massage

It’s on again: learn to massage for wellbeing

BL massage courseThe great people at Bright Learning are repeating the Massage for Wellbeing one day course and I’m delighted to be asked to teach it once again.

Last year we had a lot of fun and at the end of the day I had a roomful of very relaxed people.  Think of how you feel after one massage and then times that by 3 or more! It was a Saturday well spent. This is what one of my last students said.

So, the course will teach you everything you need to know to give a partner, friend or family member a really good seated massage.

Why should you learn to massage?  Here are five good reasons.

Actually, this would make an excellent Christmas gift for someone you want to receive a good massage from!

The details:

  • Date: Saturday, 9th February 2013
  • Time: 10am – 4pm
  • Place: Bright Learning HQ, Teneriffe
  • Early bird rate applies until 19th January!

Book here through Bright Learning.

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.

exercise, martial arts, massage

Massage tension away with a foam roller

foam rollerI often recommend the use of a foam roller to my acupuncture and massage patients who suffer from pain associated with tense backs, buttocks, iliotibial bands (ITBs), hamstrings and calves.  I love doing these stretches myself and they are an excellent way to give yourself a little massage for pain relief and injury prevention.  My back and legs appreciate a good stretch and massage after karate training or a long bike ride. Whether you exercise a lot, are very sedentary or somewhere in between, these exercises may help to reduce your muscle tension. Do them daily for best results.

Daily stretching and self massage will enhance the effect of your acupuncture and massage treatments. If you are suffering from strong pain, numbness or tingling make sure to seek treatment from your health professional.

Here are a few videos of how to use your foam roller for common areas of tension:

Thoracic spine and chest stretch

These stretches focus on the du, ren, gall bladder, lung, pericardium and heart acupuncture channels.

Thoracic spine mobilisation

This massage technique focuses on the du and bladder acupuncture channels.

Buttock massage

These massage technique focuses on the bladder and gall bladder acupuncture channels.

ITB massage

This massage technique focuses on the gall bladder acupuncture channel.

Hamstring and calf massage

This massage technique focuses on the bladder acupuncture channel.

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, Uncategorized

Take a short course in acupressure

After the success of the introductory Massage for Wellbeing course held earlier in the year, the great people at Bright Learning have asked me to teach a course in Acupressure for Quick Relief.

Acupressure is a technique I use a lot in my own life, with friends and family, plus I often teach particular techniques to my acupuncture patients to do between their appointments.  It is an ancient healing technique, which relies on pressing certain points that stimulate the body’s natural healing abilities. Its principles are used more frequently than you think, for example the sea sickness bands act on a point on the wrist that relieves nausea.

Acupressure can be done easily and effectively particularly on oneself, or your loved ones.

I’ll be presenting this short class on 21st August from 6pm to 8.30pm at Salt House in New Farm.  We are going to cover the following topics:

  • The theory behind acupressure
  • Understanding Qi
  • Key points in the body
  • Perfecting the technique
  • Exercises to calm or stimulate energy
  • Tips to reduce stress
  • Benefits of 5 minutes a day

For more information or to book a place click here or contact Bright Learning on 07 3013 2413.

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.

health, massage

Take a course in massage for wellbeing

Come and learn to massage with me on Saturday 18th February 2012.

Massage for Wellbeing

Start as you intend to go on! Begin 2012 loving and caring for your body by learning how to give a proper head, shoulder, neck, arms & hands massage.

In this one day course, I will not only teach you how to massage to another person, but will also cover off self-massage techniques for wellbeing.

Details and booking info here.  Early bird rate finishes on 13th January 2012.

You’ll learn from this course:

  • The benefits of massage
  • Common sore points
  • Basic massage techniques and when to use what
  • How to assess tense areas
  • When NOT to massage and practicing safely
  • Learning a simple self massage sequence
  • Basic acupressure points
  • Creating a simple massage sequence to give to another

The course will run in seated positions and fully clothed.

This course is suitable for those who would like to learn how to massage friends and family, as it does NOT lead to any formal qualifications.

Read five reasons why you should learn to massage for fun!

