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Acupuncture Awareness Week

The first ever Acupuncture Awareness Week launches today Monday 27 February 2012 and will attempt to dispel the many
myths still surrounding acupuncture. Simon Plant, British Acupuncture Council Member will be offering free fifteen minute taster treatments at Breath London at the Colombo Centre and Westminster Gym this week and will be on hand to answer your questions about how acupuncture can help you.

Recent research has revealed that over 21 per cent of the British public think acupuncture needles are as large as the needles used for regular injections. Not true! But it just goes to show that in spite of Chinese medicine’s ever increasing popularity, there are still a whole host of common misconceptions surrounding this ancient form of treatment.

Every year traditional acupuncturists carry out 2.3 million acupuncture treatments and this figure is on the rise. Yet the latest research clearly demonstrates how myths about acupuncture still remain strong. Acupuncture Awareness Week, the first of its kind, aims to banish these myths and provide the public with all the answers they need to feel confident about giving acupuncture a try.

A growing body of evidence-based clinical research shows that traditional acupuncture, as practised by British Acupuncture Council members safely treats a wide range of common health problems including low back pain, [click here to visit BAcC research page],  tension headaches and migraine-type headaches. In fact the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines on best practice now recommend that GPs offer a course of ten sessions of acupuncture as a first-line treatment for persistent, non-specific low back pain.

TV presenter Clare Nasir had had several failed attempts to conceive using IVF alone. She had one last chance, and decided to use acupuncture in conjunction with the IVF to boost her chances of success. She now has a two year old daughter – listen to her story in the video below.

Learn more about Acupuncture by visiting http://www.introducingacupuncture.co.uk/

Learn more about Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine available at Breathe London by visiting http://www.breathe-london.com/waterloo-acupuncture

To book a free fifteen minute taster treatment contact Simon Plant at Breathe London: 07570 091568

 

Simon Plant BSc (Hons) MSc MBAcC MRCHM

Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine

 

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Cupping – An Acupuncture Technique

Cupping is an ancient technique used throughout East Asia, the middle east and in many eastern European countries to treat muscular skeletal pain and in traditional cultures it is believed to help treat colds and flu’s. Cupping is one of the techniques commonly used alongside acupuncture. Cupping involves the application of a sterile glass cup to the skin, air inside the cup is heated to create an air tight seal. Cupping is incredibly relaxing and like having a strong massage, massage oils infused with herbs such as mint are applied to the skin and once the cup is on it can be moved up and down the affected area, a technique known as slide cupping.Chinese medical theory developed over centuries, through observation of nature and our interaction with the environment and as such the language used in understanding illness, pain and the cause of disease is very different from modern western medical language. Environmental causes of diseases such as wind, cold, damp and heat are very important in Chinese medical thinking. In traditional Chinese medicine the use of cupping helps to expel cold, move stagnant blood and reduce swelling and inflammation and as a result stop pain. An ancient Chinese medical saying “Where there is pain there is no free flow, where there is no free flow there is pain” sums up neatly the understanding of the causes of pain from a Chinese medical perspective.A recent study1 found that medicinal cupping reduced the level of pain and tender points in patients with Fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a medical condition characterized by pain and pain on pressure. Other symptoms associated with fibromyalgia are fatigue, sleep disturbance, joint pain and stiffness and digestive and bladder problems. The cause of fibromyalgia is unknown and there is no known cure.At the Breathe London Acupuncture Clinic patients come to see me for help with the symptoms associate with Fibromyalgia. Cupping is one of the techniques I often use to help with pain. However I always use the principles of Chinese Medicine to try to understand what is happening to the patient and treat the root cause of the illness rather than treat purely symptomatically. I use a combination of acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and cupping and to treat each patient’s unique experience. Treatments are constantly modified and adapted in response to the patient’s needs.

If you are interested in learning more about how acupuncture, cupping and herbs can help you please contact Simon Plant at Breathe London. Free 15 minute chats are available if you would like to know more.

