Chi Nei Tsang Abdominal Massage

Hugh Hayward – Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner

All of us can relate to the sensation of a gut feeling, the tightness in the abdomen or nausea that we experience while on a first date, walking up to that life changing job interview or casually hanging from a cliff.

Situations like this are perfectly manageable when sparked on the odd occasion however, the reality is that we commonly deal with these sensations on a perpetual basis just enduring life itself, the pressure of the work place, peak-hour traffic, our relationships and our responsibilities.

While most of us don’t experience full fledged panic attacks or vomiting episodes brought on by stress, a general feeling of unease is societally acceptable. In fact if you are not a little stressed out, people will usually think you are not working hard enough or perhaps that you are high on drugs!

The clinical significance of this in Chinese medicine lies in the gut-brain mechanism. The enteric nervous system consists of neuron sheaths fixed throughout walls of our gastrointestinal tract (GIT). Measuring out to roughly nine meters from esophagus to anus, the enteric gut-brain contains a network of over 100 million neurons – more than in the peripheral nervous system or spinal cord. In addition, our GIT contains almost every hormone and neurotransmitter that innovates the brain such as, Serotonin, GABA, Nor epinephrine and Dopamine and dozens more naturally occurring endogenous opioids and feel-good chemical mediators. For instance, serotonin is actually found in abundance in the GIT. Over 95% of your bodies ‘natural ecstasy hormone’ is produced in the GIT and derived from the amino acid – tryptophan, found in foods that we consume. This particular neurotransmitter is responsible for regulating our memory, mood, cognition, sleep and appetite, among other crucial functions in the body.

So with this in mind, it is no wonder that when we are upset, we feel it in our stomach. In essence, you are what you eat. That gut feeling is not in your head, it is the result of a barrage of biological reactions occurring in response to acute or long term anxiety or stress. This intimate connection works both ways and while your environment can trigger gut sensations, your emotions can be a product of the environment in your GIT.

The Chinese have known this for a millennia. The ancient taoist practice of Chi Nei Tsang is a form of Chinese abdominal massage that deals with detoxification of the gut in purging toxic matter and energy built up in the lymphatic system, pancreas, liver and intestines. Pent up emotional stress is often stored in the abdomen, just as we store memories in our cognitive brain, the gut-brain stores sensations that are reactive to traumatic incidences and lifestyles.

Flash-backs or recurring incidences of Post Traumatic Stress disorder, shock, addiction or abusive relationships, as well as many mood imbalances which are not usually deemed to be of clinical significance, manifest as a predisposition to specific sensational reactions that begin in the gut and are then perceived by our cognitive minds. Akin to muscle memory, like the automated motion of catching a ball, the mind can also induce these reactions, as if we hold the posture of anxiety or aggression or addictive behavior before it even manifests.

Just as a physiotherapist rehabilitates injured limbs, using Chi Nei Tsang abdominal massage, breathing exercises, acupuncture and dietary advice, we are able to rehabilitate the mind. This is very important for anyone with any mood disturbance such as anxiety, depression, nervousness, fearfulness or agitation as well as those with digestive complaints that can often be exacerbated by emotional triggers.

To make an appointment with Hugh to help with digestive and mood problems, call Brisbane Natural Health on 07 3367 0337 or click here.


preventing colds and flus (video)

In this webinar replay, naturopath Katherine Maslen explains what youy need to do to strengthen your immune sytem and prevent colds and flus.

National Diabetes Week 2014

13th – 19th July 2014

Free Health Checks and Webinar

It’s National Diabetes Week this month. With the increase in Type 2 diabetes still on the rise there could not be a more important time to get behind it and help bring awareness to this important issue.

Two million Australians are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Diabetes can lead to severe complications like vision loss, kidney failure and loss of limbs if not treated effectively.

Prevention is better than a cure so we would like to help get the word out there and help you look for the early warning signs of blood sugar dysregulation, that can lead to insulin resistance developing.

