Summer Care and Seasonal living with Traditional Chinese Medicine 

Living in harmony with nature is one of the great teachings of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Staying in tune with the season helps to strengthen the immune system, protect against season allergens, assists to stabilise energy along with balancing the mood and spirit.

The summer season in TCM is the most yang time of the year, the days are warm and long, energy feels abundant and summer is all about expansion, growth and creativity. In 5 element theory, summer corresponds to the element fire and associated meridian the heart, mind and spirit. When the fire element is in balance, our mind is calm, emotions balanced, thoughts clear and sleep sound. Feelings of agitation, vivid dream disturbed sleep, a lack of joy (depression) or an excess of joy (mania) may indicate an imbalance.

The natural cycle of produce is perfectly and intelligently designed to support our health.

Below are some examples of foods that may help protect you during the summer season and adjust the body’s temperature, helping to keep you cool and balanced.

Fruits such as; Watermelon, rockmelon, honeydew, lemon, peach, orange

Vegetables and herbs such as; Broccoli, cabbage, spinach, sprouts, asparagus, watercress, mint, dill

Consume more fluids, or foods with more water content and electrolytes such as watermelon and coconut water

Engage in practices which calm the spirit and rest the mind.

Add more energetic exercise to your daily regime! Get the blood moving!

Add more pungent flavours to your diet

Traditional Chinese Medicine takes the individual and their specific symptoms, history and constitution into account.These are general guidelines for keeping your internal landscape in harmony with the external.

Silly season getting you a little too hot and bothered? Get Acupuncture! Acupuncture works deeply on the inner landscape of the body bringing it back to balance and harmony.

Can Acupuncture help Pelvic Pain?

Acupuncture and herbal medicine has been used for women’s hormone health for over 2000 years. These days we work on creating a marked change in symptoms by re-balancing hormones via decreasing the body’s heightened stress response & improving blood flow to the ovaries and uterus, which further helps manage pain.

Acupuncture is increasingly being sought after to reduce chronic pelvic pain, and studies back this up, showing Acupuncture’s acceleration of the nervous system response to produce endogenous opioid peptides & achieve peripheral analgesia.

We’re currently seeing a notable increase in research coming out around pelvic pain associated to period pain and/or Endometriosis; an Australian 2017 clinical trial by Armour et al. found ‘Acupuncture treatment reduced menstrual pain intensity and duration after three months of treatment and this was sustained for up to one year after trial entry’. Acupuncture has also been shown to be more effective than hormone drug therapy for endometriosis & in addition to this, a meta-analysis of Acupuncture effects on Endometriosis related pain found that while more studies are needed in this under-represented area, a reduction was found in both pain and in CA-125; a marker associated with Endometriosis. Everyone’s case is different, and treatment frequency varies based on a variety of factors, however a higher frequency of treatments during the first few cycles in women is common.

Pelvic pain can however impact both men and women, and ranges in severity and duration. Most typically, men may experience pelvic pain in relation to prostatitis, while women are more likely to experience pelvic pain due to their menstrual cycles or endometriosis pain.

In managing any type of chronic pelvic pain, we first look at symptom progression, including whether there is an change in pain during stress, sex, menstrual cycle where relevant, or other activities. Acupuncture treatments are safe to start before any other investigations are made, however we may advise you to seek out additional care if required. Acupuncture treatments for pelvic pain look towards a well-rounded approach; combining constitutional factors alongside variables such as sleep, food and stressors, in order to create a personalised Acupuncture prescription. From here we also monitor any changes or reductions in severity and duration of pain & may prescribe herbal formula/advice on supplements to best assist.

8 Benefits of Reiki Healing

What if there was a way you could supercharge your wellbeing and prevent physical and emotional issues before they take hold? Our bodies have truly incredible self-healing capabilities. When a mechanism in our body isn’t functioning properly, we experience symptoms that let us know something is off. The problem is, we move with such momentum that it’s easy to miss out on these cues. How many times have you gotten a headache and mindlessly popped a pain reliever so you could keep going about your day? When you work with Reiki and intuitive energy healing, your body will intuitively bring forth what it needs the most to help you prioritise your healing and assist your body in returning to its natural state of health.

