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

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.

From traumatic birth to healing

Have you ever marveled at your body’s ability to heal itself? I know I have. Especially recently with my recovery from traumatic child-birthing..

.. One week I was exhausted from a 41 hour labour (30hr latent phase, then posterior presentation), incontinent from forceps delivery (why didn’t anybody warn me?), sore from an episiotomy (oh to be able to sit & walk normally). Disappointed about my home birth gone awry. Scared about my recovery (when can I be free of this catheter?)..

Just a few weeks later I was feeling well & functioning normally. At 6 weeks post birth it astonished me to think how I felt 4 weeks prior. So different. The body is truly amazing. It can heal fast. Especially when given the right conditions:

.. Adequate rest, nutrition, fresh air and in my experience, Qi Gong makes a huge difference.

Did I practice Qi Gong to speed up my recovery? Sure did!

What is Qi Gong? Basically, it’s an exercise involving simple movement (or postures), breath and the mind. Similar to Yoga & Tai Chi. But easier to learn & do.

When I started practising Qi Gong intensely in 2005, it changed my life. I thought I was fairly calm & well. Regular Qi Gong practice took my health to a whole new level. I felt amazing. And I became a more powerful healer.

So I’ve maintained a daily practice since then. Sometimes hours, sometimes minutes. But I always feel the benefits.

What are the benefits of Qi Gong?

  • Builds energy
  • Promotes circulation
  • Calms the mind
  • Soothes nerves
  • Boost immunity
  • Improves sleep
  • Connects you with your self
  • Facilitates emotional stability
  • Promotes flexibility
  • Stimulates metabolism
  • Builds muscular strength

Qi Gong has been proven to benefit anxiety, fibromyalgia, weight loss and much more..

 

 

I’ve taught and shared the benefits of Qi Gong for many years. I’ve stopped teaching for a while with a busy clinic taking up most of my time.

However, my recent self-healing experience has reminded me how important Qi Gong teaching is. I’d like to share the benefits with you..

So I’m running 2 workshops this Summer:

Sunday the 16th December 9.30am – 4.30pm

Sunday the 13th January 9.30am – 4.30pm

Location: Upstairs at 261 Waterdale Road, Ivanhoe

Would you like to learn how to boost your self-healing ability? Reach a deeper lever of calm & tranquility?  Then join me for the most relaxing Sunday your likely to spend.

Here is what participants have said about my workshops:

“I’ve meditated before, and I thought I knew how to relax, but never before have I been that relaxed! Never before has my mind been that empty!”

“I recently had the pleasure of attending a one day QiGong course with Elaine. It was a thoroughly relaxing and empowering way to spend the day. I was reminded of the power of the simple sequence. A couple of niggling issues disappeared over night. Thanks Elaine for your thorough teaching and sharing the wisdom.”

Click to reserve your place. Strictly limited to a maximum of 10 participants so be quick!

More information about Qi Gong

FAQ

Written by: Dr Elaine Hickman

Elaine Hickman

 

Workshop FAQ

Qi Gong Workshop ~ Frequently Asked Questions

What is Qi Gong?

Qi Gong is an ancient art, which is thought to have given birth to many of the Chinese sciences, such as Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Herbalism.  The word Qi Gong simply translates as “Energy Work”.  Qi Gong is a way to cultivate and circulate internal energy.

 

Qi Gong is similar to Yoga and Tai Chi in that it involves postures, movements, breathing and meditation for healing and health promotion.  Qi Gong is unique in that it is more energy focused than most forms of Yoga, and does not involve holding difficult postures.  Qi Gong science is the foundation from which Tai Chi was developed, the focus is on fundamental wellbeing and self-healing.

 

At last count, there were over 450 forms of Qi Gong being taught in China.  It is generally said that it has five major schools, Medical, Martial arts, Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian. Another way Qi Gong is classified is into Active and Passive Qi Gong  – the latter being mainly still postures emphasising meditation.

 

What style of Qi Gong will be taught in this workshop?

Medical Qi Gong will be taught and practiced in this workshop.  It is a style of Qi Gong focused on self-healing, and is a Passive, stillness-orientated practice.

