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26Sep/09Off

Hand Acupressure for lower back pain and sciatica, part 1

I believe a lot of people have hurt their back before, whether is the neck, upper back or lower back. At least I've been suffering with all these three myself. When we move something heavy with an inappropriate pose, it's easy to hurt the back, especially the lower back. If we don't treat that in time with a doctor, a chiropractor or an acupressure practitioner, the result can turn out really bad, something chronic like lumber spondylosis and sciatica.

Spondylosis is degenerative arthritis of the soft joints in between the pieces of the spinal vertebrae. The misplaced joints pressure the nerves around and cause different level of pain and numbness, or paresthesia in the limbs.  Sciatica is the nerves staring from lower back vertebrae to the feet got pressured or stimulated, and cause the pain of lower back and the feet. I experienced that before and was cured by moxabustion and cupping few years ago before it became severe.

I'm an example myself who didn't go see the doctors after I got several car accidents. I got cervical spondylosis (around the neck) myself, and recently got better after some Qi Gong treatment I talked about in my very first post. I also hurt my lower back before, especially I have an extra vertebra in my lower back, which makes it easier to get hurt when getting older. Now not just cervical spondylosis, I also got slight lumber spondylosis (lower back) as well. This blog was actually inspired by all these back problems so I can remind myself the importance of health.

Other than spondylosis and sciatica, lower back pain can also be caused by soreness, or simply hurt the tendons. A lot of times people hurt their backs when moving heavy stuff, standing or sitting for too long , or using mattress that is too soft, or getting old.

There are some hand acupressure points that can help relieve lower back pain. For most lower back sore and pain, the acupoint is located at the little convex bone on the back of the hand at the merging point of index finger bone and middle finger bone. For sudden injury that hurts the lower back, the acupoint is located at the merging point of ringer finger bone and little finger bone. To relieve the pain, we can slowly apply pressure to these acupoints, then leave it for a while like a few seconds, press again, just repeat the same process until the pain gets relieve.

Acupoint for sciatica located at the back of the hand in between the knuckle bones of ring finger and little finger, and closer to the ring finger bone. Using pointy device like a pen or toothpicks to strongly stimulate this acupoint until the pain gets relieved.

acupoints_backpain

29Aug/09Off

Introduction of Foot Acupressure – Reflexology

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About a month ago I posted about 12+2 meridians or channels carrying Qi and Blood Flow, and the 365 major acupoints (or acupuncture points, or "xue dao" in Mandarin). About two weeks ago I talked about hand acupressure and some techniques for healing some common illness like toothache, diarrhea or motion sickness through massaging the reflexive area or the stimulating certain acupoints. Before I list more different illnesses that can be healed through the hands, I decided to introduce foot acupressure as well, so I have both to talk about later.

The therapy on feet are actually the same on the hands. The healing based on the stimulation of the reflexive areas (or reflecting areas, reflective areas....whatever they're called in English) is called reflexology. Usually stimulations include massage, acupuncture, acupressure, moxabustion etc. The purpose is to adjust the function of internal organs and enhance the flow of Qi and blood through the meridians. Basically I kinda talked about all these in the introduction of hand acupressure.

There are about 20% of major acupoints on our feet and legs. Massaging these areas and stimulating those points not only can cure common illness like headache or toothache, even high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes these serious diseases can be controlled and relieved. Foot or hand acupressure therapy doesn't have any side effects and always safe. Not just the hands, feet work as a forecast for our health as well.

When we're done with exercises, massaging our legs and feet not only help us to avoid the sore, we're actually helping the internal organs and Yin Yang balance as well. Foot acupressure can be done by ourselves without others help, anywhere and anytime we like.

I bought a "carpet with rocks" which is actually made for foot acupressure therapy. Walking on this carpet is painful, but it's also a nice therapy for our health. If you walk on some little stones and you find your feet really painful, that means your health is just so-so. If you feel ok, that means you're quite healthy. I'll try to post the photo of this thing I bought and talk about this later. Also I'll talk about the techniques of massage on foot as well.

