Get in touch

Back Pain

Acupuncture has been proven very effective to treat back pain

Back pain afflicts around 85% of adults at some point during their lives.

Happily, the NHS has recently looked at the evidence for acupuncture in treating lower back pain and has decided to allow GPs to refer patients of persistent, non specific lower back pain for the treatment. They are advised to offer a course of up to 10 sessions over a period of up to 12 weeks. This includes people who have been in pain for longer than 6 weeks but for less than one year and where the pain might be linked to issues in the joints, muscles or ligaments.

Why is it so common to injure our back?

The human back is made up of many muscles, bones, nerves, ligaments and other soft tissue.  We are required to use our back with almost every movement we make.  Although it is the workhorse of the body, the back is as sensitive as any part of the body, and injury to it may cause pain throughout the body.

Research studies note, over 80% of back pain is caused by muscle strain.  This is often the diagnosis given when there is no injury visible under an x-ray or MRI.  Because the back is composed of many short, extensor muscles that connect each vertebra, they are more susceptible to strain then for example our large leg muscles.  These shorter muscles are more prone to tightening and convulsing involuntarily.  This could be due to injury, improper positioning, or stress.

Muscle strain can also be due to inflammation of the spinal ligaments or tendons.  In any situation, when pain is experienced, it is the body’s message to slow down.  Muscle strain is best resolved by increasing circulation.  Pressure the area will increase circulation, as will acupuncture.

Many people have heard of sciatica, and experienced it personally.  Sciatica is the diagnosis when the sciatic nerve becomes impinged.  The sciatic nerve begins at our low back and travels all the way down both of our legs.  It is a very large nerve, and therefore an easy nerve to become impinged by tight muscles.  As the muscle tightens around the nerve a sharp pain is felt, usually in the buttocks area.  Depending on the severity, the pain may travel along the length of the nerve, causing radiating pain down the leg, either along the back of the leg or the side of the leg.

There are also many types of disorders involving the discs of the back.  Between each vertebrae of our backs lie a disc, that can be seen as a jelly donut.  When all is healthy in our backs, the donut acts as a support and cushion between the vertebrae, it allows flexibility and strength.  But the donut is sensitive and vulnerable many types of injuries.  Commonly called a “slipped disc”, a prolapsed or herniated disc is when the soft inner nucleus of the disc (the jelly of the donut) has bulges out.  This can cause an impingement of the nerves around the area, and/or inflammation.  The nucleus continues to move away from the disc (it “slips”), and can go in any direction, most commonly backwards.  The pain often includes pain of the arms or legs, as the nucleus has impinged a nerve in its travels.

In a recent study, 50 patients with back pain were given 10 acupuncture treatments.  Nearly every participant felt some relief from acupuncture.  40% had their symptoms eliminated, 56% reported marked to some improvement and only 4% (that’s 2 people in the study) did not feel any changes.  (Source Journal of Chinese Medicine 2003:23-1 51-52)


While I was working at sea, most of my patients came to have acupuncture for pain, and more specifically for back pain. I was very successful with treating back pain (read reviews) and I helped almost ALL my patients  who were presenting back pain with only 5 to 10 treatments. Very quickly I started to treat many of my colleagues who were working long hours, as well as the security officer and even the captain of the ship. Acupuncture works!


Acupuncture is also very effective to alleviate these conditions:

Back Pain / Stiff Back
Knee Pain / Weak Knees
Shoulder Pain / Frozen Shoulder
Headaches / Migraines
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Tennis Elbow / Golf Elbow / Sprained Ankle / Ankle Pain / Arthritis / Wrist Pain / Carpal Tunnel Syndrome / Plantar Fasciitis / / Foot Pain / Stiff Neck / Neck Pain / Sore Throat / Throat Pain / Tendonitis / Muscle Pain / Muscle Weakness / Sciatica / Fibromyalsia / Eye Pain / Dry Eyes / Painful Periods / Haemorrhoids (Piles) / Hip Pain / Leg Pain / Arm Pain / Peripheral Neuropathy / Bell’s Palsy

For more information about how acupuncture can help to alleviate your pain, please contact Sakina here.

Acupuncture for Bell’s Palsy (facial paralysis) in Brighton

Acupuncture can help to alleviate the symptoms of Bell's Palsy

Acupuncture can help to alleviate the symptoms of Bell’s Palsy

Bell’s palsy is the temporary weakness or paralysis of the muscles in one side of the face (NHS).Bell’s palsy can also affect the eyelid and mouth, making it difficult to close and open them.

The symptoms of Bell’s palsy can vary, from a mild numbness of the face, to total paralysis.

The symptoms develop quickly and reach their peak within 48 hours. They include:

  • weakness or paralysis in one side of the face, which may make it difficult to close the eyelid and cause the side of the mouth to droop
  • irritation of the affected eye, such as dryness or increased tear production
  • pain underneath the ear on the affected side of the face
  • an altered or reduced sense of taste
  • increased sensitivity to sound in the affected ear
  • drooling from the mouth on the affected side of the face
  • dryness of the mouth
  • pain around the jaw
  • headache
  • ringing in one or both ears
  • dizziness
  • difficulty eating or drinking
  • impaired speech

According to the NHS, Bell’s palsy occur when the nerve that controls the muscles in the face become compressed. However, the exact cause is unknown, even though it is thought to be due to the inflammation of the facial nerve, due to a possible viral infection.

