Insomnia can be caused by physical pain whether caused by neuralgia or neuropathic pain which interrupts sleep, however, the most common causes are the mind and emotions. Anxiety, depression and worry are common culprits to insomnia which can affects sleep in the short term or may last many years. Sleeping pills may seem attractive at first, however, their long term application is something to be considered as they may produce unwanted side effects including interfering in normal sleeping patterns. It may be more useful to consider treating insomnia naturally with acupuncture and Chinese medicine at Authentic Acupuncture Clinic in Balmain, located in Sydney’s Inner West.
What is the cause and the progression of symptoms that lead to insomnia according to Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture ?
According to the ancient Chinese, anxiety and anger can affect the Liver and Pericardium (Organs with spheres of influence over the regulation of emotions according to Chinese Medicine), the functions of these organs can thus be thrown out and lead to a type of hyperactivity which disturbs the mind. Such emotions may also disturb the digestion functions that regulate appetite and digestion and lead to further malnutrition and disrupt the supply of nutrients required to keep the body and mind resilient to stress.
In the elderly and those that suffer from Chronic conditions, the body’s resources may be in decline which can further lead to symptoms such as palpitations coinciding with insomnia. When fatigue is also an issue it may make one vulnerable to sudden fright or shock as a symptom complex accompanying insomnia.
The recent events of Covid 19 have seen many suffer from long Covid among which, insomnia can be a very common symptom. Individuals looking for relief from insomnia or long Covid may think about trying acupuncture and Chinese medicine at Authentic Acupuncture in Balmain.
What are the types of insomnia and how are they categorized according to Chinese medicine and acupuncture theory?
According to Chinese medicine and acupuncture, as practiced in Balmain at Authentic Acupuncture clinic, the following are some common presenting causes and syndromes of insomnia…
Depressed Liver with hyperactivity: This type of insomnia is often accompanied by irritability, irascibility and thirst and often a tongue coating that appears yellowish.
Incoordination between the mind and body : Insomnia is accompanied by dizziness, tinnitus, dryness in the mouth, a hot sensation in the palms and soles, forgetfulness, lower back pain, palpitations and a reddened tongue, often at the tip.
Mental exhaustion and digestive and absorption issues: Excess dreaming with early waking, forgetfulness, palpitations, dizziness, lack of strength, low appetite, pale complexion and tongue.
Fatigue and timidity: Much dreaming whilst easily awakened. Susceptibility to fright or easily startled.
How are these different causes of insomnia treated with acupuncture and Chinese medicine?
As always, acupuncture and Chinese medicine takes an individualised approach to treatment which means the practitioner takes the pulse, looks at the tongue and asks questions to see which syndrome or syndromes are most relevant. Specific acupuncture points are chosen and stimulated with single use, stainless steel disposable fine needles to re-establish homeostasis and relieve the causes of insomnia. Chinese herbs are often used to help reinforce the results and prevent re occurrence.
Headache is a common symptom for which clients from Balmain and the Inner West seek acupuncture treatment for. It is common that the muscles and arteries of the scalp are one of the most common causative factors. It is common to combine both acupuncture and Chinese medicine for best results.
How does Chinese medicine and acupuncture see headaches?
Chinese medical theory sees headaches as being caused by either External (viruses, bacteria, changes in weather and pressure) or Internal causes (Stress, anxiety, hormonal imbalance, fatigue, chronic disease, inflammation).
The external categories can be categorised as wind cold, wind humidity, wind heat. The body’s immune system and or superficial or peripheral circulation must be under strain in order for environmental factors of cold, heat or humidity to cause stress on the body and thus result in headaches. Lets examine the categories and their associated symptom patterns in more detail…
Wind- Cold: Headache which starts or is aggravated by exposure to wind or cold, often referring to the neck and finding relief with the application of heat. In the case of viral mediated attack, the headache is often accompanied by runny nose, thin white tongue coating and pulse which is floating.
