Dr Maggie Ju Acupuncture for fatigue

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Hay fever, frequent urination, overactive bladder

Neurological conditions such as nerve pain, peripheral nephropathy, tremor, parkinsons, etc 

Digestive system problems: ulcerative colitis, IBS, acid reflex, stomach pain, etc

Others: boosting immunity, blepharitis, etc

Suffer from hay fever, Acupuncture can help

Hay fever known as allergic rhinitis is a condition caused by inflammation in the nose which occurs when the immune system overreracts to the allergens such as pollen, pet hair, dust, or mold. In spring time, people with seasonal hay fever would surfer when others enjoy the spring.  It is because the immune system overreacts pollen in the air and causes inflammation in the nose.

Acupuncture is effective to treat hay fever. There is a paper just published titled Impact of acupuncture on antihistamine use in patients suffering seasonal allergic rhinitis: secondary analysis of results from a randomised controlled trial. In this research patients were allocated into three study groups: acupuncture plus medication, sham acupuncture plus medication, and medication alone. The data from 414 patients were analysed. The acupuncture group used antihistamines significantly less often compared with the other groups. The pre-post comparison suggested that the acupuncture patients did not need to increase the days of antihistamine use to alleviate their symptoms. Acupuncture appeared to significantly reduce the number of days of antihistamine use for the patients with hay fever.

 

References

Adam D et al Acupunct med 2018 Feb 10. pii: acupmed-2017-011382. doi: 10.1136/acupmed-2017-011382. [Epub ahead of print]

Eczema can stay with you for long time, itchiness is as bad as that you have pain.  Clear your eczema and stop your itchness with acupuncture. 

Acupuncture is effective for eczema

Eczema is a very common skin condition due to skin inflammation. Atopic eczema is the most common form and is included in a group of allergic conditions like asthma, hay fever and food allergy. They are all linked by an increased activity of the allergy side of the body’s immune system. Eczema often starts in childhood, and it may also start later in adult. It tends to run in families. People with eczema typically have alterations in their skin barrier, and overly reactive inflammatory and allergy responses. Environmental factors include contact with soaps, detergents and any other chemicals applied to the skin, exposure to allergens, and infection with certain bacteria and viruses.

Eczema comes from the Greek word to boil and is used to describe the symptoms of the condition: red, dry, itchy, skin which can sometimes become weeping, blistered, crusted, scaling and thickened. The main symptom of eczema is skin rash associated with itch. Scratching can fire up the skin rash and makes the itching worse. Itch can be severe enough to interfere with sleep, causing tiredness and irritability. The symptoms can sometimes be severe while other times less severe. Some people only have small patches of dry skin, but others may experience widespread red, inflamed skin all over the body. atopic eczema can affect any part of the body, it most often affects the hands, insides of the elbows, backs of the knees and the face and scalp. Many things can flare up atopic eczema: such as heat, dust woollen clothing, pets and irritants including soaps and detergents, cold and infections, teething in babies, food allergies and stress.

Acupuncture is effective for atopic eczema. For example, a study involving in thirty participants with eczema. They were received four weeks of acupuncture treatments. All eczema symptoms were improved in 4 weeks’ time. A recent study analysed a total of 434 participants in the eight RCTs. All participants were diagnosed with atopic eczema. The age of the participants ranged from 18 to 70 years and the course of AE ranged from 6 months to 35 years.

The results of one included RCT showed that acupuncture was better than no treatment at reducing itch intensity measured using a visual analogue scale in patients with AE. The combined results of six RCTs showed that acupuncture was better than conventional medicine at reducing the eczema area and severity index (EASI) and the combined results of seven RCTs showed that acupuncture was better than conventional medicine in terms of global symptom improvement in AE. The conclusion was that acupuncture might be effective at reducing itch intensity and may be more effective than conventional medicine at reducing EASI and improving the global symptoms of AE.

 

References

Kang S et al Complement Ther Med2018 Dec;41:90-98. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2018.08.013. Epub 2018 Sep 10.

Ruimin Jiao,et al Acupunct Med. 2020 Feb; 38(1): 3–14. 

Acupuncture is effective for urine urgency and leaking urine.

Overactive bladder (OAB) is a common condition. The most common symptom of OAB is a sudden urge to urinate that one cannot control. Some people will leak urine when they feel the urge. Another symptom of OAB is to go to the bathroom many times during the day and night. Many people living with OAB don’t ask for help. Some are embarrassed, some don’t think there are any treatments for OAB and some don’t think this is a problem. If you have symptoms of OAB, do ask for help and there is treatment available out there.

Forde et al from Department of Urology, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York analysed current research data for the role of acupuncture in managing OAB. They analysed two case series and six comparative trials. All studies demonstrated subjective improvement in OAB symptoms, and some reported objective improvement in urodynamic studies. Notably, some comparative trials showed the benefit of acupuncture to be comparable with antimuscarinic treatment. Their conclusion is despite their limitations, existing studies serve as a promising foundation for suggesting a role foracupuncture as an alternative therapy for OAB

References

Forde JC et al

Int Urogynecol (2016) Jan.

Having blepharitis, tried acupuncture?

