Bursitis Acupuncture & Acupressure

About bursitis acupuncture and acupressure

James Reston, a New York Times journalist, had his appendix removed during his visit to China in 1971. James's post-surgery pain was treated with acupuncture. To his surprise, acupuncture helped his discomfort enormously. His article "Now, About My Operation in Peking" initiated interest of the Western World in this 2,000 (some believe even 5,000) years old branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

These days it is estimated that in the United States alone about:

  • 10 million adults have used acupuncture at some point in life
  • 7,000 acupuncturists are licensed
  • 3,000 doctors use acupuncture as part of their medical treatment

Both WHO and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognise acupuncture and acupressure.

How does it work?

Eastern Explanation

The ancient Chinese believed that our life vital energy Chi (Qi) flows through energy channels in our body called meridians. Blockage of the flow of Chi results in an illness.

Bursitis acupuncture and acupressure practitioners stimulate precise trigger points to clear the meridian pathways and allow the energy to flow freely once again - resisting illnesses, encouraging natural healing and proper functioning of the body.

Western Explanation

The modern scientific explanation of why bursitis acupuncture and acupressure work is that they stimulate the active points located on or just below the skin and so directly impact on various biochemical and pshychological processes in the body.

For example, nervous system gets stimulated to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These chemicals will trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones which influence the body's own internal regulating system and will change or block the experience of pain.

Acupressure & acupuncture - What's the difference?

The main difference between bursitis acupuncture and acupressure is that acupressure uses finger, heat or electrical stimulation of the pressure points, while acupuncture uses super-thin needles to gently pierce the skin to stimulate those same meridian points.

Both of these tendonitis / bursitis treatments are very effective at alleviating pain and chronic pain in particular.

Benefits of acupuncture & acupressure

Here are the major benefits of bursitis acupuncture and acupressure:

  • Pain relief. Drug-free.
  • Prevention of illness, injury and inflammation
  • Holistic treatment of the body and mind
  • Targeting of the symptoms as well as the cause

Here's how this treatment can help your bursitis and tendonitis:

Body's natural painkillers & happy-go-lucky pills

Putting pressure on sensitive acupuncture points stimulates sensory receptors and nerves that transmit impulses into the pituitary gland and hypothalamus in the brain. This is where neurotransmitter Serotonin and neurochemical Endorphin are released from - blocking the message of pain from being delivered in the brain.

Serotonin is responsible for overall emotional wellnes and sleep.

Endorphins - body's natural analgesics - behave similar to opiates or corticosteroids, but are 200 times stronger than morphine. No need to go to the pharmacy.

Inflammation management

Inflammation is not all bad. In fact, it s an essential function of the immune system designed for 3 main reasons:

1. Detoxification

2. Repair

3. Protection

Whenever there is a problem in our body, the cells in the distressed area speed up their metabolism in order to heal and as a result create unusual amount of by-products. Build up of these toxins could create cellular damage in the area.

That's were inflammation comes into play to detoxify and repair the damaged tissues. If this works, you will not feel anything while the inflammation quietly get its job done.

However, when inflammation is inefficient, you will experience symptoms of pain, swelling, redness or heat in the affected area. This can happen if your immune system has been compromised or if there is a toxic overload of a size that the inflammation just simply cannot handle.

Chronic inflammation is when your body is trying to adapt and compensate for such an ongoing problem.

Acupuncture works to stimulate the inflammation and its detoxification and repair qualities rather than suppressing it, which is what many painkillers and other drugs do.

Placebo effect

A research of American College of Rheumatology (ACR) showed that patients experience pain relief even when the acupuncture needles have been inserted incorrectly or not inserted at all. This is due to a placebo effect.

Your Acupressure / Acupuncture Appointment

First of all, the acupuncture / acupressure practitioner will need to establish whether your bursitis / tendonitis is a local problem caused by an injury or over-use, or whether it is a consequence of a systemic problem. Or a bit of both.

During your first visit, expect questions about your health condition, lifestyle, behavior, and other treatments or medications you are taking.

The cause(s) of the problem will then be targeted in the treatment, using various needling / pressure techniques.

As acupuncture points to treat bursitis / tendonitis are located all over the body, do not be surprised when the needles or massage are directed along your legs, arms, or even your little toe!

Will it hurt?

Acupuncture needles are hair-thin (much thinner than the usual injection needles at your doctor's office) and so you should really not feel them at all.

Everyone experiences acupuncture differently. Occasionally, there might be a brief moment of discomfort as the needle penetrates the skin and heaviness, numbness, tingling, or mild soreness after the needles have been inserted.

However, most people feel no or minimal pain,and even fall asleep for the duration of the bursitis acupuncture treatment.

Some people are energized by the treatment, while others feel relaxed.

Is it safe?

When the needles are disposable, hypoallergenic, sterile, made of stainless steel, non-toxic, and the acupuncturist swabs the acu-point areas with aclohol before gently tapping the needle into its place, it is highly unusual to experience any complications.

Improper needle placement, movement of the patient, or a defect in the needle may cause soreness during treatment.

This is why it is important to seek treatment from a qualified acupuncture practitioner.

All in all, there are fewer adverse effects associated with acupuncture than with many standard drug treatments (such as anti-inflammatory medication and steroid injections).

Are there any side effects?

Usually not.

When you are leaving the acupuncturist office, you might feel 'over-relaxed' and even disoriented a little bit. Just take it easy for a while.

Also, as energy is redirected in the body and self-healing is stimulated, your symptoms may in fact worsen for a couple of days. You could also experience some mild flu-like symptoms (e.g. changes in sleep or appetite).

These are simply signs that the acupuncture is starting to work.

Acupuncture can be used as a complementary care along with other treatments, such as conventional medicine, chiropractic adjustments or hemopathic remedies.

Do's and Dont's of Acupuncture treatment

Immediately before and after your bursitis acupuncture treatment:

  • Do not eat a large meal
  • Do not over-exercise
  • Do not consume alcohol
  • Do not do activities requiring top physical/mental performance
  • Do not drive
  • Do not stop taking your usual medications

How often should I go?

The length, frequency and number of visits will depend on the type and severity of your condition, state of your overall health and response of your body to the bursitis acupuncture / acupressure treatments.

Typical treatment session lasts from 10 to 30 minutes.

Some symptoms can be relieved after the first bursitis acupuncture session, but most aliments often require multiple treatments, especially the more severe and chronic cases.

Expect to make your way into the acupuncturist's office one or two times a week for four to five weeks to see long-lasting pain relief.

So please try about 10 sessions before giving up.

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