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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.

Restore balance and a sense of wellbeing with a Chakra Balance

Your chakras are your core energy centres that control your emotions, vibration, and your alignment with your desires. Deeply meditative, a chakra balance brings the body’s seven main Chakras into alignment through a fluid combination of Reiki, specific essential oil blends and healing crystals. This unique experience leaves client’s feeling calm and in a state of harmony, resulting in an increased feeling of wellbeing.

Chakra Balancing is a form of energy healing that focuses on channelling energy into the seven chakras. When we talk about treating chakras, we are referring to treating your energetic body. The body is not only made up of the physical body, but we also have an energy that extends beyond our physical wellbeing. When your Chakras are closed or out of balance it leads to illness in your body and imbalance in your life. Chakra Balancing is the process of restoring a harmonious flow of energy across the chakra system.

These chakras bring in and emit energy which flows in our day to day lives. Each chakra relates to a different part of our life and being. In time of struggle or change the energy can stop flowing freely and cause the Charka(s) to become blocked or imbalanced. These blockages can manifest in many ways. For example, the throat chakra is strongly linked to communication, if you are in a relationship where you are not able to say how you truly feel you may lose your voice physically.

There are 7 main energy centres or chakras that run along the spine:

Root Chakra – Sits at the base of your spine or tailbone

Physical imbalances manifest themselves as problems in the legs, rectum, tailbone, immune system, male reproductive parts and prostate gland. Emotional imbalances manifest themselves as feelings affecting the basic survival needs; money, shelter, food and the ability to provide life’s necessities.

Sacral Chakra– Two inches below your navel

Physical imbalances manifest themselves as sexual and reproductive issues, urinary problems, kidney infections, hip pelvic and lower back pain. Emotional imbalances manifest themselves as fear of commitment to relationships, expressing emotions, fears of impotence, betrayal and addictions.

Solar Plexus Chakra – three inches above your navel

Physical imbalances manifest themselves as digestive problems, liver dysfunction, chronic fatigue, high blood pressure, diabetes, stomach ulcers and colon issues. Emotional imbalances manifest themselves as issues of personal power and self-esteem.

Heart Chakra – at the heart

Physical imbalances manifest themselves as asthma, heart disease, lung disease, issues with breasts, lymphatic systems and upper back and shoulder problems. Emotional imbalances manifest themselves as jealousy, abandonment, anger, bitterness and fear of loneliness.

Throat Chakra – at the throat

Physical imbalances manifest themselves as thyroid issues, sore throats, laryngitis, ear infections, neck and shoulder pain. Emotional imbalances manifest themselves as fear of communication, will- power and being out of control.

Third Eye Chakra – in the middle of the eyebrows

Physical imbalances manifest themselves as headaches, blurred vision, sinus issues, seizures, hearing loss and hormonal imbalance. Emotional imbalances manifest themselves as moodiness, volatility and self-reflection.

Crown Chakra – top of the head

Physical imbalances manifest themselves as depression, inability to learn, sensitivity to light, sound and the environment. Emotional imbalances manifest themselves as confusion, prejudice and self-doubt.

A Chakra Balance aims to identify any possible blockages using crystals, essential oil blends, and Reiki. The aim is to release any chakra blockages and promote a free flow of energy to restore balance and a sense of wellbeing. By balancing your Chakras you may be able to:

1. Remain calm within your everyday life

2. See challenges for what they are, and not be as affected by them.

3. Overcome past life experiences which could have left their mark on you.

4. Help others without their problems affecting you.

5. Develop confidence, energy, freedom and happiness to feel good about yourself and life everyday.

At the start of your Chakra Balance, we will conduct thorough consultation with you and during this time will use senses such as smell and touch to help identify any possible imbalances. Reiki will then be channelled to relax and open up the energy flow through your chakras, followed by each chakra cleared, recharged, balanced and aligned with your energy body, concluding with your feet and to ground and clear your earth chakra. The essentials oils and crystals in a chakra balancing have been used for thousands of years in alternative medicine to treat physical and emotional conditions.

