Category: Acupuncture

Hay fever and Allergy with acupuncture

With spring here, so is pollen season, which is not good news for hay fever sufferers. Hay fever, or seasonal allergic rhinitis, is one of the most common chronic respiratory conditions in this country, affecting three million Australians. Now is a great time to get some with acupuncture if you suffer from hay fever or allergies

Hayfever is caused by an antigen-antibody reaction in the nasal mucosa, the antigens responsible are the pollen particles in the air. There is also an over-activity of the immune system to certain allergens, this is weakened with retention of chronic wind in the nose cavity.

The main hayfever symptoms are as nasal congestion, sneezing, profuse runny nose with white watery discharge, pale complexion and slight headaches. In a few cases it affects the eyes and conjunctiva may become red and itchy. These are classified as wind cold symptoms according to Chinese Medicine. We aim to expel these wind cold symptoms and restore the energy of the Lung. The Lung organs weakness is either hereditary or due to problems during pregnancy or childbirth (Maciocia, 2000).

Woman with hay fever

Some other tips to reduce hay fever and allergy symptoms naturally and without medications include:

  1. Eat kiwifruit is extremely high in Vitamin C, which is an effective natural anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory. Kiwifruit also supports healthy immune function and protects from secondary respiratory conditions. Other foods containing Vitamin C and bioflavanoids include citrus fruits, strawberries, red capsicums, broccoli, papaya, guava and mango.
  2. Green fruits and vegetables contain beta-carotene, which gets converted to Vitamin A. This vitamin is important for healthy mucous membranes throughout the respiratory tract. It also helps promote healthy immune function, prevent secondary respiratory infections and reduce inflammation.
  3. Take garlic to helps clear nasal congestion. Its strong antibiotic properties also help prevent secondary respiratory infections in chronic suffers. It is also a good source of quercetin, a natural anti-histamine. 
  4. Reduce or eliminate cow’s milk and other dairy products as they can increase the production of mucus in the respiratory tract and exacerbate hay fever symptoms. Try alternatives such as rice, almond, quinoa and coconut milks.
  5. Reduce stress levels and calm down. There have been links of stress to the severity of hay fever symptoms.
  6. Exercise more. Regular exercise can reduce your hay fever. It is suggested that people with hay fever who exercise most have the mildest symptoms. Exercise will help reduce your stress levels, too.
  7. Eat well. People with hay fever who eat a healthy diet are less likely to get severe symptoms. Eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables.
  8. Reduce alcohol intake. Beer, wine and other spirits contain histamine, which can make symptoms worse.
  9. Have a good night sleep. Try to avoid too many late nights during the hay fever season. People with hay fever who sleep well tend to have milder symptoms.
  10.  Reduce excessive sugar intake. This causes inflammation around the sinus.
  11. Do not have cold drinks or foods for dinner especially before bed e.g: ice creams, cold fruits

    In the old Chinese medical texts is it said that spring is the beginning of things, when the energy of the body should be kept open. In spring on a physical level, we need to exercise more frequently and wear loose fitting clothing. Stretch to loosen up tendons and muscles from the cold winter. Spring is the season of the liver, and excess anger, frustration, depression, sadness or excess emotions can injure the liver. Violating the natural order of spring will cause cold illness during summer.
    We should all treat disease by preventing illness before it begins, rather than treat an illness after it has begun. An ancient proverb says: “If someone digs a well when thirsty or forges weapons after becoming engaged in battle, one cannot help ask, ‘Aren’t these actions too late?’”

Tips For Better Sleep

Are you suffering from poor sleep, insomnia, or do you find it hard to fall asleep and stay asleep? Are you waking up tired and not refreshed? These are common issues amongst many adults and children today.

Are you ensuring your body is as relaxed before bed? Are you doing the necessary steps and routine to ensure you get the best nights sleep and wake up rested and refreshed?

Read below on the tips to getting a better night’s sleep:

1. Stick to a consistent Sleep Schedule

Pick a bedtime and a wake-up time and try to stick to it as much as possible even on weekend.

Bedtime should be no later than 11pm. If you do have a sleep in, try not to sleep in for more than an hour or two so that you can stay on track. That way, your body’s internal clock—also called the circadian rhythm (body clock) can get accustomed to a new bedtime, which will help you fall asleep better at night and wake up more easily each morning.

2. Turn off all screen time 1-2 hours before bed

This is hard for many adults as we are constantly on our phones. However our phones and laptops emit a blue light which sends the wrong signals to our brain to indicate its time to sleep. Our body operates on a body clock and light plays a big part to our brains to let it know when its time to sleep and produce melatonin. The blue light which is emitted from mobiles, tablets, computers and tv tells your body’ clock its not quite sleep time. So turn off all screens at least 1 hour before sleep.

