The main technique I use in clinic is acupuncture. All needles I use are pre-sterilised and single use. The needles are very fine – 0.2mm-0.3mm in width. You do not feel these needles like you would a typical hyperdermic such as during blood test or innoculation.
I use three main acupuncture techniques.
1) The first is trigger point or motor point acupuncture points. I target adhesions in muscles or the area where the motor nerve enters the muscle. Stimulating these areas frequently causes the muscles to twitch and releases the stuck muscle. In most cases this will result in a lessening of pain and an increase in range of movement of the affected joint.
2) The second style is distal acupuncture as practiced by Master Tung and popularised by Dr Tan. Distal acupuncture involves placing needles away from the painful area. This technique tends to be effective in acute pain where the area is highly sensitive to touch.
3) The third Style is Neuropuncture. In this style nerve pathways are targetted. It can be very effective for neuropathy and conditions in which nerves have been damaged or in which nerves are the primary component of pain such as carpal tunnel syndrome or peripheral neuropathy.
I use electro acupuncture in stubborn neurological or musculo-skeletal conditions. It’s not painful. You just feel a buzzing, tapping or twitching around the needles. In the video above I’m targeting the infraspinatus and teres minor – two muscles of the rotator cuff. Because I’m targeting the motor point of both muscles you can see them twitching on the video. This isn’t painful and results in a decrease in pain and increase in movement – in this case external rotation of the shoulder.
Tui Na Massage
Whilst acupuncture is by far my most effective weapon to treat pain, most pain needs some level of massage. Tui Na masssage is as old as acupuncture (over 2000 years) and very effective at reducing tension and loosening tight tissue. Where appropriate I add Tui Na to my acupuncture treatements to improve efficacy.
Gua Sha is a very effective treatment if you have superficial tightness in tissue. I use it when there are knots near the surface of the skin. I use a solid tool – made of jade in this demonstration – to “steam-roller” these knots. You’ll notice in this demonstration that the skin gets red at the end of treatment. This is a prerequesite for effective treatment.
A group at Harvard Medical School analysed the effects of gua sha on mice and found that gua sha upregulated gene expression for an enzyme that is an anti-oxidant and cytoprotectant, heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1). What this means is that gua sha has anti-inflammatory and immune boosting effects.
Its most effective in alleviating pain or in mitigating inflammatory disease processes.
Skin, muscle and facsia is sucked into the cups. It breaks down adhesions in tissues. Think of it like a reverse massage. In the demonstration above I’m using fire cupping. The flame is used to create a vacuum in the cup. This can equally be achived with suction cups where a vacuum pump is connected to the top of cups.