As a well established but growing practice, there are often opportunities to join the team.  At present, we have the following openings:

A Remedial Massage therapist to work Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays

A TCM Assistant (student) to work on Wednesdays

We have a room available to rent on Mondays & Thursdays, per hour or per day rates available

We have a class room available to rent on Weekday mornings, per hour rates available

Contact Elaine Hickman for more details on any of the above opportunities on 03 9486 5966


As a well established but growing practice, there are often opportunities to join the team.  At present, we have the following openings:

A Remedial Massage therapist to work Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays

A TCM Assistant (student) to work on Wednesdays

We have a room available to rent on Mondays & Thursdays, 1/2 day or full day rates available

We have a class room available to rent on Weekday mornings, per hour rates available

Contact Elaine Hickman for more details on any of the above opportunities on 03 9486 5966

Cosmetic acupuncture improves facial elasticity

Facial cosmetic acupuncture (FCA) results in improvement of objective measures of facial elasticity, a Korean pilot study suggests. Twenty-seven women aged 40 to 59 with signs of advanced skin aging, completed five FCA treatment sessions over three weeks. The total number of needle insertions per treatment ranged from 100 to 110. The primary outcome assessed was the amount of sagging of the cheek and side of the mouth. A significant improvement was seen after FCA treatment. (Effect of facial cosmetic acupuncture on facial elasticity: an open-label, single-arm pilot study. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:424313).

Acupuncture is an Effective Way to Ease PMS Symptoms

Are you one of the estimated 85-percent of menstruating women who suffer from at least one symptom of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) in the week or two prior to your period? PMS can be mild or manifest itself in the form of severe Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD). Whether your symptoms are a minor bother or have a large impact on your life, receiving treatments from a licensed acupuncturist can provide relief.
Common symptoms of PMS include:

 Swollen, tender breasts
 Fatigue
 Acne
 Insomnia
 Headache
 Back pain
 Food cravings or other changes in appetite
 Joint or muscle pain
 Cramps
 Depression
 Anxiety
 Gastrointestinal issues, including bloating, diarrhea, and constipation
 Mood swings
 Crying spells
 Irritability or anger
 Tension
 And more…

While all of the causes of PMS haven’t yet been identified, the main factors include the changes in hormones during your cycle and possible alterations in brain chemistry. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies, a diet containing salty foods, alcohol and caffeine, and lifestyle factors are thought to worsen symptoms. There’s no need to sit idly by and allow PMS to get in the way of your daily activities. Acupuncture research has shown that the holistic practice can have a dramatic positive effect.
A study published in the Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics reported that the success rate for treating PMS symptoms with acupuncture was 77.8%, as compared to 5.9% in the placebo group. Some of the women no longer had PMS after two acupuncture sessions. The researchers believe, “the positive influence of acupuncture in treating PMS symptoms can be ascribed to its effects on the serotoninergic and opioidergic neurotransmission that modulates various psychosomatic functions.”

From a traditional Chinese medicine perspective, acupuncture is thought to stabilize hormones by eliminating blockages in qi, or energy. In addition, treatments help to encourage relaxation, which harmonizes the physical, emotional, and spiritual. By encouraging the body’s natural healing mechanism, balance is achieved, thus alleviating symptoms. Painless menstruation requires proper circulation. This can be hindered by stagnation. Addressing certain acupuncture points will restore this circulation and ease pressure.

In addition to actual acupuncture, a licensed, well-trained practitioner will look at the root cause of PMS and examine your lifestyle. Exercise, Chinese herbs, dietary changes, multivitamins, and stress reduction techniques may be recommended, as well. For example, most acupuncturists, and even Western doctors, will tell patients to cut out caffeine, alcohol, and sugar, particularly during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle when PMS occurs.

Unlike common medications prescribed to control PMS, such as NSAIDs, acupuncture does not pose a threat of serious side effects. It’s a relatively painless and completely natural way to take the edge off of the discomfort. Remember to always choose a fully trained, licensed acupuncturist for safety and the best chance at success.

