Acupuncture Case Study 1: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
A female patient aged 55 who was diagnosed with CFS in 2015 by her G.P. In 2017 she came to my practice as a last resort; she said she was willing to try anything. During the first consultation we discussed her symptoms and her lifestyle. She was tired physically but also emotionally, as she was going through a painful divorce. Her symptoms were dizziness, fatigue, a cough, her head felt heavy, she couldn’t think clearly, pain in the occiput (back of head), she was photo and noise sensitive, with red puffy eyes, and would wake several times during the night. The patient described her illness as having the flu and being half drunk, with headaches and feeling heavy. She also said she had low moods and wanted to be left alone. During stressful times her symptoms would be exacerbated and she would have to take days of work. Prior to the illness she described herself as being slightly manic, bubbly, and had a very active sporting life style. The life she was now living was difficult for her to except as she no longer recognised herself and was anxious about her future.
She presented to me with damp heat, liver qi stagnation, and also heart qi deficiency.
I explained that acupuncture was not a quick fix and that it would take time to restore her health. We agreed that she would come for regular treatments to begin with and assess her progress as we went along. The aim of the treatment was to clear the damp heat and get the liver qi moving whilst also nourishing her qi to support the changes which were to take place.
Seven acupuncture points where selected, inserted and retained for 20 minutes after the acupuncture points where activated using manual needle manipulation. During the treatment the patient reported that she felt relaxed.
The patient returned for a treatment ten days later, with optimism and shock, she found that the treatment was a huge success and explained that she found acupuncture a strange concept and was initially sceptical about it. Following the previous treatment she said there was a big change, her head no longer felt heavy, and the pain in the back of the head had reduced, she could think clearer and for longer, and her sleep had also improved. She said she had been testing the treatment and had been for a 7-8 minute run. I then advised her that she must take it easy and not deplete her energy too soon, but that it was fantastic to hear that she was able to exercise again without it making her symptoms worse. She was exited to receive her treatment.
Two weeks later the patient returned with positive results. The patient mentioned that she had started running again with her sister and the dog. She also mentioned that she was passing urine easier and that her energy levels where much higher.
Three weeks following her last treatment the patient returned and was taking antibiotics due to a viral infection; she had a tickly throat and was coughing. She was slightly anxious as she was dreading the knock on effects of the infection and expected a ‘‘crash’’ (exacerbated symptoms); and that she may have to take time of work. She reported that following the last treatment three weeks before that the pain in the occiput had gone, and that she was doing more without fearing it would make her symptoms worse. Her mood was much better; she also did not feel as exhausted after work. I decided to change the acupuncture point prescription to strengthen her immune system and help her overcome the viral infection she had caught recently.
The patient returned two weeks later and had not suffered from a flare up of her symptoms following her infection. She felt more positive and less anxious, and was still amazed at the changes that were taking place in herself. To date the patient continues to come for acupuncture and is still feeling the benefits.
Acupuncture Case Study 2: Cramps and Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
A 74 year old man came to the clinic looking for treatment to help with cramp. He suffered with cramps of the calf muscles, thigh and ankles. His symptoms began two years ago which had gradually got worse causing him ‘’extreme’’ pain every night for ten to fifteen minutes and leaving him with a lingering ache. He also has been diagnosed with restless leg syndrome. His sleep was affected by the pain, and once woken he found it difficult to fall back to sleep. His restless leg syndrome caused an intense urge in him to get up and walk around. The sensations felt in his legs where tingling, pulling and creeping. Pain and these strange sensations also affected his sleep. Other accompanying symptoms where brittle nails, tremors (ticks) in legs, dizziness, tinnitus and he emotionally felt irritable. All of these signs pointed to my diagnoses of a dis harmony of the liver qi and blood. After taking his history I then took his pulse and looked at his tongue which further confirmed my diagnosis. The treatment plan was to nourish his liver blood, and give dietary advice. During the first week the patient came for acupuncture three times, with a two day interval between treatments; after the first week he came once a week.
Acupuncture points where placed in his hands, legs, arms and feet, these points where left in place for twenty minutes, the patient then had acupuncture needles placed in his back for ten minutes.
Following the first treatment the patient returned two days later and mentioned that he had not had any restless leg symptoms, he hadn’t had any cramps in his calf muscle but last night the cramps had returned in his thigh and ankles.
The patient returned in two days and said that he had slept better. He had only had cramp in his ankle, and that he only had five minutes of restless leg syndrome since last seeing me. We decided that he would return in a week’s time for another treatment and assess his condition.
Following treatment three, the patient had kept a diary of his week. During the second day he had suffered with cramp in his right thigh for over an hour. The third and fourth day he had no cramping or RLS. On the fifth day he had slight RLS and slight cramping in his thigh. On day six, he had RLS in the evening and 10 mins of cramp at 2am. On the seventh day, he had no problems.
The patient was very happy and surprised with the way he was progressing and said that he had friends and family ring him daily to ask whether he had had any cramps that day.
During the third week the patient had a 45 minuet attack of RLS but nothing for the remaining week with no cramps and was sleeping better.
The fourth week he returned and also said that he hadn’t had any craps until he stretched his legs, which caused cramping in the back of his right calf. After assessing his pulse and from the patient’s positive feedback, we decided that we would give it ten days before he returned for another treatment.
Ten days later the patient returned and when asked how he was, said “dreadful” and laughed whilst pulling out a piece of paper, showing a diary of his symptoms. To my surprise, it showed that he had not had any problems. The patient was very happy and still comes for acupuncture with an understanding that acupuncture can be used as a preventative treatment.