5 Ways to Balance Your Hormones

Hormones! They haven’t got the greatest reputation and are commonly associated with crazy irrational behaviour. However, these little chemical messengers are incredibly important. And have the complex job of maintaining proper body function such as metabolism, growth development, reproduction, sleep and mood. There are different glands that produce hormones including the pituitary, thyroid, parathyroid, adrenal, pancreas, ovaries, and testes, fat tissue, kidneys and the gut.

The glands are located all over your body. And there are over 70 hormones acting on their individual target receptors on organs and enacting change so that your body is kept in balance. This system, the endocrine system, is a tightly regulated system and when there is too much or not enough of a specific hormone it can cause numerous issues.

Common signs of hormonal imbalance are not limited to but include:

  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Weight gain/unintentional weight loss
  • Irregular menstruation
  • Fatigue
  • Dry skin/hair
  • Muscle cramps
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Anxiety, nervousness

So if you have identified with a few of these signs here are 5 ways to help your body’s endocrine function.

  1. Get enough protein Most people I see in the clinic are not getting enough protein in their diet. And it’s essential in balancing the metabolic hormones such as insulin and leptin. Make sure you are getting a minimum of 20-30 g of protein per meal.
  2. Get moving Exercise has endless health benefits and affects your hormones in various ways. Studies have shown it improve metabolism through modulating insulin sensitivity and levels. In addition it has been shown to boost hormones that decline naturally with age.
  3. Get enough rest
    I speak about sleep in most of my articles but it really is paramount in good health. Sleep can influence your cortisol, insulin, leptin and growth hormones affecting your stress response, metabolism and musculoskeletal growth and recovery.

Prioritise sleep and set up good bed time habits to ensure you get at least 8 hrs of quality sleep.

4. Get out of your head

The all pervasive effects of stress in our society can lead to our bodies being constantly in the state of stress. This leads to our stress hormone, cortisol, being elevated which can lead to weight retention around the belly, and obesity.
Make it a habit to set aside 10-15 mins of your day to do some yoga, meditation, or mindful walking.

5. Get acupuncture and herbs
Finally, acupuncture and herbs can help kickstart, reinforce and sustain the good habits you implement.

Research has shown it’s many effects on regulating the endocrine system, reducing stress, improving sleep and metabolism.

Through a course of sessions I work with each patient by looking at their lifestyle and environment and making the necessary changes. Most of my patients see positive changes in their sleep, digestion, metabolism and menses within a few weeks of treatment.

Written by Dr. Rebekah Loh

Acupuncturist & Chinese Herbalist

Rebekah is a super qualified and enthusiastic practitioner. She has a double degree in Health Science and Chinese Medicine she also has a degree in Biomedical Science. Rebekah completed further study in hospital internships in Nanjing, China and Taichung, Taiwan. She speaks English (fluent), Mandarin Chinese (intermediate) & Cantonese (beginner).

Rebekah can help with a whole range of conditions, and she is particularly passionate about women’s health, obstetrics, gynaecology and fertility.

In her spare time, Rebekah likes to play Futsal, Badminton and Viola.

Rebekah is available:

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday.
Call (03) 9486 5966

Book Your Appointment with Rebekah TODAY

What are the benefits of Qi Gong?

Qi Gong (pronounced chee goong), is a health practice that has stood the test of time. Many fads come and go, but like Yoga, Qi Gong has been practiced for thousands of years. Originally in China.

Qi Gong involves movements, postures, breathing methods and has meditative aspects. There are many different types of Qi Gong, each having a specific benefit. But what are the main benefits of Qi Gong? Why has it been practiced for so long?

Personally, I’ve found the main benefit of Qi Gong to be increased energy levels. Significantly. Tangibly. And within 24 hours of practicing it.

While teaching Qi Gong in the last decade, the most common benefit that students report is improved sleep. Even after their first one hour class.

Benefits of Qi Gong:

  1. Builds energy
  2. Promotes circulation
  3. Calms the mind
  4. Soothes nerves
  5. Boost immunity
  6. Improves sleep
  7. Connects you with your self
  8. Facilitates emotional stability
  9. Promotes flexibility
  10. Stimulates metabolism
  11. Builds muscular strength

Much more research about the benefits of Qi Gong has been done in recent years. Such as:

Managing Stress & Anxiety
Physical Health Benefits
Qigong For FibromyagliaI
Depression
High Blood Pressure
Cancer

Why don’t you try it and feel the benefits for yourself? The benefits can come very quickly.

