Tag: chinese medicine sydney

Acupuncture

TCM and Acupuncture Facts

1. Chinese Medicine has been around for over 2100 years!

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) involves a range of medicine practices that were developed in China around 2000 years ago. The earliest known record of Chinese Medicine is in the Huangdi Neijing (The Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classic) from the 3rd Century BCE.

2. You can fit 20-30 acupuncture needles inside a hypodermic needle/medical syringe.

Many people fear that acupuncture is a painful treatment, however, acupuncture needles are very small and often painless- some are the size of a human hair! Commonly used sizes range from 0.12-0.25mm, so you can actually fit 20-30 acupuncture needles in the opening of a medical syringe! (1)

3. Acupuncture doesn’t only help pain.

Although acupuncture has been found to be effective for pain conditions such as chronic low back pain and headache (2), acupuncture has been used for centuries for a wide range of conditions. I have seen great results in the clinic in areas of women’s health and fertility, mood disorders, sleep issues, digestive health, skin conditions and much, much more! Chinese Medicine is a holistic, complete system of medicine that focuses on providing balance to the whole body, which means TCM practitioners are trained in assisting all of your health concerns.

4. Chinese Medicine treatments are completely tailored to you and your body!

Traditional Chinese Medicine is highly individualised, meaning that two people with the same symptom may receive very different acupuncture points, physical therapies and/or herbs. A comprehensive health history and understanding of your body is needed to make a diagnosis in TCM, and treatments will differ to address what your body needs.

5. TCM Practitioners undergo extensive professional training.

To become a Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner, you must complete a four to five year full-time Australian bachelor degree program in acupuncture and/or Chinese herbal medicine. These courses provide a comprehensive knowledge of both Traditional Chinese Medical and Western Medical theory and practice. All Australian acupuncturists are registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and accredited by another independent Health association.

Diet & Digestion

Tea, coffee and TCM

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Tea, coffee and TCM

In Chinese Medicine, we are all about warm drinks. As you may or may not know, this is because the body finds it easier (from a TCM perspective) to digest things that are already at a warm, body-friendly temperature. When we drink cold beverages, such as cold or icy water from the fridge, our body has to spend extra time warming this up, which uses more energy and slows digestion. Plus, drinking warm beverages is like an internal hug for your organs and their function!

But what are the benefits of different types teas? I’ve put a little list together of my personal favourites, and what I use them for with Chinese Medicine and research in mind: *
  • Peppermint tea: has a cooling effect on Heat and Phlegm conditions. I love drinking this tea in times of anxiety or stress where I feel hot and overwhelmed (with palpitations and clamminess).  I also enjoy it when my sinus is playing up, or tonsils are a bit sore and red. In modern times, peppermint tea is recognised for its antioxidant, antibacterial and antiviral properties, as well as positive effect on the digestive tract.
  • Green tea: has a cooling nature, which is great for relieving Heat. I drink green tea daily as it is not only delicious, but is great for busy, mental workers like me to reduce anxiety, while also benefitting mental function and memory. Most people know that green tea is high in antioxidants and lowers cholesterol- what’s not to love?
  • Black tea: is known in Chinese Medicine for it’s gentle nature and ability to move Qi and harmonise the Stomach. This means having a cup of black tea is great when your tummy feels a little obstructed and sluggish.
  • Fresh ginger tea: one of my favourite teas! Ginger is so warming and supportive for both our Qi and Yang, and helps to reduce feelings of nausea. I love drinking ginger tea throughout winter to keep me warm and cozy! Tip: dried ginger is more powerful and warming.
  • Cinnamon tea: another lovely, strongly warming tea. It is great for those with Yang deficiency and cold in the body as it warms the channels strongly (great for cold hands and feet). It is packed full of antioxidants, has antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic effects!
  • Chrysanthemum tea: is great to drink when you are feeling a cold or flu coming on, or have blurry vision and/or red eyes. This is because chrysanthemum nourishes the Yin and fights off Wind and Heat in the upper body (cold and flus in TCM). I like to add in some dried goji berries if I’m drinking this for my eyes! Research supports the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of chrysanthemum, which aligns with the above TCM thinking.
  • Licorice root tea: is a sweet little pick-me-up for when I’m feeling tired or weak and my digestive system is on the sluggish side. In TCM, licorice root is used in most herbal formulas to support digestion and strengthen the Qi. I wouldn’t recommend drinking this every day, and those with hypertension and nausea should avoid this herb.

