Can TCM help with your Sinusitis?

We’re deep into Winter and we’ve been seeing a fair few cases of patients with sinusitis come through the clinic. Sinusitis is the inflammation of the soft tissue that lines the hollow spaces in our skull. They are found around our eyes, forehead, cheeks and connect to the nose. Normally, our sinuses are filled with air, however when we get a bacterial or viral infection or react to an allergy, the soft tissues can get inflamed, and produce mucus. As these tissues swell up and get congested with the increased mucus production, it can lead to a myriad of symptoms:
– Stuffy nose
– Headaches
– Reduced smell
– Facial pain
– Sore throat
– Toothaches
– Fever
– Sore throat
– Cough
If the sinus cavities are not drained completely of the mucus, it can recur turning a once off occurrence into a chronic condition. From a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective, sinusitis is viewed as a wind cold or wind heat condition concentrated in the head. If one has chronic sinusitis, it may indicate a weak spleen. The spleen could be weakened over time from poor eating habits, not taking meals regularly or even stress. This leads to dampness in the body which congeals forming phlegm. Some handy tips for people with chronic sinusitis is to:
– Avoid greasy or oily food
– Stress management
– Get good sleep
– Boost immune system through exercise
We’ve been seeing some great results from patients through acupuncture sessions. There are excellent points that can help in clearing and draining the nasal passages, opening up the pathways and relieving pressure for acute symptoms. Once the passages are cleared, your acupuncturist would look at treating the root cause – strengthening your Spleen Qi. This is important in addressing the build-up of phlegm, boosting the body’s defensive Qi, and preventing recurring infections. Herbs may also be prescribed to hasten your recovery. If your sinuses have been getting the better of you and you’d like to try address it with acupuncture or herbs, contact the clinic on 8406 06679 or visit our website www.nbip.com.au to book online.

Immune Resilience

With the sharp incline in rates of sickness across the state and country, it’s time to think about the steps you can take to improve immune resilience within your family.

The decline in natural immunity due to the circumstances of the previous two winters, coupled with the relaxed restrictions is promising a very challenging winter for many people and families.

Below are some daily habits to adopt to boost immune resilience:

  • Eat a diet rich in foods known to support immune function – garlic, artichoke, berries, oregano, thyme, carrot, sweet potato, pineapple, broccoli, radish, onions, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, mushrooms, ginger, bone broths, lemons and cauliflower. These foods contain nutrients known to modulate the immune response and boost immunity.
  • Eat a diet rich in whole natural foods including green, orange, purple and yellow vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, high quality protein and fruit. Eating a balanced diet ensures you are exposed to a wide range of nutrients to support general health and wellbeing.
  • Avoid processed foods, processed meats, saturated fats and trans fats. These foods contain substances that cause inflammation and oxidation which places additional pressure on the body and leaves you susceptible to infection.
  • Avoid sugar including fruit juice, alcohol, sweets and soft drinks. Sugar impairs immune function by disrupting the body’s ability to envelope and destroy bacteria via white blood cell activity so sugar it best left out of the diet.
  • Aim to consume 2L filtered water and herbal teas each day. Every cell of the human body relies on water. Including herbal teas such as echinacea, lemon + ginger and other immune blends increase your hydration whilst supplying you with additional nutrients for immune health.
  • Reduce your stress by going for a walk or engaging in an activity each day for at least 25 minutes that helps to relax you – reading (not on your phone as phones are generally stimulating to the nervous system), taking a bath, meditation, mindfulness or spending time with the family pet. Stress depletes immune function by disrupting hormone production, initiating an inflammatory response, disrupting sleep patterns and causing gut absorption issues so it’s really important to manage your stress levels.
  • Aim to include a 30 minute workout 4+ times per week where the heart rate is elevated. Regular exercise and movement support the function of all the body’s systems. If you are unwell, give your regular exercise regime a break and take extra time to rest to speed up your recovery.
  • Ensure you have good sleep practices – avoid screens before bed, practice meditation, ensure the room temperature is comfortable overnight, avoid dietary and environmental stimulants. During sleep, our body undergoes concentrated restoration so having a regular sleep-wake cycle to facilitate these processes is essential.
  • Arm yourself with high quality supplements before sickness strikes. If you feel the onset of sickness, ensure you are taking supplements to give yourself extra support. Nutrients including vitamins A, C & D, zinc, probiotics and NAC can help to reduce the severity and duration of sickness.
  • See a Naturopath who can prescribe targeted herbal medicine and Practitioner Only supplements to prevent infection, target symptoms and shorten your recovery time.

