fertility, pregnancy, Traditional Chinese Medicine

Speaking about fertility and post-partum care at The Woodford Folk Festival

woodford 2018-19 programHello! Happy new year! (Gosh, we’re almost a month in and next week I’ll be wishing you a happy Chinese new year!)

As some of you would know, this Christmas/New Year period I headed up to Queensland’s Woodford Folk Festival (an incredible festival which includes more than 2,000 local, national and international, artists, musicians and presenters and has an audience of an estimated 132,000 people.) If you’ve never been, put it (or it’s little cousin, The Planting) on your must do list.

Kathleen Murphy, (a great friend and colleague), and I were presenting at Woodford’s Blue Lotus stage. This is the place to be for health and wellness speakers from all over the world, as well as live music, yoga, workshops and cooking demonstrations.

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It has been an absolute pleasure to present at the @woodfordfolkfestival with @kath_murphy on The Fourth Trimester (postpartum care) and Your Fertility. We had such lovely people attend our talks. Thanks so much for coming up to say hi and asking questions too. It’s always lovely to be part of the @bluelotus_woodfordia. Thanks for having me! #woodfordfolkfestival #bluelotus #yourfertility #takingchargeofyourfertility #pcos #endometriosis #ivfjourney #fertilitysupport #chinesemedicine #acupuncturelaunceston #chinesemedicinelaunceston #acupuncturetasmania #chinesemedicinetasmania #sarahgeorgeacupuncture #aacma #endeavourcollegeofnaturalhealth #chinesedietarytherapy #chinesedietetics #launcestonladies #launcestonmothers #launcestonmums

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Our first presentation was a beautiful discussion about postpartum care (or the fourth trimester) led by Kathleen, who runs the fantastic house call service, MamaCare, in Sydney. We discussed topics including the physical and psychological needs of new mothers, some of Kathleen’s own findings regarding what mothers’ want in their fourth trimester, and how different cultures have some very similar themes on taking care of new mothers to benefit the mother, baby and whole family. As you may know, Chinese Medicine has a practice called zuo yue zi, which refers to a period of recovery for a new mother and includes support in the way of blood nourishing meals, warming therapies and rest. Ultimately, new mothers armed with modern and traditional knowledge can design their own fourth trimester (or Golden Month) to get the support they need to recover from, and thrive after, giving birth.

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It has been an absolute pleasure to present at the @woodfordfolkfestival with @kath_murphy on The Fourth Trimester (postpartum care) and Your Fertility. We had such lovely people attend our talks. Thanks so much for coming up to say hi and asking questions too. It’s always lovely to be part of the @bluelotus_woodfordia. Thanks for having me! #woodfordfolkfestival #bluelotus #yourfertility #takingchargeofyourfertility #pcos #endometriosis #ivfjourney #fertilitysupport #chinesemedicine #acupuncturelaunceston #chinesemedicinelaunceston #acupuncturetasmania #chinesemedicinetasmania #sarahgeorgeacupuncture #aacma #endeavourcollegeofnaturalhealth #chinesedietarytherapy #chinesedietetics #launcestonladies #launcestonmothers #launcestonmums

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Our second presentation was an information packed session on enhancing male and female fertility. It covered some of the basic Fertility 101 must knows (including anatomy and cycle timing for conception). The conversation tied some of the western anatomy and physiology with Chinese Medicine and naturopathy theory, which sometimes makes these concepts a little easier to understand. Topics such as preconception care (and why this is so important for both parents), barriers to conception (eg. endometriosis, PCOS and advanced parental age) were discussed. Lastly, some evidence based general fertility do’s and don’t’s were given with some additional Chinese Medicine and naturopathic tips. But the big message was, good fertility generally requires two people who are as healthy as they can be prior to conception (although babies can be made in many ways so adapt that as need be). Be informed about your own fertility and health. Seek help if you need it.

Both Kathleen and I love supporting people through pre-conception care, fertility treatment, pregnancy and in the post-partum period. It was a lovely opportunity to share some of our stories with the Woodfordians.

I couldn’t finish this blog without mentioning Lucy Peach, who brought My Greatest Period Ever to us. I can only describe her performance as the most educational and yet hilarious and heart-warming cabaret show you’ll ever go to. Lucy will guide you through what happens in a month long cycle and how you can best look after yourself at each of these times. Essential watching if you menstruate or you know someone who does! Plus she sings and her husband is a great illustrator! On her website you’ll find links to several videos of Lucy doing her thing including a TED talk.

