Acupuncture Point Injection Therapy

ACUPUNCTURE POINT INJECTION FOR EFFECTIVE PAIN RELIEF

 

Now available with Monica Seelig @ Alba Therapies.

Monica

 

What is acupuncture point injection therapy?

Point injection is used in conjunction with an acupuncture treatment.  It involves the injection of sterile saline into acupuncture or trigger points. It treats painful and inflammatory acute or chronic musculo-skeletal conditions, including those that have failed to respond to other forms of treatment.  The injections are typically painless or only mildly uncomfortable, similar to an acupuncture treatment.

What does acupuncture point injection treat?

Point injection is generally used to treat musculo-skeletal conditions characterised by pain and inflammation anywhere in the body eg:

Pain – neck, back, shoulder, thoracic, rib, hip, elbow, knee, wrist, foot, ankle

  • Frozen shoulder
  • Tendonitis
  • Bursitis
  • Sciatica
  • Sports injuries
  • Headaches

If you require more information, please call the clinic on 3843 3555 or follow the link www.acupuncturepointinjection.com.au.

SPECIAL OFFER

For the month of September, mention this ad and you can try point injection therapy for yourself alongside your regular acupuncture treatment at no extra charge.

After September, an additional $10 charge applies.

 

 

Winter Eating


Winter Eating

by Louise Bennett

Louise Bennett

Louise Bennett

With the approach of winter our weather turns colder, darkness arrives a little earlier and we seek warmth. It is a time to nourish our soul and our body. Yin predominates in winter and it is a wonderful time to contemplate and meditate. Our body processes slow a little and we may store a bit more energy in order to be ready for the activity required when spring and summer arrive again. During winter we need to nurture our yin energies, the aroma of a winter stew invokes memories of nourishment for both the body and soul.

In East Asian Medicine the water element is associated with winter. The organs of the body that correspond with winter are the kidneys and urinary bladder and the colour of winter is black. The tastes and flavours of winter are salty and bitter which promote sinking and centring. It has been suggested that these flavours bring heat deeper into the body, leaving the skin cooler and thus more tolerant of the cooler environment. This is a bit of a conundrum, as too much salt will increase water intake and weaken the kidney and the heart energy.

To balance kidney energy during winter eat from a selection of salty foods or foods that are dark in colour such as fresh fish and salted fish,  caviar, shellfish, pork, eggs, beans, seaweed and sea vegetables, soy sauce, miso, figs, blueberries, blackberries, eggplant, kale, wild rice, walnuts and black sesame seeds. Goji berries and black fungus should be included in the foundations of any winter diet.

Goji Berries                                                                          Black Fungus

If you are prone to cold add cloves, fenugreek, fennel, and anise seeds, black peppercorn, ginger, cinnamon, walnuts, black beans, onion family (garlic, onions, chives, shallots and leeks), red quinoa, chicken, lamb, trout, and salmon.

               Tamari – GF soy sauce

If you tend to feel the heat you might choose foods with a cooling nature that influence the kidneys such as millet, barley, tofu, string bean, black bean, black soybean, mung bean and its sprouts, kidney beans, and seaweeds.

Cooking in winter is best if it is long and slow such as a casserole in the oven or a slow cooker. Allowing food to cook slowly builds the yin energy of the food, providing easily digestible and nourishing meals.

So winter is about staying warm, nourishing our bodies, building yin and allowing ourselves time for a bit of introspection and contemplation.

Note : all the bold items  illustrated are available at our clinic at 94 Willard St, Carina Heights Qld 07 3843 3555

 

Winter Sunshine Soup

Healing With Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford

1 cup yellow split peas                                   Place peas and kombu in a pot with water.

2 quarts water                                                   Bring to boil. Reduce heat ans simmer 30 minutes.

1 5-inch piece kombu (seaweed) soaked                     Add onion, carrot, pumpkin and salt.

½ onion, cut into crescent moons             Simmer until peas and vegetables are tender.

2 carrots                                                               Add miso diluted in stock and simmer 5 minutes more.

1 cup winter squash diced                            Serves 8.

½ cup parsley chopped

¼ teaspoon salt

Miso to taste

 

Chickpea and Vegetable Tagine

From Jude Blereau’s Cooking with Whole Foods

This has a few steps to it but the result is worth the effort. My child who doesn’t like pumpkin or chickpeas loved it (admittedly it was combined with mashed potato!)

