Acupuncture vs. Dry Needling: A Therapy for Neck and Back Pains

For a while now, I have been experiencing back pains specifically around my shoulder blades. People say that this is because I keep on carrying a heavy backpack and I carry it around with me for a good part of the day. If this were the case, then why wasn’t my lower back hurting? And then other people started telling me that maybe it was due to having tensed and overworked back muscles. When I mentioned having neck pains too, they claim that having tensed muscles contribute to not having proper blood circulation going to the neck. Hence, my neck keeps on hurting. 

It reached a point that the pain was intolerable already and the frequent massages were not taking effect anymore. At first, I thought massages would help ease the tension on my back, but after a while the pain seemed to stay.

This is when a friend of mine suggested trying acupuncture or dry needling. Not knowing anything about them (I assumed they were one and the same), I started looking for Chinese acupuncture in Melbourne. After a while, I realized that the two were different forms of therapy and there was a big difference between acupuncture and dry needling

Acupuncture has its roots in China. Ancient China believed in the balance, like the yin and yang. In the same way, they believe that in every body, there should be a balance of chi. Chi is the energy of life present in all living creatures including plants and animals. This chi flows all throughout the body along pathways. These pathways are called meridians and this is where needles are inserted when someone goes through acupuncture. 

The process of acupuncture is just like sticking needles. The needles are inserted on the meridians where the flow of chi is disrupted. After they are left for 15-30 minutes, the needles are removed and the flow of chi will start to normalize. The therapy itself is not painful except for the first part where the needles are being inserted. They say that you will feel a tingling sensation, but it will immediately go away once you relax. 

On the other hand, dry needling did not originate in China. In fact, it originated in the west around the 1980’s. Unlike acupuncture, this procedure does not believe in chi. Instead, their basis for sticking needles in certain places is that those places are trigger points with neuro-muscles. When certain parts of the body become trigger points, this means that there is a slight dysfunction to the performance and state of the nerves and muscles in the said area. 

How dry needling works is different from acupuncture because you do not leave the needles on your body. Instead, you poke or insert them in the trigger points and this invites a reflex action of your muscles. This reflex action, a jerk of the muscle, gives a sudden release of pain. With certain jumps of the muscle, the part of the body that used to be so tensed will no longer be like that. The downside to this, though, is the sudden pain you will feel especially when you’re a first timer. 

While the two are both very promising, I had to decide which therapy I would want to push through with. My goal was to no longer have back and neck pains and to have them as rare as possible. To add to that, I wanted my muscles to relax because I do think that they are already overused and too tensed.

To be able to decide, I went through the things I was iffy with for both acupuncture and dry needling. First, I have low tolerance for pain and I was afraid that I will not be able to take the sudden pain I will experience in dry needling. I was anxious that I will get so stressed because I was not comfortable with needles that will be poked at me. Because of this I was leaning towards acupuncture.

Another thing that I was considering was the fact that dry needling is relatively new as compared to acupuncture. Few people only know this kind of therapy and it wasn’t extensively researched on. However, I was also taking into account the scientific basis of dry needling and that the trigger points they refer to are points where there is tension. This was more comforting than believing in having chi especially when I wasn’t Chinese to begin with. 

In the end, I still went for acupuncture and I went to a clinic that was an expert on it. I was anxious at first since it was my first time, but I knew I had to get on with it. My back and neck pains were already so disturbing that some form of therapy had to take place. The good thing is that acupuncture did work on me and my muscle pains were greatly lessened.

The Benefits of Undergoing a Physio Session

physioI am 40 now and there are still so many things that I want to do and achieve. Even if I have a small business, I still make sure that I allot time for my kids to take care of them. As much as possible I want to prepare breakfast for them to ensure that they are eating healthy food. In our house, we also have dogs and cats that also demand time and attention from me. However, my current age is not helping me do my tasks and responsibilities as efficient as I was able to do during my younger years. This pushed me to look for ways that will help me regain the level of vitality and strength I had during my teenage days.

