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Monthly Archives: April 2014

“Don’t Tread on Me!” Plantar Fasciitis – Acupuncture Puts Your Best Foot Forward

 
Happy Feet with Acupuncture!

Happy Feet with Acupuncture!

Does the thought of your feet hitting the floor in the morning have you cringing in pain? 

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. Plantar fasciitis occurs when the thick band of tissue on the bottom of the foot is overused or overstretched. When stress placed on the plantar fascia ligament,  it is stretched irregularly, and it can cause small tears and inflammation. This can be painful and make walking more difficult. The pain is often most severe when first stepping out of bed onto the floor in the morning.

The most common complaint is pain, burning and stiffness in the bottom of the heel. The heel pain may be dull or sharp. Another symptom of plantar fasciitis is pain when lifting the foot towards the shin (dorsiflexion).

Who gets it? Plantar fasciitis is most often seen in people who have suddenly gained weight or are obese, and persons whose jobs require a lot of walking or standing, especially on hard surfaces. Plantar fasciitis is also seen in athletes, especially long-distance runners, and those who often run downhill or on uneven surfaces.

It is seen in both men and women, however, it most often affects active men ages 40 – 70. It is one of the most common foot-related orthopedic complaints.

The pain is usually worse after standing or sitting for a while, when climbing stairs, and after intense activity. The pain may develop slowly over time, or suddenly after intense activity.

You are more likely to get plantar fasciitis if you have foot arch problems (both flat feet and high arches), tight Achilles tendon, and shoes with poor arch support or soft soles.

Turn those hurting heels into happy feet with acupuncture! Acupuncture has been used successfully for many musculoskeletal pain conditions, including heel pain. Acupuncture relieves pain and also stimulates circulation. And now, new research concludes that acupuncture is effective for treating plantar fasciitis. 

In a controlled clinical investigation, an acupuncture group demonstrated a significant reduction in foot pain while the control group showed only minimal changes. The control group received five weeks of analgesic medications, stretching exercises and shoe modifications. The acupuncture group received the same therapies plus electro-acupuncture treatments. The researchers concluded that, “Electro-acupuncture coupled with conventional treatments provided a success rate of 80% in chronic plantar fasciitis which was more effective than conventional treatments alone.”

That’s great news indeed!

Stretching and exercises (as well as proper shoes, and shoe inserts) can also really make a difference, especially first thing in the morning, when the pain and stiffness can be at its worst.

Here’s a few stretches that can help!

  • Hold a wide belt with one end in each hand. Place the center of the belt over the ball of the foot. With your knee straight, pull your ankle back toward you using the belt and the muscle on the front of your leg. Think about reverse stretching your arch. Pull back and hold for ten seconds. Relax and repeat for five to ten minutes.

  • Use the wall!  To stretch the fascia, prop your toes up against a wall, keeping your arch and heel flat so the toes stretch. Hold for a count of 10. Repeat 10 times three or four times per day.

  • Roll a frozen water bottle under the arch. Stretch first then roll out the arch for 10 minutes; you don’t want to stretch the tendon when it’s ice cold.

  • Freeze a golf ball and massage the fascia. Roll the frozen golf ball under the foot, starting from the front and working your way back. Put good pressure on each spot—the medial, center and lateral positions—for 15 seconds before moving to the next area. Then, roll the ball back and forth over the entire foot.

And try Acupuncture!

References:

The American Journal of Chinese Medicine, An International Journal of Comparative Medicine East and West. Efficacy of Electro-Acupuncture in Chronic Plantar Fasciitis: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Wipoo Kumnerddee and Nitsara Pattapong. Volume 40, Issue 06, 2012.

Photos: Google Images

Interested in how acupuncture can help you or a loved one? Please visit us at www.ctacupuncture.com

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You Wanted Spring…But the Allergies? Acupuncture Gives Allergy Relief!

 
Enjoy Spring! Allergy Relief with Acupuncture!

Enjoy Spring! Allergy Relief with Acupuncture!

Spring’s sprung, your allergies have been triggered and your nose and eyes are running in fear. What do you do?

It was a long winter, for certain. And it’s not like you don’t appreciate the beauty of the flowers and the budding of the trees. But…you know what it means. Weeks of sneezing, nose-blowing, headaches…and that’s just the average symptoms.

