Tennis Elbow

Tennis Elbow” is the most common chronic pain condition affecting the elbow. Despite the name, only 5-10% of sufferers actually play tennis.

Tennis elbow is also known as

  • Lateral epicondylalgia
  • Lateral epicondylitis
  • Lateral epicondylosis

How does it develop?

Tennis elbows is a painful condition that presents with pain in the outer elbow and usually involves inflammation of the tendons that attach to the boney area on the head of the humerus.  Usually a repetitive stress injury, tennis elbow is caused by overuse of the forearm muscles, creating strain and tears in the muscle and tendons.

Often I see this condition come about from people who have repetitive occupations or hobbies. Carpenters, gardeners and manual labourers often develop both tennis and golfer’s elbow type pain. This is due to constant lifting and moving of heavy objects which puts too much strain on the elbow joint. Personally, I first started to experience elbow pain after lifting and constantly carrying my very clingy daughter. Like many overuse injuries, the onset was gradual.

Symptoms of Tennis elbow:

  • A slow onset, weakness of the forearm
  • Tenderness of the lateral (outer) elbow
  • Pain travelling down the forearm.
  • Pain when lifting or gripping anything heavier than a coffee cup
  • Pain may become worse by rotating the forearm.
  • The pain exacerbated by overuse, fatigue or wet weather

Note

“Golfers Elbow” occurs on the inner side of the elbow and is much less common than tennis elbow. Both injuries respond well to a course of regular acupuncture.

Standard treatment of tennis elbow

More and more doctors are recommending cortisone injections. Cortisone is a steroid with strong anti-inflammatory effects. In most cases, it can provide long term relief, but I regularly see patients who experience only short term gains. If cortisone is unsuccessful your doctor may then refer you to a specialist for further investigation.

Can Acupuncture help my Tennis elbow?

We see elbow pain regularly at BNH, both acute and chronic cases.  The consensus is that the longer the joint has been inflamed, the slower it is to fully recover. The point is that the sooner you can seek out acupuncture treatment the better and quicker the outcomes.  For the best results, you will normally require a number of acupuncture treatments. The number of sessions required will be established following an initial assessment of the injured elbow. Aside from resting the elbow, acupuncture is very good at relieving elbow pain for good.

Research

Acupuncture therapy for patients suffering from tennis elbow has shown itself to be an excellent alternative to steroid injections. Twenty-one out of 34 patients who were treated with acupuncture became much better-completely free of pain. Many of them had previously been given one or more steroid injections without improvement.

Acupuncture Therapy for Tennis Elbow

Treating the whole person

The most significant benefit of choosing acupuncture, rather than other kinds of needle-based therapies, is that your acupuncturist can assess your  whole-person signs and symptoms and tailor a whole-body treatment plan for you. Acupuncture embraces a holistic approach to the treatment of tennis elbow.

 

Prevention

• Warm-up – before you start work or sporting activities take a few minutes to warm the muscles of hands, forearm, upper arms and shoulders. This can be as simple as gently massaging these areas.

• Stretch – Develop a daily stretching routine that targets the muscles of the hands, forearms, upper arms and shoulders.

• Rest – Take days off from activities that can aggravate the condition. If you perform repetitive tasks that involve gripping or typing during the week try and avoid these movements and tasks on your days off.

If the pain from your tennis elbow continues to persist gives us a call to find out how we might be able to help you.

The Invisible Enemy – How Acupuncture Can Help Your Hayfever

Allergies can affect anyone and statistically, hayfever (Allergic Rhinitis) affects up to 40% of the world’s population. It might not be obvious to the naked eye but air pollution and seasonal pollutants such as pollen cause allergy sufferers extreme discomfort. Seasonal change can be particularly difficult in Australia.

Going indoors to avoid allergens and to seek refuge is sometimes not possible either. Some pollutants are up to five times more concentrated indoors compared to outdoors.

There are actually two types of allergic rhinitis

  • Seasonal (hayfever)
  • Perennial (all year round)

Some of us are affected by the seasonal type, which is usually caused by airborne pollens. For others, it’s persistent hayfever that lasts all year round and this is usually due to dust mites, moulds, pet dander and just about anything that floats in the air.

