Blog

Diet, food, recipe, Traditional Chinese Medicine

Strawberries: how to eat ’em and why they are good for you

StrawberrySo strawberries have been in the news at the moment and for all of the wrong reasons. But that doesn’t mean that they are not a) tasty and b) good for you!

You may also be helping our farmers out with their glut of beautiful fruit that is now unlikely to be sold at the quantities they’d hoped.

Here’s what strawberries are generally considered to do for us from a Chinese Medicine point of view:

  • Thermal nature: cooling
  • Flavour: sweet, sour
  • Effect: Forms body fluids and Blood

So this means that the delicious red goodness that is a strawberry is refreshing, the sweetness promotes the production of body fluids (good for those people who have problems associated with dryness), the sourness conserves those body fluids and the red colour means this fruit is beneficial for making Blood. On the last point, strawberries are considered to be high in vitamin C and we know that this is helpful in absorbing iron – you might want to team your strawberries up as a dessert following an iron rich meal. Don’t eat too many strawberries (especially raw) if you run cold or are prone to loose bowel motions.

So what should you do with your strawberries, especially if you’ve picked up a bumper pack at a bargain price? (After you’ve sliced them first for safety reasons.)

Well in Chinese Medicine, the general rule is not to eat too much raw food (especially with a cooling nature and especially if you already feel cold) so maybe eat a few raw strawberries. The rest can be cooked up in any one of these great sounding healthy, strawberry recipes. Failing that, you can always dip a few in the finest quality, fair trade, 70+% cacao, dark chocolate. Yum.

So support the farmers, enjoy your strawberries and just be sure to cut them (and maybe cook them up) first.

To book an acupuncture appointment at either Launceston clinic or for further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture).  Sarah is a practitioner of acupuncture (AHPRA registered), massage therapy and natural health.

acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine

Acupuncture in Launceston: 2 new clinics and more appointments available

Hello!

It’s been a busy few months here at Sarah George Acupuncture & Natural Health. In August we had the buzz of the Cook Healthy Japanese Food workshop that I presented with the wonderful Sam Seghers from Mindful Menus. There are more seminars in the pipeline so stay tuned.

And this month the big news is my clinic is leaving its humble location to make its new home in not one but two great central Launceston locationseffective 1st October!

Here are the details to find me:

House of Prana from right
House of Prana
  • In Balance* The In Balance Physio & Pilates team are creating a fantastic, new allied health hub at their beautiful new location of 1st Floor, 233B Charles Street, Launceston
In Balance building
In Balance

*As the exact opening date of the new In Balance clinic is still not definite, I’ll be operating only from House of Prana until I can work from both clinics. I’ll keep you updated.

There are some great benefits to moving to these new locations, including:

  • HICAPS for onsite private health fund claims
  • New herbal dispensary (better access to herbs and no more ordering from the mainland)
  • Greater availability of appointments – 4 days!
  • Easy walk from town
  • Benefit of other practitioner services and team approach where you require it – eg. pilates, yoga, floatation rooms, physio, hypnotherapy, art therapy and remedial massage.

As always my treatments remain holistic and individualised to you, including additional therapies as required such as cupping, gua sha (scraping), moxa, acupressure, tuina (Chinese Medicine massage), herbal medicine, Chinese Medicine dietary advice and lifestyle modifications. And you’ll be benefiting from the knowledge and skills I’ve gained in over 10 years’ clinical experience, several years’ of lecturing and supervising acupuncture students and qualifications at bachelor and masters degree levels in acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine.

To keep up to date with the new clinic developments and news you can follow me on Facebook and Instagram too.

To book an appointment at either clinic or for further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture).  Sarah is a practitioner of acupuncture (AHPRA registered), massage therapy and natural health.

Diet, food, food allergy, health, recipe, Traditional Chinese Medicine

New Launceston workshop: Cook Healthy Japanese Food

Hello! It’s been a little while since my last post (I’ve been busy) but I’m here to say that the great Sam Seghers from Mindful Menus and Redcliffe Yoga & Massage is coming to Launceston (from Redcliffe, QLD) to team up with me for a fun and informative workshop!