One of the remedies that caught my attention is physiotherapy. As a meticulous mother, I want to live a healthy life that doesn’t rely on synthetic drugs and processed food supplements. This is why I always try to look for natural ways to keep my body healthy and strong. Physio, which is a therapy that doesn’t involve intake of medicines or other chemical substances, is a natural and safe way to help people recover from pain, injuries and other unhealthy conditions due to the wear and tear an aging body is experiencing.        

Because of the initial research I did, I’ve learned that there are certified and experienced physiotherapists in many parts of Australia. I live in Werribee but our residential house is not located in the crowded and busy city. I wanted to see a physiotherapist so I searched online for the best physio in Werribee suburb.

After a few clicks, I stumbled upon a clinic that has good reviews from its previous patients. I read further about their background and services. Then, I decided to visit them the next day since it is a Friday. I contacted them using the phone number posted on their website.

On the day of my first visit, I still did my usual morning routine – preparing breakfast for my kids and husband and attending to our cute and lovely pets. When they left for school and work, I took a quick bath and prepared myself. I wore casual but comfortable clothes.

When I arrived at the clinic, the receptionist greeted me warmly and assisted me until I am face to face with one of the clinic’s physiotherapists. The physiotherapist is very professional but at the same time kind and entertaining. At first, she asked me to discuss about my current health condition. So, I told him about my problem and narrated how I am having difficulties in moving particularly when carrying things and when climbing the stairs. I experience back and joint pains more often now. Aside from my age, I shared with him the things I do in my house and in our small business. I liked the fact that he is very attentive to everything I say.

The discussion was followed with a physical examination. He said that it is necessary to assess my body’s flexibility, range of movement and strength. The results of the examination will be used to devise a treatment plan that is adjusted and tailored to my health condition and needs. The therapist said that they want to succeed in helping every patient overcome physical and health problems. They do it with the careful consideration of the assessment results and activities and responsibilities that the patients are attending to.

During my first visit, I was experiencing a little pain at the lower part of my back. He tried to perform a few treatments to ease the unwanted pain. He did a few minutes of massage but it’s not like the usual massage we experience in spas. I can really feel the comfort not only on my muscles but also on my bones. While he is carefully massaging my lower back, he shared with me the top benefits of seeing a physio and actually undergo a therapy session.        

Physiotherapy successfully helps restore flexibility, which is essential in keeping the body able of doing simple to complicated movements. My therapist asked me to try several exercises and poses that will help improve my flexibility. All throughout the different exercises, he was closely guiding me to make sure that I am doing every step properly. A series of therapy sessions will also improve balance and coordination. He further added there are exercise routines that can even prevent future health problems. What I’ve noticed is that strength training and aerobic exercise are essential in the recommended workout plan.

I went out of the clinic feeling relieved, relaxed and more optimistic because I’ve learned that even if I am 40, I can still be as strong and flexible as a teenage girl. I agreed with the physio to come back to the clinic and complete a series of physio session.

Click here to learn more stories like this. Always remember that your health should come first on top of everything. Whether simple or not, you should pay attention to your health so that future problems can be eliminated. Good health leads to a happier life.

Targeting the Problem with Remedial Massage

Massage is largely considered as an effective regimen to ease muscle tension and provide an overall relaxing effect. In some patients with chronic pain, massage has been known to provide some degree of pain relief. Although massage in itself does not make the core of a medical therapeutic regimen, it can, nonetheless maximize the effects of mainstream medical treatments. This is the core philosophy of our Prahran clinic in suburban Melbourne.

Targeted Massage

Physiotherapy and sports clinics now provide patients suffering from a host of musculoskeletal and mobility problems with a massage intervention known as remedial massage. This involves the deep manipulation of the different tissues of the body to elicit a desired specific outcome. This is largely different from a general massage in which the goal is to provide an overall sense of relaxation for the whole body. Remedial massage is also colloquially known as a targeted massage.

