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Craniosacral therapy, Claygate Surrey

Craniosacral Therapy For Mothers And Babies

By Andrew Radley - Craniosacral Therapist

One of the things I most enjoy about being a craniosacral therapist is having the privilege of working regularly with Mothers and Babies.

Having a child is one of life’s most profound events. Craniosacral Therapy (CST) can help provide support to mothers, partners and babies in this period of physical, emotional and psychological change.

Ante-natal Treatments:

As your body supports, holds, and nurtures your developing baby, CST can provide a calm, welcoming and accepting space where you can be supported, held and nurtured.

Modern life is fast-paced, and full of competing calls on our attention. Our autonomic nervous system - the control system of the body that is largely unconscious - can often get overstimulated into a fight / flight state (sympathetic branch). CST can help you regulate your autonomic nervous system and gently bring your body into the rest / digest state (parasympathetic branch).

Studies have shown that finding a calm, spacious time for yourself and settling your nervous system, is not only good for you, but it can also be very beneficial for the developing nervous system of your child.

As your body changes and softens to accommodate your growing baby and prepares to give birth, CST can also help relieve the minor ailments such as back, shoulder and neck pain, that sometimes can accompany this time.

Treatments are carried out fully clothed, normally whilst side-lying on a treatment couch. It is common to feel warmth, gentle tingling and a greater sense of ease as your body softens, opens and releases.

Baby Treatments:

Birth is a natural process that evolution has designed us to experience, but it is not always easy. It can be a tough transition from womb to the outside world for some little ones and their mums!

Newborns can face many challenges including tongue tie, poor latch for sucking, colic, constipation, torticollis, gastric reflux or sleep issues. Often these issues are related to their birth journey, even if interventions such as forceps or ventouse extraction haven’t taken place.

Constrictions from the birth can be held in the neck, skull, spine, shoulders and hips which, in turn can restrict the cranial, spinal and peripheral nerves, interfering with feeding and sleep patterns, as well as how well the baby is able to settle.

CST can help your baby find more ease and comfort as well as providing an open, welcoming space for them to gently process any residual birth experiences that might still be held in their bodies, or process and release shock from their nervous systems.

Studies have shown that a couple of treatments at this early stage can reap huge benefits in a baby’s future, helping support the next stages of their neurological and relational development.

I always work with mothers and babies together – and fathers or partners are always welcome to join the session! At this early stage of life, a baby’s nervous system is very highly attuned to the nervous systems of its primary caregivers. I often find that when a mother and father are able to find space and process the birth for themselves, (or even just the exhaustion of having a newborn), the baby begins to settle too, and bonding between the family unit deepens in a really beautiful way.

As CST is totally non-manipulative and extremely gentle, it is suitable for babies of all ages. I generally work with babies whilst they are in their mother’s arms, on her lap or whilst feeding, but I’m also very used to working with babies in car seats. I often like to work with mother and baby together on the treatment couch if it feels appropriate.

A typical session will be between 30 mins and an hour. You should see a difference after one treatment, but several sessions might be required depending on how established restrictions have become.

If you have any questions about CST and whether it might be able to help you or your baby please get in touch either by calling the Complementary Health Partnership reception on 01372 464 659 or emailing me using the form below

     

     

    Massage at Claygate Clinic

    The Beneficial Effects Of Massage

    By Laura Stonehouse - Massage Therapist

    Recent research is encouraging a fresh approach on how we view the benefits of massage to the point  that it could become part of a number of prescribed strategies to treat patients within the NHS itself. According to a report by the British Beauty Council produced in early 2021, massage therapy could reduce sick days by 1.76 million. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy commissioned the Report after the phenomenon was brought to their attention.  Key findings of the Report demonstrate that touch therapy as well as massage can have a significant effect on reducing mental health problems.  Mental ill-health is the single largest cause of disability in the UK, contributing up to 22.8% of the total burden compared to 15.9% for cancer.

    So what are the benefits of massage and how can it support both the body and the mind? First of all, as within the first few minutes your mind will be (and should be) in a state of total relaxation (stress relief), your body is becoming active and in a state of recovery and renewal.  A massage stimulates the nervous system, wakes up your muscles, organs and glands, encourages blood and lymph circulation and increases the production of chemicals and hormones.  In short, massage helps the body to renew itself and reverse the effects of stress.  Massage and touch therapies can help manage back, neck and shoulder pain, support fatigue, osteoarthritis, cancer symptoms and fibromyalgia – and this list is not exhaustive.

