Acupuncture treatment for Hayfever

It seems like spring is finally here! But while many people are looking forward to enjoying the summer ahead, for 20% of our population it not such an enjoyable season. For those that suffer with hay fever, or seasonal rhinitis,  it can be a miserable time of year.

But sufferers should know that this need not be the case. Acupuncture can both relieve the symptoms of hayfever and prevent your immune system over reacting to the pollen in the first place. It can be used successfully during the hay fever season but is most effective as a preventative treatment. It is advised to seek treatment before the hay fever season starts, in early spring, to support the immune system for the coming spring and summer.

Aisling (34) describes her experience of acupuncture:
“I’ve suffered from chronic hayfever since I was 11 years old with some years being so bad that I’m pretty much house bound for days at a time. I’ve tried EVERYTHING… from local honey to steroids with varying degrees of success (and side effects!). I tried acupuncture as a last resort two years ago and it’s genuinely the only thing that has worked. I don’t have to remember to take antihistamines every day, there are no side effects and it’s the most effective treatment that I’ve come across yet.”

Acupuncture focuses on treating “the Root and the Branch.” This means that treatment during the hay fever season will address the immediate symptoms, the itchy eyes, the stuffy nose etc, but most importantly preventative treatment will focus on treating the cause of your hay fever. The diagnosis will look at how your body responds to triggers, and why your immune system has such an extreme response to something as seemingly harmless as pollen.

Acupuncture treatment focuses on treating fundamental imbalances within a person, so regulation of the immune system will be a natural part of most treatment. Because of this, people who come for acupuncture for other reasons can often report an improvement in their hay fever symptoms. Tom (34) found that this was the case:

“After 5 summer of suffering from Hay fever quite badly I had been having acupuncture throughout winter and spring for other reasons but got to the time of year it would usually start and no symptoms at all – for the last 4/5yrs now!”

For more information and details of scientific research into the use of acupuncture for hay fever visit the British Acupuncture Council‘s fact sheet

To fund out more about how acupuncture can help you, please get in touch with us for a chat, or if you would like to book in for a first appointment, just click here:

book-now-button-new-2

People’s Acupuncture Project, Exeter

Acupuncture Awareness Week: Acupuncture for Sports Injuries

7-13 March is Acupuncture Awareness Week!

Our focus this year is on how acupuncture can help sports injuries. Acupuncture is a fantastic treatment for muscular-skeletal pain and injuries sustained from sport (or any other reason!). We see all kinds of injuries in clinic, they are some of the most common things we treat, and they respond really successfully to treatment.

Olympian Rebecca Addlington is a great fan of acupuncture and uses it to help with injuries and performance. watch the video above to hear her talk about how acupuncture helps her.

To find out more have a look here at our fact sheet on how acupuncture can help sports injuries:

fact sheet - sports injuries

Or feel free to get in touch to talk about how acupuncture could help your injury

 

People’s Acupuncture Project, Exeter

Welcome Tom!

Tom Hirons

We are very excited that Tom Hirons will be joining us as an acupuncturist from today. Tom will be taking over from Charlotte who has gone on maternity leave.

Tom used to work with us back when we started in 2012, and he went on to set up Source Point Community Acupuncture in Morton Hampstead.

We are very much looking forward to working with Tom over the next few months. Please join us in welcoming him, and you can read more about him here.

 

 

People’s Acupuncture Project, Exeter

Now is the time to start Hayfever treatment

Spring is here! But while many people are looking forward to enjoying the summer ahead, for 20% of our population it not such an enjoyable season. For those that suffer with hay fever, or seasonal rhinitis,  it can be a miserable time of year.

But sufferers should know that this need not be the case. Acupuncture can both relieve the symptoms of hayfever and prevent your immune system over reacting to the pollen in the first place. It can be used successfully during the hay fever season but is most effective as a preventative treatment. It is advised to seek treatment before the hay fever season starts, in early spring, to support the immune system for the coming spring and summer.