Wind-Heat: Such headaches are often accompanied by a distending feeling, often aggravated by warmth, a flushed face and thirst. In the case of a viral or bacterial headache of such nature, fever and sore throat may also be present. The tongue coat is often thin and yellow, and the pulse may be floating and slightly rapid.
Wind-Humidity: When the weather is overly humid or the weather overcast and barometric pressure high, these headaches can come on and feel as if the head were tightly bound with heavy feeling in the body. These types of headaches may also present with a a bout of gastroenteritis which may be more common in the humid months or environment. The tongue coat may appear greasy and the pulse soft.
What are the Internal causes? As previously discussed, the internal causes can come from many directions. Some of these may be stress, anxiety, irritability and unstable moods, hormonal changes, fatigue, chronic diseases, inflammation. From a Chinese medicine perspective, more specifically , these can be more simply categorized. The following represent some examples…
Exuberant Liver Yang: Often relating to overuse of the eyes, irritability and mood fluctuations, these types of headaches are often pronounced at the temporal regions, aggravated by anger and often accompanied by dizziness, insomnia, bitter or unpleasant taste in the mouth.
Qi deficiency: The developent of such headaches is often preceded by fatigue/exhaustion or after recovery from disease or in the course of chronic disease. The headaches are often of a dull nature and aggravated by further fatigue. Accompanying symptoms may include lack of strength, lack of appetite, shortness of breath etc.
Blood deficiency: These types of headaches are a common companion to conditions involving blood loss and or anaemia. After heavy periods or insufficient nourishment. Common symptoms occuring simultaneously include dizziness, insomnia, blurred vision and numb feeling in the limbs.
Kidney weakness: Kidney weakness in Chinese medicine is more synonymous with declining or imbalanced hormones and ageing as opposed to poor functioning of the filtration system of the kidney system itself, although it can also include the kidney organ itself. Headaches in this category are often accompanied with a feeling of emptiness in the head, aching in the back, tinnitus, weakness in the legs.
Phlegm Damp: Such headaches often occur in those that carry excess weight or those with constant or profuse mucus. The headaches are often accompanied with a foggy feeling in the head, chest stuffiness, nausea and sometimes even vomitting.
Blood stasis: Such headaches often occur in prolonged cases or in more serious causes of headache. Such headaches often presetn as a persistent pricking or stabbing pain in a fixed location. The body in general can show signs of poor circulation in general such as purple lips and or spots on the tongue that are purple.
For any headache, if you are unsure about severity, see your G.P to eliminate more serious conditions.
headache look like
and chinese medicine
Treatment involves taking a case history and looking at the clients tongue and taking their pulse to ascertain the cause or causes and thus choose the appropriate treatment. Thus depending on the cause, the treatment is individually tailored rather than a one sized fits all Panadol approach.
Generally speaking, some points on the arms or legs and some on the back the neck are common places for acupuncture treatment. in the case of herbs, specific herbal combinations are given to strengthen the effects of treatment where necessary that address the underlying aforementioned causes.
If you’re looking for natural solutions to headaches with results that last, consider Authentic Acupuncture in Balmain.
Call 02 9188 1560 to make an appointment or go to our home page to make an inquiry
Anyone who has experienced hip pain is well aware of the way in which this condition changes the way you walk or stand….in this article we can find out some of the common causes of hip pain such as; arthritis, sciatica, bursitis and what you can do to treat hip pain and whether or not Acupuncture and Chinese medicine is right for you.
Osteoarthritis of the hip is a very common source of hip pain...when the cartilage between the bones wears away, the bone surfaces can rub against one another causing stiffness and pain.
Risk factors for the development of osteoarthritis include age, being overweight, poor posture, previous hip injuries or a family history of osteoarthritis.
The pain often gets worse with load bearing activities such as walking or standing up after sitting for a long time. Pain may refer to the hip, groin, thigh, back or buttocks. Untreated, the joint may become deformed.
Bursitis of the hip is often called trochanteric bursitis…it is usually painful when some presses upon the site of the affected joint. The pain is usually localised to the outer part of the hip.
It is not common for pain to refer to the groin or back. Pain is often experienced as dull and achy with tenderness if pressure is applied.