Healthy Aging: Traditional Chinese Medicine Perspective

Although the risk of disease and disability clearly increase with advancing age, poor health is not an inevitable consequence of aging. Many of the illnesses, disabilities, and deaths associated with chronic diseases are avoidable through known preventive measures.
Key measures include practicing a healthy lifestyle (for example, regular physical activity, healthy eating, and avoiding tobacco use) and the use of early detection practices (for example, screening for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers, diabetes, and depression).
Throughout the middle and later years, people gradually develop signs and symptoms of aging like graying and thinning of the hair, ringing in the ears, hearing loss, infertility, diminished sexual function, menopause, forgetfulness, urinary and bowel incontinence, pain and weakness in the lower back, hip, and knees, reduced bone density, and increased risk of fractures.
Western medicine recognizes that some of these symptoms may be due to deficiency in sexual hormones such as estrogen and testosterone, which is why hormone replacement has become a focus of “antiaging” medicine.
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) offers a different perspective that is energy based. From a TCM standpoint, aging is a process of losing kidney qi and essence. Kidney here is not just the anatomic entity of the two kidneys we have in our lower backs but an energy subsystem called the kidney meridian.
Kidney qi and essence, according to the “Yellow Emperor’s Classics,” dating back to about 200 B.C., is responsible for brain development and function, including hearing, bone matrix, and function of bone marrows, sexual function and capacity to conceive, and regulation of the urinary tract and the bowels. This meridian reflects the mental functions of will power and motivation and emotions derived from fear.


Kidney qi and essence is called prenatal because it is inherited from our parents. Therefore, there is a wide range of differences among individuals, and the amount of kidney qi and essence within an individual is limited. The status of kidney qi and essence manifests clearly in our hair.
Menopause in a woman is a hallmark of deficient kidney qi and essence. In addition, kidney qi and essence is the major support for other subsystems causing a wide variety of symptoms. Other factors can make one lose kidney essence faster. For example, the dysfunction of other meridians can increase the demand and depletion of kidney qi and essence, for example, poor care during pregnancy and childbirth, heavy menstruation, excessive ejaculation in men, and excess of fear.
Meridian status of qi and essence is achieved through classic TCM techniques, such as pulse diagnosis.


The primary interventions of TCM to balance meridians include acupuncture, Chinese herbs, and qigong.


A brief discussion of a couple cases from our patients is provided to illustrate the
TCM approach. Amy, a 40-year-old woman, reported feeling like she was 90. She had stopped menstruating 10 years ago and lost sexual drive 9 years ago, which is about when she began to suffer from urinary incontinence and osteoporosis. In addition, she had severe seasonal depression and insomnia. She was assessed by classic Chinese medicine techniques and was diagnosed with severe kidney qi deficiency. She was treated with three weekly acupuncture sessions and given Chinese herbal supplements. Her symptoms improved significantly.


Cathy, a 65-year-old woman, complained of difficulty concentrating and memorizing. She attributed these symptoms to side effects from the four medications she was taking to control her severe depression. She was evaluated with TCM techniques and determined to have kidney qi and essence deficiency and liver stagnation. Twice per week, acupuncture and Chinese herbal remedies were given for a period of three months. In addition to improvement in cognitive function, she reported less low back and knee pain, more sexual satisfaction, reduced urinary incontinence, and better mood. With her physician’s guidance, she also was able to decrease her psychotropic medications.


To age healthfully, people need to protect their kidney qi and essence as early as possible. Things that will help include having a healthy lifestyle, such as regular and enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, regular physical activity, having a healthy sex life, and coping with life with less fear.
Foods that are thought to replenish kidney energy, such as grains, dark green leafy vegetables (cooked), black soybeans, black sesame seeds, black mushrooms, walnuts, chestnuts, fish, shrimp, seaweed, lamb, and duck.