What about coffee?

Coffee has a hot nature in Chinese Medicine, with a bitter and sweet flavour. These qualities mean that drinking coffee can provide the body with warmth, stimulate mental activity and the Heart. However, coffee is also a diuretic, which means that we will need to urinate more often. Many people with an underlying Qi or Yang deficiency, who may experience cold hands and feet, tiredness and dizziness will tend to drink coffee for it’s benefits on their energy and warmth. However, coffee begins to affect the body negatively in excess. The stimulant nature and heat of coffee, combined with its diuretic effect means that coffee can be quite drying for the body.

I usually recommend a limit of one coffee per day, followed by at least one glass of water to prevent drying out our Yin.

 

*This list is not medical advice, and teas should not replace proper medical care. This is simply a list of teas that I enjoy using, and you should consult your health care provider before adding these in to your diet excessively. Always opt for organic and pure teas!

Acupuncture

Period pain

Why do we get it? How can an acupuncturist help?

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Period pain, or dysmenorrhoea, is experienced by almost every woman I know, and it’s something that many women just accept as a normal part of their life. Menstrual cramps and pains are usually experienced around the stomach area, but many also feel it in the lower back and thighs. Every person who bleeds monthly is different, and the severity of dysmenorrhoea differs between individuals. For extremely severe pains, one may begin to consider the possibility of endometriosis or adenomyosis.

Why does pain occur?

So why does this pain come on? The uterus contracts all of the time, and especially around the period, but these are usually mild and go by unfelt. Before and during the period, the muscular walls of the uterus contract and tighten quite strongly to shed the inner lining monthly, which causes our bleeding.

The pain that we experience occurs when the local blood vessels are squeezed or compressed during the process of shedding this lining, cutting off blood supply to the uterus, resulting in a release of chemicals which trigger pain. Pain-triggering chemicals stimulate the release of prostaglandins, which only influence stronger contractions, more pain and inflammation.

Chinese Medicine is here to help!

Normal period pain usually responds well to natural treatments and Chinese Medicine. For my own dysmenorrhoea, I find that it completely disappears for months with TCM treatment, and comes back only if I become slack with my diet, stress levels or exercise. I will usually use a combination of acupuncture, lifestyle advice, supplements and herbal medicines for my clients with period pain.

Acupuncture has been found effective for alleviating period pain!

Here are some common natural supplements and herbs that I prescribe clinically:

Sheng Jiang (Ginger): ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory and pain killer for dysmenorrhoea, found as effective as ibuprofen.

Yan Hu Suo (Corydalis): this herb has been found useful in reducing inflammatory pain linked to menstrual cramps.

Jiang Huang (Turmeric): ginger’s cousin! Found to reduce prostaglandins and therefore assists in lessening pain.

Magnesium: reduces those pain-increasing prostaglandins and relaxes the uterus.

Zinc: prevents cramping and pain by also reducing prostaglandins and inflammation.

Fish oil: the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil reduce inflammation and prostaglandins.

Note: The above herbs and supplements should be prescribed by a health practitioner to ensure you receive a safe and effective dosage for your condition.

Your periods should not be a monthly nightmare!

Book in with me today to manage and prevent period pain naturally

General Health

Understanding and helping stress with Chinese Medicine

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How stress affects the body

In biomedicine:

Life is stressful, and stress is almost unavoidable in the fast-paced, demanding lifestyle of today. The body naturally responds to stressful situations through releasing the hormone cortisol, and initiating the ‘fight or flight’ response, which helps us to make decisions in these situations. However, when stress occurs for long periods of time, and our bodies are constantly in this state of ‘fight or flight’, this can develop in to other conditions such as high blood pressure, chronic fatigue, headaches, digestive issues, anxiety and depression.

