Hay Fever Symptoms And The Immune System: Acupuncture Produces Lasting Improvement

Hay Fever Symptoms And The Immune System: Acupuncture Produces Lasting Improvement

Research has shown that Acupuncture is a cost-effective, safe and effective allergic rhinitis (hay fever) treatment that produces lasting improvements in symptoms and in the immune system.

The latest research not only demonstrated clear evidence that the immune system changes as a result of Acupuncture. It also showed that this natural intervention continued to improve symptoms for several weeks (even up to 3 months!) after the treatments ceased (1,2).

Can you think of a single pharmaceutical drug that could claim the same? Or even one without harmful side effects that can lead to additional problems? Whereas Acupuncture has a strong reputation as a safe intervention and is considered cost effective in the treatment of hay fever according to a German study (Witt et al, 2009).

According to the research 86.1% of participants showed significant improvement in quality of life and symptoms. Other studies support these results with positive effect rates between 84.6-95.8% (3).

Even 6 months after treatment ceased, although symptoms were starting to creep back slowly, participants in the study were still significantly better than before the study.

A short course of “top up” treatments is recommended if symptoms begin to come back after 3 months. 

The most improved symptoms in this hay fever study were: nasal itch, sneezing, nasal congestion, running nose, unrefreshed sleep and eye itch. In this particular study post-nasal drip and sinus pain did not change.

It is important to note that all prior studies that treated with Acupuncture less than twice a week and less than 12 treatments achieved far inferior results. Acupuncture is dose-dependent, so it is important to commit to the right amount of treatment. In this successful study participants received treatment twice a week for 8 weeks.

References:
1.
McDonald, J.L., Cripps, A.W., Smith, P.K., Smith, C.A., Xue, C.C. & Golianu, B. (2016) Effect of acupuncture on house dust mite specific IgE, substance P, and symptoms in persistent allergic rhinitis Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (116),6: 497–505

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.anai.2016.04.002

2. McDonald, J.L., Cripps, A.W., Smith, P.K., Smith, C.A., Xue, C.C. & Golianu, B. (2013) The Anti-inflammatory Effects of Acupuncture and Their Relevance to Allergic Rhinitis: A Narrative Review and Proposed Model. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Vol 2013, Article ID 591796.

http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2013/591796/

3. McDonald, J.L., Cripps, A.W., Smith, P.K. (2015) Mediators, Receptors and Signalling Pathways in the Anti-Inflammatory and Antihyperalgesic Effects of Acupuncture. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Vol 2015, Article ID 975632.

http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2015/975632/

Do I need surgery for uterine fibroids or polyps?

Well that depends.. how many are there and what size? How much do they protrude into the uterus? Are you trying to conceive? If so when do you ideally want to conceive? If not, are you in an emergency situation from continuous bleeding or severe pain? 

The answers to these types of questions and the information in this article will help inform your decision making. This article does not replace a medical diagnosis or recommendation, so speak with your GP, specialist and Chinese Medicine Doctor before making any decisions.


Chinese Medicine (CM) is over 2000 years old and has a long history of addressing women’s health issues and fertility. CM showed an in-depth functional understanding of the fascia, microbiome, circulation, hereditary disease, gaseous neurotransmitters and the link between emotions and internal imbalances long before modern medicine was born. It still has much to offer in the modern world.

What are fibroids and polyps?
In CM, fibroids and polyps are described as the result of Blood Stagnation and/or Phlegm accumulation (microcirculation blockages) leading to the formation of growths in the uterus. Biologically they are non-cancerous tumours made of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue that grow within the walls of the uterus, inside the uterine cavity or on the outside of the uterus.

What are the symptoms?
The most common symptoms of fibroids are heavy or irregular periods, but many women experience no symptoms at all. Staggeringly, over two thirds of Australian women will experience fibroids in their lifetime though many will never know. One third of them will likely experience some of the following symptoms:

  • Heavy periods
  • Irregular periods
  • Prolonged periods
  • Bleeding between periods or breakthrough bleeding
  • Pain or a feeling of pressure in the pelvic area
  • Period pain
  • Pain in the lower back
  • Pain during sex
  • Constipation or difficult bowel movements, or
  • Difficulty urinating or frequent urination

As many as 20-50% of women aged 35-50 have them. Those are staggering statistics. What’s worse is that somewhere between two thirds to half of all hysterectomies performed annually in western countries are due to fibroids! Plus over 50% of those women have their ovaries removed as part of the hysterectomy. This procedure commonly initiates instant menopausal symptoms no matter the persons age, which is a major life transition and shouldn’t be taken lightly.

If you have a wholistic view of your health it is highly likely that you will have strong resistance to the idea of having an organ removed without attempting to resolve undesirable symptoms naturally.

In my personal opinion the fact that two thirds of women with fibroids can live symptom free suggests that undesirable symptoms in many cases can be resolved without invasive and permanent procedures. Having said that, there are times when surgery may be necessary and it’s important to be informed around those choices.

