Expert advice on post Covid treatment from Shine, Church Street’s Resident Acupuncturist,
Marian Fixler DipAc. ClinAc (China). MBAcC. MEFTInternational
“I’m a GP and first saw Marian 4 years ago following a miscarriage. Soon after starting treatments with her I was pregnant again and continued with the sessions throughout my pregnancy, resulting in safe delivery of my daughter.
This year after 5+ months of terrible health following presumed COVID 19 infection I returned to her for treatment. Having never been seriously unwell in my life I’ve had months of exhaustion, shortness of breath, exertional palpitations, dipping oxygen levels, headaches, dizziness, and all sorts of neurological symptoms. Standard western medical approach confirms some physiological issues but no specific diagnosis or effective treatment has been found. So I returned to Marian to see if acupuncture would help.
I’ve had 2 sessions so far, after the first I felt immediately calmer and happier, and my symptoms have improved day by day since. My energy levels are better and I’m more able to function in my day to day life. My body feels good after my second session today and I feel my heart rate is behaving more normally since I started the treatment. Overall I’m definitely making progress now and I’m hopeful I will make a full recovery in time.
As a doctor I’m fully aware there are myriad issues that traditional western medicine can neither explain nor fix in our lives and incorporating other approaches such as acupuncture can be enormously powerful (and empowering).
Marian is kind, thorough, holistic and knowledgeable, I have great faith in her expertise and would highly recommend her to others. She creates a safe and healing space in her sessions in addition to the specific treatments she offers. Thank you!”
Since returning to practice at Shine, Church street, I have had a number of patients who have come for treatment for post-Covid lingering symptoms.
There is now even a label of LONG COVID to describe this condition, with people still struggling with fatigue, respiratory symptoms of breathlessness, tightness of the chest, muscle aches and other neurological signs such as headaches, brain fog etc.
I have been heartened to see the changes patients have experienced when starting acupuncture in most cases with immediate improvement after one treatment.
Many of these people contracted what they think was Covid-19 earlier in the year – February/March, when it was not yet possible to get tested and receive confirmation that they in fact had contracted Covid 19. As we know, the anti-body tests have also been found to not be that reliable, with patients having had all the typical symptoms yet showing negative to anti-body testing.
In East Asian Medicine (the broader term used for all styles of acupuncture) we don’t just treat symptoms but use our differential diagnoses including tongue, abdominal and pulse diagnosis and assessment of the meridians to tailor an individual treatment to support the body to bring itself back to health. Many of these Covid symptoms relate to the Lung meridian, as this is predominantly a respiratory related virus. However, other symptoms such as muscle aches and in particular brain fog, nausea etc relate more to the Spleen & Stomach meridians and can be indications of lingering pathogens in the body such as dampness. In one case, soon after treatment, the patient experienced enormous amounts of mucus coming out for the first time, leading to a massive clear out and easing of all her symptoms for the first time in months.
Needless to say, these uncertain times and the constant talk about the virus each time we read the news unsurprisingly creates anxiety and even depression, as our daily activities are curtailed and planning ahead becomes increasingly difficult. Acupuncture calms the nervous system, helping us to quieten the stress hormones of flight and fright and to turn on the parasympathetic nervous system. Many of the points on the chest and upper back that help with breathing also have a very calming effect.
As with any chronic condition, it is important to support the system with good quality rest and relaxation; healthy nutritious eating
and if possible, gentle exercise.
When you have been used to being active (some of these patients are endurance athletes and generally very active in their lives), it can be difficult to get the right balance of how much to do and when. In my experience, after starting acupuncture treatment, there is a trajectory of steady improvement and setbacks are short-lived with patients bouncing back quicker.
Targetted lifestyle suggestions form part of the consultation. For example, gentle Qi gong exercises that are aimed at stretching and activating the Lung meridian in particular can be helpful to encourage Qi (energy) circulation (see below for resources).
At this time of year – a time of transitions – into new academic years, from late summer with all the wonderful weather we have been having, into autumn, it is a good time of year to have treatment, even if you don’t have symptoms, to support your body in making this transition and to strengthen the immune system. Energetically we are moving from the height of yang towards a more inner reflective quieter yin time of autumn. It is the time when we need to gather & strengthen our resources inwards in preparation for the winter ahead.
Some patients have kindly sent in testimonials to describe how acupuncture has benefitted them:
“I’ve been using acupuncture over the last few years to help with a number of problems including insomnia, muscular-skeletal problems, and peri-menopause. It has always helped me and therefore it was the obvious choice to help with my on-going Covid-19 recovery.
I had a ‘mild’ version of Covid, but it has been a long illness with symptoms going on for months, including fatigue, chest pain, breathlessness, sore throats, loss of taste/smell and muscle pains. I’ve had only four sessions so far and happily I am finally starting to heal. The chest pain, breathlessness and sore throats have abated, my energy levels are increasing and the muscle pains are disappearing. It’s been steady progress and a welcome relief after months of suffering. I’d highly recommend Marian’s expert help to resolve on-going, stubborn Covid symptoms.”
“I had been suffering from fatigue and a whole host of other unpleasant symptoms after the virus. I felt utterly terrible and frightened that my life would not return to normal. I received acupuncture from Marian and my symptoms heightened. But something extraordinary was happening. Congestion that had been stuck for months started to move and leave my body. I endured this for three days. It was physically very powerful.
As a result everything improved, my chest and breathing, my sinus pain, my fatigue and my overall well-being. I continue to see Marian and my health continues to improve.”
Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any queries or would like to discuss treatment.Email Marian to find out more
For more information about the chronic impact on Covid-19 on some patients, you can listen to Radio 4’s File on 4 – Covid 19: The Long Road to Recovery: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000mczc
Below are some links to different styles of Qi gong that are targeted at opening the Lungs and chest area and to improve breathing.
There are also healing sounds related to each of the meridians which you can combine with the Qi gong stretches:
My wonderful yoga teacher also highlighted a very interesting podcast interview between two specialists in the area of breath work:
There is also scientific evidence for the health benefits of Qi gong practice – A Comprehensive Review of Health Benefits of Qigong and Tai Chi (Jahnke R et al. 2010)