There are numerous benefits for women using essential oils during pregnancy and even through to labour, delivery and post-partum; including dealing with nausea, anxiety and pain. And essential oils used in massage enter the bloodstream a lot quicker than the usual 30-minute time-frame it takes for normal pain medications to take effect.

Consequently, the use of aromatherapy during pregnancy is becoming more popular in Europe, with apparently 76 per cent of German obstetrics departments making essential oils available.[1] In the US, aromatherapy is also being introduced to hospitals and clinics.

Safety first

There are a number of caveats before we delve into this topic. There are a number of oils that are best avoided or only used at a particular phase of the pregnancy. These include basil, birch, calamus, cassia, cinnamon bark, hyssop, Idaho tansy, lavandin, rosemary, sage and tarragon. Oils to be used with caution include angelica, cedarwood, German chamomile, cistus, citronella, clary sage, clove bud, cumin, cypress, davana, fennel, laurel, marjoram, mountain savory, myrrh, nutmeg, peppermint, rose, spearmint, vetiver and yarrow. For example, taking oils such as clary sage and fennel can help accelerate labour once begun, but you would have to be careful with their use prior to that time. There is also the opinion that women should refrain from using essential oils in the first trimester.

Having said all this, I feel the greatest risk comes from using essential oils that are not pure and are used incorrectly. Also be sure to consult with your health practitioner prior to using any of these essential oils.

Essential oils to use during the term of the pregnancy

To ease anxiety and calming: Lavender. Diffuse in the air or rub into your hands and inhale.

To combat nausea and morning sickness: Peppermint, ginger, spearmint and lemon are helpful. These oils can be diffused in the air (at least 3o minutes every 4 hours or as needed), applied topically with a warm compress on the navel area (around three drops) or behind each ear.

To prepare for delivery: A massage of the area (three times daily) around the perineum in the last trimester can prepare the skin for the stretching that will occur during delivery. A massage blend combining oils such as lavender, geranium, myrrh, German chamomile,  neroli and sandalwood can be beneficial in improving the elasticity of the skin and reducing stretch marks.

Essential oils during labour and delivery

During the contractions of early labour, lavender is again useful in relaxing and reducing anxiety for the woman. Clary sage and jasmine help to increase uterine contractions as well as acting to reduce stress. Fennel also works in a similar fashion to clary sage in increasing contractions. These oils can be applied on the ankles, hands or lower abdomen. Dilute them 50:50 with a vegetable oil if desired.

Eucalyptus is a great fresh aroma to have diffusing in the background as well as providing anti-bacterial action.


Lavender and geranium are great oils to apply to the ankles, abdomen or the soles of the feet, following delivery. Lavender is calming, has a slight analgesic effect, stimulates circulation and has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory qualities. Geranium likewise increases circulation, is healing for the uterus, helps to pull together dilated skin tissue and has uplifting and anti-depressant properties.

In the event that you have undergone an episiotomy or cesarian section and are experiencing discomfort, try a compress using lavender oil, which is also anti-inflammatory.

Postpartum is also a time in which a woman’s hormones can be haywire and there can be chaotic sleep patterns. Symptoms of postpartum depression can include sadness, irritableness, anxiety, fatigue, hopelessness, guilt, fatigue, difficulty in sleeping and thoughts of suicide. Oils such as geranium, fennel and clary sage have estrogenic properties and can help restore hormonal balance. These can be massaged diluted 50:50 with a vegetable oils and applied to the feet, hands, forehead and temple. Diffused in a room, individual oils, or better still a blend combining oils such as neroli, jasmine, rose, myrrh, frankincense, lemon, grapefruit, orange, bergamot and patchouli, can be emotionally uplifting. These can also be massaged on the skin or you can even add three drops of your blend to a warm bath.

Disclaimer: Please remember that anything discussed here does not constitute medical advice and cannot substitute for appropriate medical care. Where essential oils are mentioned, it’s recommended you use only pure, unadulterated therapeutic grade essential oils and follow the safety directions of the manufacturer.