    Let’s explore the benefits even further.  The first moments of a massage will involve a series of deep inhalations; controlled, deep breathing is one of the first strategies in stress relief, and anxiety management.  Those first few moments are signals to your mind and your body that it is a safe place to rest and recover. As you relax your nervous system goes into recovery mode as well and for those areas of pain and tension on the nerves from tight muscles, there is relief.  This in turn reduces the production of stress hormones and increases the presence of endorphins – you feel happier, you begin to feel better in yourself.  Your body and your mind rebalance, you will generally sleep well after a massage.  Hormones that regulate sleep/ wake cycle, menstrual cycles, immune cells, blood sugar and even your appetite will perform better as the body and the mind find much needed relaxation.

    As we are searching for much needed moments in our day from the stress and pressure of everyday life, this is one moment, one treatment in fact, that no should no longer be seen as an indulgent luxury but as a necessary element in our self care.

    For more information about our massage services please visit our massage page 

    Call reception on 01372 464659 or fill in the form below

       

       

      The Power Of Touch

      By Zoë Ross - Massage Therapist

      I sat on a train to Devon last Summer and listened intently to a podcast by the brilliant and enthusiastic Dr Chatterjee who welcomed discussion over the power of touch and how it is fast becoming a diminishing sense.

      I was reminded of this topic only yesterday when I called a patient (now friend) who has been self- isolating for over 6 weeks, he mentioned to me that he had not touched or been touched by anyone in that time, and how in a fleeting moment he felt saddened by this. He has a vast network of friendship groups who regularly ‘meet up’ via Zoom, and he has people willingly dropping food parcels and neighbours who check up on each other’s welfare, but it is not touch. It isn’t that instant sense of connection, or that soothing stroke, it isn’t the heartfelt warmth of a hug from a friend or partner, what we’re talking about here is a profound lack of positive touch.

      As a Body Therapist I am naturally tactile, I struggle not to hug people, stroke my dogs, hold the hands of my nephews or just place a hand on a friend’s back when they look like they need support. I like to touch, so why is it so taboo. Why do people fear it, why are we nervous about embrace? As children, we yearn for this touch and studies suggest babies who are cuddled often, have better growth rates and improved immune systems. We look at the chubby cheeks of a baby and their huge inquisitive eyes and we instinctively wish to reach out and touch (or pinch!) affectionately of course. It is natural human behaviour, but we have made it not so. Touch is a language. One we learn very quickly as a child, a vital form of non-verbal communication. A Parent’s touch enhances attachment, it can signify security, clapping hands together in a playful manner encourages play and makes babies giggle and a firm squeeze when crossing the road can help express potential danger.

      There are sadly too many times when we hear about the abuse of touch, the negative side to it, how it can used as a tool to make people feel fear, to immobilise them and bring about all sorts of mental and physical health concerns, impacting greatly on an individuals self-esteem, confidence in themselves and trust in others. This leaves people vulnerable and in a heightened state of stress.

      It is fundamental for touch to be consensual. The speaking out on this subject has empowered many who felt they had no voice, but in its wake, it has left this vital human sense clouded, almost like a dirty secret, the sordid world of touch. Ironically it is the one sense people seem to think they can do without but as the Psychologist Tony Robbins suggests ‘ there is no real substitute for touch’ Without sight, people turn to touch to feel their way through life, without sound, people use visual cues but without touch-what? Making touch consensual is crucial but eradicating it from our lives could ultimately be dangerous. It has a power to soothe, heal and promote wellbeing….and should outweigh our fear of it.

      Robbins also discusses a fascinating social experiment about how culturally touch is viewed very differently. A study in café’s around the world looked at physical interactions between people dining together, it gave a startling indicator as to the expectations of touch globally. In Puerto Rico for example, the average times people at a table touched was 200 per hour, in Paris this dropped to 40 times, again in New York just 5 times and sadly in London 0. Not once did the diners gathered (whether friends, family, colleagues) touch one another.