Herbs thought to support kidney energy are ginseng, Rehmannia root, and lychee nut.
One can learn to stimulate acupuncture points with self-acupressure. Many relaxation techniques and energy exercises can positively affect meridian balance. We particularly recommend mindfulness-based meditation, Tai Chi, and qigong.


Chinese medicine-based cultivation systems like Falun Dafa go beyond anti-aging and aim for spiritual enlightenment and eternal life.
Aging is a natural process of life, and healthy aging is achievable, particularly through integrating that best of Eastern and Western medicine. Therefore, it is advisable that you have a consultation with a well-trained doctor of traditional Chinese medicine to discuss an individual plan that uses ancient Chinese wisdom. However, you should do so in addition to the care you already get from your doctors of conventional medicine.

Dr. Yang is a board-certified psychiatrist and is a fourth-generation doctor of Chinese medicine.

Carrot Ginger Soup


2 tablespoons olive oil (30ml)
1 large onion, chopped (225g)
3 garlic cloves, chopped
5 cups carrots, chopped (540g)
2 tablespoons peeled and grated ginger (30g)
6 cups veggie broth (1.4 liters)
3/4 cup coconut milk (175ml)
Salt and Pepper to taste


In a large pot, heat the oil and saute the onion and garlic for 3 minutes.

Add the carrots and ginger and stir for 30 seconds.

Add the broth and bring to a boil.

Once it has reached a boil, turn down the heat and allow it to simmer for 20 minutes.

Turn off heat and add the coconut milk.

In a blender, blend your soup in batches until it’s creamy and smooth (Place a kitchen towel on top of the blender and use caution when blending in case any of the hot soup jumps out).

When soup is completely blended and back in the pot, add salt and pepper to taste.

Spring Vegetable Risotto

8d03fd4c-2a9c-4988-bbf1-999f40319b95Serves 4


6 cups (1.5lt) reduced salt chicken stock

1 tbsp olive oil

1 leek, sliced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1.5 cups (300g) Arborio rice

1 cup (120g) frozen peas

100g green beans, trimmed, blanched & halved

1 zucchini, sliced

½ cup chopped parsley leaves

2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese

Bunch of baby rocket


1. Heat stock in saucepan until simmering.

2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a saucepan on medium. Cook leek & garlic for 5 minutes, stirring, until soft. Stir in rice and cook for 1 minute until rice is translucent.

Add ½ cup of stock, stirring until absorbed. Repeat with remaining stock, ½ a cup at a time, stirring, for 15-20 minutes, until stock is absorbed. Fold through peas, beans & zucchini and cook for another 5 minutes until rice is tender & creamy.

3. Remove from heat and stir through parsley and parmesan. Stand covered for 5 minutes. Season to taste and serve with baby rocket (or similar).

Acupuncture helps relieve headache and back pain

by David Gutierrez, staff writer

(Natural News) Acupuncture outperformed both placebo and conventional pain therapies – including pharmaceutical drugs – in a new study conducted by researchers from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York from numerous universities in Germany and England. The study was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.


The findings “provide the most robust evidence to date that acupuncture is a reasonable referral option,” the authors wrote.


Acupuncture is an important part of traditional Chinese medicine, a holistic healthcare system that focuses on both preventive and curative care. In traditional acupuncture, long, thin needles are inserted into specific bodily locations, known as meridians, in patterns indicated by the patient’s specific symptoms and needs. Traditionally, acupuncture is combined with other therapies such as dietary changes, medicinal herbs and energetics practices such as Qigong.


The use of acupuncture has become more popular in the West as scientific studies have continued to affirm its helpfulness, particularly for the relief of pain. It has been used as a treatment by the U.S. military and is even covered by some private insurance plans, although not by Medicare. The California Legislature recently recommended acupuncture as one of the therapies to be covered by all health insurance plans in the state, beginning in 2014.