½ cup dried chickpeas (1 cup cooked)

 

Pour soaked chickpeas into a sieve, rinse and drain. Put into a large pot well covered with water and cook gently for 21/2 – 4 hours. Check occasionally to remove froth or add more water.
Olive oil for frying

700g pumpkin peeled and cubed

2 red capsicums

1 garlic bulb

2 tsp fresh thyme

 

Preheat oven to 180 C. Massage olive oil over cubed pumpkin and capsicum. Place in roasting tin with the capsicum standing upright cut side down. Cook until capsicum starts to blacken a little. Put capsicum in a bowl and cover. When cool peels skins off and cut into strips. Retain any juices.

Take bulb of garlic and break apart the cloves and place on a square of baking paper. Sprinkle with olive oil and thyme or rosemary. Twist paper together and place on the tray with pumpkin and capsicum. When cloves are soft remove from oven and allow to cool, snip off tops of cloves and squeeze out puree.

Spice Mix

2 tsp tamari

¼ tsp cumin

Pinch coriander

Pinch fennel seeds

Zest ½ lemon or preserved lemon

½ to 1 tsp grated ginger

1 garlic clove crushed

 

Combine all ingredients of spice mix
2 red onions, cut in half and roughly chopped

2-4 carrots cut on diagonal into 3cm pieces

2 orange sweet potato peeled and cubed

1 white sweet potato peeled and cube

400g tomatoes

½ cinnamon stick

2 tsp pear juice concentrate.

 

 

Heat oil in a large pot. Add onions and sauté for 5 minutes till clear. Add spice mix, carrots and sweet potato together with garlic puree and capsicums and any juice from capsicums. Rinse out spice mix bowl with 60ml water and add to pot. Add tomatoes, chickpeas and cinnamon stick. Cover and cook gently for 20 minutes.

Then add pumpkin and extra water if mix looks too dry. Cook for a further 40 minutes.

Honey to taste

Fresh coriander

Quinoa

 

May add honey if required

Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve with Red quinoa

 

Cure for the common cold?

Monica Seelig, Dip App Sc (acu), Cert Chin Herbs

Monica Seelig, Dip App Sc (acu), Cert Chin Herbs

By Monica Seelig

Just as the warmth of the summer months are followed by the cooler autumn and winter months, so too the inevitable winter bugs come out of hiding. Chinese medical wisdom teaches us that if we do not look after ourselves and prepare for the winter, our immune systems will not be strong enough to fight off the winter bugs.

We are frequently told that we cannot ‘cure’ the common cold, but there are many ways that we can be pro-active and either prevent ourselves getting a cold, or when we do succumb, prompt treatment with acupuncture and herbal medicines can dramatically reduce the severity and duration of a cold or ‘flu.   With the reality of antibiotic resistance already in our community, and the fact that taking antibiotics for viral infections are not only ineffective, but also detrimental to your general health, the need to look for an alternative is paramount. Chinese medicine has been effectively treating colds and ‘flu’s for thousands of years.  The beauty, I believe, is that rather than identifying and targeting treatment on a specific bug, we look at how your body responds to the attack, and support your body to fight it.   When you think about it, the bugs that cause you to get sick mutate and change frequently, while the signs and symptoms of a cold or the flu are very easily recognized.

If you succumb to a cold or ‘flu every winter, now is the time to be pro-active.  Start taking immune stimulating herbs to build up your resistance.  A favourite Chinese herbal formula is Yu Ping Feng San.  The main ingredient in this formula is Huang Qi, commonly known as Astragalus, which is known in western herbal medicine for its immune stimulating properties.

Basically, colds and ‘flu’s are seen as an external pathogenic attack in Chinese medicine, long before microscopes we invented and microbes identified.  They called it “Xie Qi” which translates as Evil Qi”, and anyone who has had a really bad ‘flu would know why!  There are “hot” and “cold” type attacks.  The hot type causing symptoms such as fevers, sore throats and coughs; and the cold type manifesting in chills and blocked or runny nose.  Each is treated differently with acupuncture and herbs.  The hot type using heat dispersing herbs and acupuncture points, and the cold type using warming herbs.

Yin Chiao in capusles for flu symptomsYin Qiao San and Xin Yi San are effective herbal formulas to use in these scenarios.  As the attack invades the body from the exterior, the pulse is felt on the surface of the body, known as a “floating” pulse.  It is a sign that the immune system Qi is coming up to the surface of the body to fight the bug.  Interestingly, I find that acupuncture needling need only be shallow as you do indeed feel the Qi closer to the surface of the body.