In Chinese Medicine

In Chinese Medicine, stress slows and disrupts the circulation of substances through the body, namely Qi and Blood*. The Liver* is responsible for maintaining the smooth flow of Qi, which is why Liver Qi Stagnation is one of the most common diagnoses we make when we see patients with stress. Common physical symptoms we will see for Liver Qi Stagnation include muscular tension (especially of the neck and shoulders), headaches, discomfort in the sides of the ribs and chest tightness. Other symptoms occur as a result of secondary damage to other body systems, which all become affected when our Qi is not circulating as it should. Digestive symptoms such as loose or hard bowel motions, as well as sleep problems, a lack of energy, depression, anxiety and feelings of heat may also occur with excessive stress.

The relationship between stress and these other symptoms is through the organ-channel relationships and interconnectedness of the body’s systems that is seen throughout Chinese Medical theory. This ancient, holistic view of the body only makes more sense as stress and mood disorders become more prevalent in modern society. Many are beginning to opt for natural relief alternatives such as acupuncture and herbs to relieve symptoms of stress and relax the body and mind.

How can Chinese Medicine help?

Scientific research has been performed to investigate the calming effect that many people experience with acupuncture. It has been suggested that acupuncture stimulates the release of and alters the levels of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, which assists in emotional regulation. A study performed in 2015 by Bosch et al. found that acupuncture is effective for improving quality of life, sleep and mood in people suffering from depression. In my treatments, I work with my patients using a combination of acupuncture, herbs, auricular acupressure and lifestyle advice to help them through the hard times and back on their feet.

 

*Note- Organs and substances mentioned in this report relate to the Chinese Medicine understanding of Blood or organ-channel system function, not the Western biomedical concepts. As such, unless there is a Western Medical problem, the organs mentioned in this report are unlikely to show up in blood tests or ultra sounds showing dysfunction.

Ask a question or make an appointment

The mind is just as important as the body in health.

Acupuncture

Cosmetic Acupuncture: the natural alternative to botox

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What is Cosmetic Acupuncture?

Cosmetic Acupuncture is a technique used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to enhance beauty and skin health, dating back almost 2000 years. In modern times, Cosmetic Acupuncture is gaining popularity amongst beauty gurus and celebrities as more people begin to turn to natural alternatives for anti-ageing treatments. It involves the insertion of specialised, thin needles into the face to stimulate the skin and muscles and address concerns such as fine lines and wrinkles, puffy, sagging or dark eyes, dryness, pigmentation, scarring, acne and more!

How does it work?

The needles cause a 'micro-trauma' in the facial skin, increasing blood and lymph flow to the face, which improves cell oxygenation. Cosmetic Acupuncture also stimulates collagen and elastin production, enabling facial rejuvenation. This leads to a variety of amazing benefits, including:

  • Improving the elasticity and firmness of the skin
  • Brightening the complexion and eye area
  • Increasing hydration of the skin
  • Softening scarring and discolouration
  • Lifting areas of sagging and drooping
  • Reducing the depth and appearance of fine lines and wrinkles

What can I expect from treatments?

Most people will experience a quick pinch or dull pain upon needle insertion that goes away after a few moments. However, different people are sensitive to different things, so this sensation cannot be guaranteed to all people. Along with acupuncture, I offer facial cupping, gua sha, jade rolling, facial massage and some herbal masks as a package within my Cosmetic treatments. As the skin replaces itself approximately every 28 days, around 1-2 months of treatments are needed to see the lovely changes happening, depending on your skin concerns and constitution.

Rather than injecting your skin with chemicals, Cosmetic Acupuncture is a wonderful way to achieve a more youthful and glowing complexion naturally. As Traditional Chinese Medicine is quite holistic, extra acupuncture points, known as 'grounding' points found on the body will be needled to address your entire state of health. By addressing other health conditions, such as digestive issues, emotional stresses and hormonal imbalances (which can all contribute to the appearance of our skin!), we can ensure your skin, mind and bodily health are balanced, to achieve a holistic harmony.