Simon Plant BSc (Hons) MSc MBAcC MRCHM
Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine
Breathe London Acupuncture Clinic
acupuncture.breathe@gmail.com
www.breathe-london.com/waterloo-acupuncture
07570091568

1 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21701180

Acupuncture may reduce period pain

A recent systematic review1 has found that current evidence supports the use of acupuncture to reduce period pain. The systematic Cochrane review is recognized as one of the most authoritative and valid sources of evidence in healthcare and systematic reviews are recognized as producing the most valid and rigorous results. The systematic review critically reviewed ten clinical trials involving over 900 participants who where treated with acupuncture for period pain. 

The review found that acupuncture and acupressure reduced nausea and back pain associated with period pain and improved quality of life compared to placebo controls and medication. The research is an example of the increasing evidence base being generated through clinical trials to validate the use of traditional acupuncture treatments.

Period pain is one of the most common conditions I treat in the acupuncture clinic at Breathe London and the treatment of period pain and other problems associated with the menstrual cycle are well documented in classical Chinese medical texts.  I also combine acupuncture and herbal medicine for the treatment of period pain and from my personal experience find that the combination of the two is more effective than acupuncture on its own.  The aims of the treatments are not to provide short-term pain relief but to provide long lasting changes so that even when treatments have finished period pain is significantly reduced.

Each person’s experience of pain is different and treating period pain with traditional acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine is no different from treating other conditions with acupuncture. Although there a classical acupuncture points for treating pain, an individual diagnosis and treatment is essential for long lasting and effective results.

An In depth initial consultation is important during which a traditional diagnosis is formulated and the treatment is tailored to each patient and involves close monitoring of the menstrual cycle. The points used will also change throughout the menstrual cycle. Acupuncture may also be combined with moxibustion which involves the gentle warming of acupuncture points with the herb Artemisia vulgaris. Dietary and exercise advice are also given and a short course of herbs may be recommended.  After acupuncture treatment for period pain many of my patients report other beneficial experiences including the relief of the symptoms of premenstrual tensions (PMT) including improvement in digestion and bloating, and also mood.

If you are interested in learning more about how acupuncture and herbs can help you please contact Simon Plant at Breathe London. Free 15 minute chats are available if you would like to know more.

Simon Plant BSc (Hons) MSc MBAcC MRCHM
Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine
Breathe London Acupuncture Clinic
acupuncture.breathe@gmail.com
www.breathe-london.com/waterloo-acupuncture
07570091568

1 Acupuncture for primary dysmenorrhoea. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Jan 19;1:CD007854.

Acupuncture can help with Nausea

A recent Swedish pilot study (1) has found that acupuncture can help with nausea and vomiting associated with radiotherapy. Although an essential part of treatment for cancerous tumors radiotherapy has unwelcome side effects including nausea during and after treatment.
During the study acupuncture sessions of thirty minutes duration was used two to three times a week during the course of radiotherapy treatment. Results indicated that the acupuncture treatment reduced the feelings of nausea and incidents of vomiting. In addition patients reported a reduction in pain, increased relaxation and improved sleep.The acupuncture point neiguan on the pericardium meridian was used. Neiguan is a point commonly used to treat nausea not just as a result of radiotherapy but also nausea due to morning sickness and also anxiety. The use of neiguan to treat nausea was recorded in early Chinese medical texts and its use continues to this day. Neiguan is located on the inner aspect of the wrist and is the acupuncture point stimulated by the sea sickness bands that can be bought in pharmacies. Neiguan treats nausea because the acupuncture point is on the pericardium meridian which connects with the stomach.

Although the results of the pilot study were positive one of the negatives was that patients were treated with only one acupuncture point and following a set treatment protocol. The strength of traditional acupuncture, which is often poorly reflected because of the nature of clinical trials, is that treatments are individualized based on a upon each individuals experience of health and their own body awareness. Using dialogue with the patient and also by examining the tongue, feeling the pulse and palpating the abdomen a unique diagnosis and prescription of points is used.

In the acupuncture clinic at Breathe London I often use neiguan when treating patients for nausea but only in combination with other points and always based upon my traditional diagnosis. I also teach patients simple acupressure techniques to help them with their nausea and also offer dietary advice. The acupuncture sensation is totally unlike having an injection although you may feel a numbness or tingling sensation and only fine sterile needles are used.