To book an appointment at the Launceston clinics (House of Prana or In-Balance) or for further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture).  Sarah is an AHPRA registered acupuncturist, Chinese medicine practitioner and massage therapist.

 

 

 

 

acupuncture, Diet, emotional health, fertility, health, IVF, pregnancy, Traditional Chinese Medicine

We’re speaking at the Woodford Folk Festival 2018/19 on fertility and postpartum care!


Woodford 2011-12 KM SG children festival
Kathleen and I teaching acupressure at the Woodford Folk Festival Children’s Festival (2011/12)

Hello again! I’m very happy to break this exciting news to you.

My fantastic naturopath-acupuncturist (and MamaCare) pal, Kathleen Murphy, and I will be teaming up again to speak about two of our favourite topics this year at the Woodford Folk Festival – Fertility (and Chinese Medicine) and The Fourth Trimester (or postpartum) care with Natural Medicine.

We’re super excited to be bringing discussions on traditional practices and evidence based care combined with our own clinical experiences to the good people of Woodfordia.

It’ll also be wonderful to be joining the great team at The Blue Lotus venue once again (where you’ll find the best of yoga, meditation and health speakers at the festival).

You can find us on the programme here.

DSC00608
And here we are speaking about Gluten and Grain Intolerance at the Woodford Folk Festival (2012/13)

Stay tuned for more info on when we’re speaking and details of what we’ll be speaking about!

We hope you can come and join us and the rest of the great lineup that the festival brings this year!

To book an appointment at the Launceston clinics 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, fertility, health, IVF, pregnancy

New clinic now open at Broadbeach on the Gold Coast

Clinic tableHello!

It’s been too long! I hope you’ve all been well.

Things have been both busy and restorative since I moved from Brisbane to be the Chinese Medicine Senior Lecturer at Endeavour College of Natural Health’s Gold Coast campus.

So I have good news… my new clinic is open at Broadbeach – finally! Hooray!

To book, call: 07 5526 8632.

I have a lovely clinic space where you can enjoy Chinese Medicine services to enhance your health:

  • Acupuncture
  • Acupuncture Point Injection Therapy
  • TCM Remedial Massage (tuina)
  • Cupping and guasha
  • Chinese dietary therapy

My focus will continue to be on women’s health including pregnancy, fertility & IVF support, but also conditions including period pain, irregular menstrual cycles, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, proconception care, pre-birth treatment, menopausal symptoms, stress, anxiety, insomnia, digestive complaints, body pains and enhancing general wellbeing.

Enjoy the following clinic tour:

Clinic table supplies
Relax here…
Clinic books
More obstetric, fertility and women’s health texts than you can poke a stick at!
Clinic cups
Ever had cupping? It’s great – ask me about it.
Clinic bookshelf
Chinese medicine and natural health library

There’s plenty of free parking on the street too.

I’m also looking very forward to bringing you regular blog posts to help you to enhance your wellness too.

I hope to see you in clinic soon! And/or feel free to share this post with people you know on the Gold Coast who need a good acupuncturist.

For further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture).  Sarah is a practitioner of acupuncture (AHPRA registered), massage therapy and natural health at her Broadbeach clinic and is the Chinese Medicine Senior Lecturer at the Endeavour College of Natural Health Gold Coast campus.

acupuncture, Diet, fertility, food, martial arts, nature, pregnancy, Traditional Chinese Medicine

10 things you should know about Chinese Medicine

I’ve spoken at a few Endeavour College of Natural Health open days now. Prior to presenting to the prospective students I always get to thinking about all of the things I love about acupuncture and Chinese medicine. This medicine really has been a great lifetime passion of mine. (“Really?” You say.)

