Posted on Leave a comment

Dry Needling

Dry Needling

Dry needling is the term used either by a person who does not qualify under Australian standards to practice as an acupuncturist or  by a qualified health professional to signify that they use a limited amount of acupuncture as an adjunct to their main treatment mode.

This legislation means that if a health professional states that they are a general practitioner, dentist, podiatrist, etc. they have completed the education and training for that profession in Australia.

The Australian Health Regulation Agency governs and polices health professionals Australia-wide. If a person is seen to be misleading the public, the offender is prosecuted.

Therefore, a person providing acupuncture (dry needling), who is not an acupuncturist, has to be very careful how they advertise or explain their services. This is why dry needling is often used to describe acupuncture provided by a person who cannot legally use the professional title of acupuncturist.  
Acupuncture (dry needling) is, however,  a term used by legitimate health professions such as chiropractors, physiotherapists, and podiatrists to signify that they use limited acupuncture techniques relevant to their health profession. To make things more confusing, some of these health professionals choose to do further study to qualify as an acupuncturist and are thus legally able use the professional title of acupuncturist.

In general, the term dry needling is either used by a person who does not qualify under Australian standards to practice as an acupuncturist or a term used by a qualified health Professional to signify that they use a limited amount of acupuncture as part of their treatment. 

You can check the Australian Government website AHPRA to see if a health professional is a registered acupuncturist or endorsed to preform acupuncture.

The title acupuncturist is protected under Australian law just as the title dentist is a protected professional title. The legislation by the Australian Government protecting professional titles is to protect the Australian public from people fraudulently impersonating a health professional.

For more information follow the link to: Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency

Posted on Leave a comment

The Fertility Maze

The Fertility Maze

Acupuncture and IVF

Influencing nervous system – hypothalamus
Stimulate the endocrine system – pituitary glad, ovaries , and/or testis
Regulate menstruation in females
Control stress, anxiety and depression
Normalise the immune system

New leaf Clinic

New Leaf Clinic

Fertility  

Acupuncture has been used for supporting fertility for at least 2000 years. Acupuncture is still used extensively for:

  • influencing the nervous system—hypothalamus
  • stimulating the endocrine system—pituitary gland, ovaries and/or testes
  • regulating menstruation in females
  • controlling stress, anxiety and depression
  • normalising the immune system.

As an acupuncturist, I can assist men and women in preparing their bodies for conception—to give you the best possible chance of conceiving. Navigation medical knowledge about fertility can be difficult, the following is an outline of Western fertility medicine and fertility terminology.

Fertility
Fertility is the ability to conceive a child after a year of regular, unprotected intercourse or therapeutic donor insemination.

Infertility
Infertility is a spectrum of issues ranging from severe, whereby one or both partners are completely sterile and do not have the ability to reproduce, through to mild, whereby simple changes result in conception of a child.

Male and female factors affecting fertility

Interestingly, infertility is just as likely to be due to a male factor as to a female factor. Often it is due to a combination of male and female issues. As well, for some couples, no cause for infertility can be found. Proportionally, infertility is due to:

  • 20–30% male factors
  • 20–35% female factors
  • 25–40% complicated by both male and female factors
  • 8–20% no cause identified.

Male factors

The most common male factor is the quality and production of semen. There are some relatively common male factors that can be readily diagnosed by a general practitioner, such as cryptorchidism where the testes do not descend from the abdomen or Varicocele where the veins around the scrotum are enlarged affecting the temperature and thereby the quality of semen.

There are also less common hormone issues or congenital issues that can interfere with semen production, and these may need to be resolved by consultation with an endocrinologist or urologist.

However, the reason for most cases of absence, or low number, of semen is unknown. Stress, diet, and environmental factors are likely to be the root cause.  

  • 13% cryptorchidism
  • 10% varicocele
  • 4% congenital abnormality of the vas deferens
  • 2% endocrine abnormality (hormone issue)
  • 10% other
  • 57% no cause found

Female factors

Female factors  are often an issue with ovulation or the uterus. Ovulatory disorders are either a problem with regulation of reproductive hormones by the hypothalamus or the pituitary gland. These disorders are readily diagnosed by a general practitioner.

Uterus disorders can be from the fallopian tubes, such as bacterial infection, or from the uterus wall lining, such as endometriosis. These disorders can also be diagnosed by a general practitioner.

Female factors can be difficult to diagnoses and may require specialist involvement. As with male fertility factors, the majority of female fertility factors go unexplained:

  • 21 % ovulatory disorders
  • 14 % fallopian tube disorders
  • 6 % endometriosis
  • 59% other or unexplained

Despite all these factors contributing to sub-fertility, couples will go on to conceive a child without treatment. After trying to get pregnant for two years, about 95% of couples successfully conceive.

