Why Meditation is Good for You

If you experience anxiety or stress you may have been recommended to try meditation. But you may not be completely clear on why.

You might wonder how “sitting with your eyes closed and doing nothing” is meant to help you. But in truth, mindfulness meditation is much more than sitting quietly. It is the active training of the mind to increase situational and self-awareness. Meditation focuses our awareness on the present moment and helps us to accept and release thoughts without judgement. We don’t need to believe every thought that we have, and we can train our minds to be less attached and reactionary to a passing idea.

If you’ve seen an acupuncturist for anxiety or pain you’ve probably had a conversation about deep breathing and mindfulness meditation.

Here’s why: People that meditate are shown to have reduced stress hormones.

Cortisol is the stress hormone. Cortisol prompts inflammation in the body and where there in inflammation there is pain, and often anxiety.

Research suggests that mind and body practices, including meditation, reduces inflammation and helps to regulate the immune system.

People who meditate have reduced Cortisol because when they practice mindfulness their bodies experience the “relaxation response”. This relaxation response reduces the output of stress hormones and changes our brain wave patterns. In fact, it’s been found that regular meditators have a larger hypothalamus than non-meditators. Mindfulness literally changes the brain.

Does meditation help with anxiety?

Johns Hopkins University researchers found that 30 minutes of daily mindfulness meditation had similar antidepressant and anxiety reducing effects to commonly prescribed medications. Mediation is helpful for people in high pressure work roles too. Eight weeks of semi-regular mindfulness meditation was found to be effective in influencing the quality of life, job satisfaction and psychological symptoms of health care professionals.

Does meditation help with high blood pressure?

Results of a trial run in 2009 suggest that practicing meditation lowers the blood pressure of people at risk of developing high blood pressure. The findings of the same study also supported the use of meditation to manage psychological distress, anxiety, depression, anger & hostility, and general coping ability.

Does meditation help with cravings?

Meditation can even help you to quit smoking and stop overeating. Results of a 2013 brain imaging study suggest that mindful attention reduces the craving to smoke, and that it reduced activity in a craving-related region of the brain.

Essentially, you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain. Meditate at home today. Just 20 minutes daily will be enough to benefit from the practice! You could sit or lie quietly alone and focus on your breath. Or you could try one of these free meditation podcast, click here to access them.

 

Written by:

Dr Heather Dowall

Acupuncturist, Massage Therapist

Dr  Heather Dowall is a warm, intuitive and enthusiastic practitioner. Heather graduated from Endeavour College of Natural Health with a Health Science degree majoring in Acupuncture.

Heather is passionate about fertility and pregnancy support, pain relief, cancer support, and providing relief for anyone experiencing anxiety, depression, emotional trauma or PTSD.

Heather simply loves helping people. And also offers Massage Therapy, Cupping & other Oriental Therapies, with our without Acupuncture.

References:

* Goldstein CM, Josephson R, Xie S, et al. Current perspectives on the use of meditation to reduce blood pressure. International Journal of Hypertension. 2012;2012:578397.

* Nidich SI, Rainforth MV, Haaga DAF, et al. A randomized controlled trial on effects of the transcendental meditation program on blood pressure, psychological distress, and coping in young adults. American Journal of Hypertension. 2009;22(12):1326–1331.

* Rubia K. The neurobiology of meditation and its clinical effectiveness in psychiatric disorders. Biological Psychology. 2009;82(1):1–11.

* Goyal M, Singh S, Sibinga EM, et al. Meditation programs for psychological stress and well-being: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA Internal Medicine. 2014;174(3):357–368.

* Tang Y-Y, Tang R, Posner MI. Brief meditation training induces smoking reduction. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2013;110(34):13971–13975.

Healing through Reiki

Reiki healing

By Sue Wellwood

Reiki is a spiritual healing art with its roots coming from Japan. First developed in 1922 by Mikao Usui. Coming from the Japanese word (Rei) which means “Universal” and (Ki) which means Energy. Therefore Reiki can be defined as the Higher Intelligence Life Force that guides the creation and functioning of the universe.

Reiki & Energetic Healing tap into the universal life force that we are surrounded by. This is a gentle and balancing way to restore harmony within the body. This hands on healing generates life force that we all have around us. We are abundant with energy; it comes to us in many ways, through light, the sun, the wind, the breath.

These energies nourish the organs and cells of the body and support them. When out of balance or when the life force flow is disrupted, it causes the organs and tissues to block, this can stop the flow of blood and energy, which can cause pain in the body.

This life force is also responsive to thoughts and feelings. When we have negative thoughts and feelings they can attach to the energy fields and cause disruption in energy flow. Reiki helps heal the flow of the affected areas and gives a positive charge to the fields. It raises the vibration of the energy body and can cause negative energy to break apart and fall away.

