We treat a wide variety of physical and psychological health concerns with traditional acupuncture.
Traditional acupuncture is the insertion of tiny needles to stimulate the body’s energy system, or Qi as it is referred to in Chinese Medicine, to restore its physiology to a more normal state of homeostasis. Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been practiced for over two thousand years and with the introduction of the modern Western Medical Science evidence based practice it is still proving to be a very powerful and natural health care system.
The TCM medical system believes every patient is unique and understands that the physical, psychological and emotional effects of each disharmony within the body plays a key role in correctly diagnosing and treating patients.
Spring uses acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat the following health concerns:
- Chronic and acute back pain (See research below)
- Digestion issues (See research below)
- Stress and anxiety (See research below)
- Depression (See research below)
- Headaches and migraines (See research below)
- Neck pain (See research below)
- Musculoskeletal injuries, cramps and sprains (See research below)
- General wellness
- Immune system support
- Insomnia (See research below)
A typical acupuncture treatment will begin with a thorough investigation sequence that includes a comprehensive questioning of medical and fertility history, pulse taking and tongue examination. To attain an accurate diagnosis and establish an effective treatment program a series of questions that relate to the patient’s main complaint as well as questions that will give a more holistic internal picture of what is occurring will be asked so as a thorough depiction of health is gathered.
Research: Lower back pain (top)
Lower back pain is experienced by most people at some point in their lives. However, when this pain begins to effect normal daily undertakings the thought of short or long term analgesic medication therapy is not desirable and for some not an option. Acupuncture has been used for centuries to successfully treat lower back pain and a review of clinical trials into acupuncture effects on lower back pain have demonstrated it to be;
- More clinically effective in pain relief and functional improvement than no treatment at short-term follow-up (1).
- An adjunct to conventional therapy that provides short-term clinically relevant improvements in pain and functional measures (1).
- Display better outcomes in terms of pain relief, disability recovery and better quality of life compared with no treatment (3)
Furthermore, a more recent systematic review on clinical trials has shown acupuncture to be more effective than medication for symptom improvement or relieve pain better than sham acupuncture in acute lower back pain (2).
- Liu, L., Skinner, M., McDonough, S., Mabire, L., and Baxter, G. D., Acupuncture for Low Back Pain: An Overview of Systematic Reviews, Hindawi Publishing Corporation, Volume 2015, Article ID 328196, 18 pages (Link to research)
- Lee, J-HK., Choi, T-Y; Lee, M., Soo ; Lee, H., Shin, B-C., & Lee, H., Acupuncture for Acute Low Back Pain: A Systematic Review, Clinical Journal of Pain, February 2013, Volume 29:Issue 2: p 172–185 (Link to research)
- Mai Xu., Shi Yan., Xu Yin., Xiuyang Li., Shuguang Gao., Rui Han., Licheng Wei., Wei Luo., Guanghua Lei, Acupuncture for Chronic Low Back Pain in Long-Term Follow-Up: A Meta-Analysis of 13 Randomized Controlled Trials 2013, The American Journal of Chinese Medicine Volume 41, Issue 01 (Link to research)
Research: IBS (Digestion Issues) (top)
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a condition that affects the daily lives of up to 1 in 5 Australians. Its effects on the bowel functioning can cause a great deal of distress to its sufferers as symptoms can be uncomfortable and troublesome. Some of the main symptoms of IBS include;
- abdominal pain or cramping
- alternating diarrhoea and constipation
- a sensation that the bowels are not fully emptied after passing a motion
- abdominal bloating
- mucus present in the stools
Acupuncture for IBS has been shown to decrease the severity of symptoms by almost 20% more (when used alongside usual care) than those who received only usual care (1). In addition to this another study suggested acupuncture to be a cost effective treatment option for sufferers of severe IBS (2).