We are all encouraged to connect to our bodies and work on ourselves to become healthier, develop our inner strength, capacity for deeper connections with others and a true discovery of who we are and why we are here.

Reiki has been around for almost a century. Reiki is a hands-on Japanese healing technique that works to release and shift pain, energy blocks and emotions, like when theres a kink in a hose and the water doesn’t flow freely. If our energy isn’t circulating as it should, our bodies can’t operate at their best.

Reiki is also an alternate healing modality for stress relief and relaxation, so you should consider adding it to your preventive health care practice too. Regular Reiki healing can impart remarkable breakthroughs and insights, shifting you in ways you never thought possible, far beyond decreasing stress. It has been found to produce profound results all through gentle touch, positive mindsets, and energy transfer. Whether you want to receive Reiki for emotional trauma healing, energy level balancing, or to develop yourself spiritually, Reiki has endless advantages. Here are 8 benefits how Reiki can boost your wellness practice:

Promote Harmony and Balance
Reiki takes a non-invasive approach to energy transfer that is extremely effective in promoting overall wellness. Through the energy transfer, the body can restore balance across all systems of the mind, body, and spirit. This creates harmony and allows people to continue in a positive lifestyle.

Relaxes and Releases Tension from The Body
What many people love the most about Reiki is that it allows them to simply “be”. It is a couple of minutes of pure relaxation where the receiver can clear their heads and release the tension and stress of their day. The energy transfer through Reiki may make people feel peaceful, relaxed, and lighter which allows than to be in touch with their inner selves and reflect clearly on their lives.

Releases Energy Blocks and Balances the Mind, Body, and Spirit

Regular Reiki treatment promotes the consistent and unlocked flow of energy throughout the body. This allows people to feel less stress, enhances learning and memory, promotes mental clarity, and physical healing/ less physical pain. When energy passageways are blocked, positive energy cannot flow to certain parts of the body, which results in mood swings, fear, anger, pain, and more. Reiki can help keep these passages clear. Cleanses Body of Toxins and Supports Immune System

Cleanses Body of Toxins and Supports Immune System

Reiki technique is used to remind our bodies how to go back into the “repair” or “self-healing” state of rest and digest. By triggering this state, our bodies begin to cleanse themselves of useless energies. It also allows the body to protect itself from exhaustion, burnout, or immune system failure.

Clears The Mind and Improves Focus
Reiki reminds receivers to be in the present moment. The positive energy transfer allows the mind to focus on current events, not hold onto past mistakes, and not fret on anxieties about the future. This will help with accepting how life is unfolding and will help promote positive reactions to situations, people, and circumstances.

Helps You Sleep Better
You can always expect to feel extremely relaxed after a Reiki session. This kind of relaxation helps our bodies to sleep better, to heal better, and to think more clearly. It is not uncommon for people to fall asleep entirely during a Reiki Session.

Helps Spiritual Growth and Emotional Cleansing
Reiki addresses the whole person—mind, body, and spirit—not just the physical being. This means that the positive energy transfer through Reiki is extremely helpful in elevating the receiver’s mood and general attitude towards life. The healing that starts from within will reflect on their decisions and perspective on the outside.

Accelerates The Body’s Self-Healing Ability
Reiki balances your internal body levels to return to a near-natural state. This means that your breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, circulation, and other bodily systems will improve. This normal balance will allow your body to heal itself from within.

There are many ways that an individual can benefit from Reiki. It is important to note that Reiki does not target one problem within the body but rather targets everything at once. Energy transfer is the most powerful tool in healing in this way as it heals all related elements of a particular condition. The more often you receive Reiki, the better acquainted you will become with your body. The secret language of your body unveils the secrets to understanding the messages of your body, revealing the underlying causes of symptoms and medical conditions and offers processes for healing.

Can Acupuncture Bring Back My Period?

Amenorrhea (not having a menstrual cycle) is a condition we commonly see, and can be diagnosed as either primary amenorrhea, whereby you’ve gotten to age 18 without ever having a menstrual cycle, or secondary amenorrhea, whereby you’ve previously menstruated, but haven’t had a menstrual cycle for 3 months or more.x

First thing’s first; Amenorrhea is a symptom, rather than a diagnosis.

