Embracing Autumn By Allana Bould Doctor Of Chinese Medicine
Autumn is above all my favourite time of the year. In Autumn the animals and environment all seem to collectively exhale into a more comfortable, cooler level of existence after the extreme temperatures and dryness of a long hot Summer. Some people loathe the darkness and crispness to the air that creeps in indicating the start of the Winter months, but for me it is the season I look forward to for the beautiful colours of the leaves changing and shedding, initiating the whole process of renewal.
The Chinese traditionally refer to Autumn as a time to reassess and reorganise our environment and get rid of any unwanted thoughts and possessions we may be hanging on to unnecessarily. I have always embraced the release and clarity when clearing away the old and welcoming in the new.
Some of you may find this renewal process difficult as we cling to the familiar and rarely welcome in the perceived abandonment and vulnerability required to let change occur. This resistance where we tend to hold onto old thought patterns and possessions that define us in a previously disempowered state can actually be the whispered beginnings of an illness according to Chinese Medicine. Yes, the renewal process can feel painful at times but what would you rather? Working through issues in the present for a stronger healthier future, or a long drawn out uncomfortable descent into old age filled with niggling ailments, resentment and regret?
We all claim to wish for nothing but a smooth ride in life filled with happiness, but in reality, it is always our setbacks and hardships we’ve had to overcome that we identify as being pivotal moments that really shape us.
Many of you may have heard us mention how important the digestive system is in TCM, and of course gut health is the new health movement which has been a welcome development. The Chinese go one step further and teach us that all our emotions are processed through the digestive tract as well as our food. Have you not felt extremely nervous before a big event and had butterflies in your tummy, felt nauseous or gotten the runs? There is a direct link between assimilating thoughts and the function of the digestive system in Chinese Medicine.
The one main physical sign which tells us exactly what is happening within the digestive tract is our bowels movements which some of you may have heard us ask about during Acupuncture treatments. Now most people find that remembering the quality of their bowels movements is extremely low on their daily priority list understandably. I’m not going to get too graphic here but suffice to say a simple awareness of one regular bowel movement per day with a formed stool that isn’t too hard to pass will go a long way to feeling healthier mentally; and to help us to literally let go of any unwanted thoughts and feelings.
Regulating bowel movements is very individual and there is rarely a blanket rule in Chinese Medicine. Eating more cooked fruit & veggies in general and including moderate amounts of aromatic spices, seeds and oils into our diets can regulate our bowels relatively easily. Taking some good quality Magnesium to initiate relaxation may help too if you feel stressed or anxious, in addition to a little extra gentle exercise and movement. Regulating bowel movements in Autumn can also set us up for a healthier Winter, as richer foods consumed in Winter can overload and stagnate the digestive tract even further, leaving us feeling grumpy and lethargic.
Chinese Medicine is about balance, so as well as gently challenging yourself, remember to always support and be kind to yourself. Autumn will give way to Winter which means protecting our bodies against the cold environment and giving ourselves the space to rest.
In light of the ever-changing research and facts about what a healthy lifestyle encompasses, we at Peninsula Acupuncture and Natural Health feel it is our job to explain and interpret some basic timeless concepts the Chinese have offered up to us to help us all feel healthier.
Allana is one of our Acupuncturists and has a special interest in Mental Health. She works on Friday afternoons, Saturdays and Monday afternoons. Please go to her bio to learn more about her professional background and follow the prompts to make a booking with her.
Summer Newsletter 2018
2018 marks our 7th year of our clinic at our Main St location. We now have nine practitioners providing Acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine, Remedial Massage, Myotherapy and Reflexology.
Currently we are noticing an increased number of people looking to kick start their 2018 with these services for pain management from sporting injuries and summer activities as well as a variety of different mood concerns associated with unhealthy patterns formed over the holidays!
This time is the time for recovery from the Christmas/Holiday period and also a time to set health goals for 2018. What are some of your goals?
Chinese Medicine and Depression
Although we are experiencing an increased amount of daylight and warmer temperatures, at our clinic we are seeing more patients suffering mood disorders resulting from returning to work and re-commencing the 9 to 5 daily grind.
The 2016 Acupuncture Evidence Project was an Australian research project which reviewed the published meta-analysis and systematic reviews of 122 conditions. It identified 47 conditions, 8 with strong evidence and 38 with moderate evidence, supporting the use of acupuncture. It found that the condition of Depression showed moderate evidence supporting the effectiveness of Acupuncture. The quality of evidence is rated as moderate or high quality.
Depression in Chinese Medicine is mainly associated with the Liver and the stagnation of the Liver Energy (Qi). The Liver is generally affected by several unhealthy lifestyle practices, including: lack of exercise/outlet of stress release, poor dietary habits including over consumption of fried/fatty foods, as well as an over consumption of alcohol (which many of us may identify with over the New Year period!), emotions including stress and repressed anger or grief. Other organs can be involved in Depression including the Spleen and Heart.
Chinese Medicine treatment focuses on unbinding the Liver Qi using Acupuncture, whilst also assisting with the patients Shen (Individual's Spirit). We place an emphasis on helping patients sleep, relieving stress, stabilising moods and relieving tension. Patients currently using Western Medicine for Depression are still able to have Acupuncture, however caution will be taken prior to prescribing herbal medicine for this condition as it may react with prescribed medications.
Lifestyle changes you can make to help with depression include healthy regular exercise, improving your diet, ensuring enough sleep is achieved nightly and meditation.
January is for GOAL SETTING!
Studies suggest than roughly 70% of people tend to make a New Years resolution while less than a quarter of these will actually stick to the resolution and reach their intended goal! I don't think there is a better time to start something new than right now. Whilst it is good to write down a list of things you'd like to achieve in 2015, it is important however to make sure your list cuts out the generic: I'll lose weight, I'll quit smoking, I'll exercise everyday goal titles.
Lists should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Result-Focused, Timely). I write my list out on a whiteboard and keep it next to my bed to remind me of what I plan to do and when I plan to do it by. Previous entries have been as simple as; Go Fishing 3 times this year, Plan and go on a overseas holiday or do a specific cooking course! Perhaps another good one for me would be to release more regular and timely newsletters! That being said, writing out your list confirms your intention and will keep you honest in achieving your goals.
Take until the end of January, brainstorm what you want in 2018, write it down, and start putting things in place to achieve it!
Yours in Health,
Stephen and the Team @ Peninsula Acupuncture and Natural Medicine
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Spring 2015 Newsletter