Aisling (34) describes her experience of acupuncture:
“I’ve suffered from chronic hayfever since I was 11 years old with some years being so bad that I’m pretty much house bound for days at a time. I’ve tried EVERYTHING… from local honey to steroids with varying degrees of success (and side effects!). I tried acupuncture as a last resort two years ago and it’s genuinely the only thing that has worked. I don’t have to remember to take antihistamines every day, there are no side effects and it’s the most effective treatment that I’ve come across yet.”

Acupuncture focuses on treating “the Root and the Branch.” This means that treatment during the hay fever season will address the immediate symptoms, the itchy eyes, the stuffy nose etc, but most importantly preventative treatment will focus on treating the cause of your hay fever. The diagnosis will look at how your body responds to triggers, and why your immune system has such an extreme response to something as seemingly harmless as pollen.

Acupuncture treatment focuses on treating fundamental imbalances within a person, so regulation of the immune system will be a natural part of most treatment. Because of this, people who come for acupuncture for other reasons can often report an improvement in their hay fever symptoms. Tom (34) found that this was the case:

“After 5 summer of suffering from Hay fever quite badly I had been having acupuncture throughout winter and spring for other reasons but got to the time of year it would usually start and no symptoms at all – for the last 4/5yrs now!”

For more information and details of scientific research into the use of acupuncture for hay fever visit the British Acupuncture Council‘s fact sheet

To fund out more about how acupuncture can help you, please get in touch with us for a chat

People’s Acupuncture Project, Exeter

UK multibed acupuncture and the wonderful ACMAC

acmac
Last month we were lucky to spend a weekend with other multi-bed acupuncturists like ourselves at the ACMAC conference. ACMAC (http://acmac.net/acu/) is a fantastic organisation that is both raising public awareness of this way of receiving acupuncture, as well as supporting all of us who are out there running affordable clinics.

Multibed acupuncture is still pretty new and unusual in the UK, but has really taken off in the last couple of years, with loads of practitioners wanting to make acupuncture more accessible and affordable for everyone. There are now 66 clinics registered with ACMAC. If you know someone in another part of the country who you feel would benefit, they can use the ACMAC map (http://acmac.net/acu/clinics) to find their nearest clinic.

ACMAC is a fantastic support for us. This is quite a different way of working than the one-to-one hour long sessions we are taught throughout our rigorous acupuncture training. To be able to provide treatments at the price we do we have to work with much tighter time constraints. ACMAC allows us to share knowledge and best-practice with others doing the same work, to learn new ways of ensuring we are giving you the best possible care and treatment within the multibed model. It was fabulous at the conference to meet like-minded people and learn from each other.

Here’s a photo of us at the conference learning great new auricular acupuncture techniques that we are already finding really useful in the clinic. 2014-11-02 15.03.55

Everyone involved in ACMAC is really excited about bringing acupuncture to everyone. We know what a fabulous treatment acupuncture is and we want everyone to be able to benefit. So have a look on the website( http://acmac.net/acu/) and see if theres a multibed out there for your friends and family too…

Peoples Acupuncture Project, Exeter

Anxiety and Acupuncture

Are you Anxiety Aware. Mental Health Awareness Week 2014. 12-18 May.
It’s Mental Health Awareness Week (12-18 May 2014) with the theme of Anxiety, so we’d like to talk about anxiety and how acupuncture can help.

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a feeling of fear, worry, and uneasiness. Normal anxiety, stimulated by the sympathetic nervous system, has its root in fear and serves an important survival function. In fact feeling anxious in response to unpleasant upcoming events such as a job interview or a medical test is perfectly normal. However, when that anxiety becomes persistent, irrational and excessive, it can begin to take over your life and is an indication that there is an imbalance in the sympathetic nervous system.

Chronic anxiety can involve uncontrollable and irrational worry about everyday things. It can be as severe as a panic attack, or it may be more of a generalized and unfocused feeling of unease. People often experience physical symptoms, such as breathlessness or a racing heart, which are usually a result of adrenaline (our fight or flight response hormone) acting on the body. The experience of anxiety is unique to each individual and people can experience very different symptoms.