Direct injury from a fall or overuse of the hip joint can be common causes.
Sciatica can feel as though a bolt of lighting has descended your leg…common causes of sciatica include herniated discs or bone spurs.
The sciatic nerve runs from your spine, through your buttock and down the leg. As such, pain can be experienced not only in the leg, but in the aforementioned locations.
Symptoms usually appear on one side and can include pain along the sciatic nerve, numbness or tingling, leg pain.
How is hip pain diagnosed and what do conventional treatments look like? Diagnosis is often made via a physical exam to palpate the problem area and often the area may be scanned via x-ray, ultrasound and perhaps even an MRI for more accurate investigation when required. Typically, you may be advised to rest from aggravating activities, use of anti inflammatory medication, cortico steroid injections and as a last resort, surgery. Medications and surgeries have their benefits and risks which should be weighed up by the patient and their attending health professional.
Could Acupuncture or Chinese herbal medicine help heal my hip pain?…Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine have a long history of recorded usage of treating painful conditions such as those of the hip..
At Authentic Acupuncture clinic, located in Balmain, in Sydney’s Inner West, it is quite common for clients to present to the clinic for treatment of hip pain.
Acupuncture aims to reduce inflammation, relieve pain and to restore mobility by inserting fine sterilised needles into the body to stimulate a healing response. Often times, no needles are required at the exact point of pain to stimulate an intended healing response.
Plunging your face into ice cold water may not be your idea of fun… However! there may be some benefits that are not only cosmetic, but potentially have the ability to reset your nervous system and help you to sleep better.
What is it?
Basically, it is submerging your face into ice cold water for brief periods at a time to induce local cosmetic benefits as well as systemic relaxing effects on the nervous system.
How do you do it?
Firstly, you require the following: A large salad bowl, water, ice cubes, a towel.
Step 1 Fill a large salad bowl (big enough to comfortably put your face in) with cold water about 90% full and place it in/on your sink or anywhere you are not so concerned with water spillage
Step 2 Empty a tray or handful of ice cubes into the water and wait 5 minutes
Step 3 Stir the water around to even out the temperature of the water
Step 4 Take a deep breath and submerge your face into the cold water for 10 seconds up to the level just in front of your ears.
Step 5 After you take your face out of the water, take a few breaths and repeat Step 4 twice more for best results
Step 6 Towel yourself dry and have a nice warm cup of your favourite tea!
What are the benefits? How does it work?
From the cosmetic perspective, the cooling and contracting effect of the ice on the skin may minimize the appearance of pores, wrinkles, dark circles around the eyes and redness because it causes the body to increase the blood flow to rewarm the area.
If you are looking to destress, relax or sleep better. Giving yourself an ice water facial engages the ‘Rest and Digest’ segment of your nervous system (parasympathetic) helping your body to slow down, relax and sleep better. Thus, you move away from overstimulation of the stress response of the ‘Fight or Flight’ (sympathetic) part of your nervous system that so often leads to difficulty sleeping, relaxing and poor digestion if left being ‘turned on’ for too long.
What is plantar fasciitis and how is it caused? Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the fibrous tissue that runs the length of the sole of the foot. The longer the inflammation lasts, the greater the possibility of the development of Heel spurs.
It can often be caused by excessive pronation, or internal rotation of the feet such as in those with flat feet or with knock knees. Those with high arches and excessive tightness in the calf muscles are at risk also. Poor footwear such as worn out shoes, shoes with inadequate support or with excessively stiff soles can also be causative factors. Other risk factors can include; Age (between 40 and 60), types of exercise (running, dancing, skipping), being overweight, occupations (jobs that keep you on your feet).
Can Acupuncture help? At Authentic Acupuncture Clinic in Balmain, located in Sydney’s Inner West, it’s common to see clients who seek relief from foot pain conditions such as plantar fasciitis and or heel spurs.
Acupuncture aims to improve blood flow to the foot, relieve pain and inflammation and to relax the muscles in and around the foot including the calf muscles.
