Low libido, or low sex drive, is something that will affect most people at some stage.
Whether it is due to a stressful lifestyle, relationship difficulties, a medical condition or simply getting older, finding that you have a reduced sex drive can be worrying.
There are many reasons why you might be finding it more difficult than usual to get in the mood. Some of the most common causes of low libido in men are:
Lack of sleep
Erectile dysfunction or ejaculation problems
Medical conditions such as diabetes, underactive thyroid, heart disease or cancer
Medication side effects
Smoking, alcohol or drugs
Acupuncture works by using fine needles placed at specific points on the body to maintain both physical and emotional health as well as treating disease.
Acupuncture can help with low libido in a number of different ways. Your exact treatment will depend on what is causing the issue. This will be determined at your initial consultation.
Firstly, acupuncture is an extremely relaxing treatment which is known to reduce stress. It triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural “feel good” chemicals, which help to relieve the anxiety associated with low libido and leave you feeling calm and positive. It also increases circulation to the sexual organs. This is especially important if you are suffering from erectile dysfunction. Finally, it has a balancing effect on your hormone levels, making it a great way to improve your libido naturally.
While low libido, erectile dysfunction and ejaculation problems might be sensitive subjects, you can rest assured that your acupuncturist is well trained to deal with these conditions. Anything you say in the clinic will be treated with the strictest confidence, so there is no need to be concerned.
Whatever the cause of your low libido, acupuncture is a fantastic way to relax, relieve stress and look after your health at any age.
Call 09 3601229 for more information.
THE PRINCIPLES OF ACUPUNCTURE
A common question that an acupuncturist is asked is “How does acupuncture work?” To understand this it is essential to understand the philosophy and postulations on which acupuncture is based. The traditional Chinese explanation is given below while the modern scientific explanation is given in the next chapter.
THE PHILOSOPHY AND PRINCIPLES OF ACUPUNCTURE
The Chinese postulated that there is an energy flow in every living being that is responsible for life. They called this energy the Chi force. This energy is analogous to the Indian concept of ‘prana’ or life force and permeates all creation. The Chi (pronounced as kee) flows through the body in channels called acupuncture meridians. Every meridian influences an organ and there are different meridians for the heart, liver, lung, large intestine, stomach, kidney, urinary bladder etc.
Some acupuncture meridians are negative in orientation while others are positive in orientation. The Chinese call these the Yin and the Yang. Yin and Yang are relative terms in comparison with each other. Just as there is no darkness without light, no white without black there is no Yin without Yang and vice versa. Yin and Yang are also considered to be female and male respectively and both of these contain some amount of the opposite principal. This is illustrated in the diagram of the symbol of Yin and Yang given below.
The Yin meridians originate in hollow organs like the stomach, large intestine, small intestine, urinary bladder and the gall bladder. The Yang Meridians originate in solid organs like the heart, lung, liver, kidneys, and spleen.
In a person who is healthy, the Chi flows through all the channels smoothly and the Yin and Yang are in a state of dynamic equilibrium. This means that even though there are temporary fluctuations in the Yin and the Yang, the net energy is in balance. In a person who is sick, the energy flows are obstructed and unbalanced causing either an excess or a deficiency of Yin, or an excess or a deficiency of Yang. Acupuncture achieves its curative effect by clearing the obstruction in the flow of Chi and balancing the energy flow. Once the flow of energy is restored to normal, the person becomes and remains healthy.
WHAT IS AN ACUPUNCTURE MERIDIAN?
An acupuncture meridian is a line of energy, which connects all the acupuncture points related to a particular organ. On every meridian there are acupuncture points, which increase or decrease the energy in the meridian to adjust the flow of Chi through it.
When a needle is inserted into an acupuncture point and manipulated strongly, pain is caused which radiates upwards or downwards along a definite route. This route passes through a series of acupuncture points, all of which are able to influence the same organ. The linking of these points established lines of related points from which the concept of acupuncture meridians and collaterals developed. The vertically distributed lines were designated as meridians while their branches were called collaterals. The names of these meridians indicated the relationship between certain sets of points and the internal organs.
According to traditional Chinese Acupuncture books, there are 12 main meridians, 15 collaterals and 8 extra ordinary meridians interwoven in a network which link the internal organs, the body surface, the head and the limbs into one integrated whole. This integration gives acupuncture tremendous flexibility in being able to treat an illness in any part of the body from any other part of the body. This concept of an integrated whole, which seems alien to many people, enables acupuncturists to treat a problem like a backache from points on the hand, ear, face, scalp, foot or back.
Each organ has two meridians one on each side of the body. This implies that the acupuncturist can treat a disease by inserting acupuncture needles on any side of the body. In localised problems like a pain in the knee acupuncture needles may be inserted on the opposite knee if the pain does not permit the insertion of needles in the required place. In a person suffering from herpes it is often unfeasible to place needles in the affected area so the opposite side is used to treat the herpes. Similarly, a person with a fractured leg in a cast can have his pain dramatically relieved and his recovery hastened by inserting needles in the other leg.
The following case will illustrate this principle clearly. Rajesh’s leg had been amputated two years before he came to see me, yet he still had pain and itching in the amputated part of the leg. This type of pain is called phantom limb pain and is impossible to treat with Western medicine. It was impossible in this case to treat the patient with needles in the same leg, as he did not have one! So needles were placed in the opposite leg to relieve the pain and Rajesh felt much better.
Some acupuncturists say that about 60% of diseases can be cured by placing needles on the affected side, 30% can be cured by inserting needles on the opposite side, and 90% can be cured by putting needles on both sides. This is why acupuncturists insert needles either on the affected side, the opposite side, or on both sides depending on what he thinks will yield the best results.
WHAT IS AN ACUPUNCTURE POINT ?
An acupuncture point is a specific spot on the skin, which reflects disturbances in the internal organs. The same acupuncture point can also be used to treat disorders in that organ. The location of each point is specific and has certain definate therapeutic properties. Treatment at these points can prevent the development of diseases in the related organs. Most acupuncture points lie along acupuncture meridians. Each acupuncture point can be used to treat several diseases as it influences several organs both through the main meridians and their collaterals.
Acupuncture points were given descriptive names, which indicated their function and made them easy to remember. One point, for example is named “Zusanli” which means Godly serenity” and is used to treat stress, anxiety. insomnia and high blood pressure.
HOW TO DETECT AN ACUPUNCTURE POINT
An acupuncture point can be detected by using a galvanometer to measure the electrical resistance of the skin. An acupuncture point, which requires treatment, is often tender and has a lower electrical resistance as compared to the surrounding skin. To detect an acupuncture point, the probe is passed over the skin and when a sensitive acupuncture point is located, the galvanometer shows deflection. This instrument is often used by less experienced acupuncturists to determine the exact location of an acupuncture point.
