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So far Lee Moden has created 25 blog entries.

Mother’s Day & The Earth Element

By |2017-07-05T14:19:54+00:00March 24th, 2017|Categories: Earth Element, Fertility|

Earth and the Mother

It’s Mother’s day on Sunday so it seems like a good time to consider how this relates to Chinese medicine philosophy.

First of all, Yin and Yang provide a way to understand all phenomena – these are the interelated, mutually-dependent qualities that relate on one level, to male and female energy. From these come the expression of Yin and Yang as they expand into the 5 Elements (sometimes called the 5 Phases as they relate to changes between qualities of things).

The 5 Elements are Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood and although they relate to material substances, in Chinese medicine, they relate to all things – including season, climate, colour, sounds, odours, emotions, bodily organs and functions and many many other correspondences.

The element of Earth relates to the Mother as it was traditionally drawn in the centre, with the four other elements at the periphery (marking the compass directions and four seasons). It was drawn in the centre, because it relates to the ability to coordinate and organise the movement of energy between things. It is no surprise then, that it relates to the mother, in the centre, coordinating all the family events, ensuring everyone is nourished and supported – particularly through change (sound familiar?).

For some, this energy is present, through the ‘adoptive’ Mother which could be a blood-relative, but could be of course, simply someone that takes care of us and provides these qualities for us as we grow up. Earth energy is not restricted to women – it can be expressed by a single father who brings to the best of his ability, these female, Earthy qualities to his children.

These are the qualities of being receptive, acknowledging and supportive and someone who finds these qualities in themselves can listen and respond to their children and gently encourage them out of difficult situations so they can grow and realise their full potential in the world as adults.

Earth and Nourishment

It is no surprise then, that the organs of nourishment and digestion are central in the body and so the Earth element (the Mother) gives the power to nourish and nurture. This continues of course during pregnancy as the Earth energy brings nourishment through the placenta to the foetus and after birth through breast feeding, weening and beyond.

However, this nourishment is not just about food – the Earth energy supports the process of nourishment on all levels -and in terms of the Mother, the ability to nourish the emotional development of her child and literally to ‘give birth’ to things and then ensure they are nourished to grow and develop….it could be new ideas, new projects and it could be, that this person has the ability to support others in realising these things – this is all due to the power of the Yin, feminine energy of Earth. Sometimes we call people ‘Earthy’ – we may not realise it, but we are most likely referring to these qualities.

Earth and Stability

Other qualities that the Earth energy brings us is stability and protection. It may not be something that we normally consider on a day-to-day basis, but inherent in the Mother, is this incredible potential to bring life into the world and to sustain it through tough times by bringing stability. It is the energy that helps us to feel grounded – consider how we might feel if the earth beneath us literally shook. In the UK we don’t get sizeable earthquakes, so we enjoy the constant stability that the earth provides us.

The protective aspect of Earth energy often shows itself when the Mother sees the potential for danger – have you noticed in some women whom typically are more quiet or introvert, that since having children there is a shift in their ability to be more direct when it comes to the safety of their children….all driven by the instinctive protective quality of Earth energy.

The Earth element is in the centre of all the processes of life and provides the axis for everything else to revolve around, ensure everything continues to work. It’s not unlike the relentless, unceasing work of the Mother, ensuring (literally in some families) everything is held together. In acupuncture treatment, it is sometimes necessary to strengthen this particular energy if we are unable to absorb nourishment from food.  In terms of Chinese medicine thinking, this issue can manifest as obvious imbalances such as anorexia or bulimia, unusual eating habits or cravings or digestive complaints such as acid reflux, recurrent nausea or bloating. It can also affect us emotionally, when we have issues with being acknowledged (think of the image of the Mother intently listening to her child express themselves) or we simply don’t feel nourished by life.

The complexities of the relationships people have with their Mothers, with being Mothers themselves or with how they respond to dominant Motherly influences (which can be found in both men and women) cannot be underestimated – whether we like it or not, it is one of the most powerful and influencing factors in our lives and especially in our early lives.

So if you do decide to celebrate Mother’s Day, maybe think bigger than the woman who does the housework, or grunted their way through the pain of labour to bring you into the world…..think of how all things exist because of the subtle interplay of the 5 Elements…. and Earth, is a pivotal influence to all of them.

Contact Lee

If you have any questions about a condition you have and whether acupuncture may help, please contact Lee on 01837 214888 (for acupuncture in North Tawton) or 01392 927299 (for acupuncture in Exeter).