Coleman Smith, Virginia. Aromatherapy as a comfort measure: during the Childbearing Year, International Journal of Childbirth Education. 2012 Vol 27, No.3, pp 26-30
[2]  Tiran, D. Smell’s good! Aromatherapy in midwifery, Practising Mid-wife. 2011 Vol 14, No.10, pp 11-15

High blood pressure, or hypertension, affects more than one in three Australians, but most people may not even know they have it.
Since hypertension can lead to heart attacks and other life-threatening health problems, it’s very important to learn all you can and take action to lower your risk.
Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offer a safe, natural and pain-free way to keep your blood pressure in check.

What is hypertension? Blood pressure is the actual force of blood flowing against your artery walls. Getting your blood pressure tested is a quick, simple process. It’s measured in two numbers: systolic pressure and diastolic pressure. Blood pressure is considered high if your systolic pressure is at or above 140 mm Hg, and/or your diastolic pressure is at or above 90 mm Hg.
Often called “the silent killer,” hypertension doesn’t usually cause symptoms until it gets severe enough to lead to major health problems such as heart failure, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, and metabolic disorders. It has also been linked to dementia and cognitive impairment.
What causes hypertension? More than 90% of cases of hypertension are known as “essential hypertension” and have no identifiable cause. “Secondary hypertension,” on the other hand, is caused by underlying conditions such as kidney disease or certain medications.
The risk factors for essential hypertension include age (the risk is higher after age 35), ethnicity and a family history of the condition. While you can’t control those factors, there are many you can control, including:

• Being overweight

• Stress

• Excessive salt intake

• Drinking heavily

• Sedentary lifestyle

• Tobacco use

How can acupuncture and TCM help? Fortunately, there are many ways to lower your blood pressure. Typical Western treatments include controlling your risk factors and taking medication if needed. By incorporating acupuncture and TCM into your treatment plan you can treat your hypertension and improve your overall health and well-being.
Western Medicine has a different approach for the treatment of hypertension and relates it to a disease of the cardiovascular system. Acupuncture and TCM practitioners take a holistic, or whole body approach for the treatment of hypertension and take into account imbalanced conditions of the whole system that can involve the function of the liver, kidneys, digestive system and heart. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, Qi (chee) is the life force that animates the body and protects it from illness. It flows through pathways called meridians to nourish all of the body’s organs. When there is an imbalance or blockage in the flow of Qi disease and illness result.
The goal of treatment is to find and address the underlying imbalances affecting the flow of Qi, leading to the elevated blood pressure and various symptoms. By addressing the root cause of your high blood pressure, TCM can help your body regain its natural balance. In doing so, you’ll also be strengthening your health and reducing the risk of future health problems.
Acupuncture and TCM have proven effective against a wide variety of health concerns. Studies have found that a special form of acupuncture using electrical stimulation is particularly helpful in lowering blood pressure. By working together with your practitioner, you’ll be on your way to successfully treating your hypertension and improving your health.

MIND BODY MEDICINE Acupuncture Gold Coast
One of the most frequently asked questions from cancer patients is: “What can I do right now to stop the cancer growth and improve my health?”  And the answer is:  change your diet!

When you have a scan with contrast dye, the carrying agent for the dye is glucose, or sugar water.  Glucose is used because cancer cells suck up the sugar so quickly and completely, it lights up the films and shows the doctors where the cancer is located.  Sugar feeds cancer and helps it grow.  If you eliminate sugar from your diet, you will quit providing fuel for the cancer growth.

Sugar is hidden in many foods.  Sometimes we think we are eating healthy, but we are consuming large amounts of sugar.  It doesn’t matter if the sugar is natural or refined – it’s still sugar.  While fruits are part of a healthy diet, we recommend eating only selective fruits.  Fruits that grow where there is a winter season are best because the dormant season takes much of the sugar out of the fruit.  The best fruits are apples, pears, peaches, plums, apricots and berries of all kinds (go easy on strawberries).  Fruits with the most sugar are tropical fruits. The fruits with the most sugar are green grapes, melons, pineapples, mangos, papayas and bananas and citrus (lemons and grapefruit are permitted).