So here are the top 10 reasons why I love acupuncture and Chinese medicine:

  1. Diagnosis and treatment are completely individualised. It doesn’t matter if you have osteoarthritis, endometriosis or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), in Chinese medicine we are interested in your unique signs and symptoms and we may give you a Chinese medicine diagnosis which is completely different from that of another person with the same disease name but a slightly different presentation. Your treatment will be individualised just for you.
  2. Yin yang cupcake iced solo webThere are no super foods. Or good foods. Or bad foods. Or fad diets. I know that goji berries and shiitake mushrooms are seen as foods of the gods, and soy has a reputation as the fruit of the devil for every single person on the planet (according to nutrition in the media) but in Chinese medicine we just don’t see it that way. All foods have different energetic properties (eg. cooling, heating, move upwards or downwards, drain damp, nourish blood or open the pores) and so they are used to bring your body back into balance when it isn’t already. For example, if it’s hot it needs cooling and if you are carrying excess fluid you need to drain damp. Of course your body’s needs change as you age, with the season and with illness or regaining health. As this happens your diet also needs to change. It’s not black and white. Which is exactly what the taiji (yin yang) symbol represents: there is always some black in the white and vice versa. Be sensible with your eating, strive for balance and pay attention to how foods make you feel.
  3. 5 elementsThere is a strong connection to nature within the medicine. Five element theory is a way of applying the principles of nature to our bodies. It’s based on thousands of years of observation. We can describe and diagnose people’s temperaments and body conditions according to Earth, Metal, Water, Wood and Fire. Each element relies upon and is interrelated to the others to keep delicate balance. Just like nature is. For example too much Earth can make us heavy, too much water can create fluid retention and too much fire can make us overheated. It’s a more complex system them this but those are just some simple examples.
  4. It can be an outright treatment, an alternative or a complementary medicine. So we all know that acupuncture alone is sometimes great for sorting out that sore shoulder or helping you sleep better. Other times acupuncture can work very well alongside other western medicine treatment. Some conditions that spring to mind are when we use acupuncture with IVF treatment or alongside chemotherapy which may reduce some of the side effects like nausea. As acupuncture does not involve ingestion of herbs or medicines it is rarely contraindicated with other therapies.
  5. Most people feel relaxed and emotionally ‘like a weight has lifted’ immediately following an acupuncture treatment. Patients often comment that they can fall asleep during an acupuncture treatment when they can’t take afternoon naps at home. It is a relaxing treatment and believe it or not – no the needles don’t really hurt most of the time. In fact relaxation has been described as a side effect of acupuncture in this study.
  6. ear acupuncture modelHaving a knowledge of acupuncture and acupressure is like having a first aid kit with you wherever you go. Symptoms like nausea and headaches can often be relieved if you know the right spots to push. I often take some ‘ear seeds’ with me when I go camping or hiking to manage musculoskeletal pains (these little seeds apply pressure to parts of the ear that correspond to other parts of your body – like acupressure. Anyone who has used a Sea-Band on their wrist for seasickness is doing acupressure – you place the hard bit of the band onto an acupuncture point! Of course, it can’t do everything and it’s always handy to have a regular first aid kit too.
  7. Energy flow is fundamental to Chinese medicine and acupuncture. Learning good posture and effective breathing is essential not only to good health but also being a good practitioner. Think of tai chi, Qi gong, yoga and martial arts. We apply these same postural and breathing techniques when inserting needles. But really, you can apply good posture and effective breathing to everything that you do.
  8. The history of Chinese Medicine is decorated with beautiful stories, poetry and artworks to document and share the medicine. An appreciation of the arts is also considered a part of holistic healthcare. I often describe to my fertility or pregnancy patients that one of the acupuncture points is called ‘zigong’ or ‘the palace of the child’. How gorgeous is that? We can incorporate these beautiful descriptions into meditations or visualisations during treatment.
  9. The future of Chinese medicine is bright as we are now seeing higher quality clinical trials to highlight traditional and new uses for our medicines. For example the research using fMRI to understand the effect of acupuncture needling on the brain is fascinating. Check out this BBC documentary for a look at this research. (It’s an hour long but it’s well worth it.)
  10. In Australia we are now a registered profession (just like physiotherapists and dentists). This means that acupuncturists, Chinese herbalists and Chinese medicine practitioners now have to comply with AHPRA regulations under the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia (CMBA) including a minimum level of education (bachelor degree) and other professional and ethical standards. So in the interests of public safety and getting the most effective treatment for your condition always seek treatment from a CMBA registered practitioner. (For the record, dry needling is not registered in this way.)

Just a word of warning: nowhere here have I said Chinese medicine is a cure all. I just wanted to highlight the things that Chinese medicine does really well. For information about your own health please speak with a registered Chinese medicine practitioner.

What is it that you love about acupuncture and Chinese medicine? Tell me in the comments. I’d love to know.

