You probably know that there were (and still are) a lot of nasty bugs circulating around this winter and I caught one of them and suffered for 2 weeks. As a practitioner, I hate taking time off when I’m sick because it is very inconvenient for my clients. At the same time, because the nature of my work involves being in close proximity to clients, I really did not want to risk getting others sick, so I tried everything I could to recover quickly.
I saw my GP who prescribed a corticosteroid inhaler which reduces inflammation and other symptoms, but also depresses the immune system. Anyway, I was getting frustrated so I decided to try a patent herbal remedy that has powerful antibiotic and antiviral properties and I was delighted at the speed with which it took effect! Within 3-4 days I felt significantly better. In the future, I’ll be looking to this remedy immediately, and at the same time ensuring that I have a nutritious and healing diet, and also avoiding dairy products when I am congested.
As always, before you take any herbal medicine treatments, check with your practitioner to confirm it is appropriate for you. We have a variety of herbal formulas to help you remain healthy and well during the cold and flu season. And now is the time to prepare for the upcoming hay fever season in order to reduce the severity of any hay fever symptoms!
Skin Health, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Food Therapy – Alice Louey
Healthy Skin Starts on the Inside!
Do you suffer from dry, itchy, patchy, or flushed skin? You can actually alleviate the symptoms with food.
Winter Skin Stressors
During winter many people notice that their skin is especially dry. This can be exacerbated when we alternate between our heated indoor environment and the crisp, cool air outdoors. The cold biting wind doesn’t help either.
You may want to consider exercising indoors in a gym or studio during the winter if your skin is particularly susceptible. Remember to nourish and protect your skin with moisturiser and sunscreen. The foods you eat will help to provide nourishment to your skin.
Foods & Your Skin
One branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) involves food therapy. Food therapy is part of the self-care regime that enables you to take care of your own health on a day-to-day basis and build your immunity. One of the basic philosophies behind this is that different foods produce differing thermal effects on the body:- cooling, heating, and neutral.
In Chinese medicine, we classify certain conditions as ‘hot’ or ‘cold’. Skin conditions that are caused by too much heat include: psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis, and rosacea. Although individual responses vary, some people see an improvement by eating more foods that have a cooling effect on the body such as tofu, cucumber, apples, bananas, lettuce, watermelon, and peppermint tea. If you also avoid foods that heat your body such as deep-fried food, prawns, lamb, curries, chai tea, alcohol, and caffeine you may notice even more benefits.
These are general guidelines. Every individual responds differently to food therapy; some people have a slow, steady response to a condition while others have an immediate response. Work with your practitioner and pay attention to the effect your food choices have on your skin’s health. You may be surprised at what you discover!
Jim is in his early 50s. He had never had any skin issues until this year. Soon after his recent bout of tonsillitis he developed patches of dry itchy skin on his back, shoulders and scalp. We treated this condition with Chinese herbs plus advice to increase consumption of cooling foods and a simple skincare regime. Two weeks later, his skin was no longer feeling dry or itchy, and he just had a slight post-rash pigmentation.
We changed his Chinese herbs formula to one which targets the post rash pigmentation. He continued the cooling foods diet and his skincare regime. At his next follow up session, 4 weeks later, his skin was all clear, felt moisturised and the pigmentation was gone.
Alec is 27. He has had psoriasis for many years, but it has never been as bad as it is now! He recently had a severe flare-up with new red patches and white scales all over his body which were very itchy. He was feeling hot all the time, especially his hands and feet.
We treated Alec with a course of acupuncture, Chinese herbs and dietary advice. Even after just one session, he noticed some improvement: he was feeling a bit cooler and far less itchy.
As his treatments progressed, he continued to improve. His hands and feet reduced to a normal temperature and he generally felt cooler over his whole body. The itchiness continued to subside and no new psoriasis patches appeared. Existing patches were also less itchy,scaly and inflamed.
He is now at the maintenance stage of his treatment and has noticed how his dietary habits can really impact his skin. When he has a big weekend with the guys (involving lots of alcohol and greasy fried foods) he notices that his psoriasis flares up for a number of days.
Chinese herbs are very different to vitamin supplementation!
From ancient times, in both the East and the West, herbs were recognised as powerful sources of healing and wise medical practitioners sought to understand their dangers, benefits, and uses. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) uses herbs to treat specific symptoms and conditions as well as treating the root cause of your disease. They can rebalance your system so that it becomes stronger and healthier.
Vitamin supplements may address deficiencies when your diet is inadequate.