Free Health Checks (valued at $47)

This year we want to help get the word out about diabetes awareness by offering free health checks to anyone who think they may be at risk, or those with diabetes that want to check out their general health. The health check involves a bioimpendance (VLA) test to check body fat, a blood sugar reading and health questionnaire that looks for early signs that your blood sugar might be effected. To book in for a free health check during diabetes week, call us on 07 3367 0337.

Free Diabetes Webinar

We are also going to be hosting a free webinar to bring awareness to diabetes and what you need to do to prevent it. In the webinar principal naturopath Katherine Maslen will teach you what foods to include and avoid to prevent diabetes. You’ll also learn to look out for early warning signs that insulin resistance could be developing.

To register for the webinar click here. Once you register you can watch it live or watch the replay for up to 2 weeks after the event.

Do you already have diabetes? Book a free health check, or make an appointment with one of our naturopaths to get your diet sorted and help your body cope with the disease more effectively. Call us on 07 3367 0337 for more info.

Phthalates – Associated Health Problems

Phthalates (pronounced tha-lates) are toxic chemicals found in plastics, skin care and other common compounds. They have been found in studies to disrupt hormones, contributeAdorable baby girl in the creche to cancer development, endometriosis, hormonal problems and infertility.

Phthalates are commonly used in cosmetics and personal care products, including perfume, hair spray, soap, shampoo, nail polish, and moisturisers. They’re also used as a plastisizer to soften plastic and vinyl toys, shower curtains, wallpaper, food packaging, and plastic wrap. Other sources include wood finishes, detergents, adhesives, plastic plumbing pipes, lubricants, medical tubing and fluid bags, solvents, insecticides, building materials, and vinyl flooring. 

Studies have shown humans to have high levels of phthalates – and it is no wonder since we come into contact with them thousands of times throughout our lives.

Phthalates are also in babies toys and teething rings – these ‘phthalate lollipops’ have the ability to disrupt our children’s endocrine systems from a very young age.

Although phthalates have been proven to cause cancer and other disease, there is no regulation of their use in Australia. You will still find this chemical in baby toys, skin care and plastic food storage containers.

At the clinic we offer a urinary environmental pollutants panel (UPP) that tests for phthalates and other chemicals. This test is useful for anyone with hormonal problems, cancer (or family history of cancer) or other chronic health conditions. Our naturopaths specialize in the detoxification of these chemicals so that they do not effect your health.

We also offer natural beauty services through our sister clinic – Brisbane Natural Beauty which are 100% phthalate and chemical free, and have a range of natural and organic skin and personal care items for sale at the clinic to help reduce the phthalate load in your environment.

Here’s our top 5 tips for reducing phthalate levels in your body:

  1. Use only natural based skin care, cleaning products and detergents
  2. Buy a fabric shower curtain, if you need one. The heat of the shower on the plastic curtain causes release of phthalates that you can absorb
  3. Try to buy natural rubber teethers, dummies and toys for children. Buy wooden toys and cotton fabric ones over soft plastic ones.
  4. Use glass or stainless steel food containers – avoiding contact of plastics with foods.
  5. Use a stainless steel or glass water bottle.

The Importance Of Sleep

Posted by Dr. Beau Billett – Chiropractor

Did you know there is such a thing as sleep debt?  It’s where you owe your body more sleep than you gave it the night before. Even if you get the proper amount of sleep the next night, you still need to make up for the sleep lost the previous day, otherwise your body will exact its vengeance upon you by making you tired and drowsy. This is your body’s way of telling you and getting what it wants. It wont tell you exactly what it wants, only give you hints or subtly coax you into doing its will.

Sleep is the body’s way of healing, preparing for the day ahead, and consolidating information learned throughout that day. It also sets up new pathways in the brain that allow for better learning and creative thinking, so it’s vital for any student (I’m looking at you teenagers).

With lack of sleep comes an increase in many other chronic health illnesses such as depression and cardiovascular disease. In children it has been well documented that the less they sleep, the more likely they are to develop obesity, and from an age as early as 30 months, if they aren’t getting enough sleep, we can predict that child to have obesity at seven years of age!

