treating plantar fasciosis with acupuncture
Acupuncture, Energy Work, Reiki

Treating Plantar Fasciosis with Physical Medicine, Acupuncture, and Energy Work

Plantar Fasciosis: The New ‘Plantar Fasciitis’

Perhaps you’ve heard of plantar fasciitis? Well, doctors have found that it’s not always inflammation (i.e. “-itis”) that causes this heel pain. Overuse and degeneration can lead to poor circulation and tissue death of the plantar fascia. For this reason, the condition is now mostly referred to as “plantar fasciosis.” Here’s what natural sports podiatrist Dr. Ray McClanahan has to say on the subject:

Physical Medicine for Plantar Fasciosis

Proper Foot Positioning

Correct Toes (see: adjacent image) are the product mentioned in Dr. McClanahan’s video. I purchased a pair quite a while ago to try for correct toe positioning (not for plantar fasciosis) and I love wearing mine; however I do have to say I have a hard time finding shoes wide enough to accommodate them in the toe box. They’re made of silicone and are overall quite comfortable. They are, however, silly expensive. I’ve seen some similar products on Amazon. If anyone tries another brand and likes them, let us know in the comments please!

Metatarsal SupportMetatarsal Pad for Plantar Fasciosis

As Dr. McClanahan also mentions, metatarsal pads might be helpful in increasing circulation to the area. I’ve had these (see: adjacent image) in my shoes for the last two years and haven’t had to replace mine yet. I stuck them right onto a pair of Superfeet insoles, that way I can switch them out into any shoe I use (rain shoes, walking shoes, etc) without having to purchase multiple pairs. It’s important to remember that if you wear slippers, you’ll want keep these in there too. (No cheating!)

Acupuncture for Relieving Plantar Fasciosis

treating plantar fasciosis with acupunctureYou might remember my piece on acupuncture and moxibustion for treating heel pain. The acupuncture group achieved an effective rate of 97%, higher than the drug group which came in at 76%. Acupuncturist for the 1984 Olympic Games athletes, Whitfield Reaves, suggests most uncomplicated cases show improvement with a treatment plan of twice a week for three weeks.

Energy Work for Treating Heel Pain

“Are you serving as the ‘shock absorber’ for others?”

Holistic nurse, Maureen Minnehan, says it quite well when she writes:

“The emotional component of [plantar fasciosis/fasciitis] can be reflected in the statement ‘I don’t dare!’ …They have a huge fear of what might happen if they ‘let go and let fly’ with themselves. Also, they feel frustrated, conflicted, and irritated about what’s happening in their lives. So they sit and seethe. …If you are the ‘shock absorber’ and feel angry or ‘inflamed’ about it, this thought pattern, repeated often, can inflame the plantar fascia to ensure you ‘get the message’ through your body. If you have plantar fasciitis, chances are you’re not able to exercise until the inflamed tissue heals. This [italics] makes [end italics] you take care of yourself.”

So how do you care for this pattern? Start with caring for the anger. I find Reiki quite helpful in creating a safe space to be with and listen to this important emotion’s message. What do you need that you haven’t been honoring?

Take up an affirmation practice

Root Chakra Affirmation Mala

Louise Hay recommends a statement like, “I move forward in life, with joy and with ease,” for any kind of foot problem. As an extension of the Root Chakra, you might also consider related affirmations to the expression of safety, security, and self-worth/belonging. Examples might include those listed in Liz Simpson’s book, The Book of Chakra Healing:

  • “I am taking responsibility for my life. I can cope with any situation.”
  • “My internal mother is always here for me, protecting, nourishing, and soothing me.”
  • “I deserve the best that life has to offer. My needs are always met.”

For any affirmation practice, it’s best to repeat the statement as often as possible, ideally no less than 324 times a day. This practice is enhanced by using a mirror while reciting, connecting with your inner child as you speak your new and improved truth.

Ground Daily

It can be helpful to remember you don’t just have to be the ‘shock absorber;’ you can be the lightning rod, grounding what’s coming at and through you into the Earth. Fellow Reiki practitioner Katalin Koda has some great techniques described in her article, “The Grounding Cord Exercise and 8 Other Ways to Ground and Center.”

Need help?

If you’re in the Seattle area, come on in for a full assessment with Melissa. She’ll look at your complete picture and recommend the best appropriate treatment. Melissa also conducts distance Reiki for anyone seeking energy-work support outside the Seattle area. For those unable to afford one-on-one treatments, community acupuncture clinics offer an affordable treatment option in a group setting (often $15-40/treatment). To find a clinic near you, search by state on POCA’s site.

Acupuncture, Reiki

Acupuncture Relieves Heel Pain and Plantar Fasciitis (Article/Studies, Health CMi)

Effective treatment for heel pain

Health CMi Plantar Fasciitis Heel PainIn 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
  • aromatherapy

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
  • Smokeless
  • 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!