Cook Healthy Japanese Food – Saturday 11th August (1pm-3pm)

Header Cooking Healthy Japanese Food

So Sam is a whizz with Japanese cookery (having lived there for 14 years). She is going to take some great Tasmanian fresh produce and create several tasty Japanese dishes. And she’ll be able to answer all those tricky questions you have about ingredients like:

  • the seaweeds (e.g. wakame and kombu – what on earth do you do with them?)
  • tofu (how do you cook it so it doesn’t taste like a sponge?)
  • mushrooms (e.g. shiitake, king oyster – what do you do with them?)
  • green tea (e.g. what to look for in a good Japanese tea and how to brew it)
  • miso (everyone is talking about it – what is it and what do you do with it?)
  • And many more…

All food prepared on the day will be gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, vegetarian and vegan although we are also happy to discuss substitutions for other diet styles, food allergies and intolerances.

My job in all of this is to introduce you to the exciting world of Chinese Dietetics. This will change the way you think about food in a very healthy and balanced way.

In Chinese dietetics we talk about the thermal nature of a food (e.g. cold, cool, neutral, warm, hot), the flavour (bitter, sweet, pungent, salty, sour) and the organs that each food has an affinity with. You’ll discover that no wholefood should be considered good (eat tonnes of it) or evil (avoid it at all costs) for every person in the same way. We’ll talk about balance of thermal nature and flavours in your meal. And we’ll go through the Chinese dietetic properties of each food we use in the recipes on the day and the over all benefits of the dish (including the cooking methods) so that you know which ones will benefit you most.

During this time you’ll also enjoy the most amazing healthy Japanese afternoon tea banquet of all the dishes we have created on the day.  Having been lucky enough to have attended several of Sam’s Japanese banquets in the past I assure you that these dishes are delicious!

If you’re interested in learning a little more about Chinese Dietetics here’s a post I wrote a while ago on balancing the five flavours in a meal.

To book tickets to Cook Healthy Japanese Foods visit our Eventbrite page.

For further information on the event visit the event on Sarah George Acupuncture on Facebook.

To book an appointment at the clinic or for further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture).  Sarah is a practitioner of acupuncture (AHPRA registered), massage therapy and natural health.

acupuncture, fertility, IVF, pregnancy, Traditional Chinese Medicine

Launceston acupuncture clinic now open!

House of Prana treatment room
My Launceston acupuncture clinic

Big news! My new, beautiful Launceston acupuncture clinic is officially open.

It’s been a little while in the making (I’ve been writing a subject on Chinese Medicine dietary therapy for an acupuncture degree program) but the clinic is now ready for patients!

This is primarily a women’s health practice in line with my professional experience and further education. I enjoy supporting women with a range of menstrual issues (including period pain), couples through preconception care, natural fertility cycles and IVF/ART, as well as assisting women throughout their pregnancies and towards birth. Additionally, research and my clinical experience indicates that acupuncture is also effective for a range of common pain conditions including osteoarthritis of the knee, chronic lower back pain, headaches and migraines (prophylaxis).

Launceston clinic bookshelf

I bring to each consultation a blend of skills and knowledge from my clinical experience and academic pursuits (formerly, Senior Lecturer of Chinese Medicine at Endeavour College of Natural Health, Gold Coast). My qualifications include a Master of Health Science (Traditional Chinese Medicine) with distinction and a Bachelor of Health Science (Acupuncture); I’m regularly staying up to date with training – so you’re in good hands. You can read my bio here.

I’m pretty excited to be bringing my compassionate style of Chinese Medicine to you with a range of  treatment techniques including acupuncture (including electro-acupuncture and laser acupuncture as required), tuina (Chinese massage), cupping, Chinese dietetics and lifestyle advice adapted to assist you as an individual with reaching your health goals.

Never had acupuncture and worried it hurts? click here.

To make an appointment or for further information call: 0448 12 88 58.

To book an appointment at the Launceston acupuncture clinic or further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture).  Sarah is a practitioner of acupuncture (AHPRA registered), massage therapy and natural health.

acupuncture, herbal medicine, nature, Traditional Chinese Medicine

Goodbye to the Gold Coast but what is next?

Tasmania lavender close up
Lavender flowers at Bridestowe Lavender Estate

So there are big changes here at Sarah George Acupuncture & Natural Health. The clinic is moving… quite a long way away… to Launceston, Tasmania.

The reason for this is that I am taking a step away from permanent academic life to focus more on providing one on one care to my patients combined with running a few courses, doing a little teaching and writing more about Chinese Medicine for good health in a clean, green environment close to beautiful fresh produce and herb farms including Bridestowe Lavender Estate and 41º South Ginseng Farm.

