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Frozen shoulder can be a difficult condition to treat. Our fact sheet on the website - please click here is not overly encouraging, but the main point to note here is that there haven't been a great many studies. What counts as 'frozen shoulder' can vary considerably and creating a number of groups with identical problems for trial purposes is not that straightforward.
 
One major problem with the shoulder joint is that it's mobility means a dependence on groups of muscles and a relatively open socket into which the head of the humerus fits. It is very easy for there to be a minor displacement or small dislocation of the joint, and equally easy for a problem with one set of muscles to cause a ripple effect throughout all of the groups holding the shoulder joint stable. There are often secondary problems which may need to be addressed.
 
Chinese medicine has obviously been used to treat problems like this for thousands of years, and as well as treating locally to where the problem is on the body there are a number of functional treatments which are aimed at affecting all muscles and a couple of 'empirical points', points which have been used for centuries to help with all shoulder problems. There are also points which can be used to help reduce some of the pain and inflammation which results from the muscle and tendon strains.
 
However, there is no doubt that it really pays to have treatment with someone who fully understands the dynamics of the joint in great detail and can make an informed and careful assessment of the precise problem. There are a considerable number of BAcC members who are also trained in osteopathy and physiotherapy, and equally a number of osteopaths and physios who use acupuncture on a regular basis, and the combination of manipulation, movement and acupuncture may be the optimum package.
 
It may be helpful to seek the advice of a BAcC member local to you. Most know of colleagues within their area who specialise in this kind of condition, and many also work very closely with local osteopaths and physiotherapists, and maybe able to put together a co-ordinated package of treatment to get you back to good health and mobility.   
 
 
 
 
 
 

The factsheet on our website  here outlines a number of systematic reviews and randomised control trials which show some positive evidence for the effect of acupuncture on hypertension/high blood pressure. Taken as a whole the evidence is not quite good enough for us to make unequivocal claims for the efficacy of treatment, but there are certainly a great many patients who, alongside their western medication, use acupuncture regularly to help to maintain a relaxed approach to life and to help to break the cycle of anxiety/tension leading to high BP leading to anxiety/tension into which people can become 'locked'.
 
Clearly the ancient Chinese did not have sphygmomanometers to measure blood pressure, and the diagnosis of the patient rested on the symptoms raising from the high BP which they experienced and some of the signs which a Chinese medicine practitioner looks for when taking the pulse at the wrist, looking at the tongue and a number of other indicators of imbalance. Not surprisingly the overlap between high BP and some of the syndromes into which the symptoms are grouped is very imprecise. This is one reason, for example, why research can prove problematic because the same reading of the BP in 20 patients can arise from 20 different diagnoses in Chinese medicine, which is not helpful if you're trying to standardise all the elements in a piece of research.
 
The best course of action, as we say in nearly every response, is to visit a local BAcC member and ask their advice face to face. There are no rules about how many sessions someone should have for a condition, and a great deal will depend on whether in the practitioner's view the problem is a part of a much deeper pattern of distress or whether there are simple problems like blockages in the energy flow which mght be the prime cause. All that we ask our members to do is to remember to set reasonable outcomes, to review treatment regularly and certainly to review progress after four or five sessions to ensure that it is worth continuing and to make sure that the patient is happy to keep coming in. 
 

 

This is a difficult question to answer. There is some evidence that acupuncture can help with PCOS, and a study of 24 patients in Goteberg is often cited as a positive indicator that acupuncture may well become a more widely used treatment. Certainly the author of this study
 
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3039006/
 
seems confident that acupuncture in particular and alternative/complementary medicine in general may well be what a great many women with the condition now turn to as a treatment strategy.
 
However, the evidence of success in treating one symptom of PCOS such as hair loss simply doesn't exist, and it might be the case that acupuncture could effect useful changes in many aspects of the condition but have no effect on the hair. If this is what the main focus of concern is, then we couldn't say with any confidence that research supports a positive recommendation.
 
However, working within an entirely different paradigm of medicine, which means that the symptoms a patient describes and the signs he or she sees are interpreted in an entirely different way. For a Chinese medicine practitioner the signs and symptoms associated with PCOS in the West may be interpreted in a number of different ways in Chinese medicine, and the treatment geared to the individual balances of the patient. In that context, there may be ways in which the hair thinning and loss may make sense, and be amenable to treatment. Anecdotally we hear of people having great successes, but the reports are self-selecting; happy people want to tell everyone, people for whom it hasn't worked tend simply to move on to another modality.
 
It would be well worth visiting a BAcC member local to you for advice, though, to see what they would recommend having had a chance to talk to you face to face about the problems you are experiencing. We trust that they will give you honest and impartial advice about your best options.  

 

Q: I suffer from a parasomnia - night terrors and the GP suggested acupuncture may help. Can you please advise if it might? I have had a sleep study and this is an official medical diagnosis.


A: Night terrors are one of a number of disorders, such as sleepwalking, which occur alongside sleep, and are not simply bad nightmares, as any sufferer like you can attest. There is not a great deal of evidence from the world of formal research about the effect of acupuncture on night terrors. They are more common in children than adults, and there are many anecdotal reports of acupuncture having a beneficial effect on them, but these are not enough for us to make any claims to efficacy - the advertising rules are very strict on this point!
 
However, it is fair to say that night terrors are not an invention on the 20th century, and people have always suffered from them. Chinese medicine, which works from an entirely different paradigm (conceptual system and system of diagnosis and treatment) has a number of ways of fitting the descriptions which people give of their night terror symptoms into clearly defined categories. Most involved a disturbance in the qi, the energy flow of the body, and tend to describe night terrors and similar conditions in terms of the qi not descending properly at night time and its disturbance then leading to forms of unusual behaviour and experience during sleep. Even in the absence of specific defined syndromes, a Chinese medicine practitioner would see the symptom as a sign that the whole system was out of balance, and use his or her skills to determine where amd what imbalances there were in the system and attempt to understand the overall pattern and then correct them.
 
The chances are that the problem is not an isolated phenomenon in the person, and there will be other imbalances which the person may not even recognise as such which make the whole pattern a great deal clearer when a practitioner can see the person and discuss their symptoms face to face. We would recommend that your best option is to seek out a BAcC member local to you and see if they can spare a few minutes, hopefully without charge, to see whether they think they can help you. 
 

There are no hard and fast rules about the frequency of treatment. The majority of BAcC members tend to see patients weekly, often beginning with a course of four or five sessions, and then reviewing progress to decide how much further treatment may be required and whether acupuncture remains the best option. For more acute situations it is not unknown for someone to have two or even three sessions in a week for a short period.
 
In Chinese hospital outpatient departments it is not unusual to have a course of ten treatments with one treatment a day. This would be difficult to replicate in UK practice, though, where the majority of practitioners are self-employed and would not realistically be able to charge patients their normal rates for such an intensive burst of treatment.
 
A great deal depends on the severity of the symptoms which the patient presents. Lower back problems can be chronic or acute, and it would be normal to treat acute conditions a little more frequently.  
 


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