Change is an integral part of life and growth. Some changes are positive, others are immensely challenging. Some changes are dramatic, others are subtle. We can’t stop change from happening, but we can choose how we handle it.
Sometimes life throws things at us and we feel as though we can’t take any more. Amongst my friends and clients I’ve seen a lot of that recently: major health challenges, family drama, accidents, relationship and financial problems and even death. They attract our attention and can absorb all our energy. I know from my own experience that sometimes the easiest thing to do is to hunker down and crawl into a dark cave…
We fear. We resist changes that have arrived at our door steps. But hiding or avoidance is never a long-term recipe for health (either physical or emotional). When change is knocking on your door, resisting just leads to more pain.
Here we go. This is what happened to me:
After 20 years of wearing my hair long, I finally have it cut short!
So why? Well, the answer comes from my realisation that changes were creeping into my life and I was resisting them. My hair is part of this resistance. Because I always had long hair. It is easier for me to follow the same pattern. I am unsure about me with short hair. I am scared.
I decided I needed to get involved with the changes. Something as simple as changing my hairstyle was a start. Funnily enough, my new look lightened my spirit (and I also think it makes me look pretty good too!).
It helped me tune into things that were draining my energy and reassess other areas of my life that I had been allowing to drift past me. I also…
…realised how closely the relationship between what is going on outside and what is going on inside myself is. We get absorbed with one aspect of the life situation and not realising its impact on our health. I can see a lot of health issues I experienced this year are closely related to my resistance to change. My low immunity, my sleeping problems and my pains and aches etc.
Changes are usually uncomfortable yet changes are unavoidable. Take time to clear out the physical and emotional clutter and allow new energies to flow through you.
Make the New Year your cleansing year. Make the New Year a happy and positive year.
How is your energy? Are you taking adequate care of yourself?
We are mostly so busy taking care of others’ needs that we forget our own needs and don’t look after our physical, mental, and emotional needs as well as we ought. This behaviour has long-term effects on our resilience and ability to cope with both the normal stresses of life as well as any emergencies that may occur.
Both in my own life, and in the lives of clients I see this over and over again. So this month I’d like to challenge each of you (and myself) to seriously consider whether you are taking care of your own needs. If you imagine your energy like a rechargeable battery (which seems like a great analogy since almost all of us carry mobile phones which need to be charged) you’ll have a picture of what I’m talking about. If you use 95% of your battery every day, but only recharge 75%, eventually you won’t have enough battery power to get through the day, and every day after that you will run out of power earlier and earlier.
Our minds, bodies and spirits are the same. If we don’t replenish the energy we use regularly we will find ourselves operating less and less effectively and eventually we will be completely drained. This is when our immune systems start to fail us so we get sick, or we find it harder to concentrate and our emotions start to play tricks on us.
That’s why it’s important to do 2 things:
Plan for recharge time: make sure it addresses your mind, body, spirit and emotional energies so that you can continue to function at your best.
Pay attention to the signals you send yourself: sickness, emotional upset, mild depression, tiredness, inability to concentrate, and similar problems are a sign you are not giving yourself enough attention and care! Listen to these signals and make changes to your routine before you are absolutely forced to do so.
Your mind and body know what they need to do to nurture and heal ongoing stress, and it’s up to us to listen so we have the resources we need for times of unexpected stress or crisis… and this even includes a holiday season with its late nights, festivities, rich food and other over indulgences. For example, Christmas and New Year can be stressful at work and at home. If you take care to overfill your energy supply beforehand, you will probably be surprised at how easy and fun a festive season can be. Things that usually anger and stress you totally will be more manageable.
You may be saying, “I’m so busy as it is, how can I possibly slow down?” I get that! The thing is, when your energy stores are full to overflowing you can do more in less time, and without the feeling of total exhaustion. Figure out how to top up your physical, mental, spiritual and emotional batteries (it’s different for everyone), and see what a difference it makes to how you cope with stress, and to your level of enjoyment!
The beginning of your pregnancy is when a healthy foundation for pregnancy is laid by diverting resources to nourish and support the rapid growth of the foetus. During the first trimester, treatments are given to support your pregnancy, prevent miscarriage, and to resolve any early pregnancy symptoms like nausea, morning sickness and fatigue, to name a few. The use of acupuncture, Chinese herbs and/or massage can assist in the management of your discomfort during this stage.
The second trimester is the time you are able to enjoy pregnancy and pamper yourself. Pregnancy massages are ideal during this period. When the mother is calm and relaxed, the whole pregnancy is more likely to proceed smoothly. However, some women may continue to have morning sickness or other issues during their second trimester; in these cases, your Chinese medicine practitioner can work with you to develop a treatment programme to support you and your foetus, and to ease your symptoms.
