HEALING DIVERS WITH ACUPUNCTURE
THE ORIGIN OF THE SPECIALISM
The idea of treating divers with diving medical problems first started in
2003 when one of Janneke’s patients asked her to treat her middle ear equalisation problem that occurred every third day of her diving holidays. This problem resulted in her not being able to dive anymore and staying on deck the rest of the holiday. After several treatments and a diving week in Egypt, she came back to the practice happy, telling Janneke she didn’t experience any ear problems at all and was able to dive every day! Inspired by all the magical underwater stories from another diving patient as well and having her own special memory of snorkelling once at Koh Samet in Thailand, Janneke decided to get her diving licence. With a leaflet, Diving without problems with Acupuncture,
and an interview in the Dutch Diving
Magazine (Magazine Duiken) in May 2004, the specialism “Diving Medical Acupuncture” was established. It has been a great challenge for Janneke to keep divers diving and making diving safer and more enjoyable!
FROM PHYSIOTHERAPY TO ACUPUNCTURE
After finishing her physiotherapy training from 1985 to1989 at Hogeschool Heerlen in the Netherlands, Janneke studied acupuncture from 1991 to 1994 in Antwerp, Belgium, at Jing Ming College, including a month of hospital internship at Nanchang, Jiangxi College for Traditional Chinese Medicine in China. She also studied Chinese herbal medicine locally in Utrecht at Bao Ku College. Janneke also had the exceptional opportunity to attend several ENT-related diving medicine courses with the Scott Haldane Foundation – an international institute dedicated to the education of physicians in diving and hyperbaric medicine worldwide. Besides her (para) medical background, Janneke has trained as a PADI Divemaster. To improve her knowledge of Chinese medicine, she has studied in Europe, China and the USA. She is a member of the Dutch Acupuncture Association (NVA) and the Royal Dutch Society of Physiotherapy (KNGF). Janneke also trains acupuncturists internationally in diving medical acupuncture.
All of Janneke’s diving related knowledge is collected and structured in her recently published book, Diving Medical Acupuncture
(published by Singing Dragon in April 2018). Targeted at acupuncturists, non-acupuncture doctors and divers worldwide, Diving Medical
Acupuncture describes the medical conditions that can prevent, complicate or result from diving and other water sports, and provides effective clinical treatments. It’s an integration of Western diving medicine, diving techniques and Chinese medicine. Complete with anatomical diagrams and acupuncture point charts, the book is a practical resource for acupuncture clinicians who deal with the issues associated with diving. Advice for divers is given at the end of each chapter, and is available as a handout in downloadable form.
BENEFITS FOR THE DIVER
A physiotherapist, acupuncturist, Chinese herbalist and specialist in Western diving medicine in The Hague, the Netherlands, I treat divers from the whole country with a wide range of health issues at my practice. This includes chronic or recurring ENT disorders that affect pressure equalisation of the ears and sinuses, TMJ (your temporomadibular joint is a hinge that connects your jaw to the temporal bones of your skull) disorders, sea sickness, stress, tiredness, high blood pressure, migraine, lung disorders, addiction to smoking, obesity, neck and back disorders, muscle cramps, and more.
Divers with medical problems can benefit from the positive effects of acupuncture treatment. Acupuncture can transform phlegm and reduce its production, decrease swelling of the mucous membranes in the nose, sinuses, Eustachian tube and middle ear and address underlying energetic disturbances (such as deficiency or stagnation of qi). When the Eustachian tube has a free air passage, divers will normally be able to equalise the middle ear pressure well (as long as the clearing techniques are performed correctly).
Acupuncture can increase your energy, reduce stress and improve immunity – thereby reducing the likelihood of a diver becoming ill.
The diver will definitely feel better under and above the water surface! Lung function can be improved, whereby breathing will be easier, enabling the diver to stay underwater longer. For those with lower back problems, jumping into the ocean may be fine but climbing the stairs of the boat can be very painful. Acupuncture can relieve pain, muscle tension and improve the mobility of the spine. Acupuncture can also help to lower certain risk factors of decompression illness (DCI), such as tiredness, being overweight, and decreased blood circulation.
Acupuncture can increase your energy,
reduce stress and improve immunity – thereby reducing the likelihood of a diver becoming ill
ABOVE: Janneke’s latest book,Diving Medical Acupuncture
JANNEKE VERMEULEN has been working as an acupuncturist since 1994 – partly trained in China and the USA – and specialises in diving medicine, Chinese facial diagnosis, cosmetic acupuncture and infertility. As a general physiotherapist, she also has in-depth knowledge in the field of joint and muscle complaints and stress related problems. In addition to practice, Janneke gives international lectures and certified courses on diving medical acupuncture. Janneke is the author of Diving Medical Acupuncture published by Singing Dragon (London, Philadelphia). For more information please visit her websitewww.mermaidmedicine.com.To order her book, visitwww.singingdragon.com