The galvanometer is also used by experienced acupuncturists on the fingers, the feet and the ears, to make a precise diagnosis of the cause of the patients illness This is an exceedingly accurate method of diagnosis, which can predict an illness much before it actually occurs. However this form of diagnosis requires a great deal of skill and experience, as it is prone to many errors. The results are affected by the amount of moisture on the skin, the salinity of the skin and the pressure applied on the skin. Too much pressure on the probe can cause a deflection on the galvanometer while too little pressure may fail to detect a sensitive point.
Acupuncture points can also be detected by a technique, which was developed almost sixty years ago by Semyon Kirlian in the Soviet Union. He accidentally placed his hand between a photographic plate and a high tension electric Spark, and found a picture on developing the plate. The picture was unusual in that it showed an aura as well as several bright spots on the skin. This discovery gave rise to the science of Kirlian photography.
Kirlian repeated this experiment and found that similar points were present on other parts of the body, as well as in plants and animals. Kirlian saw that these points appeared to be arranged in straight lines. One day, a chance visitor to his laboratory who was familiar with Chinese medicine suggested that perhaps he had managed to visualise the acupuncture points and meridians. When he compared his photographs with Chinese charts of acupuncture points, he found that his points and the acupuncture points were identical. Colour photographs taken with this technique may show a series of green dots, blue dots, or red dots arranged in lines which correlate well with charts of traditional acupuncture points.
This technique has been used in Hungary as a method of early diagnosis. The patient is stripped and made to lie on a photographic plate of the same size as his body and a high speed Kirlian photograph is taken The presence of any bright spots on the photographic plate can help to diagnose illnesses which the patient has and can even help to predict illnesses which he may develop in future.
HOW ARE INTERNAL ORGANS TREATED ?
As the internal organs are not easily accessible for treatment with acupuncture, they are treated by using meridians, which pass through or influence the organ. For example, lung diseases like asthma and chronic bronchitis can be treated using points on the meridians, which pass through the lung. The large intestine meridian is used to treat disorders in the lung as it passes through the lungs on the way to the intestine.
The large intestine meridian starts near the nail of the index finger and travels up the finger on the side of the thumb over the outer aspect of the arm. It passes through the shoulder over the throat to the nose. After passing through the nose, the meridian plunges inwards and passes down through the throat and the lungs to the large intestine. The meridian has a total of twenty points along its course on the skin. These superficial points are used for treatment required for any of the organs which lie along the path of the meridian
A disruption of the energy flow through this meridian may cause bleeding from the nose, colds, sore throats, or pain in the arm, shoulder, elbow or wrist. Because of its internal linkage with the large intestine, it may cause abdominal pain or diarrhoea. An excess of energy in the large intestine meridian can cause pain along its course. It may also cause stiffness of the shoulder, dizziness, distention of the abdomen and constipation, while a deficiency of Chi in this meridian may cause diarrhoea, shivering and a dry mouth. All the above mentioned conditions can be treated using points on the large intestine meridian.
THE BIOLOGICAL CLOCK
The Chi flows through each organ at different times as illustrated in the diagram of the biological clock given on the next page. Each organ is prone to suffer problems at the time when the Chi is flowing through it. For example, The flow of Chi through the large intestine meridian is maximum between five a.m. and seven a.m. which is why most of us pass stools early in the morning. The flow of Chi in the lung meridian is maximum between three a.m. and five a.m. so patients with asthma often suffer attacks at this hour. This concept of a biological clock has been confirmed by research in the last thirty years, which shows that the functioning of all organisms synchronises with an internal clock.
THE TEST OF A GOOD ACUPUNCTURIST
The expertise of the acupuncturist is put to test in deciding exactly which acupuncture points need to be stimulated or sedated to achieve a particular effect in each patient. The efficacy of acupuncture treatment depends on the selection of the correct acupuncture points for each patient and the accuracy with which the needles are placed. This is particularly important because each patient requires individualised treatment depending on the cause of the problem which will differ from patient to patient even though their symptoms may be the same.
It is possible for a particular set of symptoms to be created by different mechanisms in different individuals. The skill of the acupuncturist lies in identifying the true cause of an illness and the appropriate acupuncture points to be used for its treatment. For example a person with a stomach-ache may have a disorder which originates in any one of a dozen organs and may be due to an excess or deficiency of either Yin or Yang. Asthma may be caused not only by a disorder in the lung but also by an obstruction in the energy flow in the liver and lung meridians which precede and follow the lung meridian. Similarly the urinary bladder or kidney meridian may be used to treat asthma especially when the patient is treated in the afternoon.
There are a total of eight hundred and twenty-six classical acupuncture points available for treatment. In addition there are one hundred and thirty six acupuncture points in the ear. In the last few years acupuncturists have discovered over a hundred new acupuncture points in the scalp, ear, nose, face, hand and foot. Therefore the acupuncturist has over a thousand acupuncture points to choose from while treating a patient.
A good acupuncturist is able to assess each patient and decide which acupuncture points will be effective in curing the disease in the shortest possible time. The efficacy of treatment with acupuncture is thus directly proportional to the skill and expertise of the practitioner. An expert acupuncturist may use a few needles for this purpose while a novice may require thirty to forty needles and still be unable to achieve the desired effect. Often patients consult an inexperienced acupuncturist who relies on set formulas to treat diseases irrespective of the cause. Naturally in these cases the results are unsatisfactory.
7 Acupuncture Side Effects That You Should Know About
By Sara Calabro
The most common side effects of acupuncture are things everyone wants: better sleep, more energy, mental clarity, better digestion and less stress. One or several of these side effects occur routinely for many, many acupuncture goers.
Following the publication of an article on the most common side effects of acupuncture, AcuTake received multiple inquires from readers about certain unpleasant side effects of acupuncture and whether they too were common.
And indeed, there are other, less-pleasant side effects of acupuncture. These additional side effects are much rarer than the most common side effects of acupuncture, but they can and do occasionally happen.
None are life-threatening, and all typically are fleeting. Still, they are good to be aware of so that if you do experience them, you know they’re normal and nothing to be too concerned about.
Infrequent But Possible Side Effects of Acupuncture
In my experience, the following seven side effects can occur after acupuncture.
While most people notice a marked improvement in their symptoms following acupuncture, some feel worse before they start feeling better. In natural medicine circles, this is sometimes referred to as a healing crisis. The idea is that as your body starts undergoing the changes involved in moving toward health, things get stirred up. This can cause not only an exacerbation of current symptoms but also the recurrence of previous ailments that had been dormant.