Diet, emotional health, exercise, food, health, massage, mental health, motivational, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Uncategorized

The Woodford Folk Festival guide to a happy, healthy year

Teaching acupressure at the Children's Festival

Firstly, a very happy new year to you!  As many of you know, over this new year period Kathleen Murphy and I presented our popular “Herbs, health and acupressure” workshop at the Woodford Folk Festival.  We were also invited to speak on the Woodforum raw food panel which attracted a crowd that packed the impressive Blue Lotus venue.  I, of course, promoted the Traditional Chinese Medicine view-point that a little raw food is ok, but that generally speaking, a healthy diet should consist of mainly warm, cooked meals.  (It should be noted that cooked foods don’t need to be unhealthy.  For example, they don’t have to be laced with saturated fats, excessively meat or refined carbohydrate based, burnt to a carcinogenic crisp or boiled to nutritional oblivion.  But more on that topic in another blog.)  Thanks to those who came to see us speak and ask questions.  It was an absolute delight to share our knowledge with you.

Here’s some health and happiness promoting lessons I picked up at the Woodford Folk Festival to apply to your everyday life for a happy, health year ahead:

  1. Starting each morning with yoga is a great way to wake up, stretch your muscles and align your spine (particularly after several nights on an air mattress).
  2. Queues are a way of meeting new people and learning new things. (For instance, I learnt from a volunteer S-Bend Warrior that festival punters were expected to go through 15,000 rolls of toilet paper in total for the week – that equated to an eighth of a roll per person – quite interesting). And it’s nice to say hello to people you don’t know.  Just like the good ol’ days.
  3. Learn a new skill on a regular basis.  At the festival I had the pleasure of crocheting a sandal, taking a dance workshop and giving a burlesque life drawing class a bash – each activity was great fun with good company (mostly new friends) and involved lots of laughs.  If the new skill you’d like to learn is massage, I can help you.
  4. Be creative on a daily basis.  Whilst chatting to a wise friend at the festival she floated the idea that creativity involves anything that allows you to express yourself in some way.  It could be music, dance, art, sport or fitness, food, the way you dress, be computer-related or really anything at all that ignites your inner artist.  She’s right.  Grant yourself time each day to get creative, even if it’s just the way you arrange food on your plate.
  5. Be involved in your community.  Our relationships and connections within our community contribute to our level of happiness.  Communities give us a sense of belonging and provide a place for us to give and receive, and to share.  Your community could be online or offline, related to your work, hobbies, education, family or place of residence.  Volunteering might be a great way to get involved with your community, or you could join a club, take a class, support local markets or music venues, or get to know your neighbours.  Endless possibilities.

May 2012 be your happiest and healthiest year yet.

aromatherapy, exercise, herbal medicine, martial arts, massage, Traditional Chinese Medicine

Bruise remedies for martial artists, athletes & the accident-prone

A very athletic (but non-ninja) friend called me on the weekend searching for a fast cure for bruising.  She had taken a bad tumble from her bicycle the week before she was to compete in a big triathlon.  She had bad bruising developing behind her knee that covered most of the back of her knee and part of her thigh.  With some wisdom from both the Chinese and western herbal medicine worlds, the bruising didn’t get anywhere near “as ugly as she had expected” and she’s been back on the bike painlessly getting her last training in before the big event this weekend.

My top 5 remedies for bruising that all martial artists (and anyone else) need to know:

  1. Ice.  But don’t overdo it.  Ice can be used in the first 24-48 hours of an injury occurring.  If the injury feels hot, looks red and is continuing to swell, you can apply ice.  Compression bandaging is useful at this time too.  There is no need for ice once these symptoms have stopped.
  2. Arnica. Arnica is known as ‘the herb for bruising’ in western herbal medicine.  I like the Sunspirit Arnica Ointment, which can be smeared over the injured body part (e.g. knee or ankle) and then wrapped with gladwrap and left over night. It contains a few other herbs to aid healing and give some pain relief.  Arnica can also do wonders for bruising when taken internally as a homeopathic remedy.  This gives you a way to tackle the bruising from the inside while you are busy addressing the local area of the trauma.
  3. Liniment.  Traditional Chinese Medicine offers us many liniments that lay claim to reducing bruising.  The most famous of these amongst martial artists is ‘Dit Da Jow’ or ‘Hit Medicine’. Some of my favourites that are more easily available are Zheng Gu Shui and Po Sum On.  Liniment needs to be applied to the local bruise area every few hours, throughout the days following the injury.  The herbs used in these liniments aim to promote blood circulation and thus disperse the blood that has stagnated.
  4. Rubbing.  Yes, we can rub the bruise out.  Sounds painful, and it can be, but it works a treat.  You need to take some of the liniment referred to above and moisten the bruised area.  Then place your thumb or fingers in the centre of the bruise, apply deep pressure and massage towards the outside of the bruise.  You can use a deep, flicking movement to do this.  We are aiming to move the stagnant blood away from the site of the trauma.  The bruise will change colour and intensity fairly quickly with this technique.  A note of caution.  Rubbing out a bruise may not be suitable on acute serious injuries.
  5. Heat.  So it’s ice that we use first of all, and then later we apply heat.  Ice is used to stop the swelling and bruise developing, and then we can go straight into applying a heat pack to reinvigorate blood circulation.  The idea is to slap on some liniment and apply your heat pack on top.  This will aid circulation to the area and the warmth will prepare the bruise nicely to be rubbed out.

