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Join me on Wednesdays for FREE sessions of Taiji Qigong, in the magical grounds of the Ffwrwm. This simple and gentle form of exercise is great for relaxing mind and body. Suitable for all except pregnant women. Please wear flat shoes and comfortable clothing. You can join any Wednesday. All sessions will be held outside (weather permitting).
Wednesdays 1pm – 1.30pm Unit 1 The Ffwrwm Caerleon
A Chinese study suggests that acupuncture compares favourably with benzodiazepine drugs for improving sleep quality and daytime functioning in insomnia patients. A total of 180 patients with primary insomnia were randomly assigned to one of three groups. The verum group received verum acupuncture and a placebo drug; the estazolam group received the drug estazolam and sham acupuncture; and the sham group received sham acupuncture and a placebo drug. All three groups showed significant improvement in sleep quality scores compared with pretreatment baseline. Compared with the other two groups, the verum group reported significantly improved sleep quality and vitality, along with decreased daytime dysfunction and sleepiness. (Efficacy of acupuncture for primary insomnia: a randomized controlled clinical trial. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:163850).
To celebrate AWW, I will be offering a £15 discount on your first acupuncture appointment when you book between 3 and 10 March 2014. Also, on Wednesday 5 March between 2pm and 4pm I will be available to discuss any questions you have about acupuncture and how it may benefit you. Just pop along to the Caerleon Natural Health Clinic, The Ffwrwm, Caerleon. I look forward to meeting you!
Want to know more about acupuncture and shiatsu? I will be at the Well Being Fayre this Sunday to answer all your questions. Plus, you can enjoy a free neck and shoulder shiatsu massage and receive a discount off your next appointment if you book this Sunday.
Look forward to seeing you there!
Stress in the study of psychology, can be acute or chronic with sufferers not only experiencing such symptoms as feeling overwhelmed, feelings of anxiety and insecurity, depression and panic attacks; but also being more susceptible to illnesses like the common cold. Research has shown that those with good social support can have a degree of protection against the physical and mental consequences of stress. According to the health and safety executive, up to half a million people in the UK experience work-related stress every year.
The conventional treatment strategy for stress is usually medication such as anti-anxiety drugs, and cognitive behavioural therapy. Traditional acupuncture can also play a very effective part in addressing stress, and stress related conditions.
How does it do this?
The approach taken to treating stress and stress related conditions, will be the same as it is for any condition. Acupuncture is a holistic treatment, and so seeks to look at the person as a whole. Any symptoms observed give clues to the internal environment of the body, and will be observed together to make the diagnosis.
What evidence is available to show the effectiveness of traditional acupuncture to address stress?
The British Acupuncture has produced a number of fact sheets about acupuncture treatment and a variety of conditions. The sheets include a discussion of the available research for the condition. The fact sheet for stress can be found at:
A number of successful pieces of research are discussed in the sheet, amongst them one where the acupuncture point Heart 7 was needled in 4 weekly sessions using 17 volunteers. 94% of them showed improved ‘psychological stress’ according to a symptom measurement scale known as, the Edinburgh Postnatal depression scale – EPDS. The greatest fall in scores was observed after the first two treatments. Also at the end of the study the average reduction was 44%.
The underlying principle of traditional acupuncture is that all the body’s functions are connected by the flow of qi or vital energy around the body. Stress and stress related conditions occur when the flow of qi has been impaired in some way. The purpose of diagnosis, as with Western doctors, is to identify the nature and cause of the imbalance, and is carried out using observation, questioning and palpation. Specifically, observation of the development and strength of the body, whether wasted or thin, robust or weak, and how the patient moves, either with rapid movement or lack of movement. Questioning, will address the full medical history, and how the symptoms are affecting the quality of life of the person. With stress the acupuncturist may want to enquire specifically about sleep disturbance and the feelings of being overwhelmed which can be associated with stress. Palpation includes pulse diagnosis where the acupuncturist will read up to 28 different pulse qualities, on both wrists. By assessing the strength, depth, rhythm and rate of the pulse, different types of disharmony and imbalance of the qi can be identified. Observation also involves examining the tongue, as we have seen.
Having diagnosed the nature and cause of the imbalance a treatment plan will be devised which will be specific to the patient and their condition. This is aimed at resolving the root cause of a condition, as well as addressing the symptoms or complications. The treatment is carried out by inserting ultra fine sterile disposable needles into selected acupuncture points on the body to regulate the flow of qi in the meridians or channels.
The British Acupuncture Council The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) was formed in 1995. With around 3000 qualified members it represents the largest body of traditional acupuncturists in the UK and guarantees excellence in training, safe practice, professional conduct and continuing professional development.
