Effective treatment for heel pain
In their April article, New: Acupuncture Relieves Heel Pain & Plantar Fasciitis, Health CMi reports on new research coming out of Guangzhou that compares the effects of acupuncture on heel pain against triamcinolone acetonide acetate injections and local blocking therapy. They found six months after treatment that the “…acupuncture group achieved an effective rate of 97% and the drug therapy group had a 76% effective rate.” The author goes on to cite that when acupuncture was combined with moxibustion therapy (the burning of mugwort) in study, pain relief exceeded that in those taking ibuprofen and a Chinese herbal formula, Zhuanggu Guanjie Wan (Strengthening Bone and Joint Pills).
The use of moxibustion
While people are becoming more readily aware of acupuncture, few people understand that Chinese medicine is a modality comprising numerous therapies, only one of which is acupuncture. Moxibustion, the therapeutic use of “moxa,” is an equally important part of our practice. Some even suggest the practice moxibustion outdates the development of acupuncture.
The therapeutic action of moxibustion
According to researchers Dong and Shen (“The Mechanism of Moxibustion: Ancient Theory and Modern Research“), “The generally accepted view is that the meridian system combines with moxibustion physical and chemical effects to produce comprehensive effects. When physical and chemical factors act on the acupoint receptors, the signal enters the central nervous system through the peripheral pathways and outgos after being integrated, adjusting the nerve-endocrine-immune network and circulatory system, so as to regulate the internal environment of the body, in order to achieve the effects of preventing and curing diseases.” Mechanisms of action may include:
- thermal stimulation effect
- non-specific autologous protein therapeutics
- non-specific stress responses
How is moxa used?
Moxa is delivered in a number of ways, either directly or indirectly. While burning traditional moxa produces smoke, smokeless versions of this medicinal herb are also available. Examples of application include:
- Moxa stick
- Moxa cone
- Stick-on cone
- Moxa box
To view more images of moxibustion in action, visit Tools of the Trade: Moxibustion.
Integrated care for the treatment of plantar fasciitis
I recommend for patients that acupuncture and moxibustion not diminish the importance of regular stretching as well as proper shoe choice when dealing with plantar fasciitis. Combined, with balanced nutrition, these therapies can be very effective at addressing the pain. For some, I also recommend Reiki, to address any underlying issues with fear of stepping forward in life.
Affected by heel pain and ready to start doing something about it? Come on in for an appointment!