If you are feeling like your immune defences need some support or would like to prepare for the season ahead, our Naturopath can provide an individually-tailored treatment plan to boost your immune resilience.

Contact Belle on 0405 128 213 or at belle@nbip.com.au for bookings or for more information.

Treating urinary tract infection using Chinese medicine

Urinary tract infections (UTI’s) are a very common issue and affect 1 in 2 women and 1- 20 men. Common symptoms of UTIs include an urgent need to urinate, a burning feeling when urinating, an aching feeling, pressure or pain in the lower abdomen, cloudy or blood-tinged urine and a strong odour to your urine. If not treated promptly, the infection can travel up to the kidneys and cause more serious problems. 

For most people they end up using antibiotics to treat this but did you know there are drug free alternatives? Especially for the earlier signs of a UTI it’s worth taking a visit to your trusted Chinese medicine practitioner. Also if you have been getting reoccurring UTI’s then it might be time to try a different approach to treatment.

Chinese medicine can help alleviate the symptoms of a UTI using acupuncture and herbal medicines with great success!

Typically we determine the approach to treatment of a diseases by classifying the type of imbalance and the location of it. 

In Chinese medicine a UTI, for most people is a result of “damp heat” accumulating in the lower “jiao” ( lower part of abdomen).

Acupuncture techniques are used to “drain the heat” which often results in increased urination to flush the heat out of the body. We can also use acupuncture to help regulate the function of kidney and bladder if they have become dis-regulated which will help with symptoms like frequent urination.

Herbal medicine may also be recommended that can also aid in draining the dampness and depending on the severity of the infection to “cool” things off if there is a lot of itching, burning and redness.

At Northern beaches integrative practitioners we have a number if acupuncturist that can help you  and are available Monday- Saturday.

Contact the clinic today on 8406 06679 or visit our website www.nbip.com.au to book online

Acupuncture and Inflammation

Inflammation, triggered by our immune system, is crucial to fight infections. What is becoming more present is inflammation in over drive. Excessive chronic inflammation is a key factor behind many diseases and health issues seen today.

Explained simply, excessive inflammation in Chinese Medicine can be seen as ‘heat’. There are many ways your practitioner may treat patterns of heat or chronic inflammation and may use a couple of tools to help their clients get the best outcomes. Acupuncture alone has been shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect. The reported anti-inflammatory effects of acupuncture include an antihistamine action and down regulation of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Pro-inflammatory cytokines are involved in the process of pathological pain, so down regulating this mechanism should have a positive outcome on the management of pain and inflammation.

Along with Acupuncture, there are many simple mind-body techniques that have also been shown to reduce inflammation such as breathing and meditation and other techniques that reduce stress and help to regulate the nervous system.

To find out ways your acupuncturist can assist you in managing your health concerns call 84060679

Forget smoothies for breakfast! You need to be waking up with Soup!

Having a smoothie or something milky and cold first thing in the morning is, for your stomach – the equivalent of your boss barging through your door at 2am while you’re asleep and expecting you to start working. No one would like that, your stomach is no different.

Wake your digestive system up slowly and gently with a cooked breakfast.

Soup is the perfect meal as it is light, nutrients are easily adsorbed and just like a smoothie it’s transportable.

It’s only Aussies, English and Americans who seem to think cereal and smoothies is ok for breakfast. The three unhealthiest nations! Let’s go back in time or look to other cultures for inspiration.

The Chinese wake with a congee, in Vietnam it’s a Pho, Indian’s start their day with a Dhal, Mexico and Columbia a tomato based broth with eggs mixed through, whilst in japan it’s a Miso based broth. So many flavoursome ideas.

Soups are typically higher in nutrients and lower in calories than smoothies yet provide the same fullness that a smoothie does. Smoothies are full of sugar and unless you’re going to use that sugar straight away through exercise it will be stored.

5 Reasons you should switch to soup for breakfast.

  1. It can be made ahead of time and portioned
  2. Lower cost per portion
  3. Because it is warm in nature it is more gentle on your digestive system and will absorb more nutrients
  4. It will boost your energy and metabolism
  5. Soups can easily be customized to suit vegans, FODMAP, Paleo, Keto diet followers

One of my favourite recipes is a paleo one by Pete Evans. STRACCIATELLA! It literally takes 3 minutes to make and will keep you full all day. I simplify

1 litre (4 cups) Chicken Bone Broth
100 g cavolo nero – You can use baby spinach, silverbeet, kale or broccoli florets instead of the cavolo nero.
12 thin slices of pancetta, rindless bacon or lardo, cut into 2.5 cm lengths (see note)
3 eggs
2 teaspoons lemon juice
4 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
extra-virgin olive oil, to drizzle

Pour the broth into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the cavolo nero and blanch for 30 seconds, then remove from the pan, transfer to a chopping board and roughly chop. If using pancetta or bacon, add to the broth and simmer for 1 minute. (If using lardo, this is added at the end.)

