Digestive Health

Common digestive problems include heartburn/GERD, IBD, IBS, constipation and diarrhoea. Symptoms may include bloating, diarrhea, gas, stomach pain, and stomach cramps. Digestive complaints such as IBS are common with 

upto 22% of the UK population being affected at some point in their lives.

Many of these conditions are considered "lifelong" and from a western perspective are managed with

pharmaceutical interventions. 

How can acupuncture help?

Research has shown that acupuncture can influence digestive health by:

  • Providing pain relief

  • Regulating the motility of the digestive tract

  • Reduce anxiety and depression associated with the distress of digestive conditions

  • Altering acid secretion, and visceral pain

  • Improving delayed gastric emptying

  • Reducing inflammation, by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors 

  • Stimulating areas in the brain that are involved in gastric perception

  • Inhibiting stress-induced pro-opiomelanocortin expression in the hypothalamus 

The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) are constantly updating their factsheets with recent research, please refer to their website for more information and references for the above information.

 

Respiratory Health

Around 5.4 million people in the UK are currently treated for asthma – 4.3 million adults and 1.1 million children

(Asthma UK). Up to 5% of adults with the condition have severe disease that responds poorly to treatment. Chronic

obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is thought to be the fourth most common cause of death worldwide, and the

World Health Organisation anticipates that by 2020 it will have become the third. In 2004, 27,478 men and women

living in the UK died of chronic obstructive lung disease; more than 90% of these deaths occurred in those aged

over 65 years.

How can acupuncture help?

Research has shown that acupuncture can influence health by:

  • Reducing bronchial immune-mediated inflammation.

  • Improving both airway mucociliary clearance and the airway surface liquid

  • Regulating cytokine production.

  • Regulating expression of surfactant proteins, that help to reduce airways resistance biophysically and also                modulate the immune response.

  • Inhibiting structural changes in the airways, and hence reducing airways resistance.

  • Regulating the expression of genes and proteins that control the airways inflammatory response.

  • 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.

The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) are constantly updating their factsheets with recent research, please refer to their website for more information and references for the above information.

 

Reproductive Health

It is estimated that one in seven UK couples has difficulty conceiving. Identifiable causes of infertility include: ovulatory disorders in 27% of couples; tubal damage in 14% of couples; low sperm count or low sperm quality in 19% of couples. In 30% of couples the cause of infertility remains unexplained. Female fertility declines with age, but the effect of age on male fertility is less clear. The difficulties couples encounter when facing fertility problems can lead to stress, which may further decrease chances

of conception. Acupuncture is a popular treatment choice for infertility. In 50% of involuntarily childless couples, a

male infertility associated factor is found together with abnormal semen parameters.

How can acupuncture help?

Research has shown that acupuncture can influence health by:

  • Acupuncture has been shown to affect hormone levels by promoting the release of beta-endorphin in the                        brain, which affects the release of gonadotrophin releasing hormone by the hypothalamus, follicle                          stimulating hormone from the pituitary gland, and oestrogen and progesterone levels from the ovary.

  • Increasing blood flow to the reproductive organs - stress also stimulates the sympathetic nervous system,                        which causes constriction of ovarian arteries. Acupuncture inhibits this sympathetic activity, improving blood                    flow to the ovaries enhancing the environment in which ovarian follicles develop.

  • Increases blood flow to the uterus, improving the thickness of the endometrial lining and increasing the chances                   of embryo implantation.

  • Counteracting the effects of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) - PCOS is one of the most common causes                          of female infertility.

  • Acupuncture has been shown to reduce the number of ovarian cysts, stimulate ovulation, enhance blastocyst        implantation and regulate the menstrual cycle in women with PCOS.

  • Lowering scrotal temperature.

  • by improving sperm maturation in the epididymis, increasing testosterone levels, and reducing liquid peroxidation of sperm.

The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) are constantly updating their factsheets with recent research, please refer to their website for more information and references for the above information.

 

Mental Health

Depression is a common mental health problem that affects people of all genders, ages, and backgrounds. About two thirds of adults will at some time experience depression severe enough to interfere with their normal activities. Depression

causes symptoms such as low mood, loss of interest in enjoyable activities, anxiety, irritability low self-esteem,

disturbed sleep or appetite, weight change, tiredness, lack of motivation, concentration or libido, physical pain,

and suicidal thoughts.