It’s not just Spring…it’s ALLERGY SEASON.

An allergy is an immune system disorder that occurs when your body has an inflammatory, hypertensive reaction to what is a normally benign substance. Like pollen. Common conditions such as hay fever, eczema, hives and asthma are actually allergic reactions; others include food allergies, reactions to bee stings, and certain medications. There are several types of tests you can take to gauge exactly what allergens your body has a reaction to.

There are two main factors that can make you susceptible to allergens — host and environmental factors.

Host factors are items that are genetic (race, age, gender, and heredity) while environmental factors are exposure to pollution, diseases, and exposure to high levels of allergens, particularly at a young age. The dangers posed by allergies range from the merely annoying and/or inconvenient (pollen that causes a runny nose) to the truly life threatening (exposure to certain foods, such as shellfish).

Most treatments aim to reduce the discomfort of the symptoms temporarily, and they often come with negative side effects.

Well, Spring allergies…Acupuncture is always in season.

Acupuncture is one of the major holistic therapies used for thousands of years to address the underlying energetic relationships in the body that makes those allergic reactions happen. Acupuncture treatments aim to, and yes, give immediate relief from the symptoms, and further, it can address the variety of underlying causes.

Point sites for the underlying causes will be found on an individual basis after a thorough case history. Point sites for immediate relief include local points near the actual symptom places such as the sinus areas, and others not so obvious to understand such as near the hands or feet.  The point sites are always on the skin and the surface of the body.  A patient will happily experience immediate improvement of the symptoms, and be encouraged therefore to continue to pursue the underlying causes in future treatments.

Long term? The symptoms stop, and the reactiveness calms down.

You can get back to your regularly scheduled life. Enjoy the outdoors again!

Interested in how acupuncture can help you or a loved one?

Please visit us at www.ctacupuncture.com

Questions about acupuncture?  Frequently Asked Questions about Acupuncture

Like to watch interesting stuff? Check out this video below…

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“The Long Goodbye” — Acupuncture Beneficial for Alzheimer’s Sufferers

 

Acupuncture Can Help with Alzheimer's

Acupuncture Can Help with Alzheimer’s

There is good news for those affected by Alzheimer’s disease.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease and someone develops it every 67 seconds. It is the sixth leading cause of death.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia diagnosed in the aging population worldwide. 

It is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks. The cause of Alzheimer’s is still not clear, and there is no cure.  The search for new treatment is made ever more urgent due to increasing population aging.

But there is help and hope for those who suffer from it. Researchers around the world are working on a number of treatment strategies that might change the course of the disease. And acupuncture is one of them.

A new study using MRI imaging revealed that acupuncture enhances brain activity in Alzheimer disease patients. Researchers investigated the effects of two important acupuncture points on the human brains of Alzheimer disease patients using fMRI imaging with a SIEMENS verio 3-Tesla scanner. After acupuncture, MRI imaging revealed that AD patients had significant improvements in connectivity for both frontal and lateral temporal regions of the hippocampus. The researchers note, “Due to the cognitive impairment associated with AD, acupuncture on specific acupoints can modulate the cerebral blood flow and strengthen the hippocampal connectivity in AD patients.” The study suggests that acupuncture may provide important clinical benefits to AD patients.

Acupuncture can also assist with the emotional toll of Alzheimer’s. Another study conducted  by a senior scientist, Dr. Nancy Emerson Lombardo at Wellesley College concluded that acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment for anxiety and depression in persons with Alzheimer’s disease.

The subjects in the study were 11 patients, average age 76 years, diagnosed with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s Disease or Vascular Dementia. Assessments were completed by the research team neurologist, psychologist, and acupuncturist, as well as by family caregivers and the subject. A number of standardized tests were used to measure pre- and post-treatment anxiety, depression, and cognitive functioning. Researchers concluded that acupuncture is very helpful for reducing anxiety and depression associated with Alzheimer’s. They also found that the patients had a positive change in mood, experienced more energy, and received relief for age-related pain complaints like arthritis. Decrease the Pain of Arthritis and Increase Mobility with Acupuncture

Knowledge is power. Check over this list from the Alzheimer’s Association.

