Acupuncture’s Role In Treating Bell’s Palsy

If you were wondering – Yes you can speed up your recovery from Bell’s Palsy with Acupuncture. Chinese medicine has been treating Bell’s Palsy with acupuncture and herbal medicine for over 2000 years. According to Chinese medical theory, Bell’s Palsy is a condition caused by an attack of external wind pathogen to the ear and subsequent blockage of the meridians.

Bell’s Palsy is a form of facial paralysis that results from inflammation of the facial (7th cranial) nerve. Named after Charles Bell, a Scottish anatomist who first described the syndrome in 1812, Bell’s Palsy is the most common form of acute facial paralysis. The symptoms are usually one-sided and cause an inability to control the muscles on the affected side of the face.

The facial nerve innervates the facial muscles and is responsible for smiling, frowning, blinking, chewing, and sensing taste. This facial nerve also supplies the tear ducts and the salivary glands. Bell’s Palsy occurs as a result of an inflamed, swollen or compressed cranial nerve. The exact cause of the damage is unknown. Most scientists agree that it can be caused by a viral infection.

Symptoms

  • Facial weakness or paralysis, 
  • drooping eyelids or difficulty closing the eye causing irritation to the eye
  • difficulty eating and drinking
  • difficulty making facial expressions, and host of other symptoms

Prognosis

The prognosis for recovery is mostly very good. Ultimately the extent of nerve damage is what will determine your degree of recovery. Most medical advice suggests that recovery will begin 2 weeks from the initial onset of symptoms, and most people will recover completely within 3 to 6 months. Based on this advised most people take the recommended medications and wait out the 3 to 6 months.

This is a concern as a lot of people don’t respond to conventional treatment during this time frame and symptoms can continue on for a lifetime. The ‘wait and see’ approach is a risk that can and should be avoided. Early intervention is the aim if you are considering acupuncture. 

Acupuncture

The ideal time to start acupuncture is within the first 2 weeks from the onset of symptoms. The sooner you can start acupuncture the better. It is very common to receive inquiries about treatment from interested patients at the 6-month mark. These are the people who didn’t receive the full recovery they hoped for. A positive outcome is still realistic 6 months later, but greater treatment frequency is required to get the required results. Acupuncture is great for treating the underlying symptoms of Bell’s Palsy as well as the more obvious physical symptoms.

Other treatment 

In the initial stages, your doctor may prescribe steroids to assist with the inflammation and swelling. Other drugs, such as antivirals (virus) or analgesics (pain relief) may also be prescribed. Beyond the first few weeks, there are limited to no other treatment options available.

Care advice

Consult your doctor to rule out anything more sinister like a stroke

Avoid direct wind – it isn’t good for you. Avoid sitting close to a fan, air conditioner, or open window.

Acupuncture – start as soon as possible

Herbal medicine  – your practitioner will prescribe herbs to assist your recovery

Sleep – this is when your body will heal

Breath – Studies show that high stress contributes to weakening the immune system. 

Acupuncture is a safe, drug-free form of treatment for Bell’s Palsy with no side effectsFor more information and to start your recovery make a booking today.

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.

How A Walk in the Forest can Help Cure What Ails You

We’ve been hearing more and more about how getting out into nature can help to improve mood, reduce stress and promote overall good health. It makes a fair bit of sense that as humans have evolved with nature, and therefore our nervous systems may feel most ‘at home’ when we are amongst nature. But it seems that there is more to it than that. Studies are now showing that some of the compounds produced by the trees in the forests we walk
in have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, neuroprotective and antitumor effects. These compounds (forest aerosols) are excreted by our trees (in particular, conifer and camphor laurel trees) and we can be said to be ‘showering in them’ when we take a forest walk. Forest aerosols are being shown to have many beneficial effects on health in laboratory testing and may be the reason that walking in the forest has been shown to benefit asthma,
atopic dermatitis, immune health, cancer and nervous system health (Cho KS, 2017).  It is not only conifers and camphors but other plants such as lavender, citrus, hops, peppermint and chamomile that also contain these beneficial compounds. If anyone needed a reason to go for a walk in a lavender or chamomile field, here it is!

