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)

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.

Damp and Heat Explained

Marney Murray brings us an article explaining how Damp and Heat (two basic elements of Chinese Medicine) effect our bodies, and how to remedy them. damp and heat

With summer almost here, parties and Christmas feasts generally mean over indulging in rich foods, alcohol and hanging out by the pool. Sound like fun? Not for everyone… How does climate and diet affect us during summer?

During the Qing and Ming dynasties (1368 – 1911), famous Chinese physicians found damp and warm weather conditions during the long summer period exacerbated many uncomfortable symptoms in many patients. These symptoms were due to ‘Damp’ and ‘Heat’ already existing internally in their patients. This article will explain what damp and heat is in the digestion and how to reduce it to minimise the uncomfortable side effects mentioned in the column to the left.

Damp and Heat internally manifests as a sticky type of fluid or residue (collectively called Dampness) generated due to incomplete digestion. The Dampness has a tendency to slow us down energetically, hence the feelings of heaviness or dulled senses.

This tendency to clog or obstruct the body’s metabolic rate is one of the reasons excess heat can appear in the body. The heat generated is “pent up” due to the sticky fluids not allowing it to escape as normal – much like the steaming/fermenting process of a compost heap. Damp and Heat hinder the usual metabolism of fluid, leaving the digestion less available to process the last meal, contributing to further Damp and Heat generation in the body.

To eliminate Damp and Heat, acupuncture and Chinese herbs are used to promote the movement of Qi benefiting the digestion and energy.
Damp and Heat conditions are generally long standing, and have been getting worse over a period of time, so a contentious effort and commitment to results are required from both patient and practitioner.

One of the most effective ways you can begin to reduce Damp-Heat is through diet and eating habits.

Eating only until 50-60% full will ensure that the digestion is not over loaded and can process all the food eaten, even if you eat more frequently. Lower consumption of rich, sweet, greasy, raw or cold foods as they reduce the efficiency of our digestive organs, whilst taking care with spicy, hot foods and alcohol will prevent excess heat. Beginning to adjust the diet to a more neutral and cooling one before the indulgent Christmas period will make summer a more pleasant time of year for you.
See your practitioner for dietary advice and print outs of the above mentioned food categories.
Putting your health first!
marney@albatherapies.com.au

Spring, Pregnancy and Acupuncture – Monica Seelig

pregnany1Spring is all about birth and growth, so it seemed appropriate that I should write and article about pregnancy and birth. If you can manage it, I can thoroughly recommend Spring as the best time to have a baby – I’d have to be a little biased of course, as my youngest turns 3 this month. I have had 2 wonderful pregnancies and births and want to let you know that there are many ways we can help women on their journey into motherhood. And being a practice of 5 women, we all just love anything to do with babies!
In my experience, I have often seen women coming to acupuncture for the first time with morning sickness as they are acutely aware of avoiding medications and any unwanted ill effects to their baby. They are pleasantly surprised that something so natural and painless can ease their symptoms and let them enjoy those early days of pregnancy. In Chinese medicine, we attribute morning sickness to the major changes taking place in the body during those first few months impacting on the energy meridians and causing changes to the way the Qi and Blood moves – e.g. it can get stuck, go up instead of down (you can guess what would happen here!), there might not be enough energy or it can generate heat. It can also be complicated by the pre-existing state of the woman’s digestive system.
Therefore, pre-conception care is also important. We all know you can’t beat good genes; it is without doubt the best gift you can give. Optimizingyour health before you conceive is beneficial for both yourself and your
baby if you are planning a pregnancy. The people we most often see in thiscategory are those who are having difficulty conceiving. An increasing number of women are using ARTs (Assisted Reproductive Technologies).
There have been some good studies published recently showing that combining acupuncture with egg pick up and transfer produced a statistically significant increase in the number of pregnancies. It’s great to
see acupuncture getting the limelight it deserves and an increasing number of gynecologists are now recommending acupuncture to their IVF patients. After the intensity of medical treatments, most women benefit
from the relaxation they receive from acupuncture.
If you are having difficulty conceiving, the focus of our treatment is often the regulation of the menstrual period. Too little or too much bleeding, too painful, too often, infrequent periods and PMT will all need to be
examined and regulated. From a Chinese Medicine perspective, a normal period should last between 4-6 days, should come every 26-32 days, should not be painful or cause any disruption to your everyday life.
Anything other than this is not “normal”. Because acupuncture is holistic, all other areas of your health are looked at. Women often report improvement in their sleep quality, energy and reduction of stress levels as major added benefits.

At the end of pregnancy, many of you may not realize that acupuncture and moxibustion are effective in turning breech babies. The optimal time to come in for treatment is 34 weeks as success rates are higher. Leaving it
to the last minute leaves no room to maneuver. Having baby in the “OA” positioning gives you the best chance of having a natural and quicker delivery.  Acupuncture can help with labour preparation and we have some
wonderful information on acupressure techniques that are great to use during labour.mother and baby
So if you or anyone you know is planning a pregnancy or is pregnant,
Alba Therapies offers a comprehensive and flexible approach to support
you through this wonderful journey.