3. Dimming the night lights

Having yellow lights instead of the bright white fluorescent globes will tell the body its time to make more melatonin and that it’s bedtime. Switch off bright white lights after dinner and only use yellow globes or dimmers.

4. Have a light dinner at least 2.5-3 hours before bed

Its not just what you eat, it is also WHEN you eat.. Having a heavy meal too close to bedtime means your organs are overworked when they should be resting while you sleep. Try and have something light for dinner such as a small piece of white protein and vegetables or soup. If you do choose to eat before bedtime then a very small snack such as cereal with banana, cheese and crackers or whole grain toast with natural peanut butter are some light options.

5. Avoid stimulants and drinking before bed

Don’t have any fluids an hour before bed to limit your trips to the bathroom at night. You should also avoid nicotine, caffeine, green or black tea and alcohol in the evenings, since those stimulants take hours to wear off. Instead opt for a herbal tea such as chamomile if you do need a drink and have it more than 1 hour before bed.

6. Avoid desserts and sugar after dinner

Its common to have dessert such as ice cream or cake after dinner. However this just spikes your blood sugar levels. Fruits should be eaten before dinner and avoid anything too sweet before sleep. Save your desserts for early afternoon instead.

7. Take magnesium at night

Running a warm bath with epson salts will relax you before bed. But if you are time poor or don’t have a bathtub, taking magnesium at night will help you to relax. Magnesium is well known for its ability to help insomnia. It helps to decrease cortisol, the “stress hormone” that can keep you up at night. It also helps the muscles to relax, to give you that calm “sleepy” feeling and help you unwind after a long stressful day.

8. Black-out blinds

If you find you can’t sleep after 5am, then your room might be too bright. Having a very dark room allows you to wake up slightly later if you find you can’t sleep in the early hours of the morning. Use dark curtains, blackout blinds or eye shades to keep the room as dark as possible.

9. Check Your Bedroom Environment

Make sure your bedroom is comfortable and ideal for your sleep environment. It should be set to a cool and comfortable 19-21 degrees celsius. Your bedroom should also be free from any noise that can disturb your sleep and free from any lights. Check your room for noises or other distractions. This includes your partner’s sleep disruptions such as snoring. Use ear plugs, ‘white noise’ machines, humidifiers, fans and other devices to help block out noise.

10. Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillow

Make sure your mattress is comfortable, firm and supportive. Most mattresses only last 10 years. Having comfortable supportive pillows also help and make the room attractive and inviting for sleep but also free of allergens that might affect you.

11. Try acupuncture

Acupuncture has been shown to relax the body, mind and spirit by restoring balance and harmony.  Acupuncture is nay also help for those suffering from pain which is the source of many people unable to get a good night’s rest.

Tips to naturally younger skin

You’re never too young to start looking after your skin, and if you’re skin is already starting to show the damage caused by our busy, stressful lives in polluted cities, then it’s time to start rewinding the clock and begin your beauty regime to naturally more beautiful younger looking skin.

Some tips are ones we already know, while others may be new and unfamiliar.

1. Lemon water/water
We all know the benefits of water for your skin – drinking at least two litres of water daily is rule #1 for clear, hydrated looking skin. But did you know that you can maximise water’s ability to clear toxins in your body? It’s simple! Every morning before breakfast, drink a large cup of very warm water with two slices of lemon added to it. The lemon water flushes out toxins, alkalises the body and awakens your digestive system for the day ahead.

2. Dark leafy greens
Dark leafy greens are nature’s own skin tonics. These include kale, lettuces (romaine, green leaf, rocket, butterhead), spinach, mustard greens, cabbage and broccoli. As well as excellent sources of magnesium, folate and Vitamin K, they are rich in antioxidants, which is great news for your skin. For full benefits, go organic as much as possible.

3. Vitamin A serum (Retinol)
One of the best known anti-ageing secrets, Retinol (or Vitamin A) helps to minimise the damage caused by the sun and ageing by reversing the skin damage. It helps to restores the skin’s youthful appearance, minimise wrinkles, reduce pores and even treat acne breakouts. Best to use this serum at night time only.
Click here to buy.

4. Vitamin C serum
Vitamin C is also another serum which does wonders to assist ageing skin. It can help reduce fine lines and wrinkles, build up collagen, accelerate skin renewal, reduce pigmentation and even out skin tone. It helps to protect from UV damage. Best to use this serum in the morning.
Click here to buy.

5. Get 8 hours’ sleep a night – minimum
Lack of sleep is your skin’s biggest enemy. When we get adequate sleep, our skin can restore and heal and look fresh and well rested. You don’t need a scientist to show the effects of lack of sleep on your skin. And don’t think ‘Oh, I can catch up on my sleep later’. Although some sleep experts disagree, a Harvard Medical School study showed it was near impossible to catch up on sleep after two poor nights’ sleep in a row.