Graph sourced from http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-230X/12/150
- MacPherson, H., Tilbrook, H., Bland, J.M., Bloor, K., Brabyn, S., Cox, H., Kang’ombe, A. R., Mei-See Man1, Stuardi, T., Torgerson, D., Watt, I., and Whorwell, P., Acupuncture for irritable bowel syndrome: primary care based pragmatic randomised controlled trial, BMC Gastroenterology 2012, 12:150 (Link to research)
- Stamuli, E., Bloor, K., MacPherson, H., Tilbrook, H., Stuardi, T., Brabyn, S., and Torgerson, D., Cost-effectiveness of acupuncture for irritable bowel syndrome: findings from an economic evaluation conducted alongside a pragmatic randomised controlled trial in primary care, BMC Gastroenterology 2012, 12:149 (Link to research)
Research: Stress/Anxiety (top)
In today’s modern society stress and anxiety are becoming more prevalent. In the 2014 Australian survey into stress and wellbeing it was noted that almost one in five (17%) Australians reported that current stress was having a strong to very strong impact on physical health (1). The main causes of stress were family issues (45%), personal health issues (42%), issues with trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle (39%), and issues with the health of close ones (36%) (1). Other causes were financial issues, family and relationship issues, economy, workplace, the environment and personal safety issues (1).
In 2014 the Medical Acupuncture Journal published a research article that investigated acupunctures effects on stress reduction over a period of time through the monitoring of heart rate changes in patients with hypertension. They found that in some patients their heart rate variability (HRT – a noninvasive monitor of autonomic balance that indicates physiologic stress) increased over weeks to months during the course of acupuncture treatment for hypertension (3). This increase in HRT indicates a relative decrease in their physiologic stress, demonstrating that a course of acupuncture treatments is effective in reducing patient stress response (3).
Furthermore, the CNS Neuroscience and Therapeutics journal published a literature review into acupuncture for anxiety and concluded that the evidence suggests acupuncture is comparable with cognitive behavioral therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a common intervention used in the treatment of anxiety (2).
- Stress and wellbeing in Australia survey 2014: Key findings, Australian Psychology Society. http://www.psychology.org.au/Assets/Files/2014-NPW-Key-findings-survey.pdf
- Errington-Evans, N. (2012), Acupuncture for Anxiety. CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics, 18: 277–284. doi: 10.1111/j.1755-5949.2011.00254.x http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1755-5949.2011.00254.x/full
- Sparrow K.,and Golianu, B.,. Does Acupuncture Reduce Stress Over Time? A Clinical Heart Rate Variability Study in Hypertensive Patients, Medical Acupuncture. October 2014, 26(5): 286-294. doi:10.1089/acu.2014.1050 http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/acu.2014.1050
Research: Depression (top)
A 2015 study investigated the effects of acupuncture on women with chronic liver disease, evaluating their insomnia, anxiety and depression scores. The results showed a significant decrease in the severity for depression (6.6 ± 2.8, 4.2 ± 2.6, 3.1 ± 2.7 (p=0.01)) amongst the participants in the acupuncture group. In addition to this another study found that acupuncture combined with an selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI; a class of anti-depressant) showed a statistically significant benefit for patients with depression over the 6-week period compared with SSRIs alone (3). They also noted that this reduction in symptoms started in the first week and continued throughout the 6 weeks of treatment (3). Furthermore, a recent study found acupuncture to be cost-effective compared with counselling or usual care alone (2).
- Kim SM, Kwak MA, Choi AR, Shin IH, Kim BS, et al. (2015) The Effects of Acupuncture on Insomnia, Anxiety, and Depression in Women with Chronic Liver Disease: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Altern Integr Med 4: 194. doi:10.4172/2327-5162.1000194 http://www.esciencecentral.org/journals/the-effects-of-acupuncture-on-insomnia-anxiety-and-depression-in-womenwith-chronic-liver-disease-a-randomized-controlled-trial-2327-5162-1000194.pdf
- Spackman E, Richmond S, Sculpher M, Bland M, Brealey S, Gabe R, et al. (2014) Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of Acupuncture, Counselling and Usual Care in Treating Patients with Depression: The Results of the ACUDep Trial. PLoS ONE 9(11): e113726. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0113726
- Wang, T., Wang, L., Tao, W., & Chen, L., Acupuncture combined with an antidepressant for patients with depression in hospital: a pragmatic randomised controlled trial, Acupunct Med acupmed-2013-010469 Published Online First: 29 April 2014 (Link to research)
Research: Migraines and Headaches (top)
The Cochrane Collaboration conducted a review into the evidence available for acupuncture for migraine prophylaxis and found that there is consistent evidence that acupuncture provides additional benefit in the treatment of acute migraine attacks when being utilized as the primary treatment method or in conjunction with routine care (1). Furthermore, they also concluded that the available studies suggested acupuncture to be as effective as, or possibly more effective than, prophylactic drug treatment, and has fewer adverse effects (1). Their recommendation was that ‘acupuncture should be considered a treatment option for patients willing to undergo this treatment’ (1).