Living with Amenorrhea means there’s something within your system that’s regulating differently. It’s important to understand that regardless of whether you intend to become pregnant or not, ovulating gives you so much more than the potential to have kids. If you’ve had your symptoms dismissed (and have ruled out pregnancy), it’s important to advocate for your health in order to rule out more serious underlying conditions.

Common causes of Amenorrhea:

  • Overexertion
  • Stress
  • Low body weight
  • Thyroid imbalance
  • Nutritional disorders or improper nutrition
  • Physiological changes (such as pregnancy, post-partum, or menopause)
  • Underlying conditions such as PCOS
  • Pituitary changes
  • Ovarian disorders

In Chinese Medicine we often look at Amenorrhea as having a root Chinese Medicine Diagnosis cause of deficiency or stagnation, depending on your specific symptom picture. Regular Acupuncture focuses on hormone balancing, working on any underlying conditions, blood circulation, and promoting ovulation. When it comes to ovulatory dysfunction and regaining a cycle, treatment protocols are a minimum 3-6 months, but can take years. A combination of Acupuncture and herbal medicine may be recommended and will be discussed with you by your practitioner when tailoring an approach.

What Every Woman Needs to Know About the History of Birth

For thousands of years Midwives (meaning ‘with woman’), have been depicted in imagery and stories providing care to birthing mothers. Some of the earliest written records of birth come from the Grecian School of Medicine (circa 400BC), where uncomplicated natural births were experienced with minimal discomfort.

In medieval times midwives were women from the community whose knowledge was passed down from one to another. They understood birth as a natural process and were trained in optimal positioning and movement to guide the baby through the birth canal, how to safely ‘catch’ and care for a newborn as well as nourishing a woman for energy and comfort in labour and post birth.

Birth commonly happened whilst squatting, kneeling or sitting due to pelvis’s ability to become wider in these positions. Many different cultures had their own designs of birthing seats and stools, the first being traced back to the Babylonians some 4,000 years ago. It was King Louey the 14th who insisted on watching the birth of his offspring which saw women start to deliver on their backs, it was also viewed as more ‘regal’, however this slowed down labour, creating its own set of problems.

In the 18th Century birth became a profitable and highly competitive industry, resulting in births moving from homes into hospitals and early forms of pain relief like chloroform were introduced. Ironically, the lack of comprehension around hygiene at the time and the rise in surgical interventions like episiotomy and forceps delivery led to extremely high rates of maternal death due to ‘childbirth fever’ (bacterial infection). It wasn’t till the early 19th century that hygiene was understood and accepted and Maternal wellbeing increased dramatically.

Over the centuries these events created fear of pain and possible death in birth, much of which still remains with us today. In the 1970’s natural childbirth without pain relief started to gain momentum once more with the launch of birth education classes based on the work of Dr Fernand Lamaze, which aimed at building a woman’s confidence in her ability to birth, taught breathing and massage techniques and encouraging husbands to take a more active role in birth support.

We now know that when fear is experienced during birth (whether real or imagined), we loose our ability to produce endorphins which relieve pain naturally. Our body initiates the fight, flight, freeze or appease response, stress hormones are released, blood flow and oxygen is concentrated to the defence systems rather than the uterine muscles, which constrict and need to work harder to move the baby through the birth canal, slowing or even stalling labour, thus creating pain.

Today we are incredibly fortunate to have a deeper understanding of the body and birth as well as access to quality birth education, various models of care and much safer medical interventions and pain relief if and when required to support a more positive birth experience.

PCOS

PCOS, or polycystic ovarian syndrome, is quite a common condition that affects women of reproductive age. PCOS can be characterised by some or all of the following:

– irregular periods
– issues conceiving
– mild obesity (especially around the abdomen)
– excessive facial or chest hair
– acne or excessively oily skin

In some cases, PCOS sufferers may not experience any of these signs which can make it difficult to diagnose for some.

Diagnostic testing may include a pelvic ultrasound to identify the presence of multiple cysts on the ovaries, blood testing of specific hormone levels on specific days of the menstrual cycle such as androgens, LH, prolactin and oestrogen and other blood analysis which may include blood lipids and blood glucose levels to determine pre-cursors to diabetes or other metabolic disorders.