Reiki is a simple and safe way to help balance and bring awareness of how the body feels. With regular Reiki one can begin to feel the difference in the self and may then like to look at lifestyle habits and conditions to make changes that are beneficial to their health.

Reiki can help ease depression, stress and anxiety, muscle tension, adrenal glands, emotional trauma; it works on all levels – physical, mental and emotional.

If you’d like to try Reiki to ease depression, muscle tension and restore balance to your body, contact us on 9486 5966 or click here to book online. You will receive a $20 discount if you mention this offer and have your appointment by the 12th of October 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. Reiki

treats the whole person with “Universal life force energy” reducing stress and being relaxation that promotes healing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References:

1. Lee, W (2018): www.reiki.org

Qigong for Anxiety and Depression

How can qigong help anxiety and depression?

by David Shepherd

Qigong practice naturally conditions to heal not only the body, but your spirit as well. The gradual cultivation and circulatory of energy (qi) is an achievement or skill (gong). This ‘qigong’ teaches you to patience and unattached determination, , which in my professional opinion and personal experience as a long term qigong practitioner and teacher, will lead to a mastery over one’s psychological makeup through a spiritual state of surrender and acceptance.

Through gentle internal guiding of the breath or qi, you can develop the ability to breathe in a more profound way, deeply down to your center, the original essence point. This important area lies below the navel and inside the body, where the qi is collected, stored and used for beneficial effects for the health of your body and mind.

This action of deep controlled diaphragmatic breathing in unison with specific moving postural positions and twisting, holding and release techniques, you experience a palpable and profound sense of well being and happiness. Your spirit feels lifted up and unencumbered. There are many forms of qigong and l also employ moving and still self acupressure and sitting meditation practices with my students.

The combined health benefits of practicing qigong are many and well documented as well as scientifically tested. Recent studies have yielded important proof that anxiety and depression do indeed respond and improve with the intervention of qigong therapy, bringing back quality of life and feelings of self esteem to recipients.

Tuesday night classes 

Tuesday nights 7.30pm – 8.30pm – New Term starts 9th October 2018. Only 8 places left available.

$160 for a 8 week term (best way to learn)

Casual students are welcome ~ $22 per class

David Shepherd has over 35 years experience in these arts & will be teaching this class.

Call us on 03 9486 5966 to inquire or book online here.

Written by:

David Shepherd: Tai Chi & Qi Gong Instructor

David has been practicing and teaching the practices of Wu Dang Fu style Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Wu Shu, Hsingyi, Bagua and Meditation for more than 37 years. He is well equipped and passionate about the authentic teaching of these ancient arts. He looks forward to sharing his knowledge with you at Freedom Chinese Medicine. David teaches our Qi Gong/ Tai Chi class on Tuesday nights at 7.30pm. We welcome beginners, term students & casual students. Click here to learn more about Qi Gong or simply come and check it out!

 

References:

1. Wang, F., Man, J., Lee,E., Wu, T., Benson, H., Fricchione, G., Wang, W &Yeung, A. (2012). The effects of qigong on anxiety, depression, and psychological well-being: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Volume 2013, Article ID 152738.

2. Oh, B., Choi, S., Inamori, A., Rosenthal, D & Yeung, A. (2013). Effects of Qigong on Depression: A Systematic Review. Volume 2013, Article ID 134737.

Qigong for Weight Loss

How does qigong for weight loss work?

by David Shepherd

To begin with qigong practice ultimately involves bringing equilibrium and harmony to the systems of the body. Its aim is to bring an out of balance body back into balance. In regards to obesity, in its range of degrees, solutions usually require a multi faceted approach to yield successful results.

Looking back at the life styles of our primitive ancestors, it is clearly evident that they lived very physically active lives, in a natural unadulterated world. They existed without any of the sedentary luxuries, over processed foods and recreational distractions that we have at our finger tips today.

This lifestyle most certainly kept our primitive ancestors lean, whereas obesity today has become more of an epidemic. The roll on effects of obesity, leads to the potential of developing diabetes, hypertension, heart attack, coronary heart disease, stroke, depression and infertility. In children risks include, insulin resistance, pediatric diabetes, depression, hypertension or developmental problems.

Our emotional state also is a contributing factor in relation to weight gain. Our bodies naturally produce hormones that are released to help cope with stressful situations in our life, such as jumping out the way of a bus. These hormones are effective at slowing down the systems of the body so as to conserve energy and protect us from threat but the side effect is that they slow metabolism and in turn store fat.

Today, however, many people are exposed to an out of context  and overbearing relationship with stress and anxiety, and this becomes very confusing for our flight and flight response, which leads to imbalance in our metabolism and resulting weight gain.