For alt hot and cold, headaches, nausea, and dizzinessFor alt hot and cold, headaches, nausea, and dizzinessIf the pathogen isn’t dealt with and released from the body, it can penetrate deeper into the body, and then go even deeper and affect the internal organs.  “Shao Yang syndrome” is a sign that the pathogen has penetrated deeper into the body.  This condition manifests as alternating chills and fevers, nausea or vomiting, fullness in the chest, bitter taste in the mouth and low energy.  Left untreated, this condition can often cause a lingering post viral fatigue.

Harmonising herbs and acupuncture will be needed.  If there is a pre-existing Lung weakness, a chronic cough can develop.  There are many Chinese herbal formulas that are very specific and effective in treating these types of coughs, whether they be dry or productive.

Cough medicine for over 1 year olds. Honey and licorice taste.

Cough medicine for over 1 year olds. Honey and licorice taste.

So don’t delay.  Start taking control of your health now.  A little bit of planning and prompt treatment will see you doing the things you enjoy in life rather than spending it sick in bed.

 

 

 

 

Red Peony Range for Children

Stevia sweetened granules for whatever ails your child.

PS Also, be like a hawk where your children are concerned. The slightest nose dribble was instantly dealt with herbs when my children were young. And now we have the convenience of granulated formulae specifically designed for children. (Rosalba)

 

Good Snacks for Children

“I’m hungry!” your child states. It’s not time for a main meal but you would like to give your child something healthy to sate their hunger until the main meal without reaching for the chips or sweets.

Here are some healthy choices:

  1. Fresh Fruit. This was the only option I had as a child and a very good one. It kept me from the dentists drill for many years. This includes a punnet of cherry tomatoes. If you serve fruit salad, you could sprinkle in some chopped nuts (if they are not sensitive) or seeds. This will slow the breakdown of the fruit sugars and make the snack longer lasting. Try and avoid dairy desserts as they are full of sugar and are cold in temperature and nature. Not good for young stomachs.  But if your child is a savory tooth then read on.
  2. Dips. Hommus, mashed avocado (put a tiny bit of chilli in it as it will negate the cold nature of this food and stop them from overeating it) and vegetable sticks to dip with such as carrots and celery. If you choose to serve with crackers then these should be plain i.e.plain water cracker or rice crackers, not overly salty. The dip is the feature not the crackers.
  3. Soups. If it’s been a cold day nothing hits the spot like a warm soup.  Soups are a great way to have vegetables if you have a fussy eater. You can introduce foods like miso (fermented soy bean paste) which is instant and highly nutritious.
  4. Leftovers. Got some leftover pasta? Cooked vegetables? Beat up some eggs and throw in leftovers, cook in pan for 2 mins, flip (use a large plate over the pan, turn 180 degrees, the slid it back into the pan cooked side up), cook for another 2 minutes and presto you have a frittata. Yummy!
  5. Baked beans. If you can make your own it would be better as I find the commercial varieties are too sweet, but when you have a “starving” child staring you down the canned variety will do. If you’ve some time some stale bread you can try this for variety: Cut the crusts off the bread and push them into muffin trays. Beat an egg and add to the can of baked beans in a bowl. You could also add in some chopped spinach at this point but this is optional.  Pour your egg and bean mix into the bread lined muffin forms  and bake in a moderate oven for 15mins or until set. Crunchy toasted bread cup with a soft centre.
  6. Rice. Boiled rice with soy sauce is a good filler. If you want to complete the protein set throw in some beans or peas. It’s filling and easily digested.
  7. Vegie Rolls. These you can make in advance and freeze. I have made these for birthday parties and all the children came back for seconds and thirds.

    1 small carrot, chopped

    1 small zucchini, chopped

    ½ cup baby spinach leaves

    2 – 3 spring onions (eshallots), chopped

    ¾ cup fresh (not dried) breadcrumbs

    ¼ cup pine nuts

    1 tablespoon of fresh parsley

    1 teaspoon of olive oil

    1 egg

    1/2 teaspoon of tamari or soy sauce

    Freshly ground pepper

    1 sheet read rolled puff pastry

    Method

    Set oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

    Put all the vegetables including the spring onions in a food processor and process to a mealy

    consistency

    Spoon mixture into a larger bowl and combine the egg, bread, pine nuts, parsley, olive oil,

    soy sauce and a twist of pepper.