We have regular Qi Gong classes and workshops at Freedom Chinese Medicine in Ivanhoe, Melbourne. Click here to read more about them.

Wishing you improved health and that you can reap the benefits that Qi Gong can bring.

I love that once you know some simple Qi Gong exercises, you can practice it anywhere, anytime, for no cost. It’s a skill that can keep on giving..

Written by Dr. Elaine Hickman

Acupuncturist at Freedom Chinese Medicine

Benefits of Herbal Teas

Herbal tea is so delicious and has the added benefits of helping many conditions. In Chinese Medicine we use lots of different ingredients to make up teas that can then treat specific problems. I drink herbal teas daily and feel so much better for it.

Green Tea is fantastic for people who feel the heat and want to cool down. It can calm agitation, relieve nervousness and headaches. But if you experience any nausea, avoid this tea.

Ginger is great at helping nausea and stomach upsets. Just slice a couple of pieces of fresh ginger, put them into a mug and add boiling water. Voila! An instant anti-nausea fix. It is a very warming tea and works well when you have chills or a cough with white phlegm.

We stock Ginger Root Tea here at Freedom Chinese Medicine, it is great for helping with menstrual issues, cold hands and feet.  

Peppermint Tea is a helpful digestive, it is great for having after a meal, especially if you have a stomach ache.

Additionally, it is cooling so this is the tea to drink on hot days. It can also be useful for when you have a cold with a fever, cough, sore throat, headache, irritability and premenstrual bloating and pain. Once cooled the tea bags can be placed over the eyes to relieve redness as well.

Fennel is also helpful for digestion, just put some fennel seeds in with your mint tea and you can get relief from bloating, indigestion, flatulence and vomiting.

Licorice root tea tastes amazing and has a natural sweetness to it, so if you crave sweets, sugar or chocolate, then a cup of licorice tea is fantastic for stopping you reaching for the unhealthy snacks.

It can help ease a dry cough and helps fight fatigue too. If you experience high blood pressure this tea is best avoided.

A great combination for helping your periods flow easily is rose and goji berry. Put 2-3 rose buds (these can be found at Asian groceries) and about 7 goji berries into a tea pot, steep for 10 minutes and drink throughout the day, just keep topping up the water in the pot. Drink this before your period to help with pain and to improve your mood.

Here at Freedom Chinese Medicine we stock Dandelion Root Tea; this can be used for loss of appetite, upset stomach, intestinal gas, gallstones, joint pain, muscle aches, eczema, and bruises, to increase urine production and as a laxative. It is also used as a blood tonic and digestive tonic1.

We also sell Raspberry Leaf tea to our pregnant clients. Raspberry Leaf is a uterine tonic, meaning that it can help promote a smoother labour.

We have a many delicious combinations of herbal tea here at Freedom Chinese Medicine. They have been formulated to help with specific conditions such as a Hayfever Relief Tea, Super Cooling Tea for headache, eye ache and inflammation, Balancing Tea (my favourite) to alleviate hay fever and calm irritability. The Calming Tea and Energy Boosting Teas are two brews that we could all have in our cupboards at different times throughout the year!

Come in and speak to one of us and find out which tea is best suited to you.

Written by Dr. Kate Howden

Acupuncturist at Freedom Chinese Medicine

References

1https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-706/dandelion

Natural Care for Kids

Benefits of Acupuncture for Children

Children are especially responsive to Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. I have treated many conditions ranging from eczema to bed wetting in children, with great results. It offers a safe, natural and effective approach to health care for kids and they love it.

The technique I use with children is gentle and painless. The needles are very small and fine and are rarely felt by the child. Needle free techniques can also be used if the child is afraid of needles, such as Laser Acupuncture. I have treated babies as young as a few weeks old through to teenagers with Chinese Medicine.

Unlike Western drugs that can have unwanted side effects, Chinese Medicine has a very low probability of causing adverse effects1 and has the benefit of calming the child as well.

I can also teach you some simple and easy techniques. Such as acupressure points that you can take away, to use at home. And continue the beneficial effects of the acupuncture treatment.