Symptoms

• Sneezing

• A blocked or runny nose (postnasal drip)

• Itchy or watery eyes

• An itchy nose, palate or throat

Hayfever causes inflammation of the sinuses and often impairs nasal drainage. It is the impaired drainage that can often lead to secondary sinusitis or sinus infections.

Acupuncture and herbal medicine

The key to taming allergy symptoms is to get on top of the body’s inflammatory immune response. The World Health Organisation (WHO) considers seasonal allergies (as well as asthma and sinusitis) as one of the respiratory diseases that can be treated effectively with acupuncture. Current research shows that acupuncture can help with both seasonal and perennial hayfever.

What can I expect in an acupuncture consultation?

The Chinese Medicine approach to hayfever is very different from conventional techniques. At BNH our practitioners take a holistic approach to every person that walks through our doors. With hayfever, we usually schedule a series of treatments as part of your treatment plan. As much as we would all love a magic pill a series of treatments are required to allow your sinus inflammation and hypersensitivity to reduce. In more severe cases we sometimes include a course of Chinese herbs in your treatment plan.

Other Solutions

We can never completely avoid outdoor air pollution but there are some simple things we can do to reduce the indoor air pollution levels in our homes.

  • Wash/vacuum floors weekly
  • Wash your bed sheets at least once a week
  • Turn on an extractor fan while cooking or open a window
  • Choose floor varnishes, paints, waxes and furniture with low VOC levels
  • Use an air purifier or consider getting some indoor plants

 

Research 

1. In 2017 The Acupuncture Evidence Project found evidence for the effectiveness of 117 conditions. Acupuncture for hay fever was in the ‘Evidence of positive effect’ category.

https://www.acupuncture.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/28-NOV-The-Acupuncture-Evidence-Project_Mcdonald-and-Janz_-REISSUED_28_Nov.pdf

2.Reinhold T, Roll S, Willich SN, Ortiz M, Witt CM, Brinkhaus B. Cost-effectiveness for acupuncture in seasonal allergic rhinitis: economic results of the ACUSAR trial. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2013 Jul;111(1):56-63

3. Feng S, Han M, Fan Y, Yang G, Liao Z, Liao W, et al. Acupuncture for the treatment of allergic rhinitis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Rhinol Allergy. 2015 Jan-Feb;29(1):57-62.

4. Taw MB, Reddy WD, Omole FS, Seidman MD. Acupuncture and allergic rhinitis. Curr Opin Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2015 Jun;23(3):216-20.

5. Seidman MD, Gurgel RK, Lin SY, Schwartz SR, Baroody FM, Bonner JR, et al. Clinical practise guideline: Allergic rhinitis. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2015 Feb;152(1 Suppl): S1-43.

6. McDonald JL, Smith PK, Smith CA, Changli Xue C, Golianu B, Cripps AW. Effect of acupuncture on house dust mite specific IgE, substance P, and symptoms in persistent allergic rhinitis. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2016 Jun;116(6):497-505.

7. Xue CC, Zhang AL, Zhang CS, DaCosta C, Story DF, Thien FC. Acupuncture for seasonal allergic rhinitis: a randomized controlled trial. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2015 Oct;115(4):317-24.e1.

8. Kim SY, Lee H, Chae Y, Park HJ, Lee H. A systematic review of cost-effectiveness analyses alongside randomised controlled trials of acupuncture. Acupunct Med. 2012 Dec;30(4):273-85.

Natural Treatment of Acne and Breakouts

Acne is one of the most troublesome issues in both men and women. It commonly begins in the teenage years as your hormones change, but can also persist later in life. Some people also experience on onset of acne in their adult life.

Because acne is so cosmetic, it can really bother people and lead to issues with self-confidence. This causes stress which then can further exacerbate the problem. More severe acne can also be quite uncomfortable and can lead to scarring.

 

 

What causes acne?

Acne is usually a multifaceted problem which is why it can be tricky to pin-point one cause. Most often hormones are involved – acne that begins in the teenage years is due to the fluctuations in sex hormones that occur. Other factors can also be at play, including eating the wrong type of diet, stress and digestive issues.

