Tag: Stress

Anxiety and IBS. The Terrible Twins

Vicky first came to see me feeling uncharacteristically anxious. As a news editor, she did a stressful job but now she was finding things she would normally take in her stride had become anxiety inducing.  She started worrying about everything. Much of it was related to travelling; for example, whether she’d be able to go to the loo if she was out, but also having meetings with her peers which she had done a hundred times before without incident. She would work herself up to whatever the event was that she was concerned about, until she really felt quite bad. It was rarely how she imagined it, but this is the nature of anxiety and it’s not easy then to talk yourself down. As she was peri-menopausal, I wasn’t surprised by her symptoms and felt I could help her.

 

In addition to this she developed what could be termed as irritable bowel syndrome. She regularly experienced  diarrhoea which only added to her anxiety. 

 

Acupuncture is very effective at calming the mind and helping the gut to process food properly and transport that energy around the body. And with the anxiety in check, life is just much more manageable.  In Chinese medicine, worry and overthinking are linked to same meridian as gut issues, so as acupuncturists we often see them together. The terrible twins…

 

I think it’s always useful to take a fully holistic approach and in this case, that meant Vicky acquiring the tools to deal with the cycle of negative thinking. I therefore advised Vicky to get CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) alongside acupuncture. 

 

Vicky’s story 

I had been suffering from anxiety and stomach problems and a couple of friends had mentioned that acupuncture might help. I had only tried acupuncture once before to induce labour and I was quite sceptical about the whole thing.

 

I have quite a stressful job, probably don’t look after myself as much as I should, drink a bit too much and am also approaching the menopause. I had never really had any mental health problems before and I was worried about how debilitating it was. Feeling anxious was also giving me a bad stomach, I would often have diarrhoea or worried about needing a wee when I was out, and all this seemed to be getting into a cycle where the anxiety was making my stomach worse and then having a bad stomach was making me anxious!! The problems had been building up for at least a couple of months before seeing Rita,

 

Since I’ve been having acupuncture, I feel it has really helped, Rita really put me at my ease and she is so easy to talk to and empathetic I didn’t feel embarrassed telling her about how I was feeling. During my first session she had to take all the needles out after she’d just put them in because I suddenly needed the loo!!  I didn’t even really feel too embarrassed about that as she is such a warm and understanding person. 

 

Both my stomach and my anxiety are much improved, I worry much less about travelling and am having far fewer incidences where my stomach is bad. I actually look forward to acupuncture now and feel much less ragged and calmer after a session.

 

I’m so grateful and happy to have found Rita and she has given me really good advice even outside acupuncture about dealing with my anxiety, and for instance about CBT.

 

I have also already recommended her to a friend who is suffering with insomnia.

 

Looking After Number One – Men And Their Health

 

The first time I realised that I wasn’t invincible was when, doing seasonal work on a farm, I slipped a disc lifting heavy machinery. I was 21 and ended up flat on my back for 6 weeks.  After that, I started paying attention.

 

Most men of my age aren’t really focused on their health until it slaps them in the face and that being said there is still a reticence among men to see their doctor or a therapist. Why is that? Well it’s quite hard for men to talk about things like their bodily functions or their mental health and although the male stereotype is changing, we’re still not big on sharing. Thankfully there is more help available for younger men. They are more aware of their diet and keeping their bodies healthy. Education and social media has undoubtedly played a big part in that.

 

Men’s Health Forum report that men are less likely than women to acknowledge illness or to seek help when sick. Health is often socially constructed as a feminine concern. It seems that men tend to use the health service when a certain threshold of ill health has been passed. Additionally, there is a tendency to play things down and attribute signs to growing old.  ‘Being a man’ about things can have negative outcomes in that symptoms and feelings are often left or not even reported.  This means that during that time, and long before that threshold is reached, something positive could have been done.

 

According to Men’s Health Forum, the top five health issues facing men are:

 

1. Diabetes

1 in 10 men have diabetes with men 40% more likely to die prematurely of the disease than women.

 

90% of diabetics have Type 2 diabetes, due to lifestyle factors and diet. It’s estimated that an additional 1 million people in UK don’t know that they are living with Type 2 diabetes.

 

A change in diet, exercise and quitting smoking are the key to prevention. And lifestyle changes can actually reverse diabetes.

 

2. Loneliness

1 in 8 men across the UK have no close friends, according to a survey funded by the Movember foundation*. This amounts to 2.5 million British men with no friends to turn to for support during a crisis.

 

It’s a shocking statistic and one that relates back to the fact that men tend not to share their problems or develop supportive networks of friends. This can have a big impact on men’s mental health and overall wellbeing, especially if their romantic relationships break down.