How acupuncture can help

Conventional treatments for anxiety generally consist of drug therapies which, although helpful may have debilitating side effects or dependence. Acupuncture is a medication-free way to relieve anxiety with both immediate and long-lasting results.

Anxiety is one of the most common conditions that people come to me with, and we find acupuncture is a really effective treatment.  It can make a real difference to people’s lives, enabling them to feel calmer, happier and back in control. In fact it was Eleanor’s own experience of anxiety that first led her to try acupuncture many years ago, and the profound affect it had sparked her love of Chinese medicine.

In traditional acupuncture every patient is considered to be unique, and this means that there is no single treatment for each sufferer as each person has differing symptoms.  We aim to treat you as an individual, identifying the imbalances which cause your anxiety, not just treating the symptoms themselves. In traditional acupuncture, we see that mind and body are intrinsically linked, and therefore we treat you as a whole, mind and body.

Acupuncture treatment is enhanced when used alongside other self-help tools such as breathing techniques, exercise or mindfulness. We can develop a personalised ‘toolbox’ of techniques to help you manage your anxiety and enable you to retake control

How does it help?

Research has shown that acupuncture treatment may specifically benefit anxiety disorders and symptoms of anxiety by:

  • Acting on areas of the brain known to reduce sensitivity to pain and stress, as well as promoting relaxation and deactivating the ‘analytical’ brain, which is responsible for anxiety and worry (Hui 2010).
  • Regulating levels of neurotransmitters (or their modulators) and hormones such as serotonin, noradrenaline, dopamine, GABA, neuropeptide Y and ACTH; hence altering the brain’s mood chemistry to help to combat negative affective states (Lee 2009; Samuels 2008; Zhou 2008; Yuan 2007).
  • Stimulating production of endogenous opioids that affect the autonomic nervous system (Arranz 2007). Stress activates the sympathetic nervous system, while acupuncture can activate the opposing parasympathetic nervous system, which initiates the relaxation response.
  • Reversing pathological changes in levels of inflammatory cytokines that are associated with anxiety (Arranz 2007)
  • Reversing stress-induced changes in behaviour and biochemistry (Kim 2009).

For details of further research and evidence of acupuncture effectiveness see the British Acupuncture Councils factsheet on anxiety here

If you suffer with anxiety and would like to have a chat about how acupuncture could help you, please give me a call on 07834 160906, or drop me an email

The Peoples Acupuncture Project, Exeter

 

References:

Arranz L et al. Effect of acupuncture treatment on the immune function impairment found in anxious women. American Journal of Chinese Medicine.  2007;35(1):35-51

Hui KK et al. Acupuncture, the limbic system, and the anticorrelated networks of the brain. Auton Neurosci. 2010 Oct 28;157(1-2):81-90.

Kim H  et al. The effects of acupuncture stimulation at PC6 (Neiguan) on chronic mild stress-induced biochemical and behavioral responses. Neuroscience Letters. 2009; 460 (1) (pp 56-60)

Lee B et al. Effects of acupuncture on chronic corticosterone-induced depression-like behavior and expression of neuropeptide Y in the rats. Neuroscience Letters 2009; 453: 151-6.

Samuels N et al. Acupuncture for psychiatric illness: a literature review.Behav Med 2008; 34: 55-64

Yuan Q. Li J.-N. Liu B. Wu Z.-F. Jin R. Effect of Jin-3-needling therapy on plasma corticosteroid, adrenocorticotropic hormone and platelet 5-HT levels in patients with generalized anxiety disorder. Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine.2007; 13 (4):  264-268.

Zhou Q et al. The effect of electro-acupuncture on the imbalance between monoamine neurotransmitters and GABA in the CNS of rats with chronic emotional stress-induced anxiety. Int J Clin Acupunct 2008 ;17: 79-84.

