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.

acupuncture, health, massage, Traditional Chinese Medicine

My clinic turned 1 this week!

Yin yang cupcake iced solo webCan you believe it? My little Broadbeach clinic, Sarah George Acupuncture & Natural Health, has celebrated her first birthday this week.

A birthday is not complete without cake – so here’s one of my recipes: Yin Yang cupcakes (gluten free)

It’s been a lovely year in the clinic, growing from helping just a few patients to now seeing a lovely group of people in need of holistic acupuncture and natural health care treatment for a range of women’s health, pregnancy and fertility conditions, chronic pain and illness and neurological disorders. Thank you to my patients and anyone who has referred someone to me.

After working in busy, multi-room clinics for most of my career it’s nice to slow things down and provide other Chinese Medicine therapies as needed, like tuina (Chinese massage), gua sha (scraping – not as scary as it sounds), moxa and cupping (there are so many different ways of having cupping done).

Next week I’ll be announcing an exciting new therapy in the clinic – stay tuned!

So thank you for being a part of my clinic’s first year whether you’ve been a patient or just followed along on this blog, facebook, twitter or instagram with the idea of one day coming in for a treatment.

Here’s to another great year! See you in the clinic. Call 07 5526 8632 to make an appointment.

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, massage, Traditional Chinese Medicine

The clinic is now open on Tuesdays and Fridays!

Well due to popular demand and a tweak in my lecturing work schedule I have been able to open up two afternoons per week for acupuncture and massage bookings.

So that means you can book in for a treatment on:

  • Tuesday 1-5pm (last appointment at 4pm)
  • Friday 1-6pm (last appointment at 5pm)

This will make it really easy for those of you who might need treatment twice per week too – that is if you have acute pain, want a faster result (more frequent dose of acupuncture) or if you want a few different conditions treated over the same time frame (for example, back pain and digestive problems).

What can acupuncture treat according to the latest medical research? What is acupuncture point injection therapy? And what is tuina massage and how can it help you? I offer all of these services and also cupping and guasha.

To make an appointment or to find out if I can help you call 07 5526 8632.

Looking forward to seeing you in the clinic soon.

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, massage, Traditional Chinese Medicine

My clinic times are changing and there are only two Thursdays left

Times they are a-changin’ at Acupuncture Emporium & Natural Therapies Centre this December and January. We are having a shuffle of appointment times.

So here’s what is happening: by mid January I will have changed my Thursday morning appointment times (7.30am – 12.30pm) over to join up with my Friday appointment times (normally 12.30pm-5pm). So effectively that means I won’t be available on Thursdays but will have a whole day of appointments on Fridays (7.30am – 5pm). I’ll have exactly the same amount of appointment time it will just be in one day rather than split over two days.

Here are the dates you need to know:

  • November 2014 (same as usual)
    • Thursday 7.30am-12.30pm and Friday 12.30pm-5pm
  • December 2014 – Friday 16th January 2015 (no Thursday appointments)
    • Friday 12.30pm-5pm
  • Friday 23rd January 2015 and on wards (all day Fridays)
    • Friday 7.30am-5pm

So what better way to wind up your week than to have a Friday acupuncture or massage treatment? TGIF!

Early, midday and late appointments traditionally fill up fast so if you want any of those new Friday morning appointments I suggest you book them early.

And if you are after an appointment on one of the last two Thursday mornings then book that in quickly too.

After all don’t we all need some treatment at this time of the year?

The number to call for acupuncture and massage bookings is: 07 3844 2217.

To my Thursday morning patients, I really hope that the Friday times will be convenient for you but if they aren’t our clinic has another three acupuncturists and is open from Monday to Saturday with early and late appointments most days. Please contact me and I’ll help you find a practitioner to ensure your treatment is continued and you are cared for well.

See you in the clinic soon.

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.

massage, Traditional Chinese Medicine

Want to learn to massage? My course is running again!

BL massage courseHave you ever had a bad massage from a friend or family member? Or have you ever given one? I think we’ve all experienced someone roughly squeezing our shoulders or rubbing over our backs so softly it barely makes a difference. It doesn’t have to be like this!

Here is your chance to learn all about giving a *sublime* seated massage when next the opportunity arises. And I assure you, once you know how to give a good massage you won’t be short of people to massage. My advice: bring a friend or family member along so you will get massages from a set of well-trained hands too!

What you need to know:

  • It’s called: Learn to Massage the Pain Away.
  • Date and time: Saturday 12th July 2014, 10am – 4pm
  • Venue: Bright HQ at Teneriffe
  • To book and for more details: Click here.

We’ve had a lot of fun teaching this course in the past. Here’s a review from a previous course.