Acne occurrence based on location

From a naturopathic perspective, different parts of the face give clues as to the underlying cause of the breakouts. Breakouts around the mouth and chin-line are usually due to hormonal issues. Breakouts between your brows are normally liver related and the forehead are from digestive toxicity.

Can you cure acne naturally?

YES! In our experience acne can be treated very successfully. The key is to uncover all of the underlying causes – usually we find there is more than one factor. For example it is very common for people to have acne that is affected by stress, which disrupts the hormones, but is also affected by diet. If we take a holistic approach to healing the acne both externally an internally then we have an excellent chance of a successful outcome.

How do you treat acne?

There are 2 main areas of treatment that need to be covered for the best results. You need to look at topical treatment (your skin care) as well as internal treatment that will address the underlying causes.

Topical

What you put on your skin can make a huge difference to your acne. Most people that have had acne have tried everything under the sun – the issue is that most products do not help to balance and heal the skin; rather they are very stripping and encourage scarring. We stock a range of natural and organic skin care lines that are designed to heal your skin and reduce scarring. Rather than using strong antibacterial agents, we recommend cleansers that help to make the skin slightly acidic, which stops bacteria from populating. Organic facials are also a great way to facilitate healing and break up scarring in acne sufferers.

Internally

Internal treatment is individualised to suit what is going on for you. Here are some of the ways that our naturopaths may treat acne.

Stress management – In nearly all cases of acne, there is a stress component. Our naturopaths use herbal adaptogens – herbs that help your body to cope with stress better as well as nutritional support.

Hormonal support – We work on helping your body to regulate hormones as well as to detoxify excess hormones that can be causing acne. Our naturopaths can specifically work on issues like PCOS that can contribute to acne.

Detoxification – Improving your detoxification pathways always helps with skin conditions. This includes clearing any digestive toxicity, improving your liver function so it can eliminate hormones properly and using herbal medicines that help to purify the blood.

Sebum control – For cystic acne working internally on sebum control can be very effective. Our naturopaths use specific nutrients that help to reduce the production of excess sebum as well as herbs that remove congestion in the skin to prevent blind pimples.

Digestive support – It is important to clear any constipation as this can lead to more toxins building up in the system. Our naturopaths also look at your levels of good vs. bad bacteria in the gut as this can impact your skin as well.

Most people need a combination of these approaches to fix their acne. Our naturopaths are experts in finding the underlying cause of acne and will be able to give you an idea of what might be the issue after your initial consultation.

A multi-faceted approach is needed to stop breakouts.

How long does acne take to treat?

Unfortunately, acne is not a quick fix and most patients find that they need a good 6-12 months treatment to resolve it. Significant improvements can be made in the first few months though – and often within 4 weeks, we have some reduction in severity. Combining the naturopathy with our recommended skin care regime can take the severity down a notch pretty quickly.

Can acupuncture help acne?

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine is another way that you can treat acne. Acne treatment from a Chinese medicine perspective is quite different to a naturopathic approach – it will depend on the type of acne, location as well as your concurrent symptoms as to what your TCM diagnosis will be. Acupuncture should still also be combined with a good topical therapy for best results.

If you’d like more information about how we can help your skin or would like to make an initial appointment, please call us on 07 3367 0337.

 

Are you a highly sensitive person?

We all have our gifts and we all have our challenges – often they are one and the same thing.

Some of us are exceptionally good at creating beauty – whether that is a beautiful experience or a thing of beauty. These people are great visionaries, they know exactly what they want to create; they know all the details that need to come together to create that vision. They can sometimes be referred to as ‘Control Freaks’ as they can have trouble delegating or even allowing others to help. They can be very sensitive to criticism, not that they can’t handle it, but rather that they are already very self-critical. In fact they are often perfectionists and never really satisfied with their own efforts. So they are already providing all the criticism and when someone else notices that something is not perfect, it hurts!

Part of this ability to create beauty is a sensitivity and as is always the case in Chinese Medicine, the sensitivity applies to all dimensions of life. So these people, as well as being sensitive to the details and how things come together to create beauty, are also energetically sensitive. They may be particularly sensitive to foods or toxins or pharmaceuticals. They may pick up on someone else’s feelings and be driven to wanting to make that person feel better. They may be sensitive to energy of spaces. They may also be sensitive to energies from other realms.