(Sources: Diagram from tcmadvisory.com/Reflexology)

1Aug/09Off

Chinese Qi Gong – Healing with the flow of vital energy

Qi, (pronounced as "chi" in Mandarin, "hey" in Cantonese) is a vital energy in Chinese medical theory. and "Qi Gong" is the way of how to use this energy to heal your body, or even other people's body. I've had my neck pain (Cervical spondylosis) as well as hurting my lower back about the same time around the end of last year. While my shoulder and my neck had been painful and my right arm was numb since Christmas, I was trying to avoid seeing any doctor cuz I thought that was just some ergonomic problem  causing by my pose I sitting in front of my computer. The real cause of go see a doctor was after twisted and hurt my lower back about a month later - I couldn't even walk. (I still have my walking stick next to my bed  just to remind me to treasure my health) After I got my MRI report of both my neck and my back, my chiropractor urged me to see my family doctor to discuss my neck problem - because it turned out my neck's mess is much worse than my hurting lower back. Fortunately, the cervical sergeant  referred by my doctor said it's still ok not to go for surgery yet. He suggested that I can use painkillers until I really can't bear the pain, but the pain won't go away unless I decided to go for a surgery.

Cervical surgery wasn't something that I'd prefer although the pain was still very annoying. So I did a lot of research and asked around if there's any other ways to heal my neck. Since I'm a Chinese myself, of course I would like to see if there's a better approach than surgery. I found two approaches, one is through Tao Yin (導引in Chinese) method, it's like physical therapy, with certain exercises through pull or push. The other one is Qi Gong (氣功 in Chinese), you get cure through this "Qi" energy healing by a healer. Physically you don't even have to do anything. It sounds ridiculous, but that was suggested by my in-laws. My in-law had serious lower back pain long time ago. He had tried 10 different doctors and still couldn't get any better. The last hope fell on Qi Gong. It turned out he got healed and the pain was 90% gone after about 10 treatments.

I wasn't really believing Qi Gong that much because lying there doing nothing and then got healed didn't sound really realistic to me. But since my in-law was cured there and highly recommended, I visited a master of Qi Gong - Master Zhao, and gave it a try, suspiciously. The look of Master Zhao is a little different from other old man. I know he's about 70 years old, but he's really got some nice skin. I brought my MRI films and report on my first visit. However, before I even start talking about my problem, Master Zhao just told me to lay on a bed, with a patient on another bed in the same room. I didn't tell him where I was hurting because he just told me to keep silent.

First amazing thing happened: he looked at me for a few seconds and then told me my neck and my lower back got hurt without even looking at my MRI report! He pointed at his own neck and lower back and located the pain. I was so surprised. He pointed at his nose and told me that I have allergies - I didn't even have any symptoms showing because that wasn't the right season yet. He told me my stomach is cold and there was something wrong. This time I thought he's wrong - I didn't have anything wrong with my stomach. However, I suddenly remembered that I just had an icy cold soda right before I came in! Alright....may be he's right then. My in-law and some research I read about him said he got "X-ray" eyes and I didn't understand what that meant. Now I know....I think he even got "Infra-red  eyes" indeed.  Then he told me to wait and he started to talk to another patient. I was kind of sneaky that I tried to listen to what he said to another patient - I know it's not an appropriate thing to do, but I really want to know if he's going to say something generic to hit whatever symptoms - because I was still a little  suspicious that he may be a fraud. It turned out that patient who were there got nothing that were similar to me. And she nodded about 80% to what he said.

