Tennis elbow is sometimes referred to as tenosynovitis of the elbow or lateral epicondylitis. Patients seeking acupuncture for tennis elbow do so mainly because of pain and acupuncture treatment is covered by the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) in New Zealand. Acupuncture specialist, Mr Zhou Ling, has released his research findings in findings in the Yunnan Journal of Chinese Medicine.
The research demonstrated that the treatment of tennis elbow has the most benefit when electro-Acupuncture is combined with moxibustion. He found that in over 80% of cases, patients reported a disappearance of pain and restoration of normal movement of the joint. Subjects who undertook the study had acupuncture daily for 10 days which constituted one course and some people had 2-3 courses of treatment.
How many sessions of electro-acupuncture are suggested?
In the West, it is more common that patients presenting with tennis elbow and seeking acupuncture respond well with 2 treatments per week and usually only competitive players seek more intensive treatment. In New Zealand the ACC provide cover for around 20 sessions. There are many classical acupuncture points that can be used for the treatment of tennis elbow which include what is known as a-shi points. These a-shi points sometimes coincide with Motor Points that have been mapped out by acupuncture researcher Matt Callison in the United States.
Which acupuncture points are used?
Acupuncture points commonly used in the treatment of tennis elbow include Large Intestine 4 and Large Intestine 11. The Large Intestine acupuncture meridian runs up the outside of the arm. Other acupuncture acupuncture points in the abdomen or legs may also be required to stimulate the general health of the body and address constitutional weaknesses.
Electro-Acupuncture machines have many different wave forms and Mr Zhou Ling’s research found that strong dense wave form gave the most satisfactory result.
Moxibustion enhances the effects of electro-acupuncture
Traditional Chinese medicine diagnosis views tennis elbow as being complicated with repetitive strain and over use syndrome which weakens the sinews. When the elbow is injured, then the area is vulnerable to being exposed to outside environmental factors such as cold, wind and damp which can then settle in to the injured area. This is why the warmth created by wrapping the elbow in a bandage can seem to help the problem as it is protecting the area from further exposure to outside weather extremes.
After the session of Electro-Acupuncture has been completed, moxibustion is performed which heats up the area and increase blood circulation to promote regeneration and rejuvenation to the injured tissue. Acupuncture and moxibustion for tennis elbow works because it improves energy and blood circulation.
Sometimes, patients complain of the pain being right on the bone at the elbow and wonder how can that be treated because you can’t stick a needle into the bone. In situations like this, direct moxibustion can be applied carefully on the pin pointed pain location directly on the bone.
It is very important to note, that to maximize results and hasten recovery, if at all possible, the elbow needs to be rested during the course of treatment.