The experience during a chakra treatment will vary with some experiencing an emotional release during or after the treatment. The aim is to leave you feeling completely relaxed and refreshed with a great sense of calm and over-all well-being. This is a perfect treatment for someone going through anything significant in their life or experiencing any imbalances as above or for anyone wanting to maintain balance, wellbeing and energetic health.

Chakra Balancing translates into a sublime sense of wellbeing, relaxation, centeredness, increased vitality, rebalancing your entire energy flow.

Ear acupuncture (Auriculotherapy)

In Chinese medicine ( as well as other traditions from different parts of the world) different parts of the body are looked at in isolation to represent a map of the entire body.
These maps guide the health care practitioner to know where they need to stimulate (with massage or other tools) to help bring balance to organ function and improve blood circulation to a area that is maybe not performing to it’s best ability.
Reflexology is a popular therapy which most people have heard of where the feet are the main focus. Stimulating points on and around the feet draw connections to different parts of the body including the digestive system, head and face and other organs and body parts.
A microsystem that we use quite regularly in clinic as Chinese medicine practitioners is one of the ear. This method of treatment isn’t as old as using the Chanels and meridians on the body that we mostly focus on when doing acupuncture, but as an adjunct to your treatment adding points on the ear either in the treatment with small fine needles or by applying “ear seeds” which are small stickers with a little seed ( similar to the size of a mustard seed) at the end of the session to be worn home for a few days after can be very effective in supporting the treatment goals.
Like with most things in Chinese medicine it is often not the use of a single point or herb that will give the best result. Using a combination of Acupunture/acupressure points will usually give the most powerful effect.
There are certain protocols that have been developed over the years and have been adopted by certain groups with great success.
One of the acupuncture point protocols that are used around the world where developed by the National Acupuncture detoxification association (NADA)
NADA protocols have been shown in a variety of clinical settings to be beneficial in dealing with substance abuse as well as help with emotional, physical and psychological symptoms involved in addictions.
“Battlefield acupuncture” is another method of ear acupuncture that has been used since 2001 to help veterans and soldiers battle chronic pain. The departments for defence and veterans administration where looking for a non-pharmogenic (drug free) way to help these people cope with the chronic pain they had been left with as result of their work in the Army and found ear acupuncture to be effective to help cope with pain.
The aim is that through points on the ear it is having an effect on how the central nervous system process pain.
These application of these protocols translate beautifully into our clinic where we have people healing from injuries or dealing with chronic stress and anxiety.
Feel free to ask your practitioner next time you’r in to see if ear acupuncture can be incorporated as part of your session.

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 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.

Endometriosis and Chinese Medicine

Period pain that puts your life on hold isn’t normal, but for one in nine women, and those who identify as gender diverse, it’s a common part of the Endometriosis (Endo) picture. March is Endometriosis Month considering how many people seek support or don’t know they have Endo, let’s take a look at common presentations in clinic, and symptoms that can factor into this picture.

The two main reasons people managing Endo are likely to seek treatment are:

  • Pain management
  •  Infertility

There are often components of managing inflammation, regulating stuck blood, or building blood, and warming the womb from a Chinese Medicine perspective.

Pain management looks different for everyone. Contributing factors are usually based on where the Endo is located in the body and what stage of Endo is present.

Symptoms are varied but may include:

  • Pain around your period that stops you
  • Pain on or around ovulation
  • Heavy or irregular bleeding
  • Pelvic pain, lower back pain, or pain in legs,
  • Pain during or after sex,
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty holding with a full bladder or frequent urination
  • Pain with urination
  • Pain with bowel movements

Common approaches may include herbs and supps, Acupuncture, moxa, womb massage, or integrative care including lifestyle changes.

It’s also important to know that whilst Infertility is a major issue, it’s still possible to still get pregnant with Endo. There are extra considerations amid this to factor in: location of endo ability to hold a pregnancy, and generally assisting in supporting a fertile environment. We encourage you prioritise pre-conception care as far out as possible so we can tailor an approach that allows you the best opportunity to prepare for your fertility potential, whether trying to conceive naturally (TTCN) or through IVF.