This is just a brief summary, however it clearly highlights the importance of sleep to our health and performance. So how can we improve our sleep? How much sleep should we be getting? And if it’s so important, why do we often view it as an inconvenient, unconscious, horizontal waste of time that gets in the way of our real lives?

There’s no magic number regarding number of hours of sleep but there are a few ranges to consider. As adults we should be getting 7-9 hours sleep, teens 8.5-9.25, school age children 10-11, preschool 11-13, toddlers 12-14, infants 14-15 and newborns 12-18 hours – the bludgers!

To be honest we really need to start respecting sleep as an important part of repairing and preparing to be fully equipped for the day ahead. We let our busy lives dictate our sleeping habits, even though it’s likely more important than whatever it is we are doing when we should be counting sheep.

Here are some things you can do to have better sleep;

  • Establishing a regular bed time and time to wake is really important for our biological clock, or circadian rhythms, even on your days off.
  • Having a relaxing ritual before you go to sleep, such as; having a warm shower, listening to some relaxing music or practicing your stretches and/or exercises your chiropractor has prescribed, is a great way to wind down.
  • Having a cool and dark bedroom that you feel comfortable in without any distracting devices, such as a TV, and as little noise possible.
  • And finally exercising during the day is a great way to make sure you go out like a light when you hit the pillow.

A lot of people also find chiropractic helps with their sleep too. This could be because if you’re feeling good, no aches or pains, you’re more likely to be comfortable when trying to get to sleep and whilst asleep. Also, it is my opinion that, if one has nervous system stress, especially in the upper cervical spine which supplies the sensation to the head and neck, this can interfere with getting that good restful sleep that one needs to recharge, and hence people often wake feeling tired even after having what they thought was a full nights sleep.

So tonight before you hit the sack, have a think about the things motioned above and if you’re truly giving your mind and body the best chance to carry out your busy schedule for tomorrow.

To see if one of our chiropractors can help with your sleep, call us on 07 3367 0337.


Kale Chips Recipe

Kale is a bounty of good nutrition – being high in calcium, magnesium, iron and many other trace minerals. Kale is also very alkaline (antiinflammatory) and has a decent amount of protein too. Happy snacking!

  • Soak 1 cup of nuts (cashews/walnuts) in water for minimum 1 hour
  • Wash 1 bunch of kale then remove the stalks and tear leaves up into small pieces (approx 1 inch size)
  • Dry the kale with a clean tea towel or paper towel
  • In a food processor blend the nuts (and soaking water), 1 cup of steamed diced pumpkin, 2 medium sized carrots (or 1 carrot and 1 zucchini), 1 tablespoon of garlic, 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and Himalayan salt and pepper to taste
  • Pour the puree over the kale and stir until well covered
  • Spread the kale over dehydrating machine trays, trying to flatten the leaves where possible
  • Dehydrate overnight or until crisp and dry

Note: This may also be done in an oven on very low setting – put your oven on the lowest temparature and leave the door ajar. Timing will vary depending on ovens but is usually between 4-6 hours.

Insulin Resistance And Weight Loss

Part 2 of ‘Problems losing weight or keeping it off?’

By Kareen Nagel Naturopath

Is Insulin Resistance preventing you from losing weight ?

Insulin Resistance is the precursor to Type 2 Diabetes and may cause resistant weight loss and weight gain especially around the middle.

Insulin is a hormone produced by your pancreas and helps glucose from your blood to enter your body cells for energy production, insulin also acts as a primary fat storing hormone.

If your body has become Insulin resistant it means that your body cells have lost the ability to respond to insulin and its ability to assist glucose to enter your body cells and as a consequence your blood glucose levels begin to rise, but not getting into your cells to provide you with energy, so you become increasingly fatigued and crave more carbs and sugar. As the pancreas produces more and more insulin to try and clear the excess glucose from the blood, the elevated insulin also begins to store more fat, especially around the abdomen.