Other health benefits can be attributed to the production of a compound called brain- derived neurotrophic factor (or BDNF) when we exercise. BDNF promotes what we call ‘neuroplasticity’ which basically refers to the ability of brain cells to heal and create new connections as is seen in learning and healing from damage due to stress, depression or trauma. A reduction in BDNF is seen in neurodegenerative disorders such as dementia and has also been linked to major depression, stress, obesity and cardiovascular disease. In the case of BNDF, we do not need to be walking in the forest to promote its production – any exercise will do (but a forest walk is a great option if available). Studies show that moderate to high-intensity physical activity are the most effective in achieving the desired increase in BDNF (Phillips, 2017).

So why not make a regular walk in the forest part of your health regime? When you breathe in those delicious foresty smells you are taking your aerosol shower and providing your body with many healing agents. If you are sick, it may assist your healing process, and if you are not, it will certainly provide protection against some long-term health complaints.

So, get a map, pack a lunch, get a buddy and get out there!

The Parasympathetic and Sympathetic Nervous System & How They Affect Our Daily Life

In today’s day and age, people are under heightened states of stress more than they’ve ever been before. Stress in our daily life has a direct effect on the hypothalamus in our brain, which governs hormone synthesis in our bodies. The result of this is a stimulation of our sympathetic nervous system, and in turn, our parasympathetic nervous activity is reduced.

During sympathetic nervous system activation, adrenaline and noradrenaline are released as an evolutionary signal from the brain to the body that the body needs to protect itself from a direct threat. Our pulse and respiration rates increase and the “fight or flight” response kicks in. Another stress hormone, cortisol, is also released and at the same time, functions such as digestion are suppressed, as the brain considers these to not be essential towards survival from immediate threats.  

Therefore, it is easy to see why being under a constant state of stress means that our digestion is seldom functioning optimally, meaning that the food we consume is not being adequately broken down to release the nutrients we require from our food for optimal health.  This can lead to a variety of nutrient deficiencies, and if not corrected, the development of illnesses as a result. 

Prolonged periods of stress can also lead the cortisol resistance.  Under normal conditions, our cortisol levels are the highest first thing in the morning, and this is what helps us to get out of bed and get on with our day.  Cortisol levels normally decline through the day and should be at their lowest level by our bedtime.  Melatonin patterns are normally opposite to those of cortisol and are meant to be at the highest levels in the evening, allowing us to get to sleep and stay asleep.  Any disruption to these patterns, such as prolonged periods of stress, means disrupted sleep patterns will often occur.  Cortisol resistance can also lead to blood sugar dysregulation.    

There are many things we can do, in order to modulate our nervous system and increase parasympathetic nervous system activity.  These include:

  • During meal times, put your phone down, step away from the work desk, and take a few deep breaths to relax before you start to eat.  If possible, eating outside in the fresh air and sunshine is also helpful.
  • Diaphragmatic breathing – take a deep breath in for 4 seconds and as you do so, think of breathing into your sides.  Hold your breath for 4 seconds, then breathe out for 4 seconds.  Repeat a few times. 
  • Exercise most days of the week, even just 20 minutes a day will make a difference. Yoga is excellent for stress reduction.  
  • Reduce screen time, and especially eliminate altogether an hour before bedtime as blue light from screens disrupts melatonin production.
  • Diffuse some essential oils around the house, such as lavender or chamomile, or another blend of essential oils made for this purpose.  
  • Meditation. This can be done sitting up or lying down, it can be done outside or inside. There are some great apps available such as Calm and Insight Timer, if you prefer to do guided meditations. 

Implementing these things in daily life will go a long way towards improving our health outcomes in the long term.  Naturopaths can further help to optimise the healing process in various ways, such as modulating nervous system activity with herbs and nutrients, improving digestive health, addressing any dietary deficiencies, and also considering lifestyle factors.

Other modalities such as acupuncture, hypnotherapy or myotherapy can also assist with stress reduction and nervous system modulation. 

The naturopaths at Brisbane Natural Health are highly experienced in nervous system manifestations, so if you would like to start taking steps towards better health, call Brisbane Natural Health on 3367 0337. 

Are you out of touch with your feelings?

This may sound rather strange and almost a bit insulting! How could we not know what we’re feeling?  The truth is that while we go through so many different experiences on a daily basis that arouse an array of feelings, it’s quite possible that some of these feelings can be kept a secret – even from ourselves.