Impact of fibroids and polyps on fertility:
Growths from Blood stagnation can have a negative impact on the nature and quality of the endometrium, which you can think of as a garden bed. If the endometrial layer is the fertile soil, then quality blood circulation is the water and nutrients.

A fertilised egg, like a seed or plant, needs a safe place to be planted in which to sink its roots, with enough space and nutrients to thrive. If the garden is crowded with rocks just below or above the surface, then suitable planting sites are limited, especially when the rocks can grow!

Objects such as large polyps (approaching 2cm) and fibroids that protrude into the uterine cavity can take up a lot of space. They can have an intrauterine device (IUD) effect by contributing to uterine inflammation, impairing embryo implantation and leading to miscarriage.

When a fertile egg is implanted, the front and back walls of the uterus gently press together like hands pressing down the soil around a newly planted seed/seedling to help hold it there until it can get established. If fibroids or polyps protrude enough into the uterine cavity, they can actually prevent this from happening effectively.

It’s not only conception and early pregnancy that is at risk. Late stage miscarriages can be attributed to failure of placental development due to obstruction by fibroids as well if there isn’t enough space in which to grow.

How fibroids and polyps are treated:
So what are your options to prepare your endometrial garden for new life? Or if you have no intention of being a gardener but are suffering from negative symptoms, what then?

Large polyps discovered with ultrasound will usually be removed surgically before attempting conception. Hysteroscopic polypectomy is a straight forward procedure, carrying little risk compared to improvements in successful conception in women undergoing ART 1. This is a simpler and more effective approach than CM, which has limited success removing pedunculate polyps.

How you address fibroids will depend on whether the type of fibroid is operable, your personal values, your pregnancy goals and timeframes.

Specialists will often recommend surgical removal in severe cases of fibroids prior to attempting pregnancy if they are large and numerous. This is major surgery with long recovery times, however in a young healthy woman, will often improve fertility and reduce the likelihood of miscarriage.

Should you wish to avoid surgery and time is on your side, then masses can be addressed with CM 2. In the case of large submucosal fibroids where surgery is not appropriate, CM may also be a good option.

The results from CM can be mixed, but in a woman with a strong constitution, with abundant Qi and Blood, CM could be used to reduce the size of fibroids. A strong Blood-moving herbal formula and supporting acupuncture treatments can be used to encourage fibroid necrosis and shrinkage.

It is equally important to be aware that in early stage pregnancy the sudden changes in hormones are likely to cause a rapid increase in fibroid size, and potential risk to pregnancy. This requires consistent management with acupuncture and herbs to slow the growth initially and reduce the size in mid to late stage pregnancy according to case studies 3.

If you are considering Acupuncture and CM it is important to note that you cannot attempt conception during treatment with strong blood moving herbal formulas like the ones used to reduce fibroid size.

If surgical removal is looking like the most likely solution, it makes sense to try to reduce the size of large fibroids prior to removal if time is on your side. The larger the fibroids the more tissue has to be removed. When more tissue is removed more scar tissue forms after their removal; another hard surface in your garden that can impede blood flow. For many women without private health, surgery wait times could be more than 6 months, this is ample time to actively attempt to reduce their size through acupuncture and patented Chinese herbal formulas.

Similarly, if your main concern is not fertility but reducing/improving symptoms, this is something that CM has a long history of addressing. In particular, if you have a long wait period before surgery, or want to avoid surgery, you may be able to greatly improve symptoms and your quality of life and possibly achieve all of your health goals with CM.

A relatively new type of treatment for fibroids is called a Fibroid Embolisation. A non-surgical procedure aimed at blocking the blood supply to the uterus in order to stop the growth of fibroids. A substance is injected into the artery that feeds blood to the uterus in order to block the blood flow and starve the fibroid.

Fibroid Embolisation may be a good option for inoperable fibroids. Using logical thinking, if it starves the fibroid then it also starves at least part of the uterus. This is worth considering. The risks include possible infection from tissue death (due to loss of blood supply), damage to other organs due to unintended loss of blood supply and, possible problems with future pregnancies.

This likely sounds like an undesirable option if you are still planning to have children as pregnancy relies heavily on a good blood supply to the uterus. However scar tissue from surgery can have a similar impact on blood supply so take this into consideration when weighing up surgery. As always talk to your doctor about the risks and be wary if they dismiss them.

To wrap up this lengthy article, in cases of substantial Blood stagnation like large polyps or fibroids, it makes good sense to remove them with surgery (or reduce their size with strong herbal treatment) BEFORE trying to fall pregnant.

Timing is important, so get clear on your fertility goals and timeframes if they’re a consideration.

Remember that removing large fibroids is major surgery.

Hysterectomy is also huge and will likely trigger menopausal symptoms, which brings with it a whole host of new undesirable symptoms. These may be brushed aside by saying that there are hormone replacement therapies or drugs that regulate hormones. Yet in my experience these are rarely as effective as patients would like. If you are close to natural menopause already then it’s not such a big issue. If your doctor or specialist dismisses your concerns you may want to get a second opinion.

