To deal with leg cramps that do not respond well to those lighter version remedies, here are a few things you can try.
- Soak your feet in hot water mixed with epsom salt for 20 minutes. Fill hot (lukewarm rarely works) water in a basin big enough to hold both feet, then add ½ cup of epsom salt. Water level has to be high enough to cover the ankles. Put your feet into the basin, regardless how hot the water initially feels. With heat, all six meridians running on your feet– kidneys, liver, spleen, stomach, gallbladder, and bladder–start to open up and Qi and blood flow into the areas of blockage. Chinese medicine regards every single disorder, including leg cramps, as stagnation of Qi and blood flow. Approximately 20 minutes later, you will feel warm and tingly sensation in the lower half of the body.
(Note: Our feet have the most and largest pores of the body, therefore with salt will not only draws toxins out of the body, the body absorbs the magnesium in epsom salts. This method effectively deals with chronic arthritis in the feet and ankles, plantar fasciitis, achilles heel tendonitis, and even toenail fungus infections.)
- After the foot bath, make a fist and rub on the center of the soles.
3. Press and knead on the following points: Taixi (KD3), Kun Lun (BL60), Cheng Shan (BL57), Yang Ling Quan(GB 34), Zu San Li (ST36). Use the thumb to knead forcefully on each point for 30 seconds.
- Squeeze and roll the calf muscles with both hands, begin at the ankle and move gradually upwards, for 2 minutes.
The above is suggested to be a routine before sleep. You can try one or more of the above remedies to find out to which protocols your body reacts most favorably. In a few days, most of your leg cramps will be eliminated.
Chronic and persistent leg cramps usually indicate serious internal orders, most notably pre-diabetic conditions or active diabetes. Please pay attention to your sugar consumptions, and other lifestyle or diet changes.
- pains in the spine, neck, arms, knees, feet, joints
- muscular pains
- postoperative pains
- phantom pain
For muscle pain, apply the aluminium foil on the sore spot and fasten it with a bandage or a medical tape. Leave it for the entire day or overnight.
For joint pain such as elbows, knees, legs or fingers, you can wrap the foil around the area of pain and fasten it with a medical tape. Again leave it for the entire day or overnight.
Use the same procedure for post-surgical pain, burns, or phantom pain. Apply the therapy for 10 to 12 days and then take a one to two week break. If the ailments persist, you may repeat the therapy. For extensive burns or postoperative pain, use 5-7 layers of foil, with a paper or cotton cloth between every layer. Keep it on for an hour, remove them and place them after 2 hours. Repeat the procedure a few times a day until you notice an improvement.
All of my patients asked which side of foil they have to use. The answer is both shiny and matte sides would work equally well.
Aluminum foil may or may not eliminate pain sensations totally, but since this therapy costs practically nothing and so little efforts, it can be a welcome tool to many people.
According to a Russian scientist A.V. Skvorcov, aluminum foil’s unique energy-magnifying properties makes healing possible. He said that all pain symptoms occur due to distorted energy pattern between human cells and Earth’s energy field. Since the surface of the foil can amplify Earth’s energy field dramatically, placing the foil directly on the area of pain will negate the disturbed energy patterns.
From a Chinese medical point of view, his claims make a lot of sense in that all pain syndromes (as well as all diseases) are caused by blockage or stagnation of energy (Qi) flow in the body. Since the foil’s surface can draw upon huge amount Qi from the air, applying the foil directly on the sore spots will result in abundant flow of Qi. Once Qi flows, blood flows in automatically, then pain sensations can be reduced, if not totally eliminated.
In many ways, tin foil can work just like acupuncture needles. In Japanese-style acupuncture, foil has been used widely in treating burns, scars, and bone-pains. Typically, some sort of electric stimulation gadgets are attached to the foil to increase the Qi conductivity.