6. Cut sugar and coffee
Too much sugar (also including natural sugars like fruit/fructose) can cause glycation. When there is excess, the proteins combine with the sugar and begin to shut down the production of collagen. Too much sugar also causes inflammation in the body which is shown to be the number one cause of ageing.

Whilst coffee appears to have anti-inflammatory properties and has been linked to lower depression levels, it’s also too stimulating to the adrenal glands. In short, coffee causes the adrenals to release cortisol – the stress hormone – whether you’re stressed or not. An overload of cortisol ages the body, so if you do drink coffee, keep it down to one cup a day only.

7. Reduce spicy foods
To much spicy food also has a taxing effect on the body. Excessive spicy foods such as chilli, curries, ginger etc can dilate blood vessels, causing facial redness, puffiness and spider veins. Minimise the amount of spice and always have adequate water with a spicy meal.

8. Light therapy
Emerging as one of the more popular and promising anti-ageing beauty treatments today, light therapy rejuvenates and heals the skin by increasing the production of collagen reducing pigmentation, evening out skin tone, and increasing skin elasticity and oxygenation. There are many types of light machines on the market so do your research and use ones with minimal side effects and from reputable clinics. In our clinic we use ‘bioptron‘ light therapy.

9. Regular facials and peels
These can often work as a pick-me-up and are ideal before any special occasion. There are many types of facials and peels for the difference skin concerns. Facials which target ageing, treat dehydrated or sensitive skin, pigmentation or discolouration, ageing puffy eyes or even natural peels which help to even out skin tone and treat acne and scarring. Facials and peels are recommended as regular treatments for all skins, not just ageing or problem skin.
Click here for details on our facials and peels.

10. Jade Rollers
Used by Chinese nobility since before the 12th century, Jade Rollers are an Asian beauty secret that the west is finally finding out about. Using the rollers for a few minutes each day on the face and neck will improve blood circulation and the flow of qi, bringing oxygen to your skin. A cooling, cleansing stone, jade helps improve circulation, smooth out lines and reduce under-eye puffiness. Results are immediately noticeable.
Click here to buy

11. Acupuncture and micro-needling
The ancient art and science of acupuncture has much to offer the skin. Cosmetic facial acupuncture rejuvenation is a natural, non-toxic treatment to to assist with your ageing and skin concerns. It works from the inside out. Find out more here.

An affordable alternative to medical anti-ageing treatments is micro-needling procedures. Micro-needling uses a cylindrical-shaped, drum studded roller with multiple ultra-fine needles. The needles help to stimulate blood flow, assist tissue regeneration and smooth skin texture. Use weekly to see results.

Sydney acupuncturist Eli Huang
Acupuncturist, Herbalist and Beauty Therapist – Eli Huang

If you have any questions on our anti-ageing treatments, or would like more information about how cosmetic acupuncture may help with ageing skin and other concerns contact Acupuncture & Beauty Centre to make an appointment on 9728 6176 or send us an email via our contact form.
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Health Tips for Spring

Spring is the season of a new birth and new growth. It corresponds to the “Wood” element and is related to the liver and gallbladder organs. In Chinese Medicine the liver organ is responsible for the smooth flowing of Qi (energy) in our bodies. This qi circulates throughout the whole body system, when the liver functions smoothly, all physical and emotional actions throughout the body also runs smoothly. So, for optimum health this spring, move your Liver Qi (Energy)!

We are more susceptible to season health problems such as allergies, flu and pneumonia during the spring.  If the liver is not healthy, it could affect the spleen and the lung organs.  These symptoms can include: sneezing, hay fever allergies, running nose, itching eyes, chest congestions and other allergy related problems.  It is very important, especially during spring, to cleanse the liver and lungs and bring balance to these organs.

Tips for a healthy Spring Season:

  1. Pay attention to weather changes – It is an extreme change to our body from winter to spring. With spring, there is usually some extremely windy conditions. Health conditions tend to occur during or immediately following a change of season.
  1. Do some stretches! The liver controls the tendons. The liver stores the blood during periods of rest and winter, now is the time to invigorate and body and increase exercises such as yoga, tai chi, swimming etc.
  1. Change the diet – We should change our diet according to the season. Spring means eating green foods that cleanses and strengthens the liver. These foods include young plants that are fresh green leafy vegetables, onions, leeks, mushrooms, celery, carrots, dandelion, variety of fruits such as citrus fruits, pears, apples, bananas, pears.
  1. Sour foods and drinks – sour tasting foods stimulate the liver’s energy. Add lemon slices to your water, have orange and citrus juices, use vinegar and olive oil for salad dressings and add fermented vegetables to our diet.
  1. Watch the eyes – the liver organ’s energy is connected and opens into the eye. Take frequent breaks from the computer screen and do some eye exercises and look at some greenery.
  1. Sour Tasting Foods – Foods and drinks with sour tastes are thought to stimulate the liver’s qi. Put lemon slices in your drinking water, use vinegar and olive oil for your salad dressing. Garnish your sandwich with a slice of dill pickle.
  1. Outdoor activities fresh air helps move liver qi. Try taking a hike, brisk walks by the beach or park are good for the body.
  1. Get Acupuncture – now is the time to get that seasonal tune up.