Acupuncture awakens your self-healing capabilities. With that can come an onslaught of bodily awareness. This usually is a positive experience but it also can mean heightened sensitivity or intolerance for things that previously felt normal. An example of this is someone who unconsciously adapts to stress by tightening and hunching up his shoulders. After an acupuncture treatment, once this person’s bodily felt sense has been woken up, his mild upper back and neck tension might start screaming.
The good news about this side effect is that it’s a sign that things are moving. In the case of acupuncture, this means that the primary objective is being met. That is, you are starting to transition on multiple levels from stuck to unstuck.
People can feel wiped out after acupuncture. A more common result is increased energy, but sometimes the “acu land” effect hangs on a little longer. This is your body telling you that it’s depleted. Feeling fatigued after acupuncture is not cause for concern, but it is a warning sign that you need to rest.
If you have this experience, take it easy for the remainder of the day. Take a bath that night. Go to bed early. Come morning, the combination of acupuncture and rest will leave you feeling born again.
Body parts where acupuncture needles get inserted can feel sore after needles are removed. I’ve found that this most commonly occurs with points in the hands and feet, especially Large Intestine 4, an acupuncture point located between the thumb and index finger. You also may experience muscle soreness away from the needling site if a trigger or ashi point was released during your treatment.
Soreness from acupuncture typically dissipates within 24 hours. However, big trigger point releases can cause residual soreness that lasts a few days. Most acupuncturists will warn you about this before you leave your appointment.
Although less common than soreness, bruising can occur at the needling site. Sometimes bruising is the result of a hematoma, a localized collection of blood that gets initiated when the needle punctures the skin. Bruises, unfortunately, usually last longer than soreness from an acupuncture needle. Still, they generally are not anything to worry about beyond the aesthetic inconvenience.
It is unknown why some people bruise from acupuncture. I have a few patients who, no matter what I try in terms of needle brand, size or technique, they bruise every time. (Again, I often see it happen at Large Intestine 4.) Others — the majority — never experience bruising anywhere.
Every time I get acupuncture, no matter where the needles are placed, my right quadricep muscle twitches like crazy. Don’t ask me why. People may experience involuntary muscle twitching during or after acupuncture. I’ve seen this occur in muscles that receive acupuncture needles and, as in my case, on seemingly random parts of the body that are far away from any needles.
Muscle twitching is different from full-on muscle spasm. If during or after an acupuncture treatment you feel that one of your muscles is acutely spasming, especially if it’s a muscle that was just needled, tell your acupuncturist. He or she might be able to release it before you go on your merry way.
This is pretty rare, but it can happen — and on very rare occasions, post-acupuncture lightheadedness can result in fainting. Getting up quickly from the acupuncture table can cause lightheadedness, as can coming for acupuncture on an empty stomach. Remember that eating is one of the key things to remember before an acupuncture appointment.
When your acupuncture session is over, take your time getting up and move gently as you gather your things to leave. If you find yourself feeling lightheaded after the treatment, sit in your acupuncturist’s waiting room for a few minutes and take some deep breaths. Acupuncture can be a physically and emotionally intense experience, and sometimes our bodies are not fully recovered at exactly the moment our hour is up. It is okay if you need a little extra time.
Sometimes people cry in acupuncture. Not because they’re in pain, but because their emotions, which can get stifled while powering through life, become free-flowing. The emotional release that can happen in acupuncture usually is a positive experience, but it can be surprising, especially for people who tend to be more emotionally stoical.
Feeling extra sensitive or tear-prone in an acupuncture session, or in the days that follow, is completely normal. It’s also a sign that the acupuncture is working. Even if you’re seeking acupuncture for a physical ailment, increased emotional expression is an indication that healing is happening. From an acupuncture perspective, physical and emotional health are interconnected, so emotional shifts suggest forthcoming physical changes as well.
While these side effects are rarely cause for concern, you know your body best. If any of the above side effects feel like they’re too severe or lasting too long — or if you notice any additional negative reactions to an acupuncture treatment — you should contact your acupuncturist.
Royal wedding: Ross Barr, acupuncturist to the stars
May 27 2018, 12:01am, The Sunday Times
Ross Barr charges up to £120 for a 45-minute session of acupuncture that he says can treat hair loss and other problems
They are considered the most modern of royal couples. But when the Duke and Duchess of Sussex wanted to look and feel their best on their wedding day, they turned to the most ancient of traditions.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle had regular appointments with an acupuncturist in the lead-up to their wedding.
They were treated by Ross Barr, acupuncturist to the stars, who has been described as “divertingly handsome” by many of his enthusiastic fans and whose treatments have been lauded as “better than Botox”. Beauty experts say his appointments “go faster than Glastonbury tickets”.
Barr, whose treatments deal with anything from infertility to hair loss and relationship problems, is understood to have been regularly treating the couple since Meghan moved to London last year.
The treatments are said to have been so successful that Barr and his wife, the actress Eva Birthistle, were invited to the wedding alongside celebrities including Oprah Winfrey, who had acupuncture live on her television show.
Acupuncture is a 3,000-year-old form of alternative Chinese medicine that involves inserting fine needles into the face and body just under the skin.
The treatment, which was first documented in The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine, a famous text on health, is said to help alleviate mental or physical pain and distress.
Harry, 33, has spoken of his struggles with anxiety and depression after the death of his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997.
In an interview with The Sunday Times in 2016 he also admitted “my body . . . has basically been ruined over the last 10 years of army service”.
His father, the Prince of Wales, is renowned for championing alternative and complementary therapies such as homeopathy and acupuncture.
Barr specialises in “five element” acupuncture, which identifies people as either earth, wood, fire, metal or water, with each element relating to one of the five seasons in Chinese medicine. His 45-minute sessions cost between £90 and £120.
It is thought Harry was keen to try acupuncture as part of a recent health drive to prepare for his wedding. He is reported to have reduced his alcohol consumption and is now regularly seen exercising at the exclusive KX gym in Chelsea, west London.
Meghan, 36, is likely to be a fan of Barr’s “anti-wrinkle acupressure facial”, which aims to smooth fine lines and may have contributed to the American former actress’s radiant complexion on her wedding day.
A beauty expert writing about the facial in The Sunday Times reported an “instant smoothing effect”. Others have described it as “like a facelift”.
One male patient of Barr’s said his treatment was “miraculous in staving off illness, boosting my energy levels and restoring my equilibrium”.
Barr trained in London, Germany and Japan and has practised acupuncture for more than 10 years.