Cruciferous vegetables are the most nourishing: broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and celery.  Eat plenty of dark coloured vegetables.  White potatoes contain sugar; sweet potatoes are better for you.  Use whole grain brown rice, not white rice.  Corn is starchy and sugary, so eat this sparingly.  Eat lots of salads with raw veggies.  Buy organic fruits and vegetables whenever you can.  If you can’t find organic, wash all produce well before eating.

A word about eating raw:  When your diet is mostly raw, it takes an enormous amount of energy for your body to digest the food.  Cancer patients need that energy for healing, so be sure you have a healthy balance of raw and cooked food.  Also, people use raw diets to lose weight – and that is certainly not the goal when you have cancer.  Steam or bake some of your veggies, just don’t eat fried foods in any form.  Make veggie soups or sauté or stir fry your favourite veggies.

Use organic olive oil instead of other oils or butter.  Never use margarine (lard with yellow food colouring), use organic butter.
Whole grains are also healthy.  Buy only whole grains (whole wheat bread is usually white bread with brown dye).  Ezekiel bread can be found in some grocery stores and most health food stores.  Look for whole grain cereals too.

Use fresh herbs and organic spices, onions and garlic to flavour your food.

Fresh ocean fish (never farm raised, they are loaded with mercury) and organic poultry are permitted, as well as organic nut butters, beans and lentils.   Stay away from all beef and pork.

Sweeteners:  Use Stevia or organic honey only.  Never use artificial sweeteners.

Use herbal teas instead of coffee.  Stay away from fruit juice – it is just super concentrated sugar.  Drink high mountain spring water, the higher the source the more pure the water.  And drink plenty of water – keeping your body hydrated will help flush toxins and dead cancer cells from your body.  Of course, no fizzy soft drinks – stay away from carbonated beverages and alcohol.

A healthy diet can help your cancer treatments work better as well as give you more energy and a boost to your mood.    Exercise, laugh, and spend time with people you care about. You can beat cancer – it’s being done every day.

Ever wonder what's really in the food sold at grocery stores around the world? People keep asking me, "What ingredients should I avoid?" So I put together a short list that covers all the most toxic and disease-promoting ingredients in the food supply.

These are the substances causing cancer, diabetes, heart disease and leading to billions of dollars in unnecessary health care costs across Australia (and around the world).

If you want to stay healthy and out of the hospital, read ingredients labels and make sure you avoid all these ingredients:

Acrylamides- Toxic, cancer-causing chemicals formed in foods when carbohydrates are exposed to high heat (baking, frying, grilling). They're present in everything from bread crusts to snack chips, and because they aren't intentional ingredients, acrylamides do NOT have to be listed on labels.

Aspartame- Chemical sweetener that causes neurological disorders, seizures, blurred vision and migraine headaches.

Autolyzed Proteins- Highly processed form of protein containing free glutamate and used to mimic the taste-enhancer chemical MSG.

BPA (Bisphenol-A)- A hormone mimicking chemical found in nearly all food packaging plastics. Active in just parts per billion, BPA promotes cancer, infertility and hormone disorders. It also "feminizes" males, promoting male breast growth and hormone disruption

Casein- Milk proteins. Hilariously, this is widely used in "soy cheese" products that claim to be alternatives to cow's milk. Nearly all of them are made with cow's milk proteins.

Corn Syrup- Just another name for High Fructose Corn Syrup Frequently used in infant formula products.

Food Colours- Australia has the highest product count of foods containing the artificial food colours which have been shown in repeated scientific studies to affect children’s behaviour and learning.
 In the EU since June 2010 foods containing several artificial colours must carry a label warning "may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children". In the UK these colours are being phased out. But in Australia, NZ and USA children are not protected.
Nearly all artificial food colours are derived from petroleum, and many are contaminated with aluminium.

