The word acupuncture comes from the Latin acus, “needle” and pungere, “to prick.”
Acupuncture needles are single use, sterilized and pre-packaged.
Acupuncture is over 5,000 years old and is one of the oldest practicing forms of medicine known to date.
When performed by a properly trained and licensed practitioner, acupuncture is safe and effective, free from negative side effects.
Even though a needle is being inserted into the skin, acupuncture is virtually painless.
Acupuncture needles are a lot smaller than standard hypodermic needles, and they do not draw blood and are not hollow.
Acupuncturists feel your pulse and look at your tongue to gain a better understanding of what is going on inside the body.
Acupuncture is highly individualized – for example, if 50 people with a cough got acupuncture, all 50 people could have different acupuncture points in their treatments.
The benefits of acupuncture are sometimes difficult to measure when using western research because western research depends on a constant variable to measure all data against…something that goes against acupuncture treatment plans.
Licensed acupuncturists attend an in-depth four year program and obtain over 400 clinical hours.
Acupuncture is just one form of therapy used within the medical system known as Traditional Chinese Medicine, which also consists of other modalities such as herbal medicine, nutrition, cupping, moxabustion, tui na and special exercises such as Tai Chi and Qi Gong.
In traditional Chinese Medicine dampness comes from a failure to burn off or transform moisture in the body. It is nearly always associated with a weak Spleen, often with a weak Kidney and sometimes a weak Lung – all from a Chinese Medicine perspective.
In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) the Spleen is expressed as the digestive system, the Spleen is responsible for adapting food to nourish and support our system. This process is called ‘transportation and transformation’. The stronger or Spleen function is the better we are able to extract nourishment from any food to support our body’s needs.
Dampness can lodge in a specific part of the body or affect us more generally, dampness can make us feel heavy and tired and it can make us swell up and it can obstruct our body’s functions.
Some people are more prone to damp than others, a tendency towards dampness can be aggravated by living in damp conditions and places (ex. Ireland) or by a sedentary lifestyle. It needs the transformative power of the body’s Yang Qi (energy) to stop it accumulating. Eating in ways which inhibit our Spleen function or which injure the Yang Qi will increase our tendency towards damp.
Dampness may also be caused by pathogens lodged in the body which have not been properly expelled or by the use of suppressant drugs.
Foods which promote dampness are:
Dairy – milk, cheese, yogurts, ice cream – Sheep & Goats products are less dampening
Wheat – breads, pastry’s, biscuits, all yeast products
Pork & rich meat
Processed foods, sugar & sweeteners
Concentrated juice’s especially Orange & Tomato
Bananas – these are a big NO in TCM
In particular foods that need to be avoided are too much raw, cold, sweet & rich foods and the overconsumption of fluid, especially cold water.
Dampness can be divided into three kinds:
This is the generalised condition of dampness associated with weakness of the Spleen, in may manifest in such ways as tiredness/aches in the limbs, digestive weakness or muzzy head. How it manifests depends on our individual constitution.
This describes a condition of edema where dampness is retained as water; this may be specific or general in location. It causes us to swell, be become waterlogged.
This describes a more sticky manifestation of dampness. It often lodges in particular organs and combines easily with heat or cold. Phlegm or mucus congeals and obstructs our functioning.
Resolving Dampness though food and Acupuncture:
All dampness is treated by strengthening the Spleen and may also need tonification of the Kidneys, Lung and Yang. Phlegm demands the reduction of Phlegm-forming foods and the use of Phlegm- resolving foods. Water is helped by Water-removing (diuretic) foods. Acupuncture in conjunction with the correct foods can help eliminate damp, water and phlegm.
Dampness is often the result of overeating or over-nutrition. It is important to support the Spleen to avoid the over accumulation of Dampness.
Here are some tips on how to assist the Spleen with its digestive function:
Joy – enjoy your food, have a good relationship with food
Positive attitude – welcome food as wholeheartedly as you can
Relaxation – the Chinese believe not to mix food with work, watching TV or reading, also important to relax your posture as not to hinder the passage of food through your body.
Chew well – well chewed food lessens the work for your digestive organs and increases the efficient extraction of nutrients, it also warms chilled foods.
Stop just before you are full – if you overeat at any one meal, you create stagnation, a temporary queue of food waiting to be processed. This results in feeling tired.
Don’t flood the Spleen – the Spleen does not like too much fluid with a meal. A little warm fluid with a meal is helpful; nut too much dilutes the Spleen’s action and weakens digestion.
Don’t chill the Spleen – too much raw or chilled food or fluid will also weaken the Spleen, the digestive process needs warmth.