He is based in London and sees clients at rooms in Wimpole Street, where many private doctors are based, and Notting Hill, which is close to the newlyweds’ Kensington Palace home, Nottingham Cottage.
Barr is understood to treat the couple privately at their home.
He has said that some of his clients treat his sessions like “an MoT” or “maintenance for modern life”.
Both Kensington Palace and Barr declined to comment yesterday.
Acupuncture Treatments for IVF cycle
Here’s a disclaimer. Everyone is unique and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is based upon the tenet of uniqueness. That said, the most common question we get at Pulling Down the Moon is about a “typical” treatment plan. So, with the caveat that your situation is unique and your practitioner will tailor treatment to suit your needs, here’s a good solid overview of what a typical fertility acupuncture treatment plan looks like.
In your acupuncturist’s ideal world, starting acupuncture treatments at least three months prior to an IVF cycle would provide an optimal preparatory period. During this prep period we will focus generally on your overall health (adjusting lifestyle and dietary practices that lead to imbalance) and specifically on the maturation of the egg.
In the prep period we recommend acupuncture treatments once or twice a week, depending on the amount of time you have before you start your ART cycle. E.g. If you allow yourself about three months before starting IVF, acupuncture treatments once a week will be sufficient until IVF stimulation begins. If you are starting during the birth control phase, about 3-4 weeks prior to IVF stimulation, twice a week until the stimulation is optimal.
Once IVF stimulation begins, you should have at least three to four acupuncture treatments between the first you start you FSH (Gonal-F, Follistim, etc) injections and egg retrieval, based upon your progress. If your response to the stimulation is too fast or too slow, or if you are developing too many or too few follicles, you may benefit from more frequent acupuncture treatments. In rare cases, people may benefit most from daily treatment.
After the egg retrieval it recommended that you have an acupuncture treatment with in a day or two to minimize the bloating, distention, and cramps that can come with egg retrieval. The retrieval is an invasive procedure and acupuncture is very helpful to speed recovery and prepare the uterus for implantation.
On or around the day of embryo transfer, research suggests that two treatments, one before and one after the embryo transfer significantly increase pregnancy rates. We also suggest treatment at least once during the two week wait period to help calm anxiety and promote implantation.
Hopefully at this point you will have a positive pregnancy test. In this case, we recommend acupuncture once a week until the end of the first trimester. If there are any symptoms associated with pregnancy such as morning sickness, bleeding, or pain, you may need to be seen more frequently.
If your IVF cycle is using a donor egg we recommend one acupuncture treatment per week until embryo transfer with the goal of preparing the uterus for implantation. Acupuncture before/after transfer and follow-up treatment is the same as that described above.
Acupuncture Treatments during IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) Cycle
The treatment plan for IUI is similar to that of the IVF cycle, including the preparation period and treatment during stimulation (whether it’s natural, clomid or FSH)
You should have one acupuncture treatment before or after IUI and follow-up treatment as described above.
What’s Good for the Gander: Male preparation
Regardless of the cause of infertility, the science of TCM would recommend that the male partner be treated as well.
It takes about ninety days for sperm to reach maturity. Males with no known pathology should be treated on a weekly basis until sperm is collected for use, preferably beginning at least three months prior to the planned cycle.
For males with known issues, we suggest they start acupuncture treatment as early as possible. Research has shown improvements in all sperm parameters (count, motility, and morphology).
If possible, the male partner should try to have an acupuncture treatment a day before sperm donation.
As we approach adulthood, we face a number of financial hurdles: the first car, the first mortgage, student debt, the big OE. And then it’s time to start a family, worry about school fees and think about retirement savings.
Well, that’s for the lucky ones. For the others – one in five of New Zealand couples, according to support group FertilityNZ – the expected family does not magically appear, due to infertility.
Infertility is defined as not falling pregnant in the first year of trying to conceive naturally.
Thanks to the increasing success of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) – it offers a success rate of 65 per cent – many are opting for it in a bid to start a family.
The Government will fund two IVF treatments to women under 40, as long as they meet certain health criteria. According to FertilityNZ, around 2000 IVF treatment cycles are done in New Zealand each year and around 650 babies are born from this.
On average, women will go through three cycles of IVF, says Dr Richard Fisher, director of Fertility Associates, the private practice that has the IVF market cornered in New Zealand.
His Auckland clinic at Ascot Hospital sees 60 couples a month. Fertility Associates has clinics throughout the country, including Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch.
The IVF procedure, if done privately, can be financially crippling. Each cycle of up to two months will cost between $7500 and $10,000. If a woman is older and is advised to use frozen donor eggs, the couple will need $10,000 to $15,000 a cycle.
Of course, the results are not guaranteed. People can end up spending a lot of money on counselling, which can cost around $95 a session. FertilityNZ says depression caused by infertility can leave a person as debilitated as someone with a serious illness.
Fertility Associates does not like to get involved with how people finance their treatment although, in the US, medical practices are not above this, according to Dr Fisher.
“Our view is that you are much better to finance it out of cash. If you haven’t succeeded and there is an extended period of paying for the cycle, it is not much fun. Everyone does what is appropriate for them.”
Kate Cooper, a former patient of Fertility Associates in Auckland, who attended the clinic for more than a decade and had a baby last year, jokes she and her husband must have paid for a wing at Ascot Hospital by now. “I’d be living in a mansion in Remuera if it weren’t for IVF,” she says.
Andrea and Guy Smalley are expecting their third IVF baby and have spent $40,000 at Fertility Associates, with just one cycle funded by the Government. They were lucky because they found out Guy was infertile in their 20s so immediately started having treatment. Andrea is now 33. Fortunately for them, they could afford it.
Andrea says: “We’ve had family help, otherwise it’s been just making sacrifices, holding off on renovations. We have a rotten deck. But we don’t ever think about what we’ve been through, once [the children] are here. The money doesn’t mean anything, it’s all forgotten. We are in a higher earning bracket – that’s come to us recently – it’s a matter of budgeting.”
Andrea feels for the couples who struggle to find the money.
“Fertility treatment should be totally government funded. We have now produced almost three taxpayers. They can dish out the money for the dole but they can’t find the money for fertility.” She also believes insurance should cover fertility treatment because infertility is becoming more common.
Middle-income earners such as Samantha and Alastair Fairweather say $40,000 for future fertility treatment would put them under enormous financial pressure.
They are going through their second IVF cycle, which has been government funded. If unsuccessful, they haven’t decided if they would continue paying for it themselves.