Genetically Modified Ingredients-  These are mostly labled in Australia. However,there are some exemptions to the GM food labelling requirements. Foods that do not need to be labelled as genetically modified include highly refined foods, such as sugars and oils, where the process has removed DNA and protein from the food , including novel DNA and novel protein.
In addition, labelling is not required where there is no more than 1% (per ingredient) of an approved GM food unintentionally present in a non-GM food. This means labelling is not required where a manufacturer genuinely orders non-GM ingredients but finds that up to 1% of an approved GM ingredient is accidentally mixed in non-GM ingredient.
They're linked to severe infertility problems and may even cause the bacteria in your body to produce and release a pesticide in your own gut.

High Fructose Corn Syrup- A highly processed liquid sugar extracted with the chemical solvent glutaraldehyde and frequently contaminated with mercury It's also linked to diabetes, obesity and mood disorders. Used in thousands of grocery items, including things you wouldn't suspect like pizza sauce and salad dressings.

Homogenized Milk- The fats in the milk are artificially modified to change them into smaller molecules that stay in suspension in the milk liquid (so the milk fat doesn't separate) While it makes milk look better on the shelf, it's also blamed for promoting heart disease and may contribute to milk allergies. Raw milk is healthier, which is why the government has outlawed it
Hydrochloride- When you see anything hydrochloride, such as Pyridoxine Hydrochloride or Thiamin Hydrochloride, those are chemical forms of B vitamins that companies add to their products to be able to claim higher RDA values of vitamins. But these are synthetic, chemical forms of vitamins, not real vitamins from foods or plants. Nutritionally, they are near-useless and may actually be bad for you. Also watch out for niacinamide and cyanocobalamin (synthetic vitamin B-12).

Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein- A highly processed form of (usually) soy protein that's processed to bring out the free glutamate (MSG). Used as a taste enhancer.

Partially Hydrogenated Oils- Oils that are modified using a chemical catalyst to make them stable at room temperature. This creates trans fatty acids and greatly increases the risk of blocked arteries. It also promotes what I call "sludge blood," which is thick, viscous blood that's hard to pump. This is usually diagnosed by doctors as "high blood pressure" and treated with blood-thinning medications that are technically the same chemicals as rat poison (warfarin)

Phosphoric Acid- The acid used in fizzy soft drinks to dissolve the carbon dioxide and add to the overall fizzy-ness of the drink. Phosphoric acid will eat steel nails. It's also used by stone masons to etch rocks. The military uses it to clean the rust off battleships. It absolutely destroys tooth enamel.

Propylene Glycol- A liquid used in the automotive industry as anti-freeze for car radiator coolant. It's also used to make the fake blueberries you see in blueberry muffins, bagels and breads. (Combined with artificial colours and corn syrup.)

Sodium (Salt)- The processed white salt lacking in trace minerals. In the holistic nutrition industry, we call it "death salt" because it promotes disease and death. Real salt, on the other hand, such as "dirty" sea salt or pink Himalayan salt, is loaded with the trace minerals that prevent disease, such as selenium (cancer), chromium (diabetes) and zinc (infectious disease). Much like with bread and sugar, white salt is terrible for your health. And don't be fooled by claims of "sea salt" in grocery stores. All salt came from the sea if you go far back enough in geologic time, so they can slap the "sea salt" claim on ANY salt!

Sodium Nitrite- A cancer-causing red colouring chemical added to bacon, hot dogs, sausage, beef jerky, ham, lunch meats, pepperoni and nearly all processed meats. Strongly linked to brain tumors, pancreatic cancers and colon cancers. Sodium nitrite is a complete poison used to make meats look fresh.

Soy Protein- The No. 1 protein source used in "protein bars," including many bars widely consumed by bodybuilders. Soy protein is the "junk protein" of the food industry. It's made from genetically modified soybeans (often grown in China) and then subjected to hexane, a chemical solvent that can literally explode.

