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NEEDLE YOUR SPORTS INJURIES WITH ACUPUNCTURE
Whilst we all know that exercise is good for us, failure to warm up or cool down properly, lack of fitness or even improper use of equipment can cause sports injuries. Acupuncture, however, has been shown to effectively treat fatigued limbs, strained muscles and other muscular-skeletal complaints as well as preventing further injury.
By stimulating the body's nervous system, acupuncture can promote its natural healing abilities. Research* has shown that treatment can help injury recovery by:
•· providing pain relief
•· increasing local microcirculation and attracting immune cells to the
area, which can reduce swelling and bruising
•· speeding up the healing of wounds
•· breaking down scar tissue
•· promoting faster recovery after training sessions
•· relaxing muscles and relieving spasms
Those who receive acupuncture for sports injuries are often able to return to activity more quickly than would otherwise be possible. Acupuncture is used by top sports people and athletes including the British Rugby team, many Premiership football teams and the British Olympic team, to treat musculo-skeletal problems.
Olympic Champion Chris Hoy who has acupuncture to help keep his physical condition at a peak says: "Over the years acupuncture and deep tissue massage have formed an integral part of my physical therapy routine. I have found it incredibly effective for both injury treatment and prevention."
"With running especially, which puts a lot of pressure on the body, minor sprains, strains and bruises are all too common. We have found that acupuncture can not only aid recovery and enable people to return to training more quickly but, with regular sessions, can also enhance performance."
"By inserting fine needles into different parts of the body, acupuncture has been found to reduce pain, increase the range of motion and strengthen weakened parts of the body. It can also be effectively combined with other treatments such as massage and rehabilitation exercises."
ACUPUNCTURE HELPS WITH LABOUR PAIN
Danish clinicians carrying out the largest randomised controlled trial of acupuncture for relief of labour pain have found it to be a good supplement to existing pain relief methods, reducing the need for pharmacological and invasive methods during delivery. A randomised controlled trial was conducted with 607 healthy women in labour at term who received acupuncture, TENS, or traditional analgesics. Acupuncture was individualised, based on women's mobility and localisation of pain, with points chosen from a list of 34 specified points. Although pain scores were comparable across the three groups, the use of pharmacological and invasive methods was significantly lower in the acupuncture group. Acupuncture did not influence the duration of labour or the use of oxytocin. In addition, indications of neonatal wellbeing (Apgar score and umbilical cord pH value) were significantly better among infants in the acupuncture group compared with infants in the other groups. (Acupuncture as pain relief during delivery: a randomized controlled trial. Birth. 2009 Mar;36(1):5‑12).
CHINESE HERBS COMPARABLE TO HORMONES FOR ENDOMETRIOSIS
UK authors have carried out a systematic review of the use of Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) for endometriosis‑related pain and infertility. Database searches revealed 100 relevant studies, but only two Chinese RCTs were deemed of high enough quality for analysis. Meta‑analysis of the pooled results involving a total of 158 women concluded that administration of CHM after laparoscopic surgery for endometriosis has effects comparable to those achieved with the drug gestrinone (a synthetic progesterone that suppresses the secretion of oestrogen by the ovaries), but with fewer side effects. In addition they concluded that oral CHM may have a better overall treatment effect than danazol (synthetic testosterone) and that it may be more effective in relieving dysmenorrhea and shrinking endometrial masses when used in conjunction with a CHM enema. (Chinese herbal medicine for endometriosis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009 Jul 8;(3):CD006568).
TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE HELPS RELIEVE ECZEMA
Renowned as one of the best alternative therapies for treating skin problems, new research shows that TCM may be one of the best ways to help eczema sufferers.
ACUPUNCTURE IMPROVES SPERM MOTILITY
The first prospective, randomised, single‑blind, placebo‑controlled study of the effect of acupuncture in infertile men with severe oligoasthenozoospermia has shown that acupuncture can improve sperm motility. The German study, involving 29 men compared TCM acupuncture with placebo acupuncture. A significantly higher percentage of motile sperm was found after real acupuncture. No effect of acupuncture on sperm concentration was observed. (A prospective randomized placebo‑controlled study of the effect of acupuncture in infertile patients with severe oligoasthenozoospermia. Fertil Steril. 2009 Apr 24. [Epub ahead of print]).