Samantha, a high school teacher, and Alastair, who works for the Department of Conservation, have been trying to have a baby for about four years. Samantha receives her Fertility Associates treatment in Waikato Hospital’s maternity wing. It is a painful location, watching happy parents carrying out their new babies.
The treatment affects all area of their lives. “You put all your other activities on hold. If you go through the treatment, what comes after this? At the moment I would say no to paying for IVF,” she says.
But: “I’m not ready to say that I have given up.”
They have thought about how they would raise the cash.
“We would have to look at the finances, at extending the mortgage. It’s possible we may be able to borrow money from the family.”
The couple wish the treatment was covered by the Government or insurance. “It’s shocking. Infertility is viewed with such a stigma – it’s a medical condition. But it’s not something you can see, like a broken leg.”
Unlike the US, there is no support in New Zealand from insurance companies to cover infertility treatment. This is despite the fact infertility is classified as a disease by the World Health Organisation, says Sian Harcourt, executive director of FertilityNZ.
By contrast, in Australia there is unlimited fertility treatment on Medicare. Harcourt says she has talked to couples who have thought of moving to Australia so they could have greater access to fertility help.
Sandra Dill, chief executive of Access, the Australian equivalent of FertilityNZ, says once a patient is out of pocket more than A$1000, they are reimbursed. Each cycle costs around A$4500. The society advises people to take out private health insurance which covers patients for specific in-hospital procedures.
Dill says infertility treatment used to be categorised by Australian insurers in the same class as plastic surgery but this is no longer the case.
Grant Hill, head of products and marketing at Tower Health & Life Insurance, confirmed that neither Tower nor any of their competitors offered insurance policies for fertility treatment. Fertility treatment is seen as “highly elective”, says Hill. “Given its highly elective nature, it can be too expensive, particularly if people were going for repeat treatments.”
FertilityNZ finds this attitude hard to understand when 20 per cent of couples have trouble conceiving.
“With the average income, there is no spare money to pay for fertility treatment,” says Harcourt. “Holidays are gone, all the money goes on trying to get pregnant, none of the financial buffers are there.
“It’s devastating for people who know that treatment is there but they can’t access it.
“It is so heartbreaking.”
How Does Acupuncture for Fertility Work? Increase Chance of Conception Without Side Effects
The overwhelming anguish and sense of loss experienced by women struggling with infertility issues is an unwelcome motivator, driving them to seek other treatment options to overcoming infertility. From home remedies, fertility drugs, and even surgery, to in vitro fertilization (IVF) and donor eggs and embryos, modern healthcare has vastly expanded the array of options available for couples struggling to conceive.
But not all can afford the financial costs of infertility which can range from hundreds of dollars spent on drugs to tens of thousands spent on advanced procedures such as Intrauterine insemination (IUI) and IVF. In the search for affordable and effective health care, alternative and holistic treatments are gaining wider appeal among the general public.
Traditional Chinese medicine, for example, has been practiced for thousands of years and includes techniques and practices such as tai chi, moxibustion, tui na, Chinese cupping, and acupuncture. Acupuncture in particular has rapidly grown in acceptance by the general public and practice among therapists today. Not only is acupuncture valued for stress-relieving and relaxing benefits, but also as a component of fertility treatments.
When used in conjunction with Western fertility treatments, acupuncture increases conception rates by 26%. A recent study from Tel Aviv University reports, ““When combining IUI with TCM treatments, 65.5 percent of the test group were able to conceive, compared with 39.4 percent of the control group, who received no herbal or acupuncture therapy.” For the 4.5 million couples experiencing infertility each year, acupuncture may be just what the doctor ordered.
The Evolution and History of Acupuncture
With a recorded history of about 3,000 years, the foundations of acupuncture are believed to date back to the Stone Age when sharp edged tools were used to puncture the skin and drain blood and abscesses.
The Chinese document titled Lingshu (translated as “Miraculous Pivot”) listed nine classical acupuncture needles: Filiform, Shear, Round-Pointed, Spoon, Lance, Round-Sharp, Stiletto, Long, and Big. These classical needles were originally made from bronze, gold, or silver, but modern acupuncture uses only stainless steel filliform needles.
In the U.S., physicians have been practicing acupuncture since the early 1800s. When the New York Times published the documentation of James Reston’s visit to China in 1971, acupuncture piqued public interest. In 1997, the National Institutes of Health Consensus Statement advocated for acupuncture’s potential to manage postoperative pain, vomiting, and nausea. Ten years later, according to a report published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), a “. . . survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, almost 40% of adults used complementary and alternative therapies, such as acupuncture, in the prior year.”
The rise in popularity of acupuncture has compelled researchers to take a closer, scientific look at the full potential of acupuncture. From aiding in weight loss efforts, to reducing stress and relieving pain, the benefits of acupuncture have raised interest in its potential to increase the chances of conception.
The Science Behind Infertility
Because of the delicate balance between the hypothalamus, pituitary, and reproductive glands, stress is capable of preventing a woman from ovulating entirely. This can contribute to the cause of female infertility. Stress can also create spasms in both the fallopian tubes and the uterus, which can interfere with movement and implantation of a fertilized egg. In men, stress can alter sperm counts, motility, and cause impotence. Acupuncture infertility treatment counters the effects of stress and cortizol by releasing endorphins in the brain. An herbal impotence cure is also an option for men and can reduce stress.
Hormonal balance does not have to be disrupted by cortizol to cause infertility. The most common cause of female infertility is an ovulation disorder, in which the release of a mature egg from the ovary is prevented, usually because of a hormonal imbalance. Without enough progesterone, for example, the fetus is unable to attach to the uterus. High levels of prolactin, the hormone that stimulates the production of breast milk, can also prevent ovulation.
An imbalance in reproductive hormones can also negatively affect male reproductive function, such as sperm motility and production. However, the fertility drugs that stimulate ovulation in women by regulating the hypothalamus and pituitary, the glands that control reproductive hormones, don’t perform nearly as well for men (success rates are about a third of those for women), nor have they been approved for men by the FDA. Male infertility treatment must take another track. An herbal impotence cure — if impotence is a factor in a couple’s infertility — causes no side effects and has a reported success rate when taken in conjunction with male infertility treatment.
While the fertility drugs commonly prescribed for women can produce a 20 to 60 percent pregnancy rate, they also commonly include such side effects as abdominal tenderness, bloating, fluid retention, weight gain, and nausea. Some studies show that they may also cause breast cancer.