In Chinese Medicine Bell’s Palsy  is considered a Wind Attack or External Wind Stroke attack. It is believed that Bell’s palsy is caused when Wind and Cold invade the meridians, muscles and tendons of the face. It can happen when the immune systems and the body’s defences are weak. When the immune system is deficient, the flow of Qi and Blood becomes impaired, which results in malnourishment of the facial muscles and tendons.

The aim of an acupuncture treatment to treat Bell’s Palsy, is to expel Wind Cold from the meridian and to improve the circulation of Qi and Blood. The treatment also aims at strengthening the immune system. In severe case, electro acupuncture can also be used during the treatment.

Acupuncture on a regular basis can significantly improve results and help to resolve this condition.

For more information, or to book an appointment with Sakina, please call 07808194253 or write to

Reference: NHS Choices

Baby Blues & Chinese Medicine

Baby Blues and Acupuncture

Chinese Medicine can help to prevent Baby Blues

Over the last few years, I have noticed that many women that I have been treating during their pregnancy, often fear that they will suffer from the symptoms of the baby blues. The cause of this mild depression (which can turn into a post partum depression, if the baby blues doesn’t go away after a few weeks) is unknown. However, it is very likely due to a result of hormonal changes and lack of sleep from feeding and caring for the baby all night.

Following simple concepts of Traditional Chinese Medicine could help many women to not experience any symptoms of the baby blues.

An important part of Chinese Medicine, is the concept of “adequate rest” to ensure women completely recover from childbirth. This concept involves the idea that women should take at least a month to fully recover from childbirth. During that month, the partner and relatives should be very present to help with every day activities such as cleaning the house, shopping, cooking dinner or dealing with other situations. In our society, women are more likely to be encouraged to be a “super mum”, going back to work and fit for action only two weeks after given birth. Therefore, if your situation allows it, the first advice is to REST as much as you can. When the baby is asleep, it is not the time to sort out the house, but it is also a time for you to rest.

Giving birth, is very depleting for a woman and a lot of emphasis should also be put on having an appropriate diet: a diet that aims at “building Blood and Energy”.

Food that build Blood include:

  • corn, sweet rice, beetroot, all dark leafy greens, mushroom, apricot,
  • avocado, date, kidney bean, sesame seeds, chicken, mussels, egg and soya milk as well as the obvious
  • iron rich foods such as red meat and spinach.
Focus on your Diet

Focus on your Diet to recover fully from childbirth

Food that build Energy include:

  • Oat porridge with dates
  • Roast sweet potatoes, pumpkin and yams with rosemary
  • Chicken stir fry with shiitake mushrooms and rice
  • Shepherds pie with beef mince, mushrooms, carrots and mashed potato as a topping
  • Peanut Satay sauce with chicken or meat on rice
  • Potato and egg salad
  • Tuna fish pie made with hard boiled eggs and served with mashed potatoes and peas
  • Stir fired Tofu, eggplant and mushrooms with sesame seeds on rice
  • Home made muesli slice with honey and dates

Ideally, acupuncture treatment is also given once a week during 3 weeks, starting 2 weeks after giving birth. Acupuncture, can be incredibly helpful to balance the hormones and to improve depression by increasing seratonin and relieving anxiety by relaxing the muscles and increasing the dopamine and other anti-anxiety chemicals in the brain. It is also a great way, to help to “build Blood” in the body.

As a conclusion, you do not necessarily have to suffer from baby blues if you follow these 3 advice:

  1. REST as much as you can. Involve your relatives and partner as much as possible for the everyday activities.
  2. Focus on your DIET and make sure you choose Blood nourishing and Energy building Food.
  3. Get 3 ACUPUNCTURE treatments, once a week, starting 2 weeks after you have given birth.

For more information, or to book an appointment with Sakina, please call 07808194253 or email

Reference: Debra Betts  “The essential guide to Acupuncture in Pregnancy and Childbirth” © 2006


Inducing Labour with Acupuncture in Brighton

Inducing labour with acupuncture

Inducing labour with acupuncture in Brighton

These last weeks, I have seen several women who came to have an acupuncture treatment to induce labour. As all of them asked me many technical questions about how it works, I thought that writing to answer some of these questions.

First of all, acupuncture to induce labour is a pretty common practice in China. It is a natural and safe (for the mother and the baby) way to induce labor by helping the cervix to ripen and dilate.

This specific acupuncture treatment stimulates oxytocin to be produced, which is the natural hormone that initiates labor.

To do these treatment, we only use 8 needles and we stimulate the points for 30 minutes. To make the treatment more effective, and to stimulate the points in a stronger way, I also use a TENS machine (electro acupuncture) that I attached to the needles. Don’t worry, it is not painful, and it has shown some fantastic results. Most of women labours started 24h to 48h after the treatment. 

If you are ready to go into labor but would prefer to avoid medical induction, you can also use acupressure to aid in bringing on contractions and ultimately to give birth to your baby.

There are 3 particular points that you (or your partner) can massage 1 minute, six time a day. Press and rub these spots in a circular motion. It should feel sore or tender but not painful.

  • Bladder 32 Bladder 32 This acupressure point lies midway between the dimples above the buttocks and the lumbar spine
  • Spleen 6 Spleen 6 You’ll find this point on the inside lower leg, four fingers’ width above the ankle bone
  • Large Intestine 4 Large Intestine 4 This point is found between the first and second metacarpal bones (the bones of the thumb and first finger). It lies at the highest point formed when the thumb is brought to rest against the index finger.


For mor information, or to book an appointment with Sakina, call 07808194253 or email