What Do You Mean “I Have Damp Accumulation?” – The Concept of Damp in Chinese Medicine

What Do You Mean “I Have Damp Accumulation?” – The Concept of Damp in Chinese Medicine

Damp is such a descriptive word. What do you think of? Wet? Cold or Heat? Sticky? Heavy? These are all excellent words to describe the nature of how the pathogen Damp, is viewed in Chinese Medicine (a pathogen is a biological agent that causes disease or illness).  Chinese Medicine also considers Cold, Heat, Wind and Dryness, or a combination of these, as pathological factors that cause dysfunction in the human system. Meaning that turbulent or fierce elements outside the body can also cause havoc inside the body. This makes sense in a philosophy that sees ourselves as fundamentally connected to our environment.

In the body, Damp is one of the most problematic pathogens.  Usually it is a result of the digestive organs (the Spleen & Stomach in TCM) functioning clumsily and fluids, instead of hydrating the body or being excreted as waste, start to accumulate in various weakened or sensitive areas. For some people its the lungs and sinus, leading to constant phlegm, coughs or clogged sinuses.  For others its in the digestion as bloating, gas or diarrhoea. Sometimes it manifests in the head as foggy thinking or inability to concentrate. Other times it’s a heavy throbbing headache. There are so many ways that Damp can accumulate and cause problems, but there are things that you can do!

Your digestion needs balance and warmth to function properly, just like the rest of you, so here are some things to avoid. Stay away from icy drinks or too many salads. Try to avoid late night or irregular eating, overeating, processed or pesticide laden foods and particularly dairy and too much sweet, stodgy or rich food.

Do more exercise. Movement increases blood flow, oxygenates the tissue, and removes toxin build up throughout the body. Eat good quality fresh wholefoods, organic if you can. Drink plenty of water. Balance and simplify your life as much as you can and get some treatments to support you!

Call Safflower Chinese Medicine on 59567011, or book online at www.safflowerclinic.com.au.

Injury, Strains and Sprains

Injury, Strains and Sprains

Amongst the most common type of injuries to the body are sinew traumas such as sprains, strains and tears to musculature and surrounding tissues. This may be due to sports injuries but also repetitive tasks such as typing or gardening. A strain or sprain of a ligament or muscle can vary from minor, involving microscopic tears and inflammation, to severe, involving complete tears which can create major instability and pain in the offending area.

Chinese Medicine recognises three distinct stages to a sinew injury: acute, sub-acute and chronic. The acute stage generally lasts from one to seven days and usually involves pain, swelling, redness and inflammation. At this point treatment is about restoring normal circulation of blood, qi (energy flow) and fluids while reducing inflammation, pain and increasing mobility. Non-local acupuncture is very good as it doesn’t directly enter the injury site but can help reduce pain and promote healing. Avoid heat application at this stage.

* A word about using ice on injuries. Chinese Medicine does not usually recommended ice as it may initially reduce pain and inflammation but at a cost. It contracts local blood vessels and tissues by freezing and hardening them, preventing normal circulation and healing. The cold can then settle deeply into the joint creating further stiffness and contraction long term.

Stage 2 usually starts within the first week of an injury and lasts up to three weeks. Most of the inflammation and pain should be gone and stiffness may be present. Applying heat packs, hot compresses or herbal soaks can be very helpful. Massage, acupressure, liniment and more direct acupuncture are good, as are exercises and movement to prevent further stiffening or scar tissue.

Stage 3 or chronic stage is all about continuing to reduce stiffness and promote strength and stability. Warming liniments, heat packs, acupuncture and increasing exercise and stretching are important while being aware of not over-using the area before it’s ready, to prevent reinjury.

Gets some assistance for that pesky injury! Call us on 5956 7011, or book your appointment online today!

Children’s health and well-being with acupuncture & Chinese medicine

Children’s health and well-being with acupuncture & Chinese medicine

Children’s physiology is very different to adults because they are still growing and developing. In Chinese medicine, we consider the digestive system of a child as a very important part for overall wellbeing. Why is that so? Because the post-natal qi (energy force) is formed from air, food and water.

Lets look at allergies first: According to Chinese medicine, we can consider allergies being caused through a deficiency of the defensive energy, a thin layer that surrounds the body and protects it. Through the failing of the protective energy, foreign particles upset the system and develop various symptoms. In Western terms, it’s called immunity. Interestingly the spleen organ is part of the immune system in the western medical context as well.

