
 

Ingredients for Bone Broth:

  • Stock bones.
  • Water (double the volume of bones.)
  • 2-3 Tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar (important to maximise marrow extraction.)
  • 2-3 Tablespoons of Fish Sauce (replaces the need for salt.)
  • Herbs to taste such as star anise, bay leaf, black pepper, fresh garlic and ginger.

When you chill the stock it will turn gelatinous due to the marrow content, and the excess fat can be skimmed from the top prior to using it for the soup.

The next step is to make the Beetroot soup…
 
 

Ingredients for Borscht:

  • 2 medium sized onions.
  • 3-4 fresh & firm raw beetroots, peeled & diced.
  • 2 large carrots peeled & diced.
  • 1 large handful – roughly cut cabbage hearts.

Sautee the onions, add the chopped vegetables and cover with bone broth, simmer for 30-40 minutes until the vegetables are soft. That’s it; of course you can make additions yourself to taste.
You can puree the soup for a smoother consistency or consume it in its chunky form. Eat it hot or at room temperature, traditionally it is topped with sour cream and chives, but natural yoghurt is equally tasty and better on the waistline!

Eastential Chinese Medicine, David Yao Chi Guan, Four Seasons Wellness Centre, Shinma Acupuncture, Acuuncture Abbotsford Convent, Abbotsford Medical & Acupuncture Centre  
 

Give it a try & let me know what you think!
 
 

Mark.

Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture

Case Study: This lady is 50 years of age,  this is her 4th facial rejuvenation treatment and already she is reporting a change in skin texture and tone.  The protocol shown here includes a point prescription for reducing frown lines, lifting the eyebrows, tightening the forehead, and strengthening the platysma muscle which lies beneath the skin on the area of the neck which often experiences sagging and jowls [DEC 2016.] Photo shared with permission from the patient.

Cosmetic acupuncture  can be used to reduce acne, brighten the skin even out the complexion and to soften lines and wrinkles.  It is important to keep up your intake of Vitamin C during the course of treatment as Vit C is critical for the production of collagen.  Very fine Japanese stainless steel needles made specifically for the face are used with minimal discomfort, some people even report that they can’t even feel the insertion.

We have recently started a herbal product inspired by popular Japanese kampo medicine which perfectly compliments our cosmetic acupuncture, the formula includes herbs for the skin, hair, eyes, spirit and resilience all in one for complete holistic care.

Eastential Chinese Medicine, David Yao Chi Guan, Four Seasons Wellness Centre, Shinma Acupuncture, Acuuncture Abbotsford Convent, Abbotsford Medical & Acupuncture Centre

Convenient Coconut Oil Pills

An instructional video on how to make little pills which make unpalatable powdered herbs a breeze to take!  You can use these for any powdered herbs you want to make into easily digestible pills such as anti-inflammatory turmeric golden paste, or even ceylon cinnamon for lowering blood sugar and boosting your metabolism.  Some people can’t palate the taste of the powdered herbal formulas we prescribe and you can also use this recipe to modify the powder so that it is more easily taken.  Most people are fine with the powdered herbs though, my tip is to take no more than a third of a cup & swig it down in one go followed by a glass of water.

Eastential Chinese Medicine, David Yao Chi Guan, Four Seasons Wellness Centre, Shinma Acupuncture, Acuuncture Abbotsford Convent, Yuki Murata Abbotsford Medical & Acupuncture Centre