    Cut pastry sheet in half. Spoon mixture along the centre of each sheet. Roll up and dampen

    edges to secure. Cut each length in quarters and prick centre with a fork.

    Place on a baking tray with baking paper and bake in for 10 minutes at 200°C. Reduce heat

    to 180°C and cook for a further 10-15 minutes or until pastry is golden. Makes 8.

Note that I have tried to stay away from dairy products as they are considered “damp” in Chinese medicine.

Have fun!

Rosalba

 

 

Superfood Insight with Elly

Although sometimes packaged and sold as a ‘grain’, Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wa or Kin-wa) is actually a pseudo-cereal, meaning unlike grains and cereals it is not a member of the grass family. This means that among other things, Quinoa is gluten-free and generally fantastic for people who have any allergies with regards to foods like wheat, barley or corn. This grain is positively fantastic for vegetarians and vegans, being a complete protein and containing massive doses of magnesium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus. It’s also a little powerhouse filled with fibre, too. Being a pseudo cereal also means it can be ground into flour, you can do this at home with mortar/pestle or blender.

You can prepare Quinoa by boiling like rice, or can even put in cold water for 2-4 hours to toss through cold foods like salads. This will make the nutritional value much higher and adds a delicious fluffy bite to any salads. The seed itself is covered in a high level saponin, so even though it is prepared and washed before being sold (mostly) in Australia it’s still a good idea to give it a quick rinse before use.
Eating the grain can be compared to cous cous or cooked barley. There is a slight crunch or ‘pop’ and then a soft almost creamy texture. Although hard to explain, it’s almost like brown rice – but less ‘hard’. The flavour is very slightly nutty, but almost like rice. Quinoa can also be found flattened or puffed like corn or as previously stated in flour form.

Whilst researching this article I was amazed to find the additional health benefits of quinoa. Migraine sufferers can benefit from the high levels of Riboflavin (Vitamin b12) which is said to reduce the frequency of headaches. Not only is it jam packed with high levels of much needed nutrients, but it is said that the high levels of magnesium can help reduce migraines too. This works by relaxing blood vessels, preventing constriction and rebound dilation that is commonly associated with headaches. Increased magnesium intake can also reduce the frequency of headache episodes. Not only does this relaxing of the blood vessels help migraine sufferers but is also fantastic for our cardiovascular system.

These couple of benefits merely scratch the surface of the many, many health related boosts you can get from quinoa. It is said to reduce the risk of certain cancers, help with blood pressure and drastically lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, to name a few. There is a reason quinoa is sometimes referred to as “Incan gold”. As usual, the Mayans had it right and quinoa was served to its warriors. In fact, it is said to be one of the most important dietary supplements, second only to potatoes and more important than maize.

I could talk about quinoa all day, and I sincerely recommend you jump online and check out some of the many interesting articles on the stuff. There is a lot of information out there, and a lot more coming through now than there was even a little while ago. Try some out today, grab a recipe booklet I’ve put together from recipes found online – or try your own search!

 

Cancer Prevention with Dr William Li

In this video Dr William Li discusses ways in which to prevent abnormal angiogenesis (creation of blood vessel to enlarge tumors). He clarifies that only 5-10% of tumours are gene influenced and the rest (90 – 95%) is up to your environment of which diet holds a large influence. He lists foods that demonstrate anti-angiogenesis. What is most interesting is that he found that foods have synergy i.e. when two foods that had “weak” anti-angiogenesis are combined they have a better effect than one good one. This has been known in Chinese for centuries with many formulas having more than one herb dedicated to assisting the function of the main herb. With testing of his new anti-angiogenesis drugs, he has some great results with some cancers but only mild responses with other cancers so he comes to the conclusion that prevention would be better than cure. Then he displays a chart of foods and compares them to common drugs which have some anti-angiogenesis action and the new anti-angiogenesis drugs. Vitamin E beats the new drugs in anti-angiogenesis action. Vitamin E is found in: raw sunflower seeds, dry roasted almonds, boiled spinach, paw paw, silver beet (Swiss chard) and other green leafy vegetables and blueberries. Other high anti-angiogenesis foods were tea, turmeric and green tea. In India, studies have shown that the low prostate cancer rates were due to the turmeric which is consumed virtually every day. Tumeric on its own is difficult for the body to absorb but it was found that the pepperine from chili enables the absorption of this anti-cancer herb (synergy at work again). Further down the list were fruits and other vegetables and not so surprising (at least not to me) were soy beans. As Dr Li says, with this list I could go home and make an anti-cancer meal. Note no animal products (bar glucosamine which comes from shellfish) made the anti-angiogenesis list.