This happens because there are at least two parts to our mental lives – a feeling self and an observer self. Sometimes the two are completely aligned. We are asked what we would like for lunch and the communication is immediate; we simply answer a Buddha Bowl! At other points, it is trickier. 

We might be relaxing on the couch after a long day at work and we are under the impression that everything is ok and we feel quite calm. But suddenly an apparently minor remark from our partner arouses us to deep irritation. We quickly move into feelings of injustice and unfairness about a host of issues we hadn’t – until then, been aware we even felt strongly about – and soon we feel out of control and all worked up.

Sound familiar?

Why is it so hard for the “observing self” to report accurately on our feelings?

One reason is that we carry beliefs about the unacceptability of particular feelings. In order to know ourselves well, we have to rely on the level of self-awareness, courage and honesty that’s presented to us in our surrounding culture. We can be easily conditioned by what our families, peers, schools, and wider culture see as “normal”. Across childhood, we have it instilled in us, so subtly we don’t even notice, strong notions about what are and are not okay things to experience. Traditionally, this might have looked like boys were not allowed to admit they wanted to cry, or that girls were not able to grow up to do the same kinds of work as boys. We may have moved through these more naive notions today, but there have been equally as powerful ones to take their place.

What have we picked up over the years that have allowed us to suppress our feelings?

Is it a sense of shame that we view things like; not being able to cope at work, be tempted by an affair, or still upset over a break up from years ago? And while we may live in more sexually liberated times, what sexual impulses are impossible to admit to?

There seems to be a great deal of things we are not meant to “feel” in order to fit a desirable category. 

When difficult or uncomfortable feelings do threaten to emerge, the “observing self” might take fright and look away! Rather than produce a more honest and accurate account of feelings, it may go numb, to try and file a report that is more acceptable that it is true: “I’m tired”, rather than “I feel abandoned and like you’ve let me down”; or “I’m depressed”, rather than “I’m furious”.

Our problems here are compounded by the way powerful feelings like upset, envy and frustration, can swirl through us by apparently trivial and unrelated things. It can be hard to admit to ourselves that something huge and impactful has been released in our inner lives when there appears to be no significant external cause there. 

We might feel a deep sense of envy and no way to express this when we hear about our friend’s new relationship. Or our partner may look away three and a half seconds before we’ve ended an explanation about how a tricky meeting at work went, and we experience a sense of indignation that we haven’t got their full attention. We say nothing because to own up to all these feelings of upset involves acknowledging a humiliating degree of sensitivity and fragility. 

Yet these feelings that haven’t been acknowledged don’t go away. They linger and spread their energy randomly to other issues. Envy might come out as spite. Anger of inattention might come out as a snide remark – though of course, by the time hurt has manifested itself as aggression, any chances of being comforted are over.

Emotions that we don’t have a handle on and are unprocessed weak havoc. They force themselves forward in troubling, furious and depressed ways and can put an unhealthy strain on our minds and bodies. We develop addictions, we suffer from anxiety, and we sit an overwhelm of melancholy in depression, we develop gut problems and autoimmune disease. Our sleep becomes troubled – insomnia and waking in the night is the feeling self’s revenge for all the thoughts that haven’t been properly catalogued in the day. 

How might we be able to become better observers and be aware and process our emotions?

1: We need a language for our feelings, the words and how it looks. Novels and movies allow us to able to observe how the spectrum of emotions can look in others, and offer a window into what we may ourselves be experiencing. 

2. Dedicated time for self-observation. While we don’t always allow ourselves the time and space to reflect and express, honest moments with our journals,  or a pause and out- breathe in meditation are valuable actions to allow our observer self to catch up with the feelings that might have been too shy, ashamed or stressed to emerge.

3. Surround yourself with people who are aligned with our search to identify and catalogue our feelings. Good listeners are imperative. This might come in the form of friends, family or a therapist. Part of coming to know how we feel is having an audience that can be receptive to the truth about us. In the company of open-minded and accepting people, we are able to circulate more freely in our own minds. We remember the feelings that we may have censored and we become more in touch with ourselves.

While feelings are not always wonderful and we should be cautionary in which ones we follow, but if we allow ourselves to accept the fact that if we deny, ignore or overlook them entirely, the price is higher and worse; they can exercise a powerful dark inner influence across our lives. Learning to correctly label and take ownership of our own and others’ orphaned feelings is a key art in living well.