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, fertility, pregnancy, Traditional Chinese Medicine

Can babies and children have acupuncture?

acu child
I saw this little guy in China having acupuncture everyday to improve the strength of his arm. His father controls the strength of the electro-acupuncture stimulation. As you can see he’s not overly bothered by the whole experience.

I’ve treated a lot of pregnant women with acupuncture. Acupuncture is well known (and even supported with some good research now) for a range of infertility and pregnancy related conditions.

But something that most people don’t know is that babies and children can also be treated with acupuncture. Yes, with needles. Very fine ones.

During my studies in China I observed the treatment of many children with acupuncture. In the hands of a well-trained acupuncturist this form of therapy can be beneficial to a child and her parents alike.

But doesn’t it hurt them?

For the most part babies and small children barely even notice the needle going in and rarely show signs of pain.

We use very fine needles on children and usually only up to about six insertions or points, although a ten year old who is comfortable with acupuncture may have more insertions if necessary.

Treatments on children are usually shorter than those on adults. We use a technique called ‘non-retention needling’. This means that we pop the needle in, give it a tiny twiddle and remove it immediately. The treatment time is therefore very short. Older children may have a lie down with the needles still inserted if this is comfortable for them and relevant to improving their treatment outcome.

Here’s what acupuncture looks like on babies:

The biggest factor for keeping children calm during an acupuncture treatment is having a relaxed parent come along to assist with familiarity, comfort and distraction methods. I’m happy to needle children while they are getting cuddles from their parents. We can easily get to the points that we need if we work together as a team.

If a child really does not want to have needles inserted then we can stimulate the acupuncture points with a laser or by applying pressure with massage techniques. There is always a plan B to ensure that the patient is comfortable with treatment.

Does acupuncture hurt for adults anyway? Here’s what I think.

Why would a baby or child get acupuncture?

Children may gain many of the same benefits from acupuncture as adults do. Often children are treated for digestive disorders (eg. colic, chronic diarrhoea or constipation, reflux), respiratory conditions (eg. coughs, recurrent colds, phlegmy chests) and symptoms such as anxiety, restlessness and poor concentration.

To ensure the best outcome for your child sometimes I may vary a child’s (or breastfeeding mum’s) diet, lifestyle or prescribe herbs or supplements in addition to the acupuncture if necessary.

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.

fertility, pregnancy

Mama: Dispatches from the Frontline of Love

My brilliant friend, Antonella Gambotto-Burke, has just launched her latest collection of interviews and articles titled, Mama: Dispatches from the Frontline of Love.

As many of you know, I have a special interest in using Chinese medicine to optimise male and female reproductive health, and assisting women with pregnancy care, and pre- and post-natal support. So I love to read and learn about everything from personal experiences to birthing traditions to the latest evidence based theories in this area.

Inspired by her own experiences of pregnancy, birth and motherhood, Antonella sought out a wide range of experts in the field to bring us this beautiful collection of interviews, articles and even some pages of motherhood tips.

The book is beautiful to look at. But it’s the information shared within that celebrates motherhood (in its glory and challenges) that is the real treasure here. Inside are interviews with Sheila Kitzinger, Laura Markham, Steve Biddulph and Gabor Maté with a forward by Michel Odent. Antonella and her guests discuss among many topics: difficult births, parenting theories, bonding with a new baby and the experience of fathers.

So in addition to just telling you all about this book, I have two pieces of good news:

  1. Antonella will be speaking in Brisbane at Riverbend Books on Friday 27th June, 6.30pm. Tickets are $10 and you can book here.
  2. You can save $5 on Mama: Dispatches from the Frontline of Love by clicking here (Arbon Publishing) and using this code – SGMama. (This is exclusive to you, The Wellness Ninja readers!)

I’ve already given a copy to a friend just before she gave birth to her beautiful little girl. It was gladly received!

For further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture).  Sarah is a practitioner of acupuncture (AHPRA registered), massage therapy and natural health at her Broadbeach clinic and is the Chinese Medicine Senior Lecturer at the Endeavour College of Natural Health Gold Coast campus.

acupuncture, fertility, herbal medicine, pregnancy, Traditional Chinese Medicine

The role of change in fertility treatment

My great friend and excellent Chinese medicine practitioner, Peter Kington, has written his piece on ‘change’ for The Health and Happiness Collective blog hop today.

