Latest issue no. 133 - Oct 2023
Features & Articles in this issue
Author: Daniel Maxwell
What makes a successful acupuncturist? This question came up recently while talking with a friend who runs a big, busy acupuncture clinic. Having seen many practitioners come through his clinic over the last couple of decades, he was musing on the difference between the people who make a success of their practice compared to those that putter along ineffectually ... before finally puttering out and getting another job. The next day I saw a Facebook post in which a practitioner proudly posted a picture of his clinic diary for that day, having just finished off the last of his 60 patients. We have all witnessed versions of the discussion that ensued - 'I do THIS many a day!', 'You do HOW many? [swoon]' - a bit like an acupuncture version of the scene in Jaws where Brody, Quint and Hooper display their battle scars to outdo each other in bravery and toughness.
Teishin-Do: The Way of Teishin
Author: Bob Quinn & Sze Kai Paau
The rapid growth of interest in the teishin and enshin (Chinese: tizhen and yuanzhen) in the West and in Japan is a curiosity in the modern practice of traditional East Asian medicine (TEAM). Several acupuncture styles in Japan have all but abandoned the use of normal acupuncture needles in favour of non-invasive treatment with the teishin. This tool is mentioned in the Lingshu (Divine Pivot) in its discussion of the ‘nine classical needles’. In appearance it can look much like a metal toothpick, though modern teishins can vary considerably in length and other features. From the Lingshu we have an approximate idea of the original dimensions of these Han Dynasty tools, and the intended effect of treatment with them, but we have no idea what the techniques looked like 2000 years ago. This article considers historical references to these tools and discusses how acupuncturists in Japan and in the West have been developing how best to understand and use this unassuming tool.
Acupuncture for the Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea in Veterans
Author: Justin Phillips
Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is a disorder affecting respiration during periods of sleep. It can affect both short-term as well as long-term health outcomes. It is present in growing numbers of the American population and has an increased prevalence in active duty military personnel and veterans. Although these patients often lack the common comorbidities for OSA such as poor cardio-respiratory fitness and increased body mass index (BMI), they often have additional markers of stress such as anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder. This pattern of OSA combined with psychoemotional stress could benefit from acupuncture as a novel intervention. This article reviews two cases of OSA treated by acupuncture, including diagnosis, treatment and outcomes, and offers a theoretical framework for understanding the disorder from the perspective of traditional East Asian medicine.
TCM Management of Psychological Disorders Caused by COVID-19: A Review of 69 Cases
Author: Fanyi Meng & Dan Jiang
Anxiety, depression and sleep disturbance are among the most common symptoms during and after COVID-19 infection, and are seen in postCOVID (long COVID) syndrome long after the initial infection has cleared. Meanwhile, many people without COVID infection have experienced psychological disorders due to lockdown and the uncertainties brought about by the pandemic. Acupuncture has been shown to be beneficial in managing conditions of anxiety, depression and insomnia. The authors provided treatment for many cases of anxiety, depression and sleep disturbance throughout the coronavirus pandemic from March 2020. In this article, the authors summarise 69 self-referred cases treated with acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine in their clinics. The treatment phase lasted between one month (four treatment sessions) and three months (12 treatment sessions). More than 60 per cent of these patients reported total relief of their symptoms, about 35 per cent experienced a significant reduction of symptoms, and just five per cent did not experience any improvement. This review of cases suggests that psychological disorders associated with COVID-19 can be well controlled and/or relieved by acupuncture, especially those that occur as part of post-COVID syndrome.
Referral from Midwifery Acupuncturists in Aotearoa New Zealand - Barriers and Concerns
Author: Lee-Ana Lowe & Debra Betts
Data from a study examining participants use of acupuncture for antenatal anxiety and depression was analysed to inform about referral barriers and concerns by New Zealand midwifery acupuncturists. Most participants (60 per cent, n=27), were happy to refer to traditional acupuncturists, especially if they knew them personally (69 per cent, n=31). However, 30 per cent (n=15), had concerns about traditional acupuncturists’ knowledge of pregnancy issues, their lack of collaboration with other health providers, and specific treatments being administered by some acupuncturists. Other barriers for referral included midwives’ knowledge of acupuncture research evidence and their awareness of the different types of acupuncture and the scope of traditional acupuncture. Barriers for pregnant women were cost, the need for repeated visits, as well as their understanding of acupuncture and what it can be used to treat. In conclusion, midwifery acupuncturists are interested in referring to traditional acupuncturists; specialist obstetric acupuncture teams would likely help to remove some of the barriers that currently prevent referral of pregnant women for traditional acupuncture treatment.