      There is no denying that the power of positive touch can be profound, as a Therapist I know this to be true, the unique connection between a Patient and Therapist is symbolic of how enhancing touch can be. As you physically feel tension release under your hands and a trust building between you and them, the body responds to touch, and as the skin is the largest organ at approx. 2 metres it is indeed the pathway to touch. Touch, among other things, can reduce stress, heart rate and blood pressure. We are wired to experience touch, it is not a design flaw that we respond so well to it, from birth until the day we die, our need for physical contact remains

      As we sit and re-evaluate many areas of our lives during this somewhat strange time, thought should certainly be given to touch, it’s power to heal, express emotion, and connect deeply with people. Think about the first friend or relative you long to hug and know that contact will reinforce your connection to one another and set off a wonderful dose of endorphins. It is like a daily dose of happy medicine! Do not shy away from connection, positive touch should be worked on and we should look to cultivate this once normality resumes. Do not underestimate that touch given positively and consensually, with true meaning, is a great gift.

      For more information about our massage services please visit our massage page 

      Call reception on 01372 464659 or fill in the form below

         

         

        Whiplash Injury

        What is Whiplash?

        By Helen Amembal - Registered Osteopath

        Neck pain caused by whiplash is very common. According to one leading insurer, it accounts for 76% of all bodily injury claims made in the UK.

        Whiplash is a neck injury caused by a sudden movement of the head forwards, backwards or sideways. Whiplash injuries need not be the result of car accidents only. It can be due to a sudden blow to the head – for example, during contact sports such as boxing or rugby, a slip or fall where the head is suddenly and violently jolted backwards or being struck on the head by a heavy or solid object

        How is whiplash caused?

        Normally the joints at the back of the neck glide over each other but a whiplash injury forces them together damaging the surrounding area containing nerves, muscles, ligaments and discs. The damage to the nerves can cause the most problems as they are very sensitive compared to the nerves in the rest of the body.

        The pain from a whiplash injury doesn’t always happen immediately after the accident. The body can compensate in the short term for injuries and often it is not until later that pain develops. The neck pain and stiffness is often worse on the day after the injury and may get worse for several days afterwards.

        Common symptoms of whiplash include:

        • neck pain, shoulder pain and stiffness
        • tenderness over the neck muscles
        • reduced and painful neck movements
        • headaches

        If you experience prolonged pain, you may find it difficult to carry out daily activities and enjoy your leisure time. It may also cause problems at work and could lead to anxiety and depression without treatment.

         How can you help your neck pain?

        Gone are the days of lying in bed for a week to rest your injury – GPs traditionally recommended rest for neck pain but the research now disproves that. In the beginning if your see a GP or an A&E Doctor they may give you a soft collar it may offer some relief but do not use it all day. If you become reliant upon your collar the muscles of the neck will be come weaker as their job is being performed by the collar.

        I always recommend that you move around gently and regularly (within your pain limit) which improves your recovery time and strengthens the damaged area. We also recommend that our patients at home use ice and heat to help the pain and also an over the counter pain relief medication for the first 24 hours if you know it is safe for you.

        If possible sleep with your spine in a straight line so make sure that pillow is not too high or that you are not using too many pillows. It is better to sleep on your back or on your side rather than on your front with your neck twisted to the side.

        To prevent the whiplash pain from worsening, review the things that aggravate it triggered it in the first place such as not exercising regularly, sitting for too long and using computers or driving.

        Getting the right advice and treatment is important for neck pain to resolve as quickly as possible but also important if you want to prevent it from coming back.

        A note about serious Injuries. Since some symptoms of neck pain are similar to those of more serious conditions, it’s important to get checked out by a medical professional. if in any doubt you should seek help immediately.

        Why back pain doesn’t ‘Just Go away’

        Helen Amembal - Registered Osteopath

        When my Clients use the Internet to learn about back pain they can find a common myth repeated – that back pain can resolve on its own within 2-8 weeks. But as I explain to my Clients, you’re not “healed” just because you don’t feel pain. When it comes to the most common injuries affecting the back, pain is usually the last thing to show up, and the first thing to go away.

        These are the top three reasons why back pain sticks around……..

         

        1. Our muscles and brains are linked

        Our nervous system changes when we are injured, say in our back. In some cases, our brains stop “seeing” the area that was injured, and research has shown that your brain stops telling your back muscles to work in the damaged area. This means that your back muscles become weaker and unable to support your spine regardless of whether you feel pain or not. Consequently, the link between your brain and the muscle and joints in the injury is altered following an injury, without treatment.

         

        1. Deconditioning

        One of the common myths surrounding back pain is that you need to rest for it to get better (I talk about this in my ‘back pain myths’ post).  Lack of activity is also a key reason for the breakdown in the body’s ability to control and withstand the stresses imposed on it. Using our muscles and joints to support our posture is fundamental to preventing injuries from occurring in the first place.