If you want to fall pregnant as soon as possible, then several months of Acupuncture and herbs is not going to fit your timeline. However, if you are happy to wait, or pregnancy is not part of your plans, then a natural alternative to invasive techniques might suit you. Keep in mind that treatment with acupuncture and CM takes months. Above all consult with your specialist, your CM doctor and do your own research. We hope this article has helped to inform you.

If you would like to find out if Acupuncture treatment could benefit you, book an Initial Consultation with Dr Scott Baker (BHSc Acu) at Allied Acupuncture Gold Coast in Burleigh Waters by calling 0755221691 or book online at www.alliedacupuncture.com.au/online-bookings.

References:


1. Robker RL, Alison LK, Bennett BD, er al. Obese women exhibit difference in ovarian metabolites, hormones, and gene expression compared with moderate weight women. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2009;94(5):1533-40.

2. Maclean W, Lyttleton J. Abdominal masses. Clinical Handbook of Internal Medicine. ;Vol 3 Sydney: Pangolin Press; 2010;6(2):271-83.

3. Lyttleton J. Treatment of infertility with chinese medicine, 2nd ed. Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, London 2013:126-7.

Acupuncture Relieves Sciatic Pain – Changes Brain Functional Connectivity Related To Pain Relief

A 2012 study using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) showed that Acupuncture causes important changes in brain functional connectivity related to pain relief. 

The study also indicated that Acupuncture produces significant decreases in the frequency of sciatica pain and pain intensity.

MRIs showed that Acupuncture triggered changes in the functional state of the brain, providing patients with greater resting states.

A total of 10 Acupuncture treatments were received by the participants in the study: twice a day, three times a week for a little under 2 weeks.

Participants in the study all had pain consistent with chronic sciatica diagnostic criteria for over 3 months: radiating pain over the sciatic nerve innervation area (e.g. buttocks, posterior upper leg, posterior lateral lower leg, lateral top of the foot).

Researchers in the study determined that Acupuncture regulates the default mode network (DMN), which correlated to significant reductions in sciatica pain. 

The DMN is at its peak activity level when the brain is at rest and consists of a complex of  interconnected activated and deactivated brain regions. This research reported that sciatica pain disturbs the normal DMN pattern, and that Acupuncture was able to restore it.

“..(Acupuncture) raises negative activation in the brain’s default mode network (DMN) of chronic sciatica patients, especially in the dorsal medial prefrontal cortex and anterior cingulate cortex.” (1)

The frontal cortex and cingulate cortex are involved in pain-related subjective cognition and perception, emotional responses, memory and attentional responses (2).

Raising negative activation in the DMN is associated with decreased pain, it is a form of functional connectivity present during the resting state of the brain (3).

References:

  1. Li J, Dong JC, Le JJ, et al. Effects of acupuncture on default mode network images of chronic sciatica patients in the resting network state [J]. Chinese Journal of Integrated Traditional and Western Medicine, 2012, 32(12):1624-1627.
  2. Vogt BA, Derbyshire S, Jones AK. Pain processing in four regions of human cingulate cortex localized with co-registered PET and MR imaging [J]. Eur J Neurosci, 1996, 8 (7): 1461 – 1473.
  3. Raichle ME, MacLeod AM, Snyder AZ, et al. A default mode of brain function[J]. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 2001, 98(2): 676 – 682.

Newly Discovered Dangers Associated With Cortisone Injections

Research has found that cortisone injections for hip and knee pain are not as safe as previously thought. 

A Boston University School of Medicine study has found that the treatment could lead to patient’s requiring total knee or hip replacements by speeding up a joints disintegration. Certain types of joint conditions can indicate a higher level of danger according to the study.

Research findings showed that 10 per cent of patients who received cortisone injections in their hips in 2018 suffered complications; 4 per cent of those receiving the injections into their knees also experienced complications.

Complications from the injections included stress fractures, the collapse of joints and even progressive osteoarthritis. 

The anti-inflammatory injections are often recommended by doctors to mask pain, and to treat osteoarthritis symptoms. They are commonly used by athletes to maintain high performance levels throughout an injury.

Dr Ali Guermazi, M.D., Ph.D., the leader of the study in the USA said:
“We’ve been telling patients that even if these injections don’t relieve your pain, they’re not going to hurt you. But now we suspect that this is not necessarily the case.”

“We are now seeing these injections can be very harmful to the joints with serious complications.”

He stated that patients considering the injections should be informed of the risks by their referring physician.

“What we wanted to do with our paper is to tell physicians and patients to be careful, because these injections are likely not as safe as we thought.” Said Dr Guermazi, a professor at Boston University School of Medicine and chief of radiology at the VA Boston Healthcare System.