Does Cannabis Hold Value in the Modern Practice of Chinese Herbal Medicine? A Literature Review
Author: Noelle Potash
The use of cannabis in Chinese herbal medicine is documented in the various Ben Cao (materia medica) from the last 1800 years. Only the seeds (ma zi ren/hou ma ren) tend to be used in the modern clinic. The last mention of using cannabis flower (ma hua) for medicinal purposes is in the Ben Cao Gang Mu (Compendium of Materia Medica) written by Li Shizhen in 1593 CE. It is unclear why cannabis flower was dropped from the materia medica, whether for political reasons, agricultural preferences for more fibrous varieties of the plant, lack of effectiveness as a medicine, or other reason. Due to the recent resurgence of cannabis as a medicine, this systematic review of the literature aimed to find out if ma hua holds value as a herb that should be incorporated into the modern practice of Chinese herbal medicine. The Chinese herbal medicine classification of cannabis was also explored to identify any contraindications to the use of ma hua.
Renzhong DU-26 and Somatised Distress: A Case Study
Author: Carme Martorell
The subject of this study was a young woman diagnosed with fibromyalgia, whose physical pain had been unresponsive to six months of various medical interventions, including acupuncture. As a last resort the single point Renzhong DU-26 was needled based on the patient’s symptoms and their psychological context. The significant positive outcome of this treatment prompted an investigation into the fundamental mechanisms associated with this particular acupoint. Its specific location on the face, strategically positioned between areas associated with heaven (yang) and earth (yin), aligns this point with the human level of Chinese cosmology; its established function as a resuscitation point may be intricately connected to this symbolic significance. This case report thereby advocates for incorporating both a symbolic and a personalised approach in acupuncture diagnostics.
Qigong Sensory Training for Autism Spectrum Disorder
Author: Bing Yang & Maria Broderick
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is the most common developmental disability. The aetiology of ASD remains unknown, though both genetics and environment are likely involved. Children with ASD have deficits in socialemotional reciprocity and demonstrate restricted or repetitive behaviours or interests. Some studies have shown that a child’s development may be closely related to their early tactile experiences. There has been much effort to identify effective treatments for ASD. This literature review elaborates on the theoretical background and application of a form of massage based in Chinese medicine known as Qigong Sensory Training, as well as other forms of massage for the treatment of ASD.
Treatment of Endometriosis-Related Dysmenorrhoea with Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine: A Case Report
Author: Melody Mitchell
Endometriosis is a chronic inflammatory disease defined by the presence of endometrial tissue outside of the uterus. Current biomedical options for endometriosis-related pain include oral contraceptive pills, progestins, antiprogestogens, gonadotropin hormone-releasing (GnRH) agonists and GnRH antagonists. The diagnosis of endometriosis is speculated by symptoms, but only confirmed by laparoscopy. Laparoscopic surgery with ablation is commonly practised during the diagnostic procedure. Chinese medicine therapies such as acupuncture and herbs have been used for many years to treat painful periods, and multiple clinical trials have shown that these therapies reduce pain intensity, increase social efficiency and psychological well-being, and decrease surgery rates. This case reports on a 38 year-oldfemale diagnosed with endometriosis who presented with dysmenorrhoea and migraines. Treatment was weekly for two months and consisted of acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, moxibustion and dietary/lifestyle recommendations. At the end of the treatment course there was no further dysmenorrhoea or migraines.
Patient with Uterus Didelphys Treated with Acupuncture and Moxibustion: A Case Study
Author: Kevi Keenom
Uterus didelphys is a gynaecological condition in which duplication of the uterus and cervix occurs from non-fusion of the Müllerian ducts during embryonic development. This structural abnormality is associated with an increased rate of miscarriage and labour and delivery complications. This case study provides an example of the pre- and perinatal treatment of a patient diagnosed with uterine didelphys with acupuncture and moxibustion. This patient learned that she had a uterine anomaly prior to conception but had been misdiagnosed with a septate uterus, and only received an accurate diagnosis of uterine didelphys in her first trimester. She was initially treated for fertility concerns and once pregnant, the treatment focus shifted to helping her stay pregnant and prevent miscarriage and preterm labour. Twenty-four treatments were given over 11 months starting six weeks pre-conception using traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) interventions including acupuncture, moxibustion, massage, cupping and supportive fertility care. Treatment resolved malpresentation of the foetus; miscarriage and preterm delivery were avoided. The foetus was delivered vaginally at full-term without major complications. Patients with uterine didelphys are at risk of poor reproductive outcomes; acupuncture, with a high margin of safety, may be a helpful modality for improving these outcomes.
Book Reviews in this issue
The Therapeutic Relationship in Acupuncture by Elisa Rossi
Acupuncture and Cancer Survivorship: Recovery, Renewal and Transformation by Beverley de Valois
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