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What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is an ancient form of medicine developed in Korea & China about 4000 years ago. It works by the insertion of tiny needles into meridian points in order to help regulate the nervous and circulatory systems, these being two major systems in our body. The ancient clinicians already discovered a number of favourable access points to the nervous and circulatory systems so meridians can be looked at as a combination of peripheral, nerve and arterial pathways as well as helping with myofascial syndrome where referred pain from sensitive trigger points in the muscles can be felt in other parts of the body.

How does Acupuncture work?

The mistranslations of ancient text books of acupuncture into English language have led to a lot of misinformation about acupuncture and what it really is. Acupuncture is not an energy medicine. Acupuncture is not voodoo, religion or magic and there are no invisible energy meridians. Acupuncture is a real physical medicine based on real anatomy not energy. What acupuncture actually does is improve the flow of oxygen (Qi), nutrients (Ying Qi), and blood (Xue) through the circulatory system to nourish every cell of our body.

Acupuncture treats #1 cause of disease:

  1. Blood stagnation (Impaired blood flow in the body).

When there is a problem with blood flow to any area of the body, that area cannot function properly. The body will not heal properly without proper blood flow. Acupuncture causes your blood vessels to dilate and therefore helps increase blood flow to specific areas of the body in order to relieve pain, improve organ function.

  2. Blocked nerves (Impaired signalling between the brain and the body)

Acupuncture also works by stimulating the nervous system by activating nociceptor, sensory        nerves and proprioceptor fibers that travel from the skin to the spine and into the brain. Acupuncture improves the nerve signal to your brain and forces your brain to release opioids (natural painkiller) to shut off the pain signal and help eliminate your pain.

Acupuncture works by treating the 5 main factors that influence your health.

  • The flow of oxygen in your body (Qi)
  • The flow of blood in your body (Xue)
  • The health of your blood vessels (Xue mai)
  • The health of your organs (Zang fu)
  • The health of your nervous system (Jing mai)

In short, acupuncture stimulates the body’s natural ability to heal itself! Acupuncture treats a number of conditions either on its own or in conjunction with Chinese herbal medicine or other therapies.

So if you are looking for a natural solution to your health problems without drugs or any sides effects, look no further. Get Acupuncture Today!

Thrive Through Christmas

Thrive Through Christmas

Christmas should be a happy time, time spent with friends and family, but we all tend to get caught up in the business of the Christmas period and end up stressed, anxious and with never ending “to do” lists. One way to help with stress levels is gratitude. There is always something each day we can be grateful for, be it waking up pain free, having the love of your family, that smile a stranger gave you when passing, the sun shining. Finding things to be grateful for can help our mental health. By focusing on positive thoughts rather than the negative ones can help reduce the affects of our stress hormones.

Below is an advent calendar for you to download and use this festive season, but rather than just counting the days until Christmas I challenge you to fill in at least one thing you are grateful for each day.

Do We Need To Detox?

Do We Need To Detox?

We have some wonderful detox organs within our body – we are constantly detoxing. However, evidence is mounting that never before in history have our bodies been exposed to such a large number of toxic chemicals both endogenous (from within our bodies) and exogenous (outside of our bodies). These toxins accumulate in our environment, our drinking water, food and in the air we breathe – so it is now almost impossible to avoid exposure, especially if you live in a big city.

 

 

The body largely eliminates toxins by excreting them in the urine or faeces, and to a lesser degree through the skin, hair and lungs. Toxins the body cannot eliminate (due to overload or compromised detox organ function) will accumulate in tissues, typically body fat.

A well-functioning liver filters about 2 litres of blood every minute, and clears 99% of bacteria and other toxins from the blood before it re-enters circulation. Possibly these days with the amount of toxic exposure we experience, the liver could do with a little extra support.

 

Symptoms of toxicity

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These can be as varied as the individual, but generally speaking they can manifest as:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Muscle and/or joint aches and pains
  • Brain fog
  • Poor concentration
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Allergies, stuffy nose, coughing
  • Rashes, itching, hives, acne
  • Digestive symptoms, constipation, IBS
  • Sensitivities to chemicals, foods, drugs

Sources of Toxins within us

  1. Cortisol produced during stress
  2. Hormones
  3. Gut bacteria, especially when there is an imbalance producing endotoxins, which have been associated with depression, chronic fatigue, irritable bowel and atherosclerosis.