What this video goes to show is the importance of prevention and how we can take control of this prevention with our diets. It also goes to show that removing parts of the body (some women have had breasts removed) does not prevent cancer.  In Chinese medicine, food is considered the first choice medicine and when this is not effective then herbs are used. The best doctor is said to be one who prevents their clients from getting sick. As I often say to my clients: You only get one body and if you want it to last well with few breakdowns then take care of it, feed it well and love it.

Rosalba

 

Menstrual cups : A review

The lunette menstrual cup: a review

With your favourite receptionist, Elly.

 

If you have indeed had what I can only assume is the immense pleasure of chatting to me recently, you may be aware that I have found a product that I am raving about: The Lunette menstrual cup. If the thought of this is too much for you, I ask you to hold your opinion a little while longer, as I myself turned up my nose upon first hearing the words “Menstrual cup” uttered. How glad I am that I kept an open mind!

We’ll start by describing just what a menstrual cup is. Made as early as the 1930’s, Menstrual cups have been popular in the US and Europe for many decades. The cup itself is made from medical grade silicon, and because it is not porous (like a tampon); it works with the natural anti-bacterial environment of your vagina to keep clean. It will not promote bacterial growth the way a tampon does, so the risk of TSS (toxic Shock Syndrome) is greatly reduced. In fact, there has never been a reported case of TSS being linked to a menstrual cup.  You can wear the cup up to 12 hours, if your flow permits.

It is thought that the push for a reusable, earth friendly cup has not been popular due to the obvious lack of profit to be made – I’ve read blogs from women who have had their cup 10 years. What tampon or menstrual pad company wants you to buy a product once and not 16 products every period?

And this brings us to one of the biggest selling points of the cup: You only need one. Cups will set you back in the region of $60, and I can tell you that being a sufferer of abnormal, heavy, and long periods it has already made its money back, and then some. I haven’t had to purchase bulky, uncomfortable pads in 3 cycles, and I cannot explain how happy this has made me. Because you only need one, your impact on the earth is so much less than using disposable, one use cotton (or other substances) products. There is no packaging, no plastic coatings, no plastic backing, no strips to pull off that get stuck to your shoe or cling to your skirt (we’ve all had that happen at work, right? A nice little piece of paper basically saying “I CAME FROM A PAD!” statically clinging to our thigh?). No strings. No wings. No discomfort.

 

I should also add in here that a lot of menstrual products come complete with a nice helping of chemicals like bleach. And we put these in one of the most sensitive and permeable areas of our body. Treated cotton tampons, full of plastic are sold without much in the way of testing as to levels of chemical absorption. Medical grade silicone, used in the cups, is the same material they make various surgical implants out of (pacemakers, heart valves etc) and can stay in your body pretty much forever without being broken down.

So, how do you use a cup? Imagine what it’s like to put in a tampon, and you’re pretty close. There are a variety of videos on YouTube showing how to fold your cup for insertion: the method will depend on the individual. Personally, I fold down two sides in on itself to create a kind of point – feel free to ask and I will show you on the display models in store (The ‘push down’ fold in the diagram). Because the material is so pliable, you essentially fold it down to the size of about a super tampon or so. You fold it, insert it, wait for the ‘opening’ feeling (One of the only negatives about the cup I can say is sometimes it opens as you’re trying to insert. Annoying!) And you’re good to go! After a few hours (this will vary depending on the heaviness of your flow:  I tend to change it every 4 at my heaviest and about 7 or 8 at my lightest) you use your pelvic muscles to gently push down until you can feel the bottom of the cup: Pinch and pull. You then empty your cup, rinse, and re-insert. Too easy!

