Tag: wellbeing

Hypothyroidism, Clinical Anxiety, Insomnia and…. Fertility

 

Many patients come to acupuncture with more than one health issue, and as treatment continues, other priorities come to light. Health, as in life, is rarely a linear process and recovery is often a journey that can take a somewhat circuitous route to its destination.

 

Phillippa came to see me a couple of years ago. She’d been diagnosed with hypothyroidism a couple of months before and had started taking Thyroxine to control it. It was the first time she’d ever really been ill and this had a profound effect on her mental as well as physical wellbeing.

 

Despite taking medication, her hormones were all over the place, the anxiety became so severe she had to stop work and the stress meant she carried a lot of tension in her muscles. She also developed insomnia which understandably made everything more challenging.

 

A clinical diagnosis requiring ongoing medication can be difficult to accept, and this then may elicit other distressing symptoms. So using Chinese medicine to complement the Western approach helps to manage not just the initial problem but all the other symptoms around it. This may also lead to a reduction in medication (under medical supervision) which can only be a good thing.

 

After Phillippa’s initial health issues were brought under control, she continued having acupuncture, TuiNa, cupping and moxibustion on a maintenance programme. Once she was fully recovered and back at work, we concentrated on improving her fertility.

 

Phillippa’s story:

 

I came to Rita with a number of health problems that had culminated in severe anxiety. It took everything I had to attend that first consultation, but it was the best thing I ever did. This was the first time I’d experienced clinical anxiety and I was really scared of it.

 

Having acupuncture treatment has made a complete difference. My anxiety has receded, and I am perhaps better than ever before. My thyroid hormone levels (which were a big driver behind fluctuating emotions) have remained in the normal range for nearly a year, with minimal drug intervention. 

 

What can I say about Rita? Whenever I visit, I feel her energy, her care and her genuine love for what she does. She’s become a master of her craft. But it’s everything she does on top of this that really makes her special. She gave me some great advice during my recovery and would always go beyond the call of duty. She became a friend and confidante to me, and I’ll forever be grateful for that.

 

My husband and I finally fell pregnant after several years of trying and Poppy was born in May 2020.

 

Phillippa, Crouch End

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.

 

Back pain, Sciatica and Disc Prolapse

Chronic back pain and Sciatica due to disc issues are frighteningly common. I see patients in a great deal of pain, unable to get comfortable or sleep, in some cases unable to work. Sufferers will sometimes opt for cortisone injections which can work for a limited time, spinal surgery and of course physiotherapy. Many people I see are on high doses of NSAIDS and opioids as other alternatives haven’t worked for them.

 

When Jacquie first came to see me with back pain, pins and needles in her legs and sciatica, she had decided against surgery. She was extremely motivated to keep her weight down, work with a PT to exercise safely and commit to regular treatments of Acupuncture and TuiNa medical massage. This has undoubtedly played a big part in her recovery.

 

She responded very well to electro-acupuncture and TuiNa, coming every week for treatment. Jacquie is now pretty much pain free and her general wellbeing much improved. She was also sleeping badly and this has now been resolved. 

 

Acupuncture is known for reducing pain. In the US there is evidence that it is helping in the fight against opiod addiction. TuiNa is a highly effective remedial massage that complements acupuncture and relieves muscle pain and tension.

 

In addition, Jacqui also sees Kung, Peachy’s Thai oil masseuse, to manage general muscle tightness, improve blood flow and aid relaxation.

 

Jacqui’s story

After suffering severe back pain I was diagnosed with a burst disc and slipped disc in L4/L5 region. I was medically treated with an epidural hydrocortisone treatment. The consultant said I also needed to have physio and non-impact exercise as part of my rehab. After a few months of weight loss and exercise I still had residual pins and needles in my legs, dull ache in my buttocks and lower back, and generally was not sleeping well.

 

The pins and needles have completely gone. I went back to see the consultant who was hugely impressed with my speed of recovery. Since the initial diagnosis I have also been suffering from a taut IT band which has now been resolved through acupuncture

 

The acupuncture has been a godsend in speeding up the recovery process for the back problems I had. Rita is fantastic and the set up is friendly, informal, clean and peaceful.

 

Jacquieline O’Donnell, Highgate

 

 

 

Migraine and Back Pain in Pregnancy

Ella came for treatment when she was 12 weeks pregnant. She had always suffered from severe migraines but they had become more frequent and intense since becoming pregnant. She had chronic neck, back and rib pain and was also experiencing the kind of symptoms usually associated with pregnancy such as gut issues, leg cramps and heartburn.

Ella has a busy job as a nanny, with regularly long hours. Her sleep was affected due to the chronic pain, and she was really struggling to function. The constant pain meant her muscles tightened in response which only increased the pain she was in. It was a vicious circle.

Treating pregnant women while completely safe, does require appropriate training to ensure the points that are used aren’t contraindicated. Consequently there are some limitations on what treatment protocols can be used.

Acupuncture and TuiNa remedial massage were the most appropriate techniques and her migraines almost immediately decreased significantly. Reducing her general emotional and physical tension meant that day to day life became much more manageable.

 

Ella’s story

I have suffered from chronic pain, headaches and migraines for over 15 years and have tried everything under the sun. I needed something to help me as it worsened significantly through pregnancy and I was finding it very difficult to work. I did try acupuncture a few years back in Australia but did not find I had good results. 

I found Peachy on Google and Rita’s response time was great and she fitted me in on short notice.

Rita has treated me for pregnancy symptoms such as indigestion, leg cramps, and constipation. Furthermore I had 15 plus years back pain, neck, headache and migraine.

It’s made such a significant difference!! I had my first consistent relief from migraines ever!  I think Tuina combined with Acupuncture is so beneficial to me as I hold a great deal of tension.

Rita is lovely and warm and the clinic is comfortable and clean and it’s easy to park – I would absolutely recommend her! She is very good and listens well, I have noticed incredible differences in my health and pain.  I am incredibly grateful for all her assistance and her advice.

 

Ella Hayes, Highgate

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