Some factors may increase the risk of developing PCOS including genetic links, some medications and familial history of diabetes or metabolic disorder.

Due to ongoing disruption to the endocrine system and hormone production, PCOS can cause issues with ovulation, fertility, pregnancy, weight gain and insulin resistance. Management of PCOS requires a long-term holistic approach that targets weight management (if weight is an issue), increasing insulin sensitivity, cleaning up the diet and improving lifestyle habits.

There are several harmful foods that should be excluded or limited in a PCOS presentation including saturated and trans fats, refined carbohydrates, sugar (in its many forms) and caffeine. On the other hand, helpful foods such as low glycaemic index foods, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory foods should form part of the daily diet.

Foods and, in some cases, supplements containing zinc, omega-3’s, magnesium and the B vitamins are particularly helpful in the management of PCOS. These together with regular exercise, stress regulation and good sleep hygiene are essential in healthy endocrine function and hormone production.

For additional support, herbal medicine can be prescribed to target blood sugar regulation, adrenal function and stress management, hormone modulation, weight management, liver function and the formation of cysts.

If you are experiencing signs or symptoms of PCOS or are looking at enhancing your fertility outcomes, our Naturopath, Belle, can support you along the way with a customised Treatment Plan tailored specifically to your individual presentation and medical history.

The Vagus nerve

A KEY PLAYER IN THE BODY-MIND CONNECTION, THE VAGUS NERVE IS BEHIND YOUR GUT INSTINCT&THE KNOT IN YOUR THROAT, AND THE SPARKLE IN YOUR SMILE. YOU CAN THINK OF THE VAGUS NERVE AS A TWO-WAY RADIO COMMUNICATION SYSTEM HELPING YOU STAY IN TOUCH WITH YOUR SENSATIONS AND EMOTIONS.

WHAT IS THE VAGUS NERVE?
The vagus nerve is like a highway that connects the gut and the brain with smaller roads connecting the other vital organs in the body, this assists the communication between these organs and the brain.
The vagus nerve is important for optimal health, especially when it comes to being in the parasympathetic state or rest and digest. When triggered the vagus nerve stimulates digestive juices, bile release and movement through the digestive tract. When the body is in a sympathetic state our vagus nerve loses tone and becomes
imbalanced. How are we meant to digest or food when we’re in a constant state of fight and flight. When the vagul tone is good our digestion is stimulated. This is started before we even eat food; the message is sent up and down the highway the digestive system gets the gastric juices ready to prepare for optimal digestion. If the vagus nerve is not optimal then digestion won’t be great and you may experience digestive issues such as IBS, bloating, gas abdominal discomfort, indigestion and so much more.
Stimulating the vagus nerve…. It is a simple but powerful practice to stimulate the vagus nerve daily. This can simple be done by:

  • Cold showers
  • Humming, Singing, chanting or Gargling
  • Breathing exercises
  • Meditation

Just to touch on why optimal Vagus Nerve function is so important in so many other ways. It’s associated with strong social connections, positive emotions, and better physical health. Individuals with low vagal tone index may experience depression, heart attacks, inflammatory and irritable bowel disease, loneliness, negative feelings, and stroke. We are only just discovering the multiple roles that the vagus nerve plays in our health and wellbeing: It directly connects the brain and gut to form the brain-gut axis and the enteric nervous system. It helps to regulate our memory creation and recall It triggers acetylcholine production which stimulates breathing in our lungs

It controls the inflammatory response and has the ability to activate a calming cascade to keep to body in a state of homeostasis; by communicating with anti-inflammatory neurotransmitters It controls heart rate and regulates vascular tone It can regulate hunger and satiety – which makes it important in weight management
It has a role in insulin and glucose control within the body Due to the importance of the vagus nerve in the gut-brain axis – it plays a role in mood irregularities and mental health It is elemental in taste perception, as well as gag reflex control and both swallowing and coughing