The research, published in the online journal Radiology, concluded that patients with minimal signs of osteoarthritis visible on x-rays need to be closely monitored if the pain they experience is disproportionate to that indicated by the scan. According to researchers, these patients are at higher risk of experiencing destructive arthritis after the injections.

According to Dr Guermazi: “Physicians do not commonly tell patients about the possibility of joint collapse or subchondral insufficiency fractures that may lead to earlier total hip or knee replacement. This information should be part of the consent when you inject patients with intra-articular corticosteroids (like cortisone).”

Reference:
Kompel, A J, Roemer, F W, Murakami, A M, Diaz, L E, Cream, M D, Guermazi, A, 2019 “Intra-articular Corticosteroid Injections in the Hip and Knee: Perhaps Not as Safe as We Thought?”, Radiology, www.pubs.rsna.org.

Acupuncture For Constipation Is More Effective Than Medication

Acupuncture has been recognised as a powerful therapeutic tool for addressing a wide range of health concerns, including constipation.

For women who suffer from this uncomfortable condition, acupuncture treatment can offer significant relief and improve overall digestive health. In a study conducted by Zhang et al. in 2018, the benefits of acupuncture for constipation in women were explored, shedding light on its effectiveness over prescription medications.

At Allied Acupuncture Gold Coast in Burleigh Waters, we understand the unique challenges women face when it comes to their health, and we offer acupuncture treatments tailored to address constipation and promote overall well-being.

Constipation affects millions of women worldwide.

Constipation can be caused by a variety of factors, including stress, poor diet, hormonal changes, and certain medical conditions. For women seeking a natural and holistic approach to alleviate constipation, acupuncture can be an effective option.

The study conducted by Zhang et al. in 2018 examined the effects of acupuncture on women suffering from constipation. The researchers found that acupuncture treatment significantly improved bowel movement frequency, stool consistency, and overall quality of life. Acupuncture stimulates specific points on the body, promoting the smooth flow of energy (known as Qi) and activating the body’s natural healing response. By targeting the underlying imbalances contributing to constipation, acupuncture helps restore proper digestive function often with only 1 needle.

At Allied Acupuncture Gold Coast, we specialise in providing personalised acupuncture treatments that address not only constipation but also related issues such as chronic pain, stress, anxiety, and women’s health concerns. Our experienced acupuncturist Dr Baker understands the intricate connections between the body’s systems and work to restore balance and harmony. He diagnoses your body’s underlying imbalances using palpation of the abdomen, arms and legs. Then applying a treatment to correct the imbalance with immediate feedback from the body.

Don’t let constipation and digestive issues affect your quality of life. Experience the transformative power of acupuncture and its ability to promote optimal digestive function, relieve pain, reduce stress, and support women’s health.

In addition to relieving constipation, acupuncture offers a range of benefits for women’s health. It can help balance digestion, improve conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (Zhu et al. 2018) .
If you’re a woman living in or around Burleigh Waters, struggling with constipation or other digestive issues, acupuncture at Allied Acupuncture Gold Coast can provide the relief and support you need with a personalised treatment plan.

Contact Allied Acupuncture Gold Coast in Burleigh Waters, Queensland, to schedule your acupuncture appointment today. Rediscover wellness and embrace a healthier, more balanced life.

References:

Zhang Y, Li J, Mo G, Liu J, Yang H, Chen X, et al. Acupuncture and Related Therapies for Obesity: A Network Meta-Analysis. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine; 2018.

Zhu L, Ma Y, Ye S, Shu Z. Acupuncture for Diarrhoea-Predominant Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Network Meta-Analysis. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine; 2018.

Acupuncture Treatment For Bell’s Palsy

What is Bell’s palsy?

Bell’s palsy can be an alarming experience, triggering fear of stroke, tumour or permanent damage 1,2,7. It involves sudden paralysis of one side of the face due to lower motor neuron nerve paralysis that gets worse until it peaks within 48-72 hours 7.

With Bell’s palsy the psychological impact can be huge. Facial expression/appearance is how we are perceived (and often judged) socially and it is critical to our sense of social connection and well-being, creating a genuine risk of depression and distress that needs to be well managed 5,6.

What are the symptoms of Bell’s palsy?

In addition to sudden one-sided facial paralysis, the major symptoms can include loss of ability to close the eyelid, smile or show facial expressions on that side. Approximately half of all Bell’s palsy patients complain of pain behind the ear 2-3 days prior to onset of paralysis and some rare cases occur on both sides of the face 3,7.

Early symptoms can include 7:

  • Ear or mastoid (behind and below the ear) pain
  • Altered sense of taste
  • Heightened sensitivity to sounds (hyperacusis)
  • Weakness in facial muscles
  • Reduced ability to close the eyelid
  • Tingling/numbness of the cheek and mouth
  • Blurred vision
  • Eye pain
  • Excessive eye watering (epiphora)

Who gets Bell’s Palsy?