Could High Histamine Food be causing your Headaches, Itchy mouth, Anxiety or Bloating?

What is histamine?

Histamine is a compound that is released from immune cells as a normal part of a healthy functioning immune system. It helps us communicate with the brain, alert the immune system to a potential threat, and launch an inflammatory response.

Histamines can be released in response to environmental triggers such as pollen, animal fur and dust but can also be released in response to the foods and drinks we consume, as well as digestive imbalances, and enzyme deficiency.

What happens if I have too much histamine?

When there is toomuch-circulatingg histamine we can feel an increase in allergic-like symptoms such as sneezing, itching, watery eyes and nasal congestion, but also symptoms that aren’t as easily identified as being related to histamine – such as migraines, headaches, irregular menstrual cycles, and difficulty regulating temperature, amongst many others.

There are 3 main reasons we can have elevated histamine levels:

  1. We’re eating too many foods high in histamine, and/or
  2. We’re consuming too many histamine liberating foods or drinks and/or
  3. We lack enough of the enzyme that helps us break down and eliminated histamine from the body.

What is Histamine Intolerance?

Histamine intolerance can occur when your body is unable to break down the histamine efficiently. One of the ways the body does this is through the Diamine Oxidase (DAO) enzyme which inactivates and metabolises histamine.

If you don’t have enough DAO or its ineffective, histamine can be absorbed through the intestines causing a wide range of symptoms. The symptoms such as those listed below can often occur following the consumption of foods and drinks that contain a large amount of histamine like bananas, avocado’s, spinach, tomato’s, fermented foods, aged cheeses, and alcohol.

Histamine content of foods increases as the food ages. For example, aged cheeses tend to contain higher histamine levels than fresh cheese. A boiled egg left in the fridge for 1 day would have higher histamine than a boiled egg eaten immediately.

We know that fermented foods are extremely beneficial for our gut health but as they are fermented, they may also be high in histamines and therefore not tolerated by some people when their histamine balance is compromised.

What are the Symptoms of Histamine Intolerance?

Because histamine is released into many body tissues its effects are far-reaching. Some of the more common symptoms may include:  

  • Digestive issues like abdominal cramps, bloating, nausea and vomiting 
  • Nervous system issues like fatigue, anxiety, difficulty or light sleeping
  • Vascular issues like headaches and migraines, tissue swelling, vertigo, dizziness, high blood pressure, difficulty regulating temperature, irregular heart rate, or flushing after histamine-containing food and drink – especially wine and beer
  • Immune issues like sneezing, nasal congestion, runny nose, itchy mouth
  • Skin issues like hives, rashes or itchy skin
  • Reproductive issues like irregular menstrual cycles

How can I find out if I have high histamine or histamine intolerance?

Our Naturopaths at Brisbane Natural Health can take a thorough case and diet history from you, and if appropriate can organise a lab test for histamine and DAO enzyme levels. A high ratio of histamine/DAO signifies that you may be consuming too much histamine and that you may not have enough DAO to break it down.

How can I recover from symptoms of histamine intolerance?

Our Naturopaths at Brisbane Natural Health would look at your Lifestyle and diet factors, aim to boost your enzymes, minimise the histamine load, and regain balance to your body.

Most importantly, working with a Naturopath will enable you to find out what is your root cause for your histamine intolerance, and will be able to design a personalised dietary or supplement protocol to help restore balance to your body and to your symptoms.

If you would like to investigate this area of your health further, please call our Naturopaths at Brisbane Natural Health on 07 3367 0337.

 

How Acupuncture Works

The art of acupuncture involves the insertion of fine sterile needles into specific locations, to stimulate the body to heal itself. Traditionally, explanations involve its effect on improving the flow of Qi to balance Yin and Yang; a paradigm of health and disease similar to the Western biomedical concept of homeostasis. In recent years, much attention has been focused on elucidating how acupuncture works in terms of Western physiology. We now know that “Qi flow” equates to nerve transmission, extracellular communication, connective tissue planes, metabolic components of blood, and the functional energy of organ systems. Acupuncture, therefore, regulates and improves function. This is achieved, largely, via its effects on the nervous system that stimulate the body to produce chemicals that relieve pain, reduce inflammation, stimulate tissue regeneration, and induce a feeling of relaxation and wellbeing.