Female reproductive system

Menstruation or period is the synchronising of two female body cycles. The ovarian cycle matures a single egg for potential fertilisation. The uterine cycle prepares the uterus for a potential pregnancy. The two synchronising cycles, known collectively as a period, start at an average age of 12 years (menarche). The cycles end at an average age of 51 years (menopause).

Unlike men, who produce sperm every day from puberty onwards, a women is born with all her reproductive cells. At birth, a woman has approximately 2 million immature egg cells (oocytes). This finite supply of eggs naturally depletes down to 500 thousand immature eggs cells at puberty.

From puberty, approximately 1000 immature eggs (oocytes) are involved in menstruation every month (about every 25–35 days); although, only 1 out of the 1000 will mature to ovulation stage and be capable of being fertilised—the rest will be shed.

Even though the rate of immature eggs cells (oocytes or follicle) shedding is a natural process, the rate can be influenced by genetic and environmental factors, such as smoking, that are known to increase the rate of immature egg cells shedding. The supply of immature eggs continues for approximately 40 years.

 

Menstruation cycle timeline

Intercourse outside the ovulation window, when the fertile egg is not in the fallopian tube, is unlikely to result in pregnancy. The ovulation window is 4 days before ovulation plus the day of ovulation. Ovulation occurs 14 days into the menstrual cycle when one of the chosen immature eggs is matured and travels to the fallopian tube ready for potential fertilisation.

Ovulation is governed by the nervous system via the hypothalamus and by the endocrine system via the pituitary gland, which releases gonadotropins hormones that stimulate ovaries to release sex hormones. Regulation is achieved by the spiking of four main sex hormones at specific times: FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) matures the immature egg, estrogen and LH (luteinizing hormone) are involved in the triggering of ovulation, and progesterone, which also plays a part in triggering ovulation as well as preparing the uterus for potential pregnancy.

Successful fertilisation during the ovulation window may result in pregnancy. Pregnancy signs include absence of menstruation, nausea, and swollen tender breasts. Approximately 60% of pregnancies fail within 2 weeks of fertilisation—before a pregnancy test is capable of detecting the pregnancy.

Among healthy couples, 25% conceive within the first month of trying; however, 5-–15% of couples experience difficulties conceiving. By far the majority of couples (95%) will conceive within the first 2 years without treatment.

Factors affecting fertility

  • Delayed parthood can be a contributing factor to infertility. Although older couples are often more financially and emotional stable, delayed parenthood can be a contributing factor to infertility. The female egg reserve rapidly declines after women reach 35 years of age, with 66% of women aged 35–40 years conceiving within 12 months and only 44% of women aged over 40 years conceiving within 12 months. Moreover, older men have higher rates of sperm with DNA damage, resulting in complications for their offspring, such as birth defects and chronic and mental health disease.
  • Being diagnosed as infertile and over investigation or treatment may have psychological consequences relating to fears and emotions of being unable to conceive. Stress is a controversial cause of infertility.
  • Exposure to environmental pollutants may interfere with the pituitary gland, in turn affecting a woman’s ability to ovulate (ovulatory disorder) and affecting a man’s ability to produce healthy sperm.
  • Occupational hazards that increase intra-scrotal temperatures may result in men having poor quality sperm or a low number of healthy sperm.
  • Nutrition, weight, and exercise are believed to indirectly contribute to infertility—to what degree is controversial.
  • Intercourse lubricants, even saliva, can damage sperm; and intercourse outside the ovulation window is unlikely to result in pregnancy.
  • Infections in the reproductive tract can be a cause of infertility. Sexually transmitted diseases, such as human papilloma virus and herpes simplex virus, are common causes of reproductive tract infections and, consequently, infertility in men and women.
  • Smoking, alcohol, and recreational drug use may affect fertility in both men and women.

Infertility is a spectrum of issues rather than being black or white. By far the majority of couples will conceive within 2 years without treatment. To optimise success, acupuncture is a drug-free treatment option. For those that choose the IVF path, acupuncture works well in conjunction with IVF treatments and many of the major clinics have their own acupuncturist.

https://www.lowcostivf.net

Ozyigit, A., Female Infertility-Diagnosis and Management.

Szmelskyj, Irina & Aquilina, Lianne. (2014). Acupuncture for IVF and Assisted Reproduction: An integrated approach to treatment and management.