Now these are ALL extraordinary gifts but if that energy is overwhelming – if the lines become blurred between what is their own energetic stuff and what is not theirs – then this can feel like anything BUT a gift!!!

The wisdom from Chinese Medicine allows us to see that the strengths of this sensitivity are also its challenges. Just to know this alone can help and then to focus on the light of this quality rather than the shadow.

A balanced life

As in Chinese Medicine, sensitivity applies to all dimensions of life.

If this sounds like you and you sometimes feel overwhelmed by your sensitivity, there are a few things you can do. The aim of the game is to befriend your sensitivity. You can’t hate something away, but you can LOVE it into balance.

RITUAL 1

One thing to try is simply expanding and contracting your energy. After all, you, more than any of us, know that we do not end with our skin! Imagine you are standing in a large hall and at the other end of the hall is someone you love. Someone who makes you feel safe. Take a deep breath and close your eyes. Create that image in your minds eye; then expand your energy out to reach that person that you love. It is safe for your energy to connect with theirs. Enjoy that feeling – soak up that feeling.

Then do the opposite and imagine someone you dislike at the other end of the hall. Contract your energy, bring it in close around you; to protect you; set that boundary; don’t allow your energy to connect with that other person.

As you play with this concept you get better and better at either allowing your energy to mix or protecting your energy. It’s just like a muscle at the g – the more you use it the stronger and more flexible it becomes.

RITUAL 2

Here is another simple ritual you may like – to define and protect your boundaries and to stop negative energies from invading your space.

When you wake up in the morning and stand up feet on the ground and stretch both arms out in front of you, like you are pushing something away and affirm to the world I can see you better over there’. Then pushing each arm out to your sides in the same way, say out loud, I will not get caught between a rock and a hard place’.

Say it and mean it!!

Then pushing both hands down to the ground, I hold down the rising tide’.

Pushing both hands up from your shoulders to the sky, I release the weight of the world from my shoulders’.

And finally, tell the universe to get off your back!

You have covered the energy around you in all six directions and created the physical, emotional and energetic space you need. A simple time efficient ritual that is based on prevention is easier than a cure.

There are lots of ways to ground your energy; these are just two simple options. It’s important to ensure your subconscious mind is supportive of your healthy energetic boundaries. PSYCH-K and hypnotherapy are powerful ways to connect to your subconscious and update the software that runs your mind. Remember your sensitivity is a beautiful part of who you are.

Liz Champtaloup – Holistic Hypnotherapist, Advanced PSYCH-K Facilitator, EFT Practitioner, Diploma of Clinical Hypnotherapy

 

A Balanced Life

If we apply ancient Chinese wisdom to a modern day problem then we would not be seeking work-life balance.

It’s too late by then to bring balance to our lives. The key to balance is to be balanced from within. When we are balanced from within we come to everything from a balanced perspective. Nothing can disturb our balance because we are not relying on external factors to bring us this blissful state.

This is why mindfulness and meditation are such powerful tools to incorporate into our lives.

A balanced life

Just a small amount of stillness in the mind can bring about a significant amount of balance to our lives.

The mind is incredibly lenient and kind to us! Just a small amount of stillness in the mind can bring about a significant amount of balance to our lives.

So don’t think that you need to replicate the meditation habits of The Dalai Lama in order to bring balance to your life! Just starting with 10 minutes of stillness a day is worthwhile.

There are also many ways to meditate and the simpler the better.

So if meditation is something you have thought about but never tried then be kind to yourself and know that it can be easy to meditate.

There are loads of apps available for very little expense that can be a lovely gentle way to start bringing some stillness into your life. Or you might like to start just focusing on your breath; breathing in and breathing out.

Whatever you choose just find 10 minutes in your day and breathe deeply into your belly. Set yourself a goal to have 10 minutes stillness a day for a week…and then a month…and then 15 minutes.

You might be surprised at how good you are at meditating and your body, mind and spirit will thank you for it.

Liz Champtaloup – Holistic Hypnotherapist, Advanced PSYCH-K Facilitator, EFT Practitioner, Diploma of Clinical Hypnotherapy

The Heart Protector

The Chinese believe we have an extra organ called The Heart Protector.