Bell’s palsy is fairly uncommon (less than 0.01% of the population affected) and impacts all age ranges, most commonly between 15-45 years old; males and females are affected at about the same rate 2,4.

Is facial paralysis from Bell’s palsy permanent?

Despite the alarming sudden onset of stroke-like paralysis symptoms, luckily 80-90% of patients will begin to regain function within 3 weeks, though up to 30% will not make a complete recovery untreated. Let that sink in for a moment. If a patient only experiences partial paralysis, there is a 94% likelihood of complete recovery over 6 months without treatment 1,2.

What causes Bell’s palsy?

The exact cause of Bell’s palsy is unknown, although a viral cause is suspected 7. What is known is that facial nerve oedema and inflammation creates pressure on the nerve in the small temporal bone canal that it passes through, damaging the nerve and/or impeding nerve signals. The facial nerve innervates facial muscles as well as taste fibers, part of the tongue, lacrimal and salivary glands, and sensory fibers. Hence the common experience of sagging at the corner of the mouth, inability to close the eyelid, dryness of the eye and/or mouth and changes in taste sensation 7,10.

Risk factors for Bell’s palsy include 5:

  • Pregnancy
  • Severe pre-eclampsia
  • Obesity
  • Hypertension and chronic hypertension
  • Diabetes (reduced likelihood of full recovery 7)
  • Upper respiratory ailments

How is Bell’s palsy diagnosed?

Diagnosing Bell’s palsy is a matter of carefully eliminating other causes of facial paralysis according to the clinical Guideline Development Group (GDG). Clinician’s will carry out a thorough physical examination and check the patient’s medical history to exclude the possible alternate causes of facial paralysis 2.

Routine laboratory testing and diagnostic imaging for new cases of Bell palsy is not recommended as part of assessment according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation. Persistent and severe Bell’s palsy may be aided by the use of nerve conduction velocity and EMG testing, which is most effective when performed at least 3-10 days after the onset of paralysis 7.

How does Chinese Medicine view Bell’s palsy?

In Chinese Medicine Bell’s palsy (Wind-Stroke) is divided into two external patterns of disharmony (Wind-Cold and Wind-Heat). External Wind is a pathogenic factor that invades the main channels and collateral channels. This obstructs the Tai Yang, Shao Yang and Yang Ming channels of the face causing facial paralysis: sudden facial numbness, deviation of the mouth and eyes. The treatment protocol is to extinguish wind and either expel cold or clear heat respectively 12,13.

Can Acupuncture treat Bell’s palsy?

Bell's palsy acupuncture treatment.jpg

In China there are entire hospital wards dedicated to treating stroke victims with Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, improving paralysis and other symptoms with great success. Bell’s palsy treatment in China is also approached this way, yet in western countries the powers that be remain hesitant to recommend Acupuncture.

A systematic review and meta analysis (the highest level of research) found that Acupuncture seems to be an effective treatment for Bell’s palsy however, some of the research trials themselves were not of a preferred methodological design, and so a Western medicine recommendation for Acupuncture treatment was reserved 12

In developing the western medical treatment guidelines for Bell’s palsy the GDG had a major difference in opinion and were divided on whether to recommend Acupuncture. They acknowledged a large patient preference for Acupuncture, and that “Acupuncture may provide a potential small improvement in facial nerve function and pain.” But they were ultimately unable to make a recommendation due to perceived flaws in the research methodologies and inability to calculate harm/benefit ratio based off the data 7.

In my own clinical experience and observations I have seen patient recovery greatly accelerated even when treated in vastly different ways however, this is not sufficient evidence to make a claim of effectiveness.

Two months ago I treated a young man in his mid twenties who developed Bell’s palsy after a moderate head trauma. He was three weeks away from heading overseas to do several shows as a performer and being able to express emotion was critical to his performance. After being treated three times per week in the first two weeks and twice in the third week he went from only being able to close his eye 25% and not being able to smile at all on the affected side to being able to fully close the eye and achieve an almost perfectly symmetrical smile. He still had some numbness on that side of his face and the smile would need more work but he was happy with the outcome.

How does conventional medicine treat Bell’s palsy?

According to clinical guidelines, oral steroids (like Prednisone) may provide improvement and should be prescribed within 72 hours of paralysis onset for all patients over 16 years of age and may be prescribed along with antiviral therapy; antiviral therapy alone is not recommended 8

A short summary of the highest level of research evidence on the use of Prednisone for Bell’s palsy:

  • A 2004 systematic review and meta-analysis found that Prednisone provided small improvement but did not reach statistical significance for reducing incomplete recovery over 6 months 14.
  • A 2010 systematic review found a significant reduction in incomplete recovery, and in motor synkinesis, but not in the number of patients with cosmetically disabling sequelae at 6 months post treatment 15.

Prednisone can produce significant harmful side-effects particularly when taken at high doses and/or long term, these can be found online and could be discussed with your doctor. 