 

What will we be doing?

Learning and practising:

  • 4 stillness postures: sitting, standing, lying down
  • A gentle active, outdoor form
  • Loosing exercises to benefit your joints
  • An acupressure routine to follow sitting practice
  • How to implement practice in daily life
  • Relaxing & possibly sleeping at times 😊

 

Who is the teacher?

Qi Gong is such a powerful practice, it is important to learn from somebody who thoroughly understands Qi Gong.  Many claim to, but few actually do.  Dr Elaine Hickman will be teaching this Qi Gong workshop.  Elaine Hickman is a Doctor of Chinese Medicine who has specialised in Acupuncture for over 20 years.  Elaine has been studying Qi Gong since 1994 and learnt Medical Qi Gong from Qi Gong master Dr. Bisong Guo, author of “Listen to Your Body”.  Elaine practiced with Bisong intensely for five years, travelling to China on a Qi Gong study tour in 2006.   Elaine is passionate about bringing you an authentic, empowering and enjoyable workshop so you can experience the amazingly relaxing and healing benefits of Medical Qi Gong.

 

How many people will there be in the workshop?

The workshops will have a maximum number of 10 participants to ensure high quality teaching and practice.

 

What do I need to wear?

Loose fitting comfortable clothing and shoes with socks.

 

What level of ability is required?

The ability to lie down, stand, sit and be quiet is all that is essentially required.   The workshop is tailored to beginners, although the more experienced are welcome.

 

Are the workshops suitable for pregnant women?

Yes, the activities in the workshop are gentle. Please just advise your teacher.

 

What are the benefits of Qi Gong?

Regular Qi Gong practice:

Builds energy

Promotes circulation

Calms the mind

Soothes nerves

Boost immunity

Improves sleep

Connects you with your self

Facilitates emotional stability

Promotes flexibility

Stimulates metabolism

Builds muscular strength

Book your place in the next workshop

Stress Relief Naturally

Are you feeling overwhelmed? Is the stress of work plus kids and family getting too much for you too?

Acupuncture and Chinese herbs are great for relaxation and being able to manage life, stress free. I see many mothers (and fathers) who have found relief from stress through acupuncture and herbs.

Research1 has shown that acupuncture reduces stress and pain, and potentially depression. Sometimes it just gets all too much. There are pressures at work and then when you get home it seems never ending.

Life can just be too overwhelming at times. Sometimes the act of coming in for an appointment, sharing your story (or grievances!) and lying down and being cared for makes the world of difference.

On top of this are the benefits of acupuncture on both mental and emotional well-being. These come about from Serotonin release, modulation of the autonomic nervous system and improvements in immune function2. So not only do you feel better, your immune system is also strengthened, and you don’t catch everything that comes along. That is a win win!

Do you also find at the end of the day that your neck and shoulders are tight and sore? Or is your jaw painful from teeth clenching? Chinese medicine is particularly effective at relieving these pains and calming the stress that caused them in the first place.

We treat the cause not just the symptoms. We follow this up with a preventative approach, so your problems don’t return. There are numerous studies3 on the positive effects of acupuncture on anxiety, including some that reported an enhancement of the effects of prescription anti-anxiety medication and a reduction in their side effects.

With Christmas fast approaching and work deadlines becoming more urgent, the stresses at home can feel exacerbated. I have had many a client comment on how much easier it is for them to cope since they have been having acupuncture. Come and see me and make your life easier. Make an appointment today and you can enjoy Christmas more.

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 with 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.

Kate consults on Tuesdays, Thursdays & Saturdays.

Click here to book an appointment:  https://freedomchinesemedicine.com/booking/

 

References

1Eshkevari, L, Permaul, E & Mulroney, SE 2013, ‘Acupuncture blocks cold stress-induced increases in the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis in the rat’, Journal of Endocrinology, vol. 217, 1, pp. 95-104.

2Lake, J 2018, ‘Acupuncture for Anxiety’, Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers.

