acupuncture, herbal medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine

Acupuncture comes to In-Balance on Tuesdays and Thursdays!

Wow! What a big month it has been! Sarah George Acupuncture & Natural Health is now up and running at House of Prana (on George St at the Old Roman Baths). It’s been wonderful to practice from this lovely space amongst the yoga classes, Liquid Zen float centre and the rest of the practitioner team. One of the many great things about this move is that the herbal dispensary is up and running, with new additions to be coming in all the time.

herbal liquids
Just some of the new herbal dispensary

Watch this quick video of the way in to House of Prana, past the Liquid Zen float rooms to the chilled out waiting area for a cuppa while you wait for your acupuncture appointment…

The next big news is that on Tuesday I move into Launceston’s brand new allied health hub, In-Balance. You may already know In-Balance as a compassionate, innovative and above-and-beyond team of physiotherapists, exercise physiologists and pilates instructors – in fact so many of you were seeing them already at their old Patterson St address and gave me glowing reports of your treatment there. I had a sneak peek of the newly renovated, heritage-listed building last Friday and can tell you that it is a beautiful, warm space with lots of natural light and beautiful high ceilings. I’ll be joining their existing team with a few other new allied health practitioners too. Check them out as they’re doing great things here!

in-balance-building.jpg
In-Balance

So, here’s my new schedule (effective immediately):

  • Monday 9am-5pm – House of Prana
  • Tuesday 8am-4pm – In-Balance
  • Wednesday 10am-7pm – House of Prana
  • Thursday 10am-7.30pm – In-Balance

The clinic addresses are:

  • House of Prana: Ground Floor, 127 George St, Launceston (the Old Roman Baths)
  • In-Balance: 1st Floor, 233B Charles Street, Launceston (Click here for a map of parking and how to enter the building)

You can book at either clinic by calling 0448 128 858 or contact me here.

So if it’s traditional acupuncture you’re seeking from an experienced, highly trained registered acupuncturist, you now have two clinics you can choose from for your holistic consultation and treatment with me.

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, 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.

 

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, 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.

food, health, herbal medicine, motivational, nature

Discovering the traditional medicine of Sri Lanka

rooster-year-of-qing
Year of the Rooster: this cocky fellow is a Chinese incense burner crafted in the Qing Dynasty.

Hello! Happy new year! And happy Chinese new year too! May the Rooster be good to you all.

It seems like it has been such a long time since I have written a blog. The good news is that I’m excited to get back into it and share so many interesting regarding acupuncture, Chinese medicine, traditional medicines, good food (and recipes) and all things wellness related.

Some of my patients will know that in December I closed the clinic for a month and headed to Sri Lanka for a study tour of traditional medicine, yoga and learning about that fabulous medicinal drink, tea.

I’m going to walk you through what I’ve learnt about traditional Sri Lankan medicines and what one might have to gain by visiting an ayurvedic retreat. We’ll visit herb gardens and farms, discover some delicious traditional Sri Lankan recipes, several different types of tea plantations and factories (so that we can understand the process of making tea and how that process changes the flavour and qualities of the tea), visit some stunning natural scenery to remind us of the power of green spaces and finally visit an acupuncture college where students treat patients in desperate need of good care.

I’m looking forward to sharing this with you all over the next few weeks and months. But until then you can find me at my Broadbeach clinic every Friday.

Also if there is a topic you think I should write about this year feel free to leave it in the comments.

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, food, food allergy, herbal medicine, recipe

Make your own delicious Chinese tea eggs

Tea eggs finished product

Yes, Chinese tea eggs.

Just imagine something like a boiled egg soaked in soy sauce with a blend of black tea and spices similar to those used to make chai. And I do love chai.

Okay. That does sound weird but I assure you that these eggs are delicious. And they’re great in winter as the spices add a warming energy to the eggs.

Another ingredient in these eggs is tangerine/mandarin/citrus peel. You can make your own dried citrus peel if you like. In Chinese Medicine we refer to the peel as ‘chen pi’ and it’s used to resolve a condition known as ‘food stagnation’. That is, when you over eat or feel like you’ve got food stuck in your stomach that moves slowly. Chen pi is a good accompaniment to rich food to aid digestion.

I also substituted the soy sauce for gluten free tamari.

These tasty, protein-rich treats are often made for Chinese New Year but why not have them all year round?

Here’s the recipe I use.

And here is a photo journey of making my tea eggs:

Tea eggs boiling
Boil the eggs only for 3 minutes. Afterwards gently crack the shells without breaking through them.
Tea eggs spices
Prepare your spices, and put aside some soy sauce and a touch of sugar.
Tea eggs boiling spices
Add the spices and soy sauce to the water with the eggs with their cracked shells, then boil and simmer.
Tea eggs finished product
After soaking the eggs for at least 2 hours you can peel the eggs. The longer you soak the eggs the darker the marbling effect on the egg whites will be!

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.

aromatherapy, health, herbal medicine

The delight of organic lavender and rosehip oils for scar healing

lavender fieldJust before I went in for my hip arthroscopy, I received a gorgeous package of two new oils on the market. The couple who sent them, David & Melanie Dane, used to own Sunspirit Aromatherapy and have ventured back into the oils business as Free Spirit Group, scouring the world for producers of high therapeutic grade, organic products and have brought two new oils into Australia. And luckily for me both of these oils are regarded as excellent skin healers, perfect for scar repair from my keyhole surgery. I religiously used them on my little incisions from my surgery with good effect. Plus they were also delightful to use.