Posted on Leave a comment

ANXIETY: Acupuncture tapping points

ANXIETY: Acupuncture tapping points

At the edge of the pool, Mary started splashing her face with water. This was extraordinary as Mary was undergoing treatment for her fear of water with psychologist Roger Callahan.  

The year was 1979 and Dr Callahan had been experimenting with acupuncture points from Chinese Traditional Medicine when treating his psychology clients.

In his therapy session with Mary, Dr Callahan tapped an acupuncture point on Mary’s face. To Dr Callahan’s complete surprise, this addition of tapping on an acupuncture point dramatically lifted Mary’s fear of water to the extent that she had the urge to rush out to the nearby pool on the clinic grounds and splash water on her face.

It was an ah-ha moment for Dr Callahan. After that treatment session with Mary, Dr Callahan changed his career direction to focus on this uncanny technique that he had stumbled upon, mixing both western psychology and acupuncture.

The tapping for anxiety has been simplified to simple 7 steps below:

 

 

  1. Rate your level of anxiety on a scale from 0 to10, with 10 being maximum discomfort
  2. Set up statements of self-acceptance, stating the problems/fears/anxiety you experience followed by stating acceptance of yourself e.g. Even though I am anxious feeling, I completely accept myself anyway.
  3. Reminder phrase ‘this anxiety/fear/problem e.g. this anxiety’
  4. Tap or massage acupuncture point (SI3)—using the karate chop section of your hand—whilst repeating the self-acceptance statement in step 2
  5. Move to the other points on the tapping diagram, tapping these points while repeating the reminder phrase ‘this anxiety/fear/problem’ Start with eyebrow BL2, side of the eye GB1, under the eye ST2, under the nose GV27, chin dip CV24, collarbone KD27, under arm SP19, top of the head GV20
  6. Repeat the tapping of all the points 2 to 3 times
  7. Now rate your level of anxiety from 0 to 10.

So why does tapping on these acupuncture points work?

It is thought that irrational fears are housed in our reptile brain (Basal Ganglia), the part of the brain responsible for the fight and flight response to danger. This reptile or primal part of the brain produces automatic, self-preserving behaviour that ensures our survival.

Irrational anxiety is an example of our reptile brain hijacking our rational brain (Neocortex); therefore, it is nearly impossible to rationally look at irrational anxiety or fear because your rational brain is not in control—your reptile brain is in control.

Acupuncture is effective in shifting our focus from our reptile primal brain to our rational brain. Actively thinking of the problem/fear/anxiety combined with the tapping of the points brings the problem/fear/anxiety into our rational brain to deal with in a rational manner.

Tapping acupuncture points does not replace psychology therapy or treatments form your general partitioner. However, it is a great tool for working on your anxiety between acupuncture sessions.

Acupuncture points used in anxiety tapping (BL2, GB1, ST2, GV27, CV24, KI27, LV14, SP19, LU1, LI1, PC9, HT9, SI4, TW3)

 

Links

 

Blog

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Zen habits – are you still in your mould or have you broken free

Zen habits – are you still in your mould or have you broken free

Changing habits on paper is so simple yet human behaviour gets thrown into the mix and it makes it so hard sometimes!

Some perspective can help; i.e. if you don’t want to really change then you are unlikely to change:  

Precontemplation – “ I don’t want to change –  I like it here in  my mould”
Contemplation- “ I open to considering change ”
Preparation/Action – “ time for a change”  
Maintenance “ Don’t do that anymore – I’ am free”

Most clients that get acupuncture are in the “ I hate been in this lousy mould and it is time for a change” stage. Then it is knowing what human behaviour spanner the client is going to throw into the works:

Upholders want to know what should be done. – “thanks, I just needed the steps to take”

Questioners want justifications. “give me the research and I will make my own decision”

Obligers need accountability.” Really do I have to”

Rebels want freedom to do something their own way. “did you just make that my idea”

This is what change looks like on paper – so easy; damn you human behaviour.

  • Decide on a goal that you would like to achieve for your health.
  • Choose a simple action that will get you towards your goal which you can do on a daily basis.
  • Plan when and where you will do your chosen action. Be consistent: choose a time and place that you encounter every day of the week.
  • Every time you encounter that time and place, do the action.
  • It will get easier with time, and within 10 weeks you should find you are doing it automatically without even having to think about it.
  • Congratulations, you’ve made a healthy habit!