Peter shares his experience about where lifestyle, diet, acupuncture and herbal medicine changes are necessary on the fertility journey. While some of these changes are easier than others, I completely agree with Peter’s ideas here – this is also my experience in helping my fertility patients too. We want to give you the support you need to make changes which will enhance the likelihood of a healthier pregnancy, a healthier baby and to recover better from your birth.

Read Peter’s excellent post: Change and the Fertile Body.

For further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture).  Sarah is a practitioner of acupuncture (AHPRA registered), massage therapy and natural health at her Broadbeach clinic and is the Chinese Medicine Senior Lecturer at the Endeavour College of Natural Health Gold Coast campus.

aromatherapy, Diet, emotional health, fertility, nature, Traditional Chinese Medicine

In the summertime… you have these good living tips on your mind.

It’s summer in the Southern Hemisphere! And so here’s a cliché summery tune to put you in the mood – just press play as you read on…

I recently attended a workshop on living with the seasons and the theme of course, was summer – and how to do it well. Chinese Medicine places great importance on living with the seasons to optimise our health in the present but also in the seasons to come.

Here’s a few ideas on living well this season. Pick and choose the ones you like to make sure that you absorb a year’s supply of summer energy (or yang) while it is abundant.

Summer is all about these (and this is not conclusive and they are in no particular order):

  • hibiscusPleasure.
  • Blossoming. Showing your true, wonderful self to the world.
  • The Fire element. Red. Heart. Small Intestine. Bitter foods. Joy.
  • Fertility. Bearing fruit.
  • Watching thunderstorms.
  • Abundant yang.
  • Nourishment.
  • Walking barefoot on the sand and grass.
  • Sips of iced peppermint tea. (Cold drinks in moderation.)
  • Stargazing.
  • Soaking up a little sun. (How much do you need in your region?)
  • Prosperity and beauty.
  • Social butterflies. Extroversion.
  • Siestas.
  • An open mind, curiosity and an optimistic mood.
  • Rosewater, mint and cooling aromatherapy face & body mists.
  • Colourful, light and flowing clothing.
  • Pretty frocks.
  • Outdoor dinner parties.
  • A slice of fruit after a meal.

Not everyone loves the summer. Think of what makes you more comfortable in hot weather and prepare yourself in late spring or early summer with these:

  • A change in diet. Lighter, more cooling foods with bitter and acrid flavours. Read more about summer eating.
  • Lighter sheets and bedclothes.
  • A fan.
  • Earlier to rise, later to bed with an after-lunch nap if you can.
  • A change in wardrobe or at least storing your winter wardrobe away.
  • A new hat and/or sunglasses.
  • Getting close to (or in) the ocean, a lake or river.
  • Be most physically active in the coolest parts of the day.
  • Resist the urge to spend the whole day in airconditioning – get some summer air each day.
  • It’s okay to perspire but be sure to rehydrate by increasing your water intake.
  • Chat to your Chinese Medicine practitioner if you are still struggling to embrace the summer.

What does summer mean to you? And what tips do you have to enjoy the summer?

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, fertility, pregnancy

Pelvic pain in pregnancy: the latest Cochrane Review findings

acu statue backOne of the things I love most about my job is working with women who are undergoing preconception care, fertility treatment and pregnancy support. So I was absolutely delighted to see this Cochrane Review come out recently in support of acupuncture for pelvic and lower back pain (LBP) in pregnancy. The authors concluded:

“Moderate-quality evidence suggested that acupuncture or exercise, tailored to the stage of pregnancy, significantly reduced evening pelvic pain or lumbo-pelvic pain more than usual care alone, acupuncture was significantly more effective than exercise for reducing evening pelvic pain.”

In my experience, pelvic and lower back pain associated with pregnancy is one of those conditions that frequently responds very well and extremely quickly to acupuncture treatment. However, everyone is unique and depending on the cause of the pain the prognosis may differ from this.

A well-trained acupuncturist with experience in pregnancy acupuncture will select acupuncture points in the local area, and on the legs, maybe the arms or even ears to reduce pains. The points used will be selected to be effective for the individual presentation of pain and low-risk based on the gestational age. The treatment is not only pain-relieving but also very relaxing – something every pregnant lady needs!

And if you want to see a a video of how amazing the whole sperm-meets-egg-pregnancy-baby process is then check this out.

For further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture).  Sarah is a practitioner of acupuncture (AHPRA registered), massage therapy and natural health at her Broadbeach clinic and is the Chinese Medicine Senior Lecturer at the Endeavour College of Natural Health Gold Coast campus.