        Evidence has shown that poor endurance in our back muscles is a risk factor for developing low back pain – and this is an important thing that I get my patients to do; start exercises and self treatment at home to build up back strength so that their injury does not come back.

         

        1. Just because it doesn’t hurt

        If we scratch our skin or cut it, we have a constant reminder of that damage through the formation of a scar. However the minute back pain goes away it is easily forgotten – there is scar tissue but we can’t see it. The scar tissue replaces the muscle fibres in your back that have been injured – but this scar tissue forms in ‘clumps’ and sticks to the muscle tissue which makes the muscle weaker. So injuries will happen in that area again and more easily. But if healing muscle fibres or joints are gently moved and stretched it encourages the scar tissue to grow stronger and prevent further injuries.

         

        One way to think of it is when you put spaghetti into a pot of boiling water and then leave it without stirring, it all clumps together like a knotted up ball of string. If you add motion, like stirring the pot, you help to separate the spaghetti and keep it from sticking together. Your body is the same way: Motion is Lotion!

        What causes back pain/ sciatica?

        Helen Amembal - Registered Osteopath

        Back pain is very common – 49% of the adult population of the UK report low back pain during any year. It’s the second most common reason people see their doctor.

        Some back pain occurs due to a lifetime of bad habits. Other back pain causes include accidents, muscle strains, and sports injuries. Although the causes may be different, most often they share the same symptoms.

        However as debilitating as back pain can be, most instances of it are manageable, and people who get proper care and advice often see improvement within a matter of weeks. Here we look at the main types of back pain, the causes, and symptoms and what you can do to get better.

        Lower Back Strain

        Is the main cause of back pain, whether short term (acute) or long term (chronic). Symptoms of lower back strain include:

        • Pain and stiffness in the back.
        • Pain in the buttocks and the legs, often in the back of the thigh.
        • Pain that worsens when bending, stretching, coughing, or sneezing.

        Lower Back Strain occurs because a series of muscles and ligaments in your back hold the bones of your spinal column in place. You can strain these muscles by stretching them too far, causing tiny tears. The muscles are then weakened, so they may not be able to hold the bones of your spinal column in place correctly. The spine becomes less stable, causing low back pain. As nerves stretch out from the spinal column throughout the entire body, low back strain can cause pain in areas other than your back.

        Low back strain can be caused by:

        • Extreme physical exertion.
        • Repetitive movements such as lifting, driving, bending, twisting may also result in a bad back.
        • Accidents such as a fall
        • Poor posture, especially when sitting
        • Being overweight
        • Weak muscles in your back and abdomen
        • Sitting in the same position for long periods of time.
        • Emotional stress

        Keep in mind that low back strain can’t be blamed for all back pain. There are many other causes, like ‘slipped discs’, fractures, pinched nerves, arthritis, and infections.

        Sciatica

        Sciatica is another common type of back pain affecting the sciatic nerve, a large nerve extending from the lower back down the back of each leg. For some people, the pain from sciatica can be severe and debilitating. For others, the sciatica pain might be infrequent and irritating, but has the potential to get worse.

        The Symptoms of Sciatica are

        • Pain in the buttock or leg one side side that is worse when sitting
        • Pain, burining or pins and needles in the leg or foot
        • Weakness, numbness, or difficulty moving the leg or foot
        • A shooting pain that makes it difficult to stand up

        Sciatica usually affects only one side of the back and lower body. Often, the pain extends from the lower back all the way through the back of the thigh and down through the leg. Depending on where the sciatic nerve is affected, the pain may also travel to the foot or toes.

        What Causes Sciatica?

        Sciatica is caused most commonly by the Sciatic nerve being irritated, either by a tight muscle near to the nerve or by pain chemicals that are released in your body when you have an injury.

        There are less common causes of Sciatica; narrowing of the spinal canal in the lower back, the discs in the spine losing their height through wear and tear or disease, or one vertebra slipping forward over another – sometimes due to a fracture in the vertebrae or just how the bone is formed at birth.

         Spinal Disc pain

        Most patients know this type of back pain as a ‘slipped disc’ although the discs do not actually slip.

        The symptoms of disc pain

        Spinal discs are fibrous rings (like in a tree), containing a soft gel-like ‘cushion’ between each of the bones of your spine. Discs cannot ‘slip’ because they are attached to the spine but the term ‘slipped disc’ can mean a tear in the fibrous rings, where the gel can push through.