Links

Gretchen Rubin: https://quiz.gretchenrubin.com/four-tendencies-quiz/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3505409/

https://thriveglobal.com/stories/fail-your-new-year-s-resolution/

Posted on Leave a comment

Chinese words my acupuncturist uses

Chinese words my acupuncturist uses

The Chinese word “Qi” makes no sense to Western brains, nor does it hold value with the Western medical world. I try not to use old Chinese words, however a common Chinese medical word that I’am often asked about is, ‘ Qi ‘ – Brad Whisnant, L.Ac. and Kristen Horner Warren liveoakacupuncture.com

Free from gross passion or of mirth or anger
constant in spirit, not swerving with the blood,
garnish’d and deck’d in modest compliment,
not working with the eye without the ear,
and but in purged judgement trusting neither?
Such and so finely bolted didst thou seem.

– William Shakespeare, from “King Henry V”

William Shakespeare is considered one of the greatest English writers in history, yet many of us barely have an idea what the above paragraph references. This is how English was spoken in the 1600s. Much different than today, is it not? But both are correct — both English, yet different because they are separated by time. I think Western medicine and Chinese medicine are also similar. Though separated by time, we’re talking about the same things.

The Chinese word ‘Qi” has many interpretation however when used in reference to Chinese Medicine it is referring to the western medicine’s equivalent to ATP, or adenosine triphosphate, which transports chemical energy within cells for metabolism? 

Qi referred to in traditional Chinese Medical literature is  ATP

ATP is energy. The definition of energy is “the strength and vitality required for sustained physical or mental activity” and “power derived from the utilization of physical or chemical resources, especially to provide light and heat or to work machines.” Qi is the same thing, though communicated via an older language. Qi is the force that gives life.

QI is not mystical energy — it’s actual energy! ATP is the energy you and I need to live. With no energy, like a battery, we will die. Is this that far from our understanding of Qi?

Food + Air = Energy

Qi is the product of what we eat combined with the oxygen we breathe, just like ATP. Dr. Jwing-Ming Yang explains that in the character for qi, the ancient Chinese were merely drawing one of the simplest equations in biochemistry:

Food   +   Air   =   Energy

How does modern science tell us this works? The food you eat is broken down into its component parts — carbohydrates are broken down into simple sugars, proteins are broken down into amino acids, and fats are broken down into fatty acids. These components are absorbed from the intestinal tract into the blood stream and from there are transported across the cell membrane where they undergo a complex series of reactions to form a substance called acetyl-CoA

The importance of oxygen in energy metabolism

When there is plenty of oxygen present, acetyl-CoA then undergoes further metabolism in a series of reactions called the Kreb’s cycle, where the energy that originated in food is captured in the high-energy molecular bonds that form ATP. Oxygen is necessary for this process to operate at peak efficiency — in the presence of oxygen, a single molecule of glucose forms 38 molecules of ATP. In the absence of oxygen, however, that same molecule of glucose forms only two molecules of ATP.

Once formed in the Kreb’s cycle, ATP serves as a universal energy currency and powers every cellular process in the body — from flexing our muscles to growing our fingernails, none of this could happen without ATP. Without oxygen, we don’t make much ATP and therefore lack the energy necessary to move, grow, heal, and live!

The Chinese understood this a long time ago!

For you to have energy and make ATP, you need the food (nutrients) you eat and the air you breathe (oxygen). The Chinese just figured out this whole idea a long time ago and without a microscope. Are their words a bit ancient? Sure, just like Shakespeare’s. We might have no idea what they’re saying, but we are speaking of the same things, just with different words and context, separated by time.

The goal of a modern acupuncturist is to bridge this gap between the “old” and the “new.” 

Posted on Leave a comment

Back Pain Homework

New Leaf Clinic

John-Paul Davies Acupuncturist Toowoomba 

Lisa Hanfileti has a simple back exercise for people wanting to fast track their back pain treatment. Lisa Hanfileti is a Licenced Acupuncturist in Vancouver pointsoforigin.com