Sucralose- An artificial chemical sweetener sold as Splenda. The sucralose molecule contains a chlorine atom. Researchers have repeatedly found that artificial sweeteners make people fat by actually promoting weight gain

Sugar- The bleached, nutritionally-deficient by product of cane processing. During sugar cane processing, nearly all the minerals and vitamins end up in the blackstrap molasses that's usually fed to farm animals. (Blackstrap molasses is actually the "good" part of sugar cane juice.) Molasses is often fed to farm animals because every farmer knows that farm animals need good nutrition to stay alive. Amazingly, conventional doctors don't yet realise this about humans, and they continue to claim that eating sugar is perfectly fine for you. Sugar promotes diabetes, obesity, mood disorders and nutritional deficiencies.

Textured Vegetable Protein- Usually made of soy protein which is extracted from genetically modified soybeans and then processed using hexane, an explosive chemical solvent (see Soy Protein, above). Widely used in vegetarian foods such as "veggie burgers" (most of which also contain MSG or Yeast Extract, by the way).

Yeast Extract- Hidden form of MSG that contains free glutamate and is used in many "natural" food products to claim "No MSG!" Yeast extract contains up to 14% free glutamate. You'll find it in thousands of grocery store products, from soups to snack chips.

Food label tricks
Here's a trick food companies frequently use to pack more sugar into their products without making sugar look like the first ingredient:

Ingredient labels, you see, must list the most prominent ingredients first, and some consumers might freak out if they saw a box of cereal that said, "Sugar, whole grain wheat, corn" and so on. Instead, the company uses 3 or 4 different forms of sugar to distribute them farther down the label, like this:

"Whole grain wheat, sugar, corn syrup, corn syrup solids..."

This way, the first ingredients looks like "whole grain wheat" when, in reality, the cereal might be over fifty percent sugars!

How to buy health promoting and nutritious food
• Shop at your local farmer's market or food co-op
• Look for Australian Certified Organic Processor labels on foods. This is a legitimate claim to being        certified organic.
• Read the ingredients labels! If you see names of chemicals you can't pronounce, don't buy it.
• Buy more unprocessed food ingredients and make your own meals rather than buying ready-to-eat, processed foods, which are almost universally formulated with disease-promoting ingredients.
• GROW some of your own food! The best food you can ever eat is food from your own garden.

Menopause… the word strikes dread in the hearts of women everywhere. Hot flushes, night sweats, insomnia, mood swings… and these are only a few of the symptoms. Not to mention being the butt of jokes for something that makes women feel out of control and old. But what can be done?

Traditionally western medicine prescribes two ways of dealing with it; hormone replacement therapy which has its issues, or just deal with it. But there may be a better way. Menopause is a time when a woman transitions from childbearing years to non-childbearing ones. Ovulation stops and estrogen declines. While it is a natural thing, it causes women to suffer some consequences that range from annoying to painful. 

Symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats, insomnia, fatigue, mood swings, memory loss, vaginal dryness, headaches, joint pain, and weight gain are the most common. Menopause symptoms can last from a few months to several years.  

Chinese medicine looks at it differently. Menopause occurs when a woman’s body starts to preserve blood to sustain vitality and allow for more nourishment of her body, especially the kidneys. The kidneys, in their tradition, are the organs that are the root of life and longevity. The blood and essence that used to go to the uterus now are conserved and cycled through the body and nourish a woman’s spirit and help her longevity.
Treating menopause through acupuncture is a natural and effective way to relieve symptoms. It has no negative side effects like hormone replacement therapy which carry risks of osteoporosis and cancers.

Acupuncture, with or without Chinese herbal medicine, has the ability to treat the energy changes that occur in the body and relieve the worst of menopausal symptoms. When your Qi energy is out of balance, illness results. While menopause isn’t an illness, the symptoms come from the imbalance in the body. Acupuncture will rebalance, relieving the symptoms.

The Acupuncture points that treat the emotional and physical effects of menopause are located in many different parts of the body. The number of treatments will vary depending on the severity and length of your symptoms.

Qigong is an ancient Chinese health care system that integrates physical postures, breathing techniques and focused intention.