It’s like an imaginary gate around our hearts. When we are in balance the gate is slightly open, allowing us time to decide if we trust someone or something into our heart or not.

It is not just about romance, everything is connected, so it may be a business relationship or any other decision that we need to make.

If we choose not to let a person or situation into our heart then we can close the gate and protect our heart. Or if we feel safe then we can open the gate and allow that situation in to our heart.

In Chinese Medicine the heart is known as The Emperor. It is literally the heart of all our abundant richness and resources. The Emperor is the keeper of all things beautiful.

 

The General or the Emperor?

Who do you want to give the power to…The General or The Emperor?

Our heart is where we nurture our authentic self, our truth. It is where we feel. But sometimes the Emperor is distracted by The General. You guessed it – the General is our mind. We can overthink things and lose connection to how we feel about something. Western thinking is very much about that we need to ‘do something’ or ‘to fix the situation’ so it can be very easy to get stuck in our thoughts.

Sure it’s important to be able to analyse and think, and we all need our General, but as ancient Chinese wisdom would ask ‘Who do you want to give the power to…The General or The Emperor?’

When we give too much power to The General we shut ourselves off from our feelings. We lose touch with our authentic self. We forget what lights us up and in the extreme may even lose our passion for life.

Many ancient and modern philosophers talk about the journey from the head to the heart being the longest journey. If you feel disconnected from your heart you are not alone, over 90% of people are said to have excessive energetic protection around their hearts.

But the good news is the power of the subconscious mind can help you gently reconnect to all your richness and resources. Your subconscious loves you to bits…it’s all there waiting for you.

Liz Champtaloup – Holistic Hypnotherapist, Advanced PSYCH-K Facilitator, EFT Practitioner, Diploma of Clinical Hypnotherapy

Winter Is Coming…

Chinese medicine ideas for staying healthy and warm in winter.

Studies have shown that the Influenza virus is more stable and air borne for longer in cold and dry air; the winter months being the perfect conditions for transmission. This is possibly one reason we experience the flu more in winter.

In Chinese medicine theory, the cold and dry air put strain on the Lung and Wei Qi (defensive qi or immunity), thus allowing for the invasion of pathogenic influences. Some of us may already have poor Wei Qi as a result of things such as: poor diet, overwork, chronic illness, recurring respiratory illness, long term use of antibiotics, smoking, drug and alcohol abuse, being an infant or elderly, mental stress or poor sleeping habits. If this is the case, we need to make a special effort to combat the seasonal shift and stay healthy.

Most of us probably fit into one or more of those characteristics and will encounter 2-4 bouts of the flu or other respiratory illnesses, of varying intensity each year. It is normal from a conventional medicine point of view to experience this, and you probably have heard that this is your body’s way of developing immunity. From a TCM point of view however, once your Wei Qi is developed and healthy, we should only ever experience this during a seasonal shift, and with far less consequences.

Some people may have difficulty kicking the sickness once it arrives and may have residual symptoms for up to a month or more. If this is the case, complications can arise and cause long-term illness. It puts a huge strain on your mental state and can impact your productivity at work and the relationships that surround you, especially if you pass it on to your family or peers!

Here are some ways to stay healthy and keep up that Wei Qi throughout the year.

Cover up!

In Chinese medicine, the more your temperature fluctuates, the more energy we expend keeping out pathogenic invasion. Constant battling against the weather is a sure way to deplete your Wei Qi and become ill. So stay rugged up, especially on the neck and shoulders, lower back and soles of the feet and try avoiding drafts or air conditioning.

Keeping your head and neck warm in winter helps to keep your defences working well.

Eat seasonally.

As the cooler months set in, the types of foods naturally available to us will change. Stick to seasonal fruit and vegetables and this will aid your digestion in transforming food into energy. According to Chinese dietary theory, your body has an internal cook pot, which needs to work harder to digest colder foods such as raw vegetables and fruits. In the winter months, when these foods are naturally less available, the internal cook pot generally benefits from more easily digestible foods; broths, stews, root vegies, congee, oats, soups and slow cooked roasts are all great ways to stay warm.

Conserve your energy.