To my patients, I wanted to thank you for choosing Sarah George Acupuncture Natural Health (in Brisbane, West End and Broadbeach) for your health care over the past few years. It has been an honour to be your acupuncturist in this time and I am grateful for you in trusting me to help you towards reaching your health goals.

Stay tuned… I will be setting up as an acupuncturist in Launceston, Tasmania… feel free to share this news with anyone you know living in Launie who might be looking for an acupuncturist.

Tasmania Cataract Gorge
Cataract Gorge, Launceston

And you can always follow me here on the blog and/or on facebook, instagram and twitter.

To book an appointment at the clinic or further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture).  Sarah is a practitioner of acupuncture (AHPRA registered), massage therapy and natural health.

 

acupuncture, health, pregnancy

The acupuncture evidence is in and it’s good news for sufferers of chronic low back pain, headaches, migraines, knee osteoarthritis and many others…

Sarah George fertility acupunctureDon’t let anyone tell you that there is no evidence to support acupuncture.

Firstly, it’s a stupid generalisation to make for the reasons listed here and secondly, well it’s just plain wrong.

Australian researchers, Dr John McDonald and Stephen Janz, have recently published the Acupuncture Evidence Project. This huge comparative literature review has identified 46 conditions with strong or moderate evidence to support the use of acupuncture as a treatment. It is the largest piece of work of it’s kind in relation to acupuncture evidence and has been embraced world-wide.

The authors concluded “it is no longer possible to say that the effectiveness of acupuncture is because of the placebo effect, or that it is useful only for musculoskeletal pain”.

So you’re probably wondering which conditions is there strong evidence for… here’s the list:

  • Allergic rhinitis (perennial & seasonal)
  • Knee osteoarthritis
  • Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (with anti-emetics)
  • Migraine prophylaxis
  • Chronic low back pain
  • Postoperative nausea & vomiting
  • Headache (tension-type and chronic)
  • Postoperative pain

And then there’s another 38 conditions with moderate evidence including pelvic pain in pregnancy, constipation, insomnia, irritable bowel syndrome, neck and shoulder pain, and anxiety.

For some of the conditions reviewed that did not make it into the strong or moderate evidence category, acupuncture may just not have had enough high quality trials published yet – so do watch this space. Good quality acupuncture research is currently experiencing a growth spurt.

To read a plain English summary of the Acupuncture Evidence Project click here. Or for the full review click here.

If you’d like to try acupuncture for a health condition do be sure to choose a registered acupuncturist (and no, dry needling is not the same thing – it is not held to the same high standards of training or regulation to ensure safety.)

And go on… share this about. It’s worth counteracting the fake news and alternate facts with some good old scientific evidence.

To book an appointment at the clinic or further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture).  Sarah is a practitioner of acupuncture (AHPRA registered), massage therapy and natural health.

food, health, herbal medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Uncategorized

Do you know these herbs and spices?

Sri Lanka AHG cardamom tea
Cardamom black tea

So a lot of us use a range of herbs and spices in our cooking and medicines and yet we may not have a clue what they actually look like when they’re growing on the bush or vine or tree. (I also know some of you grow an extensive range of herbs in your gardens and very much know what they look like and how to use them.)

By definition herbs are plants of a particular type (soft, succulent and mostly grown from seed) but this doesn’t truly capture all of the plants we use as herbs. Broadly speaking, herbs can be any plant we use in medicine, food, flavouring, for fragrance or even as a dye.

While I was in Sri Lanka late last year I wanted to visit as many Ayurvedic herbal gardens as I could to learn more about these medicinal plants. Here are some photos I took at the Ananda Spice Garden (near Koggala Lake) of some herbs you may use on regular rotation in your kitchen or even in a medicinal brew:

Sri Lanka AHG aloe vera
Aloe Vera
Sri Lanka AHG cinnamon
Cinnamon
Sri Lanka AHG ginger
Ginger
Sri Lanka AHG red ginger
Red ginger
Sri Lanka AHG vanilla
Vanilla

Aren’t they gorgeous?

And if you are interested, here is a east-west fusion (read: not Classical Chinese Medicine but still really interesting) of the Five Elements of herbs I found in one of my favourite, old herb books – Isobell Shiphard’s How can I use herbs in my daily life?

