Acupuncture by Dr Jeni Worden
As a doctor, I am naturally concerned in trying to provide my patients with the best possible care and to improve their general well being and because of this, I became interested some years ago in complementary medicine as a means of achieving this.
The first area I considered was homeopathy because of its ability to help a broad range of ailments and acupuncture because of its proven use in pain relief.
Acupuncture, as most people will be aware, is ancient in origin, having been developed by the Chinese over many centuries. Their original thinking was that the body exhibited signs of illness when the two life giving forces, yin and yang, were not in equilibrium and believed that by altering the essential energy flow throughout the body, the patient's health could be restored. This was done by the selective application of needles placed in certain parts of the body known as meridian points.
Acupuncture is largely unrecorded in western medical writings until China was opened up to the world in the early eighteenth century. The route by which acupuncture came to be known was by China to India and then via the missionaries of Goa and as a result of this, the benefits of this form of treatment began to be recognised in the West.
My interest as a doctor in Complementary Medicine was to provide me with additional means to help my patients which eventually developed into areas away from direct pain relief. Three possibilities attracted me; one, how to combat insomnia, two, how to relieve restless legs syndrome and thirdly, to help relieve the very uncomfortable and disconcerting condition known as benign muscular fasciculation.
For the purpose of this introductory page, I thought I would outline the work and success that was achieved in combating insomnia.
The case in question concerned a lady who, after the birth of her children began intermittently to suffer from insomnia which then, over the years, progressively worsened until she was unable to sleep for more than five hours a night. The pattern of her sleep was also disturbed in as much that sometimes she would fall asleep quickly and then wake again and at other times she would be unable to get to sleep at all. Fortunately, this lady had a partner to offer support and did not have to work but nevertheless she began to suffer from debility and fatigue.
I decided therefore to start a programme of treatment by applying needles to those areas of her face, some of which were the traditional Chinese points used for the relaxation and relief of anxiety and other needles to the muscles by her jaw which had become tense and strained due to pure physical tiredness. As I was unsure how this lady would react to this treatment, I decided therefore to leave the needles in for a relatively short period of time, i.e. ten minutes and I continued this treatment on a weekly basis for the next six weeks. During this time, her condition improved dramatically as her period of sleep without waking was extended and she was also able to slip into sleep more quickly.
After the initial six weeks, the treatment was then carried out every two weeks and the needles left for longer.
At present she sleeps on average seven hours a night and has a top up treatment for thirty minutes every eight weeks.
There may be many reasons why acupuncture can be successful and a positive mental outlook by the patient is obviously a major benefit. This case was an undoubted example where acupuncture made a major contribution to the patient's well being and where other treatments have failed, it may well provide relief.