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, health, herbal medicine

Get your free Herbs, Health & Acupressure ebook

ebook cover HHAThe fabulous naturopath Kathleen Murphy and I co-authored a little gem of an e-book a short while ago. It followed on from a presentation that we gave at the packed Blue Lotus tent at the Woodford Folk Festival.

We wanted to teach some simple self care techniques we often talk about in our clinics for these common health complaints:

  • Digestive disorders
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Pain

Kathleen covered the easy homemade herbal remedies and I taught some simple acupressure techniques.

To thank you for following or subscribing to my blog (you can subscribe using the link on the right side of the page) I wanted to offer you a free copy of the e-book: “An introduction to health, herbs & acupressure: simple tips and home remedies for good health.”

Click here to download the ebook – herbs health acupressure 2013 for free!

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 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, Diet, food, Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine diet for menopausal hot flushes and insomnia

Here’s just a snippet of information from my latest research paper on menopause (the topic as voted by the HealthWise Clinic facebook fans).

Menopause brings with it a range of symptoms for many women and these symptoms vary in different parts of the world.  In Asian countries women are more likely to suffer from joint pains and body aches.  Over here in the west, women are more likely to feel the effects of hot flushes, night sweats, insomnia, vaginal dryness and anxiety.

There are a range of therapies that can be of assistance to women to transition through this time of change, which is convenient given that we are all unique and have our own individual symptoms and preferences.  Treatments range from Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) to complementary medicine treatments such as herbal medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) techniques such as acupuncture.

Additionally, research is showing that when women are more relaxed their symptoms also decrease in severity and frequency.  Don’t sweat the small stuff – literally.  Easier said than done, I know, but worth incorporating into your lifestyle anyway.

Here are some dietary and lifestyle recommendations for women who fall into the menopausal category marked by hot flushes, night sweats, dryness, anxiety and insomnia.  You may notice these recommendations are all about ‘self nurturing’, in TCM we call that nourishing our Yin:

  • Partake in relaxing, low impact exercise such as yoga or tai chi and short walks most days per week.
  • Participate in ‘Yin’ activities (slow, quiet, cool, gentle, feminine) such as meditation, breathing exercises, reading for pleasure.  Have a massage or facial, particularly when feeling more anxious or stressed.
  • Refrain from stimulating activities before bedtime including TV and computer use, and instead use this time to ‘wind down’.
  • Avoid excessive spicy food, red meat, coffee and alcohol as well as minimising barbecued, roasted or fried foods.
  • Increase intake of oily and white fish, raw nuts and seeds, leafy green vegetables, mung beans, celery, tomato, olive and flaxseed oil, and have up to two serves of fruit per day such as berries, citrus, melon or apples.  Goji berries and dates (Chinese red dates in particular) can be added to porridges for breakfast.
  • Use cooking methods such as steaming, stewing, stir-frying and making soups.
  • Make sure that the fluid intake is around 2L of water per day.  Adding a squeeze of lemon juice to this makes for a refreshing, cooling beverage.

For women who also have oedema and cold hands or feet, or other sensations of coldness, the information above may vary.  If you are struggling to manage menopausal symptoms you should seek assistance from a qualified health professional for personalised advice.

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, 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.

aromatherapy, health

I want my bath…and the essential oils!

I love baths.  There’s nothing like a long soak in a warm bath for your health and happiness.  And in Winter, I think baths are even nicer.

There are endless reasons to justify having a luxurious bath.  It could be because you:

  • Had a bad day
  • Had a good day
  • Had a hard workout
  • Have body aches
  • Picked up a cold or flu
  • Need a good sleep
  • Feel cold
  • Are feeling grumpy
  • Think everyone else is being grumpy
  • Deserve to be spoiled
  • Have some new bath oils
  • Are preparing for a night out
  • Are preparing for a night in
  • Are feeling like romance
  • Just like baths!

Here’s some simple steps to create your perfect mind-relaxing, muscle-soothing and health-promoting bath.  Be careful, like anything that creates a sense of euphoria, baths like these can be addictive!

  1. Remove all unpleasant noises from earshot of your bath (eg. phones, children).
  2. Replace those sounds with your chosen selection of chill out music (perhaps some jazz or classical?)
  3. Run the bath with the perfect temperature water for you.
  4. Add 1-2 cups of epsom salts to soothe your muscular aches away.
  5. Assemble fluffy towels in easy reach of your bath.
  6. Light some candles.
  7. Will you be in the need of a beverage?  A nice cup of herbal tea goes down well, but sometimes a glass of wine fits the mood.
  8. Choose the right essential oils to set the mood for your bath.  Just before you hop in, add 4-6 drops of pure essential oil (that’s the plant-based ones not the artificial oils known as fragrant oils) to the bath and agitate the water to disperse them (or you can add the essential oils to a tablespoon of oil or teaspoon of vodka first).  Here’s some essential oil suggestions:
    • relaxation blend: lavender (3 drops), orange (1 drop), chamomile – often sold as a 3% dilution – this is ok (2 drops)
    • balance blend: geranium (2 drops), rosewood (2 drops), lavender (2 drops)
    • uplifting blend: bergamot (2 drops), lemon (2 drops), geranium (2 drops)
    • romantic blend: ylang ylang (1 drop), geranium (2 drops), orange (1 drop)
    • muscle-relax blend: lavender (3 drops), rosemary (1 drop), marjoram (1 drop)
  9. Sink into the bath, relax and enjoy.

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, 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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