Qigong, through a range of postural movement and breathing techniques, slowly cultivates and forges the qi (vital energy) inside the body. In turn this promotes more efficient blood circulation. When qi flows effectively, this encourages correct blood flow along the veins and arteries. Therefore Qigong is an important facet in a management plan for weight loss

From my professional observations and first hand personal experience, a qigong student begins to learn how to profoundly relax. Their spirit becomes imbued with calmness and they develop a happy demeanor. They begin to develop greater stamina and lust for life as well as sleeping more soundly. This improved health internally natural reflects also externally to the outer body in clear eyes, a smiley disposition, clear skin, shiny hair and improved muscle tone.

All these health improvements through qigong, along with keeping a close eye on correct nutrition most definitely have a positive outcome on weight loss. The body is invigorated which gives rise to a boosted metabolism and a natural healthy appetite. The body is moving positively toward a renewed state of balance and harmony.

Tuesday night classes 

Tuesday nights 7.30pm – 8.30pm – New Term starts 9th October 2018. Only 8 places left available.

$160 for a 8 week term (best way to learn)

Casual students are welcome ~ $22 per class

David Shepherd has over 35 years experience in these arts & will be teaching this class.

Call us on 9486 5966 to inquire or book online here.

References:

1. Ni, Maoshing. (2008) Ancient Wisdom/Modern Medicine – Tao of Wellness: Natural treatments for weight loss.

This article written by:

David Shepherd

Tai Chi & Qi Gong Instructor

David has been practicing and teaching the practices of Wu Dang Fu style Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Wu Shu, Hsingyi, Bagua and Meditation for more than 37 years. He is well equipped and passionate about the authentic teaching of these ancient arts. He looks forward to sharing his knowledge with you at Freedom Chinese Medicine.

Quit Smoking with Acupuncture

Has your attempt to quit smoking failed already? Feeling frustrated that you can’t seem to kick it on your own? Well, you’re not alone. And we can help you.

First of all, don’t give yourself a hard time. Most people find quitting smoking to be a difficult endeavour. It is common to resume smoking several times before the time is right. If you feel that now is the right time for you to quit, read on…

Many people have found quitting smoking to be easier when assisted by acupuncture.  Tiny points on the ears are often stimulated for their endorphin modulating effects that can ease the frequency and severity of cravings. Acupuncture has been used for many years to help stop smoking. In North America, acupuncture has been included in government initiatives such as the NADA protocol.

Yes, you may have tried every method under the sun so far. You may have already tried acupuncture even. But have you had help from one of the most experienced acupuncturists in Australia for smoking cessation? Someone who also has a thorough understanding of psychology and neuro-chemistry?

Dr. Daniel Gibbs has this unique skill set and works here at Freedom Chinese Medicine in Ivanhoe, Melbourne. He talks about the fact that smoking can be a multifaceted and personalised habit often interwoven into various aspects of life such as socialisation, solitude, work breaks and stress/anxiety management. Although people can differ in regard to the reasons why they smoke, there are several principles and actions that usually provide for an easier quitting process. Here is one of them. Daniel says that:

Most people find that quitting is easier if they make a plan. Ideally it is best to choose a time that is not too stressful and that allows you to get away from your usual routines that involve smoking: If you don’t have this luxury then simply thinking of the typical times when you smoke and coming up with some strategies or alternative activities can go a long way.

An important thing to appreciate is that cigarettes and nicotine have key functions in people’s lives and these often need to be accounted for via some technique or replacement: For example brief periods of deep breathing or meditation can alter brain chemistry in a way that is similar to smoking when it is used to manage stress or anxiety, and similarly, any brief activity that you find pleasurable can be done routinely on your breaks from work or other key times.

How Acupuncture Can Help in Smoking Cessation

smokingAcupuncture assists people to quit by helping to regulate the actions of endorphin and other neurotransmitters that are thrown into disarray when one stops smoking; it is in this way that it can assist with lessening the frequency and duration of physical cravings; Generally acupuncture is given every 2-5 days, depending on the level of addiction, over the first 2 weeks after ceasing the consumption of nicotine. Dr. Daniel Gibbs has many years of experience in this area and has helped hundreds of people to quit. Are you ready for some expert help to quit?

Flash special: Start a smoking cessation program by the 31st December 2018 for only $267*. Usual cost is $335.

*Includes 4 acupuncture sessions twice weekly and expert advice with Dr. Daniel Gibbs.

Give us a call on 03 9486 5966 or you can click here to Book Now.

Written by 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.

 

Click on Daniel’s image to watch his intro video!