BAcC registered acupuncturists are trained in relevant aspects of Western medicine including anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, pathology and aetiology. In addition, all BAcC registered acupuncturists are trained to recognise in their patients warning signs known as ‘red flags’. Red flags may indicate the presence of a life-threatening condition and such patients are immediately referred on to other healthcare practitioners for tests and treatment where appropriate.
To find a qualified acupuncturist or to ask a question about acupuncture and stress related conditions, please visit www.acupuncture.org.uk
Since regular Shiatsu treatment and Pilates classes, she has again been able to enjoy skiing holidays and generally feels fitter than she has for a long time. Indeed, many people find that it helps them feel good, to de-stress and to cope with the every-day demands of life and work.
Sally says “I tried Shiatsu many years ago then rediscovered it a few years later. I was going through a tricky time with family illness and personal pressures… both my parents contracted Alzheimer’s disease. My brother was very ill with cancer. A friend recommended that I see Dave Home, her Shiatsu practitioner.”
Sally adds “Fortnightly Shiatsu treatments with Dave have helped in every way. We often don’t realise the effect that stress has upon our bodies. Shiatsu helps me balance both my physical and emotional wellbeing.
“I believe we can often have a certain amount of physical tension that we’re not aware of. Shiatsu offers a way of relieving this stress – and it never fails to make me feel better. My Shiatsu hour is very precious to me and I’ll definitely be keeping it up.”
The Shiatsu Society (UK) is working hard to ensure that people use qualified practitioners to get the most benefit from Shiatsu. This includes collaborating with Dr Hilary Jones, who explains “I am delighted to be associated with the Shiatsu Society as I’ve had Shiatsu myself. I believe that modern medicine and complementary therapies can often work together to achieve the best results for patients. Shiatsu Society practitioners are all fully qualified with a minimum of 3 years training. Using a practitioner from the Shiatsu Society (UK) assures you of professional, expert attention.”
A major new piece of research has just been published entitled ‘Acupuncture & Counselling for Depression in Primary Care – A Randomised Controlled Trial’. The study was carried out by research scientists at York University, and this is the first major study to look at evaluating in such a thorough way, the clinical impact of acupuncture and counselling for patients with ongoing depression. This piece will give a brief summary of the study, and it’s findings, and briefly discuss depression both from the Western biomedical and traditional acupuncture perspectives.
The York Research
The researchers at York university were prompted to carry out this study because until now it has been unclear to what extent acupuncture or counselling are effective in treating depression. The research method used consisted of a randomised controlled trial which selected 755 patients with depression, who were currently in the primary care system. They were chosen for the trial on the basis of the score they achieved in a questionnaire used by clinicians to diagnose and assess the severity of depression, called the Beck Depression Inventory. There were 3 groups, an acupuncture group, one for counselling and the third, that received their usual care. Whilst there were standardised protocols for the acupuncture and counselling sessions, ‘usual care’ was not standardised – being how the patient was treated in the system up to the start of the trial – for instance 68.7% of the patients were on anti depressant medication.
The outcome was assessed using another scoring questionnaire called the Patient Health Questionnaire – PHQ-9, and was carried out after 3 months and a follow up at 12 months. Compared to the usual care, acupuncture treatment resulted in a significant reduction in the PHQ-9 scores. The conclusion reached by the study was that acupuncture versus the usual care was associated with a significant reduction in the symptoms of depression.
Read the original full text research item here:http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.1001518
Depression from the perspective of Western Biomedicine
Depression is a common mental health problem that is estimated to cost the UK in the region of £7.5 billion per year in medication and lost working days. The World Health Organisation estimates that in the next 5 to 6 years, depression will become nearly as significant a health issue as chronic heart disease.
Depression is far more significant than low mood, for example. Clinical depression, can be characterised by an overwhelming sadness and hopelessness, and for this reason can be extremely debilitating. In addition, depression can also manifest with physical effects such as sleep disturbance, and loss of concentration. It is thought to result from a combination of genetic, biochemical and environmental factors.
Depression from the perspective of Traditional Acupuncture
Traditional acupuncture is a holistic treatment, which means that it will attempt to see and treat the symptom of depression, not in isolation but from the perspective of the person as a whole.
A traditional acupuncture treatment will always involve making a diagnosis, from the signs and symptoms, and the pulse and tongue, in order to make an assessment of the balance of qi. For example, in a treatment the practitioner is likely to to address sleep disturbance, and poor concentration and some of the emotional issues which can manifest in depression such as anger and fear. From these signs and symptoms, a treatment protocol can be devised.
If you have any questions about acupuncture and depression, browse the ‘ask an expert’ area of the website to see what people have enquired about previously,