 

Anxiety disorders include generalised anxiety disorder, panic disorder, phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder

(OCD) and post traumatic stress disorder (NICE 2007; Clinical Evidence 2007). They can be chronic and cause

considerable distress and disability; if left untreated, are costly to both the individual andsociety (NICE 2007). 

As well as emotional symptoms such as worry, disturbed sleep, irritability and poor concentration, anxiety can

cause physical symptoms such as sweating, nausea, diarrhoea, dry mouth, palpitations, shortness of breath,

dizziness, cold hands, muscle tension and aches, trembling and twitching (American Psychiatric Association,

2000; WHO 2007). Also, the symptoms of many physical conditions can become worse with stress, for example,

irritable bowel syndrome, migraines and tension headaches, and back pain (Clinical Evidence 2007).

Up to half a million people in the UK experience work-related stress every year, which often results in illness 

(Health and Safety Executive 2011). Other factors that affect stress levels include alcohol, smoking, exams,

pregnancy, divorce, moving, death in family, lifestyle, drugs, poor nutrition and unemployment.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a severe, long lasting psychological reaction to a distressing event, which

can cause significant impairment. The general signs of stress can vary from one individual to the next (NHS Choices 2011).

They may manifest physically as an illness, tiredness or lethargy, or as symptoms such as sore, tight muscles, dull skin, lank hair, or erratic sleep patterns. Mental stress can result in depression, mood swings, anger, frustration, confusion, paranoid behaviour, jealousy or withdrawal.

How can acupuncture help?

Research has shown that acupuncture can influence health 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.

  • 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.

  • Stimulating production of endogenous opioids that affect the autonomic nervous system.

  • Reversing pathological changes in levels of inflammatory cytokines that are associated with anxiety.

  • Reversing stress-induced changes in behaviour and biochemistry.

  • Improving stress induced memory impairment and an increasing AchE reactivity in the hippocampus.

  • Reducing insomnia through increasing nocturnal endogenous melatonin secretion

The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) are constantly updating their factsheets with recent research, please refer to their website for more information and references for the above information.

 

Pain Management

Persistent (chronic) pain is a widespread problem that affects around 8 million people of all ages in the UK and in  

22% of cases, chronic pain leads to depression. Typical chronic pain conditions include: osteoarthritis; rheumatoid

arthritis; low back, shoulder and neck pain; headache and migraine; cancer pain; fibromyalgia; neuropathic pain

(e.g. sciatica, trigeminal neuralgia, post herpetic neuralgia); chronic overuse conditions (e.g. tendonitis); and

chronic visceral pain (e.g. irritable bowel syndrome, interstitial cystitis, endometriosis)

How can acupuncture help?

Research has shown that acupuncture can influence health by:

  • Stimulating nerves located in muscles and other tissues, which leads to release of endorphins and                               other neurohumoral factors (e.g. neuropeptide Y, serotonin), and changes the processing of pain in the                       brain and spinal cord.

  • Increasing the release of adenosine, which has antinociceptive properties.

  • Modulating the limbic-paralimbic-neocortical network.

  • Reducing inflammation, by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors.

  • Improving muscle stiffness and joint mobility by increasing local microcirculation, which aids dispersal of swelling.

  • Stimulating opiodergic neurons to increase the concentrations of beta-endorphin, so relieving pain.

  • Reducing insomnia through increasing nocturnal endogenous melatonin secretion.

  • Evoking short-term increases in mu -opioid receptors binding potential, in multiple pain and sensory processing regions of the brain.

The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) are constantly updating their factsheets with recent research, please refer to their website for more information and references for the above information.

 

Musculoskeletal Issues

Back pain can affect anyone at any age and most people will suffer from it at some point in their lives. It is the UK's leading cause of disability and one of the main reasons for work-related sickness absence. The condition affects more than 1.1 million people in the UK, with 95% of patients suffering from problems affecting the lower back.

Neck pain is one of the three most frequently reported complaints of the musculoskeletal system. Twenty-six to 71% of

the adult population can recall experiencing an episode of neck pain or stiffness in their lifetime. Neck pain is usually a benign and self-limited condition, but can be disabling to varying degrees. As such, it has a large impact on healthcare expenditure, due to visits to healthcare professionals, and sick leave, disability and the related loss of productivity.