The Potential of Acupuncture to Increase Chance of Conception
Acupuncture can increase fertility by reducing stress, increasing blood flow to the reproductive organs and balancing the endocrine system, according to several studies and medical research. “The goal of an infertility treatment from a Chinese medicine perspective is not just to get pregnant, but to stay pregnant and to have a healthy baby,” says Deb Davies, LAc, a Pacific College alumnus. Among many other benefits, acupuncture can provide better blood flow to the ovaries and uterus, creating a stronger chance for an egg to be nourished and carried to term.
Modern acupuncture consists of the gentle insertion and stimulation of thin, disposable sterile needles at strategic points near the surface of the body. Over 2,000 acupuncture points on the human body connect with 14 major pathways, called meridians. Chinese medicine practitioners believe that these meridians conduct qi, or energy, between the surface of the body and internal organs. It is qi that regulates spiritual, emotional, mental and physical balance. When the flow of qi is disrupted through poor health habits or other circumstances, pain and/or disease can result. Acupuncture helps to keep the normal flow of this energy unblocked, thereby increasing a couple’s chances of conceiving.
Acupuncture infertility treatment can improve almost every cause of this obstacle. While 40 percent of infertility is caused by problems in the female, another 40 percent is caused by problems in the male, such as low sperm count or motility. The cause of female infertility stems from problems such as anovulation and endometriosis. The remaining 20 percent is caused by unknown factors.
One of the ways acupuncture infertility treatment increases fertility is by reducing stress, which is often a key factor in the fertility of both men and women. When people are under stress, the hormone cortizol is released in the brain. This alters the brain’s neurochemical balance, thus changing hormone levels and disrupting the pituitary balance that is key to the reproductive cycle.
If the thyroid is over- or under-functioning, acupuncture can help address the effects on fertility. Acupuncture can also “. . . be used to treat any type of fertility disorder including spasmed tubes. Spasmed tubes are often de-spasmed with acupuncture, though blocked tubes will not respond to acupuncture,” according to the American Pregnancy Association.
However, acupuncture cannot address issues with tubal adhesions. Acupuncture is also contraindicated for the abdomino-pelvic area, which includes the following points: Gallbladder 21, Large Intestine 4, Bladder 60, Stomach 12, Spleen 6, and Bladder 67, as well as any other points on the lower abdomen.
“Chinese medicine can help support a woman through this important time in her life—whether that is emotionally or physically, acupuncture can help with much more than just conception. It can help with morning sickness, nausea, aches and pains (low back pain, for example), anxiety preparation for birth, and insomnia, among many others,” explains Davies.
Acupuncture’s Side Effects
Acupuncture infertility treatment, by contrast, produces few or no side effects while performing the same function as the drugs do: stimulating the hypothalamus to effectively balance the endocrine system and its hormones and to get to the root cause of female infertility as well as male infertility.
The natural, time-tested alternative treatment used by eastern cultures just might be worth a try.
Tel Aviv University study
Acupuncture Beats Drug For Insomnia Treatment
Acupuncture outperforms a benzodiazepine medication for the treatment of insomnia.
Researchers find acupuncture more effective for the relief of insomnia than estazolam, a benzodiazepine pharmaceutical drug. Using Pittsburgh sleep quality index (PSQI) scores as a basis of comparison, acupuncture outperformed estazolam for the improvement of “sleep quality, efficiency disturbance and daytime dysfunction.” The researchers note that the acupuncture protocol used to achieve the treatment results included a specialized order for inserting the acupuncture needles and that the “sequence of acupuncture points” plays an important role.
The investigation explored the efficacy of the Governor Vessel (GV) unblocking protocol developed by Prof. Gao Yu-chun. The researchers provide the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) basis for the protocol. The GV unblocking approach to care for the treatment of insomnia focuses on calming the mind by nourishing kidney water to “submerge liver yang and harmonize heart mind by stimulating the three Yuan-Primary points Shenmen (HT7), Taichong (LR3) and Taixi (KI3).” The protocol also focuses on harmonizing the spleen and stomach. According to TCM principles, ascending “turbid qi or insufficient qi and blood due to dysfunctions of the spleen and stomach may either cause or aggravate insomnia.” To address these concerns, the following acupoints were included:
The researchers note that the harmonizing functions of CV12, ST25, and SP9 combined with the Yuan acupoints help to regulate the Zang-fu organs, benefit the spleen and stomach, and improve sleeping. The GV unblocking protocol of Prof. Gao Yun-chun adds GV acupoints to the point prescription for several reasons. The researchers note that the GV connects directly with the brain, governs all yang meridians, and connects the five Zang and six Fu organs either directly or indirectly. According to TCM theory, obstruction of qi and blood flow in the GV may cause yin, yang, and Zang-Fu imbalances resulting in insomnia. Consequently, needling the GV focuses on clearing obstructions impeding the free flow of qi in the meridians, dispersing yang qi, and facilitating the distribution of nutrients.
The researchers note that the guiding treatment principle for the GV acupoint choices is to “harmonize yin and yang and improve sleep.” Baihui (GV20) is selected because it is a meeting acupoint of the Bladder Foot-Taiyang channel with the GV. GV20 functions to “tranquillize the mind.” Shenting (GV24) is chosen for its specific function to treat both insomnia and palpitations. GV24 is notable as the meeting point of the GV with the Bladder Foot-Taiyang and Stomach Yangming channels. The research indicates that the combination of GV20 with GV24 harmonizes Ying and Wei qi (nutrient and defensive qi), tranquilizes the mind, strengthens kidney qi and jing (essence), and more strongly treats insomnia. To reinforce the functions of these acupoints, Anmian (EX-HN14), Sishencong (EX-HN1), and Fengchi (GB20) are added.
The researchers cite the work of Jiang et al., noting that the “sequence of acupuncture points” is an important aspect of the treatment protocol. They add that it is a “key part” and may be a “decisive factor of the treatment effect.” Step one is to needle CV12 and ST25 to activate yang qi in the spleen, stomach, and entire body. Next, GV acupoints are needled to “unblock meridian qi and tranquilize the mind.” Step three is to needle the Yuan (source) acupoints. This assists in regulating the heart, liver, and kidneys. The researchers add that Yuan acupoints help to settle the rising liver yang and to “harmonize the heart and mind.”
The acupoint prescription had greater positive patient outcomes than estazolam for the improvement of sleep quality. In addition, the total recovery rate and marked effect rate were greater in the acupuncture group than in the estazolam group.
The recovery rate was determined by a PSQI reductive rate ≥75% and a global PSQI score ＜11 points.
The marked effect rate was determined by a PSQI reductive rate ≥ 50% and＜75%.
Signs of improvement were registered at a minimal level with a PSQI reductive rate ≥ 30% and ＜50%.