The third trimester of pregnancy is a time when some expecting mothers may experience fatigue, lower back and hip pain, heaviness in the legs, trouble sleeping, reflux or heartburn. As the growing foetus now is filling the pelvic cavity, the increased weight tends to place more pressure on the mother and internal organs. Acupuncture is effective in the treatment and management of pain, and is used in managing other symptoms you may feel such as reflux, constipation, sleep disturbances and restlessness, to mention a few.
As you approach your due date, from 36 weeks onward, regular acupuncture treatments are recommended to help the mother prepare her body and the foetus for labour by increasing energy and boosting stamina. Acupuncture treatment and moxibustion are also able to turn a breech position or posterior position foetus. The use of acupuncture induction treatments can help to trigger the hormonal cascade that precedes the process of natural child-birth. In doing this, acupuncture can lower the rates of caesarian-sections, reduce the use of pain medications and shorten the duration of labour.
TOXOPLASMOSIS- Attention Pregnant Cat Lovers!
Toxoplasmosis is caused by a parasite that is spread via faecal matter of cats and is passed to the foetus via the placenta. It may cause brain damage, vision and/or hearing impairment or accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain. These signs or symptoms don’t necessarily appear at birth but may develop during later months. For this reason, all pregnant women are advised not to clean the kitty litter tray.
Treatment of Menopause with Traditional Chinese Medicine
Menopause is a natural process in a woman’s life when her body evolves from reproductive to non-reproductive. For some women, this hormonal transition involves symptoms that cause significant discomfort in their daily lives (eg. hot flushes, palpitations, increased sweating, dry mouth, mood swings, dizziness, difficulty sleeping through the night, vaginal dryness, and increased urination)
In Chinese Medicine, these symptoms associated with menopause are primarily caused by the natural decline of the Original Qi we are born with, plus an imbalance of the Yin fluids and the Yang Fire. Symptoms can vary in intensity for different women. Lifestyle and dietary habits can affect the menopausal symptoms experienced.
Some common causes of Yin fluids deficiency are emotional stress (like worry, anxiety and fear) plus working long hours (which often includes inadequate rest and irregular eating habits). Over time, these practices will deplete the Yin fluids leading to deficiency. When the calming, moistening and cooling aspect of the Yin fluids are deficient, the Yin can no longer restrain the uprising, warming and drying aspects of the Yang fire.
The treatment of menopause with Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture helps to nourish and replenish the Yin fluids, and to clear heat from the body. The underlying disparity is gently but effectively cleared, which restores the Yin/Yang balance, and thereby reduces menopausal symptoms.
The following diet and lifestyle changes will assist in managing menopausal discomfort:-
Reducing heating foods: red meats, dairy products, alcohol, sugar, spicy foods and caffeine.
Increasing cooling and fluid nourishing foods: wheat germ, mung bean and mung bean sprouts, string bean, seaweed, spirulina, millet, black beans, kidney beans, barley and black sesame seeds.
Reducing stress and anxiety can also play a part in controlling symptoms, and cigarette smoke should be avoided due to its drying nature that can damage the body’s Yin fluids.
By uniquely treating each woman according to her specific symptoms, the combination of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, plus lifestyle and dietary advice can be used to effectively amend the underlying imbalance and reduce the discomfort of menopause.
This painful condition can be extremely debilitating, and manifests in many different ways depending on the person. It can lie dormant in the body for years and flare up when you are run down or under significant stress (always an inconvenient time to be ill).
Acupuncture and massage can speed up recovery time by boosting the immune system, and the exciting thing is that treatment can actually help your body eliminate the toxins that provoke it.
Sue was in her early 40’s and under significant stress at work. She saw us regularly for back pain, and came in one day with these painful lesions on her buttocks caused by an outbreak of shingles. Anti-virals weren’t helping much and her doctor had warned her that they could take months to heal, and would probably return. After 6 sessions of weekly acupuncture and massage, the lesions had healed, her shingles had passed, and her immune system was much stronger.
You might assume that you need to see a chiropractor to straighten your spine, but this is not necessarily true with Traditional Chinese Medicine. Acupuncture can stimulate or relax the muscles, and re-balance the flow of Qi energy.
Client Story: Angie and her husband are a regular clinic clients because they understand the importance of maintaining their health. The photo on the right was taken just after they returned from a month’s holiday overseas. With all the air-travel and walking her spine had twisted with acute and uncomfortable spasms. After one simple acupuncture session you can see the difference in the photo below! And she felt like a new woman.