Diet, food allergy, Traditional Chinese Medicine

We are speaking at the Woodford Folk Festival again!

The Woodford Folk Festival 2012-13 programme has been announced and once again naturopath Kathleen Murphy and I will be speaking at the Blue Lotus health stage.  We had a ball last year with our practical sessions on health, herbs and acupressure, and then entering the cooked v raw food diet panel discussion.  This year we’re back with some great topics that we get asked about all the time in our clinics:

  • Bath Time, Soothe Time

Learn some relaxation techniques for babies at bedtime including acupressure and aromatherapy.  This talk will be held in the Children’s Festival and will be a fun hands on session for you and your baby.  Some of the ideas will be great for big kids who can’t sleep too!

  • Gluten And Grain Intolerance: What Does It Mean For You?

We’ll be shedding some light on what it means to have food intolerance and why so many people can’t eat certain grains. We will look at our modern Australian diet and how to make the most of each meal.  I’ll discuss what this means in Traditional Chinese Medicine terms and how to manage a weak digestive system.

  • Vegetarian Or Omnivore: How To Make The Most Of Your Diet

Whether you choose to eat meat, or exclude animal products from your diet altogether, it’s important to make the right choice for you. We will talk about common misconceptions, frequent queries and overall benefits for each.  I’ll bring in how Traditional Chinese Medicine views these diets and how food can be used to bring balance to the body.

The Woodford Folk Festival is an incredibly great way to spend the week around New Year.  There is always so much good music to soak up, dancing to be done, artistic things to create, speakers to inspire you (on health, the environment, music, creativity and living) and new people to meet.  It has all the makings of a positive start to your new year.  We hope to see you there.

Check out the times and venues of our talks.

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, 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.

acupuncture, health, herbal medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine

Learn acupressure at the Woodford Folk Festival

Today it’s five sleeps ’til my birthday and six sleeps ’til Christmas, which means it’s just eight days until the best time of year: the Woodford Folk Festival. I’m bursting with excitement!  But this year it’s going to be extra fun because together with my HealthWise Clinic naturopath extraordinaire colleague, Kathleen Murphy,  I’m on the programme presenting about the stuff I love – Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Kathleen and I will be presenting several talks titled ‘Herbs, Health & Acupressure’ which are designed to give you quick, easy and effective ways to treat common health problems at home.

I’ll be sharing some acupressure techniques you can use for several unpleasant symptoms including nausea, headaches and insomnia.  Kathleen will have some dietary and herbal remedies to share. 

You can catch the Kathleen & Sarah Double-Act on:

  • Thursday 29th December 5pm @ Blue Lotus (Woodforum: raw food panel discussion)
  • Friday 30th December 11am @ Blue Lotus
  • Sunday 1st January 11am @ Big Ideas (Children’s festival)

It will be a lot of fun.  We hope to see you there.

acupuncture, exercise, health, martial arts

Karate: unlock the free flow of Ki

Believe it or not, traditional karate (such as Goju Karate Australia) has a lot in common with acupuncture. Each places great importance on the breath, focus/intent and flow of Qi (or Ki or vital force). They are considered both an art form and a science, being constantly questioned, refined and developed by the practitioner and their peers and mentors.

Even the acupuncture points and meridians are used in karate.  The acupoints and channels influence the flow of qi in the body, depending on how they are stimulated determines the result of their use.  In acupuncture, the acupoints are carefully selected and manipulated for their healing influence, in karate they become strike points or reflect body positioning and movement.

I find that practising karate improves my acupuncture through experience with energy flow (e.g. posture and breathing) and that knowledge of acupuncture points and channels benefits my karate. That’s why I love immersing myself in both!

Practitioners of Kung Fu, Qi Gong, Tai Chi, Aikido and other traditional martial arts all experiment with utilising this flow of Qi or Ki in their training but also in other aspects of their lives.

How do you unlock your Qi, Ki or Life Force?

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.

exercise, health, herbal medicine, mental health, motivational, nature, Uncategorized

A new year – a new Kokoda Challenge

On the eve of registering a team for this year’s Kokoda Challenge, I take a look back at last year’s achievement…

At 3.45am on Saturday 17th July my alarm beeped, forcing me to get up and face The Kokoda Challenge, an event we had been training hard for since February.

The Kokoda Challenge is Australia’s toughest endurance event.  It involves walking (or running for those who are that way inclined) 96 km through some of the steepest sections of the Gold Coast Hinterland within 39 hours without sleep (that’s more than double a marathon, non-stop and over hills).

My team, known as the M&M’s (for Michelle, Melissa, Sue and Sarah), wondered as we headed towards the starting line just before 7am with our little ninja M&M mascots hanging from our packs: “Had we done enough hill, night and distance training?”  “Would our niggling injuries behave themselves?” and “Would we make it to the finish line as a full team as is the spirit of the event?”

Armed with a supply of energy tonics, anti-inflammatory herbs and some nutritional supplements that I had put together from my natural medicine clinic plus some acupressure knowledge for nausea, anxiety, pain and fatigue, the M&M’s (a determined bunch of ladies) survived the high and lows of the track.  The steep up-hills, the steep down-hills, the creek crossings in the dark, the times when your body struggled, the times when your mind struggled – these were all balanced out by some very memorable moments.  Looking behind you in the dark to see headlamps twinkling in the distance like little fairies, or seeing the gold coast lights shining from a peak we had just climbed, and even the many hours we passed through the night thinking of and singing any song with the word ‘night’ in it.

Yes, our feet hurt more than we could imagine.  Yes, injuries were aggravated – but luckily no new ones were sustained.  And yes, there were many quiet, contemplative moments overnight where we all were thinking “I could be fast asleep in a warm bed right now”.  But these thoughts were all overshadowed when at 32 hours and 8 minutes the M&M’s crossed the finish line – there were tears, there were smiles, there were hugs and there were yawns.  And despite taking a fair amount longer than we had planned on, we were in the 50% of teams who made it across the line as a whole team within the time limit of 39 hours.  Not only that, we also adopted two honorary M&M’s who had lost half of their team to injury and needed another team to walk with.  The more the merrier I say!  And not bad for a first effort, either.

If you have an opportunity to be a part of this event in the future – do it!  The event (and training leading up to it) is hard, yet incredibly rewarding.  You will employ each of the Kokoda Challenge’s values just to make it to the finish (even if you don’t think you will beforehand): endurance, courage, sacrifice and mateship.  The event supports young Australians (The Kokoda Kids) to develop these qualities through physical endeavours and charity work in Papua New Guinea.  The Kokoda Kids that I met on the track were a credit to the organisers – I’m proud to have been involved and support this event.

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.