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Is there anything acupuncture could do for hypermobility as a whole body issue?

Q:  Is there anything acupuncture could do for hypermobility as a whole body issue, rather than addressing the individual symptoms (primarily aches and pains in various parts of the body)?

A:   A great deal depends on whether the hypermobility is a single issue within the body or whether it arises as one of a number of symptoms of a condition such as Ehler Danlos Syndrome on which we gave our advice a while ago as follows please click here





As a stand-alone condition, however, there are ways of understanding types of tissue, like muscle or bone, within Chinese medicine which are entirely different to the understanding of Western medicine. In terms of hypermobility of the joints the Chinese medicine practitioner might look, for example, at the functioning of the Liver and Gall Bladder which are said to be responsible for the condition and flexibility of the muscles and tendons of the body. Treating this part of the system is thought to influence all muscle and tendon in the body. 




Note, though, how the Organs are capitalised to distinguish them from the western organs of the same name. The Chinese concept of an Organ is far wider than its western counterpart, and embraces a range of functions within body, mind, emotion and spirit. If a practitioner were to find other functional disturbances within these Organs which suggested an overall weakness, there may be a better possiblity that improving their efficiency, either directly or indirectly through treatment of the whole system, may have an effect on the condition from which you are suffering.




However, there is very little research to underpin any firm recommendations, and we have to tread very carefully to avoid claims that we are creating unreasonable expectations. Our position, however, is that Chinese medicine has been around for over 2000 years and has dealt and still deals with exactly the same reported symptoms as western medicine does today. Hypermoblity is not a 20th century phenomenon. As such, there have been many classifications of the way that it presents within the various differentiations of Chinese medicine, and with each classification, or syndrome, there is often a range of possible treatment suggestions. Even where a specific syndrome does not exist the essence of Chinese medicine is that if a system is in balance symptoms are said to resolve, and very early styles of treatment which remain popular today were largely asymptomatic, treating the person rather than the disease, as the saying goes.




The one note of caution is that conditions such as hypermoblity are not likely to resolve quickly, if they resolve at all, and it is very important to establish verifiable outcome measures to chart whether there has been any progress, and to ensure that if you go ahead with treatment your progress is carefully amd regularly reviewed. This will avoid any lack of clarity in results and expectation.




Our best advice remains, as always, to visit a BAcC member local to you to have a face to face assessment of whether acupuncture might be beneficial to you.     





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