Eat your main meal early – when your main meal is eaten late at night, your system is naturally slowing down and the food will sit around longer and creates stagnation.
Delighted to have an article published in the Summer edition of the Rude Health magazine. It explains the basic ideas behind Acupuncture and how it can help male & female fertility to help couples conceive.
It also includes a testimonial from one of my male fertility patients on how Acupuncture and Naturopathy helped him and his partner get pregnant.
Everyone knows that seasonal allergies are painful and uncomfortable causing runny nose, sneezing, sinus pain, fatigue, watery eyes, and other debilitating symptoms. Allergies also affect your productivity at work and school and may be linked to depression, insomnia, and anxiety.(1)
Acupuncture offers an effective drug free treatment so you can smell the flowers. Acupuncture is different than taking a pill, it helps to reduce pain and inflammation. But rather than adding a medication that will temporarily block a receptor, histamine in the case of allergies, acupuncture works to regulate the body’s functioning. The goals is for long term improvement from the acupuncture treatment.
The idea is that acupuncture helps to reset the body and remind it how to be healthy. As balance is achieved, your body is able to maintain the healthy state without medications. So instead of simply suppressing the body’s reaction, it works to correct the root cause of the problem.
Acupuncture’s Understanding of Allergies
Acupuncture has its own view of the body and health. Acupuncturists look for an imbalance that is causing of allergies.
Qi is the body’s vital energy, it gives you the power to work, study, exercise, and fight illness. In acupuncture, the cause of allergies is often a qi imbalance. There are two major qi imbalances. The most common one for allergies is when there is too little qi, we call this a qi vacuity. When your qi is vacuous, you feel tired, can get colds easily, may have poor digestion, coughing, wheezing, and possibly asthma. The acupuncture works to boost up your qi, giving you more energy and protecting you from allergies.
The second imbalance is called qi stagnation. This is when your qi does not circulate well. This is often caused by stress, and can cause pain, headaches, menstrual cramps, and in some cases, bring on asthma attacks.
Inflammation is a cause of allergies and chronic sinus pain. In acupuncture, this is often related to an imbalance called heat. Heat can cause dryness, irritation, and pain. This is often common in chronic sinusitis.
The Acupuncture Treatment
An effective acupuncture treatment is based upon a specific and accurate diagnosis of the imbalance and by targeting the exact root of the condition leads to the most successful treatment.
I combine acupressure with the acupuncture to create greater results and a stronger sense of relaxation. Usually people will feel some relief after only a visits.
How Acupuncture Works
Acupuncture helps to reduce inflammation and increase circulation. Acupuncture also helps to regulate the brain to reduce pain, so it is also possible that is another way it works to help regulate the immune response to allergies (2).
1. Marcus MB. Seasonal allergies could spark depression, fatigue. USA Today. 3/18/2008.2. Napadow V, Ahn A, Longhurst J, et.al. The Status and Future of Acupuncture Mechanism Research. J Altern Complement Med. 2008 September; 14(7): 861–869.
6 Week Detox Programme finishing with a 2/3 day juice fast – This is a gentle programme that will change your lifestyle and make you glow from the inside out.
If your body is getting everything it needs, i.e. nutrients & minerals, your body can work properly. I work on the encouragement of self-healing and in my practice my emphasis is on ‘treating the cause not the symptoms’ and ‘treating the patient as a whole’.
I have mixed views on fasting, these fad diets of fasting for 2 days a week and then eating and drinking as ‘normal’ for the rest give out the wrong impression for a balanced lifestyle.
I do praise the benefits of fasting though if it is done properly. It gives your body a break from dealing with everything it has to break down and gives it time to regenerate and heal itself. You can eat during this fast, but only portions of raw vegetables or fruit. Fasting is an integral part of many cultures and done quite naturally in countries around the world.
Join me on this 6 week detox programme followed by a 2/3 day juice fast – this will leave you feeling amazing both inside & out.
The 6 week detox plan is to prepare your body for the fast, it just makes the whole process a lot smoother and it’s an easier transition for the body so it’s not such a drastic change all of a sudden.
We all have toxins in our body; they come in in many forms. Toxins are proteins produces by certain bacteria, animals or plants. The main toxins that we are vulnerable to are:
The three basic ways to avoid Toxicity are to avoid heavy metals, eat organic food and live in an eco-friendly environment. There are simple ways that we can change our lifestyle that I will go over during the course of this programme.
6 Week Detox Programme – pre fasting
Week 1 – No Alcohol
Week 2 – No Caffeine
Week 3 – No Meat
Week 4 – No Dairy
Week 5 – No Wheat
Week 6 – No Sugar
That’s accumulative so you start the 2/3 day fast with none of these in your system, and depending on your diet at the moment it could be shorter than 6 weeks eg. If you’re a vegetarian it would only be 5 weeks.