If you are interested in learning more about how acupuncture can help you please contact Simon Plant at Breathe London. Free 15 minute chats are available if you would like to know more.

Simon Plant BSc (Hons) MSc MBAcC MRCHM
Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine
Breathe London Acupuncture Clinic
acupuncture.breathe@gmail.com
www.breathe-london.com/waterloo-acupuncture
07570091568

1 Pilot testing of methods for evaluation of acupuncture for emesis during radiotherapy: a randomised single subject experimental design. Acupunct Med. 2011 Apr 3

Save The Rhino

22nd September marked World Rhino Day, organisations such as rhinoconservation.org do essential work in highlighting the threat to this endangered species.  Tragically there is an increase in illegal poaching of rhino horn for use in herbal medicine.

There is a mistaken belief that Rhino Horn can cure cancer. Professional bodies representing Chinese Herbal Medicine practitioners around the world have condemned the use of rhino horn and have categorically stated that rhino horn has no medical properties.

The UK’s Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine strongly condemns the illegal trade in endangered species and has a strict policy prohibiting the use of any type of endangered species by any of its members and no animal, mineral or endangered species are used. The illegal poaching of rhinos is not only abhorrent but is also an abuse of the Confucian principles that form some of the philosophical foundations of Chinese medicine that centre on respecting nature, living in harmony with and minimising our impact on the planet.

Members of the RCHM only use approved suppliers of herbal medicine who provide sustainable and responsibly sourced herbs.  The herbs and soil they are grown in are tested at each stage from planting, harvesting to processing for heavy metals and pollutants. Only herbs passing strict quality assurance standards are used.

Much of the world’s population rely on herbal medicine as their primary form of health care and many pharmaceuticals are derived from plant species. Artemisia Annua a herb that has been used in China for centuries to treat malaria like symptoms has now been synthesised to create new drugs to combat Malaria, still the largest cause of death1. Traditional herbal formulas are constantly being researched and traditional knowledge is being supported by modern research, recent research has shown that a traditional Chinese herbal formula can increase the quality of life for sufferers of Parkinson’s disease and is suitable for long-term use2.

When going for a herbal Medicine consultation always ensure that the herbalist is a member of a recognised professional body such as the RCHM, Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ATCM), or the National Institute of Medical Herbalists (NIMH). Ensure that the herbalist only uses an approved supplier of medical herbs.

If you are interested in learning more about how Chinese herbal medicine can help you please contact Simon Plant at Breathe London. Free 15 minute chats are available if you would like to know more.

Learn more about Rhino Conservation by visiting: http://www.rhinoconservation.org/2011/08/15/tcm-educators-speak-out-against-use-of-rhino-horn/

Simon Plant BSc (Hons) MSc MBAcC MRCHM

Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine

Breathe London Acupuncture Clinic

acupuncture.breathe@gmail.com

www.breathe-london.com/waterloo-acupuncture

07570091568

1. http://www.pharmainfo.net/reviews/potentialities-artemisia-annua-malaria-therapy

2. http://www.hindawi.com/journals/pd/2011/789506

Rhino Horn Image sourced from rhinoconservation.org

CBT – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

What is CBT?

CBTlooks at how our thoughts affect our feelings and subsequently our behaviour. Our thoughts have an extremely powerful effect on how we feel. If we approach a siltation with a positive mindset we are more likely to succeed than if we concentrate on the negative and everything that could go wrong.

As we grow and develop, our external influences model the way we feel and approach situations. We continue approaching life with the same mindset but often desire a different outcome. It is only when you start to challenge these entrenched thought patterns that you can change the way you feel about a situation.

Look at The Wright Brothers. Everyone thought that flight was impossible; the external influence upon their thinking was that it couldn’t be done. The Wright Brothers challenged this and saw a different way; it was only through changing their mindset and focusing on the positive that they were able to challenge the laws of physics.

Henry Ford said it perfectly: “Whether you think that you can, or that you can’t, you are usually right.”

As did Albert Einstein: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

The thoughts that go through our minds on a regular basis, the ones that are second nature, contribute to how we feel about ourselves and situations. CBT works by understanding these thought patterns and breaking through them to challenge them and give you a different approach, allowing you to develop techniques to have a more positive and constructive way of thinking that dramatically improves your self-esteem and confidence.