Conventional therapies for Bell’s palsy 3:

  • Corticosteroids are strongly recommended. 
  • Combining corticosteroids with antiviral medications is an option though research shows equal benefit and harm with this option. 
  • Surgery to relieve pressure on the facial nerve shows equal benefit and harm and is not recommended.
  • Eye care is strongly recommended (eye drops / artificial tears) due to risk of drying/damage.
  • No recommendation is made for Physical Therapy except that patients may benefit psychologically.

Which Chinese herbs treat Bell’s palsy?

There are Chinese Herbal formulas that are indicated for the treatment of Bell’s palsy (Qian Zheng San, Yu Zhen San) and have been used for this purpose for hundreds of years, however they have not been assessed in clinical trials so no formal claims of efficacy can be made.

How can I help relieve my Bell’s palsy symptoms?

The benefits of the placebo affect are too great to ignore and are worth exploring alongside conventional treatment, but not as a replacement for treatment. In a recent study, Harvard researchers separated participants into three groups to compare the two mainstream pharmaceutical treatments for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) against placebo (sugar pill) and TOLD the placebo group that they were getting the placebo. In a fascinating result, the placebo group outperformed both standard medications for IBS, even though they knew they were getting the placebo 16! Remarkable.
This and several other studies suggest that the power of the mind and the power of the body to heal itself is not to be ignored. It costs you nothing but time to try harnessing it yourself. If you don’t know where to start, I suggest looking up the work of Dr Joe Dispenza on youtube.

Dr Scott Baker is a licensed acupuncturist in Burleigh Waters, Gold Coast, focused on pain relief, women’s health and chronic disease management. He enjoys sharing his passion for natural approaches to health through his online articles and at his clinic Allied Acupuncture, on Executive Drive. Call for an appointment at 07 5522 1691.

References

  1. Lutsep H. Fast Five Quiz: Bell Palsy Essentials – Medscape – Feb 06,2019.  
  2. Peitersen, E. “Bell’s palsy:the spontaneous course of 2,500 peripheral facial nerve palsies of different aetiologies.” Acta Otolaryngol Suppl. 2002;(549):4-30.
  3. Baugh R, Basura G, Ishii I. “Clinical Practice Guideline: Bell’s Palsy Executive Summary.” Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery 2013;149(5):656-663
  4. Adour K, Wingerd J, Doty HE. “Prevalence of concurrent diabetes mellitus and idiopathic facial paralysis (Bell’s palsy).” Diabetes 1975;24(5):440-51.
  5. Burne PJ. “Importance of facial expression in facial nerve rehabilitation.” Curr Opin Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2004;12(4):332-335.
  6. Valente SM. “Visual disfigurement and depression.” Plast Sure Nurs. 2004;24(4):140-146.
  7. Gilden DH. “Clinical practice. Bell’s Palsy.” N Engl J Med.  2004;351(13):1323-31
  8. Peitersen, E. “Natural history of Bell’s palsy.” Acta Otolaryngol Suppl. 1992;492:122-124
  9. Adour, KK, Byl FM, Hilsinger RL, Kahn ZM, Sheldon MI. “The true nature of Bell’s palsy: analysis of 1,000 consecutive patients. Laryngoscope. 1978;88(5):787-801
  10. Mechelse K, Goor G, Huizing EH. “Bell’s palsy: prognostic criteria and evaluation of surgical decompression.” Lancet. 1971;2(7715):57-59.
  11. Savadi-Oskouei D, Abedi A, Sadeghi-Bazargani H. “Independent role of hypertension in Bell’s palsy: a case-control study.” Our Neural. 2008;60(5);253-257.
  12. Li P, Qiu T, Qin C. “Efficacy of Acupuncture for Bell’s Palsy: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. PLoS ONE. 2015;10(5):e0121880.
  13. Zhang TT, Wang NH, He TY. “Subcutaneous needling and peripheral facial palsy: A report of 30 cases.” Journal of Acu & Tuina Science. 2007;5(2):118-120.
  14. Salinas RS, Alvarez G, Ferreira J. “Corticosteroids for Bell’s palsy (idiopathic facial paralysis).” Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2004;(4):CD001942.
  15. Salinas R, Alvarez G, Daly F, Ferreira J. “Corticosteroids for Bell’s palsy (idiopathic facial paralysis).” Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010:CD001942.
  16. Kaptchuk T, et al. “Placebos without deception: A Randomized Controlled Trial in Irritable Bowel Syndrome.” PLoS ONE 2010;5(12):e0015591

Acupuncture Plus Antidepressants: A More Effective Treatment For Depression

Depression and mental health as a whole is a major topic in today’s society that features regularly in mainstream news and affects many Australian families. 

In recent research Acupuncture has been shown to be a safe, positive and cost-effective adjunct therapy for treating depression, chronic pain related to depression, and also showing positive outcomes for major depressive disorder; improving sleep, mood and quality of life 1,2,3.