The word Qigong (Chi Kung) is made up of two Chinese words. Qi is pronounced chee and is usually translated to mean the life force or vital-energy that flows through all things in the universe.

The second word, Gong, pronounced gung, means accomplishment, or skill that is cultivated through steady practice. Together, Qigong (Chi Kung) means cultivating energy, it is a system practiced for health maintenance, healing and increasing vitality.

Qigong is an integration of physical postures, breathing techniques, and focused intentions.

Qigong practices can be classified as martial, medical, or spiritual. All styles have three things in common: they all involve a posture, (whether moving or stationary), breathing techniques, and mental focus. Some practices increase the Qi; others circulate it, use it to cleanse and heal the body, store it, or emit Qi to help heal others. Practices vary from the soft internal styles such as Tai Chi; to the external, vigorous styles such as Kung Fu. However, the slow gentle movements of most Qigong forms can be easily adapted, even for the physically challenged and can be practiced by all age groups.

Like any other system of health care, Qigong is not a panacea, but it is certainly a highly effective health care practice. Many health care professionals recommend Qigong as an important form of alternative complementary medicine.

Qigong creates an awareness of and influences dimensions of our being that are not part of traditional exercise programs. Most exercises do not involve the meridian system used in acupuncture nor do they emphasize the importance of adding mind intent and breathing techniques to physical movements. When these dimensions are added, the benefits of exercise increase exponentially.

The gentle, rhythmic movements of Qigong reduce stress, build stamina, increase vitality, and enhance the immune system. It has also been found to improve cardiovascular, respiratory, circulatory, lymphatic and digestive functions.

Those who maintain a consistent practice of Qigong find that it helps one regain a youthful vitality, maintain health even into old age and helps speed recovery from illness. Western scientific research confirms that Qigong reduces hypertension and the incidence of falling in the aged population. One of the more important long-term effects is that Qigong re-establishes the mind body connection.

People do Qigong to maintain health, heal their bodies, calm their minds, and reconnect with their spirit.

When these three aspects of our being are integrated, it encourages a positive outlook on life and helps eliminate harmful attitudes and behaviors. It also creates a balanced life style, which brings greater harmony, stability, and enjoyment


Can an Ancient Healing System practiced for thousands of years be useful in the modern cancer care setting?
Acupuncture has demonstrated benefit to cancer patients in the following areas:

Pain Management: Acupuncture is very effective for managing pain related to tumors, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and inflammation. Cancer itself is a painful disease and the treatments for cancer cause pain, swelling and inflammation. Additionally, many of the treatments for management of cancer pain cause side effects such as constipation, confusion, nausea, difficulty urinating and respiratory depression. Patients who receive acupuncture may be able to use lower doses of pain medications.

Immune System Modulation: Many cancers and many cancer treatments cause a suppression of the bone marrow, the source of blood cells that are the army of the immune system. Acupuncture increases blood cell production and enhances Natural Killer Cells and Lymphocytes which leads to increased immune response and decreased risk of infection.

Inflammation: Increased inflammation is a part of the physiology of cancer. Many of the treatments for cancer such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery also cause painful inflammation. Acupuncture reduces the pain and swelling related to inflammation.

Nausea and Vomiting: Acupuncture has been shown to reduce the intensity and frequency of nausea and vomiting in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy.

Dry, Painful Mouth and Throat: Cancer patients receiving radiation to the head and neck experience dry mouth due to the reduction in saliva production. Additionally, radiation treatments lead to pain and swelling in the mouth and throat making it very difficult to swallow. These patients often lose their sense of taste as well. Acupuncture has been shown to decrease these side effects allowing the patient to be able to swallow, eat and drink normally, protect the health of the teeth and gums and reduce the incidence of infections, pain and swelling in the mouth and throat during radiation therapy.

Sleep: Cancer patients suffer sleep disruption and insomnia due to post-surgical discomfort, anxiety and depression and physical pain. By relieving these symptoms the cancer patient is able to get the deep sleep and rest required for recovery and healing.

