It’s lovely to meet you

There’s an old Chinese Proverb:

 

‘Tell me and I will forget;

show me and I may remember,

involve me and I will understand.’

 

I’m here to pass on enjoyable and completely achievable ways in which you can become INVOLVED in your own glorious health.

 

Not to tell you, not to show you, but for us all to get our own hands dirty and get involved in the joy that is our own health.

 

These are the topics, concepts and workable solutions I find myself explaining every day in my clinic.

 

My heart aches to create this space – for every person I am able to directly pass this information on to there are many more that are missing out. So here I am.

 

From now on, whether you’re lying in a restful sleep on my acupuncture table while I mix up your herbs, or you are half way around the world, you can access these little thoughts and lessons.

 

Meet the information here, take it in and make it your own. Let it wash over you. Let it act as a catalyst to bring about any big and glorious change that feels right.

 

I have had the privilege of dedicating many years to the studying of our health, and have been gifted some pretty amazing opportunities to allow my curiosity about health and wellness to run free.

 

Here are the fruits of my labor. Just for you.

 

X

In Spring

We can strenghten our bodies simply by living in line with our external environment.

 

Our bodies do this intuitively in the way we crave different foods and feel strengthened by different activities through the seasons. Living in balance with the seasons keeps our immune system strong and allows for better overall health in the season that follows - which is particularly important in spring because we all want to feel amazing when summer rolls around.

 

Continue reading

Period Pain and PMS: What your body is trying to tell you

For many years period pain influenced and controlled my life in big ways. This is not only true for me, but for my sisters, my friends, and many of the women I have met through my Chinese Medicine practice. It can feel awkward or socially inappropriate to discuss our period problems, and we feel unsure about who we should talk to, so we’ve grown to accept, adapt, dose up on pain-killers and move on.

 

The reality is that most women can relate to period pain, as well as an array of cyclical changes that can include irritability, depression, breast tenderness, energy dives, skin changes, fluid retention, bloating, cravings and migraines. As a society we look at these as being normal parts of a woman’s cycle.

 

I would love for every woman to unlearn that right now. Right now.

 

 
Continue reading

A Nourishing Lifestyle

Let’s talk about lifestyle factors that influence the quality of your blood. That is, the nutritive substance that washes through all of your cells and organs. That creates and builds you. That allows you to think clearly, and move easily. All of those nutrients from the food we eat. All of the goodness.

 

And whilst these tips might seem small, and perhaps almost insignificant to you, don’t underestimate them – getting the basics back on track does wonders beyond words.

 

Continue reading

Nourishing Blood: How and Why

Some of us are more blood depleted than others, but the reality is, in today’s fast-pased world of multi-tasking and go-go-go, we could all do with a little blood nourishing.

 

This is particularly important for those who experience the signs and symptoms associated with Blood Deficiency, because it means their reserves have been depleted to the point that symptoms are starting to show.

 

Don’t be alarmed. This is very common and totally fixable.

IMG_2951

 

Even if the pattern and symptoms don’t sound like you, and your blood is strong enough to prevent symptoms from manifesting, all of us fall on this (beautifully drawn) spectrum someplace, so it’s definitely still worth building and replenishing for full and vibrant health.

 

I can say without reservation that in the past ten years of practice and observation, almost every woman I’ve met through my clinic is on the spectrum of blood deficiency. It’s part of our physiological make up. I would say around half of the fellas also, so it’s definitely worth looking into.

 

 

What depletes blood?

 

Sleeping late, concentrating hard, exercising intensely, sweating a lot, burning that infamous candle at both ends and being exposed to stress all tax our blood and leave us a little Blood Deficient, so you can see why it’s so common.

 

 

The term ‘Blood Deficiency’ sounds confusing.

 

It sounds like some people literally don’t have enough blood.

Actually, it’s the quality of the blood that’s deficient, rather than the actual volume.

 

It’s entirely possible (and very common) to get the tick of approval for a clean bill of health from a GP with a complete and comprehensive blood tests indicating that all is spot-on, and still be considered Blood Deficient from a Chinese Medicine perspective.

 

Whist a Blood Deficiency won’t send you to a hospital, it is the kind of thing that remains underlying, and can stand between you and fabulous health.

 

Blood Deficiency can make you feel

 

-          dizzy and lightheaded (on standing or in general)

-          weak and exhausted

-          have a strong desire for rest and sleep

-          blurry, poor vision, ‘floaters’ in the visual field

-          muscle cramping or muscle tightness, needing to stretch hip flexors constantly

-          dry skin, hair and poor nail strength

-          difficulty concentrating and poor memory

-          clinical signs of low iron or low blood pressure

-          pale complexion

-          in women: light periods, long cycles and amenorrhoea (no period) are common

 

Sound like you? If so, it’s definitely time to rebuild.

 

How?

 

Diet.