References:
Carr, A. (1985) The Easy Way to Stop Smoking, London; Arcturus Publishing Limited
Deadman, P. et al (2007) A Manual of Acupuncture, 2nd ed., The Journal of Chinese Medicine, Hove;UK

18 Ways to Look & Feel Healthier

HappyAs the days begin to get warmer and longer we all want to look and feel our best for summer. Some of us may want to get lighter body too. At this time of year we naturally feel the need to swap our warm cosy clothing for lighter, brighter items. This is also the time to be swapping the warm comforting foods like thick soups, casseroles, bread and pasta for much lighter meals. Such as fresh salads with lightly cooked fish, chicken and meats. And to also enjoy the abundance of delicious summer fruits.

Here are 18 Tips on Looking and Feeling Healthy for the Summer Months:

1. Include fresh raw salad vegetables with every meal

2. Add nuts and seeds to salads for an extra protein boost

3. Add beans and legumes to salads to make them more hearty and healthy

4. Steam or poach fish and chicken and lightly cook red meats

5. Steam or lightly cook greens such as spinach and Asian greens with some garlic and drizzle with lemon juice

6. Eat your fill of fresh vegetables – they will not cause weight gain – in fact the additional fibre in vegetables will help you lose weight by increasing the excretion of built up toxins in your system and improve your gut health

Vegetables

7. Enjoy the seasonal summer fruits – a wide variety of fruits are available throughout the summer months – make the most of them

8. If you are worried about the sugar content of fruit, include tart fruits such as lemons, limes, pineapple, grapefruits, kiwi, blueberries, raspberries and granny smith apples in your diet – these foods are naturally lower in sugars than the sweeter fruits

9. Tart fruits are also beneficial to the liver and gallbladder and the most detoxifying of fruits

10. Add fruit to natural yoghurt with some added chia or nuts and seeds for crunch as a yummy desert – the protein in the yoghurt will help balance the sugar from the fruit

11. Throw all kinds of fruits and vegetables into your smoothie – a mix of both will balance out the sugar and add many more nutrients to your diet

12. Remember that we don’t need to eat bread with every meal – or even every day

13. Limit the amount of alcohol you consume – enjoy a wine or beer if you like to – just not every day

Liquid Food14. Move more – aim for at least a 20-30 minute walk most days of the week – the more you move the better you will feel – both physically and emotionally

15. As the days get longer a 30 minute walk after dinner will help the digestion of your meal

16. Get some sunshine to increase your Vitamin D levels after winter – aim for 15-20 minutes sun exposure on your arms or chest every day if possible – avoid the hottest part of the day and be careful not to get burnt

17. Vitamin D will help you feel good emotionally and aids the absorption of nutrients such as calcium

18. Drink lots and lots of water to keep hydrated and help detoxify your system – your body will thank you for it and your skin will look great

At Freedom Chinese Medicine we don’t follow a one size fits all approach. We tailor an individualised health plan to you, in achievable steps so you can get more well and stay that way. And we will be honest with you, setting realistic health goals that you can achieve and maintain with your current state of health & lifestyle.

For those of you who would like to combine both our naturopathy and acupuncture service to achieve a new healthier you, we have a special offer below:

  1. One initial consultation with our naturopath and 3 follow ups fortnightly
  2. One initial open room acupuncture consultation and 4 weekly open room acupuncture sessions

If you take both services, you’ll get 2 open room acupuncture sessions for free ($80 savings – $465 vs $545).

Please give us a call on 03 9486 5966 to book in for a pre summer consult with Andrea Mallett – our Naturopath if you would like some additional help with feeling great this summer.

Yoga Classes

an 8 week course to support you to understand your body better through yoga

YOGA BASICS

By focusing on the basics of Yoga alignment, you have greater awareness of your body, & have the capacity to practice Yoga safely, working with YOUR body’s ability at any given moment.

yoga

This course is suitable for the seasoned Yogi or a total beginner (including those of you who ‘think’ you are inflexible & can’t do yoga!).

Once you understand basic alignment, you can practice yoga anywhere & understand YOUR body’s ability.

Fiona has walked the yoga path for over 16 years, with yoga bestowing balance and flow in her life – physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Fiona’s yoga experience embraces the traditions of Ashtanga, Hatha, and Yin … and Fiona is ever constantly evolving with continual education and study. From this experience, Fiona creates classes to fit her students’ levels and needs – from babies, kids, special needs, pre and post natal to adults of all ages … & levels!

Fiona looks forward to meeting you in her class.

When:  Saturdays 10:00AM – 11:00AM – June 13th to August 1st, 2015

Where:  Freedom Chinese Medicine

 261 Waterdale Road Ivanhoe VIC 3079

Cost:  * Drop In – $20 / $18 concession

  * Prepay 4 classes – $72 / $65 concession

  * Prepay all 8 sessions – $135 / $120 concession (no make up class)

Bookings essential

Reserve your space by contacting

Fiona at flow@flowwellness.co