Acupuncture: East meets West

AcuA HAIR-THIN needle pricks the skin. What happens next depends on who you ask. A traditional Chinese practitioner will tell you that acupuncture manipulates the body’s vital energy, Qi (pronounced chee), balancing the opposing forces of Yin and Yang. When Yin and Yang are in harmony, Qi flows freely along pathways called meridians and you stay healthy, but when the Qi gets blocked you become ill. Inserting needles into points along a meridian unblocks Qi and restores the body’s healthy balance.

Western scientists explain it differently. They say inserting needles at acupuncture points stimulates the nervous system to release morphine-like substances that block pain signals. It may also trigger neurotransmitters and neurohormones, which influence such dynamic systems as circulation and the immune response.

Ever since acupuncture caught on in the West, we’ve been seeking to replace the Eastern mysticism with hard facts. But clinical trials so far have produced a disappointingly mixed bag of results that don’t seem to back up the anecdotal claims for the wonders of acupuncture. There might be a steadily building case for clinical relief of some types of pain and nausea. But the inconclusive studies still outweigh the positive ones. Continue reading Acupuncture: East meets West

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Is Migraine all in your Head ?

IF YOU have ever absent-mindedly rubbed your eyes or nose after chopping up chilli peppers, you’ll have some idea of the suffering of one group of scientists in the name of medical research. A team at the Institute of Neurology in London have been injecting chilli juice into each others’ foreheads. Lab technician Paul Hammond, who got roped into the experiment, says it felt like acid was burning into his skin. “It was one of the most excruciating pains you can imagine,” he recalls.

The researchers weren’t sadomasochists, as far as we know. Their actions were part of a much larger research effort that has been shedding light on migraine. For although in the past few decades we have learned a great deal about the condition, we still have no idea of its root cause. And while we have drugs that help some patients, some of the time, understanding the underlying defect is the best way to boost our chances of discovering a sure-fire cure.

Continue reading Is Migraine all in your Head ?

Migraine Headache.

Migraine Headache
Migraine Headache

Patient: Woman 38 years
Occupation: Artist
Pain: 9/10

 Classic Migraine Headaches when stressed or angry. This patient had a minor scoliosis and was hypermobile. There were various areas of asymmetry which I noticed when I looked at her, the most obvious being her face.

The Migraines lasted for 24 hours, with a frequency of 1 per week. There was no link to her menstrual cycle.

Treatment: I treated this Lady using Cranio-Sacral Therapy. Two areas were problematic, the left sacroiliac joint and right temporal bone. It took 3 treatments over 2 weeks to correct these areas. The Lady was pain free for 3 months after this treatment.

Prognosis: The intensity and frequency of her Migraine Headaches is markedly reduced.

She returns for treatment 2 or 3 times a year – when she feels the need.

Tension Headaches.

Tension Type Headache
Tension Type Headache

Patient: Woman 49 Years
Occupation: University Administrator
Pain: Constant 4/10

Complaint: Constant, ongoing Headache which is present day and night. This headache eases with analgesics, but never clears. Onset, 3 weeks. Stress at work and poor posture are the major cause.

Treatment: Treatment was gentle Massage and Cranio-Sacral Therapy. The back and front of the neck, back of the head, jaw & facial muscles were all treated.

There was a lot of dialog. The patient was able, confidentially, to speak about what was causing her unhappiness and frustration.

After 2 treatments her Headache was gone, but there was a lot of muscle tension remaining, which required another 4 treatments at weekly intervals.

This patient comes for treatment every month, to keep things at bay.