A note for people who bruise easily.  If you are prone to bruising with light touch or without recollection of a trauma it may indicate that you have an underlying condition affecting your blood clotting or blood vessels.  Sometimes medications and even supplements (e.g. fish oil) or herbal medicines (e.g. ginkgo biloba) can contribute to thinning of the blood.  A tendency to easy bruising should be discussed with your acupuncturist, herbalist or general practitioner.

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.

emotional health, health, massage, mental health

Five reasons why you should learn to massage for fun

  1. Everyone loves a massage.
  2. Massage has lots of health benefits:
      • Pain relief – For musculoskeletal injuries, tension headaches and back pain.
      • Detoxification – Massage stimulates the immune system by increasing blood flow and lymph drainage.
      • Muscle recovery – Massage helps clear muscles of lactic and uric acid that build up during exercise.
      • Muscle tone – Improving muscle tone and delaying muscle atrophy resulting from inactivity.
      • Prevent injury – Deep massage can separate fascial fibres, prevent adhesions and reduce inflammation and oedema.
      • Healing – Massage increases circulation and therefore improves the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the cells.
  3. Massage promotes a sense of wellbeing:
      • Mental alertness – After massage, EEG patterns indicate enhanced performance and alertness on mathematical computations.
      • Reduced anxiety and depression – Massage has been shown to reduce subclinical depression.
      • Relaxation – The release of endorphins and serotonin inducing a relaxed, ‘feel good’ state can improve sleep, reduce blood pressure and heart rate.
  4. Helping someone else to relax and feel good, also makes the giver of the massage feel good too.
  5. There’s a good chance if you give a massage, you might get one on return, which is always nice. ( To increase your odds of this, make sure to encourage your partner/friend/family member to learn to massage with you).

Fancy learning to massage just for fun?  I’ll be teaching a “Massage for Beginners” course through the lovely people at Bright Learning on Saturday, 19th November, 2011.  We’ll also be touching on some useful acupressure skills too.

For more details or to book – click here.

 

acupuncture, exercise, herbal medicine, massage

The natural medicine guide to surviving the Kokoda Challenge (or other 100km hike)

On the weekend, I knocked over The Kokoda Challenge (known as one of Australia’s most gruelling endurance events – 96km of big hills on the Gold Coast Hinterland, that must be completed within 39 hours), for the second time.  Crazy? Yes, definitely.

Was it easier the second time?  Yes and no.

Yes, you know most of the track and what to expect, your training regime should be sorted out, you should know your body well (and its weaknesses) and hopefully you’ve maintained some fitness from last time.

And no, they change the track each year and add some new surprises (which are worse if you knew the easy bits they took out and replaced), conditions change – 50% of the track was coated with either slippery or sticky mud this year – much harder on the legs and lastly, maybe you lose a little bit of drive after completing it successfully before (a voice says, “you’ve done this before, there’s no need to get to the end, you have nothing to prove”).

None-the-less, The Commandettes, crossed the finish line 3 hours ahead of last year’s time.

Here’s my tips, as an acupuncturist, herbalist and massage therapist for getting your body across the line without relying on pharmaceutical pain killers and anti-inflammatories unless you really need them. (And for the record, I didn’t take a single pharmaceutical drug this year due to sticking to this plan).

Please make sure that if you use the ideas listed below that you speak to a qualified acupuncturist or herbalist regarding the specific herbs and supplements and their dosages – everyone is different and herbal medicine is just that – a medicine – so treat the herbs with the same care you would with any other medicine.

