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, pregnancy

Hip (h)op, sore necks and pelvic pain in pregnancy: what do they have in common?

Survived my first (and hopefully only) operation.
Daggy selfy alert! I survived my first (and hopefully only) operation.

The answer is: they sum up where my time went last month.

Yes, I’ve been quiet the last four weeks. And for good reason. But the great news is I’m back on deck and The Wellness Ninja is once again karate chopping out the good news for your health and happiness.

So here’s a recap:

  • Hip (h)op: Well this time last month I was having a hip arthroscopy. With a nicely cleaned-up hip joint, I should be back into the karate, hiking, cycling and diving that I love in around two months. I’m doing very well in my recovery (I was back at work a week later) and will put out a blog on the combination of complementary therapies I’ve engaged to support me in tolerating the most medications I’ve ever taken in my life, healing connective tissue, relieving pain and rehabilitating my dodgy ‘hoppy’ hip.
  • Sore necks: We’re half way through the UWS Traditional Chinese Medicine Masters course semester and so I’ve been beavering away on my assessment pieces. First up, I immersed myself in all of the available research we have on neck pain and acupuncture. My findings? Well, actually no therapies have high-quality research to support their use in neck pain. (And that includes surgery, NSAIDs, chiropractic, massage, yoga and acupuncture.) That’s not much help for people with neck pain. But The Cochrane Review on this topic reports that there is moderate-quality evidence to support the use of acupuncture for chronic mechanical neck pain or neck pain with radicular symptoms. And the chance of serious adverse reactions is low. In my experience neck pain is often treated well with acupuncture, it may be well worth a try for a pain in the neck.
  • Low back and pelvic pain in pregnancy: This was assignment number two’s topic. I’ve written before on the good effect acupuncture has in this area. Last week I read everything that there was to read in English on the treatment of low back and pelvic pain in pregnancy with acupuncture. Safety, for both mother and baby, was carefully assessed in these trials which found that acupuncture does not have a higher rate of serious adverse reactions for the mother or the baby than was experienced in the control groups. A Cochrane Review reports that there is moderate-quality evidence for pain relief and improved functionality with acupuncture treatment for these conditions. But I loved this quote from an editorial in the British Medical Journal:

“Those caring for women with pregnancy related pelvic pain now need to press for increased availability of acupuncture.”

So that’s my month (well not completely – I also devoured series one and two of the TV series ‘Rake‘). I have so many good blog topics in a back log ready to come your way. Stay tuned for some tasty new recipes, some acupuncture stroke rehabilitation research I recently presented at a major hospital, information on an acclaimed new book on motherhood and the scent on some new medicinal aromatherapy oils.

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.

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.