Acupuncture with moxa treatment: Hi, Have had pmr... - PMRGCAuk


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Acupuncture with moxa treatment



Have had pmr since January 2014, and now down to 8mg since the beginning of this year. The last 5/6 weeks have been quite trying as the pmr pains have come back again at the top of my arms, and I have been wondering about having to increase the preds a bit.

However, last week our shiatsu therapist said he wanted to try some acupuncture with moxa to try to help my adrenal glands to get going again, and this he did. He told my wife to expect me to be grumpy fo a couple of days, and my wife tells me I was!! Anyway, by Sunday, I realised that I was almost out of pain, and I felt miles better.

This could have been because the pmr had waned a bit ( it does seem to have waxed and waned quite a bit over the past year), or it might have been 'cos I changed to taking 5mg at breakfast, and 3mg at lunchtime. Whatever, it has been a change to the good.

Has anyone else experienced this type of treatment? When I googled moxa, I saw that it a very very old Chinese treatment for, amongst other ailments, arthritis and rheumatism. Maybe we have things to learn from them?!

Anything that helps, I say.

12 Replies

What is moxa? What was the exact procedure? Will you get periodic treatment? It does seem like more than a coincidence that your pains have eased - I agree, anything that works!

Joyful13 in reply to HeronNS

I have had moxa in the past with acupuncture, but not for PMR or GCA. It is a special herbal? Chinese blend that is kind of like an incense. It is heated by a match, so gets warm in the places the acupuncturist places it on your body. It has a very distinctive odor. The acupuncturist can increase or decrease the amount of heat the moxa penetrates in to the body. It's kind of difficult to describe. I don't remember feeling grumpy after the treatments, but I was given it for other reasons. The heat is not painful, however, I would only want someone that I really trust to do this procedure.


I am a great believer in complementary therapies and have used acupuncture for other health conditions but found It had no effect on my PMR.

We are all different and anything that works for you is great ,we all needed to be open minded as need all the help we can get.

So good luck for you treatment .

Best Wishes Rose

Thanks for your replies. All very interesting. I can't tell much more about it, as I had never heard of it before last week. However, the treatment was exactly as described by Joyful.

I certainly agree you need someone you can trust to administer it. From my viewpoint, it isn't going to cure the pmr, but, in rather the same way as people describe the Bowen therapy, it has had the effect of making me feel better, and, as such, is well worthwhile carrying on with.

I have had acupuncture for lot's of things and it worked but not for my pmr.

Well, on a slightly related subject, my physiotherapist to whom I go for low intensity light therapy to help with reducing inflammation, is also taking on herself to help other problems in my ageing body. She has been performing "dry needling" along my spine, and this is supposed to get rid of tensions in the muscles and as she described it today "reset" the way chemical reactions are occurring there so that I maintain a healthy tone, not what she called "bad" tone. She also told me that some research is being done to determine whether people who undergo procedures such as botox injections for migraine, or cortisone for painful joints, may actually be responding to the needle, not the medication. She said she will email me links to some of the articles. :)

PMRproAmbassador in reply to HeronNS

Does your "dry needling" burn? I've had needling but I think it was always "wet" - it burns exquisitely (think shrieks as the needle goes in) but it has an amazing effect which sends me back for more!

HeronNS in reply to PMRpro

Sometimes it hurts quite a lot, depending what she hits on the way in I guess, but there is no "burning" and it goes away as soon as the needle is removed. When she did my neck I started to cry but I'm not sure why because it wasn't much more painful than before and as usual very short term!

Not quite sure

what you mean by "dry" and "wet" needling. I think he placed the needles on my back close to the adrenal glands, then wound on the moxa, and lit it.

There was no pain at all, but a sensation of warmth. My therapist hoped that the treatment would work well with the preds, and I believe this may be the case.

I am hoping for a repeat session next month.

Good wins for England in Scotland and Italy, but sterner tests to come, I suspect!!


PMRproAmbassador in reply to Charlie1boy

The needling we're speaking about is different - subcutaneous insertions of needles over inflamed areas and, in my case at least, done by a mainstream medicine GP and an anaesthetist at various times. No moxa but sometimes they use a muscle relaxant or steroid in the syringe and that is probably why it burns. The insertion of the needle stimulates either the trigger points which are identified as hard knots of muscle fibres or the muscle fascia in some way.

You can google it to probably find better descriptions.

Yes, it does sound a bit different. When my guy inserts the needles, I always know if he's got the right spot. He is looking for trigger points, and it could be (?) that what he is doing is kick starting my adrenalin supply, or is 8mg still a bit high?

Hopefully, I will be able to taper to 7.5mg next month. It's taken from 12th June 2015 till now to get to 8mg, which just goes to confirm what many sufferers of pmr have said on this forum about the difficulties of tapering at this level, and the patience required.

Still - we have sunshine today, so can't be too pessimistic about it!


HeronNS in reply to Charlie1boy

Charlie1boy, acupuncture in my experience is different, much less likely to be painful. I started going to the physiotherapist who gives me low intensity light treatment and other interventions like dry needling when I was embarking on the reduction to 7 mg. She told me that steroid medications interfere with the effectiveness of LILT so I went with the hope that the treatment would at least help me lower my dose without too much trouble, and so far it has indeed done that. I assume that as pred dose diminishes, the effectiveness of LILT increases, so it's a win-win situation! Fingers crossed! It was her idea to add the needling as well as some gentle spinal manipulation (not even manipulation, not sure what you'd call it) as additonal to the PMR I have some issues with my back.

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