  1. Pre-event training
    • Start training well in advance of the event.  Build up the pace and distance gradually.  If you can’t train on the actual track, mimic the conditions as best you can.  Besides building you up for the event, this gives you plenty of time to recognise weaknesses and prevent future injuries.
    • Any niggle, should be assessed by a health professional (eg. physiotherapist, chiropractor or acupuncturist) as early as possible so you can work on fixing it.  It’s common to need specific exercises for the core abdominal muscles and gluteals – great for knee and hip injury prevention.
    • Swelling, pain, inflammation and muscle tension need to be treated as they occur too – see below.
  2. 4 weeks prior to the event
    • Get yourself onto a personalised herbal formula to prepare you to perform at your best.  The particular herbs chosen for your formula will depend on how you have been pulling up on from your training and your overall constitution.  Herbs such as Siberian ginseng and panax ginseng are excellent for endurance, stamina and energy, and even have high quality scientific studies demonstrating their effectiveness for athletic performance.  Herbs such as gotu kola and ginkgo biloba may improve any blood circulation related problems (eg. golfer’s vasculitis, otherwise known as ‘Disney rash’) and may also be useful in healing connective tissue.
    • If you aren’t already, now is the time for some weekly massages and/or acupuncture sessions to iron out any niggles from training – you want your body to be in tip-top shape for the event and not carrying around any left-over tightness which may predispose you to injury.  Acupuncture may also be able to assist with your stamina and treat any injuries you have already sustained.
    • The day before the event – see your acupuncturist again.  They will be able to locate some points on your ears that correspond to different parts of your body.  You will be able to press these points if your injuries begin to play up.  I have seen many cases of excellent results with this technique.
    • Ask your practitioner for dietary, nutritional and herbal tips for the event.
  3. On the day
    • Rehydration formula – take it regularly. What you sweat out will not be replaced by water alone.
    • Magnesium is essential!  A dose may be required at each major check point to prevent cramping, spasms and muscle tightness.
    • Herbal anti-inflammatories – A dose at every major checkpoint and as needed.  There are a lot out there including boswellia, turmeric, chamomile, horsechestnut, ginger and celery seed.  Don’t forget your omega 3’s too – from flaxseeds or fish.  If swelling is a particular problem, there are herbs specific to this.
    • Stimulants.  As needed.  I can not speak more highly of Flordis Ginsana – a highly researched ginseng capsule.  Nothing picks up my energy and my mood, more than the ginsana.  It’s great for getting through the night. Otherwise, the caffeine and carbohydrate sports gels, if you can manage the revolting texture, work quite well too.
    • Protein.  Sometimes you just don’t feel like eating a lot during exercise.  Protein powders are excellent at these times.  I like the pea-based protein powders – they have just as much protein as the whey ones, but are great for those who want a vegetable based protein source or wish to avoid dairy products.
    • Topical herbal anti-inflammatory and pain relieving cream or liniment.  Have it on hand to rub into sore knees, aching hips and other injuries as needed.  Why not sweet talk your support crew into giving you a shoulder rub with it at the check points?
  4. After the event
    • Simple carbohydrates are good (sugar… perhaps even a glass of alcohol to celebrate?)
    • Keep up your protein intake
    • The best part:  Soak in an epsom salts bath.  Relief.  Bliss.

There are many different ways to complete a 100km endurance event.  I have seen this combination work well for many people undertaking athletic activities.  If you are undertaking such an event – good luck!

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, emotional health, health, massage, mental health, Traditional Chinese Medicine

Sarah treats Brisbane flood evacuees at RNA evacuation centre

On Friday 14th January, a group of acupuncture colleagues decided to put their skills to good use and assist evacuees and volunteers based at the Brisbane RNA Showgrounds.

The group, named Acupuncture Recovery Clinic (ARC), worked from 8am to 8pm daily providing massage and acupuncture treatments, free to all.

Sarah George joined the team on Friday and worked throughout the weekend treating evacuees and volunteers for stress, insomnia, fatigue and body aches.  She was joined by at least 30 other volunteer professional acupuncturists and massage therapists.

Sarah recalls giving perhaps 50% of the people she treated their first ever massage.  “It was a honour to be able to assist the evacuees and volunteers who all looked so tired and worn out.  Many commented that sleeping at the evacuation centre was difficult.  Some had heartwrenching stories of loss.  Mostly, the stories were inspirational of flood evacuees and the homeless, helping others who had lost their homes.  A massage or acupuncture treatment, gave them some time out, and recharged the spirit and the batteries to continue on.”

Acupuncture supplies were donated by the practitioners and local clinics (including HealthWise) and industry suppliers.

Sarah is taking an active role in ARC to continue the efforts of the volunteer group once the RNA evacuation centre is closed.  The group plans to provide discounted treatments to those seriously affected by the floods in the weeks to come.

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.

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