Chocolate, Fish ‘n Chips and the Heart

By |2017-07-05T14:20:36+00:00March 8th, 2017|Categories: Food energetics|

Here it comes again….that repeating news article full of justifications that eating chocolate is more than okay….it’s good for you!

Take a look at the article here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/food-and-drink/healthy-eating/chocolate-10-health-reasons-you-should-eat-more-of-it/

In Chinese medicine, there are certainly some parallels – foods with a bitter taste stimulates the heart energy (the organ and it’s energetic meridian), so in terms of dark chocolate particularly, it can be a simple support for the heart.

In terms of medical science, chocolate encourages the release of serotonin in the brain- the ‘feel good’ chemical, plus, it contains PEA, PhenEthylAmineome, which apparently increases the same type of endorphins we create when we are in love. This resonates with the Chinese Medicine view, where the heart relates to love, warmth, intimacy and compassion (no surprise then, that traditionally we draw the red heart to refer to love – and giving chocolates to a loved one is not uncommon…. remember the original Milk Tray adverts?!!!)

There’s one small point to make however, that it’s not all about quantity! If we like something, we tend to want more of it, simply to get more of that feel-good feeling. The secret lies in balance – knowing when we genuinely are ‘calling in’ a specific food-type or ‘flavour’ we need to balance our bodies (and then having an amount which is medicinal and not overburdening).

For example, a ‘therapeutic’ choccie after an emotional shock affecting the heart, or before a woman starts her period (where a little dark chocolate might be beneficial to the heart and circulation of blood in preparation for it to be released) might work well…. against when we are simply bored, needy, frustrated or we choose to eat it because it has become part of a routine or because someone told us it’s good for us (where for some, it can be a migraine trigger, or can cause restless sleeping patterns or palpitations).

What we should avoid, is demonising any of the foods – the more you push yourself away from something because it’s been labelled in your head or by others around you as ‘naughty’…the more the desire to hide away and in desperation, consume more than you need. Following your intuition (from the heart!) and literally keeping a light-hearted approach to these things is a good place to start.

It reminds me of something that one of my teachers once said to a student who was struggling with trying so hard to ‘do the right thing’:

‘…you know, sometimes I fancy fish ‘n chips

(big pause)

…..so I have fish ‘n chips!’

(you can swap the ‘fish and chips’ for chocolate!)

 

Contact Lee

If you have any questions about a condition you have and whether acupuncture may help, please contact Lee on 01837 214888 (for acupuncture in North Tawton) or 01392 927299 (for acupuncture in Exeter).

Acupuncture for musculoskeletal pain and rehabilitation

By |2017-07-05T14:21:09+00:00February 20th, 2017|Categories: musculoskeletal pain and injury|

Take a look at this short video explaining the benefits of acupuncture for musculoskeletal problems such as those from sports injuries, with the classical presentation of pain, swelling and limited range of movement. We use various techniques to facilitate recovery including acupuncture, cupping and moxibustion.

 

Other Research

People find acupuncture can bring relief for all sorts of health problems and find it can help to maintain overall well-being during times of heightened stress.

Please take a look at the Research Fact Sheets page, produced by the British Acupuncture Council. These fact sheets show good quality research trials, highlighting how acupuncture may be affecting the body’s nervous system, endocrine system and circulation to restore health.

If you are interested in what patients have to say about their experience of acupuncture, please read the comments on the Patient Experiences page.

Contact Lee

If you have any questions about a condition you have and whether acupuncture may help, please contact Lee on 01837 214888 (for acupuncture in North Tawton) or 01392 927299 (for acupuncture in Exeter).

 

Out of the box – acupuncture for the individual

By |2017-07-05T14:22:30+00:00February 15th, 2017|Categories: re-orientating towards Health, Treating the individual|

I love this video. It expresses the approach that we as acupuncturists take when people come for treatment.

https://www.facebook.com/JayShettyIW/videos/1748936578754133/

What do I mean by this?

Well, we need to know about any medical conditions (whether that’s primarily a physical or mental-emotional issue) that you have been diagnosed with – or we could say, in relation to this video – the ‘box’ you’ve been assigned.

Acupuncture is holistic – so any medical diagnosis is without doubt, essential information which helps to guide your practitioner. However, acupuncture treatment places less emphasis on treating the symptoms or the condition and much more on treating the person. In Chinese medicine, we believe that by working in this way and waking up your innate healing response, balance and wellness can be returned to body and mind.