There are four stages/grades of Endometriosis depending on severity. Endo occurs when tissues similar to the lining of the uterus appears outside of this lining, and in other parts of the body. It’s only officially able to be identified via a laparoscopy and while it can be removed from certain parts of the body during this procedure ease a lot of symptoms, there’s still risk of it returning.

Things to know:
We see a lot of people who have been told contradictory info. The things that are important to know are:
1. Unfortunately, living with Endo is lifelong.
2. It can grow back even after a laparoscopy.
3. It’s not ‘fixed’ by getting pregnant or having a hysterectomy (endo has been also found in the brain, liver, kidneys, bone and heart).

THAT ALL SAID! Finding what works for you can be a gamechanger. Considering that 1 in 3 Endo warriors have been passed over for a promotion due to needing to manage their Endo, and 70% of Endo warriors have to take unpaid time off work, it’s SO important to have consistent support structures in place and to find spaces that support you.

Above and Below the Line – Where Are You Right Now?

As a Mindset Coach and Hypnotherapist I believe that it’s not the events that happen in our lives that’s important, but rather the meaning we give those events and what we choose to do as a result of them.

The concept of ‘Above and Below the Line’ enable us to take a step back and uncover how we are ‘being’ in relation to what is happening in our life at any given moment.

When we are above the line we are empowered with a ‘Growth Mindset’. We accept our responsibilities and commit to growing, learning and taking action. When we are below the line we are disempowered with a ‘Fixed Mindset’. We tend to blame, make excuses for our results and others and become ‘stuck’ and stagnant.

Let’s take a deeper look…

When we are above the line, we:

  • Are optimistic, inclusive, collaborative, inquisitive and creative
  • Become open to new perspectives, ideas and possibilities
  • Question our beliefs with a sense of curious detachment
  • Enjoy learning and growing through our experiences without the need to know everything or be right
  • See new ways of doing things
  • Find acceptance and hope
  • Sound like “I choose to…”, “I could try…”, “I can…”, “I will…”, “I prefer…” When we are below the line, we:
  • Are closed, defensive, opinionated, reactive, entitled and judgemental
  • Assume we know everything, have all the answers and feel that we are right
  • Believe there’s not enough of what we assume we need Eg. time, money, space, energy, love
  • Feel threatened, out of control, helpless, fearful and insecure
  • Ignore, block, try to control the uncontrollable or focus on failure
  • Are inflexible and ridged about how things should be
  • Sit in victimhood and put the responsibility on others to ‘save’ us
  • Sound like “I must…”, “I can’t…”, “I have to…”, “If only…”, I won’t..

It’s important to understand that it is normal and natural to fall below the line from time to time. As humans our prime directive is to survive, to do this we are programmed to perceive threats. The problem is our nervous system reacts in a similar way whether there is a real threat to our survival or a perceived threat to our comfort zone, identity or ego. The fight, flight, freeze or appease response is initiated, stress hormones are released into our system and we get tunnel vision. This survival mode inhibits our ability to think clearly and rationally.

 

Recognising when we are below is the first step towards more resourceful thinking and behaviour which allows us to build resilience and grow into a better version of ourselves.

Questions to Rise Above the Line:

What is this situation trying to teach me?

What skills do I need to learn or improve upon to move through this?
How is the way that I am thinking and talking about this situation holding me back?
What are other ways I could view this situation? What could I be missing?
What would a resilient, resourceful person believe, think or do in this situation?
If I had nothing to prove and nothing to lose, what could I do?
What is it about this situation that I can’t admit to anyone?
What changes am I willing to and not willing to make?
Do I need to ask for personal or professional help, support or advice from someone? What are all the big, bad, silly, crazy, boring, simple, extravagant options available to me?

So, now knowing what you know about above and below the line, where are you and how will you choose to move onwards and upwards?