 

3. Prostate Cancer

Earlier this year and for the first time in the UK, prostate cancer hit the headlines as the number of men dying from prostate cancer overtook the number of women dying from breast cancer

 

One in eight men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime and a total of 4 in 10 prostate cancer cases are diagnosed late making it more difficult to treat.

 

4. Heart disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of male death in the UK, with 119,000 men having a heart attack each year, compared to 69,000 women. Risk factors for heart disease include: smoking, being overweight, having high cholesterol or having diabetes.

 

5. Suicide

A massive 75% of suicide victims in the UK are male, with suicide the single biggest killer of men under 45 however it’s not just young men who are at risk.

 

Stress is one of those things that if left unchecked can be the cause of and a precursor to so many health issues. Our modern world naturally propels us into a fight-or-flight existence and we are constantly battling with the result of it – stress. You could argue ‘well everyone gets stressed’ but the long-term consequences of chronic stress are significant:

 

  • damages your immune system and heart

  • increases your chances of serious health problems

  • reduces life-expectancy

  • damages your sex life

 

Just as stopping smoking, drinking less, doing exercise and watching your weight are important factors in keeping you healthy, using alternative medicine also supports and helps to reduce stress. Taking a holistic view of your health means not waiting till you’re on your knees before getting help. Whether you’re in your 20’s or 60’s, being proactive in looking after your health now means you’re less likely to pay for it later.

 

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be blogging more about men and their health from a holistic perspective. Watch this space…

 

Andy Levy BSc Hons, MBAcC, LicTuiNa, MRTCM

Andy is Associate Acupuncturist at Peachy Acupuncture

 

  • Movember Foundation

 

 

 

 

Recovering From Chronic Migraines

Jacqui had suffered from Chronic Fatigue since the age of 11 and migraines. She came for treatment when she’d had daily debilitating migraines for three months.

Her neck, shoulders and back were incredibly tight due to being in constant pain and this in turn exacerbated her migraines.

Jacqui wasn’t able to work, had stopped going out much or seeing friends and felt very low about her situation. She was incredibly sensitive to light and just waking up would trigger a migraine. Her longstanding Chronic Fatigue meant she had little energy for anything.

Since her initial treatment, she just comes for monthly top ups to keep her migraine free.

 

Jacqui’s story: 

I saw Rita weekly for a few months. Prior to seeing her I was having daily debilitating migraines in which I felt like I could not function let alone work. 

Rita made me feel very comfortable from the start. She was warm, friendly, personable, professional, I was confident in her ability. The Clinic was clean and well presented.

She treated me with acupuncture, tuina massage and cupping.

I can now go weeks and not have a migraine, and I can work and socialize without having to worry about cancelling everything due to my headaches. I also suffer from Chronic Fatigue and Rita’s treatments gave me more energy allowing me to be more productive.

Rita has freed me from my prison of migraines and given me a new lease on life.

I’d definitely recommend Rita

 

Definitely

When You’ve Hit Rock Bottom… Recovering With Acupuncture

Leigh came to acupuncture at rock bottom (her words). She was in physical and emotional pain and had lost faith in herself and her body and felt completely overwhelmed. She tried her GP but her health issues were varied and complex and although there were medical options, she didn’t feel this would address her needs.

I treated Leigh with a combination of acupuncture, electro-acupuncture, tuina and cupping.

Read Leigh’s Story…

When I came to Peachy, I was a mess.  I was constantly “too hot” and never able to feel comfortable temperature wise.  I could hardly stand up straight without feeling like I was carrying another person around. I would go to bed at night with back pain and wake up unable to get out of bed without help and additional pain.  My arms would regularly fall asleep at night and fingers felt stiff and numb throughout the day, I had been dealing with tennis elbow for about 6 months that was no longer responded to pain relievers and was hardly able to lift a glass of water.  I was experiencing painful menstrual cycles for the past 9 months, and dealing with PCOS/infertility for a decade.  Headaches and the feeling of “something in my ear” was a daily battle.  Beyond the physical issues, on the inside I was so emotionally and mentally constipated that I overwhelmingly upset & angry all the time, frequently forgetful, inattentive and unmotivated.

I regularly “just didn’t feel well”, nothing seemed to make a difference.

Treatments with Peachy Acupuncture has changed my life.  After the first session of acupuncture and Tuina, my posture improved, I was able to and preferred to sit up straight and by the 3rd session, my lower back wasn’t an everyday issue and now it’s very rarely even after standing or walking around all day.  With the back relief, I wasn’t waking up in pain and my days began to improve. I am able to walk comfortably again. I went from barely able to achieve 350 steps a day to easily and comfortably doing 6-8,000 steps daily.

For my ear issues, one session of acupuncture and the uncomfortable feeling was gone and I don’t seem to have as much ear wax and water in my ears anymore.  Sinus issues and headaches seemed to become less frequent after the ear annoyance was resolved.