The Science Behind Remedial Massage

Because remedial massage is not your ordinary relaxing and soothing massage, the remedial massage therapist should have the necessary cognitive and psychomotor competencies to carry out the massage regimen in a manner that is consistent with treatment modalities. It is for this reason that education is required in order to achieve certification in this industry. This is what makes therapists efficient in carrying out their duties to their patients. Certification is essential because this is the basis for patients to trust their therapist.

Certified remedial massage therapists have to be knowledgeable about the different structures of the human body including the specific functions of each body part. Particular emphasis is on muscles, joints, and bones and can sometimes include the parts of the nervous system such as the brain, spinal cord, and the nerves. All of these are required to enable the remedial massage therapist to identify specific body parts that are not functioning normally.

Aside from anatomy and physiology of the human body, the remedial massage therapist should also be able to know how to effectively assess and diagnose what is wrong in a patient. This can be aided by his knowledge of some of the more common conditions that are directly related to mobility such as muscle aches, sprain, and strain among others.

Once a thorough assessment has been performed, this will be further confirmed by a series of tests that will determine the specific muscle that is giving pain to the patient. This way, accurate and muscle-specific manipulative treatments can be performed – right where it should be. Hence the term targeted massage or remedial massage.

Who Can Benefit from Remedial Massage?

As remedial massage provides both general relaxation and a targeted massage to provide remedy to the body part that is causing the muscle tension and / or pain, remedial massage is generally considered to be beneficial to patients who have may be suffering from muscle aches and pains, joint problems, as well as stress and tension headaches.

The general effect of remedial massage is the release of muscle tension and a reduction of muscle spasms and cramping. This is brought about by the careful manipulation of a group of muscles to stretch and relax them so that they return to their original tonicity. The range of motion of joints is also optimized for mobility.

The effects of remedial massage are greatly related to the improvement in the overall blood flow to the diseased body part. This enhances the recuperative body processes that are already on-going to hasten the speed of recovery. With an improvement in blood circulation, the elimination of body wastes is also improved through the lymphatic system, draining the toxic substances that can contribute to the pain perceived in that area of the body.

Remedial massage has also been known to be effective in lowering the cortisol levels in the body. This can contribute to a much lower pain experience. Massage can also increase the levels of dopamine and serotonin in the brain to provide a countermeasure to the effects of stress as brought about by the pain experience.

Remedial Massage Sessions

Unlike relaxing massage that covers the entire body, remedial massage can only take at least 30 minutes of targeted session to provide relief to a specific problem. This is what makes remedial massage ideal for today’s urban professionals who are always on the go that they simply do not have the 90 minutes for a whole body massage. By focusing on what really is the problem, this targeted treatment can thus be finished in a shorter period of time.

Remedial massage is not really new. The concepts and principles have been applied ever since physiotherapists began understanding the need to focus more on the problem of patients and not necessarily the entire body. For as long as it is acquired from specialists and certified staff, recovery and wellness can certainly be achieved.

Leading Healthier Lives: The Essence of a Health Foods Store

organic foodOrganic food is fast becoming a trend with a growing number of followers every single day. This clearly shows the growing awareness of the consuming public of the need to safeguard one’s health and actively seek for better alternatives to what is currently being consumed. And this is something that is fully understood by the people of Melbourne Essential Health Foods Store.

What is Organic?

The term ‘organic’ is often used to describe a certain characteristic of a product – usually food – that has been grown without the use of artificial products or other synthetic methods. What it entails is that the production processes involved are all-natural, using whatever resources is currently available in the environment.

Organic Farming

Since organics are more closely related to food products, when used in agriculture, organic processes describe a method of farming or the growing of vegetables, flowers, fruits, and other plant life through the effective use of the land itself.

Organic farmers can use crop rotation to maximize the yield of their farm by planting various seasonal crops. This ensures that the land is continuously being used and replenished of its valuable nutrients particularly nitrogen. To aid the organic farmer in this process, animal wastes and composts are used to make the soil as fertile as possible.