In Chinese medicine, the spleen is the principal organ system of digestion. In this role it assists the body in energy production by transforming food and water. With the help of air (oxygen) that is inhaled by the lungs, it refines the energy into a yin energy (blood) and a yang energy that has a gaseous structure. This way, the body receives protection power from those two forms of energy.

These explanations are not always easy to comprehend. But by looking on how allergies arise, it makes a lot of sense because by treating the spleen, particularly in children, we can address the allergies, the digestion and the state of energy as well.

Treating the spleen is achieved through assessing the diet, working with the spleen meridian and also involving it’s partner organ, the stomach. With herbal formulas in liquid extract form, particularly popular with children, we correct deficiencies and improve the defensive force.

Because children are mostly unburdened by concepts of life and expectations of society and because their energy system is uncontaminated by toxins such as alcohol and drugs, they respond tremendously well to treatment.

If you feel that your child is not thriving, please contact Safflower Chinese Medicine clinic for an assessment

Summer and the Festive Season

Summer and the Festive Season

Welcome to Summer!  The sun’s out, the days are longer, we can finally get Vitamin D from the sun again! However, whilst it may feel as though we should be relaxing, it’s likely we’re doing everything BUT sitting with our feet up in the garden, or lazing on the beach.

Even us practitioners approach this time of year with bated breath. Year in and year out, we watch ourselves storm out of the depths of winter at a sprint – racing to the end of the year, packing it full of social events, extra work, extra jobs around the house; eating, drinking, indulging. We take on too much, and then collapse into a stupor during those 1-2 weeks off over Christmas/New Year – if we’re the lucky ones to have this time of year off. The end-result is fatigue, overindulgence, and a pre-disposition towards choices that aren’t particularly healthy. Unfortunately, we will pay for it later, usually in winter.

So, this year, the practitioners at Safflower are going to challenge everyone to think about summer differently. Try to forget that Christmas and all associated indulgence is upon us. Ignore the calendar, and the subconscious frenzy we are prone to when pondering the concept of “December 31!”. We would like you to relax, and enjoy yourself.

Summer is three months long. It’s a time of enjoying the fruits (and vegetables) the abundant sun has so kindly given us. It’s a time for reconnecting with others, enjoying nature and the beautiful environment around us. It’s a time of siestas in the heat of the afternoon, and quiet moments at sunrise in the morning.

In Chinese Medicine, summer is related to joy and love, as we recharge in the sun and share the warmth we have with others. We can also use this warmth to bring some light into the lives of those who may be experiencing sadness or loneliness. Giving love and warmth, as the sun gives us, will fill us in a way the sparkling shiraz and mince pies probably won’t.

Happy Summer everyone, and much love and light to you all.

Hay fever Relief with Chinese Medicine

Hay fever Relief with Chinese Medicine

Spring has finally sprung, and for most of us, warm spring weather signals a welcome change to the winter just gone. However, if you are one of the 18% of Australians who suffer from Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis (Hay fever), the increased pollens in the air this time of year might leave you feeling less than enthusiastic.

Allergic rhinitis is due to an overreaction of the immune system to an allergen (often pollen). The allergen binds to immune cells that release irritating compounds, such as histamine. This can result in sneezing, watery eyes, itchy nose, chills, sweating, asthma, and malaise. Hay fever can be incredibly debilitating. Apart from living on antihistamines, many sufferers aren’t aware they can take other steps to improve their symptoms.

  1. Look after your liver: Histamine is the main irritant in the allergic response, and is broken down in the liver. If your liver is overworked, you can have an overabundance of histamine in your system. Thus, when an allergen is present, the reaction is far worse.
  2. Avoid histamine rich foods: Histamine is present in higher concentrations in aged foods. Alcohol, aged cheese, preserves, processed meats, and fermented foods all have high concentrations of histamine. Eating fresh, unprocessed foods will help reduce your histamine load and severity of your symptoms.
  3. Reduce stress: healthy adrenal function can have an anti-inflammatory effect. Prolonged stress and subsequent burnout can stop the adrenal glands from properly protecting our bodies from stress, including allergic reactions.
  4. Heal the gut: an overabundance of certain strains of gut bacteria can increase the amount of histamine in your blood.
  5. Have a series of Acupuncture treatments and take Chinese herbs. Acupuncture for Allergic Rhinitis is an excellent, evidence-based treatment strategy to reduce the symptoms of hay fever. Chinese herbs help in restoring balance to the system to prevent future attacks. Our treatments can help your liver function, your adrenal health and assist your gut, whilst making you feel calm, relaxed and sneeze free.

Enjoy Spring again!

If you want to speak to one of our registered practitioners, please call 03 5956 7011 or book online!

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