Tuesday 24 September 2013

The Big C: Introducing Lee

This Friday sees the launch of Macmillan's World's Biggest Coffee Morning and I for one will be supporting this very worthy cause!

Whilst Acupuncture and conventional medicine sit side by side beautifully in most instances, Cancer is the one medical condition where Western Medicine actively embraces this ancient Chinese therapy, particularly in the latter stages of the illness. 

At this time, the emphasis is more towards emotional healing and support, both for the sufferer and for their loved ones, to help them face the next stage with courage and dignity.

Over the next few blogs I will be recounting my experience earlier this year in treating a patient with terminal cancer. It was a very emotional journey for all concerned - for the patient himself, for his loved ones and for myself, as I'm sure you can imagine. But it was also a real honour and a privilege to be involved in the latter stages of this man's life, and it is with his Partner's very kind permission that I am able to share this experience with others. Cancer is a disease that will touch a good many people's lives, be it sufferers, survivors or carers - and I for one will be forever humbled by my experience. We can all certainly learn from the tales of others.

Above all, by re-telling his story, my patient's legacy will  live on - and his life will not have been in vain, even though sadly it was all too short.

Monday 16 September 2013

This Baby's not for Turning ...or is it?

"Baby's presentation is breech and will need to be turned manually for best chances of a normal delivery."

These are words that few Mums-to-be want to hear (especially first time Mums).

Five Element Acupuncture sits beautifully alongside Western Medicine, but at certain times the ancient art really comes up trumps. The turning of breech or transversely-presented babies is a prime example.

Babies naturally can be very mobile in the womb - it sometimes feel as if they are doing cartwheels! But from around 32 weeks or as space begins to become restricted, Baby should adopt a head down position for majority of time. From 35 weeks onwards, there is relatively little room for manoeuvre and turning Baby manually can be a very worrying and uncomfortable procedure for Mum, and often requires some fairly hefty drugs for relaxation.

Five Element Acupuncture offers a safe, drug-free and painless alternative, which happens to be the preferred approach by some Midwives. It involves the use of  the herb Moxa, which is used to warm a specific acupuncture point on each foot. It is not even necessary to use needles on these points, although further gentle needling would be offered as it would give a beneficial boost to Mum's constitution, can help with relaxation and also to alleviate anxiety or fear.

Mum is then sent away with a Moxa stick so that the treatment can be carried on at home by Mum's birthing partner. If there is sufficient room and no physical restrictions (eg Baby caught up by cord) then Baby will turn - it usually takes a few days.

Moxa treatment (but using different acupuncture points) is also useful for starting off labour if Baby is full term or overdue. Again, this avoids the use of drugs commonly used to induce labour and also encourages Mum's birthing partner to become actively involved at an early stage.