In this issue you will find:
- Important PCOM Dates
- Acupuncture for Children
- Massage for Pain Relief
- Benefits of Japanese Acupuncture
- Chinese Wisdom: Quote of the Day
- May 19 (Saturday) - San Diego Open House
- June 2nd, 3rd (Sat/Sun) – Chicago - Japanese Tsubos and Effective Acu-Points
- June 9 (Saturday) - Chicago Summer Open House
- June 16 - 17 (Sat/Sun) – Chicago CEU Event - Common Injuries of the Lower Extremity with Matt Callison
- June 18 (Monday) - New York Open House
- June 26 (Tuesday) - San Diego Prospective Student Workshop
Acupuncture for Children
Acupuncture is being practiced more and more in the Western world. Many more Western-medicine practitioners are agreeing that it is a great supplemental therapy for many conditions. It is a great way of treating pain, and it doesn’t have the side effects that pain medications do, like nausea, drowsiness, addiction, etc. Acupuncture is even used to treat children.
Parents may be skeptical of taking their children to a place where they’ll be poked with needles. What child likes needles? What parents will want to watch their child suffer through that process? They may remember the last time their child got his or her blood drawn or their child’s last vaccination shot. Why would they want to sit through that again?
Fortunately, acupuncture is virtually painless. Acupuncture needles are about a quarter of the diameter of the regular 22-gauge IV needles most children are used to encountering. The biggest hurdle in treating children with acupuncture is a psychological battle of the child conquering his or her fear of needles. Acupuncturists can help children get over their fears by, first of all, getting to know the them. Sometimes acupuncturists will spend the time during a child’s first visit by simply getting to know the child and the parent in order to build trust. An acupuncturist can also demonstrate the process on a toy doll or even on the back of his or her hand to show that it doesn’t hurt.
Once acupuncturists work with children on overcoming their fear, acupuncture is a very safe and effective way of treating conditions in children such as asthma, diarrhea, loss of appetite, chronic pain and eating disorders. They can even be used to treat emotional disorders like attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. These treatments have also been used to treat symptoms caused by chemotherapy like nausea and vomiting.
If children aren’t able to overcome their fear of needles, there are other alternatives to acupuncture: Shonishin and tui na are two types of treatments, which are similar to acupuncture and can treat the same conditions, but do not use needles.
Tui na massage is a needle-free technique that is very effective in treating conditions. The drawback of tui na when used to treat children is that it takes a longer time to administer than acupuncture or shonishin.
Shonishin is very beneficial for the child’s nervous system. It is great for respiratory and digestive ailments. This technique uses small, metal tools to bring the child’s qi (life force or energy flow) to the surface of the skin. Shonishin uses the same acupuncture points, except it is done by rubbing, instead of piercing, the skin. It is a great technique for children, not only because of its healing capabilities and because of the absence of needles, but also because children look upon it as a game. They can be entertained by playing with the tools while treatment is in process, making the session fun and fast.
Treating children with shonishin, tui na or acupuncture is different from treating adults with these methods. Children respond quicker to these treatments than adults. This is because children’s emotions tend to be less inhibited than adults’ emotions. Children tend to have a better, less restricted flow of qi (energy). Another reason why treating children is different from treating adults is because children’s bodies and minds are still developing. Their meridian points (the path the qi flows through) are not fully developed.
All of the Oriental medical treatments mentioned above are great treatments for existing conditions in children as well as great preventative treatments. They can help to create an emotional balance in children, which is particularly useful in this day and age with the large amount of over-stimulation in our society. Another great benefit of using these treatments is that they are safe and effective and don’t have the negative side effects, as do pharmaceutical drugs.
Massage for Pain Relief
Each day, more and more Americans are turning to massage therapy to ease pain. Ranging from carpal tunnel syndrome, to chronic arthritis, massage therapy techniques are helping patients of all walks of life get back on their feet again. Just about every culture has used a form of massage to ease pain. Although its healing powers were muted by modern medicine, a growing number of people are returning to its age-old healing properties. The Journal of Rheumatoidology reports that over 70 percent of doctors refer their patients to massage therapy.