An enlarged waist may be the first sign of insulin resistance.

Some of the symptoms a person with insulin resistance and blood sugar irregularities may experience are:

  • Increased fatigue
  • Mental fogginess
  • Mood changes
  • Shakiness
  • Cravings for sugar and carbohydrates
  • Increased hunger
  • Resistant weight loss
  • Increased weight gain especially around the middle

Contributing factors or aggravating factors can be:

  • Irregular meals or skipping breakfast
  • Consuming processed foods
  • High sugar snacks, beverages, juices, alcohol
  • Refined low fibre carbohydrates, pasta, bread, rice, potatoe, bakery goods…
  • Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is often associated with Insulin Resistance

In the early stages of insulin resistance you may just experience only problems with blood sugar irregularities and weight gain, if not corrected your body will gradually show signs of Metabolic Syndrome the precursor to Type 2 Diabetes.

Signs of Metabolic Syndrome may be:

  • Elevated insulin
  • Elevated fasting blood sugar
  • Increased LDL Cholesterol (the bad type)
  • Decreased HDL Cholesterol (the favourable type)
  • High Triglycerides (fat in blood)
  • Elevated Uric Acid
  • Waist measurement > 102 cm Male , > 90 cm Female

Our Naturopathic weight control programs will include a thorough medical and dietary history, further pathology testing if indicated and a Bio-Impedance Analysis Test to provide an accurate record of your body composition (body fat, muscle, hydration), cellular health, fluid balance, cellular energy production and ideal targets specific to you. Once your naturopath has collected infomation about your specific health, they can then prescribed effective treatments to target the issues that apply to you.

To make an appointment with a naturopath at Brisbane Natural Health, call us on 07 3367 0337 or click here.










Cashew Yoghurt

This yoghurt is great for those that are dairy intolerant. Cashews are an excellent source of protein, iron, calcium and magnesium. There is a naturally occuring bacteria on the outside of the cashew which allows it to naturally ferment overnight – giving you health promoting probiotics.


Raw cashews

Filtered water

How to:

In a blender, place cashews and enough water to cover and a little more. You can adjust water amount depending on how thick you’d like your yoghurt.

Blend well and leave in blender or another container overnight.

In the morning you will have some cashew yoghurt! If you live in a cool climate you’ll need to leave it a little longer – just taste it to see if it has gone sour enough yet.

You can blend dates or other fruit in as well to change the flavour. This will last a few days in the fridge.


What Is Reiki / Energy Healing?

What is Energy Healing?

There are various different modalities of Energy Healing and these include, but are not limited to Reiki, Spiritual Healing and Emotional Freedom Technique, known as EFT, Prayer, Acupuncture and Massage.

The objective of Energy Healing is to re-establish equilibrium within the human energy system through touch, enabling the energy field to restore health within body/mind/spirit.

Energy healing is used in all ancient cultures throughout the globe. Energy healing taps into the universal life force energy that flows through every living thing in the universe which is known as Prana (India), Chi/Qi (China) and Mana (Polynesia). and Ki (Japan).

Although energy healing may seem unbeleivable to some, there is mounting scientific evidence that our energy systems effect us and can be influenced by many things.

What is Reiki?

Reiki is Universal Life Energy, is natural, profoundly and completely powerful and a safe method of spiritual, physical, emotional and body healing and self-improvement. It has been effective in helping virtually every known illness in body, mind and spirit and always creates a beneficial effect, promoting physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health and wellbeing. It works in combination with all other medical or corrective systems to relieve side effects and promote recovery, health and healing. It works quicker than most ‘hands on’ treatments and the results can often be instant too

Reiki, pronounced ‘ray key’, is a Japanese word meaning Universal Life Energy. The word Reiki is made of two Japanese words – Rei which means “God’s Wisdom or the Higher Power” and Ki which is “Life Force Energy”.