 

Hay Fever? Try Acupuncture.

   Hay fever season is in full swing and many of my patients coming to see me for acupuncture are suffering from really bad hay fever. Most don’t realize that acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can treat the symptoms of hay fever and are pleasantly surprised when their symptoms improve.

In the Chinese way of thinking, which is rooted in the ancient philosophy of yin yang theory, spring is the time of great transition and the decline of cooling nourishing yin and the flourishing of warming, protecting yang.

Yin yang theory is also rooted in the traditional Chinese way of understanding how the body works. The yang qi (or energy) in the body is the body’s ability to protect itself and it is during this flourishing of the yang energy in the spring when symptoms of hay fever manifest.

If the body’s defence is poorly regulated the immune response, trigged by pollen, overreacts and causes the symptoms of blocked and runny nose and sore itchy red eyes. In terms of the Chinese way of thinking the body’s yang qi is too strong and not controlled.

Over 2000 years of history and tradition is now supported by evidence and acupuncture has been proven in clinical trials to relieve the symptoms of hay fever1 while acupuncture combined with Chinese Herbal Medicine is a safe and effective way of treating hay fever2.

Visit www.breathe-london.com/waterloo-acupuncture to learn more.

Simon Plant February 2011

Simon Plant BSc (Hons) MSc MBAcC

www.acumoxatherapy.com

Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine

Breathe London Well Being Centre

1 Xue, C., English, R. et al. (2002) Effect of Acupuncture in the Treatment of Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis: A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial The American Journal of Chinese Medicine. 30 (1)1–11.

2 Brinkhaus, B., Hummelsberger, J. et al. (2004) Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine in the treatment of patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis: a randomized-controlled clinical trial. 59 (9) 953-960.

Photograph by Arvind Balaraman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=1058

Upset stomach? Try acupuncture and herbs.

In the west acupuncture is associated with treating pain but there is a history and tradition of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine being used to treat digestive problems.

In 2009 I was lucky enough to study with Dr. Zhou Gengsheng a specialist in gastrointestinal medicine at the outpatients department of Zhejiang Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital in Hangzhou, China.  Dr. Zhou treated over 40 patients in a morning using a combination of his knowledge of bioscience and Chinese herbal formulas, some of which have been in use for over 2000 years.  He treated disorders ranging from Irritable Bowell Syndrome (IBS), Chron’s disease, ulcerative colitis, h.pylori infection and acid reflux and made a massive difference to the quality of life of his patients.

Traditional knowledge is being increasingly supported by scientific research. Although acupuncture and Chinese medicine is rooted in ancient Chinese philosophy, the action of acupuncture points that have a direct effect on the digestive system can be demonstrated from a western understanding of how the body works.

A study in the Journal of Gastroenterology1 identified that stimulation of the acupuncture point zusanli on the stomach meridian causes muscle contractions that may be beneficial to constipation-predominant IBS sufferers while acupuncture point zhongwan causes muscle relaxation which may help diarrhea-predominant IBS sufferers.  Zhongwan may also inhibit gastric secretion and aid heartburn.

A further study2 investigated the use of Chinese herbal medicine in the treatment of IBS and found that using traditional herbal formulas offers improvement in symptoms for patients with IBS.

If you are interested in trying acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine for the treatment of gastrointestinal problems please visit: www.breath-london.com/waterloo-acupuncture. Learn more about other therapies at Breathe London by visiting: www.breath-london.com

Note: No animal products, minerals or endangered species are used only herbs of botanical origin that are of the highest quality, that contain no adulterants, are tested for heavy metals and contaminants are used.

Caution: Never treat yourself with herbal remedies without the guidance of a practitioner of herbal medicine.

1 Takahashi, T., (2005) Acupuncture for functional gastrointestinal disorders. Journal of Gastroenterology. 41 (5) 408-417.

2 Bensoussan, A., et al. (1998) Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Chinese Medicine. A Randomised Control Trial. Journal of the American Medical Association.

