acupuncture, aromatherapy, herbal medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine

Even your pet can benefit from acupuncture

dog acupunctureI spent today with a gorgeous friend, her incredibly clever and kind seven-year old daughter and their adorable devon rex cat.

Miss Seven was over the moon to be able to demonstrate her new vet kit to me.  The vet kit was a little basket of goodies she had put together to treat her animals. It included freshly pressed basil oil, some raw ginger, eucalyptus leaves, a sewing pin and her own written notes on pet medicine.

We started by treated the toy dog. He had a sore back and irritated eyes. With our combination of herbal rubs and sewing pin acupuncture we cured him.

But you know, pets (of the living, breathing variety) really can benefit from complementary medicines just as well as people can. Acupuncture, acupressure, herbal medicine, nutritional medicine (such as omega 3 fatty acids), homeopathics and aromatherapy can work a treat for our furry friends for their physical and mental ailments. Some good vets include these therapies in their practice – it’s always worth asking about.

Today’s work with the seven-year old complementary medicine veterinary doctor reminded me of this fabulous video showcasing the effect of acupuncture on the most adorable little pug puppy who suffered with paralysis from a car accident. Her recovery is remarkable.

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, health, mental health, Traditional Chinese Medicine

Happy new year! And highlights from the Woodford Folk Festival

DSC00608Happy new year to all of my lovely readers!  I hope your 2013 is shaping up just dandy so far.

I have been lucky enough to spend the 2012/13 transition at the Woodford Folk Festival.  Again this year I was speaking at the fabulous Blue Lotus health and healing venue with my wonderful naturopathic colleague, Kathleen Murphy.

We spoke on “Gluten & Grain Intolerance” and “Vegetarian v Omnivore diets”.  Kath gave the nutrition essentials and I was able to give the Traditional Chinese Medicine spin on each of these.  Both talks were well attended with a great crowd who asked lots of excellent questions.  If you were there, thanks for being such an awesome audience – especially if you came to our New Year’s Day morning talk.  Good health vibes to you!

DSC00639Additionally, we ran a new workshop in the Children’s Festival this year – “Bath time – soothe time”.  In essence it was all about calming babies and small children before bed.  We chatted about good digestion tips, essential oils, herbal teas, acupressure and massage.  The highlight for me was giving a four-year old her first massage – she just about melted into her chair.  See, massage is for all ages, and kids (big and little) love ’em!

I’ll write more on the gluten and diet talks on this blog in coming days.  So stay tuned.

So, as usual, I have returned to reality, still with my post-festival glow (why do I love Woodford? – find out here) and hit the ground running at HealthWise Clinic practicing Monday to Friday for all of January.  If you are in need of re-stoking your glow for 2013 come and see me in the clinic.

May 2013 be your most radiant year yet!

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.

aromatherapy

Spritz yourself cool with essential oils

peppermint leavesIt’s a very hot day today in Brisbane.  Some parts of South East Queensland are expected to hit 41°C.  Scorching hot!

I’m sitting at my computer marking my Musculoskeletal Acupuncture students’ assignment papers and struggling to think, my brain has sizzled.  However, a few brain cells must still be functioning as they’ve reminded me about some aromatherapy spritzers I used to make in my late teens for staying cool on a hot day.

Make this spritzer up, spray on your face and body, then stand in front of the fan.  Refreshed! Repeat as often as necessary.

Remember to use 100% pure essential oils (they should be labelled this way with the botanical name of the plant) in your spritzer, as you don’t want to be inhaling any more artificial chemicals than you are already subjected to and the therapeutic effects will only come from pure plant oils, not cheap  and nasty chemical fragrances.  My preference is Sunspirit Oils.  I’ve toured their testing laboratory recently (and also worked for them many moons ago) and was very impressed with the attention to quality of their therapeutic essential oils.

So here are a few recipes for your spritzer bottles.

Add to a 50mL spritzer bottle:

  • 45mL purified water
  • 1 tsp (5mL) vodka (I know, a waste, but it will help to disperse the oils)
  • 15 drops of essential oils, which could include your choice of:
  1. 6 drops lemon, 5 drops lavender and 4 drops peppermint
  2. 6 drops lime, 5 drops spearmint and 4 drops geranium
  3. Ultra cooling blend: 5 drops peppermint, 5 drops spearmint and 5 drops eucalyptus

Shake the bottle (each time before use), spritz away and chill out. Keep your spritzer in the fridge for even more of a cooling effect.

Still feeling hot?  Here are some ways to eat yourself cool – seriously.

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.

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.

aromatherapy, beauty, herbal medicine, nature, Uncategorized

Five natural beauty products I cannot live without

Patients often ask me for advice on natural cosmetics and skincare products.   The kind of products I choose personally must be naturally fragranced, free from as many artificial chemical nasties as is possible and actually work.  When you tick these boxes, these products are also an absolute delight to use and way  more luxurious than their big brand name, highly artificial cousins.  Cleopatra herself, may have been tempted by these natural and luxurious essentials.