Hot Flushes in Breast Cancer Patients: Many women undergoing hormonal treatment for breast cancer experience hot flushes that disrupt sleep and activities of daily living. Acupuncture has been shown to decrease the frequency and intensity of hot flushes for breast cancer patients. Although these studies on management of hot flushes with acupuncture were done in women breast cancer patients, men with prostate cancer also experience hot flushes during hormonal treatment and would benefit from acupuncture.

Quality of Life: By managing the side effects of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and hormonal therapies, reducing pain and inflammation, improving sleep, supporting normal digestive function and reducing stress the quality of life of cancer patients is improved by acupuncture treatments.

Research on the use of acupuncture in the cancer care setting is ongoing. Investigations include the benefits of acupuncture to treat many cancer related symptoms including loss of appetite, diarrhoea, weight loss, cough, bone pain, chest pain, dizziness, fatigue and anxiety and depression in cancer patients.

Chinese herbs can be used to influence the body's metabolism in different ways. Most people who need to lose weight would like to have their metabolism run more efficiently. There are a number of herbs that can help people in their quest for a healthier, more efficient metabolism in order to ensure that any efforts to lose weight are successful. There are three types of herbs that can assist people trying to lose weight.
The first type of herb is the type that "transforms phlegm" in Chinese medicine terminology. These herbs can help the body to process fats more efficiently and prevent the accumulation of unhealthy fats and fluids in the body. Some herbs in this class that may assist weight loss include citrus aurantium, immature citrus peel, and magnolia bark. Glechoma and hawthorn berry can also help by "transforming phlegm".

Citrus Aurantium contains synephrine, which has been shown to have fat-burning properties in research done at McGill University in Montreal. It improves the thermogenesis of brown fatty tissue in the body, which is generally the fat that is the most difficult to burn off.

Other herbs that can help boost metabolic function are herbs that increase the qi and yang energy of the body. This class of herbs includes ginseng, astragalus, and atractylodes. Other herbs in this category include ginger, cinnamon, epimedium and eucommia bark. These herbs can also give a person an energy boost. This can encourage the person to remain consistent with his or her exercise routine. These herbs also encourage healthy digestion and generally make a person's metabolism run faster and more efficiently. This group of herbs can be particularly helpful for those people whose weight tends to accumulate around the abdomen.

Detoxifying, bitter herbs like ganoderma are another class of herbs that can assist with weight loss. These herbs tend to reduce inflammatory, acidic conditions in the body that often trigger the cravings people have for inordinate quantities of unhealthy food. These herbs are particularly useful in people who tend to have voracious appetites for spicy, oily, and sweet foods. They also may have a tendency towards acne or oily skin, and a slightly reddish, or ruddy complexion. These herbs include Chinese rhubarb, coptis, and scute.

Other herbs can be used to control and balance out the emotional conditions that trigger overeating. People who find themselves eating out of stress, sadness, depression, anxiety, or PMS can find that these herbs balance out their emotional life and reduce their cravings for food. These herbs include magnolia bark, bupleurum root, mint, zizyphus and biota seeds, and longan fruit.

Other supplements that can assist in a healthy weight loss program are kelp, apple cider vinegar, vitamin B6, and flaxseed oil. Drinking green tea regularly can also be quite helpful.

It is important to remember that all of these supplements are beneficial for promoting weight loss because they promote a healthy metabolism, a healthy energy level, a healthy digestion, and a healthy mental attitude, but that dietary and lifestyle changes are crucial in order to see the results that you want. Nevertheless, Chinese Medicine can be a great ally in the quest to shed kilos more efficiently.


The body responds to stress by releasing chemicals into the blood which increase your heart rate, your blood pressure, and your muscle tension. These chemical changes are beneficial when aiding an accident victim, preparing to speak in public, or fleeing from an attacker. However, chronically high stress levels can become pathological, leading to headaches, high blood pressure, digestive disorders and sleeping problems.