In acupuncture, we spend a lot of time getting to know you and how you relate to your problem and will ask many questions such as: when did you begin to notice things changing, what makes the problem worse/better, do the symptoms change in nature or intensity during different seasons, climates, time of day or during specific times of stress, do the symptoms move from one place in the body to another – and many more pieces of the jigsaw that express how you respond to what’s going on for you.

We do this, because you are totally unique and even though you might have been put into a box by friends, family, society or even by yourself – say, based on your medical condition, in the acupuncture treatment room, these labels are not seen as central to your healing.

Watch the video – it says many things!

Contact Lee

If you have any questions about a condition you have and whether acupuncture may help, please contact Lee on 01837 214888 (for acupuncture in North Tawton) or 01392 927299 (for acupuncture in Exeter).

Back, Neck & Chronic Pain

By |2017-07-05T14:23:08+00:00February 7th, 2017|Categories: pain|

It’s a good day for those with pain who are considering acupuncture – this new report explains why…

CHRONIC PAIN

Acupuncture is better than usual care and better than sham treatment (going through the motion of performing the treatment without actually performing the treatment).(Vickers et al, 2012)

The landmark paper that showed that, based on the largest dataset of high quality randomised trials, acupuncture was significantly superior both to usual care and sham treatment, for patients with chronic headache, back/neck pain and osteoarthritis:

  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22965186

Acupuncture effects persist after the end of a course of treatment (MacPherson et al, 2016)

One of the consistent criticisms by NICE (The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence) has been that the effects of acupuncture are only significant in the short term.

This new analysis of the best available acupuncture multi-trial data indicates otherwise, with about 90 per cent of the benefit of acupuncture relative to controls sustained at 12 months.

Patients can generally be reassured that treatment effects persist:

  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27764035

LOW BACK PAIN

Many other reviewers disagree with NICE’s interpretation of the evidence on acupuncture. For instance, these two heavy-weights:

  • SIGN, the Scottish equivalent to NICE: http://www.sign.ac.uk/pdf/SIGN136.pdf
  • Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, part of the US Department of Health and Human Services, the official supplier of healthcare evidence reviews in the US (Chou et al, 2016): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK350276/

Also, the same view of lasting benefit is expressed by:

  • A systematic review of existing guidelines for making recommendations in Ontario (Wong et al, 2016): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27712027
  • An overview of systematic reviews from New Zealand/Northern Ireland (Liu et al, 2015): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25821485
  • A network meta-analysis comparing 21 different therapies for sciatica (Lewis et al 2015).

These show acupuncture is clearly superior to exercise therapy and radio frequency treatment (ultrasound), both of which are recommended by NICE: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24412033

 Other Research

People find acupuncture can bring relief for all sorts of health problems and find it can help to maintain overall well-being during times of heightened stress.

Please take a look at the Research Fact Sheets page, produced by the British Acupuncture Council. These fact sheets show good quality research trials, highlighting how acupuncture may be affecting the body’s nervous system, endocrine system and circulation to restore health.

If you are interested in what patients have to say about their experience of acupuncture, please read the comments on the Patient Experiences page.

Contact Lee

If you have any questions about a condition you have and whether acupuncture may help, please contact Lee on 01837 214888 (for acupuncture in North Tawton) or 01392 927299 (for acupuncture in Exeter).

Fertility Issues and Acupuncture

By |2017-07-05T14:24:05+00:00February 5th, 2017|Categories: Fertility|

Fertility Issues

1 in 6 couples in the UK are affected by fertility issues according to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority.

The typical identifiable causes of infertility include:

– Ovulatory disorders in 27% of couples

– Tubal damage in 14% of couples

– Low sperm count or low sperm quality in 19% of couples.

However, for a huge 30% of couples, the cause of infertility remains unexplained(1).

The difficulties couples encounter when facing fertility problems can unsurprisingly, lead to a great deal of emotional stress. Research suggests this may be a significant factor influencing further decreased chances of conception(2).

Acupuncture is proving to be a popular treatment choice for infertility(3) and it’s benefits are possibly due to it’s ability to help people deal with these stresses:

The Acupuncture Approach

A traditional Chinese medicine consultation and detailed diagnosis may point towards one or more root causes. In essence, these can relate to a disruption in the flow of Qi (see the Qi and Meridian Section) producing a significant disharmony of body, mind and spirit.

In Chinese medicine theory, all of these need to be in subtle union for life to be created and sustained throughout the pregnancy and in order to facilitate this, a completely tailored treatment plan is formulated and adjusted at each treatment to restore balance and help you to function optimally.