Note: Phase 1 liver detoxification can produce toxic substances (often more toxic than the original toxin), which then needs to be processed quickly by phase 2. If there is an imbalance or a delay between phase 1 and phase 2, free radical damage may result from these toxins.

Sources of Toxins outside the body

  1. Plastics, think BPA – drink bottles, take away cups, microwaving in plastic, till receipts
  2. Benzene from smelling petrol
  3. Formaldehyde – off gassing from some new furniture, new carpet, particle board
  4. Pesticides on foods
  5. Chemicals in skin care products and household cleaning products

Heavy Metals (some examples)

  1. Exposure to Mercury – even small amounts – may cause serious health problems, and is a threat to the development of the child in utero and early in life. Possible sources are from amalgum fillings, fish higher up in the food chain such as Tuna and breaking of eco lightbulbs.
  2. Lead – can be passed on to the foetus. Passed exposure from lead petrol, accumulates in tissues.

Note: Heavy metals and our own minerals compete with each other. So if your own mineral status is low, this gives these heavy metals a chance to bind to receptors within our body.

 

But It Is Not All Doom and Gloom!

There is so much we can do to assist our body and its detoxification processes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First it is critically important to

  • Reduce Toxic Load

Remember our toxic load goes up and up and up until you reach tolerance level and then you may begin to develop disease.

So,

  • Avoid as many as possible, by throwing out those plastic drink bottles, not cooking in plastic containers, use keep cups instead of plastic take away cups (this also helps save the environment), only handle till receipts if absolutely necessary.
  • Stand upwind when filling up with petrol so that you are not inhaling any fumes.
  • House cleaning products – be careful with chemicals, use eco friendly ones or you can even make your own with essential oils baking soda and white vinegar.
  • Have a fibre rich diet. Dietary fibres help bind onto toxins and keep things moving through your bowels for elimination.
  • Keep well hydrated, again this helps flush toxins out – start the day with two large glasses of water you may wish to add a little apple cider vinegar/lemon juice – as this may also help with regularity (brush teeth afterwards).
  • Exercise – this helps flush out toxins, move bowels and stimulate the lymphatic system.
  • Good bowel movements are essential – you don’t want things backing up and sitting there for long periods of time. The majority of toxins leave your body via the bowel.
  • Finally, sweating is also a great way to eliminate waste and toxins, and is especially good for some metals and BPA. Infrared Saunas heat up the body much like the sun on a hot day. This dry heat is generally more easily tolerated and therefore may assist with a deeper more profuse sweating experience.
Let the Healing Power of Nature do its stuff!

Let the Healing Power of Nature do its stuff!

Embrace Nature, Embrace Health.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to autumn – not a time to be sad that summer is over, but a time to admire the beauty of nature all around us. This is the season of stunning autumnal colours. Stop and take a moment from your busy life to enjoy what nature has to offer..

Nature truly has healing powers – from the wonderful plants that nourish us through the food we grow and eat, to the beautiful herbal tonics we can make using plants to help support organs and body system. Who hasn’t tried echinacea when struck down by the cold or flu? (By the way echinacea has many other uses too). Come and see our Naturopaths and Herbalists at Simply Great Health here on the North Shore to find out more.

Just being outside amongst the plants has healing powers too. A number of studies have found that by getting into nature, and better still, living in close proximity to “green space”, a number of health benefits may be experienced. A recent Spanish study published in the International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, 2018, found that “Greenspaces have been associated with reduced cancer mortality among young women. Mechanisms explaining the beneficial effect of green spaces include increased levels of physical activity and reduced exposure to air pollution, which have been both associated with cancer development” (2018).

A study published in BJ Psych Int. found that “Individuals have less mental distress, less anxiety and depression, greater wellbeing and healthier cortisol profiles when living in urban areas with more greenspace” (Barton & Rogerson, 2017).