        The resulting pressure or irritation on the nerves that exit your spine can cause pain in your back, or referred pain over an area through which the nerves pass such as your legs. Leg pain, pins and needles, weakness or numbness can be caused by nerve irritation or pressure in the lower spine.

        What causes disc pain?

        Although a violent injury can damage a disk, problems with disks are often brought on by the normal aging process or by everyday activities, such as lifting heavy objects the wrong way, or slips and falls. A sudden movement like this can cause the fibrous outer covering of the disk to break or distort to the point that the gel leaks out and presses on a nerve or releases chemicals that irritate the nerve.

        Discs can also suffer wear and tear through normal living but research has so far proven only that genetics is a factor in this.

        How can you help your back pain?

        Gone are the days of lying in bed for a week to rest your injury – GPs traditionally recommended rest for back pain but the research now disproves that.

        At TCHP we recommend that you move around gently and regularly (within your pain limit) which improves your recovery time and strengthens the damaged area. We also recommend that our patients at home use ice and heat to help the pain and also an over the counter pain relief medication for the first 24 hours if you know it is safe for you.

        Getting the right advice and treatment is important for back pain to resolve as quickly as possible but also important if you want to prevent it from coming back.

        To prevent back pain coming back, review the things that may have triggered it in the first place such as being overweight not exercising regularly, sitting for too long, wearing high heels, or sleeping on a mattress that is too soft.

        A note about serious Injuries. Since some symptoms of low back strain are similar to those of more serious conditions, it’s important to get checked out by a medical professional. Any numbness and weakness in your legs, bowel and bladder problems, or pain at nighttime that is not eased by changing position can be a sign of nerve damage and is serious and could lead to paralysis so if in any doubt you should seek help immediately.

        How to ease your back and neck pain in 15 minutes

        By Helen Amembal - Registered Osteopath

        I am so impressed with the Mobiliser that I have bought one for my Clients to use at the Claygate Clinic. The Mobiliser is also used in Professional sports – the GB Cycling Team, Sir Steve Redgrave and Golfers such as Bernard Gallacher.

        Bernard wanted to tell his story to the Mobiliser manufacturers as it helped him to fight a career-threatening back injury:

        “In late 2004, just before I went out to commentate on the Ryder Cup, I experienced agony throughout my back. An MRI scan confirmed a prolapse [‘slipped disc’] at C5 [neck]. My Consultant said it was going to be a two year recovery period, which left my golfing career at great risk”

        “As luck would have it I found the Mobiliser. I was sceptical that it could help. My first experience of using it was very uncomfortable, [but] I’d been prewarned that it might hurt, so I persevered, and within two or three days of using it the Mobiliser no longer caused discomfort”

        “Within two weeks the difference in my whole body was obvious, and after a month, the pain was less and my flexibility was better than it had been for years.”

        “After four months I am back playing golf and I’ve begun to increase the intensity of the Mobiliser to seek further improvement. I’m looking forward to renewing my play on the Seniors’ tour later this year. I want to emphasise the sense of optimism that I have. The Mobiliser really helped the rehab from my prolapse and by combining this with [Therapists’] advice and a good Alexander teacher I am very optimistic of recovering more quickly. I feel all three are a permanent part of my regime to prevent a recurrence and to keep my back flexible”

        “I’ve become aware how golfers assume that increasing age means decreasing ability. Yet I’ve found out for myself that it is possible to restore spinal flexibility. I can strongly recommend the Mobiliser! Not only to any golfer who wants to recover from back injury, but to those who find their enjoyment of this great game is limited by not being able to rotate fully and freely.”

        You can book a free Mobiliser introduction session (including a postural assessment) at the Complementary Health Partnership on 01372 464659 / info@www.comphealthclinic.co.uk

        Could IBS be causing your bloating?

        By Ann Shaw - Nutritionist

        IBS, (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), is the most common functional gastrointestinal disorder, typically characterised by abdominal pain and bloating and often constipation and diarrhoea. In my experience, I would say that one in three people consult me with a host of symptoms that are associated with IBS, including Candida Albicans. Research suggests that IBS affects up to one in five people in the UK at some stage of their life.