So, here are my top five natural beauty products:

Jane Iredale Mineral Makeup

This is the most lovely makeup I have ever used.  In fact, I’m surprised how often people comment on my skin when I’m wearing it, the minerals give you a healthy glow.  And they won’t block your pores but they will give you sun protection.  The makeup is actually good for promoting healthy skin.   That’s a far cry from traditional foundations which contribute to blocked  pores and breakouts!  Some of their products contain essential oils and their lip and eye colours are very pretty too.  Jane Iredale is on the more expensive side but a little goes a long way and it is well worth the price.

Alchemy Shampoo and Conditioner

Alchemy is a great range off Australian made and owned hair care products.   They don’t use parabens or sulphate in their products.  What is great about their shampoo and conditioners is that they contain herbal extracts and essential oils so that not only does your hair smell amazing, but it will look and feel great too!

Uspa Skincare

This line of skincare is perhaps the best I have ever used.  Uspa products are made in Australia from organic plant-based ingredients where possible.  The difference between Uspa and other natural cosmetic brands is that Uspa is mainly used and sold by beauty therapists, not health food stores and pharmacies.  The level of quality and the results they deliver for your skin are beautifully noticeable.  I’m a devotee of their Awaken Foam Cleanser, Bamboo Polish and Moisture Control Lotion with Vitamin C.  Did I mention that these products also smell amazing?

MiEssence Aluminium-free Deodorant

Now, I’ve tried a lot of aluminium-free deodorants and I can say that many of them, with the best intentions and theory behind them, just don’t work.  But this one does!  It’s the only one that I have found that really does work.  It comes in fragrance-free, ancient spice (for the boys) and tahitian breeze (a delightful natural floral fragrance).  The company behind this product source organic ingredients and are another Australian natural cosmetics success story.  You can usually find this one at your local health food store.

Sunspirit Essential Oils

This range of 100% pure essential oils has long been my favourite and most trusted aromatherapy brand.  I love using these essential oils in salt scrubs, face masks, body oils, bath blends and in spritzers.  Sunspirit is another Australian brand who have been committed to sourcing and supplying high quality, therapeutic grade essential oils for over 35 years.  I was lucky enough to tour the laboratory facility that undertakes the testing of their essential oils last week.  The state of the art facility has a high commitment to quality control.  What that means is the herbs are tested for chemical markers to ensure they are the correct plant, that the quality of the herb is good enough to have a therapeutic effect (desired markers in the plant’s chemical profile are present and in the right amounts) and the essential oil will be stable and therapeutic for the whole of its life up to its expiry date.   Sunspirit essential oils are mid-priced which makes them exceptional value given their gold standard commitment to quality.

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, 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.

aromatherapy, beauty, health

Lemon myrtle: the true Aussie Battler of the herbal medicine kingdom

If the definition of an Aussie Battler is someone who is considered working class, struggles against hardship and yet still earns some due respect, then the Australian herb, lemon myrtle (Backhousia citriodora), can rightly claim this title in the plant kingdom.

Lemon myrtle is an Australian native subtropical plant that is gradually gaining recognition for the great work it is capable of.  It has always played second fiddle to tea tree in the herbal medicine world and has struggled to take its rightful place in the medicine cabinet. In fact, how many of you have even heard of lemon myrtle?  As it’s fairly cheap to produce, it’s often anonymously used in cleaning and food production for its lemony characteristics (it’s even described as being more ‘lemony’ than lemon) but beyond this, it’s largely ignored.

I actually love this lemony herb with its beautiful leaves and uplifting aroma.  It makes wonderful herbal tea (just take a few leaves, crunch them in your hand, add hot water, cover and allow to steep), personal care products and the essential oil itself can be used in many ways.

Probably the area where it really shines, and this comes back to it being a hard worker, is as an antimicrobial agent.  Lemon myrtle has been shown to be superior to tea tree as an antiseptic.

This hard-working Aussie does have a downside though.  It can cause damage to the skin if used undiluted.  However, studies have shown that a 1% dilution can give you the antimicrobial results you desire without harming your skin.  To make this dilution, add 1 drop of 100% pure lemon myrtle oil to 5mL of your preferred carrier oil.

But, the upside far outweighs the downside.  Lemon myrtle has a delightful fragrance.  In my opinion, it is much more appealing than that of tea tree.  Lemony fresh, it clears the mind and uplifts the heart.  It is perfect for adding to the wash with your dirty clothes (think socks, sweaty exercise clothes, sheets and towels). It makes fabulous soaps (the crushed leaves can even be used to exfoliate the skin) and hand wash. I add the essential oil to steam inhalations when I have sinus congestion or clogged pores.  Why, it can even be added to my DIY Salt Scrub recipe.  I like to source my lemon myrtle essential oil from Refreshed Lemon Myrtle, a little company in Byron Bay committed to sustainable production of lemon myrtle products.

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.