Isabell Shipard 5 element herbs

To book an appointment at the clinic or further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture).  Sarah is a practitioner of acupuncture (AHPRA registered), massage therapy and natural health.

acupuncture, herbal medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Uncategorized

What is acupuncture college like in Sri Lanka?

Sri Lanka Acu college noticeboardOne major reason for my trip to Sri Lanka was to visit the Sir Anton Jayasuriya International Centre of Acupuncture. I have good friends who have studied there, under the direction of the late Sir Anton Jayasuriya, and there are students from my college who would like to do a study trip here.

I was lucky to be put in touch with Dr Amila, a lecturer at the college. She showed me around the college so I could see their classrooms and the students treating their patients.

The college clinic has a lovely, breezy feel to it (which is rare in steamy Colombo). The patients are people in need so treatment is paid for by donation. Patients are treated for a range of chronic illnesses and pain-related conditions however the college also offers cosmetic acupuncture treatments. Interestingly, while acupuncture is the primary treatment method here, Chinese herbs are replaced with Ayurvedic herbs. Herbal medicines may be prescribed but prescriptions are filled by independent herbal dispensaries. The college accepts students from overseas to do study programs and train in their clinics. It’s always interesting to see how other acupuncture colleges operate and meet my international colleagues. (Here’s a college I visited in Japan).

I’m really grateful to Dr Amila, the staff and students for taking the time to introduce me to their college. I’d love to visit again. It is obvious that this college and its clinic helps a lot of people through acupuncture treatment.

Here are some photos from my visit to the college:

To book an appointment at the clinic or further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture).  Sarah is a practitioner of acupuncture (AHPRA registered), massage therapy and natural health.

Diet, health, nature, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Uncategorized

How do you make tea?

Sri Lanka Tea Pedro BOPHow do you make tea? Well not how do YOU make tea, but how is tea actually made?

Firstly I have an image warning! You are in for some damn fine images of tea porn here – hot, steamy, bushy and breathtakingly gorgeous. 😉

I love tea in pretty much in all its forms (well maybe except for the black tea bag variety with cow’s milk poured in – but that’s mainly because I don’t tolerate dairy and didn’t ever develop a liking for it).  In fact it’s probably the beverage we love most in Chinese Medicine. I’ve been to China and learnt a lot about the various forms of green teas, I’ve even done a tea appreciate course but I’d never seen how this delicious, medicinal and incredibly popular drink was actually made to give us those medicinal qualities (from bush to cup that is). Just so you know whatever research says I don’t believe a microwave forms part of the tea making process. So I trotted off to Sri Lanka, where some would say is the source of the best black tea in the world (Ceylon tea anyone?), to find out. I visited no less than four tea plantations and their factories to try to get an understanding of how the cammelia sinensis leaf is transformed to make a delightful cup of tea. (For those not in the know, all true tea comes from the leaves of just one plant – cammelia sinensis – be it black, green or white. (Herbal and rooibos teas are made from different plants altogether.)

So here is a photographic journey of the tea making process from the Handunugoda Tea Estate, at Ahangama in the south, where they produce their tea with beautiful, old machinery. They are also famous for their virgin white tea and a range of flavoured teas.

Sri Lanka Tea factory 1 picking
Tea leaf picking
Sri Lanka Tea factory 1 drying
The moisture is dried from the fresh leaves – smells good

Rolling the leaves in the heavy rolling machine.

The rolled leaves further ferment and then are heated as part of the firing process (the leaves turn black at this stage).

Ungraded leaves are put through the grading machine. Four grades are produced – from small pieces to large pieces. Small pieces are used for tea bags and large for the loose leaf tea. The small pieces produce a stronger black tea and the larger pieces a lighter black tea. The size does not indicate quality. This tea making process is followed to maximise the medicinal benefits and flavour of the tea.

The finished product – black tea ready to be sold at the Colombo tea markets to the big brand names.

I mentioned earlier that I visited four tea factories. Handunugoda Tea Estate was the first. Later, I visited the towns of Ella and Nuwara Eliya which are in the high country. The area is famous for tea and the scenic railway that shows off the tea plantations.

Enjoy these images from the  Newburgh Estate Green Tea Factory (Finlays) (Ella), Uva Halpewatte Tea Factory (Ella) and Pedro Tea Estate (they pride themselves as an ethical tea producer) (Nuwara Eliya) and the railway trip between.

Newburgh Green Tea Factory (Ella) – the process is similar without the ‘firing’ part of the process that black tea goes through. This factory was small and cute; it smelled fantastic!

