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We aim to bring you interesting and helpful information about osteopathy and complementary medicine within Bristol and beyond.......

Wednesday 11 December 2013

Acupuncture for your aches and pains

By Max Hopes

It’s certainly starting to feel like winter outside with the temperatures plummeting in recent weeks! The cold weather can have some unfortunate consequences for people with joint and muscle aches, with studies showing that sufferers of conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatic disease and muscular pain report a correlation between cold temperatures and days on which they feel more painful symptoms. Explanations could come from the fact that things such as blood flow to muscles and lubricating fluids within the joints are reduced by the cold - also when we feel cold we tighten everything up out of discomfort, which can lead to aches and pains worsening.
One way that we can treat these kinds of aches and pains at The Chandos Clinic is by using medical acupuncture. One of our osteopaths, Max Hopes, is trained in acupuncture and uses the method alongside conventional osteopathy. He finds that the two approaches complement each other perfectly, and a treatment session with him will often consist of a combination of the two – dependent on the suitability of the complaint and the preference of the patient.

What is acupuncture?

Fine needles are inserted into specific points that the practitioner identifies as relevant to the patient's condition based on a medical diagnosis.  At our clinic, this may be used in addition to a more 'standard' osteopathic treatment.
The number of needles used can range from just one, up to eight or ten, but this depends on the condition and the patient’s comfort. The amount of time that needles are left in place also varies; it can be from just a few seconds, up to about fifteen minutes.

Proven benefits

In recent years, more and more scientific evidence has come out in support of acupuncture and a number of benefits have been shown:

- Pain relief - Acupuncture can be very effective in the relief of pain by stimulating the release of natural painkillers such as endorphins and serotonin

- Nerve stimulation - Acupuncture has been proven to stimulate nerves around the area that the needles are placed.  This can add to the pain relieving effect as well as helping to restore 'normal' function in areas that are supplied by those nerves

- Promotion of blood flow - Studies have shown that acupuncture can be used to encourage greater blood supply to an injured site.  This is particularly useful for slow healing injuries as providing more blood to the region accelerates the healing process.

- Releasing tight muscles and 'trigger points' - These are tight 'knots' in muscles that can be a source of pain. Acupuncture is a highly effective and relatively pain-free method of releasing these points, which can make a huge difference for many patients.

What conditions can acupuncture treat?

Acupuncture is proven to be effective in many musculoskeletal conditions such as:
- Low back and neck pain
- Arthritic pain
- Joint and muscle injuries
- Tendon and ligament problems
- Headaches
- Trapped nerves

Does it hurt and is it safe?

Acupuncture is rarely painful as the needle is so fine that it penetrates the skin with ease, it doesn’t feel like having an injection! What you may experience is a slight dull ache or a twitch in the muscle. This is generally a good sign as it shows that the needle is having an effect.
Acupuncture is a safe treatment when administered by highly trained practitioners such as ours at The Chandos Clinic. Serious adverse events are almost unheard of, however occasionally patients may feel tired or faint with the use of needles.

Max works at the Chandos Clinic Tuesdays and alternate Fridays and Saturdays

Wednesday 4 December 2013

Meditation May Slow Progress of Alzheimers

Meditation in patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) may slow progression to Alzheimer's disease (AD), new research suggests.

A small, randomized pilot study of adult patients with MCI showed that those who received mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) therapy for 8 weeks had a greater increase in functional connectivity between brain regions related to both MCI and AD than those who received usual care.

These regions included the posterior cingulate cortex, the bilateral medial prefrontal cortex, and the left hippocampus.

In addition, there was "a trend" toward less bilateral hippocampal volume atrophy in the patients who received MBSR compared with the usual-care group.

"This study suggests that an intervention with meditation and yoga may impact the areas of the brain that are most susceptible to developing dementia," lead author Rebecca Erwin Wells, MD, MPH, who was at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, at the time of the study.

Dr. Wells noted that although this was a small, preliminary study, she is "very excited" about the findings.

"MBSR is a relatively simple intervention, with very little downside, that may provide real promise for these individuals. If [it] can help delay the symptoms of cognitive decline even a little bit, it can contribute to improved quality of life," said Dr. Wells in a release.

For further information about this study, click here

Source: Medscape