Get glowing!

Make an appointment with me for some Cosmetic Acupuncture!

Acupuncture

What to expect from an appointment with me

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Yay! You've decided that Chinese Medicine is for you and maybe you've even booked your initial appointment with me. Now what?
1. Making your appointment and arriving at the clinic

If you haven't already made an appointment, send me an email at kiah@healthspaceclinics.com.au or call one of the clinics that you'd prefer, and our lovely receptionist will book you in!

On the day of your first appointment, eat a good breakfast and don't brush your tongue (I'll explain this in the next part!) in the morning. Please arrive 15 minutes early to fill out a 'New Client Form' (unless you have done so online), which can be quite comprehensive and long, but helps me to understand the full picture of your health and you as a person.  After this is completed, I'll greet you and bring you through to our treatment room. We will then sit down and the interview process will begin.

2. The interview process

Now one thing that you should know about Chinese Medicine- our initial interviews are long. We are holistic- and this means that we consider the whole body to make a diagnosis and design a treatment plan that addresses the root of your disease- rather than just one symptom. TCM sees the human body as a system, and when one part of that system is affected, many others become affected too! Together, we will go through your New Client Form, your main complaints, and then a general questioning is performed. These questions include pain, fever or chills, urination, bowel motions, sleep, mental health, gynaecology, digestion, thirst, diet and more.

You may think "Why are you asking me about all of this, if I'm just here for one thing?". Well, we see everything as interconnected, and many times two completely different symptoms may have a deep connection that makes sense to us. All factors of your health help us reach our diagnosis.

3. The tongue, pulse and palpation

In TCM, we use the tongue and pulse diagnostically. The tongue is an interior indicator that we are able to view from the exterior- it tells us about things like heat and the state of your Qi and Blood in your body. The pulse is similar, and we study many  aspects of it to help our diagnosis: the strength, tautness of the artery, beats per minute (BPM), and more. We will also touch (palpate) areas of concern, for reasons such as identifying masses, tightness or other textures.

4. Treatment

After the interview, I will ask you to get ready on the bed while I wait outside, and then cover you with towels. I'll put a few drops of a lovely essential oil in the diffuser, and may heat up a heat pack for you if it's cold. Maybe I'll perform a little Chinese massage, gua sha, or cupping to prepare the area for acupuncture if I think you're needing it. Then, once you're all ready, I'll pop some acupuncture needles into a special selection of points chosen just for your condition.

Acupuncture can feel a little strange for first timers. Upon insertion, you may feel a little pinch or pain that will go away in a few minutes. I'll manipulate your needles gently to achieve a De Qi sensation that may be like tingling, pressure, warmth, pulling or achiness. You may feel emotionally vulnerable or sensitive- this is normal as the needles release physical and emotional stress. You're meant to feel relaxed and comfortable, so let me know if I need to adjust anything before leaving you to relax alone for around 20-30 minutes. When the needles are in, try to relax your mind, meditate, or even take a nap!

5. After your treatment

After checking in with you, I will take out the needles and dispose of them. There may be a little bruise or bleeding, which is normal as we have penetrated the skin, but these will go away.  You may feel a little sleepy or spacey after treatment. Take it easy and don't do any vigorous exercise for the day, acupuncture can be draining and we don't want to overload your body. Also, don't take a shower or swim for at least 3 hours after, as we've opened up your pores and left you vulnerable, so stay cozy!

Acupuncture works best cumulatively- that is, when treatments are regular and results build-up upon one another with each session. We will design a treatment plan that outlines what you want to achieve, how we are going to achieve it, and how long we will aim for to reach your goals. Your next appointment is a review of these findings and our plan. Chronic conditions can take a while to tackle, but with long-lasting results. Usually 6-8 treatments is a good place to start. After six treatments, we will review your progress. At this stage, if you're not completely finished with your healing journey, we will continue and try new approaches. If we both agree that you have healed well, we will plan for (usually monthly or bi-monthly) preventative treatments to keep you on track.

Make an appointment today!

Still unsure? Have any questions?