Massage eases pain and discomfort in a number of ways. “Manual massage is a long established and effective therapy used for the relief of pain, swelling, muscle spasm and restricted movement, ” as noted in a study at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK. First, massage encourages blood flow to the sore, muscles or stiff joints and warms the area. According to a study at Peninsula Medical School, “The mechanical action of the hands on cutaneous and subcutaneous structures is believed to enhance the circulation of blood and lymph resulting in increased supply of oxygen and removal of waste products or mediators of pain. ” Massage also triggers the release of natural painkillers called opiods in the brain, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Third, massage speeds up the flow of oxyctocin, a hormone that relaxes muscles and encourages feelings of calmness and contentment. “Most importantly perhaps, a massage can relax the mind and reduce anxiety, which may affect the perception of pain positively. ” The benefits of a good massage are overwhelming and contribute to overall health and well-being.
Massage therapy is proven effective in easing tightness and pain in lightly to moderately stressed muscles - it is also used in alleviating chronic pain. A 2001 study in the Archives of Internal Medicine discovered that massage was far superior to acupuncture in relieving chronic lower back pain. After 10 weeks, nearly three-fourths of the 262 patients studied said massage was “very helpful” in relieving their pain. Patients who got regular massage treatments were four times less likely to become bedridden due to chronic pain. The authors of the study concluded that “massage might be an effective alternative to conventional medical care for persistent back pain.”
Massage is also extremely safe. When performed by an experienced, licensed professional, therapeutic massage can relieve pain, tension, knots and soreness in the body. Those suffering from open wounds, eczema, broken bones or advanced osteoporosis should talk to a doctor before making an appointment with a massage therapist, because some massage may cause further damage in frail bodies. This is especially true with more forceful forms of massage, like shiatsu. Still, massage is overwhelmingly beneficial for most patients and can help ease the majority of aches and pains one may have.
Goats, GC. Massage- the scientific basis of an ancient art: Part 1. The Techniques. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 1994 Sep;28(3):149-52.
Benefits of Japanese Acupuncture
Like its Chinese counterparts, Japanese acupuncture is praised for its ability to open energy channels within the body, relieve tension and cure other ailments. In contrast, Japanese acupuncture techniques are often gentler and more subtle than the techniques used in China.
Treatment is restorative and helps maintain overall health. Acupuncturists produce a stimulus in each technique, focusing on a specific acupuncture point or “active point.” These points are a living phenomenon with changing natures and locations, so they cannot merely be found by referencing a textbook. The acupuncturist must have the awareness and palpation ability to detect the “active points.” Acupuncturists of the Japanese school put a great deal of weight upon finding these precise locations, which explains their ability to produce effective results without using deep needles or strong stimulation.
Japanese acupuncture treatments have been known to assist helping a range of complaints, including aggravated stress (fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, depression), localized pain (headache, knee pain, back pain), gastric problems (nausea, acid reflux, gastritis), trauma (sprains, strains, bruises) and even infertility. Traditional Japanese acupuncture is particularly suited to those who are uncomfortable with strong needle stimulus or are fatigued or otherwise weakened. It is well-suited for pediatric treatments and can be done without the use of needles.
A Tokyo study has reported positive effects of Japanese acupuncture on a number of regular ailments, including the common cold. “A significantly positive effect of acupuncture was demonstrated in the summed questionnaire data…needling on the neck using the Japanese fine needle manipulating technique was shown to be effective and safe. The use of acupuncture for symptoms of the common cold should be considered.” Doctors determined the preventive and curative effects of manual acupuncture on the systems of the common cold.
The Anglo-Dutch Institute of Oriental Medicine discovered similar findings, concluding the benefits of Japanese acupuncture on healing neck pain and strain. “Relevant acupuncture with heat contributes to modest pain reduction in persons with myofascial neck pain.” Results proved Japanese acupuncture’s ability to help cure localized pain and release overall discomfort.
Tracing its roots to early seventh-century Chinese texts, Japanese acupuncture has been making ground since the 1920s. Japanese practitioners discussed how parts of the ancient text Nan Jing [c. 250 A.D.] may be applied to clinical practice. These physicians focused on point selection, point location and needle technique, blossoming the beneficial treatments underlying meridian therapy. Today, Japanese acupuncture is beginning to gain as much publicity and credit as Chinese acupuncture.
Kawakita K, Schichidou T, Inoue E. Nabeta T, Kitakouji H, Aizawa S, Nishida A, Yamaguchi N, Takahashi N, Yano T, Tanzawa S. “Preventive and curative effects of acupuncture on the common cold: a multicentre randomized control trial in Japan.” Complement Ther Med. 2004 Dec;12(4):181-8.
Chinese Wisdom: Quote of the Day
“The superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions.”
Confucius (551 BC - 479 BC), The Confucian Analects