Combine the eggs, lemon juice and parsley in a bowl and beat with a fork. Pour into the broth and stir for 1 minute, then return the cavolo nero to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Spoon into warm bowls, top with the pancetta, bacon or lardo and drizzle over some olive oil.

If your digestive system is a bit sluggish our acupuncturists, naturopath, nutritionist all have ways to help. Call 02 8406 0679 to discuss the best way forward for you.

Early Postpartum Support

Early Postpartum Support.

The first 40 days is said to set the tone for your postpartum life. Feeling nourished and supported is emphasised greatly in Traditional Chinese Medicine (aka: TCM, which includes Acupuncture). Replenishing yourself during your forth trimester navigates the hormone fluctuations, sleep scarcity, delivery experience and recovery, rebuilding Qi, blood and fluids, milk production issues, mastitis, recovery from tears (read that how you will), prolapse, surgery and scar healing.

There’s no comparisons with ‘severity’ of symptoms between your own pregnancies, or other people’s. Your baseline is your baseline, and the aim is to build up from there.

‘MOTHER WARMING’

Pregnancy doesn’t only belong to those who identify as women, but we still use the term ‘mother warming’ treatments to refer to rebuilding Yang energy, Qi and blood that’s depleted during birth using acupuncture and moxa. Acupuncture is adjusted based on your birth experience and can be used to promote c-section recovery with softening and fading scars, as well as any deeper concerns, lactation issues, mastitis, pain, mood support, blood loss and recovery to name a few. Moxa is a warming herb used topically over the womb and sacrum to warm the body, assist with the uterus as it resizes, tissue support, while relaxing muscles and sinews through that region.

FOOD NOURISHMENT

Consuming things that are easy to digest and nutritious helps with your stress response, fatigue levels, and mental/emotional support during this time. TCM emphasised things that are cooked and easy to absorb such as congee’s (can be made sweet or savory), porridge, broths and soups, & warming herbs. Nutrient dense meals that have a postpartum focus work to restore Qi and Blood. Classically we avoid raw & cold foods, ensuring the intake of energy results in easy nutrient assimilation.

NOT NEW TO POST-PARTUM?

If this isn’t your first birth & you never felt you caught back up, then there’s every possibility you’re going into this feeling like you don’t remember what a fuller cup feels like. Perhaps even a *scoff of scepticism* over the idea of not feeling bulldozered?! If this is you, then consider this your sign to touch base for some support. It’s not an overnight turnaround, but there’s plenty of support on-hand to move you in the right direction.  If during pregnancy the time allows, some pre-labour prep may also go a long way.

Bodies were built for this, so if you’ve chosen to create a tiny human (or two ..or more), your greatest gift is going to be in giving yourself the time to replenish and recover well, so as to enjoy the long days and short years.

Laelia is a TCM practitioner who loves to support people in feeling less depleted. She’s available on Fridays and Saturdays at NBIP. You can book in with her here

Gratitude for Happiness, Health & Healing

The word “Gratitude” refers to the quality of being thankful, showing appreciation and returning kindness for both the tangible and intangible.

Having a regular gratitude practice can provide a simple platform for one to reflect upon all aspects of life. It enables us to see more than what’s simply in front of us which builds feelings of abundance and when expressed outwardly it cultivates feelings of connection not just with family, friends and community but with nature and our life as a whole.

Expressing gratitude and thanks isn’t just good manners, according to science it actually improves our health and wellbeing too. Fascinatingly this simple practice changes the neural structures in the brain and triggers the release of feel good hormones such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine which improves mood, self-esteem, immune function, cardiovascular health, recovery after sickness and surgery, improves relationships and sleep quality. It also reduces worry, anxiety, stress, depression, regret, shame, envy, aggression and even pain!

Having an attitude of gratitude can be used as an adaptive coping technique to encourage kindness, empathy, acceptance, forgiveness and problem solving skills allowing us to move through adversity and build resilience by helping us to see our struggles and obstacles as opportunities for growth and development. Psychiatrist, Author and holocaust survivor Victor Franks wrote about how he used gratitude to deal with years of being held captive in a Nazi concentration camp in his book “Mans Search for Meaning”.