Acupuncture is safe for use with or without assisted conception support such as IVF – the only difference, is that treatment is coordinated and adjusted at different times of the IVF cycle in order to support the process at critical stages and to deal with the common stresses that arise as part of the journey.

Current research

Randomised trials in China have demonstrated significantly better pregnancy rates for acupuncture than medication(4), however, these studies may not be of a high quality and unfortunately, (at the time of writing this article), in the West, clinical trials on acupuncture for natural fertility (i.e. not as an adjunct to assisted conception) are almost non-existent, though there is a small amount of positive evidence(5).

The good news…..

Research has at least, established plausible mechanisms to explain how acupuncture may benefit fertility:

Regulating fertility hormones – stress and other factors can disrupt the function of the hypothalamic pituitary-ovarian axis (HPOA), causing hormonal imbalances that can negatively impact fertility. Acupuncture has been shown to affect hormone levels by promoting the release of beta-endorphin in the brain, which affects the release of gonadotrophin releasing hormone by the hypothalamus, follicle stimulating hormone from the pituitary gland, and oestrogen and progesterone levels from the ovary(6).

Further details of these processes are emerging, for example mRNA expression of hormones, growth factors and other neuropeptides(7).

Increasing blood flow to the ovaries and uterus – stress also stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, which causes constriction of ovarian arteries. Acupuncture inhibits this sympathetic activity, improving blood flow to the ovaries(8), enhancing the environment in which ovarian follicles develop. It also increases blood flow to the uterus(9), improving the thickness of the endometrial lining and increasing the chances of embryo implantation.

Counteracting the effects of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) – PCOS is one of the most common causes of female infertility. By reducing sympathetic nerve activity and balancing hormone levels, acupuncture has been shown to reduce the number of ovarian cysts, stimulate ovulation, enhance blastocyst implantation and regulate the menstrual cycle in women with PCOS(10). It may also help to control secondary effects of PCOS such as obesity and anorexia(11).

References

1. NCCWCH, 2004.
2. Eugster & Vingerhoets, 1999.
3. Smith 2010
4. Yang 2005, Chen 2007, Song 2008
5. Gerhard 1992, Stener-Victorin 2000, 2008, 2010.
6. Ng 2008, Huang 2008, Lim 2010, Stener-Victorin 2010.
7. He 2009
8. Stener-Victorin 2006, Lim 2010
9. Stener-Victorin 1996, Huang 2008
10. Stener-Victorin 2000, 2008, 2009, Zhang 2009
11. Lim 2010.

Please note, the full links for the research listed above, can be viewed with their relevant conclusions in the British Acupuncture Council Research Fact Sheet, which you can find here.

If you are interested in what patients have to say about their experience of acupuncture, please read the comments on the Patient Experiences page.

Contact Lee

If you have any questions about a condition you have and whether acupuncture may help, please contact Lee on 01837 214888 (for acupuncture in North Tawton) or 01392 927299 (for acupuncture in Exeter).

Spring is beginning!

By |2017-07-05T14:26:27+00:00February 2nd, 2017|Categories: Seasonal Change|

Today (3rd Feb) is Li Chun 立春 – The Start of Spring in the Chinese calendar and one of the 4 main seasons within the calendar of 24 seasonal shifts. Watch out for the wind and how it can create sudden-onset symptoms of seasonal illness or latent disease.

You might be thinking how does that relate to us in the UK?! Well, both China and the UK are in the Northern hemisphere, so we both observe the same movements in the sky – including where the Sun is at any given time. Our seasons are dictated by this movement.

You can already see the effects of Li Chun (Start of Spring) with the movement upwards and outwards of plant life, the busyness of the birds and other wildlife and temperature fluctuations as the warmth (the Yang energy) is building and becoming apparent.

The dominant energy of Spring is the wind. This type of energy, stimulates and triggers the process of new life in nature, but it can also trigger all sorts of problems in the body, if a persons immune system is poor. Typical symptoms from the ‘invasion’ of this wind are:

  • itchy skin with or without a rash
  • itchy, dry or sore eyes
  • watering eyes
  • sore or itchy throat
  • itchy nose, sneezing
  • stiffness in the muscles of the upper body especially
  • headaches and migraines

This time can also highlight issues with frustration, feeling stuck and anger as the rising, expansive energy (if not balanced) can become reckless, or is simply not strong enough to meet the changes around us, leading to depression.