Some people may be grossed out by the fact that you can see your blood in the cup. I have to say that I was a bit dubious about how this would feel, after reading on blogs that it made some people feel so much more connected with their bodies, their cycles, and empowered their femininity. I would totally agree now. The cup is less ‘gross’ than a tampon – if any clots are present they are discreetly captured with the rest of the blood, not stuck on the outside of the tampon or pad. There is no mess in public restrooms, no reaching for the sanitary bin and no blood spatters on the inside of the toilet bowl or bin. I find that seeing the amount you are bleeding is a really good indication of how your cycle is going – You know exactly how much blood you’re losing, and it gives you a much more personal feel for your menses. (Although that sounds strange, it is actually somewhat comforting.)

The cups are also perfect for women trying to conceive or are having gynaecological problems. Because the cup is smooth sided and doesn’t suck any of the precious moisture from your vagina, you can wear it when you’re not bleeding – so women who need to measure other vaginal secretions can use the cup without any discomfort. In this same way it’s also fine toward the end of your period, while you may start to bleed less or spot. If you wear the cup whilst spotting then you will never leak or spot on yourself when you think you’ve got nothing left. This reason right here is why I personally cannot live without my cup.

You may be a bit worried about having to put a cup all the way in the way you would a tampon. Truth is, the cup sits so much lower in your vagina it’s nothing like inserting a tampon. I personally hate tampons, I find them uncomfortable and all ‘round icky – the mere thought of them is like nails on a chalkboard. The cup, however, is nothing like a tampon on insertion. If you want to demonstrate to yourself where the cup sits, make an “o” with your thumb and second finger. This is your vaginal opening. Now, from the bottom put your other index finger into the hole. This is generally how far up you need to push a tampon. Now, imagine the cup sitting right at the opening of the hole. See the difference? Instead of  pushing in as far as your uterus, extending from the top of the finger, the cup sits comfortably just over the opening of the vagina. I’ll show you some pictures to help illustrate.

(pictures won’t work in the blog: Contact us on Facebook to ask for the article)

 

I think I’ve covered most of the basics here, and as you can see, every point I make is another reason I love my cup. Not only do I feel I’m doing the environment a favour, but I’m doing myself a favour too. ONE NOTE OF CAUTION: Don’t wash your cup in anti-bacterial wash. Don’t do it. You’ll get thrush. I learned the hard way, and I even made sure to rinse what I thought was any trace of any wash off. Best thing is to rinse it between insertion and re-insertion and boil it for a few minutes between your cycles. I’ve read blogs of women who have been using their cup for 10 years or more; if you look after it, it will surely last a while. If you don’t feel that you want to use a cup for 10 years, changing it every 1-3 years will still save you a bucket load of cash, not to mention the earth.

Do yourself a favour. I promise you won’t regret it.

For any other questions, tips or tricks please don’t hesitate to ask Elly at reception at anytime. You can reach me by email if you like, at Rosalba@albatherapies.com.au – just put “for Elly” in the title. There is also HEAPS of information on the net – blogs, product websites and youtube videos.

 

Superfoods at Alba Therapies, with your favourite receptionist – Elly!

Recently, after finding an awesome supplier, Alba Therapies has begun to stock an ever widening range of health care products, mineral and vitamin supplements, female products, baby items, organic products and last but not least; ‘Super Foods’. Super foods (functional foods, superfoods, superberries) are defined as foods that either contain high phyto-nutrient content or contain more health-benefitting substances then simple nutrients given by ‘normal’ foods. They are generally associated with having benefit to health and wellbeing, prolonged life, containing high levels of antioxidants, being anti-cancer, and more. In many cases, they contain the right levels of nutrients, vitamins and amino acids to be complete- that is, they do not need to be used with another food item to give you your entire recommended intake. Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wa) for example, is known as a ‘complete protein’ and classed as a superfood due to the very high protein content, as well as containing a perfectly balanced set of amino acids fit for humans.

Among our newest products we find an assortment of (drool) chocolate. We are stocking pure cacao powder (also known as cocoa, cacao implies Mayan produce- thought to be the original and most ‘pure’) which is fair trade. Our chocolate bars are (delicious) dark chocolate with the addition of either nibs (crushed cocoa bean), Quinoa (mentioned earlier) or Almonds. These are organic, free trade and carbon offset. How good can you get?! Apart from being full of flavour, I was surprised today to learn just how good Chocolate can be for you. Now, let me clarify; the addition of fats, sugar and milk generally negates the health benefits – this is NOT about milk or white chocolate. Hot cocoa/chocolate can be no good if you add milk (even skim); but I have sacrificed myself for you all and found that a teaspoon or two of the powder with a teaspoon of sugar or honey is simply delicious. You don’t miss the milk with chocolate or cocoa this good. For those of you who like dark chocolate, you wouldn’t need the sweetener at all.