Ways introduce a regular practice into your life
• Make it easy and fun – in our house we share the best part of our day, the worst part of our day and what we are grateful for over dinner. It’s a beautiful way to connect in and ensure our kids have a regular opportunity to express themselves and be heard.
• Show affection, write a note, or call loved ones, if you can’t get a hold of them leave them a voicemail expressing your feelings for them – what a gift!
• Provide positive feedback either in person or online when you have a good customer experience
• Give compliments to those around you
• Create a gratitude accountability group where you each share something your grateful for each day

• Download an app onto your phone that gives you a reminder and a prompt, there are several available
• Make a gratitude jar that you can put hand written notes into (this is a great thing to open up and read through when you are having a bad day and need cheering up)
• Keep a journal and a nice pen next to your bed and write in it daily either before bed or when you wake.

I have found that the most important part of gratitude is in the detail! Simply listing out a whole bunch of things you’re grateful for, isn’t all that useful. What is transformative is the HOW and the WHY! Why does that person or thing make you feel grateful? How does it nourish you or make your life better? THAT is what creates real shifts in energy and emotion.

My favourite journal prompts;
What events have you participated in recently that you enjoyed and why?
Who are you most grateful for today and why?
What’s something in nature you’ve enjoyed lately and why?
What is a regular lifestyle activity you are doing at the moment and how does it positively impact your life?
What home comforts could you not live without and why?
What’s the best part about living where you do and why?
What achievements, abilities or habits can you be proud of? What positive traits and attributes do these things prove to you?
Was there something that challenged or triggered you today? What was the silver lining, blessing or lesson in this situation? What can you do now or do next time to improve?
How did you care for yourself today? How did you show yourself love and respect? How did it make you feel?

It is said that very little is needed to have a happy life, it’s all within us in the way we think. Energy flows where focus goes and when we practice gratitude as part of our daily life it has a powerful positive compounding effect on us.

Meditation and Massage

Recently, more than ever, Remedial Massage clients are presenting physical complaints that when we discuss life events and activity, are generated from a cumulative period of stress and anxiety. The late, Jesuit Priest and Psychologist Anthony De Mello wrote meditations that lifted the vail for thousands whom opted in on taking a bold dive into healing anxiety and the subsequent tension… for my work as a soft tissue therapist, manual therapy is almost always accompanied with ‘deep and meaningful’s’, or seemingly light hearted dialogue into the Why’s and How’s of – ACHES AND PAINS AND RECURRING INJURIES.

I do not suggest that I offer here a solution to you, the reader, their woe’s and misfortunes. The intention of this blog is to offer an insight into healing power through self affirming oneself to challenge their place in life. Through words and self love placed into those words.

A remedial massage can have a gamut of uses when a client is on the table. Everything from choosing appropriate techniques, to passive and active breathing, progressive relaxation technique, contract / relax stretches, and the ol’ favourite sedative massage so soft snoring can be detected.

I challenge you to have a go at taking a personal exploration into where you are currently placed in life. Commit to this meditation with prepping your environment so it is sensory conducive (sound, sights, feel) to relaxation and peace. Some of you may need to get in the car for this! Read the content over once, as the way through these words can bring with it some obstacles that your mind may wrestle with. That is completely normal and part of the letting go process which yields the healing power. Please feel free to share any thoughts or revelations to me.. I will welcome comments sam@nbip.com.au / 0425 315301

I suggest, to read these words slowly.  In order to live you must look reality in the face then you will shed your fear of losing people and develop a taste for newness and change and uncertainty …you will shed your fear of using the known and expectingly wait and welcome the unfamiliar and the unknown.

If it is life you seek then here is an exercise that might prove painful but will bring the exhilaration of freedom if you are able to do it.

Ask yourself – if there is anyone or anything who loss would cause you grief.

You maybe one of those persons who can not bear to even think of the death or the loss or the parent a friend a loved one, if this is so and in the measure that this is so, you are dead….

The thing to do is…  To face the death the loss the separation from loved things and loved ones Now

Take these persons and things one at a time, and imagine they are dead or lost or separated from you forever

And in your heart say… goodbye

To each of them say… thank you and goodbye

You will experience pain and you will experience the disappearance of clinging and then something else will emerge in your consciousness, an Aloneness, a solitude that grows and grows and becomes like the infinite vastness of the sky

That aloneness is freedom and that solitude is life … that non clinging is the willingness to flow and to enjoy and to taste and to relish each new moment of life which is now made all the sweeter because it is freed from the anxiety and tension and insecurity …freed from the fear of loss and then that always accompanies the desire for permanence and clinging.