The eyelids which cover the eyes and protect them from debris and injury have lashes with short, curved hair follicles on the edge of the lids. These follicles contain oil glands. These oil glands can sometimes become clogged or irritated, even inflamed causing blepharitis. Blepharitis is inflammation of the eyelids. Blepharitis usually affects both eyes along the edges of the eyelids.

Blepharitis is often a chronic condition that's difficult to treat. Blepharitis can be uncomfortable and unsightly. But it usually doesn't cause permanent damage to your eyesight, and it's not contagious.

Symptoms of blepharitis include: watery eyes, red eyes, burning or stinging sensation in the eyes, itchy eyelids, red, swollen, inflamed eyelids, flaking skin around the eyes, crusted eyelashes, oily eyelids, a feeling that something is in or on the eyes, sensitivity to light, crusted eyelashes, etc. Risk factors to have blepharitis include: having eyelash mites or lice, bacterial infection, medication side effects, a malfunctioning oil gland. There are two types of blepharitis: 1) anterior eye inflammation occurs on the outside of your eye where your eyelashes are located. Dandruff on your eyebrows and allergic reactions in your eyes can cause anterior eyelid inflammation. 2) posterior eyelid inflammation occurs on the inner edge of eyelids closest to your eye. A malfunctioning oil gland behind your eyelash follicles usually causes this form of inflammation.

If you have difficulty to get rid of blepharitis, try acupuncture to help.

A case report of acupuncture on chronic blepharitis. A woman aged 61-year-old had a chronic blepharitis on her right upper eyelid for one and half years. The eyelid was red and swollen. It felt stinging. She had three acupuncture treatments. After one treatment the redness and swellings were much better and after three treatment, the blepharitis was completely gone and the eyelid was clear of inflammation.

Acupuncture is effective for ulcerative colitis

The colon is the large intestine (bowel) and the rectum is the end of the bowel where stools are stored. Ulcerative colitis is a chronic condition where the colon and rectum become inflamed and small ulcers can develop on the colon's lining and can bleed and produce pus. The main symptoms of ulcerative colitis are: recurring diarrhoea with or without blood, mucus or pus, abdominal pain, urgency and frequency of needing to empty the bowels, especially after meals. Other common nonspecific symptoms include extreme tiredness (fatigue), loss of appetite and weight loss. The severity of the symptoms varies, depending on how much of the rectum and colon is inflamed and how severe the inflammation is.

Acupuncture has traditionally been used in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease in China and is increasingly applied in Western countries. This is a study investigated the effect of acupuncture in the treatment of ulcerative colitis. 29 patients with mild to moderately active UC (mean age 37.8 +/- 12.0 years) were recruited. They received treatments of 10 sessions over a period of 5 weeks and followed-up for 16 weeks. The results suggested that acupuncture seem to offer an additional therapeutic benefit in patients with mild to moderately active UC.

References 

Stefanie Joos Scand J Gastroenterol. 2006 Sep;41(9):1056-63.

Acupuncture boosts the immune system

What is the immune system in the body? Why it is important? The immune system is a defense system in the body containing many organs and cells against diseases such as viral and bacterial infections. Sometimes the immune system does not work well; it can either be underactive or overactive or attack the wrong targets. If the immune system is underactive and low functioning, you could get frequent infections such as viral infection, fungal infection or chronic inflammation in the body such as aching or pain somewhere in the body or IBS, tiredness etc. If the immune system is overactive you could get diseases such as allergy, hay fever, eczma, athma etc. If the immune system targets your own organs you could get autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis. Recent research has shown that acupuncture can help regulate immune system function. For example, a study involved in 34 female patients aged 30-60 with impaired immune function. The result has shown that the improvement of immune function of acupuncture on immune function started from 72 hours after the first acupuncture session and persisted when follow-up time of a month after a year treatments. The impaired immune system in the group was improved significantly to the same level with healthy control group.

References

Arranz L et al Am J Chin Med (2007) 35:35-51

Essential tremor treatment with acupuncture

A tremor is an involuntary rhythmic muscle contraction involving movements of one or more parts of the body. It may be intermittent or constant. It is a common movement disorder that most often affects the hands but can also occur in the arms, head, vocal cords, torso, and legs.  Most types of tremor have no known cause, although there are some forms that appear to be inherited and run in families. Tremor can occur on its own or be a symptom associated with some neurological disorders, including multiple sclerosis, stroke, traumatic brain injury, Parkinson's disease, the use of certain medicines, anxiety or panic attack.

Essential tremor is a nervous system (neurological) disorder that causes involuntary and rhythmic shaking. It can affect almost any part of your body, but the trembling occurs most often in the hands.

Essential tremor is usually not a dangerous condition, but it typically worsens over time and can be severe in some people. Other conditions don't cause essential tremor, although essential tremor is sometimes confused with Parkinson's disease.

Essential tremor can occur at any age but is most common in people age 40 and older.

Essential tremor vs. Parkinson's disease

Timing of tremors is different. Essential tremor of the hands usually occurs when you use the hands. Tremors from Parkinson's disease are most prominent when the hands are resting.

