From the category archives:

chronic pain

How Qi Gong can help with Fibromyalgia and CFS

by Ed

Getting enough sleep and exercise is crucial to the wellbeing of those suffering with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. Qi gong can be very helpful in both areas. Qi gong is a Chinese form of therapeutic exercise and meditation. There are many different styles that have developed over the centuries.

According to Chinese Medicine, FM and CFS are due to a deficiency and a stagnation of the body’s vital energy. There may also be latent toxins (viruses, bacteria, etc.) in the body. Qi gong, which means energy work can increase our store of vital energy, improve it’s flow and strengthen the immune system, which can help expel the latent toxins.

The movements in most forms of qi gong are gentle and flowing like the movements of tai chi, making it easier for people with low energy reserves to do them. They provide the body with needed exercise while slowly building strength and stamina. Meditative forms of qi gong help to calm an agitated mind and body, improve sleep, and strengthen the immune system. Most practitioners also report an increased pain tolerance.

If you live near Berkeley California, check out Dr. Bingkun Hu. He is an excellent teacher of the Wild Goose style of Qi gong. Wild Goose includes both active and meditative qi gong forms. You might also want to check out Ken Cohen’s The Essential Qigong Training Course.

One of my favorite qi gong meditations is the inner smile meditation. If you would like to download a free mp3 of the inner smile meditation, mention it in your comment, below.

Wave goodbye to frozen shoulder

by Ed

Time To Run
Creative Commons License photo credit: blentley

Frozen shoulder is limiting and it can be painful. In Chinese medicine it is called 50 year shoulder because people tend to get it at middle age. Now you can learn how to avoid it, and how to to recover from it.

The most important thing in avoiding frozen shoulder is keeping it moving. Do gentle range of motion exercises every day, to keep the shoulder joint fully mobile. If you injure your shoulder, get treatment to heal it quickly. Avoid putting ice on it. Ice, though popular in the West, is considered harmful by the Chinese medical practitioners. It causes blood to coagulate and tendons to stiffen.

Treating Frozen shoulder

If you already have frozen shoulder, the therapy obviously changes. Exercise to increase range of motion, although painful, is vitally necessary. See an acupuncturist who specializes in injury management, or a physical therapist, for a good set of exercises targeted to your limitations. Regular deep massage, to break up the adhesions is very helpful. Use moist heat on the shoulder joint, daily. Wrap a hot moist towel around the shoulder and leave it in place for about 15 minutes.

Using Chinese herbal plasters and liniments: There are many liniments and herbal plasters designed for

701 Plaster

701 Plaster

various stages in injury management. 701plasters are the best plaster for frozen shoulder. It comes in a long roll, and you can cut off a piece with scissors. You may want two or three pieces at a time, as it won’t stick as well going around the joint. Peel off the plastic and place the plaster on the joint. You can leave it on for 24 hours. After a break for a day put another one on. Some people don’t like to walk around smelling like Chinese medicine, so they only leave it on over night.

The most easily available liniment that is useful for Frozen shoulder is Zheng Gu Shui. Like 701 plaster, Zheng Gu Shui is very warming, it panetrates the muscles and improves blood circulation. Massage the liniment in to the shoulder and the tight muscle around the shoulder, twice a day.

Click image to buy

Click image to buy

As both 701 Plasters and Zheng Gu Shui are very warming, they should not be used on acute injuries, or

when inflammation is present. However they are useful other chronic injuries and arthritis, and other aches and pains that are worse when it is cold.

Acupressure Points for Frozen Shoulder

There are a number of points on the body that you can press or massage, that speed the healing of frozen shoulder. Generally it is best to use the point on the opposite side of the body from the frozen shoulder.

TH3 is on the back of the hand, between the last two bones of the hand, just above the fingers. The point should be tender.

TH3

ST38 is on the shin, just outside of the crest of the shin bone, half way between the knee cap and the ankle.

ST38

GB39 is one hands width above the outer ankle bone, just in front of the leg bone that runs down to the ankle.

GB39

Press or massage each of these points for about one minute, two or three times a day. Do it immediately before massaging liniment into the shoulder.

Check out Tom Bisio’s book, A Tooth From The Tiger’s Mouth, for more on treating yourself for frozen shoulder and other chronic and acute injuries.

Chronic Pain: natural healing vs. drugs

by Ed

When the news came out the other day that Lyrica is the new drug to treat fibromyalgia, I thought I should say something about that. Jenny, over at Healing Pain Naturally beat me to it. As someone who beat chronic pain with natural healing methods, she is perhaps more qualified to comment than I am. Please read her post about it.

Acupuncture better than surgery?

by Ed

Drug companies and other companies that have something to gain, are good at twisting research to make you believe what they want you to believe. If they can do it, so can I!

First a study on acupuncture from 2004. It was a very large and rigorous study that showed acupuncture is effective in treating osteoarthritis of the knee. The acupuncture group had 40% less pain and nearly 40% better function than either the sham acupuncture (placebo) group or the control group.

“For the first time, a clinical trial with sufficient rigor, size, and duration has shown that acupuncture reduces the pain and functional impairment of osteoarthritis of the knee,” said Stephen E. Straus, M.D., NCCAM Director. “These results also indicate that acupuncture can serve as an effective addition to a standard regimen of care and improve quality of life for knee osteoarthritis sufferers. NCCAM has been building a portfolio of basic and clinical research that is now revealing the power and promise of applying stringent research methods to ancient practices like acupuncture.”

Next a study shows that orthoscopic surgery is no better than placebo in treating osteoarthritis of the knee. So, you see acupuncture is better than surgery for pain.

Disclaimer: In the interests of honesty and integrity, my last statement was obviously a huge leap. And orthopedic experts find fault with the study on knee surgery. They say most of the patients chosen would not have been good candidates fo the study any way.

So, assuming the “experts” are right, what do we learn here? Well obviously, acupuncture is effective in relieving osteoarthritis pain. What I find interesting though, is that the placebo effect is so powerful. Why aren’t they studying that? Everyone in healing professions, including surgeons, should be learning how to enhance the placebo effect. Mostly, science is trying to discount it. Apparently it is the most potent healer.

Stop fighting it

by Ed

One thing I have learned, especially with pain, but also other symptoms, is to not fight the symptom. If you are experiencing pain, tensing up against it, does not help, it only makes it worse. If you can completely allow the pain, accept it with your whole being, not only will you feel better, but you may have a breakthrough in your healing.

There are several things you can try, to allow the symptom in.

  • Close your eyes and bring your awareness to the area that has pain or another symptom. As you breathe in imagine the breath going to that area. As you breathe out allow that area to soften. On the inhale you can also try breathing in light or warmth.

  • Imagine that your resistance is a fist held tightly around the symptom. Feel the fist and slowly let go. This can be combined with the previous point.

  • Just explore the sensations. When you get curious about pain, it’s quality changes dramatically.

  • Practice surrender. I am not sure how else to put it, but sometimes, when in intense pain, I just keep surrendering to it.

I have a food allergy, and one of my reactions is that my esophagus goes into spasm. It is incredibly painful and I can’t swallow for about half an hour. I have never felt pain as bad as that. One time when that happened I practice surrender and exploring the sensations, together. It was an almost ecstatic experience. The pain went away very quickly, but I almost wished it didn’t because I was enjoying it so much. I have never had that pain, so intensely, since that experience.