Back Pain Homework: Sleeping instructions for people recovering from back pain

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Remove the pillow from your bed, lay down flat on your back so your head is on the mattress. Let your arms rest alongside your body with your palms facing up or down, whichever is most comfortable.
  2. Place the pillow (or several pillows depending on comfort level) under your knees. Giving the knees a slight bend takes pressure off the lower back without adding weight to the spine.
  3. Take a few deep breaths.
  4. This may be the first time in ages that your neck has been been in vertical alignment (on the same horizontal plane) as the rest of your spine. Laying down without a pillow under your head can cause your sinuses to drain slightly differently. Don’t worry, it’s not a bad thing. It just might make you feel strange, even dizzy at first. Often the sinuses will open up and you’ll notice you can breathe more easily. Some people even report that they snore less in this position.
  5. If you want a little support for your neck, roll up a hand towel and place that underneath the curve. Be sure it is not pressing up on your neck. This little bit of support can also help to prevent your head from twisting to one side.
  6. Again, take a few deep breaths.
  7. Allow yourself to lay in this position for at least 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, remove the towel under your neck and replace it with your pillow and give yourself permission to get into whatever position is most comfortable to sleep. Sleep in the most important thing and we are not trying to interrupt your sleep.
  8. However, if you should wake up during the night, to go to the bathroom or change positions, repeat the process by removing your pillow, placing in under your knees and laying on your back “for 5 minutes”. After 5 minutes, take the pillow from under your knees and put it under your head and give yourself permission to get into whatever position is most comfortable to sleep.
  9. When it’s time to get up in the morning, lay on your back for 5 minutes as described above. Take deep breaths and feel your neck and spine, shoulders and hips in perfect alignment. If you wake to an alarm, set the clock 5 minutes early and hit the snooze button so you can easily remember to do this each morning before you start your day.
  10. Disclaimer: Back pain can occur for a variety of reasons, some requiring urgent and immediate care. Do not use this information in the place of proper medical evaluation and care from qualified medical provider.

As an acupuncturist, most of the patients I see typically have back pain associated with, but not limited to, one or more of the following;

  • arthritis
  • car accident or traumatic injury
  • fall or misstep
over use of specific activities
  • scoliosis/poor posture
  • sitting/driving for extended periods of time
  • disk fractures, herniations
  • degenerative changes or abnormalities post surgical trauma
  • obesity
  • medication side effects

  • unknown origin

Examination by an allopathic physician is always recommended, especially to get imaging studies, like X-ray, MRI or CT scans. Although scans may not identify a specific cause of the pain, they can often rule out things that may require emergency surgery or specific treatments (like cancer). Once other sources of pain are ruled out a doctor’s treatment recommendations may include a 6-week course of NSAIDS, cortisone shots, referrals for massage, physical therapy, acupuncture and/or in some cases neurological evaluations. The approach is usually try the least invasive thing first then continue with more invasive options if the pain does not go away.

Examination by an acupuncturist involves identifying the location of the pain, the channels involved, range of motion limitations, and the conditions that trigger and alleviate the pain.Regardless of the channels and pattern causing the pain, Acupuncturist employs a simple treatment strategy based on the idea that all pain is caused by stagnation (poor circulation) and therefore removing the stagnation (increasing circulation), eliminates the pain and promotes healing.

Acupuncture is the method used to increase circulation in the specific channels that are stagnant. When energy and blood flow are returned to the diseased part of the body/back, then true healing can occur.That is, unless there’s something else getting in the way of this healing circulation.

Whatever type of treatment you are receiving, it will not provide lasting (or any) benefit if you are restricting circulation to the area of the back that is in need of healthy blood, oxygen, energy, nourishment, etc. If you like to sleep on your sides or on your stomach then there’s a good chance you’re causing your back pain to get worse or not improve.

Why?

Because how you position your body while you sleep can either promote circulation or prevent circulation. Remember that according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, healing occurs when stagnation is removed and circulation returns. So if acupuncture is successful in restoring circulation and relieving back pain, but every night you sleep in such a way that your body re-patterns the stagnation, then your pain may return.

Disclaimer: Back pain can occur for a variety of reasons, some requiring urgent and immediate care. Do not use this information in the place of proper medical evaluation and care from qualified medical provider.Causes of back pain: Back pain can be caused by anything from kidney stones to muscle strain and cancer to a fractured vertebrae. Before using any of the information in this document you should have a thorough examination to determine the root cause of your back pain.

Posted on Leave a comment

New Leaf Product Review

Foam rollers are excellent for tight muscles. Tight muscle can cause pain in joints such as knees and shoulder joints. The larger muscle groups such as thigh and bicep muscles can become tight if they are put under stain. Once these big muscle tightens it pulls tight on the smaller and lest robust tendons that attach to and around joints.  These tightened tendons then become inflamed because of the tension put on them by these large muscles groups causing pain.

Foam rollers massage the muscle and encourage them to release which in turn takes the pressure off the tendons allowing increased blood flow to the tendons and therefore healing of the inflamed tendons.

Best results seem to be with daily short 5 min bursts rather than weekly longer sessions. Foam rolling is simple and effective at releasing many pains blamed on joints when the real corporate is generally the larger muscle pulling on the joint.

Rollers don’t have to be expensive you can buy them from Big-W or Kmart.