Studies have also shown acupuncture to be helpful in treating conditions other than pain, such as easing addiction-related cravings and even causing improvement in patients suffering from psychological or mood disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. But scientists remain divided over whether acupuncture provides any more benefit than a placebo, which was one of the questions the current study was designed to examine.


Better than drugs, and safer


The researchers conducted a meta-analysis on data from 29 prior studies involving nearly 18,000 adults. The research was funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a federal institution, as well as the nonprofit Samueli Institute, which supports research into alternative medicine.


The original studies had examined patients with chronic pain from a variety of causes, including neck, shoulder and back pain, arthritis, and recurring headaches. Participants in every study had been randomly assigned to treatment either from acupuncture, standard treatments such as drugs and physical therapy, or fake acupuncture that inserted needles at points other than the traditional meridians.


In the meta-analysis, participants’ pain was described using a scale from zero to 100. Prior to any intervention, the average participant’s pain measured 60. The average pain after conventional Western treatment was 43, compared with 35 among patients who received fake acupuncture and 30 among those who received real acupuncture. The researchers noted that the difference between acupuncture and conventional treatments was strong and significant, while the difference between real and fake acupuncture was strong enough to be suggestive, but not conclusive.


In a commentary published in the same issue of the journal, researcher and physician Andrew Avins of the University of California-San Francisco noted that the study was stronger than previous meta-analyses, because the authors examined the original data from the pooled studies and not just their conclusions. Avins was not involved in the study.

Avins noted that the question of whether acupuncture works via placebo or via some other, unknown mechanism may be missing the point. Because acupuncture is an effective, low-risk therapy, the best course may be to offer it to patients now and worry about why it works later.

“Perhaps a more productive strategy at this point would be to provide whatever benefits we can for our patients, while we continue to explore more carefully all mechanisms of healing,” he wrote.


Sources for this article include:

Needling issue of weight loss

About 80 per cent of Chinese people use acupuncture to treat obesity, writes SYLVIA THOMPSON


ACUPUNCTURE HAS a well-established reputation for helping people with various problems from giving up smoking to dealing with chronic pain. However, helping people lose weight is not something we associate with the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practice.


Last week, doctors from China came to Dublin to give a seminar on using acupuncture in the treatment of obesity. Dr Chen Xi from the Shanghai 6th People’s Hospital in Shanghai, China, explained that acupuncture is the treatment of choice for many obese people in China.“About 80 per cent of Chinese people use acupuncture to treat obesity,” she says. “People would use other methods as well like changing their diet and exercising more but white collar workers in particular prefer to use acupuncture than pills if they are overweight.”


In TCM, the metabolism of each patient is analysed before specific acupuncture points are chosen to work on. “The key to correct treatment is selecting the correct acupuncture points, manipulating the needles when they are in place and making sure that the cause of obesity is fully understood,” explains Xi. Electrical stimulation is sometimes also applied to the needles and the session is ended with five minutes of the TCM practice of cupping (warmed cups applied directly to specific acupuncture points).


The approach Xi uses in the Shanghai 6th People’s Hospital has been researched to find the optimal schedule of acupuncture sessions. “In China, many people choose to have 30 minutes of acupuncture once a day for 10 days, then take a three- to five-day rest, then have 10 more daily sessions, followed by rest, followed by 10 more sessions,” she explains.“However, our research shows that it is better to have three sessions a week over a three-month period.


“It’s important to decrease the body weight by 10 per cent over three months [with a weight loss of 260g after each acupuncture session] and then see if you can maintain that lower body weight for another three months. That way, the body can establish a new balance,” she explains.If more treatment is required, it can be started six months after the initial treatment began. “Some Chinese people over 50 also have weekly sessions of acupuncture to keep their body weight under control,” she adds.