I always knew that cocoa contained high levels of antioxidants; even more so when raw (as the powder is) but I was unaware of the cardiovascular and circulatory boost. Studies have shown that consuming dark chocolate two to three times a week in patients after a heart attack can reduce the risk of death by up to three times that of patients who did not consume dark chocolate. The only major point I have to bring up here is that any food will add to the risk of weight gain/obesity if the energy is not burned off. So eating a few pieces of dark chocolate in the morning before starting your day (or a hot chocolate with breakfast) is a perfect way to start.

Although controversial, studies are also being conducted into the use of a form of cocoa being used to halter brain decline in aging people. Antioxidants have been known for a long time to improve longevity, but specific research is being conducted into the use of cocoa and degenerative brain disorders such as dementia or Alzheimer’s. Another much argued point is that of muscle recovery; it has been said that eating dark chocolate in the two hour period after exercise can help to regenerate muscle tissue. If you want to know more about other health benefits or see the cited studies, search Wikipedia.org for “health benefits of chocolate”.

Another addition to our Superfoods is Chia Seeds. This is a name that has been popping up more and more recently, and I thought it was a bit of a fad thing – until I opened the glorious box of wonder the other day and found these marvellous seeds. Tiny, black and white speckles not unlike sesame seeds, but smaller, Chia are the perfect vegan food and a must have supplement with everyone’s diet. They don’t really taste of much so can be added to pretty much any meal. “So why would I use them?” you might ask: ‘Cause these little guys are SUPER. They contain a huge helping of vitamin C (7 times that of an orange) which is not only beneficial to the immune system but is also needed in the use of absorbing iron (I found that out recently! You can eat as much steak as you want and still be anaemic if you don’t have a high enough Vitamin C intake) They contain 3 times the amount of iron as spinach, twice the potassium as bananas, 6 times more fibre than oat bran (both soluble and insoluble fibre – fantastic!) a whopping five times more calcium than milk, and 4 times higher ORAC* value than blueberries (which are known as a superberry for having such a high ORAC value)

I know sometimes it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the suggested additions to your meals, but I think Chia seeds are one you can keep around and know you’re getting a pretty good helping of some great nutrients. Chia are the highest known plant source of Omega 3, being 8 times higher than Salmon. They also contain Vitamins A and B12, which is why they are perfect for vegans. Chia seeds are a complete protein, just like Quinoa, and can be ground to a meal and hidden in food for little ones with no one the wiser. If you soak Chia in water they become almost a gel, not dissimilar from frog’s eggs, which I am told can be used on tired eyes to soothe them or for conjunctivitis.

If you’ve been living under a rock on the world’s smallest island in the middle of the ocean then you still wouldn’t be forgiven for not having heard about Goji Berries and the associated health benefits. These are most well known for their antioxidant properties, and for improving the length and quality of life of the Chinese and Mongolian people for centuries. Although blueberries were once hailed as the highest antioxidant berry amongst the western world, Goji berries have since taken their place and even far exceeded the ORAC values of these. Goji berries carry high levels of Vitamin C, as well as Riboflavin (vitamin B2) and a host of amino acids, other vitamins, unsaturated fatty acids, polysaccharides and dietary minerals, amongst many others. They also contain Iron, zinc, selenium, potassium and calcium. Goji berries also contain what is thought to be the highest plant found source of Zeaxanthin; a chemical found in the eye. Links have been made with consumption of Zeaxanthin lowering the severity and chance of onset of age related macular degeneration and age related eye disease. Another very handy thing to keep in the cupboard or fridge, and dried can be stored for long periods of time. Teas can be made out of the delicious berry which tastes like a cross between a raisin and a cherry, or you can sprinkle them on your breakfast cereal, porridge, or add to trail mix. If you like a sweet treat in the afternoon, you could keep a stash at your work desk and nibble them in the afternoon with a handful of nuts.

In order to prevent this article becoming a book I’ll cut it short there. But please, if you have any questions or comments don’t hesitate to ask me, or if they are more in depth questions your practitioner should be able to help you.