The total effective rate combined the recovery, marked improvement, and minimal improvement rates. As a result, acupuncture and estazolam scored at approximately the same levels when taking into account minimal improvements. However, using only the recovery and marked effect rate, the research demonstrates that acupuncture produces significantly greater positive patient outcomes when considering significant clinical improvements.
Estazolam equaled acupuncture in one parameter. Both estazolam and acupuncture had an equal effect on sleep onset latency. This is a measure of time from wakefulness to sleep. Sleep onset latency typically measures the time it takes to go from full wakefulness to a light stage of non-REM sleep.
Patients in the estazolam group were administered 1 mg oral doses, once per day, for a total of four weeks. Patients in the acupuncture group did not receive any medications. Acupuncture points were needled with sterile, disposable 0.30 x 40 mm filiform acupuncture needles. Needles were retained for 15 – 20 minutes per acupuncture session for patients diagnosed with deficiency syndromes. For patients with a diagnosis of excess syndromes, needles were retained for 30 –40 minutes. Acupuncture was administered once per day, five times per week, for a total of four weeks.
Step one involved insertion of acupuncture needles into the following acupoints:
Step two involved the following acupoints:
Step three involved the following acupoints:
The research team provided background information to their study. Worldwide, over 35% of people in the Occident and 42% in the Orient are affected by insomnia. A combination of TCM and biomedical parameters were used for the inclusion and exclusion criteria. Patients admitted to the study had a primary complaint of insomnia combined with at least five of the following symptoms: headaches, dizziness, dream disturbed sleep, poor memory, fatigue, palpitations. These diagnostic criteria account for the TCM principle that insomnia involves both lack of sleep and consequent dysfunction.
Biomedical parameters for inclusion involves several parameters. Patients must have had a primary complaint of sleep disturbances at least three times per week for no less than one month. Patients were unable to maintain sleep, experienced poor sleep quality, or had difficulty falling asleep. The sleep issue caused excessive worrying about insomnia consequences and the sleep issue must have caused social or occupational impairment.
Exclusion criteria sorted for insomnia secondary to an illness including Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease, mental illness, or systemic disorders. Patients with complications due to heart, liver, kidney, or blood disorders were also excluded from the study. In addition, patients receiving other forms of therapy were excluded. Patients were randomly divided into the medication group and the acupuncture group.
The researchers (Wang et al.) conclude that acupuncture is safe and effective for the treatment of insomnia. Further, acupuncture produces greater positive patient outcomes than estazolam intake. Based on the recovery and marked effect rate, the researchers add that acupuncture is a reliable treatment modality for patients with insomnia. As a result, the GV unblocking method is recommended by the researchers.
Listen to a brief summary of this and other topics on the HealthCMi (Healthcare Medicine Institute) Acupuncture and Herbs Podcast >
Wang YJ, Zhang LH, Han YX, Li PP. Efficacy observation on Governor Vessel-unblocking and mind-calming acupuncture for insomnia. Journal of Acupuncture and Tuina Science. 2016 Jul 1;14(4):274-8.
Jiang S, Di Z, Fu WB. On sequence of acupuncture points in acupuncture treatment. Zhongyi Zazhi, 2012, 53(7): 620-622.
Expert consensus panel on definition, diagnosis and drug therapy for insomnia. Expert consensus (draft) on definition, diagnosis and drug therapy for insomnia. Chin J Neurol, 2006, 39(2): 141-143.
Acupuncture Painkilling Relief For Shingles Found
02 April 2017
Acupuncture relieves pain due to shingles, reduces the need for painkillers, speeds the healing of herpes zoster lesions, and reduces the incidence of postherpetic neuralgia (PHN). Tianjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine researchers combined acupuncture with standard drug therapy. Patients receiving both drug therapy and acupuncture in a combined treatment protocol had superior patient outcomes compared with patients using only drug therapy.
Three month follow-up examinations determined that the incident rate of postherpetic neuralgia plummeted to 3.33% in the group receiving acupuncture plus drug therapy. The group receiving only drug therapy had a PHN incident rate of 30%. The addition of acupuncture to the treatment protocol decreased the PHN rate by 26.67%.
The VAS (Visual Analogue Scale) scores in the acupuncture plus drugs group were significantly better. The addition of acupuncture to drug therapy decreased pain levels, patients required less painkillers, and herpetic lesions healed faster. The researchers conclude that the combination of acupuncture plus drug therapy is safe and effective for the treatment of acute herpes zoster (shingles).
The study design was as follows. A total of 78 patients were randomly distributed into a control group and a treatment group, each consisting of 39 cases. The control group received drug therapy. The treatment group received acupuncture plus the same drug therapy administered to the control group. All patients were diagnosed with acute herpes zoster between June 2014 and December 2015.
The statistical breakdown for each randomized group was as follows. The average age in the treatment group was 54.21 (±24.07) years. The average course of disease in the treatment group was 2.46 (±0.84) days. The average age in the control group was 54.72 (±24.16) years. The average course of disease was 2.41 (±0.89) days. There were no significant statistical differences in terms of age, gender, and course of disease relevant to patient outcome measures.
Patients from both groups consumed 0.5 g of oral famciclovir tablets (3 times per day, for 7 consecutive days), as well as 1–2 tablets of oral tramadol (3 times per day, for 10–12 consecutive days). Famciclovir is a guanosine analogue antiviral drug used for the treatment of herpes zoster. Tyring et al. note, “Oral famciclovir . . . is an effective and well-tolerated therapy for herpes zoster that decreases the duration of the disease’s most debilitating complication, postherpetic neuralgia.” Tramadol is an opioid pain reliever used to treat moderate to severe pain. In addition, the patients received a neurotropin injection, once per day, for 10–12 days. Neurotropin is a drug made from inoculated, inflamed rabbit skin that is used for the treatment of neuropathic pain. The treatment group received acupuncture in addition to the aforementioned drug therapy. The primary acupoints selected for the treatment group were the following:
Ashi (skin lesion areas)
Additional acupoints were administered based on differential diagnostic patterns. For hyperactivity of liver fire, the following acupuncture points were added:
For dampness and heat in the spleen and stomach, the following acupuncture points were added:
For qi stagnation and blood stasis, the following acupuncture point was added:
For Ashi acupoints, a 0.22 mm × 25 mm needle was inserted, rotated, lifted, and thrust with a moderate force. After achieving a deqi sensation, a 30 minute needle retention time was observed. For Jiaji acupoints, needles were inserted 0.5 inches lateral to the spine, to a depth of 0.3 inches. The reducing technique was applied after achieving a deqi sensation. For acupoints LI4, SP10, TB6, SP6, LI11, and LV3, needles were rotated, lifted, and thrust rapidly after insertion to achieve a deqi sensation. A 20–30 minute needle retention time was observed. Acupuncture treatments were administered once per day, for 7 consecutive days.