Osteoarthritis involves damage to articular cartilage and other structures in and around joints, with variable levels

of inflammation. The most commonly affected joints are the knee and the hip. About 10% of people aged over

55 years in the UK have painful knee osteoarthritis associated with mild to moderate disability. Rheumatoid

arthritis is a chronic condition that can cause pain, stiffness, progressive joint destruction and deformity, and

reduce physical function, quality of life and life expectancy. Estimates indicate that around 0.5-1.0% of the UK

population have rheumatoid arthritis.

How can acupuncture help?

Research has shown that acupuncture can influence health by:

  • Stimulating nerves located in muscles and other tissues, which leads to release of endorphins and other   neurohumoral factors (e.g. neuropeptide Y, serotonin), and changes the processing of pain in the brain and spinal cord.

  • Reducing inflammation, by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors.

  • Improving muscle stiffness and joint mobility by increasing local microcirculation, which aids dispersal of swelling.

  • Inhibiting the function of synovial mast cells (which are substantially involved in the initiation of inflammatory arthritis) 

  • Inhibiting pain through the modulatory effects of endogenous opioids.

  • Reducing the use of medication for back complaints.

  • Providing a more cost-effective treatment for back pain over a longer period of time.

  • Improving the outcome of back pain when added to conventional treatments such as rehabilitation exercises.

The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) are constantly updating their factsheets with recent research, please refer to their website for more information and references for the above information.

 

Head Aches & Migraines

Headache is one of the most frequent reasons for medical consultations, in both general practice and neurology

clinics occurring in around 80% of the UK adult population. Migraine is a primary headache disorder manifesting as recurring attacks, usually lasting for 4 to 72 hours and involving pain of moderate to severe intensity.

How can acupuncture help?

Research has shown that acupuncture can influence health by:

  • Stimulating nerves located in muscles and other tissues, which leads to release of endorphins and other neurohumoral factors (e.g. neuropeptide Y, serotonin), and changes the processing of pain in the brain and     spinal cord.

  • Reducing inflammation, by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors.

  • Inhibiting pain through the modulatory effects of endogenous opioids.

  • Modulating extracranial and intracranial blood flow.

  • Affecting serotonin (5-hydroxytriptamine) levels in the brain. (Serotonin may be linked to the initiation of  migraines; 5-HT agonists (triptans) are used against acute attacks.).

The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) are constantly updating their factsheets with recent research, please refer to their website for more information and references for the above information.

 

Weight Management

Around 60% of adults in England are either overweight or obese, and 2% are morbidly obese (Body Mass Index (BMI) above 40kg/m2). In fact, if present trends continue, 60% of all men, 50% of all women, and 25% of all children will be obese by 2050.

How can acupuncture help?

Research has shown that acupuncture can influence health by:

  • Lowering serum leptin and increasing adiponectin.

  • Lowering serum glucose and increasing insulin and c-peptide levels.

  • Stimulating alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone expression and release.

  • Enhancing the expression of peroxisome proliferator- activated receptor gamma mRNA in adipose tissues     (PPARG is a hormone receptor gene involved in fat cell differentiation and function), activating the activities of lipoprotein lipase and hepatic lipase, and decreasing the levels of total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in serum.

  • Reducing blood lipids (triglycerides, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol), fasting blood      glucose levels, and expression of monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 mRNA and tumour necrosis factor        alpha mRNA (both are cytokines implicated in adipose tissue regulation),  and increasing high-density   lipoprotein-cholesterol.

  • Up-regulating obestatin expression in the hypothalamus.

The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) are constantly updating their factsheets with recent research, please refer to their website for more information and references for the above information.

 

Health Maintenance

Often, the fast paced nature of our Western lifestyles means that we only seek health advice once something has already begun to malfunction. The body is a dynamic environment that constantly changes and adapts to its full fill the changing needs. Traditional Chinese Medicine re-evaluates the body's state each treatment

providing a truly tailored approach to health. 

Some conditions may fully resolve with acupuncture treatment but may re-emerge if lifestyle changes are not made. Occasional treatments may help to prevent relapses and keep symptoms at bay. 

Stress is something that can take its toll on us and as its causes are most often external, its not something that can be easily controlled. Acupuncture may help to manage the effects of stress and reduce the negative effects that it may have on your body. 

Please discuss with us to see if your condition would benefit from this.

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Contact us

07960 072 951

lindsay@haloacupuncture.co.uk

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