Controlling pests such as ant hoppers and farm bugs, organic farmers employ what is called biological pest control. They use the natural predators of these farm pests. Using spiders and frogs are just two of the more common biological pest control methods.

Organic Livestock

The principles of organic farming are not only confined to plant life. Growing chicken, swine, cattle and other farm animals can also benefit from organic methods. By giving food items that are naturally, and organically, found in the farm, these farm animals are grown without the use of artificial, commercially-prepared feed such as growers, fatteners, and finishers.

Is It a Novel Concept?

Organic farming is not something entirely new. Before the advent of fertilizers and pesticides, farmers and livestock growers have naturally depended on their surroundings to produce greater farm yield as well as get rid of farm pests. They maximized the land by composting animal manure, turning them into a rich source of nitrogen for the land. Other animals were also employed to help control the growth of pests such as ant hoppers and aphids.

However, with the coming of technology and supposed breakthroughs in commercial pesticide control, these unique organic farming methods of old have been slowly drifting away. In its place came the convenience and ease of using commercially-prepared agricultural products.

And now, it is making a comeback because of the increasing awareness of the public on the many health issues posed by indiscriminate use of pesticides and other agricultural products.

Bringing the Benefits of Organic Methods to Your Table

When the products of organic farming – both plant life and livestock – finally reach your table, you and your family are on the right track to healthier lives.

  • Organic foods slow down the effects of premature aging
  • Organic foods boost the ability of the body to fight infections
  • Organic foods reduce the likelihood of having heart problems
  • Organic foods reduce the likelihood of certain cancers from developing

Furthermore, organic foods are also instrumental in reducing the environmental footprint of agricultural processes by reducing the need to use artificial fertilizers and harmful pesticides. It also promotes the welfare of animals by giving them only food that is available from the farm. All in all, organic foods have the best intention of ensuring the safety and health of future world generations.

Because organic foods do not contain pesticide residue, your health is guaranteed. Not only that, it definitely tastes better, too. The anti-oxidant properties of organic food are incomparable, primarily because the vitamins and minerals and other nutrients that are found in organic food is not contaminated with harmful chemicals coming from pesticides.

Where to Get Organic Food?

The best source of organic food products will be from organic farmers themselves. If you know someone who is an organic farmer, then he is the best person who can supply your organic food needs. However, the number of organic farmers is still not that great. So the next best thing for you is to look elsewhere.

Natural health food stores are abundant all over the world. These stores provide a wide array of organic food items that should give you convenience as well as the peace of mind related to your health.

Being healthy and staying that way takes more than just eating the correct diet. You also need to make sure that the food you eat does not give you additional problems. Going organic is surely the best way to achieve this.

Daily Health Tips to Stay Fit Forever

Staying fit is very important in today’s time. If you compromise with your health, there are higher chances to develop different kinds of diseases which can reduce your life span. So rather than avoiding it, one should give proper attention and ensure that their stay fit and fine. If you too want to enjoy a healthy life, here are some quick and easy health tips which will prove useful for you.

Regular exercise – There is no denial to the fact that regular exercise, yoga or morning walk can have a lot of positive effect on your body. You not only enhance your concentration level but reduce stress, get energy and stay healthy too.

Eat well – One of the best things that you can do is to change your diet. Go for fresh fruits and green vegetables which are a healthy choice. It will not only provide the necessary nutrients but maintain your health as well.

Take good sleep – A sound sleep is the main reason of good health. If you are unable to take proper sleep, you will automatically develop stress and that will have adverse effects on your health. So make sure to have at least 6 hours of sleep every day.

Drink plenty of water – Drink lots of water whether you are in office or at home. Most of the health problems will come to an end if there is adequate amount of water in your body. Drink at least 12 glasses of water on a regular basis.

So these are some of the simple health tips which you can follow to stay healthy. Your health should be the first concern and that is why it is essential to take good care of it or else you might fall prey to a number of health problems. Try these tips and see the difference yourself.