Modern aromatherapy was discovered in France when a chemist burnt his hand badly and dipped it into the first vat of liquid he found – lavender oil! He was very impressed with his fast healing.

Of course these oils have many other therapeutic uses, you can read about them via the links below. If you’re looking for good quality, certified organic oils that are ethically sourced and produced, read the fascinating stories about these products:

You can buy them online here. (BTW I don’t get kick backs for these – I just think these are excellent products from a company that is worth sharing.)

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, food, health, herbal medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine

Tea and you: brewing it, enjoying it & getting the health benefits

tea oolong cup
A delicious oolong tea known as Big Red Robe from the MayKing Tea range.

I really love tea so it’s no surprise that I snapped up an opportunity to do a tea appreciation course through Bright Learning with tea educator and enthusiast, May King Tsang (founder of MayKing Tea). With British Chinese heritage, May King brought the traditional English white and two sugar lovers and the green tea purists together giving us a lesson in making good tea (from picking the tea leaves, brewing them well and then appreciating them) as well as teaching us about some of the styles of tea, their flavour characteristics, health benefits, some tea-tech-talk, all while we enjoyed several cups of very tasty, good quality, loose leaf tea.

Here’s 10 things you may or may not know to ponder while you sip your cup of tea:

  1. Tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant with Chinese and Indian varietals. Herbals (eg. chamomile and peppermint) and rooibos are technically not tea as they come from different plants and are more correctly known as infusions, although we all call them teas anyway due to the preparation method.
  2. There are six types of tea: white, green, yellow, oolong, black and pu-erh. They are all made with the same tea plant but the leaves that are used, oxidisation and processing methods vary for each one. White and green teas are less oxidised than black teas are. White teas are made with just the bud and two first leaves from the branch. As tea leaves are oxidised they become sweeter (although this is only to a point and then they are more bittersweet like dark chocolate).

    MayKing Tea's delicate, white tea called 'white peony'.
    MayKing Tea’s delicate, white tea called ‘white peony’.
  3. Antioxidants are not only found in white and green teas. All tea leaves contain antioxidants and the content is much of a muchness between the six types of tea, so drink the type of tea you like best.
  4. Tea leaves do contain more caffeine than coffee beans per gram of raw material. However less tea leaves are used in making a cup of tea so there is actually less caffeine in a cup of tea than a cup of coffeeBlack tea does contain the most caffeine of the tea types, there is less in green tea and less again in most white tea. A type of white tea known as ‘silver needle’ contains a high level of caffeine as it is made with only the bud at the tip of the tea plant branch, and caffeine is more highly concentrated in these leaves. A Japanese style of tea known as matcha also has a high level of caffeine. Caffeine gives tea a ‘Yang’ property and l-theanine gives tea it’s ‘Yin’ relaxing, mood-enhancing property. This is why Asian and British cultures consider most problems can be fixed with a “nice sit down and a good cup of tea.” Choose the type of tea that you need according to your taste, mood, energy and the time of day.
  5. Tea can be flavoured by having herbs added to it (think Moroccan Mint green tea – which is actually a traditional Chinese blend that traveled with the spice trade). Tea leaves can also be flavoured by having herbs placed with the fresh pickings and infused under the sun for several days, the herbs are then removed so your brew is only made with the flavoured tea leaves. Some highly valued jasmine green teas are made this way. Some teas are ‘enhanced’ with artificial flavours so make sure to read the labels.

    MayKing Tea's osmanthus oolong tea. I loved this one, it reminded of my boat trip down the Li River in Guangxi.
    MayKing Tea’s osmanthus oolong tea. I loved this one, it reminded of my boat trip down the Li River in Guangxi.
  6. The water temperature required varies depending on the type of tea you are making. And you don’t need a fancy kettle or thermometer to measure this. Use fresh water (pH 7 is ideal) in the kettle each time and study the bubbles in the water level gauge to get the right temperature for the leaves you are using. Generally white and green teas need cooler water (70-80°C) and oolong, black and herbals need hotter water (around 90°C+). Here’s a guide to the temperature and bubble size to expect for each type of tea.
  7. Tea bags don’t contain the ‘sweepings from the factory floor’ but they aren’t usually made with excellent quality tea leaves either. Tea quality is best judged by examining the tea leaf itself so this is a reason to buy loose leaf tea. Also the more times a tea leaf has been cut, the darker your brew will be. The new triangular shape tea bags doing the rounds now often do contain better quality leaves than regular tea bags however they are usually made from a ‘plastic silken gauze’ which doesn’t biodegrade well, so not an environmentally friendly choice.
  8. You can leave your tea leaves to infuse in a white or green tea for about 3 minutes. Black and oolong teas can stay in contact with the leaves for as long as you like. The infuser size is considered to best if smaller for black teas and larger for green teas.
  9. Medicinally, in Chinese medicine, we consider that tea is slightly bitter-sweet, cooling to the body and benefits the Heart, Liver, Stomach, Bladder and Large Intestine channels. White and green teas are the most cooling and black teas are warmer. Tea is considered to be useful taken at the start of a ‘hot’ common cold, to assist in the digestion of heavy, rich and fatty foods, for scanty urination or taken as a strong brew for diarrhoea.
  10. It is considered that in brewing your cup of tea a process termed the ‘agony of the leaf‘ occurs: there will be a ‘tumble between the leaf and the water’ to produce that wonderful ‘liquor’ we know as tea.

    A delicious cup of osmanthus oolong tea.
    A delicious cup of osmanthus oolong tea.

Here’s more on tea and happiness, how to make corn silk ‘tea’ infusion and how to make chai.

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.