The Chinese Body Clock

To understand the Chinese body clock, you first need to grasp the concept of Qi. In short, Qi is a word used in Chinese medicine to describe energy. It consists of energy in every sense of the word. For example the earth and trees have Qi, food has Qi as does your body, and even our thoughts and emotions.
It’s also important to understand that Qi is in a constant state of flux. It’s continuously transforming as it moves within the body or between people and objects.
The Chinese body clock is built on the concept of Qi.
During 24 hours, Qi is thought to move in 2-hour intervals throughout the organ systems. While you’re sleeping, Qi is believed to draw inward to fully restore your body in the early hours of the morning the Qi starts to move more towards the exterior of the body as you prepare to wake up and move around and interact with the world.
The Chinese body clock focuses on different organs within the body, as well as qi, or energy. It’s believed that by using specific organs at certain times of the day, you can make the most of your body and harness your Qi when it’s at its peak to get the most out of life.
Here is what they Chinese Body clock looks like:
When you go to see your Chinese medicine practitioner they will be looking for patterns in when you symptoms are presenting such as waking up at the same time in the night or perhaps loss of appetite or increase bowel movements at a certain time of day. This often indicates some sort of imbalance in the organ where the qi is dominant at that time and can help guide the focus of your acupuncture treatment.

What is cupping?

Cupping seems to be gaining popularity in recent years (thank you Michael Phelps), as more and more people seek to try it or use it as part of their recovery/ self care.

I recommend cupping often, as I see a lot of tight and tired muscles. Often people ask how it works or why it is beneficial.

Cupping is a therapy used as part of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is a suctioned cup that is placed on the skin which draws the tissues into it. The suction can come from a suction/ pump or from heating the cup with a flame, which causes the pressure gradient when the cup is placed on the skin. This draws blood up and through, stretches out the fascia and muscles and has the effect of loosening up tight areas. It’s like the reverse of a massage!

Is cupping limited to musculoskeletal? Historically, not at all! It has been used as part of a TCM treatment to help aid the body to detox and to draw out ‘excesses’ or improve circulation where there is accumulation and a build up.

Another question I get asked is if it is painful. If you are trying it for the first time, it can be a strange sensation initially as the cup gets placed on, you might just feel a tightness. Your practitioner will have complete control over the intensity of the cup and can moderate it to your preference. This sensation should pass over the next few minutes.

So what are the marks that come up? This is the blood getting drawn up and through the tissue. Although the marks may look like bruises, they are not real bruises as there has been no impact or trauma to the area. This is just part of the normal process of cupping where blood and toxins are drawn up and through the tissues to aid in better circulation and detoxification of a local area. The marks generally don’t last much longer than a few days to a week, but it may be worth booking your appointment away from any special events if you’re concerned!

Want to try cupping or find out more? Give us call and one of our practitioner can talk you through it.

Pregnancy Acupuncture

Pregnancy Acupuncture with Chloe Player – Mona Vale, Northern Beaches

With a passion for working with pregnant women at all stages of pregnancy I use acupuncture, cupping, moxa and some acupressure to achieve the most comfortable pregnancy possible.

Due to the fact that acupuncture has very few side effects, many pregnant women now seek this alternative to drug therapy for a number of common pregnancy complaints. Studies have shown that acupuncture can help with Prenatal support including relief from morning sickness, pregnancy induced migraine, back pain including symphysis pubis and hip pain, high blood pressure, diabetes, breech, insomnia, anxiety, birth preparation and induction.

Acupuncture is also commonly used to treat headaches, migraines, high blood pressure, sinusitis, fatigue, skin problems, cold and flu, insomnia, stress and anxiety.

Something I have been seeing a lot in clinic lately is breech and full term pregnancies seeking acupuncture to help avoid medical intervention – whilst it’s often successful it’s the readiness of the baby and stage of the pregnancy that determines the outcome. I suggest starting labour preparation acupuncture from 36 weeks and for breech and posterior bubs 34 -36 weeks.

Don’t forget to have acupuncture post bub –

I regularly help ladies with mastitis, poor milk flow, plantar fasciitis, wrist tendonitis, anxiety,  exhaustion and low iron postnatally. It can be hard to make it in for treatments but in our clinic, we make sure babies are most welcome and help you to relax as much as possible.

Whichever stage of pregnancy or trying to conceive you are at I would love to be able to help you have the best experience during your birth or pregnancy possible. Feel free to get in contact today.

www.nbip.com.au

chloe@nbip.com.au

02 8406 0679