One of the mechanisms that may describe how acupuncture works is known as Purigenic Signalling. When an acupuncturist inserts needles into the skin, the body begins to self regulate (self-dose) using adenosine and ATP for signalling and regulation in tissues and organ systems. This is important and very significant as the incorrect balance can cause dysfunction.

This isn’t the only suggested mechanism under which acupuncture has an effect, however, I find it the most intriguing.

Acupuncture originated in China and is now practised throughout the world. Although acupuncture has been practised for thousands of years, evidence of its effectiveness is still controversial.

Sadly acupuncture was developed in a pre-scientific culture before anything significant was understood about biology, the normal functioning of the human body or disease pathology. The healing practices of the time were part of what is called philosophy-based medicine, to be distinguished from modern science-based medicine. Philosophy-based systems began with a set of ideas about health and illness and based their treatments on those ideas. The underlying assumptions and the practices derived from them were never subjected to controlled observation or anything that can reasonably be called a scientific process.

In Australia, we are fortunate to have an organisation working towards recognition for acupuncture on the world stage, The Acupuncture Evidence Project. Taken from their published paper in 2017, “Our study found evidence for the effectiveness of acupuncture for 117 conditions, with stronger evidence for acupuncture effectiveness for some conditions than others. Acupuncture is considered safe in the hands of a well-trained practitioner and has been found to be cost effective for some conditions. The quality and quantity of research into acupuncture’s effectiveness are increasing”.

References

McDonald J, Janz S. The Acupuncture Evidence Project: A Comparative Literature Review (Revised Edition). Brisbane: Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association Ltd; 2017.

AACMA 

ATP Signaling Acupuncture Burnstock

Can Fertility Acupuncture help your Egg Quality?

As an integrative acupuncturist, I understand the importance of looking into your menstrual cycle health and recognising imbalances such as irregular cycles, painful periods, PMS, excessively heavy or light menstrual flow, and of course the big one…your AMH. By now most of you are probably aware of your egg quality and would like to know how to improve it.

To improve egg quality, we need to establish if there is an imbalance of hormones, review your intake of nutritional supplements and have a look at your diet. It’s also important to look at your stress levels and assess how these may be impacting you. As an acupuncturist, I use palpation to assess the circulation to your ovaries and uterus by examining your abdomen. All of these things help paint a picture of your reproductive health.

So what can you do?

In TCM, we describe the process of ageing by how the kidneys are functioning. We look at how you live, whether you are getting enough rest, eating well, reducing stress, not abusing drugs/alcohol, having sex (but not too much!) etc – all of which can have an impact on how you preserve this material. TCM is an excellent way to help protect and preserve this material and to help it to be best expressed, particularly during the time while you are trying to improve your egg quality.

It’s important to give your body the necessary time for any changes you make to take effect.

You probably know that you are born with your eggs and that these numbers naturally decline as you age. However, the follicles sit in hibernation until around 100 days prior to ovulation. This means that those 100 days before the month you conceive are critical in the quality of your eggs.

An easy way to have a day to day impact on the quality of your eggs is by including some of the following foods into your diet:

  • Salmon
  • Broccoli
  • Turmeric
  • Ginger
  • Berries (such as Blueberries)
  • Maca
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Eggs
  • Dark leafy greens (and lots of them)

(Where you can, make sure your fresh veggies and fruit are organic and your salmon is wild caught and not farmed).

And of course, just as it’s important to work towards including more of the foods listed above into your diet, it’s equally as important to understand which foods will damage the quality of your eggs.

Try to eliminate or avoid as much as possible the following:

  • Sugar
  • Processed foods (consider anything in a packet as dead food.. You only want to be eating live foods)
  • GMO’s
  • Low-Fat Foods (they contain a whole lot of nasties)
  • Trans fats
  • Non-organic meats and dairy
  • Soft drinks
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine

Unfortunately, our modern day world contains a plethora of toxins that are not fertility friendly. Look out for BPA, phthalates, and pesticides. These are all common offenders that are well known to disrupt hormone levels in our bodies.

Whenever you can, eat organic, avoid plastic food containers, avoid canned foods, avoid cleaning products and cosmetics that are full of chemicals, ditch perfumes or products with artificial fragrances and make the switch to organic essential oils.