All patients underwent Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) assessment before and after their treatments. VAS is a measurement instrument that measures pain intensity levels experienced by patients. The total dosage of painkillers used by all participants and lesion healing times were also calculated. Compared with the control group, the treatment group displayed a significant decrease in VAS scores. The patients in the treatment group used less painkillers and had shorter healing times. There is a statistically significant difference between the two groups. The researchers also conducted a follow up survey three months after treatment completion. They found that the incident rate of PHN in the treatment group was 3.33%. The incident rate of PHN in the control treatment group was 30.00%.
This is not the only study confirming the efficacy of acupuncture for the treatment of shingles. There is a continuing acupuncture education investigation into clinical outcomes. The research of Wei et al. (Hubei Medicine College) produced similar findings. Acupuncture plus herbs produced a 100% total effective rate for the treatment of shingles. A control group receiving a combination of oral and topical acyclovir plus methylcobalamin has an 82.86% total effective rate.
Patients receiving acupuncture plus herbs had a significantly faster recovery rate. Eradication of the herpes zoster lesions was faster for patients receiving acupuncture plus herbs than for patients taking acyclovir. Acupuncture plus herbs had a faster effective action for the relief of pain. In addition, the acupuncture plus herbs group had a 17.14% greater total effective rate than the drug therapy group.
The Hubei Medicine College researchers employed the use of a surround acupuncture procedure. Placement of acupuncture needles surrounded the areas of the herpes zoster lesions. The needles were separated from each other by 2 – 5 cm. Jiaji acupoints were added at corresponding levels of lesion presentations. Total needle retention time was 30 minutes per acupuncture session. The herbal formula administered to all patients in the form of a decoction included the following Chinese medicinal herbs:
Jin Yin Hua 60 – 100 g
Liao Qiao 10 g
Xuan Shen 10 g
Dang Gui 10 g
Gan Cao 10 g
Dang Shen 20 g
Bing Tang 10 g
In a related study, Dongfeng General Hospital researchers determined that acupuncture plus herbs has a 98.6% total effective rate when combined with acyclovir drug therapy. This was a significant improvement over a control group receiving only acyclovir drug therapy. Acupuncture was applied to corresponding Jiaii and Ashi acupoints. Upon the arrival of deqi, needle retention time ranged from 15–30 minutes. Acupuncture was administered once per day for 15 days. The following herbal formula was administered to patients twice per day as a decoction:
Sheng Di Huang 20 g
He Shou Wu 15 g
Sang Ye 15 g
Ku Shen 15 g
Ban Feng He 10 g
Research indicates that acupuncture is an effective means of alleviating herpes zoster pain. Acupuncture contributes to faster healing times. The combination therapy of drugs plus acupuncture demonstrates clinically superior patient outcomes to patients receiving only drug therapy. Based on the evidence, patients are best served with an integrated treatment protocol of acupuncture, herbal medicine, and drug therapy.
1. Wang Y. Acupuncture Combined with Western Medication for the Treatment of Acute Herpes Zoster and for the Prevention of Postherpetic Neuralgia: A Clinical Study [J]. Tianjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Journal of China Prescription Drug, 2016, 14(9):96–97.
2. Chen JS et al. Clinical Observation of Acupuncture Combined with Drugs Treatment of Acute Herpes Zoster and Prevention of Postherpetic Neuralgia [J]. Journal of Modern Hospital, 2013, 13(9):8–10.
3. KUNG Y Y, CHEN F P, HWANG S J. The Different Immunomodulation of Indirect Moxibustion on Normal Subjects and Patients with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus [J]. American Journal of Chinese Medicine, 2006, 34( 1) : 47.
4. Ishikawa, Toshizo, Seiko Yasuda, Seiji Minoda, Takae Ibuki, Kayoko Fukuhara, Yasutake Iwanaga, Toru Ariyoshi, and Hironori Sasaki. “Neurotropin® Ameliorates Chronic Pain via Induction of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor.” Cellular and molecular neurobiology 35, no. 2 (2015): 231-241.
5. Tyring, Stephen, Rick A. Barbarash, James E. Nahlik, Anthony Cunningham, John Marley, Madalene Heng, Terry Jones, Ted Rea, Ron Boon, and Robin Saltzman. “Famciclovir for the treatment of acute herpes zoster: effects on acute disease and postherpetic neuralgia: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.” Annals of Internal Medicine 123, no. 2 (1995): 89-96.
6.Wei JD, Chen JM & Wang LS. (2014). Clinical Observation of Surround Acupuncture and Simiaoyon’an Decoction on Herpes Zoster. Journal of Hubei University of Chinese Medicine. 16(2).
7. Yi JK, Tang ZZ & Yang JL. (2015). Efficacy and Safety of TCM Combined with Acupuncture Treatment for Herpes Zoster Neuralgia. 31(8).
8. Yi GQ & Zhou HJ. (2014). Acupuncture combined with cupping therapy in treating herpes zoster neuralgia: 25 cases. Journal of External Therapy of Traditional Chinese Medicine. 23(3): 36-37.
Treatments for Back Pain in Pregnancy
More good news: Unless you had chronic backaches before you got pregnant, your pain will likely ease gradually before you give birth.
Meanwhile, there are many things you can do to treat low back pain or make it rarer and milder:
Exercise . Regular exercise strengthens muscles and boosts flexibility. That can ease the stress on your spine. Safe exercises for most pregnant women include walking, swimming , and stationary cycling.
Heat and Cold . Applying heat and cold to your back may help. If your health care provider agrees, start by putting cold compresses (such as a bag of ice or frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel) on the painful area for up to 20 minutes several times a day. After two or three days, switch to heat — put a heating pad or hot water bottle on the painful area. Be careful not to apply heat to your abdomen during pregnancy.
Improve your posture. Slouching strains your spine. So using proper posture when working, sitting, or sleeping is a good move. For example, sleeping on your side with a pillow between the knees will take stress off your back. When sitting at a desk, place a rolled-up towel behind your back for support; rest your feet on a stack of books or stool and sit up straight, with your shoulders back. Wearing a support belt may also help.
Counseling. If back pain is related to stress, talking to a trusted friend or counselor may be helpful.
Acupuncture . Acupuncture is a form of Chinese medicine in which thin needles are inserted into your skin at certain locations. Studies have shown that acupuncture can be effective in relieving low back pain during pregnancy. Check with your health care provider if you’re interested in trying it.