Keeping the Yang acupuncture meridians of the neck and head covered from the wind is one simple way to avoid some more physical problems, but if you are interested in finding out how acupuncture can help support your immune system and emotions through seasonal change, please contact Lee at the practice.

 


Questions about specific conditions and how acupuncture may help

People find acupuncture can bring relief for all sorts of health problems and find it can help to maintain overall well-being during times of heightened stress.

Please take a look at the Research Fact Sheets page, produced by the British Acupuncture Council. These fact sheets show good quality research trials, highlighting how acupuncture may be affecting the body’s nervous system, endocrine system and circulation to restore health.

If you are interested in what patients have to say about their experience of acupuncture, please read the comments on the Patient Experiences page.

Contact Lee

If you have any questions about a condition you have and whether acupuncture may help, please contact Lee on 01837 214888 (for acupuncture in North Tawton) or 01392 927299 (for acupuncture in Exeter).

Re-orientating towards Health

By |2017-07-05T14:27:01+00:00January 21st, 2017|Categories: re-orientating towards Health|

Fed up taking the same road with your health?… why not try acupuncture –
The Classical Acupuncture Practice in North Tawton is not so far away and there’s great access from these local areas:

Under 10 minutes away:
Sampford Courtenay
Trecott
Bondleigh
Bow
Broadnymett
Honeychurch

10 – 15 minutes away:
Belstone
Exbourne
Jacobstowe
Nymet Tracey
Okehampton
Spreyton
Sticklepath
Whiddon Down
Winkleigh
Zeal Monachorum

Lee also runs a clinic in Exeter.


Questions about specific conditions and how acupuncture may help

People find acupuncture can bring relief for all sorts of health problems and find it can help to maintain overall well-being during times of heightened stress.

Please take a look at the Research Fact Sheets page, produced by the British Acupuncture Council. These fact sheets show good quality research trials, highlighting how acupuncture may be affecting the body’s nervous system, endocrine system and circulation to restore health.

If you are interested in what patients have to say about their experience of acupuncture, please read the comments on the Patient Experiences page.

Contact Lee

If you have any questions about a condition you have and whether acupuncture may help, please contact Lee on 01837 214888 (for acupuncture in North Tawton) or 01392 927299 (for acupuncture in Exeter).

 

Big Cold – Seasonal Changes

By |2017-07-05T14:27:53+00:00January 10th, 2017|Categories: Seasonal Change|

In classical acupuncture, we take the seasonal changes into diagnostic consideration. The body is directly affected by these changes.

Even though there are four main seasonal shifts, the Chinese mapped out a total of 24 seasonal movements in a year! We’re now coming up for an important one on January 20th – Da Han 大 寒 or ‘Big Cold’.

So watch out for the coming cold as we move towards the 20th and even if the temperature on that date is not freezing, the thermal ‘quality’ of the energy that comes through, can still cause the effects of cold on the body, so wrap up warm, avoid too many cold foods and drinks and take it a bit easy around this date to help the immune system cope!

If you’re interested, you can find out about the full 24 seasons that classical acupuncturists take into consideration, as represented by the path of the sun across the ecliptic – click here for more.


Questions about specific conditions and how acupuncture may help

People find acupuncture can bring relief for all sorts of health problems and find it can help to maintain overall well-being during times of heightened stress.

Please take a look at the Research Fact Sheets page, produced by the British Acupuncture Council. These fact sheets show good quality research trials, highlighting how acupuncture may be affecting the body’s nervous system, endocrine system and circulation to restore health.

If you are interested in what patients have to say about their experience of acupuncture, please read the comments on the Patient Experiences page.

Contact Lee

If you have any questions about a condition you have and whether acupuncture may help, please contact Lee on 01837 214888 (for acupuncture in North Tawton) or 01392 927299 (for acupuncture in Exeter).

Open day…come and ask questions!

By |2017-01-04T08:38:47+00:00January 4th, 2017|Categories: practice|

If you have been considering acupuncture and would like to find out more about it’s background, how it works and whether it might be able to help you, I’ll be at the Healing Hub (12a The Square) in North Tawton on Saturday 14th January 10am-1pm. Jean Hutchinson who runs the centre is kindly hosting me that day.

All are welcome – it’s a very informal day so please bring any questions or concerns! If you cannot make that day/time and would like to have a chat or meet me at the practice in North Tawton, please give me a call on 01837 214888 or email: info@classical-acupuncture.co.uk

Best wishes

Lee