Additional to this, the Cochrane Collaboration also conducted a review into the use of acupuncture for tension type headaches with the authors concluding that acupuncture could be a valuable non-pharmacological tool in patients with frequent episodic or chronic tension-type headaches (2).
- Linde K, Allais G, Brinkhaus B, Manheimer E, Vickers A, White AR. Acupuncture for migraine prophylaxis. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2009, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD001218. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001218.pub2 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD001218.pub2/pdf/abstract
- Linde K, Allais G, Brinkhaus B, Manheimer E, Vickers A, White AR. Acupuncture for tension-type headache. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2009, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD007587. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD007587. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD007587/pdf/abstract
Research: Neck Pain (top)
Neck pain is one of the top 3 musculoskeletal complaints (1). The most common treatment methods for neck pain are drug and exercise therapy. With drug therapy presenting many possible side effects and exercise therapy having failed to produce desired results, many people are now using acupuncture as their prime treatment method for their neck pain. The Cochrane Collaboration reviewed the evidence for acupuncture in the treatment for neck disorders and found that the data suggests:
- Acupuncture relieves pain better than some sham treatments, measured at the end of the treatment (1).
- Those who received acupuncture reported less pain at short term follow-up than those on a waiting list (1).
- Acupuncture is more effective than inactive treatments for relieving pain post-treatment and this is maintained at short-term follow-up (1)
- Trinh K, Graham N, Gross A, Goldsmith CH, Wang E, Cameron ID, Kay TM, Cervical Overview Group. Acupuncture for neck disorders. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2006, Issue 3. Art. No.: CD004870. DOI:10.1002/14651858.CD004870.pub3. (Link to research)
Research: Chronic Pain (top)
Chronic pain is a condition that effects every moment of every day for its sufferers. This debilitating condition can take a heavy psychological and physical toll on the body. A recent study into the effects of acupuncture on chronic pain found “acupuncture is effective for the treatment of chronic pain” and is therefore a reasonable referral option (1). In addition to this the authors noted a significant differences between true and sham acupuncture indicating that acupuncture is more than a placebo (1). The Chronic Pain Australia association also recommends acupuncture are the preferred treatment of chronic pain (refer to their videos at http://www.chronicpainaustralia.org.au/index.php/2013-09-04-07-55-27/treatments).
- Vickers, A. J., et. al. Acupuncture for Chronic Pain, Individual Patient Data Meta-analysis, 2012 American Medical Association;172(19):1444-1453 (Link to research)
Research: Insomnia (top)
A staggering 1 in 3 Australians suffer from at least a mild form of insomnia. The most common form of intervention was the use of sleeping pills, and whilst they may provide initial relief, have been shown to be ineffective with continued use. A 2012 clinical trial into the effects of acupuncture on insomnia found that acupuncture:
- Improves sleep quality, total sleep time, sleep efficiency and daytime functioning. This was well maintained to follow-up, whereas the effect of sham acupuncture and estazolam (common sleeping medication) was not significant when the intervention ended (1).
- Was better than sham acupuncture and estazolam in improving sleep quality (at 2-month follow up) (1).
- Significantly improved daytime functioning (1).
- Guo, J.,Wang, L-P., Liu, C-Z., Zhang, J, Wang, G-L., Yi, J-H., and Cheng, J-L., Efficacy of Acupuncture for Primary Insomnia: A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial, Hindawi Publishing Corporation, Volume 2013, Article ID 163850, 10 pages (here) (Link to research)