Associated conditions. Essential tremor generally doesn't cause other health problems, but Parkinson's disease is associated with slow movement and stiffness.

Acupuncture is used for essential Essential tremors and there were case reports that essential tremors are improved with acupuncture treatments.

References

Jong-Jin Jeong and Seung-Ho Sun J Pharmacopuncture. 2013 Dec; 16(4): 49–53.

Suffer from depression? Acupuncture can help

Depression is commonly treated with anti-depressant medication and/or psychological interventions. Patients with depression are common users of complementary therapies, such as acupuncture, either as a replacement for, or adjunct to, their conventional treatments.

Current models of depression suggest that changes in the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis, dysfunction among stress hormones, and imbalance in neurotransmitters, such as noradrenaline, serotonin, and dopamine, may be key factors in the onset and maintenance of major depressive disorder. Results from animal experiments suggest a multitarget antidepressant effect of acupuncture, which may be related to amino acid metabolism and inflammatory pathways, especially the Toll-like receptor signaling pathway, tumor necrosis factor (TNF) signaling pathway, and nuclear factor kappa light chain enhancer of activated B cells (NF-kappa B) signaling pathway. In addition, similar to antidepressant medications, acupuncture is capable of affecting the neurotransmitter levels of serotonin and noradrenaline, along with the adenylate cyclase cyclic adenosine monophosphate-protein kinase A (AC-cAMPPKA) cascade within the central nervous system.

A recent review and meta-analysis examined the effectiveness of acupuncture in major depressive disorder. This review analysed 29 studies with 2268 participants and found that acupuncture showed clinically significant reductions in the severity of depression compared to usual care. There is a link between numbers of acupuncture treatments and the reduction of depression:  more treatments, the more reduction in the severity of depression.

References

Armour M et al J Clin Med. 2019 Jul 31;8(8). pii: E1140. doi: 10.3390/jcm8081140.

 

Acupuncture can help reduce depression and anxiety

Depression affects people in many ways and can cause symptoms from psychological, physical to social symptoms. 

The psychological symptoms of depression include: persistent low mood or sadness, feeling anxious or worried, feeling irritable and intolerant of others, feeling hopeless and helpless, having low self-esteem, without motivation or interest in things, having suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming yourself.

The physical symptoms of depression include: moving or speaking more slowly than usual, changes in appetite or weight, constipation, unexplained aches and pains, lack of energy, loss of libido, change of menstrual cycle, disturbed sleep.

The social symptoms of depression include: not doing well at work, avoiding contact with friends and taking part in fewer social activities, neglecting, having difficulties with other people.

Research has shown that acupuncture can help depression. For example,

There was a study with 120 female patients with depression treated with acupuncture and music. Acupuncture points used include Baihui (GV 20), Shenting (GV 24), Neiguan (PC 6), Shenmen (HT 7), Sanyinjiao (SP 6) and Taichong (LR 3). Result has shown that combined acupuncture and the music, or acupuncture alone can help reduces the severity of depression and anxiety.

Having pain and depressed, tried acupuncture?

Chronic pain and depression are hand in hand. Chronic pain affects up to 20% general populations. It is persistent or intermittent pain that lasts for more than 3 months despite a normal tissue healing time. It associates with poor quality of life and often causes depression. Depression can be characterized by psychological and physical symptoms, including low mood or sadness, lack of energy, lack of motivation, insomnia, low sex drive and an inability to enjoy life. Chronic pain may induce depression, and people suffering from depression may also present abnormal pain perception and modulation, which increases the risk of developing chronic pain. About 85% of people affected with chronic pain suffer from severe depression.

The pathological process of both chronic pain and depression involve neuroinflammation. Neuroinflammation is an innate immune response of the nervous system to injury, infection or neurodegenerative disease characterized by the activation of resident glial cells, including microglia and astrocytes; release of cytokines and chemokines; and activation and infiltration of leukocytes.

These make them complex and difficult to treat. Acupuncture can reduce inflammation and is effective for chronic pain and depression.

Depression and anxiety are most commonly treated with acupuncture after lower back pain in the US.

Acupuncture has been a popular alternative medicine in the United States for several decades. It becomes common knowledge that acupuncture can release pain. People with chronic pain often seek acupuncture treatments and it is currently emerging as a unique non-pharmaceutical choice for pain against opioid crisis in the US. For what other conditions do people seek acupuncture treatment in the US? There was a survey studied the conditions that the most commonly treated acupuncture conditions. 419 acupuncturists across the US participated the study. Top 10 conditions that people go for acupuncture are lower back pain, depression, anxiety, headache, arthritis, allergies, general pain, female infertility, insomnia, neck pain and frozen shoulder. Top 99 conditions were grouped into a few categories: pain represents the largest category; and mental health management, especially for mood disorders, is in greatest demand.  Immune system dysfunctions, gastrointestinal diseases, gynecology and neurology have also had high ranks.

As you can see that depression and anxiety are most commonly treated with acupuncture after lower back pain. Depression and Anxiety are two different medical conditions, their symptoms, causes, and treatments can often overlap.

References

Wang H et al Am J Chin Med. 2018 Oct 9:1-33. doi: 10.1142/S0192415X18500738.