Rita has worked on my tennis elbow with acupuncture, she’s also focused on my shoulder/neck area with Tuina and cupping.  After 6 sessions, I feel it’s close to normal.  My finger stiffness is gone, and I don’t have issues with my limbs falling asleep frequently anymore. She’s been able to reduce my menstrual cycle pain to a very manageable inconvenience that no longer keeps me from being able to go about my day.

After each session, I’m overall a happier and more relaxed person.  I feel like I am able to process my feelings and emotions better.

I felt comfortable the moment I met Rita. Unlike traditional medicine, Rita really made me feel like my concerns were heard and my feelings/experiences were valid and important. Her space was calm, comfortable, and relaxing. I continue to look forward to my appointments as a place where I regain control of myself.  She’s given me the life I had over a year ago back and motivated to take better care of myself.

Managing chronic pain with acupuncture – Kara’s story

Kara contacted me 10 days before she was about to start a new job, after 8 months of not working due to some serious and complex health conditions. Neurological pain is particularly difficult to treat and utterly debilitating.  In Kara’s case, her pain levels were pretty much off the charts and despite heavy medication, life was a real struggle. This inevitably affected her emotional health as well.

Kara has a chronic condition that needs regular management so that she can lead a fulfilling life; work, socialise, travel and have fun. So Kara comes every week, without fail, and is treated with acupuncture, TuiNa massage and cupping. Treatments significantly reduce her pain, keep her feeling balanced and support her general wellbeing. It is an investment in both time and money but she is committed to staying well. So much so that she hasn’t taken one day off work for illness.

 

Kara’s story:

I had a fully herniated disc (between C6 and C7) that caused paralysis of my right arm for 4 months when the disc crushed the nerve; this had to be surgically replaced with a disc implant.  6 weeks after recovering from that major spinal surgery, I developed an extremely rare form of shingles called Ramsay Hunt syndrome, which then took a turn for the worse when it spread to my spinal cord, entire central nervous system, and brain (this is typically fatal).  As my inner ear was affected by the shingles, in addition to excruciating pain I also experienced severe vertigo. In addition to this, I was offered my dream job, and was suffering from stress and anxiety about trying to start work when my body was going through so much and my pain levels were so high.

Choosing Peachy Acupuncture was the luckiest piece of fate I have ever been dealt by the Gods of Google; I rang Rita to see if there was any chance she could fit me in the following day for an emergency appointment, and was supremely impressed by her medical knowledge and very clear expertise during our conversation. Despite having multiple conditions that needed treatment, she knew so much about each and everything I brought up, it made it clear that she is exceptionally skilled.  I have seen other acupuncturists in the past, but have never felt as comfortable and confident in the person I was seeing as when I spoke with Rita.  And the first treatment did not disappoint – with wanting to sound like I am embellishing or exaggerating the effects of my treatment, it was genuinely life-changing.

I am genuinely at a loss as to how to express the life changing difference that Rita has made.  Before my first session with her, I was barely able to walk due to severe vertigo, and pain had crippled me.  I rarely left my bed, and was not able to work or socialise at all.  Tasks as simple as washing a dish or bathing were things that I truly struggled with every day due to my high pain levels, and I was sceptical that she would be able to help but thought ‘What have I got to lose?’  I had been to countless specialists on the NHS as well as privately, and had been on every form of medication to try and help with nerve pain, but nothing was working. I sat up at the end of the first session and my vertigo was gone; I have no idea how one session was able to do that, but I went home and genuinely cried tears of joy.

When cupping and tuina are combined with Rita’s acupuncture, I feel like I leave as a new person.  My pain is gone, my neck and back are free, I can move easily, and I cannot stress how much relief I feel from having my chronic, daily pain evaporate in just one short hour.  I have been put on every form of medication under the sun to try and help me with acute nerve pain and various medical complications, but this is the only thing that truly works.

Since then, I see Rita once a week for additional treatments and it is the only thing that keeps me going.  Despite starting a new job with so many physical ailments, she has made me feel a level of serene peace that I have never previously experienced; after a treatment, I feel connected to the world and like I can manage my life.  But the biggest improvement has been my pain levels.  Although I still experience pain, she has given me my life back.  I can leave my house, work, socialise, and actually enjoy being alive – I no longer live in blinding pain.

Rita’s clinic is such a wonderfully soothing place, I feel like I am visiting a spa run by a member of my family every time I stop by.

The best thing about Rita is that she does not believe in treating a condition, she treats the person.  She will meet with you, talk to you about your body, your life, your mental health, and then decide on the appropriate treatment(s) for you.  She really works against the idea that there is a ‘one-size-cures-all’ approach.  I appreciate this so much because it means that she truly listens to me and my body, and does what is in my best interest.

 

Kara Webster, Crouch End