Some of the conditions that acupuncture has been used widely for with children are:

  • Constipation
  • Colds, Sore Throat, Tonsillitis, Hay fever
  • Sleep problems
  • Eczema
  • Asthma
  • Anxiety
  • ADHD
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Bed Wetting
  • Tic Disorders
  • Nausea & Vomiting
  • Pain
  • Mumps
  • Lazy eye 2

With acupuncture being such an excellent anti-inflammatory and boost to the immune system3, it is effective across many childhood disorders and complaints. Babies and children have an immature immune system which means that they catch most viruses going around.

Sometimes it feels like there is hardly a break between the tonsillitis, ear infections and runny noses. Chinese Medicine can help your child recover more quickly and therefore feel better sooner.  

It is so lovely to see children leave the clinic happier and more comfortable.

Written by Dr. Kate Howden

Dr. Kate Howden is an empathetic and caring practitioner, with over a decade of nursing experience, in both general and psychiatric nursing. And now years of experience as a Chinese Medicine practitioner. She takes a holistic approach to client care and loves seeing people feel better about themselves.

Kate has a particular passion for women’s health. She is a mother with her own children and stepchildren and understands the many challenges women face. Kate also has experience in treating withdrawal from drug and alcohol addiction.

She enjoys regular games of netball and long walks with her partner.

Click here to book an appointment with Kate

References

  1. Jindal, V, Ge, A & Mansky, PJ 2008, ‘Safety and Efficacy of Acupuncture in Children. A Review of the Evidence’, Journal of Paediatric Hemotology Oncology, vol. 30, no. 6, pp. 431- 442.
  2. Yang, C, Hao, Z, Zhang, LL & Guo, Q 2015, ‘Efficacy and safety of acupuncture in children: an overview of systematic reviews’, Pediatric Research, no. 78, pp. 112-119.
  3. Arranz, L, Guayerbas, N, Siboni, L, De la Fuente, M 2007, ‘Effect of acupuncture treatment on the immune function impairment found in anxious women’, The American Journal of Chinese Medicine, vol. 35, No. 01, pp. 35-51.

BMI chart for Adults

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Note About BMI

However, BMI is not always the best measure of your overall health. It’s not even the best way to measure whether you’re carrying too much or too little fat on your body.

 

For example, an athlete may have a very high BMI, one that indicates being overweight. Despite having an “overweight” BMI, they may be very lean and fit. This is because muscle weighs more than fat.

 

Another example, you can have a normal BMI, but if you’re very muscular, you may have too little fat on your body. This can cause fertility problems.

 

Yet another possibility, your weight may be in the normal range, but you may carry more fat, and less muscle, than is healthy.

 

If you’re concerned about your weight (or lack of fat, or too much fat), talk to your doctor. They can do a full evaluation. This will give you much more information than BMI numbers alone.

Delicious & Healthy Chocolate Christmas Balls

I love this recipe, it is a great snack for when I am craving something sweet and since it is sugar free it is great for my health. I also find that they fill me up, so I don’t have to eat heaps of them to satisfy that craving.

I make these for family and friends as Christmas gifts and after all the indulgent food they have eaten, they are thankful for something healthy and yummy at the same time. They look fantastic inside a small colourful bowl, wrapped in cellophane and tied with Christmas ribbon. I usually double the recipe so there is enough for everyone. Makes about 30 small balls.

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups (225g) Whole Almonds (and or Walnuts, Cashews – whatever nuts you have handy!)
  • 15 Medjool Dates, pitted
  • 1 tablespoon Chia Seeds
  • 1 tablespoon Cacao Powder/Cocoa Powder
  • 2 tablespoons Coconut Oil
  • Zest of 1 Orange

Method:

  1. Place the nuts into a food processor and blend until they are finely ground.
  2. Add the dates, chia seeds, cocoa powder, coconut oil and orange zest and blend until the mixture is completely combined and holds together when you press a chunk together.
  3. Roll into large teaspoon sized balls using your hands, then place in the fridge to cool for 30 mins-1 hour.

I store these in the fridge in an airtight container and they last for a week or so.

Walnuts are great for the kidneys and if you are trying to conceive, they are especially beneficial for men!

 

Written by:

Dr Kate Howden

Acupuncturist

Dr. Kate Howden has been carefully selected to cover most of Dr. Elaine Hickman’s shifts while Elaine is on maternity leave. Elaine is confident that you’ll be well looked after by Kate.

Dr. Kate Howden is an empathetic and caring practitioner, with over a decade of nursing experience, in both general and psychiatric nursing. And now years of experience as a Chinese Medicine practitioner. She takes a holistic approach to client care and loves seeing people feel better about themselves.