And here’s what you’ll learn on the day:

  • The benefits of massage
  • Common sore points
  • Basic massage techniques
  • How to assess  tense areas
  • When NOT to massage and how to massage safely
  • A simple self-massage sequence (this is great by the way!)
  • Basic acupressure points
  • A simple massage sequence to give to another.

And here are five good reasons why we all need to know how to give a good massage.

To book a massage or for further information on massage contact Sarah George.  Sarah is a practitioner of acupuncture (CMRB registered), massage therapy and natural medicine at Acupuncture & Natural Therapies Centre and lectures at the Endeavour College of Natural Health in Chinese Medicine.

health, martial arts, massage, mental health, Traditional Chinese Medicine

Have you ever been in a float tank?

Floating on the Red Sea

I’ve always been curious about float tanks. But it wasn’t until last week that I actually took the… plunge.

After getting back into cycling, hiking and karate training for the year, my body has been a little achy and tight. My massage therapist told me, “you know what you need? A float. Go on, ring up now!” Well, there’s nothing like the power of now. So I called the place she recommended. They’d moved. But I tracked them down and was booked in for my first float two hours later.

Prior to taking the float I chatted to a friend online. “What about claustrophobia?” we wondered. “Can you leave the lid open?” I also wondered how clean the float tank would be and what the hygiene standards were like.

Well. When I arrived at the float centre I was asked to shower and shampoo my hair before getting into the tank (towels and shampoo were provided). The float tank was heated to luke warm temperature, so a shower cooler than skin temperature is recommended before you jump into the tank. I thought I’d get cold in the tank (as I’m a bit of a cold frog) but I had no problem with the temperature at all – I was completely comfortable. And yes, you can leave the lid ajar if you wish. I had my eyes closed and was perfectly happy to close the lid completely. You are also given ear plugs to prevent the water filling up your ear canals. And soft relaxation music plays for the first 20 minutes of your session.

The tank looked very clean and the water was crystal clear. The water has had 350 kilograms of epsom salts dissolved into it. Okay, so that’s a tad more than the 1-2 cups I’d normally use in the bath. This strong epsom salts solution makes you float – just as you would in the Red Sea. The massage therapist had warned me not to hold my head up, “your head won’t sink – make sure that you completely relax your neck – you won’t drown.” And she was right. It was great advice. In fact, I relaxed so much I fell asleep while floating in the heavily mineralised water. It wasn’t until the relaxation music that is played in the last ten minutes of your one hour session came on that I woke up.

After showering the salts away and drying off, I experienced a deep sense of relaxation. I don’t think I would have been in a position to operate heavy machinery or rely on any sharp mental function that afternoon. I also slept very well that night. And yes, my tight (just about rock-hard) neck and shoulders were looser, allowing my massage therapist to work deeper on me in my next treatment.

In Chinese medicine this translates to my Shen (spirit) being calmed, the excess Yang had descended and the Qi was flowing smoothly in the channels. And in fact, salt is used in our medicine for its softening, loosening, cooling and downbearing actions. Makes sense.

If you’re in need of some relaxation or a good night’s sleep a float session might be just up your alley. Combine it with some acupuncture and/or massage and you would surely be taken off to a soft, white, floaty, cloud heaven.

Are you a float tank enthusiast?

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, massage, pregnancy, Traditional Chinese Medicine

One week ’til the Christmas break

Woodford Folk Festival 2013-14

Where did 2013 go? Can you believe that it is only a week until Christmas?

I only have one last week of acupuncture and massage appointments in the clinic before I take a short break. My last days are:

  • Thursday, 19th December: 7.30am – 12.30pm
  • Friday, 20th December: 12.30pm – 5pm

I’ll be back at the clinic in the new year on Thursday, 9th January 2014.

Call Acupuncture & Natural Therapies Centre to make an appointment on 07 3844 2217.

Thanks to all of my patients, mentors, friends, family and blog followers for your support this year. It has been a big year of change. And some nicely laid foundations pave the way for a wonderful year of healing in 2014. I’ve already decided to attend two excellent masterclass seminars next year: one on western herbal medicine in pregnancy and another on Chinese herbal medicines for your constitutional type. I’ll also be continuing my Masters in Traditional Chinese Medicine study.

I’m looking forward to recharging at the Woodford Folk Festival over the break – music, dance, good company and food for the soul. More about why I love this festival here.

If I don’t see you before or during the Christmas/New Year break, I wanted to wish you all a very happy and healthy time with friends and family. May 2014 bring plenty of health and happiness to you all. It’s been a pleasure to have been a part of your healing journey this year.

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.