500_F_178214096_WnJzORWGeAIEiqaq57sWCz75iXnO2etO.jpg

The information above is based on recent research from 2015. However it should be noted that major national bodies in the USA and Australia who influence national treatment approaches vary in their recommendations. The USA Dept. of Veteran Affairs using evidence from Jan 2005 – Mar 2013 supports the use of Acupuncture in the treatment of depression giving it a ‘potential positive effect’ rating, the second highest rating it offers 4. However Australian Veteran Affairs says that there is ‘insufficient evidence’ to recommend Acupuncture for depression, based on less recent evidence from Sept 2005 – Sept 2010 5.

The findings of more recent top tier research have reflected positively on the use of Acupuncture as a treatment for depression and major depressive disorder.

A 2015 systematic review of 13 randomised controlled trails found that Acupuncture plus antidepressants (SSRIs) was superior to SSRIs treatment alone, concluding that Acupuncture showed ‘potential positive effect’ as an adjunct treatment for depression 1.

The above systematic review also stated that Acupuncture showed an early onset of effectiveness and Acupuncture treatment was deemed safe and well-tolerated by the study participants. Electro-Acupuncture (EA) was shown to be marginally more effective than manual Acupuncture.

A 2015 review of systematic reviews and meta-analyses concluded that Acupuncture was effective and safe in the treatment of major depressive disorder; showing ‘promising evidence’ and in particular improving sleep, mood and quality of life 2. This is the highest level of research evidence.

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The mechanism of action for Acupuncture’s effectiveness for major depressive disorder is the modulation and normalising of the brain’s limbic-paralimbic-neocortical network (LPNN), as well as the default mode network (DMN) 2.

In addition to providing the benefits mentioned above, Acupuncture is a cost-effective treatment for depression when compared to the cost of counselling or usual care according to a 2015 review of one randomised control trial 3. However patients should shop around for the most suitable option available to them in their area as prices for these services vary.

Antidepressants are still considered the standard treatment for depression and consultation with you General Practitioner (GP) is always recommended if you believe you may have depression or you desire to change you current antidepressant prescription. You should not stop taking antidepressants without consulting your prescribing doctor first.

If you are currently taking antidepressant medication and want to do more to improve your mental health, contact your local registered Acupuncturist.

For a list of free mental health services that you can call to receive valuable advice and support please click here.

Dr Scott Baker is a registered acupuncturist practicing in Burleigh Waters, Gold Coast. To find out if he may be able to assist with pain, fertility, digestion, hormones, sinus, allergies or other conditions call and book a consultation today or book online at www.alliedacupuncture.com.au

Allied Acupuncture Gold Coast, 2 Executive Drive, Burleigh Waters. 07 5522 1691.

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References

  1. Chan Y-Y et al. “The benefit of combined acupuncture and antidepressant medication for depression: A systematic review and meta-analysis” Journal of Affective Disorders. 2015 May;176:106-117
  2. Bosch P, Van Den Noort M, Staudte H, Lim S “Schizophrenia and depression: a systematic review of the effectiveness and the working mechanisms behind acupuncture.” Explore. 2015 Jul-Aug;11(4):281-291
  3. Spackman E et al. “Cost-effectiveness analysis of acupuncture, counselling and usual care in treating patients with depression: the results of the ACUDep trial.” PLoS ONE 2015; 9(11):e113726. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0113726
  4. Hempel S, Taylor SL, Solloway MR, Miake-Lye IM, Beroes JM, Shanman R, et al. VA Evidence-based Synthesis Program Reports. Evidence Map of Acupuncture. Washington (DC): Department of Veterans Affairs; 2014.
  5. Biotext. Alternative therapies and Department of Veterans’ Affairs Gold and White Card arrangements. In: Australian Government Department of Veterans’ Affairs, editor: Australian Government Department of Veterans’ Affairs; 2010.
Tags: ibs, constipation, digestive issues, women’s health

How Does Acupuncture Influence the Kidneys and the Urinary System? (Research science explained in plain English)

How Does Acupuncture Influence the Kidneys and the Urinary Tract?

(Research science explained in plain English)

Medical and science jargon is it’s own language. Let’s be honest, if you haven’t studied that language you may as well be deciphering Ancient Greek. Please enjoy this plain English summary of two research trials looking at the mechanisms (how it works) of Acupuncture relating to the kidneys and the urinary tract. If you have any questions about Acupuncture or your specific condition, please e-mail me! I would love to hear from you, will give you the best response I can and may even write an article on the subject to help others.

RESEARCH TRIAL 1

Plain English: Japanese researchers showed that Acupuncture increased the amount of time between needing to urinate for rats with an irritated bladder by influencing certain nerves in the bladder wall. 

Scientific Explanation:Acupuncture improved inter contraction interval (ICI) in animal trials when the mucous membrane of the urinary bladder was irritated using acetic acid. This happens due to the impact on afferent C fibres 1.

RESEARCH TRIAL 2

Plain English: Acupuncture improved the protein filtering function of the kidneys in rats and lowered arterial pressure. This was achieved through a calming effect on the “fight or flight” response and triggering the secretion of the body’s own “happy gas”, which can dilate blood vessels.