These are Chinese Medicine’s very best blood nourishers. Focus on these lovelies for amazing quality blood.

photo-          Eggs

-          Quinoa

-          Almond milk (make your own)

-          Red meat and marrow

-          Beetroot

-          Avocados

-          Sunflower and pumpkin seeds

-          Black sesame seeds & black tahini

-          Spirulina

-          Mushrooms

-          Leafy greens: silverbeet, spinach, parsley

(pictured here all proudly from my garden)

-          Almonds

 

 

This is your basic blood building tool kit.

 

Take a picture of the screen and pull it out when you next go shopping.

 

If you’re okay with gluten, add oats.

If you have no issues with bloating, add dates and prunes.

 

Get creative with recipe ideas. Think:

-          Quinoa with mushrooms

-          Leafy green salads with roasted beetroot and a sprinkle of seeds

-          Scrambled or poached eggs with parsley, spinach and avocado

-          Quinoa porridge with almond milk, nuts and seeds, black tahini

-          Slow cooked lamb shank and spinach soup

-          Brilliant little taco mix or rice paper rolls chock full of all these goodies

 

A few essential distinctions:

 

Beetroot

Doesn’t appear to have the same blood building qualities when juiced. Eat the whole beetroot for a more nourishing effect. Roasted beetroot is easy and deliciously blood building.

 

Red meat

Does not mean a steak the size of your head. No sir. Think smaller, easily digestible portions, like 2-3 little cutlets accompanied by a plate full of vege.

Since the marrow from animal bones is beneficial too, add bones like lamb shanks to your soups to enhance blood building properties.

 

Leafy greens

If possible, buy organic or grow your own. These always make the EWG’s list of fruits and vege most highly sprayed with pesticides. They’re also incredibly easy and fun to grow – you don’t need a big garden and all the time in the world, just a few pots, soil, seeds, and a sticky note of the fridge to remind you to water them!

 

A note about fresh produce:

Understand that produce from the supermarket is not the same as local produce from a farmers market. I encourage you to look into finding your local market and enjoy getting to know and support your local growers.

 

Finally, there is one blood nourisher missing.

IMG_2415

 

 

It’s a Chinese Herb.

It’s pretty popular these days.

It’s the colour of full and vibrant blood.

It is, of course, the Go Ji berry.

To build the blood you can eat goji berries as they are, add to your trail mix for your desk at work, or pop a few into your herbal tea or any kind of soup.

 

I’ll be back next week with thoughts about how to replicate the Lifestyles of the Blood Rich

 

 

Tell me this, How are Your Deep Reserves?

This is important. It’s current, necessary, and inspired by the conversations I often have in my clinic around cultivating wellness.

 

eds_water clinic pics 022

 

At the core of long-lasting, full and vibrant, fabulous health is a balance between what we create and what we use.

 

We feel amazing, abundant and strong when we’re producing a greater amounts of blood, energy, oxygen and nutrients then we are using. There’s a net gain. We’re in surplus and it feels good! We are saving for a rainy day. We are flooding all our organs and tissues with full and brilliant, nutritious fluids. We are passionately building our stores and deeply nourishing our body.

 

We do this because it feels good, but also because it allows us to build a reserve that we can access in times of need.

 

Prehistorically, it is this reserve that would have allowed us to run away from the tiger. Throughout history it has been relied upon in times of conflict, famine and trauma.

 

Nowadays we draw from this stockpile to repair us when we are unwell, and as we age. Women naturally draw from this reserve when we are pregnant, when we breastfeed, and, to a lesser extent, when we have our periods. Our reserve also strengthens us and provides a necessary buffer for when life throws us a curve ball and big life changes come our way.

 

It’s important that we hold onto this deep reserve. This self nourishment.

 

But are we?

 

As a society it seems that we are relying more and more on these reserves just to get through the day. Extreme overwork and constant stress are asking us to dig deeply on the regular. We’re pushing hard, and we’re praised for doing so.

 

The warning lights are there, in fact, they’re often all over the place. But we’re busy. We ignore them, and push through.

 

At this point, we’re running at a deficit, using more energy then we’re creating, depleting our blood, and depleting our bodies.

 

We are left with no buffer.

 

Call it burnout, adrenal fatigue, adrenal exhaustion or chronic fatigue. Call it hard to get out of bed in the morning, foggy head, susceptibility to coughs and colds or a chest infection that just never completely resolves. Call it a reliance on coffee to feel alive or finally taking that holiday only to find your body collapses in a heap the moment you arrive. Call it constant, sub-par health, and just not feeling ‘amazing’. All are such common patterns that I’ve seen hundreds of times in my clinic. Ten years ago I experienced it myself.

 

It’s definitely not a fun place to be.

 

Now for the amazing part. It’s all up to us.

 

This is totally and completely in our own two fabulous hands.

 

We control where our energy goes.