Benefits of Adding Chinese Herbs to Your Treatment
The Chinese herbs your practitioner prescribes help you to achieve a faster result compared with acupuncture treatments alone. The use of individualised herbal granule formulas allows your practitioner to create a personalised formula that is able to be altered as your body heals and your symptoms diminish. It is important to discuss your symptoms with your practitioner and not just ‘grab a bottle off the shelf’.
Chinese Herbs are medicine, not supplements – and, like any medicine they only work if you actually take them
Your prescribed herbs will:-
Deeply nourish your body
Help your body cope with stress
Rebalance your body and boost energy
Improve your sleep, digestion, and skin issues
Boost your immunity
Improve chronic conditions
Some of the many conditions that respond particularly well to Chinese herbal medicine include:- colds and flu; post-viral fatigue; lingering cough; digestive issues; stress-induced symptoms; sleep issues; skin conditions; menstrual pain and fertility issues for men and women.
Your registered TCM practitioner has been specifically trained to use Chinese herbs at a tertiary education level. Chinese herbs are powerful and effective medicines and your practitioner has a deep understanding of phyto-pharmacology (use of plants as medicinals), herb-drug interactions and contra-indications, plus western biomedical knowledge. This is why it is important never to self-prescribe any Chinese herbal formulas based on the descriptions on the label, and to tell your practitioner about any other medications or supplements that you are taking. Chinese Herbal Medicine Client Stories
Chinese herbs for colds, stress and eczema…
Susan came to Bing’s Natural Health with a cold, congested sinuses, sore throat, headache, and a cough. I gave her acupuncture to open up her sinuses, ease her congestion and cough, clear her headache, and help her body fight off the pathogen. Immediately Susan noticed that she could breathe through her nose, her headache was gone and she was coughing less frequently. I prescribed some Chinese herbal pills, and Chinese herbal cough syrup along with rest and some dietary suggestions. The following week Susan reported that her cold was gone and (unlike most of her colleagues) she had no lingering cough.
Rebecca is a university student in her early 20’s. She has had chronic eczema since childhood, but it had recently flared up and she was feeling overwhelmed. Hot, itchy, inflamed skin, and stress made her irritable and unproductive. We started a series of acupuncture treatments and I prescribed some Chinese herbal granule formulae. Rebecca noticed a big improvement after her first acupuncture session. As part of her eczema management plan we discussed skin management, stress management, and some cooling dietary changes. During the first week of taking Chinese herbal medicine, Rebecca noticed a big reduction in the itchiness and inflammation of her eczema.
As her eczema healed we changed to a maintenance protocol. She is now armed with self-care techniques to help her maintain her skin condition, knowledge of what to do if it flares up again, and awareness of the role of stress as a trigger.
The increasing use of the term “dry needling” in Australia has created a lot of confusion. So what is dry needling and how does it compare to acupuncture?
The difference is that a practitioner is either fully qualified to insert needles or they are not. Since 2012, only practitioners with extensive acupuncture training can use the word “acupuncture”. Everyone else has to use the lesser and rudimentary “dry needling” term.
What happened in 2012?
On the 1st July 2012 the Australian government introduced the national registration of the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) profession. This is the same type of regulation that applies to doctors, nurses, dentists, pharmacists and psychologists – and requires extensive training and university qualifications to register as an acupuncture practitioner.
But this does not stop anybody else offering the so called dry needling services – they can simply do a short 2-3 day course and start inserting needles where it hurts.
Why choose a registered acupuncturist?
There is much more to acupuncture than inserting needles into sore points, which may only be a symptom of an underlying cause or condition. Acupuncture requires a comprehensive patient assessment, an acupuncture diagnosis and a personal treatment plan. Appropriate needling methods and supplementary treatments can then be administered. Supplementary treatments may include cupping, moxibustion, Chinese herbal medicine, exercise therapy or dietary recommendations. Acupuncturists can also work with your existing doctor or GP. In addition, an acupuncturist must undertake continual professional development to stay registered.
Acupuncture is considered to be very safe in the hands of well-trained practitioners. However, without this extensive training, dry needling by non-acupuncturists can result in complications, some of which can be quite painful and serious. The dry needling terminology came from Dr Janet Travell, MD in the mid 1900’s when she inserted “dry” or empty hypodermic needles which did not contain any medication.
Is my practitioner fully qualified and registered in acupuncture?
The Bing’s Natural Health clinic will be closed over the Christmas period from December 24th 2016 through to January 6th 2017 inclusive.
However, the Clinic will be open briefly on December 29th and 30th between 10am to 2pm.
If you need to see us, or stock up on your Chinese herbs, please ring the clinic on (03) 9699 5333, and leave a detailed message on the answering machine. We will get back to you on the 29th or the 30th December.
We wish you all of the very best for the Festive Season, and a safe and happy New Year.