Can I try acupuncture in conjunction with my current allopathic treatments? Those seeking treatment may be using anti inflammatory medication and or have tried steroid injections to treat their foot pain. Follow the advice of your Doctor and check in regularly to assess the necessity or effectiveness of such medications in your individual case. Some clients may choose to use both western medical treatment concurrently with acupuncture or after trying medication and not getting a desired result, they may want to try acupuncture with the idea of trying to avoid surgery which is often used in more severe cases.
What are the symptoms and what can you do?
Common symptoms of plantar fasciitis are pain and tenderness on the sole of the foot just in front of the heel. Pain can often be worse when getting out of bed in the morning and diminish during the day. Pain can intensify when walking on heels or tiptoe. When a heel spur has developed, the person may feel a nodule at the site of pain which can be confirmed via scans.
As soon as symptoms are experienced, avoid the likely activity that has caused the problem. Consider also some gentle stretching of the calf muscle. Try Acupuncture !
Tennis elbow is a common overuse injury that is often seen at Authentic Acupuncture clinic in Balmain. Tennis Elbow refers to inflammation of the tendon on the lateral side of the elbow. It is a common sports injury and it is of no surprise that Tennis Elbow get’s it’s name from the rather increased prevalence in Tennis players. However, any repetitive stress such as holding a particular tool can transmit to the forearm muscles and then transfer the inflammatory stress to the tendon at the lateral side of the tendon on the elbow.
How did I get this, what are the risk factors? Lack of strength in the shoulders can sometimes result in over compensation and overuse in the muscles of the forearm. It is often seen more commonly in the over 40 age group because, as we age, our ability to heal get’s slower. Inflammation can build up when the stress applied to the tendons and muscles of the arm is too much or has insufficient time to recover and instead of the body being able to adapt and get stronger, injury results.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of Tennis Elbow often come on gradually. There is pain at the outer elbow. You might find that pain gets worse when the wrist is involved in such movements as shaking hands, trying to open a jar or opening the door.
What does conventional care, rehabilitation and recovery time look like? Your Doctor may conduct a physical examination to confirm Tennis Elbow as a diagnosis. X rays and or Ultrasound may also be conducted to further confirm diagnosis and or rule out other conditions such as rheumatic arthritis, a trapped nerve or referred pain from the neck.
Initial treatment with your Doctor may involve the use of anti inflammatory medication. If these fail to alleviate, steroid injection are sometimes used. It is often not advised to have more than a couple of steroid injections, particularly if they are ineffective, as it is thought that this medication may weaken the tendon. Failing the steroid injections, surgery may be considered.
Rehabilitation can often involve a strengthening program for the entire arm with particular attention paid to the tendon inserting into the lateral elbow. One such exercise can involve twisting a towel forwards and backwards.
Recovery time can vary anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of years. In mild cases, with treatment and a sufficient strengthening program, return to pre injury activities may be relatively soon if there is no pain and return of range of motion. If surgery is required, it may take a few months to return to regular activities. In either case, return to activities should be gradual.
Can I use Acupuncture instead of or in conjunction with conventional treatment to speed up the healing process and see results?
At Authentic Acupuncture clinic in Balmain (Suburb in Sydney’s Inner West), some clients choose to take Acupuncture as their primary treatment or as an assistant to conventional treatment. The aim of Acupuncture is to relieve pain and inflammation and restore regular function to the elbow. Acupuncture see’s pain as a ‘blockage’ that is treated by inserting fine sterile needles along the circuits of the body that pass through the areas of pain. These circuits, called meridians, can be treated at specific ‘acupuncture points’ above and below the area of pain with the aim to stimulate healing, according to Chinese Medicine theory. As such, the painful site can be avoided by direct treatment, which is often a relief to clients who may be already apprehensive about the injured area. Consider Authentic Acupuncture in Balmain. With over 20 years experience and one on one individualized treatment with the same practitioner, every time, what do you have to lose? Call us on (02) 9188 1560 or go to the ‘Book an appointment’ page on our website. We look forward to hearing from you.