Beating the winter blues with acupuncture
The winter is a particularly dreary time of year. With fewer daylight hours, and cold, miserable weather, our mood and energy levels can be drastically affected. This can have a knock on effect on our sleep patterns, motivation and appetite.
Depression, whether it is a temporary blip, or a chronic condition, is a common reason for someone to seek help from an acupuncturist.
I know from experience that acupuncture can be very helpful in lifting the mood, and there are also scientific studies evidencing the positive effects of acupuncture on people with depression.
So, how does it work?
Generally, acupuncture has been shown to stimulate the nervous system and promote the release of neurochemical messengers. This can generate feelings of well-being. Specifically, it can alter the mood chemistry of the brain, such as increasing the levels of serotonin and endorphins.
For more information, please visit the research section of the British Acupuncture Council's website.
Spring 2014: Put some Spring into Your Step!
At last, after another seemingly long, grim winter, spring is finally here!
Seeds are sprouting, flowers are blooming and we start to feel the warmth of the sun on our faces. What a wonderful time!
In Chinese Medicine, spring is the season of growth, development and new beginnings. It is the ideal time for cleansing and rejuvenation for overall health and well-being.
In the Eastern philosophy of the Five Elements, spring corresponds to the “Wood” element, which in turn relates to the liver and gallbladder organs.
According to Chinese medicine, the liver is responsible for the smooth flow of Qi (vital energy) throughout the body. When the liver functions well, physical and emotional activity in the body runs smoothly. When the liver is struggling, we may become more emotional, depressed or angry, or we may experience unexplained pains that come and go.
So, for optimum health this spring, move your Qi!
Keeping well in the spring
Spring is a time of regeneration, new beginnings and a renewal of spirit. It is the ideal time for cleansing and rejuvenation for overall health and well-being. As explained on the first page, the liver and gallbladder are usually the prime targets for springtime cleansing and health regimes.
Stretch - The liver controls the tendons. According to Chinese medicine, the liver stores blood during periods of rest and then releases it to the tendons in times of activity, maintaining tendon health and flexibility. Incorporate a morning stretch into your routine. Try yoga or tai qi.
Eye Exercises - The liver “opens into the eyes” and is connected to eye function. Remember to take breaks when looking at a computer monitor for extended periods of time and do exercises.
Eat Green - Green is the colour associated with the liver and springtime. Eat young plants- fresh, leafy greens, sprouting seeds or beans, and immature cereal grasses- can improve the liver’s overall functions and aid in the movement of qi.
Taste Sour - Foods and drinks with sour tastes stimulate the liver’s qi. Add slices of lemon to your water, use vinegar and olive oil for your salad dressing. Include pickles with your lunch.
Do more outside activities - If you have been feeling irritable, find an outdoor activity to get the liver energy flowing.
Enjoy milk thistle tea- Milk thistle helps protect liver cells from incoming toxins and encourages the liver to cleanse itself of damaging substances such as alcohol, medication, pesticides and environmental toxins.
Have some acupuncture treatment- Acupuncture can help to improve the overall health of your liver as well as treat stress, anger and frustration, which are often associated with liver qi disharmony.
Shonishin (or children’s needle therapy) is a style of acupuncture specifically designed for babies and children. It was developed over 250 years ago in Japan. It involves specialised treatment techniques, many of which are non-invasive, gentle and non-frightening to the child.
In Shonishin various instruments have been developed that give different kinds of stimulation. These tools can be tapped, rubbed, pressed and gently scraped on the skin instead of inserted like a normal acupuncture needle.
Common symptoms and conditions helped by using this systematic approach are: colic, disturbed sleep, digestive problems (diarrhoea, constipation, indigestion), eczema, asthma hyperactivity, failure to thrive issues, ear infections, bed wetting, allergies, colds/coughs. Some techniques can be taught to parents to use at home in between treatments to increase recovery time and to allow parents to participate in the treatment of their children. Children’s treatments are offered at reduced rates (see Fees and Appointments).