        It can be exasperating when you have tried everything from elimination diets, the fodmap diet, the candida diet, excluding commonly known triggers such as gluten and dairy, over-the-counter remedies and many other hopeful solutions. But, one area you may have not thought to investigate is parasite infestation, the symptoms of which can mimic IBS.

        Millions of people have parasites without realising, but they conclude it must be IBS. Some patients who have had a stool test from their doctor have received a clear result, as a single test may not detect the cycle of parasites when they are in a dormant egg stage. To properly explore what is happening, a group of three samples are required over a number of days, using functional laboratory testing. These tests will also detect other pathogens, which may be contributing to your overall health issues.

        One patient with IBS symptoms told me that she felt permanently disorientated and could hardly walk from the door to my desk when she first came to see me. Laboratory testing confirmed she had many parasites, and it was not until we tackled these, that she regained her health again. Some parasites are very resistant and difficult to get rid of, and each requires a specific form of treatment. So attempting to treat the condition with a generic treatment, such as herbs, or antibiotics without knowing the exact strains you may be suffering from is pointless.

        Parasites need tackling because they rob your nutrients and impair your immune system. Weakened immunity significantly increases the risk of infection by these unwanted organisms, and parasites are no exception. They can be transmitted surprisingly easily, from fruit and vegetables that have not been washed properly, walking bare-foot on the beach, animals, tap water, raw fish, babies nappies and food poisoning.

        These are some of the symptoms associated with parasites:

        Abdominal Pain & Cramps, Anal Itching, Anaemia , Nausea, Diarrhoea, Anorexia, Distension/Bloating, Overweight, Arthritis,Dysentry, Autoimmune Disease, Fatigue, Bloody Stools, Fever, Chronic Fatigue, Flatulance, Colitis, Food Allergy
        Constipation, Foul Smelling Stools, Crohn’s Disease, Gastritis, Depressed Siga, Rash And Itching Of The Skin, Headaches, Low Back Pain, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Malabsorption, Altered Intestinal Permeability, Nervousness, Irregular Bowel Movements, Irritability, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Weight Loss, Joint & Muscle Aches & Pains, Skin Conditions, Sleep Disturbances, Rectal Bleeding, Teeth Grinding, Urticaria, Vomiting

        You may be experiencing some of the above symptoms, in which case please contact me, and I will be happy to help you. My approach is to look at the underlying causes of your IBS symptoms, some of which can be Candida, Parasites, Stress, Dysbiosis, Bacterial infection or Food Allergies.

        If you find yourself suffering multiple food allergies or any of the above symptoms, consider parasite infestation as a possibility.

        Written by TCHP Resident Nutrition Expert – Ann Shaw  DThD.DNMed.T.A.S.K.M.BANT.NTCC.CNHC

         

        For more information contact the clinic or call the clinic on 01372 464659

        Study shows that Patients Do Better After Surgery If They Do ‘Prehab’ First

        By Helen Amembal - Registered Osteopath

        “People are often told to follow a rehabilitation program following surgery to speed recovery. But starting weeks before going under the knife might help them regain function even faster”

        “So-called “prehabilitation” to prepare someone for an upcoming stressful event has been used quite a bit in orthopedic surgery, Dr. Julie Silver, a physiatrist at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston USA, tells NPR.org’s Shots. And there’s increasing interest in using it before cancer treatment, especially to help frail or elderly patients better tolerate what lies ahead, she says.

        Researchers from McGill University in Montreal studied 77 patients scheduled for colorectal cancer surgery. A kinesiologist gave the patients aerobic exercises and strength training to do at home. A registered dietitian gave them nutritional counseling and prescribed a whey supplement to make up any protein deficits, and a psychologist provided anxiety-reducing relaxation exercises.

        Half of the patients were told to start the program before surgery – an average of about 25 days before – and to continue afterward for eight weeks. The other group was told to start right after surgery.

        Not surprisingly, the group assigned to prehabilitation did better on a presurgery test that measured how far they could walk in 6 minutes. And it paid off.

        Two months after surgery, the prehabilitation group walked an average of 23.7 meters farther than when they started the study. Rehab-only patients walked an average of 21.8 meters less than when they started. (A change of 20 meters is considered clinically significant.) And a greater proportion of the prehabilitation group was back to baseline exercise capacity by then.