It looks simple, but it gets tough…
I will keep you updated with my progress throughout the programme and also give you encouragement and helpful tips along the way. I will also give you the recipe’s for the juices well in advance and please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or need some advice in regard to the programme.
The 2/3 day Juice Fast starts at the end of the 6th week
2/3 day Juice fasts are a great thing to do once or twice a year. Spring and Summer are best as in Winter the Qi (vital force) retreats and you need building up.
The juices can be a mix of Veg or Fruit juices, and you can eat raw Organic fruit and vegetables throughout the fast just limit yourself to either fruit or vegetables in one day.
Vegetables are the builders and fruit are the cleansers & vegetable juices are best in the morning time.
Here are some examples of some juices but I will send more ideas and recipes in the coming weeks.
Fruit Juices: Apple, Pear, Grape, Pineapple & Watermelon
Here is some Fasting info:
The body uses up 50% of its energy in digestion. By fasting, that energy can be utilised in other processes such as self-healing, tissue repair and enhancement of cell-mediated immunity. Fasting encourages toxins stored in fat cells and elsewhere to be mobilised into the blood stream to be dealt with by the Liver.
It is important prior to fasting that the main organs of elimination (Liver, Colon & Kidneys) be in an optimally efficient state – this is why the 6 week detox is required.
To prevent your body from going into a toxic overload due to inadequate levels of essential nutrients, the organic fruit and/or vegetables will prevent this. This is the reason that juice fasts are favoured over water fasts.
The Important Stuff…
Long fasts (more than 2 days) should be supervised by a Naturopath
During a ‘fast’, pollutants are mobilised into the bloodstream as fat stores are used up. A body overloaded with toxins can produce reactions which are unpredictable as the ‘cocktail’ of chemicals hits the bloodstream. Watch out for the side effects.
Common side effects of short term fasting include: headaches, nausea, coated tongue, dizziness, skin rashes, acne, aching limbs & muscles, feeling colder than usual, insomnia, urine may be cloudy or darker than usual and your bowels may stop functioning during the fast. These symptoms will pass as soon as the waste materials are through your Kidneys.
Benefits of fasting: Clearer skin and eyes, more energy, increased elimination, decreased pain and inflammation, increased concentration and a feeling of wellbeing.
Contraindications to extend fasting (beyond 48 hours) without provisional supervision: Pregnancy & Breast Feeding, Severe Liver disease or Anemia, Kidney disease, if you suffer from an eating disorder, mental illness or a chronic condition which needs medication.
Ensure that 2 litres of pure, filtered water is consumed on fasting days
So who is with me to start this week? It’s only 6 ½ weeks of your life, you will be completed before Easter. Put the wine away and start planning your next few weeks.
For me the 1st week will be easy, I’ve been off the booze for a while but when we hit week 2, eliminating Caffeine…ouch. I wouldn’t be a big Coffee drinker, but I’m defiantly a Tea drinker and watch out for all the other Caffeine laden items, such as Chocolate. It’s going to be tough… Good Luck!
Remember if you have any questions please feel free to contact me.
Well I got hit straight in the face by a virus this week, nasty little mite. You all know it, achy muscles and bones, hot eyes, sore throat etc… It can knock even the healthiest person sideways for a couple of days.
A common cold should not last for more than 3-4 days. When using natural therapies in shifting colds & flu they involve assisting the body rather than suppressing symptoms as drugs do, therefore the symptoms of the cold & flu temporarily worsen.
Many of the symptoms of colds and flu are a result of our body’s defence mechanisms – Interferon the immune-stimulating compound is released by our blood cells and other tissues during infections and this is responsible for many symptoms. The suppression of a fever is thought to counteract a major defence mechanism and prolong the infection so however uncomfortable a high temperature is just sweat it out.
Here are some simple & useful tips to help you naturally fight these nasty little seasonal bugs:
Rest – nothing is that important that it can’t wait for a few days, your health is – Get to bed!
Liquids – drink lots of water
Echinacea – huge immune enhancing effects, a tincture is best
Vit C – 2000mg twice a day
Hot lemon with grated ginger & a teaspoon of honey – anti-inflammatory & anti-viral
Cayenne pepper – 8th teaspoon in warm water – promotes circulation and helps sweat it out. I use Potters Lifedrops, it’s a tincture made from Capsicum, Elderflowers and Peppermint oil, it’s really effective
Home made hearty soups – pack them full of virus fighting compounds – colourful veg and especially onions & garlic