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AcupunctureCarpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), also known as median nerve entrapment, occurs when swelling or irritation of the tendons in the carpal tunnel results in pressure on the median nerve. This causes pain in the palm side of the wrist and pain and tingling in the fingers. The median nerve controls sensations to the palm side of the thumb and fingers, as well as impulses to some small muscles in the hand that allow the fingers and thumb to move.

Symptoms usually start gradually, with frequent burning, tingling, or numbness in the palm of the hand and the fingers, especially the index, middle and ring fingers. Pain can sometimes travel up the arm and affect the shoulder. The symptoms often first appear during the night. As symptoms worsen, people might feel pain, weakness, or numbness in the hand and wrist, radiating up the arm during the day. Decreased grip strength may make it difficult to form a fist, grasp small objects, or perform other manual tasks. If not properly treated, CTS can cause irreversible nerve damage and permanent deterioration of muscle tissue.

From a Chinese Medicine perspective, carpal tunnel syndrome is seen as a disruption of the flow of vital energy (Qi) and blood (Xue) within the area and is associated with cold, dampness or wind penetrating the muscles and sinews. Acupuncture points, stretching exercises, herbal remedies, and nutritional supplements are chosen to treat accordingly. In addition to reducing the swelling, inflammation, and pain, acupuncture addresses any headaches, neck pain, shoulder stiffness, and sleeping problems that often accompany this condition.

According to a randomized, controlled study published in the May 2009 issue of The Clinical Journal of Pain, acupuncture is as effective as the corticosteroid, prednisone, for the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Massage Therapy Center Palo Alto

We’ve chosen to feature Acupressure this week because it is an excellent way to refresh ourselves, balance our energies, and help us get ready for Spring. Acupressure Bodywork is the traditional Chinese medicine art of balancing Chi energy—the circulating life force in the body—by stimulating its healthy flow along energy pathways called meridians. Practiced through clothing, practitioners utilize finger and elbow pressure on the same meridian points stimulated with needles in Acupuncture.

During treatment there is elongation of the muscle fibers, which contributes to the release of toxins and waste materials within the tissues, and an increase in the circulation of oxygenated blood, thereby promoting cellular nutrition and stronger resistance to disease.

Through acupressure, the body is rebalanced, which prompts a reduction in emotional and psychological tensions. As with most bodywork, there is a stronger sense of body awareness after a treatment. Acupressure is used to relieve pain, increase blood circulation, remove toxins from the tissues, and treat many conditions including muscular aches, sinus congestion, headaches, menstrual difficulties, and discomforts of pregnancy and labor.

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