Unable to put up with the nagging pain of chronic arthritis any longer, and fearful of the consequences of depending on prescribed analgesics, I happened on an article in Bay Magazine written by Tim Wright, a local acupuncturist practitioner. I was impressed by the clarity and logic of his writing, and made an appointment at his Uplands premises to make a start on trying an ancient therapy that promised an improvement to my quality of life.
My problems were chronic joint pain, and acute breathlessness caused by weight increase, inevi-table when physical activity was restricted by arthritis.
Regular one-hour treatments over three months resulted in pain-free periods lasting for days, a weight-loss of 11 lbs and as a bonus, freedom from cravings for nicotine (I was using Nicorette cartridges).
I don’t know how long these benefits will last, but I am very grateful for the respite and thrilled to have lost so much weight.
Tim Wright is a fully qualified practitioner of acupuncture. His studies included human anatomy and physiology as taught in normal medical college in addition to the more esoteric science of acupuncture.
Friends tell me they would be fearful of having needles stuck in their skin—I assure you it is almost unnoticeable compared to waxing. And, using the same analogy, it is about as expensive as a cut and blow-dry or a facial.
Joint Pain: It’s important to differentiate between soft tissue pain(muscles, tendons, ligaments) which refer pain into and around the joint (and mimics joint pain) versus issues with the joint such as meniscus tear, arthritis or in the case of back pain disc prolapse or herniation. Issues with the joint itself are frequently treated through direct needling around the joint to reduce inflammation. Joint pain that’s actually referred from nearby muscles is effectively treated through locating and needling tight “trigger points “ in the muscle.
Breathlessness: Dysfunction of the heart or lungs can cause breathlessness, so it’s import-ant to check any breathlessness symptoms out with your GP prior to acupuncture treatment. Acupuncture is most well known for treating pain. That it works at all for breathlessness may seem strange. It’s the potential to reduce inflammation that’s at play here though.
In cases of breathlessness, asthma and COPD acupuncture is thought to reduce systemic inflammation in the respiratory system, thereby reducing symptoms.
Weight Loss: Acupuncture is not magic. A course of acupuncture will not cause weight to fall off anyone without action from that person. It can however help in two key areas:
1) Feeling more settled, secure and happy. Studies by university of York showed acupunct-ure may be an effective adjunctive treatement for depression (www.york.ac.uk/news-and-events/news/2013/ research/depression/). It’s thought to work by down-regulating activity of the sympathetic nervous system. That’s the part of the nervous system responsible for fight or flight, that can result in feelings of stress, anxiety and depression. If you are less stressed, depressed and anxious you are unlikely to look to outside yourself for support and comfort, be that food, shopping, smoking, alcohol, even compulsively checking your mobile phone.
The increased feelings of well-being can make implementing lifestyle changes, such as reduc-ing calorie intake, easier. If any unhelpful habits are deeply entrenched they may need to be addressed additionally with hypnotherapy or CBT.
2) Reducing any injury that may be hindering movement. Any element of weight loss involves a balance between input (con-suming calories) and output (burning calories). It’s difficult to increase your output (move-ment) and burn calories if you are injured and not moving. Using acupuncture to deal with injuries that may be hindering movement may be an important first step to weight loss.