Reiki is not a religion and one is free to continue to choose and make their own decisions concerning the nature of their religious or spiritual practices.  Reiki is spiritual in nature, reconnects one to Universal Consciousness and has no dogma, nor is it dependent on belief at all and will work whether you believe in it or not.

How does Reiki work?

Reiki is a non-invasive hands-on gentle technique, compliments conventional medical healthcare and can be used in collaboration to relieve side effects. It is usually administered by “laying on hands”. If one’s “life force energy” is low, we are more prone to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy.

What can I expect during my first session?

Reiki Healing sessions create a deep sense of peace, calm, and joy as well as a feeling of deep relaxation. The experience of Reiki is subjective, changeable, and sometimes very subtle. People often experience heat or warmth in the practitioner’s hands, but sometimes the practitioner’s hands feel refreshingly cool or even cold. Other common experiences are subtle pulsations where the practitioner’s hands are placed and feelings of lightness and weightlessness.

Clients comment how uplifting they find the experience of Reiki to be. Some patients report they recipients frequently feel that they are hovering in a threshold state of consciousness, concurrently aware of their surroundings and deeply indrawn. Some people fall into a deep, sleeplike meditative state. Sometimes the experience of Reiki is dramatic, while for other people, the first session in particular may be uneventful, although they feel somehow better afterward. The most common experience is an almost immediate release of stress and a feeling of deep relaxation.  Clients may have visions and experience colors in this relaxed and healing state.

Reiki is cumulative and clients who don’t notice much the first time usually have increasingly deeper experiences with further sessions. Further to the immediate experience of the Reiki, you may notice other changes that carry on to unfold as the day goes on, maybe improved digestion, a sense of being more centered and poised and less reactive, and sleeping deeply that night. Relationships miraculously improve, demonstrating the oneness and one mind of all.

What kind of problems can Reiki help with?

Reiki supports healing with any condition whatsoever, for example, virtually every known illness and injury including serious problems like, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, cancer, insomnia, chronic digestive disorders, anxiety, depression, improving circulation, skin problems, cuts, bruises, broken bones, headache, insomnia, impotence, lack of confidence, etc. Reiki is pure Unconditional Cosmic Love.

It works alongside other therapies and Reiki will improve the results of any medical treatment or procedure, acting to reduce negative side effects, shorten healing time, reduce, manage or eliminate pain, reduce stress, and help create optimism and wellbeing.

Reiki, being Universal Life Energy is completely powerful, has no boundaries, is unlimited healing energy and can be sent as distant healing to anyone and anywhere across the universe and can be sent to experiences both past and present and future.

How do I know that I need energetic healing or balancing?

When one acquires an injury, becomes unwell or under duress or stress, the natural flow of energy between the energy centres of your body become congested. Since we are integrated beings, of mind, body, and spirit, the congested flow of energy negatively impacts both the way one feels and the body’s ability to heal itself.  Some of the results of imbalances in the energy system lead to experiences such as, lethargy, negativity, pain, anxiety, depression, etc. The whole system then requires rebalancing and reenergizing to restore the equilibrium and unleash the body’s own powers to create health.

How often do I need to receive a Reiki treatment?

There are layers of imbalances within the system. While some energy medicine disciplines suggest that one treatment is enough, most suggest a number of sessions to work through layers of imbalanced energies. The level of healing you want to acheive is up to you, but the more sessions you have the deeper you will be able to heal and grow. Atma will be able to give you specific recommendations of how often it might help for you to come in for sessions.

How is a Reiki treatment given?

In a standard treatment Reiki energy flows from the practitioner’s hands into the client. The client is usually resting on a massage table but treatments can also be shared while the client is seated. The client remains fully clothed. The practitioner places her or his hands on or near the client’s body in a series of hand positions. These include positions around the head and shoulders, the stomach, and feet. Other, more specific positions may be used based on the client’s needs.

How does Reiki work?