HRT Alternatives

So you’re a woman at a change over point in your life and instead of celebrating the liberation from the monthly bleed; you are suffering hot flushes, sweating, sleeplessness, anxiety and a host of other symptoms you weren’t expecting or wanting. You’re not too enthused about the prospect of HRT and you’ve tried all the off-the-shelf products and have had little or no relief.

Thchinese-herbsen its time for a herbal prescription tailored to your needs. We (at Alba Therapies) don’t use Black Cohosh in any of our successful individualised herbal prescriptions. Why? There is a herb called Black Cohosh in Chinese herbal medicine but is a different species to those used in pre-packaged preparations. It too reduces heat, but it is recommended not to be used long term in cases of Yin deficiency, which is the main syndrome in menopause. Notice I said “main” not only.  Perhaps once or twice in over ten years of practice has anyone walked into the clinic with only one syndrome. Menopause is hardly ever only one syndrome but a complex interactions of various systems in the body. It all depends on how you have treated your body in the last 20-30 years on how many syndromes present themselves. Our herbs are in a convenient granule format, no boiling required. Add acupuncture to your treatment plan and speed up the whole process.  Herb preparations equate to the cost of your daily capuccino. So you can be free of your symptoms and truly celebrating this part of your life.

West and East, hand-in-hand

Recently, I have been fortunate enough to be invited to practise at a medical centre in Wellington Point on Fridays (phone 1300 253 669 for appointment) and it is working to our mutual (including clients) benefit. This is something, I’d like to see more of. In China, western medical practitioners work hand-in-hand with TCM practitioners and it works well. There are limitations to both systems of medicine and if all practitioners just admitted this, we could achieve so much more for our clients (“patients”, gives me the impression that someone is waiting for someone else to fix them and not taking responsibility for themselves. The seriously ill  and children are the only ones, in my view, that fit the “patient” category ) . I view TCM, not as an alternative but as a modality that can work with western medicine.

The World Health Organisation of the United Nations lists the following conditions that acupuncture can be used for:

Infections: colds and flu, bronchitis, hepatitis

 Internal: asthma, high blood pressure,
 ulcers, colitis, indigestion, hemorrhoids, diarrhea, constipation, diabetes
 
Eyes, Ears, Nose and Throat:
Tinnitus, earaches, dizziness,
sinusitis, sore throat, hay fever
 
Dermatological
Eczema, acne, herpes, dermatitis
 
Musculoskeletal and Neurological:
Arthritis, Neuralgia, sciatica, back
pain, bursitis, tendonitis, stiff neck, Bell's palsy, trigeminal neuralgia,
headache, post stroke treatments, sprains
 
Geneto-Urinary and Reproductive
Impotence, infertility, PMS, PID,
vaginitis, irregular periods or cramps, morning sickness
 

Mental-Emotional

Anxiety, depression, stress, insomnia

Tree Change

Conondale ViewToday just started in Maleny at 26 Coral Street. I will be working there on Tuesday mornings and in the near future on Wednesdays all day. Why Maleny you may ask? Well my husband, Mark and I are building a straw bale house in Conondale, 20 mins from Maleny. See www.budafoods.com.au/strawbalehouse if you want more info on that. We are owner builders, so I have no illusions about the time it will take to complete. The structure should be up by the end of the year because we’ll get some professional help with that, but the finishing will take a while.  This way I can devote an hour or two every week to home building and practice my TCM which is my greatest passion. It’s a great little clinic, a house renovated into 2 practice rooms and 2 administrative rooms. I share this practice with Anthony Brown, Caitlin Kinnear, and Paula West, all TCM practitioners. We share some days and work on our own on other days, so it all works well. The address is 26 Coral St, Maleny. Ph 1300 253 669 or 0401 134 655 for an appointment. Ask for “Rosalba in Maleny”.

What’s it all about?

Alba Therapies front entrance from car park

Alba Therapies front entrance from car park

Hi folks, my name is Rosalba D’Agostino. I have a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) clinic at Carina Heights in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Myself and 4 other TCM practitioners practice acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and Oriental massage (no we don’t walk on anybody!).  The other practitioners are Monica, Louise, Sue and Liz. So this blog will give an insight into the goings on at Alba Therapies. Note, NO client names or details will be published. Alba Therapies is at 94 Willard St, Carina Heights, Qld 4152 Ph 07 3843 3555

The clinic has been in existence for 11 years but in this location only 6 years. I started out in 1999, in Camp Hill, by myself. After two years, I invited a beauty therapist, Leah, to join me. The idea was that she worked on beautifing the outside and I worked on balancing the internals. In 2004, we moved and spent 3 months working on remodeling the inside of this Carina Heights house to suit. A lot of hard work and long days.  Monica (who had her own practice for several years before having her boys) joined me at this point, working Mondays, so I could have a 5 day week, instead of six. Four years ago, Leah decided to shut her side of the business, leaving me alone with three consultation rooms.  At the time of Leah’s departure, I was a bit lost as what-to-do now. Then one day a phone call followed by a talk with a handsome gentleman called Weaver and I was doing the Business Mastery course at the National College of Business, Brisbane and I’ve never looked back. I hired my first full time staff member, Julie. Then Louise came on board followed by Marney and our lovely receptionist Elly. Times change and people move on and are replaced and so it goes on. We often gets comments on the serenity and lovely fragrances that wash over you as you enter the clinic. I know I love working here and helping people regain their health.