Ten Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease 

1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life
2. Challenging in planning and solving problems
3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure
4. Confusion with time or place
5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
6. New problems with words in speaking or writing
7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
8. Decreased or poor judgment
9. Withdrawal from work or social activities
10. Changes in mood and personality

If you notice any of the 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s in yourself or someone you know, don’t ignore them. Schedule an appointment with your doctor. If the disease is detected early, medical intervention can extend the period during which patients and their families can enjoy a relatively high quality of life.

Interested in how acupuncture can help you or a loved one? Please visit us at www.ctacupuncture.com

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References:
Wang, Zhiqun, Peipeng Liang, Zhilian Zhao, Ying Han, Haiqing Song, Jianyang Xu, Jie Lu, and Kuncheng Li. “Acupuncture Modulates Resting State Hippocampal Functional Connectivity in Alzheimer Disease.” PloS one 9, no. 3 (2014): e91160.

Emerson Lombardo N, et al, Acupuncture to treat anxiety and depression in people with Alzheimer’s disease and with vascular dementia: a pilot feasibility and effectiveness trial. Presented at World Alzheimer’s Conference, Washington DC, July 9-18, 2000 and at Wellesley College Center for Research on Women, Wellesley, Massachusetts, June 7, 2000.

Alzheimer’s Association www.alz.org

Photo by: Rhoda Baer

Is That Bundle of Joy Making You Want to Heave? Acupuncture to the Rescue!

 
Acupuncture is great for Moms-to-be!

Acupuncture is great for Moms-to-be!

Morning Sickness Is Not the Best Baby Gift…

Motherhood. The beautiful glow of pregnancy, the sudden running to the bathroom…

Nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy are definitely issues for some women, and for others the “morning sickness” can last all day, every day.  What Mama-to-be has time for that!?

Did you know that acupuncture is a fantastic addition to traditional Western prenatal care, and that it has many benefits that come with it? And as acupuncture has very few side effects, many pregnant women now seek this other option to drug therapy for these and many other common pregnancy complaints.

And it’s been shown that acupuncture can help. A single blind randomized controlled trial was undertaken by a maternity teaching hospital in Adelaide, Australia to determine whether acupuncture reduced nausea, dry retching, and vomiting, and improved the health status of women in pregnancy.

The trial consisted of 593 women less than 14 weeks pregnant that had symptoms of nausea or vomiting that were randomized into 4 groups. The results? Women receiving traditional acupuncture reported less nausea throughout the trial and less dry retching from the second week, compared with women in the no acupuncture control group. Women who received p6 acupuncture reported less nausea from the second week of the trial, and less dry retching from the third week compared with women in the no acupuncture control group. Women in the sham acupuncture group reported less nausea and dry retching from the third week compared with women in the no acupuncture group.

So, acupuncture was indeed found to be an effective treatment for women who experience nausea and dry retching in early pregnancy.

But is acupuncture safe?

Another study in 2002 conducted at the same hospital on the safety of acupuncture for nausea in early pregnancy verified that there is no increased risk of congenital anomalies, miscarriage, stillbirth, placental abruption, pregnancy-induced hypertension, preeclampsia, premature birth, or normal measures of neonatal health (such as maturity or birth weight) when women receive acupuncture during pregnancy.

The study was conducted during the first trimester of pregnancy, when fetal development is most vulnerable. These results have been replicated at other research institutions worldwide.

So not only is acupuncture effective, it’s safe!

Acupuncture is an ancient form of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) that has been used for thousands of years, and is a wonderful holistic therapy.  The procedures are relatively painless, the effect can be immediate and can even be relaxing. Acupuncture is also excellent for relieving stress, hip and low back pain, breech position, mild to moderate depression, inducing and decreasing the length of labor. A true Mother’s Helper!

Pregnant and Depressed? Acupuncture Can Help…

For more information, please visit us at www.ctacupuncture.com

Source: Birth. 2002 Mar;29(1):1-9.
Acupuncture to treat nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy: a randomized controlled trial.
Smith C, Crowther C, Beilby J.
Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Adelaide University, Adelaide, Australia.

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Fairfield: 203-259-1660
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