3Amorim et al. 2018, ‘’Acupuncture and electroacupuncture for anxiety disorders: A systematic review of the clinical research’, Complimentary Therapies Clinical Practice, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29705474

 

Natural tips for hayfever relief

Spring is disliked by many as the season brings allergies and hay-fever.  Making noses run much like, you guessed it; a spring. Pollens are about amid the full blooms. And as often windy, spring can see other allergens such as molds, dust and animal dander travel effortlessly to new homes in reluctantly hospitable upper respiratory tracts.

Irrespective of allergen there are many ways to lessen the severity of symptoms and regulate your bodies allergic response; in this article the causes will be explained along with several proven drug free techniques that help you to smell the flowers…

Pollens, mold, dust and animal dander can all provoke an immune reaction. If your immune system isn’t functioning appropriately it may respond by producing histamine and cytokines that can in turn lead to a runny nose, facial pain, itchy eyes and other symptoms.

Antihistamine tablets are a temporary fix but can cause fatigue, inhibit the immune system and increase the likelihood of further hay fever episodes as well as other conditions. This coupled with the fact that people are often run down and a little immune-compromised after winter can lead to a very unsatisfactory state of affairs in the spring.

Improving your general immune function can be achieved by keeping your stress levels as low as possible, ensuring that your dietary requirements are met and that you get adequate sleep. Reducing stress can be achieved with the taking of an oral B-vitamin complex and with active relaxation such as mediation, tai chi, qi gong and yoga.

For immune support and symptomatic relief take grape seed extract, vitamin C, aloe vera and eat honey and garlic. Additionally, drinking several glasses of water when hay-fever strikes can help to flush histamine out of your system and ease symptoms.

The Traditional Chinese medical approach to hay-fever generally involves a course of acupuncture (usually for one to several months; and a variable herbal prescription to be taken daily for a portion of the period). In recent years reviews have consistently found acupuncture to be effective for allergic rhinitis, both the seasonal and perennial types, and to compare favourably with anti-histamines (Taw 2015)¹

All of the practitioners at Freedom Chinese Medicine are very familiar with the treatment of hay fever and we also run regular Qi Gong classes to assist with stress management and general health. We’d be happy to help you..

NOVEMBER SPECIAL: FREE Hayfever Herbs or Hayfever Relief Tea for any new patients who mention this article in an initial appointment in November 2018.

Click here to book today.

Written by:

Click on the photo to watch a Video Interview with Daniel

Dr. Daniel Gibbs

Acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Massage

Dr. Daniel Gibbs has been practicing Acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Massage since 2005. He has experience in treating a wide range of conditions and has specialised in the treatment of musculoskeletal disorders, working both as a independent therapist and adjunctively alongside physiotherapists.

Daniel is one of the most experienced Acupuncturists in Australia for smoking cessation treatments; assisting hundreds of people to quit cigarettes. Daniel also has a thorough understanding of psychology and neuro-chemistry. And extra skills in Cosmetic Acupuncture.

Daniel is a very relaxed person with excellent skills, so is able to help you on many levels.  He is also a veteran skateboarder & an enthusiastic snowboarder.

References

Braunwald et al, 1987, Principles of Internal Medicine 2 (eleventh edn.), McGraw Hill Book Company; New York, pp.1412-1414

Anshen, Shi, 2003, Internal Medicine, Bridge Publishing Group,Walnut California, pp.3-19

Lemon And Coconut Bliss Balls Recipe

Calling all mama and papa bears! This one’s for you. It makes 15 delicious balls and melt in your mouth with a zesty twist. Best of all, you don’t need a lot of ingredients or time to make it. Perfect.
Ingredients:
– 2 and a half cups desiccated coconut
– 1/2 cup raw almonds
– 2 tablespoons honey
– 80 ml coconut oil
– 1 tablespoon lemon juice
– 2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
Method:
1. Place 2 cups of the desiccated coconut in a food processor, add the almonds, honey, coconut oil, lemon juice and lemon zest and blend for 1 minute. Place the mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up.
2. Form the chilled mixture into 15 small balls and roll them in the remaining desiccated coconut. Place on a tray lined with baking paper and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes or until firm. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for a week or freeze for up to a month. One bliss ball is one serve.
Source: The Busy Mum’s guide to Weight Loss by Rhian Allen.
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