The Japanese have taken the natural healing of nature a step further and have what they call Shinrin Yoku, which translated means forest bathing. A practice of being connected with nature, recognising and utilising this wonderful health resource provided by our forests and countryside. It is a place where we can engage all 5 of our senses as we wonder through the bush. It would seem to not only help with blood pressure, memory and concentration but also seems to support a good night’s sleep. What a great way to unplug from technology, reconnect with our senses while at the same time getting some exercise and fresh air.

So as we are still enjoying such fine weather, why not take some time to get out into nature, enjoy some of our wonderful bush and give yourself a health boost at the same time. The best part is it won’t cost you anything. Give it a try this weekend and enjoy the benefits!

 

References:

O’Callaghan-Gordo, C., Kogevinas, M., Castano-Vingals, G., Aragones, N., Delfrade, J. Fernandez-Villa, T., … Nieuenhuijsen, M.J. (2018). Residential proximity to green spaces and breast cancer risk: The multicase-control study in Spain (MCC-Spain). Int J Hyg Environ Health, 221(8), 1097-1106. doi: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2018.07.014

Barton, J. & Rogerson, M. (2017). The importance of greenspace for mental health. Retrieved from www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5663018

Your guide to buying fruit and veges

Your guide to buying fruit and veges

Buying organic fruits and vegetables can at times seem more expensive than buying from your supermarket. So we’ve put together a list to help you allocate your budget to the foods that should be bought organically, and which foods have less pesticides and chemicals and are ok to buy conventionally if your budget doesn’t stretch.

The clean 15 list shows you the best vegetables to buy organically to limit exposure to pesticides. A lot of the ‘clean’ produce has thick skin, allowing the produce to protect its edible parts from pesticides, meaning it’s safer for eating and better for you! Think strawberries (on the dirty list) vs. avocados (on the clean list).

Have a read below for your next shopping trip 🙂

Click here to download your printable version!

One Step Towards Changing the World

One Step Towards Changing the World

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Small steps can make BIG differences. All too often we are overwhelmed by issues, we feel we can do nothing to help when maybe all it takes are small steps to initiate some change. We see and hear about enormous islands of rubbish and plastic floating in the ocean and the devastating effect this has on our marine life. We see horrific pictures of birds dying through starvation as they are not able to feed due to bits of plastic impeding them and whales full of plastic. What can we do about this? Surely this problem is too big for me as an individual to make any sort of a difference. But, every time we take our reusable bags to the supermarket that is one bag less to pollute our landfills and oceans. Every time we take our reusable coffee cups to café’s that is less plastic to pollute our environment.

 

Bees

We now have a serious world-wide problem with dying bees and decreasing bee populations. Without bees our agriculture would suffer, bees pollinate plants. It has been estimated that approximately one third of our global food supply is pollinated by bees. Really they provide a free pollinating service to our farmers so are a vital part of our food supply. Also life would be somewhat dull without colourful flowers and plants again pollinated by bees. Let’s stop using toxic sprays that kill bees and plant flowers to help support and feed them. Again small steps that can have big positive outcomes.

 

Let’s finish with the Star Fish Story adapted from The Star Thrower, by Loren Eiselsy (1907-1977).

A man was walking along the beach one morning as he did most days. A big storm had passed through the day before and left the beach covered in starfish, hundreds of starfish as far as the eye could see. Away in the distance the old man spotted a young boy bending down, picking up something and throwing it into the ocean. As the boy came closer the man called out asking what the boy was doing? The young boy paused, looked up and replied “throwing starfish back into the ocean. The storm has washed them up onto the beach and if left here they will surely die as they cannot return to the ocean by themselves.” The old man replied “but there are thousands of starfish on the beach, you really won’t be able to make much of a difference”

The boy bent down and picked up another starfish and threw it into the ocean. He turned to the man and said “I made a difference to that one, and that one” as he threw yet another starfish into the ocean.

 

We can all be that boy, throwing back one starfish at a time, not letting big seemly unsurmountable tasks overwhelm us. We too can make a difference. Think today what can I do to make a positive change to my family, world and environment 🙂