 

We can create and add to the stock pile through:

-          Good food and nutrition

-          Early nights (10pm)

-          Deep breathing

-          Moderate exercise

-          Rest

 

We can avoid depleting our stockpile by becoming aware of and actively managing:

-          Over thinking and excessive worry (ie: using our brains too much)

-          Poor diet

-          Late nights

-          Overwork

-          Overexercise

-          Breathing inefficiently

-          Stress

-          Excessive fluid loss: heavy bleeding, heavy sweating

 

We can learn to relax, build in downtime, and give our body a real chance to be as brilliant as it’s designed to be.

 

We can choose to listen to our bodies.

 

So simple, but so vital. We can observe the warning lights.

 

Find the unique blend of lifestyle and dietary factors that allow you to cultivate your own fabulous health.

 

Read the things that well educated professionals have to say, but don’t value that information over what your body is telling you. What you choose to do or not do for your body is important, be careful who you outsource this to. This is definitely not the job for glam mags.

 

No one knows your body like you do.

 

Sometimes it will want to say no to dinner dates. Sometimes it will want to move. Because of our busy lifestyles chances are it will often crave rest and downtime, peace and quiet, time for creativity, development and learning new things.

 

When feelings of guilt come, greet them like an old friend, and gently remind yourself of your commitment to become whole, full and vibrant in health and wellbeing, because when you do that, you serve the world up some of your finest work.

Chinese Medicine Myth Busting

Today I am Chinese Medicine Myth Busting.

Here’s my Top Six Fave Questions and Misconceptions about what I do for a job.

 

IMG_2368

1. Acupuncture Hurts

When people think about acupuncture they associate it with the needles used for taking blood or getting injections.

 

But, they’re tiny – literally the same thickness as a strand of human hair.

 

The typical response from a first experience of acupuncture: ‘Oh, is that all?’ or ‘Is the needle already in?’ followed closely by ’that didn’t hurt at all!’

Most people don’t believe it can be so painless until they try it for themselves.

Acupuncture doesn’t feel anything like that you expect it to. You may feel a little tingling, heaviness, or a dull awareness around the area.

Nothing scary at all.

 

 

2. Chinese Herbs are crazy things like bear’s gallbladder

It’s true that in times gone by there have been some pretty interesting ingredients used in Chinese Medicine. Not so today though. In fact, you’re probably already familiar with the most commonly used Chinese herbs – think ginger, cinnamon, peppermint, goji berries and licorice root.

IMG_1484So, thankfully, bears keep their gallbladders and your herbs contain roots and barks.

 

There’s also an Endangered Species Certification Scheme in Australia to educate people in the industry about the legal requirements associated with international wildlife trade.

 

If you already see or are planning to see a Chinese herbalist, feel free to ask what’s in your mix – it’s really interesting!

 

 

 

 

3. Chinese Medicine is unregulated and dodgy

Chinese Medicine is nationally regulated in Australia by the same governing body that oversees GPs, chiros, physios, psychologists and other medical professions. And it’s actually pretty hard to study Chinese Medicine. In fact, it takes around 5 years of full-time study to receive a qualification.

You can search for a nationally registered practitioner in your area at www.acupuncture.org.au.

 

4. You have to be Chinese to practice Chinese Medicine

This is, thankfully, also not true. Especially for me – since my last name is O’Brien, I’m 5’8” and have very pale skin!

I’ve actually found that learning Chinese Medicine through a Western lens of perspective has been amazingly helpful.

 

5. Chinese Medicine is for bad backs and shoulder pain

Chinese Medicine is great for bad backs and shoulder pain, but equally as fabulous for more internal and chronic diseases and symptoms.

As the primary health care system in China for thousands of years, Chinese Medicine has treatment strategies for conditions like insomnia, anxiety, period pain, fertility, digestive symptoms, fatigue, respiratory and skin conditions, poor circulation, migraines, dizziness, headaches, you name it. If you’re unsure, call or email a practitioner to ask.

 

6. There is no research to back up Chinese Medicine

Throughout Asia, Europe, America and here in Australia more and more research is being conducted into the efficacy of Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture. You’ll find a heap more links and research covering a broad range of common conditions and symptoms on my resources page.

 

Fabulous Health has a Home

Nestled into the third floor of a West Perth office building a cosy little treasure of a healing space is taking shape. It is a space to slow down, to breathe, to open, to learn and to heal. It is my own little practice – Fabulous Health.

 

Fabulous Health is where Chinese herbal medicine and blissful acupuncture treatments are combined with diet and lifestyle advice to facilitate deep and full body healing.

 

It is dedicated to every person on the path to fuller and more vibrant health. To those who choose to nourish and nurture, to replenish and strengthen.

 

After many months of dreaming big, searching, planning, painting and constructing, the foundations of Fabulous Health have been laid.

 

The space has gently transformed. A cosy, warm and inviting space is emerging.

 

I look forward to sharing my knowledge of vibrant, clear and complete health in this space – a space that has been designed specifically with you in mind.

 

Beautiful growth and change have already taken place within these walls in recent weeks and it is with great delight, pride and gratitude that I introduce Perth’s new home of Chinese Medicine and Fabulous Health.

X