Stress and How to Live Without It

As a society today, we are riddled with stress and have accepted living with it in our lives. Some of us struggle today to relax and have even forgotton what it’s like to relax. Our “smart” lives keep us constantly plugged in to a constant stream of notifications so our mind has no rest. How many of us sit down and eat a meal without any distractions – TV or looking at our phones? Today, multiple studies have linked our constant state of stress as a contributor to many ailments and diseases. Stress can manifest physically in tight necks and shoulders, weakened immune system, digestive disorders, diabetes, high cholesterol, cancer, even endometriosis.

In Chinese Medicine, any disease begins when there is a blockage to the flow of energy. Overtime, this blockage can lead to symptoms which if not addressed or treated may lead to some of the diseases mentioned above.

Finding ways to deal with stress and lowering the feelings of anxiety you experience are paramount building blocks to maintaining good health and preventing disease.

Here are some practical tips on how to manage stress:

1) Practice breathing

One of the simplest and easiest ways of dealing with stress is a through breathing. Research has shown that deep breathing can stimulate the vagus nerve which switches off the body’s internal fight or flight response. This in turn activates the parasympathetic nervous system which allows the body to kick into rest and digest mode. By just focusing on the breath, you can feel an immediate sense of calm and wellbeing.

2) Go out in nature

Turning away from our screens and being out in an open space looking at greenery has been found to generate positive energy and is relaxing and restorative for both the mind and body. If you’re stuck in an office without greenery around, adding a green plant on your desk can also be beneficial.

3) Meditating

Science has shown that meditating has profound effects on our overall wellbeing. The practice of slowing down and not thinking is greatly beneficial in dealing with stress. Find an easy guided meditation to start off with. Again, it does not have to be long, just 5 minutes a day is all you need to get started with.

4) Do something that you love doing

Do you remember doing something that you loved doing as a child be it colouring, singing, dancing. Turning to an activity that you love takes your mind off your troubles and negative self talk. It does not have to be a tedious task. You can do it for 5 minutes and that in itself is a form of meditation.

5) Acupuncture and herbs

Acupuncture works on balancing your internal environment. Based on a series of questions, our acupuncturists find out what imbalances you have and choose points based on what is best for you. Many of our patients find that acupuncture has helped them in coping with their busy week. Our acupuncturist Dawn will be holding a relax and restore workshop on Sunday 15th May 2022 by Narrabeen lake. The session will incorporate meditation, qi gong, acupuncture and sound healing which will be guaranteed to send your body into a state of calm bliss. For more info and to get tickets you can follow this link: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/sunday-healing-vibes-relax-restore-tickets-321588097657

Hay fever

Hay fever is an immune-mediated inflammatory response that involves over-secretion of nasal mucous and initiates the release of histamine. Histamine secretion usually results in sneezing, mucous congestion, itchy eyes, throat and/or ears and may be accompanied by skin irritation.

Hay fever may be triggered by seasonal changes (pollen, wind) or may hang around all year (dust mites, animal dander, mould). Left untreated, hay fever can cause headache, sinus infections, disrupted sleep patterns, fatigue, foggy head, irritability, hives and cough. It is helpful to identify the underlying cause of the hay fever and avoid exposure to these substances. This may be done by allergy testing, functional testing or, in some cases, elimination diets. Interestingly, a study conducted in 2017 found that vaccinated children had a much higher risk of developing allergic conditions, such as hay fever, than unvaccinated children.

To reduce the frequency or severity of hay fever, sufferers may make some lifestyle modifications such as reducing exposure to dust mites by removing carpet, replacing pillows frequently, washing linen and frequent dusting.

To help reduce the histamine loading, it is recommended that you minimise your exposure to foods high in histamine and consume foods that support the health of the upper
respiratory tract as well as foods that help to break down mucous. Avoiding mucous- forming foods may be helpful at reducing symptoms.

Ensuring your gut and liver are doing their job by effective nutrient absorption and clearance of toxins will help the body to combat symptoms of hay fever.

Naturopathic medicine works to modulate the body’s immune response so it is less overreactive to allergens and to specifically target symptoms to bring hay fever sufferers
some relief.

Specific herbal medicines used in the treatment and management of hay fever include Perilla, Eyebright, Echinacea, Albizia and Baical Scullcap. These herbs have actions such as:

o anti-inflammatory
o anti-allergy
o anti-catarrhal (breaks down mucous)
o boost immunity
o aid liver clearance
o tone mucous membranes

If you need some help managing hay fever or other allergic conditions, our Naturopath is here to help.