Simon Plant March 2011

Simon Plant BSc (Hons) MSc MBAcC RCHM

Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine

http://www.acumoxatherapy.com

Breathe London Wellbeing Centre

Statutory Regulation of Herbalists

The Department of Health announced on 16th February 2011 that herbalists, including practitioners of Chinese herbal medicine will be regulated by the government’s Health Professions Council from April 20121.

After a ten year campaign by the RCHM (Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine) and its parent association the EHTPA (European Herbal and Traditional Medicine Practitioner’s Association) and by many people who use herbal medicine the government has recognised the desire for freedom of choice coupled with strict standards of health care.

Herbal Medicine has been practiced in China for over 2000 years and is used alongside western medicine or as an alternative for conditions that do not respond well to western medicine.  The evidence base for the efficacy of Chinese Herbal Medicine is growing.

What does this mean to you as a patient?

It will ensure that only the most competent practitioners can treat the public and those who are regulated, fully insured and adhere to a strict code of ethics.

As recognised health care practitioners it is hoped that more private medical insurance companies will cover patients who visit herbalists.

It will mean that you will prescribed herbs by a qualified practitioner who uses an approved supplier that supply herbs that are of the highest quality that contain no adulterants, are tested for heavy metals and contaminants, are only of botanical origin, and are not endangered species.

While we wait for statutory regulation to be implemented in April 2012 only visit a herbalist who is a member of the EHTPA and their affiliate bodies.

If you are interested in learning more about Chinese Herbal Medicine visit www.breathe-london.com

Keep and eye on our twitter feed for news and up to date research about acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine: http://twitter.com/breathelondon

Keep up to date with our blog for more detailed articles about acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine.

Coming Soon.

Using herbs and acupuncture in combination to treat sports injuries.

Simon Plant. March 2011

1 http://www.mhra.gov.uk/NewsCentre/CON108789

Simon Plant BSc (Hons) MSc MBacC RCHM

Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine

Breathe London Well Being Centre

Suffering From Hay Fever?

Probably not considering we are still in the last throes of what has been a long and cold winter and your probably thinking what a bizarre blog entry to make!

However if you do suffer from hay fever in the spring months read on and discover how having acupuncture treatment now before the spring fully starts can reduce the severity and symptoms of hay fever.

It may be the end of winter but the first signs of spring are just starting to struggle through, early shoots appearing and days slowly and surely getting longer and just of hint of warmth in the midday sun.

In the Chinese way of thinking, which is rooted in the ancient philosophy of yin yang theory, spring is the time of great transition and the decline of cooling nourishing yin and the flourishing of warming, protecting yang.

Yin yang theory is also rooted in the traditional Chinese way of understanding how the body works. The yang qi (or energy) in the body is the body’s ability to protect itself and it is during this flourishing of the yang energy in the spring when symptoms of hay fever manifest.

If the body’s defence is poorly regulated the immune response, trigged by pollen, overreacts and causes the symptoms of blocked and runny nose and sore itchy red eyes. In terms of the Chinese way of thinking the body’s yang qi is too strong and not controlled.

Alternatively the bodies defence can be compromised, which can often happen after a long winter and the stresses and strains of modern living, the bodies yang qi is weak and people are much more susceptible to hay fever in the spring.

Acupuncture works by regulating the qi in the body and in turn regulates the immune system to calm this overreaction. Acupuncture can also strengthen the bodies immune system.

Over 2000 years of history and tradition is now supported by evidence and acupuncture has been proven in clinical trials to relieve the symptoms of hay fever1 while acupuncture combined with Chinese Herbal Medicine is a safe and effective way of treating hay fever2.

Book a short course of acupuncture treatment at Breathe London and enjoy the coming spring.

Visit www.breathe-london.com/waterloo-acupuncture to learn more.

Simon Plant February 2011

Simon Plant BSc (Hons) MSc MBAcC

Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine

Breathe London Well Being Centre

1 Xue, C., English, R. et al. (2002) Effect of Acupuncture in the Treatment of Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis: A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial The American Journal of Chinese Medicine. 30 (1)1–11.

2 Brinkhaus, B., Hummelsberger, J. et al. (2004) Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine in the treatment of patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis: a randomized-controlled clinical trial. 59 (9) 953-960.