Most of us will relate to the desire to stay indoors and be less active during winter. While it is not so applicable in Queensland, most cultures that experience a full-blown winter nestle in when the cold hits. Winter is about consolidation and hibernation. Exercising to the same degree as we do in summer will deplete hard earned energy stores. Athletes who train all year round make an exception to this rule, although they make sure to aptly warm their bodies before a work out. In many cases due to their high intensity training, the Wei Qi of an athlete is much stronger and they don’t feel the weather like most. To stay moving in winter some exercises that we could continue include yoga (not hot yoga), tai chi, qi gong, meditation or stretching.

Finally, avoid damaging the Wei Qi with substance abuse.

Culturally speaking, Australians love to get loose on the weekends and winter is no exception. If you really can’t avoid hammering your immunity with cigarettes and alcohol at least try to drink seasonally and responsibly. Good quality mulled wine, red wine, plum wine, rice wine, port, porter, stout, dark ales and dark spirits, can all be enjoyed in moderation and are more nourishing and warming.

If we try our best to listen to what our bodies crave naturally in seasonal shifts we will have a much easier time adapting and staying free from illness. While we can still afford the occasional slip up from time to time, when the bugs hit the battle will be quick and with minimal casualties.

Posted by acupuncturist Hugh Hayward.

Cleansing Summer Salad for Post-Holiday Overindulgence

This is a modified version of a recipe that my sister and I created.

If you’ve let yourself go a little too loosely over the Christmas feasting period, and are keen to break free of that sluggish bog before the New Year has taken over, this is the recipe for you.

The Chinese medicine pathology is labelled as food accumulation in the middle burner, and more than likely, if the break was accompanied with excessive alcohol consumption, damp-heat in the stomach and large intestine.

Based on what we know about the enteric nervous system and the chemistry of the gastrointestinal tract (GIT), eating to excess will generally leave you with a feeling of slackness. It can also cause symptoms such as reflux, indigestion or heart burn, nausea, bloating and sensitivity to certain foods. Excessive food consumption can also give you a generalised feeling of inflammation such as aches and pains, loose stools, pain or burning on passing, phlegm or cold and flu symptoms. All of these drawbacks are exacerbated by drinking large amounts of alcohol and can even feel similar to a week-long hangover.

 

Eating to excess will generally leave you with a feeling of slackness.

 

This recipe helps to re-establish the gut health and move the accumulated gunk through to the other end. In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) terms, we are looking to alleviate this accumulation, clear the heat (inflammation), and moisten and nourish the Middle Burner (GIT).

Ingredients (roughly 6 servings)

2 cucumbers

1 large bunch of coriander

1 or 2 fresh chilies

1 small handful of sesame or sunflower seeds

2 cups sprouted lentils or sprouted mung beans

Dressing

1 nub of fresh ginger

As much garlic as you like

Juice of 1 or 2 limes depending on taste

2 tbsp. sesame oil

2 tbsp. soy sauce or Tamari

1 teaspoon of raw sugar or coconut sugar

(This recipe is great with boiled quinoa as a protein addition if you are so inclined)

How to sprout lentils and other beans 

  1. Buy whole green lentils or mung beans, rinse them and let them soak in a large jar or container for 12 hours or maybe a little longer for mung beans. (Make sure you leave a little excess room in the jar because they expand to about double the original volume).
  2. Drain the water and cover with a tea towel or breathable membrane to keep the air flowing and the bugs out.
  3. Repeat the rinse and drain about 3 times per day to keep them moist and your lentils should be well and truly sprouted by day three. They are edible at any stage after the soak but I prefer to leave them to get a nice long sprout.

Cleansing Summer Salad

Cut cucumbers into small cubes, then finely chop coriander and chilies. Add to a large salad bowl together with the sesame seeds and sprouted lentils.

Salad Dressing

Finely chop or blend the ginger and garlic and place into a small bowl or jar. Add the juice of a lime, soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar to the ginger and garlic, and stir or shake.

Note:

The longer that you let this dressing sit before adding it to the salad, the garlic and ginger will lose its spice so depending on how you like it, you could let it soak for a day or just eat it fresh. Adding the chilies to the dressing rather than to the salad will have a similar effect, so if you like it mild let it soak!

Hugh Hayward – Chinese Medicine Doctor (CMD), Bachelor of Health Science, Diploma An Mo Tui Na Massage