Scientific Explanation: A Brazilian research team carried out an experiment examining the functional parameters and histology of rat’s kidneys based on a review of the influence of Acupuncture and moxibustion. The team, supervised by Josne C. Paterno, found that acupuncture’s influence on the sympathetic nervous system and secretion of nitrous oxide leads to lowered arterial pressure and decreased proteinuria 2.

I’d like to thank the Evidence Based Acupuncture for their tireless efforts analysing and clarifying Acupucnture research and for being the original source of this information. Please check out their website by clicking here for much more research into Acupuncture.

Dr Scott Baker is a registered acupuncturist practicing in Burleigh Waters, Gold Coast. To find out if he may be able to assist with pain, fertility, digestion, hormones, sinus, allergies or other conditions call and book a consultation today or book online at www.alliedacupuncture.com.au

Allied Acupuncture Gold Coast, 2 Executive Drive, Burleigh Waters. 07 5522 1691.

1 Hino K, Honjo H, Nakao M, Kitakoji H „The effects of sacral acupuncture on acetic acid-induced bladder irritation in conscious rats.” Urology. 2010 Mar;75(3):730-4

2 Josne C. Paterno et al. „Electroacupuncture and Moxibustion Decrease Renal Sympathetic Nerve Activity and Retard Progression of Renal Disease in Rats” Kidney Blood Press Res 2012;35:355–364

Turmeric vs. Acupuncture for Treating Inflammation

Chinese Dietary Therapy has strongly promoted using food as medicine for thousands of years. At Allied Acupuncture we actively encourage our patients with inflammatory conditions to include turmeric in their diet, as well as bone broth, and to reduce simple/refined carbohydrate consumption.

Like turmeric, Acupuncture has proven anti-inflammatory effects, with many additional benefits. Acupuncture is a proven, strong pain reliever, and with regular treatment is backed by research for improving multiple pain, injury, inflammatory, hormonal and chronic conditions. That’s why if you are considering turmeric for any inflammatory and/or pain condition you should be considering Acupuncture treatment as well.

There is a lot to like about turmeric! It is relatively inexpensive, natural, and safe. It’s easy to grow yourself too and then it’s practically free! In fact you’ll have more than you know what to do with most likely. If you get the bright orange coloured variety you may want to try giving it a good wash and eating some raw. It will give you a better buzz than any coffee (and a bright orange tongue!). Start with a small piece, it can be intense. The whiter variety is far too bitter to eat this way, go for bright orange.

By far the nicest way to consume turmeric is in a Turmeric Latte or simply Google food recipes that include turmeric. You can also get it in a capsule/supplement form. If you can’t find it fresh, simply wander in to the spice aisle of your local supermarket and buy the powdered form. This is easily added to stews, broths, soups, curries or tea.

Turmeric is a great natural analgesic for mild pain and positively influencing inflammatory conditions.

The most active constituent in turmeric is Curcumin and is probably best known for research showing that it may moderate antioxidant factors and inflammatory parameters. But did you know that it has also been shown to have beneficial impact on blood sugar levels, the liver, lowering fats in the blood and lowering ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDLs)? It’s also beneficial for diabetics. It essentially achieves this by helping a few key metabolic enzymes function well, according to research. Without boring you with more scientific jargon, turmeric is beneficial, so start including it in your diet.

Dr Scott Baker is a registered acupuncturist practicing in Burleigh Waters, Gold Coast. To find out if he may be able to assist with pain, fertility, digestion, hormones, sinus, allergies or other conditions call and book a consultation today or book online at www.alliedacupuncture.com.au

Allied Acupuncture Gold Coast, 2 Executive Drive, Burleigh Waters. 07 5522 1691.

acupuncture

There are many positive effects associated with Acupuncture but let’s focus on the most relevant for now. Acupuncture has been shown to reduce inflammation, trigger the release of endogenous opioids (the body’s own super strong pain killers), regulate pain pathways in the nervous system, trigger the release of endorphins AND neuromodulators, cause vasodilation of blood vessels and boost the immune system by increasing the production of white blood cells and the list goes on.

Did you know that according to perhaps the most respected peer reviewed research body in the world – the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials – there is more high-level research for Acupuncture than for physiotherapy and chiropractic combined?

If you’re curious about Acupuncture then book online or call us on 07 5522 1691 and we can discuss your individual case.

 

To learn more about Allied Acupuncture, visit us online at www.alliedacupuncture.com.au

 

Dr Scott Baker is a licensed acupuncturist in Burleigh Waters, Gold Coast, focused on pain relief, women’s health and chronic disease management. He enjoys sharing his passion for natural approaches to health through his online articles and at his clinic, Allied Acupuncture, on Executive Drive. Call for an appointment at 07 5522 1691.

Tags: ibs, constipation, digestive issues, women’s health