* Oxygen radical absorbance capacity, a scalar value derived in the laboratory for comparing the antioxidant content of different foods or nutritional supplements

 

Stress and rich food – a rash result

Too much stress can affect people in different ways. Some people get headaches or  muscular spasms or insomnia or digestive upsets etc. Combine excessive stress with some delicious pre-Christmas goodies and yours truly broke out in a rash, two days before everyone came to lunch. I woke with the sensation that my skin was on fire and I desparately wanted to scratch it off. I gave myself some acupuncture which eased the itch enough for me to gather my senses. I had a busy day in the Maleny clinic (on Coral St) to get through and I had no fever, no sore thoat, in fact nothing that would indicate it was contagious. It looked like hives. Most importantly was its location – along the Liver and Gall Bladder channels (armpits to outside knees and groin to ankle) and on the abdomen above the liver. I got to work and took some patent Chinese herbs that were good for rash and some for Liver stagnation. They gave me the relief for about 2 hours but were not exactly the right formula. I needed the herbal granules but they were far away in Brisbane. What to do? I needed to get through the Christmas celebrations. In desperation, I went to the chemist. They gave me Telfast tablets. One tablet in 24 hours was all that was required. Sounded good, bought them, took them and got about 3 hours relief! But I couldn’t take another on the same day! The itch was progressing down the arms but specifically along the Small Intestine and Colon channels – those yummy chocolates, a week ago,had done me in. So I stopped at the Organic shop and picked up some chlorophyll as well. I needed to detox big time! Back to taking the patents until I could get back to Brisbane. On the 26th, I took my mother back home to Brisbane and was able to mix up some herbs in the clinic. Relief at last! I took a large dose 3 times a day for the next week and the itch and sensations of heat subsided and the lumpy rash flattened and faded. I will continue to take the granulated herbs and the chlorophyll until the rash is completely gone.

Rash is dispersing and fading

The other beauty about the herbs is that I used some to make a cream to apply topically as well. Try that with a Telfast tablet!

 

Infertility and digestion

This morning Monica and I were working on a new brochure to give out to obstetricians/gynaecologists. After looking at a few websites for inspiration and seeing the usual discussion on balancing menstrual cycles and focus on the reproductive system, it came to mind a case I had treated several years ago.

A woman of 39 years had come to me for treatment of ulcerative colitis (ulcerations in the colon). She was experiencing bloating, alternating bouts of constipation and diarrhoea and some minor bleeding from the anus. She did not feel well on the western medication and had decided to try another way. She was a practitioner’s dream patient. She kept extensive notes on what she ate and how her bowels reacted every day. After a few treatments of acupuncture and herbs she had improved significantly. We started to spread out her treatments to monthly visits and during this time she started IVF treatment as her husband had had a vasectomy during his first marriage and it was no longer reversible. Her first egg collection resulted in only 2 poor quality eggs from only one ovary that did not fertilize. Her gynaecologist told her that she had “old ovaries” and that she should consider donor eggs. Understandably the next time I saw her, she was quite upset and her colitis had flared again with the fertility drugs and the stress. I asked her if she would give me 3 months to work on getting her system right before trying any further IVF treatments. She was concerned because of her age, 39, but I assured her that 3 months in the scheme of things was not going to make a great deal of difference.  So we began again working on her digestion with acupuncture and herbs.

My focus remained mainly on her digestive function with only one herb and only added a couple of points that would assist the reproductive system. In Chinese medicine, the digestion (Earth element) with its ability process the pure and impure, and transformation and transportation of the energy derived from our food provides an integral support and nutritive mechanism for the reproductive system. In the journal of Chinese medicine (British), I read of a famous doctor who had a secret formula for making childbirth easier. His family of doctors had passed down this formula over the generations. He decided to have it patented so it would be available to all in China and not just to his patients. It went through vigorous scientific testing, in vitro and on animals but they could not find how the formula stimulated the uterus. The answer was that it didn’t stimulate the uterus but strengthened the digestion thereby provided the energy that the reproductive system needs to function.

After 3 months it was Christmas so she decided to wait with the IVF until the new year. We continued with the herbs and the acupuncture. In the New Year she started the IVF cycle. This time scans showed 12 follicles of varying sizes. Both ovaries had responded. Six eggs were harvested. Four fertilized. Two were implanted and she became pregnant. We continued with the acupuncture and herbs until the end of the first trimester, treating the nausea and helping to maintain the pregnancy. The baby was due around her 40th birthday. She came in again for assistance in getting the birth process happening. She had a natural birth, much to her doctor’s surprise, and delivered a healthy baby boy.