Universal life force flows within and through our physical body through channels called chakras, meridians and nadis.  The energy also flows around us in a field called the auric field.  This life force nourishes our entire systems and when this is interrupted or disrupted, it reduces the energy flow through the pathways.  Negative feelings and emotions attach themselves to the energy field, interfering with the life force in a negative way.

Reiki heals by freely moving through the affected parts of the energy field and charging them with positive energy. It raises the vibratory level of the energy field in and around the physical body where the negative thoughts and feelings are attached. This causes the negative energy to break apart and fall away. Reiki healing energy flows through the distressed areas of mind, body and spirit within the energetic field with its positive powered energy. It unblocks, stabilizes and replenishes the field, thus allowing the universal life force to revitalize and heal.

In so doing, Reiki clears, straightens and heals the energy pathways, thus allowing the life force to flow in a healthy and natural way.

Can a Reiki practitioner’s field of energy be depleted?

Since Reiki is guided by Higher Supreme Intelligence and is a channelled healing, the Reiki practitioner’s energies are never exhausted. In fact, the Reiki consciousness considers both practitioner and client to be in need of healing, so both receive treatment, knowing exactly where to go. Because of this, giving a treatment always increases one’s energy and leaves one surrounded with loving feelings of health and well-being.

Does one have to stop seeing a medical doctor or psychologist in order to receive a Reiki treatment?

No. Reiki works in alliance with medical or psychological treatment. If one has a medical or psychological condition, it is suggested that one see a licensed health care professional in addition to receiving Reiki treatments. Reiki energy works in harmony with all other forms of healing, including drugs, surgery, psychological care or any other method of alternative care and will improve and enhance medical results.


Naturopathy For Weight Loss

Problems losing weight or keeping it off ? Many patients we see at Brisbane Natural Health for chronic health issues also suffer from excessive weight and its detrimental influences on their physical and psychological wellbeing. Often having been on countless diets only to regain all or more weight resulting in overwhelming frustration and often depression.

There are numerous reasons as to why you may have gained excess body fat, have problems losing weight, or maintaining your weight after dieting, other then lifestyle and eating habits. This article written by our Naturopath Kareen Nagel will be followed by other editorials exploring some of the issues that can influence your body weight and well-being. Naturopathy is based on treating the cause of health issues and not just the symptoms; the same approach applies when addressing weight problems, the cause needs to be found and treated before adequate and life long weight control can be achieved.

Some of the causes for resistant weight loss, regaining weight after dieting or why you may have gained excess body fat in the first place are :

  • Insulin Resistance
  • Thyroid Gland Dysfunction
  • Sex Hormone Imbalances
  • Fatty Liver
  • Toxicity
  • Inflammation
  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Genetic Influences
  • Abnormal Appetite Regulation
  • Medication Related

Not only can these have an impact on your body composition, but also affect your health and wellbeing, thus treating your weight issues often will also correct any other health issues you may be suffering from at the same time. Our Natural Weight Loss Programs include an assessment of your medical history, dietary habits and pathology testing to find out what may be the cause of your weight problems. A (BIA) Bioimpedance Analysis and Report will be included and used to monitor your progress. BIA via the VLA (Vitality, Longevity and Healthy Ageing Program) is a highly accurate tool for measuring your body fat, muscle mass and cellular fluid levels, it can also provide information in regard to possible inflammation, your cellular health and cellular energy production, ideal body composition, hydration and your biological age.

Moreover it will assist us to set targets based on figures calculated by the computer program. If your weight gain is purely caused by over eating around Christmas or during Holidays then this can usually easily be corrected with a gentle detox/cleansing program and some extra physical activities with the guidance of our Naturopaths, to be completed ideally at least once or twice per year. Beware of quick weight loss programs or detox options from a retail shop or chemist as these generally only make you lose lots of water weight and muscle, which can initiate the commonly experienced cycle of weight loss followed by more weight gain. Our subsequent articles will explore some of the specific health issues mentioned above in detail and how they can influence or affect your body weight.

To make an appointment with a naturopath at Brisbane Natural Health, call us on 07 3367 0337 or click here.