FERTILITY AND ACUPUNCTURE
Acupuncture increases IVF success
The beneficial effect of acupuncture on fertility treatment has once again been highlighted by the results of a major scientific study. The research found that women undergoing IVF treatment were much more likely to have a successful pregnancy if they also had acupuncture treatment on the day of embryo transfer.
Acupuncture carried out on the day of embryo transfer was found to increase the chances of having live birth from one in five to one in three. The systematic review and meta-analysis, published as part of the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and carried out by a team from the University of Southampton, identified a total of 16 trials involving acupuncture and assisted conception, of which 13 were considered high enough quality to be included in the study. These involved a total of more than 2000 IVF patients.
Analysis of the pooled results led the authors to conclude that acupuncture around the time of embryo transfer achieved a higher live birth rate of 35% compared with 22% without active acupuncture. (Acupuncture and assisted conception. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2008 Oct 8;(4):CD006920).
Date: Metro, 17 March 2008
"After a year, the only thing the consultant could come up with to explain my inability to get pregnant were my stress levels,' says Lisa Wallace, 35. Searching the internet, Lisa hit on acupuncture, the insertion of fine needles into energy channels beneath the skin to encourage healing responses. ‘I read that, not only is acupuncture great for sorting your cycle, it was the only scientifically proven alternative therapy to work for infertility.' Lisa started treatment in the June and by November, she was pregnant - with son Luca, now six months. Her therapist, Maria Christofi, from Hammersmith hospital's IVF unit says: ‘Acupuncture can help assist blood circulation in the uterus, encourage implantation of the embryo, minimise side effects from IVF drugs - and help a patient relax.' 'The fact that it is offered in such a prolific IVF unit is very encouraging."
Date: Oct 2007
Fertility focused acupuncture treatment can help to increase blood flow to the reproductive organs, balance hormone levels, regulate the menstrual cycle and help improve the lining of the uterus and quality of eggs released. Additionally, conditions such as polycystic ovaries and endometriosis have also been shown to improve with acupuncture. Men today also face fertility problems. Benefits to male fertility have been helped by acupuncture with positive effects on sperm count, morphology and mobility.
Acupuncture is thought to aid fertility treatments by being able to:
- regulate the menstrual cycle and promote regular ovulation
- regulate the hormones to produce a larger number of follicles
- improve the functions of ovaries to produce better quality eggs
- enhance the vitality of sperm relieve the side effects of drugs used in IVF
- increase the thickness of the uterine lining so to encourage successful implantation
- reduce the chance of miscarriage
BAcC practitioners recognise that there are many factors which may cause infertility such as stress, irregular hormone levels and disrupted menstrual cycles. As a holistic therapy, acupuncture helps to identify underlying health issues which may cause disruption to the body's natural balance, resulting in symptoms such as infertility. Many BAcC registered practitioners have experienced positive results with their fertility patients when conventional methods alone have not been successful.
A systematic review has confirmed the benefits of acupuncture in the treatment of chronic headache. The study, carried out by US authors, included 31 studies in its meta-analysis. The majority of trials comparing verum (true) acupuncture with sham acupuncture were found to show a trend in favour of verum acupuncture. The combined response rate in the acupuncture group was significantly higher compared with sham acupuncture both at early and late follow-up. Combined data also showed acupuncture to be superior to medication for headache intensity, headache frequency, physical function and treatment response rate. (Acupuncture for the management of chronic headache: a systematic review. Anesth Analg. 2008 Dec;107(6):2038-47).
Also kown as Facial Rejuvenation or Facial Revitalisation Acupuncture. This works on using acupuncture points in the face and body to increase the flow of blood and energy through the skin. A 1996 report in the International Journal of Clinical Acupuncture showed that among 300 cases treated with facial acupuncture, 90% had a marked improvement with one course of treatment.
Date: March 2008, Health & Fitness Magazine
STOP SMOKING WITH ACUPUNCTURE
With the obvious health risks of smoking, passive smoking and the financial strain of a 20-a-day habit costing at least £1,500 per year, it's easy to see why giving up is so important. Acupuncture offers an effective, natural way to curb the cravings and stop smoking.
For more research go to: www.acupuncture.org.uk
Date: July 2007
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