Master Zhao came back to me and started to place his hands above me sweeping around without any touching. He asked me how I feel. I told him I didn't feel anything. He was a little upset and just threw two words to me, "Think feet." Then he just ignored me and walked to another patient instead. I was like...what? Am I supposed to lie to YOU? Am I supposed to feel anything? Come on, I'm a patient here! I was a little upset of his attitude...but since I was so painful with my neck and back, I just got to bear with it. Master Zhao did the same thing to another patient and he then even walked out to another room for other patients.  I was like...huh? That's it? You just ignored us if we don't believe you?  Suddenly I remember he said, "Think feet." I was like...what the heck does that mean...alright whatever, I'll just "think" about my "feet".  I don't know what that really meant but I just started focusing on my feet. Trust me. Thinking about your feet wasn't anything interesting, even for just a few minutes.

Suddenly I started to feel something weird with my lower back...some kind of "bubble popping" feeling inside where the pain was. I don't know how to describe exactly, but something flowing around that area stimulating my muscle or something. Nothing happened to my neck yet. Master Zhao came back and swept again and didn't say anything. After about 10 minutes, I started to feel cold. I was like, what happened to the air conditioning? Then I started to find out the coldness wasn't from the outside. That was from inside my body! I feel the bed, the wall with my hand and arm, and those were even warmer than my body. I was getting colder and colder and I was freezing even my teeth were shaking. I told Master Zhao about it and he smiled (I felt like he was actually laughing at me). He said I got too much "garbage" Qi in my body. These bad Qi were releasing from my body. "Continue to think feet, "he said. He lightly pressed his hand on neck -man his hand was cold too. Trust me, freezing cold from inside your body is some experience that you can never forget.

At about the end of session, he told me to sit up and he put his cold hand on the top of my head. I started to feel warmness from the air surrounding me -although my description here is terrible, but yeah that's really how I felt. I was a little tired because of the shaking. Master Zhao did the same thing to another patient. I asked her before if she felt cold when Master Zhao was out of the room. Surprisingly, she said didn't feel any coldness. I don't know how he treated her differently. But it seems it really wasn't the air condition that made me cold. I checked my bed when Master Zhao was with that patient - it's just a very normal bed - no tricks or anything....ok, I really experienced Qi Gong. But I know what you guys really concern would be if my pain has gone. Yes and no...the neck was still the same, but the lower back felt relieved.

Master Zhao's wife is a friendly and beautiful lady. She told me to come often for a few more times. I made another appointment and left. I did more research about Master Zhao and dug deeper on his website, after I had this weird Qi Gong experience. (Sorry, I really can't say it feels wonderful.) After I read more about this famous Qi Gong Master from China. I know he cured a lot of people including some Chinese government leaders . He served in a special government Qi Gong healing department. He can even cure cancer or more troublesome disease. And if he thinks it's too late, he wouldn't do it because he wouldn't give people fake hope.

Anyway, my neck and lower back were still hurting after my first visit. But at least I can barely walk without that walking stick. In my second visit, I didn't feel as cold as before, only my feet and my legs felt cold. Master Zhao said my bad Qi were released last time. He did about the same thing to me and yeah, "think feet." After about 3 visits, as you may know, my lower back pain is gone after a few weeks. My neck pain got improved a lot. My numbness was gone. That little neck pain left was still annoying and I visited a few more times for that. At my last visit, he told me I should be ok - although the pain was still there. But after I stopped going for about two months, the neck and shoulder pain are almost totally  gone. I'm so glad that I can type in front of a computer again without too much trouble. Of course, he told me to do more exercises and stretching, like what a normal doctor told me.  I'm so thankful that I got healed by Qi Gong - the stress of going to surgery really had me worried. I still haven't got my another MRI yet, so I don't know if "physically" my neck is already healed. But at least the pain is gone.

If you want to know how to contact him, this is his website: masterzhao.com .

I wish I can learn Qi Gong to heal myself and even others. But too bad it seems like my talent didn't work for that. Even my mom had learned Qi Gong - when they started, they move their body "involuntarily" like doing exercises automatically. But that never happened to me. Well...maybe I can't focus at all.

Anyway, we'll talk about something else next time.