Rotator cuff tears are a common injury and are covered by the New Zealand government’s injury insurance scheme, ACC. With the growing trend of middle aged and elderly people taking up weight training at the gym, it is likely that there has been an increase in this type of injury. Sometimes this condition is referred to as a infraspinatous or supraspinatous tear and surgery is commonly performed. Many cases of rotator cuff tear surgery may have been able to be prevented with the use of acupuncture.
Acupuncture has been used to repair injured body sites as well as being able to help relieve pain. In addition to the needles from acupuncture, moxibustion can also be used which may hasten recovery.
How is moxibustion used in the treatment of rotator cuff tear?
Moxibustion is a technique where the herb mugwort is burnt near the location of the acupuncture point. It may be in the form a cigar shape held near the surface of the skin or it can be applied to the end of the needle as seen in the diagram below. The warmth generated as well as it is suspected the particular essential oils emitted by the burning herb produces a therapeutic effect enhancing the recovery process.
Is this moxibustion technique used on acupuncture points on the shoulder or else where?
The moxibustion technique can be used on acupuncture points on the shoulder near and on the injured area site as well as other acupuncture points away from the shoulder can be used. From a Chinese medicine diagnostic perspective, tendons are classified as a dry tissue and the acupuncture point yang ling quan has the traditional use to moisten ligaments and tendons. This acupuncture point is on the outside of the leg below the knee and is commonly used with acupuncture and moxibustion.
Traditional trained acupuncturists would also look at the constitutional make of the patient and according to that assessment, other acupuncture points would be selected as well. For instance, if a patient had a weak spleen condition with tiredness, paleness, bloating and possibly chronic diarrhea, then acupuncture points such as zu san li on the leg and zhong wan in the abdomen might be selected. For more information please go to Acupuncture for Rotator Cuff Tear.