Kate has a particular passion for women’s health. She is a mother with her own children and stepchildren and understands the many challenges women face. Kate also has experience in treating withdrawal from drug and alcohol addiction.

She enjoys regular games of netball and long walks with her partner.

Cupping Therapy: How Can This Help You Surpass COPD?

Cupping is amazing. It feels awesome. I love getting cupping and I love treating with cupping.

What is cupping and what does it actually do?

Cupping is where glass cups are applied to the skin. I use fire to remove the oxygen from the inside of the cup, this creates a vacuum so that when the cup is placed on the skin suction occurs. This suction separates the layers of skin and muscle and allowing blood and oxygen to flow. The space created by the suction also allows toxins to be pulled out and brought to the surface where the lymphatic system (the circulating body fluid that assists our immune system) can remove them.

The marks left by cupping are not a bruises but an indication of the stagnation hiding below the surface. The marks can range in colour from dark purple to yellow and fade within days to weeks. These marks lessen with each subsequent application of cups over the same area as the stagnation is resolved1. Cupping is harmless and does not cause any adverse side effects, additionally; the results are often fast2, 4.

Cupping can be beneficial for those with a Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)3. The phlegm build-up that is often experienced can be broken up and relieved with cupping over the lung area. Acupuncture & Chinese Herbal Medicine are a great conjunct to cupping therapy in treating airway diseases. I personally have experienced much relief from cupping to address phlegm, wheezing and coughing when using these therapies in combination to treat my symptoms of asthma. I also find that the calmness and relaxation experienced with Chinese Medicine helps reduce my symptoms. Cupping is great for relaxing the muscles, so you can breathe easier with shoulders and chest that are not strained and tensed up. Cupping promotes the body’s self-healing abilities so that it can fight the too readily encountered respiratory illnesses4.

In his book, Manz (2009) states: “There is no other disease where the therapist succeeds as quickly as in diseases of the respiratory organs. Hence, these are the true domain of cupping”. With muscle relaxation, break-up of phlegm, improvements to our immune system and relaxation, who wouldn’t want cupping?!

Written by:

Dr Kate Howden

Acupuncturist

Dr. Kate Howden has been carefully selected to cover most of Dr. Elaine Hickman’s shifts while Elaine is on maternity leave. Elaine is confident that you’ll be well looked after by Kate.

Dr. Kate Howden is an empathetic and caring practitioner, with over a decade of nursing experience, in both general and psychiatric nursing. And now years of experience as a Chinese Medicine practitioner. She takes a holistic approach to client care and loves seeing people feel better about themselves.

Kate has a particular passion for women’s health. She is a mother with her own children and stepchildren and understands the many challenges women face. Kate also has experience in treating withdrawal from drug and alcohol addiction.

She enjoys regular games of netball and long walks with her partner.

References

1Bentley, B 2015, ‘A Cupping Mark is not a Bruise’, The Lantern vol. 12 no. 2, pp. 14-20.

2Constantin, PI, ‘Cupping Therapy’, Scribd.

3Chirali, I 1991, ‘Practical Guide to Cupping Therapy’, Journal of Chinese Medicine no. 37, pp. 21-26.

4Manz, H 2009, ‘The Art of Cupping’, Thieme, Stuttgart.

Chinese Medicine for Acne

Argh pimples & acne! Are you battling these problems? Chinese Medicine can help you.

Acne is a chronic condition that begins in adolescence and presents with lots of inflamed and noninflamed pimples, oily skin & cysts1. It can be such a distressing condition, especially during the teenage years. Chinese Medicine uses a holistic and unique approach for every individual. We know that certain parts of the face correspond to different organs. So, for example, if you get lots of pimples on your forehead, to treat this I recommend drinking two glasses of room temperature water when you wake in the morning. This nourishes the stomach which is represented by the forehead in Chinese Medicine and therefore reduces the pimples there. So simple and easy!

The aim of Chinese Medicine is to reduce the inflammation of pimples, so we get rid of the redness, reduce the production of pus and regulate the skin, and hormones if need be. This can be done with a combination of acupuncture, herbs, and diet and lifestyle advice. The ability of acupuncture to reduce stress, improve the immune system2 and balance hormones1 makes it a great therapy for treating pimples and acne.

Maybe you’ve tried the drugs and the side effects have been too much, or perhaps you would prefer to take a more natural approach. Whatever your motivations, come and see me so I can help you through this distressing time.