Halpe Tea Factory (Ella) – these images do not do this factory justice. It is the largest tea factory (or so I was told) and has sweeping views of the local tea plantations. They have a lovely variety of flavoured teas also.

Pedro Tea Estate (Nuwara Eliya) – This factory produced my favourite cup of broken orange pekoe of the trip (the gorgeous orange cuppa pictured above as the very first image of this blog). The factory tour was interesting and the plantation is incredibly beautiful.

And here is one of the most beautiful railway journeys you might take (from Ella to Nuwara Eliya and just beyond) and those magical leaves:

To book an appointment at the clinic or further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture).  Sarah is a practitioner of acupuncture (AHPRA registered), massage therapy and natural health.

Diet, emotional health, health, herbal medicine, massage, Traditional Chinese Medicine

Learning about Ayurveda in the healing heart of Sri Lanka

sri-lanka-dg-spices.jpgLate last year I visited Sri Lanka to learn about an ancient healing system with some similarities to Chinese Medicine – ‘Ayurveda’. Interestingly, Sri Lanka is home to what is believed to be the world’s oldest hospital (3rd Century BCE), so it seemed like a pretty good place to discover an ancient medicine system.

‘Ayuervda’ is roughly translated as the science of life. It is the predominant traditional healing system of the Indian subcontinent. Sri Lankan Ayurvedic medicine differs somewhat from Indian Ayurveda particularly in relation to herbal medicine which takes on a local variation. Ayurveda, like Chinese Medicine, involves supporting the body to attain balance. There are also Five Elements that are fundamental to this system however they are not exactly the same as those in Chinese Medicine. According to Ayurveda, there are three basic diagnostic types (dosha) based on their Five Elements: pitta, kapha and vata. Find out your dosha by doing this quiz.

My trip took me to the Dalmanuta Gardens Ayurveda Resort and Restaurant, a peaceful oasis on the Bentota River. Most people attend Dalmanuta Gardens to learn about Ayurvedic principles to improve their health and/or to correct imbalances in the body; some patients are long term guests with serious health concerns. Patients are treated through a regime of yoga, specific dietary considerations (food cooked to balance out your ‘type’) and a range of herbal and bodywork treatments. Each patient has their treatment plan guided by an Ayurvedic doctor; in my case, Dr Vimukthi. Body palpation and pulse diagnosis form a major part of forming a diagnosis, in addition to questioning. I cannot speak more highly of my two Ayuredic therapists who carried out the prescribed treatments: Gayan Sameera Samaranayaka and Jeewani Champika. Sameera was a master of deep tissue massage and Jeewani gave the most soothing shirodhara treatment. Both were extremely professional and happy to teach me about their medicine.

Each day at Dalmanuta Gardens goes something like this:

  • Morning yoga
  • Breakfast (cooked for your type) served in a little hut on the Bentota River. It included a green herbal soup which looked ‘interesting’ but was actually quite tasty.
  • Treatment time: for me this lasted two and a half hours and involved a range of massage including deep tissue, herbal compresses, herbal facial steam and shirodhara (that wonderfully calming technique of having warm oil poured over your forehead. It involves the acupuncture point, Yintang, in Chinese Medicine known for it’s calming function.)
  • Lunch (cooked for your type, again served in the river hut while you are still in your treatment robe soaking in the good oils and herbs. Sri Lanka DG curries
  • Relaxation after lunch (it’s a nice opportunity to explore the magnificent ayurvedic herbal garden or sit in the meditation garden.
  • Dinner – here you have the opportunity to join the chef to learn how he cooks the foods that have been prescribed for your dinner. I had a one-on-one session and learnt to make several Sri Lankan curries from scratch (including with milk straight out of the coconut) and coconut sambool. The fresh ingredients are mostly grown organically on the property. Once again dinner is served in the river hut where you can hear the aquatic life swimming below, nocturnal animals moving around on the opposite river bank and prayers from the nearby mosque. Sri Lanka DG cooking class
  • Bedtime. I probably don’t need to point out that I slept very, very well here.

I left Dalmanuta Gardens far the wiser (although certainly no expert) about Ayurvedic medicine, treatments and dietary medicine as well as having glowing skin and a hard, old, hip injury that was feeling a lot more supple.

To book an appointment at the clinic or further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture).  Sarah is a practitioner of acupuncture (AHPRA registered), massage therapy and natural health.