Acupuncture and Insomnia

acupuncture for insomnia - The Peoples Acupuncture Project, Exeter
Sleep is important, and yet so many of us struggle to get enough. It is thought that as many of 1 in 3 of us experience insomnia, a condition of unsatisfactory sleep, whether that be due to difficulty falling asleep, waking early or through the night, or shallow restless sleep. We need sleep for its restorative powers, both physically and mentally.  The body carries out many healing and maintenance processes while we sleep.  Not only can sleepless nights leave us fatigued and cognitively impaired throughout the day, but long term lack of sleep can be associated with mood disturbances, a reduced quality of life and can predispose us to illness. Sleeplessness is one of the most debilitating and demoralizing symptoms we can experience.

Acupuncture treatment

All is not lost. Acupuncture is a fantastic treatment for insomnia. Trouble sleeping is one of the most common problems that clients come to us with. Even in people who do not recognize or mention sleep as a problem, acupuncture has a tendency to produce more restful nights. This often goes unnoticed until asked about on a follow-up visit. We often hear people say: “You know, now that you mention it, I have been sleeping a lot better since I started coming for acupuncture.”

Acupuncture has an extremely calming effect on the nervous system, and over time, it can help to correct the imbalances causing insomnia without creating side effects. In fact, besides improved sleep, people often report a greater sense of well-being and an overall improvement in health.

From a Chinese medicine perspective there are a number of well established patterns which explain why the mind refuses to close down at night even though the person is physically exhausted. Insomnia doesn’t have a single specified treatment, and each person who cannot sleep does so in a way that is unique to them. Diagnosis will focus on the individual, understanding their particular experience and treating accordingly.

Often, patients come to an acupuncturist reporting insomnia because of other emotional issues they are facing. These emotions can often surface as insomnia, anxiety, or mild depression. As the stresses of modern life take their toll, our minds can no longer relax and our sleep becomes disturbed. In these cases treatment will be focussed on addressing and releasing these emotions.

See here a BBC news interview with an acupuncturist and GP explaining the benefits of acupuncture for insomnia: http://youtu.be/XqlgDQgLUgI

The evidence

In a study conducted at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto and published in the Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, researchers found acupuncture to be an effective treatment for anxiety and insomnia.

The researchers wrote that five weeks of acupuncture treatment was associated with a significant nocturnal increase in endogenous melatonin secretion and significant improvements in polysomnographic measures of sleep onset latency, arousal index, total sleep time, and sleep efficiency. Significant reductions in anxiety scores were also found. “These objective findings are consistent with clinical reports of acupuncture’s relaxant effects,” they concluded.

Other studies have confirmed that acupuncture treatment normalizes melatonin production for insomniacs.

Studies have found that acupuncture increases certain central nervous system hormones, which may explain why there is such a positive association between insomnia and acupuncture therapy in research studies.

The British Acupuncture Council has a fact sheet on insomnia with further research, click here to view.

What you can do

Alongside having acupuncture treatment there are a number of changes you can make to improve your sleep. here’s 5 top tips:

  1. Exercise: ideally every day. This positive stress will tire out your body in a good way. However make sure you exercise long before going to bed (preferably at least 3 hours) so that your nervous system has time to settle down
  2. Don’t work before bed: Excessive thinking at night can over-stimulate your mind causing insomnia. Phones and computer screens also emit ‘blue light’ which suppress sleep hormones. Stop work at least 2 hours before bed to allow your mind to relax
  3. Food & drink: Don’t drink caffeinated or alcoholic beverages near your bedtime, try and avoid caffeine after lunch,  and avoid large meals for a couple of hours before bed
  4. Quiet the Mind: Wind down by reading or bathing before bedtime. Try breathing exercises, meditation, and other forms of relaxation to help your insomnia.
  5. Keep on schedule: go to bed at the same time every night. Our natural body clock means that sleep hormones will be released at the right time as long as we keep to a routine

To find out more about how acupuncture could help you have a better nights sleep, get in touch for a chat or drop us an email

The People’s Acupuncture Project, Exeter