Xi is keen to point out that obesity which originated in adulthood is easier to treat than obesity that originated in childhood. She concurs with Western medical doctors when she says, “the period of time when the mother is 30 weeks pregnant up to when the child is 18 months old is a sensitive period. If the child has too much energy intake [food] during that period, the number of fat cells in the body will increase sharply.”


The big question is whether overweight people in Ireland would sign up for acupuncture between three and seven times a week. In China, hospitals are set up to accommodate six to eight people having acupuncture at the same time in a ward with minimal privacy. Here, most acupuncturists treat patients individually although it is not unheard of to have three to four people undergoing acupuncture treatment at the same time, albeit in private clinics.


The other big issue is cost. In China, a session of acupuncture costs about €2 (most of which is covered by health insurance) for 20 minutes whereas in Ireland, a session of acupuncture costs €60-€65 for 45-60 minutes.


If an Irish person opted for this approach to treating obesity, it would cost at least €1,800. Some acupuncturists working here have treated clients for obesity with fewer sessions of acupuncture than suggested by Xi.


Generally speaking, a practitioner would put a programme together combining acupuncture with Chinese herbs, both of which would be used to regulate appetite, help the body digest food better and lift the spirits so as the client could deal with food better.“In TCM, the aim is to ‘tone up’ the digestive system. A lot of attention is also placed on how you eat your food as well as what you eat. Many obese people have very poor eating habits,” says Amanda Hughes, TCM practitioner who has treated many people for obesity.


“People definitely lose weight with TCM – the big challenge is whether they can keep it off. I usually recommend my clients also go to a naturopath who will look closely at dietary and lifestyle factors.”


Dr Donal O’Shea, a consultant endocrinologist, treats many obese people at his clinic in the James Connolly Memorial Hospital in Blanchardstown, Dublin.“Acupuncture clearly has a role in mainstream medicine but its effectiveness in treating obesity is unproven,” he says.


“At best, studies have found a 3kg weight loss but the average weight loss found is about 1.5kgs following a course of treatment,” he adds.


O’Shea is concerned that people will try anything to lose weight. “My clinic is full of people who have paid large amounts of money to help them lose weight.


“[In my view], the benefit of acupuncture is a reflection of the patient’s intent and the trouble is that their motivation will drop once the acupuncture sessions have finished.“Perhaps, it has a role in helping people’s mental attitude to losing weight – in conjunction with dietary, physical activity and other approaches but [as of now] it hasn’t been studied in this way.”


And finally, as a visitor to Ireland, Xi says she has the impression that there is less social pressure on Irish people to keep a normal body weight.“Obesity is a big problem everywhere with over 100 diseases associated with it.

Acupuncture can normalise accelerated gastrointestinal motility

‘Four Gates’ treatment normalises GI motility

An experimental study had found that acupuncture at the ‘Four Gates’ (Siguan) can normalise accelerated gastrointestinal (GI) motility. In a Korean experiment, 21 healthy male subjects were randomly allocated to either a real acupuncture group (needled at bilateral Hegu L.I.-4 and Taichong LIV-3) or a sham acupuncture group (needled at non-acupoints two to three centimetres lateral from Hegu L.I.-4 and Taichong LIV-3). In order to induce excessive and accelerated GI motility, subjects were administered the drug mosapride citrate for two days, starting 24 hours before the first acupuncture treatment. All participants were also administered radioisotope markers immediately before the first acupuncture treatment, and GI motility was measured via radiography immediately after the first acupuncture treatment and at six, 12, 24 and 48 hours thereafter. Acupuncture treatment was conducted a total of four times at intervals of 12-hours. After a two-week washout period, the real acupuncture group in the first experiment was treated with sham acupuncture in the second experimental session, and vice versa. Gastrointestinal motility was found to be generally reduced in the real acupuncture group compared with the sham acupuncture group throughout the four time points. A significant difference was observed at 24 hours following the first acupuncture treatment. (Effect of siguan acupuncture on gastrointestinal motility: a randomized, sham-controlled, crossover trial. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:918392).