Years ago when I was attending a Chinese medical school, a noted medical scholar from China proclaimed that aluminum foil often produce amazing results in treating pain syndromes, from lower back pain to a gout pain on the toes. I’ve completely forgot about it until few weeks ago when a patient asked whether there’s anything she could do at home in relieving a horrendous elbow pain. I told her to cover the elbow with foil. She reported that pain was reduced significantly after three days. Very much intrigued, I urged a patient with ear pain to cover the painful area with foil. Again, the results were impressive. Although tin foil doesn’t get rid of pain totally, it sure looks like a wonderful tool in dealing with all kinds of pain, from head to toe.
Increasingly, people are looking for more natural approaches to help relieve painful conditions instead of relying on medications. Acupuncture can be helpful for all types of pain, regardless of what is causing the pain or where the pain is located.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain before and after acupuncture treatment for pain shows dramatic decreases in brain activity — up to 70 percent. This decrease in brain activity in certain areas of the brain is thought to be the reason for the reduction of pain caused by the acupuncture treatments. In addition to reducing pain, acupuncture also hastens the healing process by increasing circulation and attracting white blood cells to an injured area.
The basis of acupuncture is expressed in this famous Chinese saying: “Bu tong ze tong, tong ze bu tong” which means “free flow: no pain, no free flow: pain.” In other words, any kind of pain or illness represents an obstruction in the normal flow of Qi or life force. Simply put, acupuncture moves Qi, restoring free flow.
Acupuncture has become readily accepted in mainstream modern medicine as a viable option for pain management and studies support its therapeutic effects.
Research from Duke University Medical Center has shown that acupuncture can significantly reduce surgical patients’ post-operative pain.
Duke University anesthesiologists combined data from 15 randomized clinical trials to reach their conclusion. Using acupuncture both before and after surgery produced the best results for patients, who reported lower levels of post-operative pain and a significantly reduced need for painkillers. In addition, acupuncture mitigated the negative side effects of opioids when they were used.
Many other studies have shown acupuncture effective in reducing post-operative nausea and vomiting compared with other medications.
According to a meta-analysis presented at the American Society of Anesthesiologists’ meeting, acupuncture reduced rates of post-operative nausea by 32 percent, pruritus (itchiness at the surgical site) by 25 percent, dizziness by 38 percent, and urinary retention by 71 percent compared with control groups.
Acupuncture is excellent for managing post-surgical side effects such as surgical pain, loss of appetite, and upset stomach or nausea. In addition to strengthening the immune system and increasing energy, acupuncture is also a great way to reduce swelling, decrease stiffness and pain, reduce scarring and scar tissue, and assist with a quick recovery.
If you, or a loved one, will be undergoing surgery, please call us to see if acupuncture can improve your recovery.
Low back pain is an extremely common concern, affecting anywhere from 75 to 90 percent of people at some point in their lives. Low back pain is second only to the common cold as a cause of lost days at work and is one of the most common reasons to seek medical care. In fact, one of the top reasons that people get acupuncture treatments is for low back pain.
In spite of the large number of pathological conditions that can give rise to low back pain, up to 85 percent of the cases are classified by physicians as ‘non-specific’. When low back pain is examined from an Oriental medicine perspective, it is seen as a disruption to the flow of Qi within the area and associated with a specific disharmony and is treated accordingly.
The disruption of Qi that results in low back pain is usually associated with the following three disharmonies:
Weak Kidney Qi – In Oriental medicine, the lower back is referred to as the “dwelling of the kidneys”. The majority of chronic low back pain conditions are associated with kidney deficiency. Pain related to kidney deficiency is typically dull and erratic. It is usually aggravated by fatigue and improves with rest.
Stagnation of Qi and Blood – When the flow of Qi along the meridians that traverse the lumbar region becomes congested, it is referred to as the stagnation of Qi and blood. This presents with a severe stabbing pain that is worse with rest and better with movement, tender to touch, and can be accompanied by stiffness and tightness.
Invasion of Cold and Dampness – Cold, damp type pain is generally worse in the morning and when the weather is cold and damp. This type of pain improves with movement and the application of heat. Stiffness and contraction of back muscles that is aggravated by immobility indicates cold predominance. Swelling, numbness, and a heavy sensation are indicative of dampness.