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  • Writer's pictureNicci

Acupuncture and Moxibustion for Tennis Elbow: A Holistic Approach to Healing


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Are you tired of the persistent pain in your elbow that just won't seem to go away? If you're dealing with tennis elbow, acupuncture and moxibustion might be the solution you've been searching for. At Acupuncture Surrey, we believe in a holistic approach to healing, combining traditional Chinese medicine with modern Western understanding to provide effective relief for tennis elbow.


Understanding Tennis Elbow


In Western Terms: Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, is a condition where the outer part of the elbow becomes painful and tender. It is often caused by overuse of the forearm and hand muscles, leading to small tears in the tendons that attach to the lateral epicondyle, the bony bump on the outer part of the elbow.


In Chinese Medicine Terms: In Chinese medicine, tennis elbow is often seen as a disruption of the flow of Qi (energy) and blood in the channels and collaterals related to the elbow. This imbalance can lead to stagnation and, ultimately, pain.


Acupuncture: Targeting Energy Imbalances


In the realm of acupuncture, the body is seen as an interconnected system of energy pathways known as meridians. When these pathways are disrupted, it can lead to various health issues, including tennis elbow. Acupuncture seeks to restore balance by inserting thin needles into specific points along these meridians.


For tennis elbow, acupuncturists often target points related to the affected area, such as LI-10 (Shou San Li) and LI-11 (Qu Chi). These points, when stimulated, help promote the flow of Qi and blood, relieving stagnation and reducing pain and inflammation. Acupuncture sessions are tailored to the individual, addressing not only the localized symptoms but also the underlying imbalances contributing to the condition.


Moxibustion: Warming the Essence of Healing


Moxibustion is a complementary therapy that involves burning dried mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) near the skin or on acupuncture points. The warmth generated during moxibustion enhances the body's circulation of Qi and blood, providing a soothing and invigorating effect.


In the context of tennis elbow, moxibustion is often applied to specific acupuncture points associated with the affected meridians. The gentle heat generated by moxibustion helps to relax tight muscles, improve circulation, and promote the body's natural healing processes. This combination of acupuncture and moxibustion creates a synergistic effect, maximizing the therapeutic benefits for tennis elbow sufferers.


How Acupuncture and Moxibustion Work Together

  1. Pain Relief: Acupuncture and moxibustion both have analgesic properties, helping to alleviate pain and discomfort associated with tennis elbow. The stimulation of specific points triggers the release of endorphins, the body's natural painkillers.

  2. Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Tennis elbow often involves inflammation of the tendons. Acupuncture, along with moxibustion's warming properties, can help reduce inflammation by improving blood circulation and promoting the body's anti-inflammatory responses.

  3. Enhanced Healing: By addressing the root imbalances in the body's energy flow, acupuncture and moxibustion support the healing process. This goes beyond merely alleviating symptoms, focusing on restoring overall well-being.

What to Expect During Treatment


Acupuncture and moxibustion sessions for tennis elbow are typically relaxing experiences. The acupuncturist will carefully select points based on the individual's condition, and the thin needles are usually painless. Moxibustion may involve burning moxa sticks near the skin or using indirect methods, depending on the patient's sensitivity and preference.

While immediate relief is possible, a course of several sessions is often recommended to achieve optimal and long-lasting results. The cumulative effects of acupuncture and moxibustion contribute to the restoration of balance in the body, addressing both the symptoms and the underlying causes of tennis elbow.


Lifestyle Tips for Self-Help


In addition to acupuncture and moxibustion, adopting some simple lifestyle changes can contribute to the healing process:

  1. Rest and Ice: Give your elbow the rest it deserves, and use ice packs to reduce inflammation.

  2. Stretching Exercises: Gentle stretching exercises can help improve flexibility and reduce tension in the affected muscles.

  3. Ergonomics: Evaluate your workspace and make adjustments to reduce strain on your forearm and elbow.

Acupressure for Relief


If you can't make it to an acupuncture and moxibustion session right away, acupressure can provide relief at home. Using your thumb or fingertips, apply gentle pressure to the following points:

  1. LI-11 (Qu Chi): Located on the outer part of your elbow crease, this point helps relieve pain and inflammation.

  2. LI-10 (Shou San Li): Found on the forearm, three finger-widths below the elbow crease, this point supports the healing process.

Preventing Tennis Elbow


Prevention is always better than cure. Here are some tips to reduce the risk of developing tennis elbow:

  1. Proper Technique: Whether you're playing tennis, typing, or lifting weights, ensure you're using the correct technique to avoid straining your forearm.

  2. Strengthening Exercises: Incorporate exercises that strengthen the forearm muscles to better support your activities.

  3. Warm-Up and Stretching: Always warm up before engaging in physical activities and incorporate stretching exercises to keep your muscles flexible.

[For more information and to schedule an appointment, visit www.acupuncture-surrey.co.uk]

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