        The study appears in the journal Anesthesiology”

        This story was originally posted on NPR.org

        Acupuncture and Sports Injuries

        By Tracy Slater and Helen Amembal

        Acupuncture has a very successful record with sports injuries. Many professional sports teams have acupuncturists on staff to decrease healing times and resolve stubborn ailments. But the use of acupuncture to treat acute injuries from intense or repetitive physical activity began centuries ago. It was and still is one of the primary means of quick healing for the martial arts. Specific acupuncture styles and techniques were developed to stop pain and dramatically increase recovery time. This tradition continues today, and its use has expanded into competitive athletics that result in similar injuries.

        Common Injuries treated

        Common medical diagnoses that fall under the umbrella of Sports Injuries include: medial & lateral epicondylitis, frozen shoulder, plantar fasciitis, acute olecranon bursitis, acromioclavicular joint separation, rotator cuff tendonitis, osteoarthritis of all joints, meniscal tears, bicipital tenosynovitis, lumbar disc herniations, anterior & posterior cruciate ligament tears, patellofemoral syndrome, Osgood Schlatters syndrome, and more.

        How Does Acupuncture Help?

        Acupuncture is an effective treatment for Sports Injuries because it reduces pain, increases range of motion, increases recovery and healing time, and strengthens weakened parts of the body. These effects are accomplished during treatment because acupuncture:

        1. Decreases inflammation
        2. Reduces swelling
        3. Relaxes muscles and relieves spasms
        4. Decreases bruising
        5. Lowers the body’s pain response
        6. Improves local blood circulation to increase delivery of nutrients

        When to get Acupuncture

        Acupuncture divides sports injuries into two main categories, which determine how treatment typically proceeds. Acute injuries (that happened recently) and chronic injuries (unresolved for 3 or more months).

        Acute Injuries

        Acute injuries need to be properly assessed before any type of treatment can begin. Most people are all too familiar with the feeling of a strain or sprain. If someone is unsure, however, it is best to get examined and properly diagnosed (possibly with the help of an X-ray or MRI) to rule out a more serious injury.

        Acupuncture should then begin as soon after an injury as possible for the best results.
        Acupuncturists classify acute injuries as Excess conditions. An Excess condition is just what it sounds like: there is an excess physical response (too much pain) or an excess biochemical reaction (too much inflammation or swelling). Acupuncture treatment given soon after an injury occurs encourages the body to deal with and process this excess in a rapid fashion. An improvement is usually noticed within one or two treatments. If an injury is not very severe, 3-4 treatments typically resolves the condition. More serious injuries require 4 treatments before an accurate prognosis and treatment plan can be given. Right after an acute sports injury happens it is helpful to remember the acronym RICE. Each letter stands for
        one of the four steps to follow immediately after an injury: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. This will help quicken recovery and provide short term relief.

        Chronic Injuries

        Chronic injuries also need to be properly assessed before any type of treatment begins. It is important to determine if there is an underlying structural cause for a lingering injury such as a loss of cartilage, formation of scar tissue or degenerative damage of any kind. Once the complete underlying framework of the injury is understood, an acupuncture treatment plan can be devised to address both the main symptoms and their causes. This may include acupuncture treatments, stretches and exercises, diet modifications and the use of
        liniments or balms.

        Acupuncturists classify chronic sports injuries as Deficient conditions. Deficiency refers to a weakness or lack. Over time, unresolved sports injuries lead to areas losing strength, flexibility and stability. Instead of focusing on removing excesses, acupuncture for chronic conditions focuses on invigorating and strengthening specific parts of the body. This is done while also decreasing the pain that commonly accompanies most chronic sports injuries.

        It is more difficult to generalise the length of treatment for chronic conditions because medications, prolonged inactivity, low morale & surgeries complicate treatment. Even so, a person should notice a positive change in his/her specific condition within 8 to 10 treatments, although many chronic injuries respond quickly to acupuncture. After which, an accurate prognosis for complete resolution of the problem can be given.

        A 1999 study published in the medical journal Pain by researchers at University of Heidelberg in Germany compared the effectiveness of acupuncture for rotator cuff tendonitis against fake acupuncture needles. The researchers found a significantly measurable improvement in the athletes that had acupuncture for their shoulder pain and rotator cuff tendonitis than those athletes that had placebo acupuncture needles.

        What is Taping Therapy? It is a major Therapy in correcting the balance of human body by regulating tension and relaxation on muscles and ligaments, by attaching the special tape to the skin. As a non-drug therapy, there are few side effects, and it is available to apply to children and the elderly

        By Tracy Slater and Helen Amembal

        Tracy Slater

        Acupuncturist