Most of us live under some form of constant stress, leaving us susceptible to not only the physical ailments mentioned above, but also to psychological problems. These include, but are not limited to, depression, anxiety, poor concentration, poor memory and low self esteem. In fact, this is becoming such an epidemic that some studies indicate 4 out of every 5 visits to the doctor are for stress-related complaints.

There is no easy fix to dealing with stress and we all cope in different ways-alcohol, cigarettes, sugar, prescriptive drugs and unhealthy food. There is no magic "stress-reducing pill", though anti-depressants are often referred to in just this way. At best, these medications can offer short term relief, while at worst they can lead to habituation and dependence.

Acupuncture works to regulate and balance a person's Qi (pronounced "Chee"), their life force. It has numerous physiological benefits including decreasing the heart rate, lowering blood pressure, reducing stress and increasing energy. All of these help to off set the negative effects of stress. Furthermore, acupuncture can relieve feelings of anxiety and depression, making it that much easier to deal with stressful situations.

When you are feeling balanced, relaxed and centred, you are more prepared to look at the world around you in a positive light. Thus, even in the midst of the most stressful times you can make clear and healthy choices that will enable you to deal with the most unpleasant moments in life.


The human body doesn’t differentiate between what ‘types’ of stress it’s experiencing; be it mental, emotional, physical or spiritual in origin.

It simply sees ‘stress’ as ‘stress’.

According to Chinese Medicine when the body experiences stress the smooth flow and circulation of the body’s vital life force or ‘Qi’ is disrupted which adversely affect the health of the whole body.

From time to time most people suffer from mild irritability, frustration and moodiness and this is relatively normal.
Left untreated however these mild emotional disturbances can develop into much more serious mental and emotional disorders such as anxiety, depression and panic attacks. They can affect a person’s work performance and the quality of their interpersonal relationships with partners, family, friends and colleagues.

Sufferers can experience shortness of breath, heart palpitation, general agitation, hypertension and feelings of helplessness and hopelessness.
Long term, untreated stress can affect the digestion causing heartburn, stomach ulcers, abdominal bloating, constipation or diarrhoea. It can dramatically disturb regular sleeping habits causing insomnia, sleep deprivation and fatigue.
It can also affect the muscular-skeletal system causing headaches, migraine, neck and shoulder tension and lower back pain.

This slippery slope of stress can play havoc with a person’s overall health and vitality. It can lead to disturbances of the immune system and cause chronic infections and ill-health.
In women the physical symptoms of stress can often be linked to the menstrual cycle. Symptoms can manifest as an irregular menstrual cycle, period pain, pre-menstrual breast distension and irritability or tearfulness.

Post-natal depression can also develop from the stress associated with the increased demands of being a new parent.

If you notice that you are experiencing one or more of the above symptoms and you acknowledge that it might be affecting your enjoyment of life then Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine may be helpful to you.

Chinese Medicine won’t be able to remove the external situations causing you to be stressed but it can help moderate your internal stress responses.
Balancing your body’s internal health creates an expanded sense of inner peace and harmony no matter what turmoil is happening in your external world.

The skill of the practitioner is in being able to assess where the stress is originating from and how it is affecting you.
Identifying the underlying cause of the stress and correcting the accompanying imbalances of the body’s equilibrium will be restored and symptoms will be alleviated, resilience strengthened and ones capacity to cope with stressful circumstances will be enhanced.

Treatment for stress usually involves adjunctive lifestyle intervention including dietary changes, regular physical exercise, reducing drug and alcohol intake, meditation or referral to counselling.

Chinese Medicine is often used to support people through major life upheavals and transitions or periods of prolonged emotional distress such as the loss of a loved one, divorce and midlife crisis.
Such upheaval can disturb ones emotional equilibrium and trigger emotional responses ranging from mild depression and panic attacks to major disruptions in ones activity of daily living.

If you are concerned about the stability of your emotional wellbeing and notice that it is interfering with your overall health, wellness and enjoyment of life please feel free to contact Duane for information on how Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine might help you.