10 Health Tips to get you through Winter

Winter is upon us and in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), it’s believed we should live harmoniously with our environment and adapt to this change. Winter is inactive, slow, cold and damp. It is the season of slowing down. Winter relates to the kidneys, and feelings of fear and depression. We need to deeply nourish ourselves, eat well, keep warm and be well rested so we are renewed for the vitality and coming of Spring.
People are more susceptible to colds and flu during the winter season. You are 80% more likely to get a cold in winter as the cold weather challenges the immune system. So follow these tips to help prevent getting sick this winter.

1. Don’t underestimate the power of a scarf
Keeping warm this winter is key to preventing a flu. Make sure you do not expose your body to wind especially your belly, back or neck. Always wear a scarf when outdoors. A scarf protects our neck area from wind and cold getting into our body system.

2. Reduce the use of a heater and hot showers
The use of heaters, electric blankets and very hot showers can dehydrate already very dry skin. Instead use extra blankets and wear layers of clothing. Excessive heat can aggravate skin conditions and asthma. If you do use heat and electric blankets turn them off before you sleep.

For dry skin, try using organic coconut oil which is natural and hydrating.

3. Rest up
We generally sleep around 6.5-7 hours a night. However, in winter, we naturally want to sleep more because of the longer nights. Therefore use this time to catch up on more sleep, it is perfectly natural to sleep 8.5-9 hours. Poor sleep, especially in winter, can affect our energy, mood, concentration, stress levels and weight gain. Aim to get into bed early and enjoy deep sleep.

4. Cut down on dairy
Milk and dairy products such as cheese, yoghurt and cream can cause phlegm to build up in your system. Therefore if you have any phlegm or tickle in your throat, cut out the dairy.

5. Eat nourishing and comforting foods
When it’s cold and dark outside, you can be tempted to eat unhealthy foods such as deep fried foods, burgers etc. It is very important to maintain a healthy diet with nourishing foods, fruits and vegetables each day. Warming foods help warm the body, expel cold and increase circulation. Eat more winter vegetables and soups such as carrots, parsnips, pumpkin and turnips. Use cooking methods such as roasting, mash or soups for a comforting winter meal. Have more ginseng, ginger, cinnamon and gou qi berries.

6. Keep exercising
Just because it is cold outside, it is not an excuse to stay indoors and lounge around. Instead get out go for walks, runs, indoor sports or try embracing winter sports such as ice-skating. Regular exercise helps control the winter weight and boost your immune system.

7. Get enough vitamin D
Make sure you also get adequate amounts of Vitamin D. Reduced Vitamin D levels results in anxiety and depression which are more prevalent during winter months due to lack of sun exposure. Women often experience mood changes more than men and it results in depression, lack of energy, irritability, and weight gain. Take a Vitamin D supplement if you are not getting adequate sunlight and open your curtains at home during the day to allow sun in.

8. Have a warm breakfast
Winter is the perfect season for porridge. Having a warm bowl on a cold morning isn’t just a delicious way to start your day, it can also help boost your intake of fibre. It also contains many vitamins and minerals.

9. Drink warm lemon water and increase vitamin C
Make it a priority to drink a glass of warm lemon water before breakfast. This helps to eliminate toxins, clear your system and increase digestive function better.

Vitamin C is great to help prevent colds and flus and increase our immune system. It reduces acidity in the body, and is an anti-bacterial. Make sure you get enough vitamin C in your diet, if not, take a supplement.
Remember to stay hydrated throughout the day and drink at least 1.5L of water, preferably warm water.

10. Meditate More
Winter is the perfect time to explore deep issues and to meditate. Meditation helps us to slow down, relax and take time off our crazy thoughts. Meditation practices help us to calm the mind and heart. When we truly relax, our bodies naturally come up with “stuff” that has been under the surface for a long time. Doing this during winter will allow us to be cleansed and renewed for spring. Health is a state of complete physical and mental well-being. Do not ignore your emotional health. Always take the time to stop, relax and breathe. Be in the present moment.

Try acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine this winter to help with your cold symptoms. Acupuncture helps to relieve cold stuck energy, and help move the blood circulation in the cold weather. Remember to stay warm, hydrated and nourished. Get to bed early and rise after the sun has risen to help preserve warmth your health and vitality this winter season.