Also, if you have been left with scarring from acne, cosmetic acupuncture can help to reduce the look of scars3 and give your skin a glow from the inside out!

Let’s nip acne in the butt together (or at least reduce it!). Receive a $20 discount on your next acupuncture or Chinese medicine appointment when you mention this offer about Acne by the  15th of December 2018.

Written by:

Dr Kate Howden

Acupuncturist

Dr. Kate Howden has been carefully selected to cover most of Dr. Elaine Hickman’s shifts while Elaine is on maternity leave. Elaine is confident that you’ll be well looked after by Kate.

Dr. Kate Howden is an empathetic and caring practitioner, with over a decade of nursing experience, in both general and psychiatric nursing. And now years of experience as a Chinese Medicine practitioner. She takes a holistic approach to client care and loves seeing people feel better about themselves.

Kate has a particular passion for women’s health. She is a mother with her own children and stepchildren and understands the many challenges women face. Kate also has experience in treating withdrawal from drug and alcohol addiction.

She enjoys regular games of netball and long walks with her partner.

 

References

1Mansu, SSY, Liang, H, Parker, S, Coyle, ME, Wang, K, Zhang, AL, Guo, X, Lu, C, Xue, CCL 2018, ‘Acupuncture for Acne Vulgaris: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis’, Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2018: 4806734.

2Arranz, L, Guayerbas, N, Siboni, L, De la Fuente, M 2007, ‘Effect of acupuncture treatment on the immune function impairment found in anxious women’, The American Journal of Chinese Medicine, vol. 35, No. 01, pp. 35-51.

3Kiron, NM & Hoque, T 2018, ‘A Case Report of Acne Vulgaris: Treated by Combination of Acupuncture’, Journal of Clinical & Experimental Dermatology Research, Vol. 9(3) p. 446.

 

Using Aromatherapy to Reduce Anxiety and Depression

Are you feeling worried or stressed?

Does your Immune system need upkeep?

Do you have muscle soreness or discomfort?

Different circumstances in our daily lives can have an impact on our overall wellbeing. You could be dealing with a child who needs individual care, a friend who requires support, a spouse with stress from work, or a teenager worn out from playing sport.

Our sense of smell has a powerful physiological, mental and emotional response to our being.

Aromatherapy can be used to affect the smell receptors that have a direct link to the limbic system through the olfactory nerve, which is part of the brain. This can support a number of functions such as emotions, behaviour and memory, hence helping reduce stress, anxiety, and depression and also help the immune system to support overall health.

By placing a couple of drops in your hand and then cupping your hand around your nose and breathing in deeply could reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed or stressed. You could also place a few drops on a cotton ball and place it in the vents of your car, mix a spray bottle with a blend of oils and water to mist over furniture and carpet, or use it in a diffuser to bring a peaceful nights sleep.

Bringing essential oils into your daily routine can assist in creating an uplifting and focused lifestyle that can be used as a daily maintenance routine.

Another way to maintain a healthy lifestyle that can assist you in coping with anxiety and depression is to have an Aroma Touch Massage with Sue.

This massage technique has a clinical approach to applying essential oils along the energy pathways called meridians and visceral contact points of the back and feet to help balance the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems of the body.  Using 8 different essential oils to support the immune system, help with muscle pain, reduce stress, uplift and bring overall balance and wellbeing back.

This is a great monthly maintenance routine to introduce into your lifestyle. The benefits far out-weigh the problems caused by feeling overwhelmed and stressed in your daily life. By changing a small part of your routine and giving back to yourself, not only assists you but also your family members to manage and feel supported by you more.

Book in today for your Monthly Maintenance, Aroma Touch Massage with Sue and bring back the you that you want to be. With a special running for the next two weeks, you can receive a $20 discount, however you mention this offer when booking in for the Monthly Maintenance by the 14th of December 2018.

 

Written by:

Sue Wellwood

Massage Therapist

Sue Wellwood specialises in a number of healing techniques that help bring balance and calmness to the body.

  • Shiatsu & Oriental Therapies
    • Remedial Massage
    • Advanced Energy Healing
    • Reiki
    • Esoteric Healing
    • Chi Nei Tsang (stomach massage)
    • Cupping and Moxibustion
    • Bach flower Remedies
    • Essential Oil Energy Balancing
    • Chakra Cleansing

References:

https://www.doterra.com/AU/en_AU/using-essential-oils