Mayan abdominal massage is a non-invasive, external, massage technique that guides internal abdominal organs into their proper position for optimum fertility health and organ function. The main action Mayan has with improving egg health is that it is fantastic at improving blood circulation to the ovaries, providing optimal nourishment for growing follicles. Mayan therapy is also great at reducing menstrual and ovulation pain, menstrual blood irregularities and improving pregnancy outcomes.

So often the modern approach to health concerns is a symptomatic plan, which can offer short-term relief but fail to address the core issue at hand. We can learn from Chinese Medicine in this instance and our symptoms as a further opportunity to explore and dig deeper to make long-lasting changes towards our health.

The quality of your sleep has an impact on your hormones, mood and fertility. For those of you who find it challenging to fall asleep or have a good night’s sleep, Acupuncture has been consistently proven to be effective for the overall improvement of sleep quality, without the side effects of prescription medications. The use of diaphragmatic breathing can also be enough to switch us from t

he “being” and “doing” state of mind to a more relaxed and calm state, setting up for a good night’s sleep. Taking five big deep breaths before bedtime can help set the tone, allowing the body to relax.

If you’re not already, I cannot state the importance of ensuring you are taking a quality prenatal vitamin. It’s the first thing I recommend to anyone trying to conceive, or even to those considering it in the next few years. Prenatal vitamins are not just for when you’re pregnant, they contain several nutrients that improve how the ovaries function and therefore can improve egg quality.

Acupuncture and herbal medicine are so effective for a number of reasons. They help to balance hormones, improve circulation to the uterus and ovaries, reduce stress, inflammation, and curbside effects of hormonal medications. Unlike many other treatments, acupuncture and herbal medicine are completely customised to each individual client and are able they are able to best address what the individual body needs.


To make an appointment with an acupuncturist at Brisbane Natural Health, call us on 07 3186 5676. 

Acupuncture for Emotions and Moods

Emotional strain may hamper your ability to lead a normal and active lifestyle, becoming an inhibiting factor in daily life and further perpetuating the likelihood of associated mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression.

Emotional stress is commonly associated with one or more of a combination of the following factors; poor dietary habits, sedentary lifestyle, being an emotional over thinker ( a common stress response), sudden or long-standing emotional trauma, and the link between a deeper and more complex hormonal imbalance.

Pain, stress, anxiety and depression impede, to varying degrees, our ability to connect with ourselves, preventing us from feeling happy.

Chinese Medicine has a number of modalities that fall under the broader scope of the tradition including; Acupuncture, Tui Na (massage), Chinese Herbal Medicine, dietary and lifestyle therapy, and exercise therapies such as Taichi and Qigong. All of these present each individual client with the necessary tools required to help attain a healthier, happier and more gratuitous state of physical and emotional well-being. And it’s the task of the Chinese Medicine Practitioner to effectively diagnose any imbalance within the body and the mind; while planning and delivering an effective treatment protocol, most suited to each individual, on a case-by-case scenario.

Regular acupuncture treatments enhance the body’s ability to better cope with both physical and emotional stress and strain, allowing the body to more readily relax, release, detoxify and unwind. It does this by stimulating and regulating the hormonal distribution within the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis while calming the sympathetic nervous system (the fight or flight response); inhibiting stress-enhancing chemicals within the body, while reducing inflammation and providing pain management in a drug-free environment.

Acupuncture has also been shown to reduce potential stress-related health risks. It does this by protecting the body’s internal organs from over-strain and over-use, preventing a decline in their natural function, and reducing the likelihood of developing associated diseases such as hypertension and heart disease.

Acupuncture aids in the reduction of stress, while placing emphasis on stress management. Each client is expected to be proactive in their personal efforts toward improving their daily lives; addressing their emotional health through the shedding of any accumulated and unwanted stress and strain.

Undertaking regular weekly Acupuncture treatments, attending regular massage to reduce stress, along with the addition of concurrently taking supplements; aims at addressing the underlying cause of the illness, seeking to positively affect the outcome, being the mood disorder itself. Dietary and lifestyle changes may also be addressed and a nutrition plan was undertaken to complement the individual’s unique constitutional makeup.


To make an appointment with an acupuncturist at Brisbane Natural Health, call us on 07 3186 5676.