The Herbal Health Coach Health & Wellness Magazine - Winter 2021 Issue
> Feature: Acupuncture for Post-Operative Recovery
> Feature: Stress – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
> Article: The Winter Season from a Chinese Medicine Perspective
> Health Tip: What To Do if You Do ‘Catch a Cold’ or Get the Flu
Did You Know?
> Interesting and fun facts…
With life returning slowly back to ‘normal’, we are increasing our clinic hours again to include afternoon appointments.
If you need our assistance with a health issue, please ring our clinic on 4573 0784
We are open on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, but strictly by appointment only.
Online Yoga Classes:
⇒ Face-to-Face Yoga is Back again on Saturday Morning.
Please call Susan on 4573 0784 to book your place. Please remember that class size is limited so be quick or you may miss out.
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Acupuncture for Post-Operative Recovery
By Dr Danny T. Siegenthaler (Chinese Medicine Practitioner – MSc. (TCM), BSc. (Hons.), DTCM; DAc. (Aust/China)
What happens to your body during an operation?
Almost all operations involve cutting through the skin, fat, facia and muscle tissue to reach underlying structures on which the operation is going to take place, be this for the purpose of spinal fusion, a by-pass operations, abdominal surgery or other operations.
Operations traumatise the body in many ways. On a purely structural level of the physical cutting through the tissues such as the skin, etc. there are other structures the surgeons cut through, in particular, they nearly always cut through the Acupuncture Channels/Meridians that criss-cross the body.
The latest research would suggest that meridians (as used in Acupuncture, and Chinese medicine) follow the body’s facia from the surface of the body, just beneath the skin, to deep inside the body and its organs, thereby connecting the Acupuncture points on the surface to the organs deep inside the body.
Standard post-operative care
Once an operation has been successfully completed, the patient undergoes post-operative care (a full description can be found here: spineuniverse.com/treatments/surgery/what-post-operative-care). Essentially, this process involves observing and stabilising the patient, addressing any post-operative complications, pain, nausea, etc. Post-operative care may extend beyond the hospital and may involve some form of physical therapy following the operation. Beyond this, there is little in terms of post-operative care.
However, no concern is given to the connection between the Acupuncture points and the organs. The channels are not visible, or if they are visible we are not as yet aware of what they look like, and as a result they are not considered either during an operation or in post-operative care.
How does this translate to Chinese Medicine?
In traditional Chinese medicine theory, the Acupuncture channels/meridians are the means by which energy moves through the body. Cut these lines and energy will become blocked.
When undergoing an operation, tissue that is cut, stretched, pulled, etc. is traumatised. This trauma causes blood to stagnate and may take the form of a bruise. Under normal circumstances, a superficial bruise (one that can be seen on or just below the skin) tends to resolve itself over time, because the superficial layers of the body are highly vascularised. That means there is high level of blood vessels in any given area, which help to remove ‘dead blood’ from the tissues. However, in deeper regions of the body the blood vessels are not as densely distributed as near the skin and bruises can become cyst-like.
In addition, scar tissue forms where cuts through tissue have been made and this is different tissue to that which was formerly there. In other words, the tissue that forms into a scar is different to that nearby. As this frequently involves facia (through which Acupuncture channels are thought to pass), the Acupuncture channel is ‘cut’ and does not allow energy (Qi) to move through it. This usually results in pain, which does not readily respond to orthodox treatment.
How can Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine help
In Chinese medicine this is what we call stagnation of Qi and Blood (Xue) in the channels and/or collaterals. When these substances become obstructed, pain results.
The concept of Xue in Chinese medicine involves more than just the substance we as westerners know as Blood, it also involves other fluids and is acted upon and energised by Qi (energy). Xue and Qi are mutually interdependent.
So, following an operation, bruising, swelling and formation of scar tissue all contribute to the interruption of the flow of Qi and Xue. Over time, this usually resolves, however, using Acupuncture can speed up this process and promote faster healing. In addition, using Acupuncture to re-establish the energy flow through the tissues that were cut, reduces and usually eliminates the pain resulting from operations and post-operative scaring is also reduced.
In addition to Acupuncture, Chinese herbal therapy can also be a very effective way to manage and treat post-operative pain, swelling, inflammation, scaring and other problems such as nausea, dizziness, loss of appetite, etc.
Using Acupuncture as soon as possible following an operation will improve the rate of recovery and reduce many of the effects often associated with post-operative recovery.
Raji B, et al. (2007) Acupuncture for post-operative pain after inguinal hernia repair: a placebo controlled, double-blinded clinical trial. Tehran University Medical Journal V65, N9, http://tumj.tums.ac.ir/article-1-728-en.html
Wu M-S, Chen K-H, Chen I-F, Huang SK, Tzeng P-C, Yeh M-L, et al. (2016) The Efficacy of Acupuncture in Post-Operative Pain Management: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. PLoS ONE 11(3): e0150367. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0150367
Stress: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
by Danny & Susan L. Siegenthaler
Stress Impacts Your Health
Stress can cause just about every disease known to man and yet it is a little understood concept. This article attempts to shed some light into the effects of stress and how you can minimise its effect.
Health Impacts of Stress
For example, some of you might find driving stressful, some of you enjoy driving. However, this does not mean that driving is not stressful, at least for some of you. So what is Stress?
Types of Stress – Good & Bad
Stress is any situation or circumstance, which if on going over an extended period of time will cause your body’s physiology to change. Basically there are two forms of stress “good stress” and “bad stress” – an example of good stress is sensible exercise, which is a stress on you body’s physiology which will improve your overall health.
Bad stress on the other hand is an activity that will do the reverse – for example: worrying about money, or rather the lack of it… That can keep you awake at night, create anger, resentment and usually negatively impacts your relationships with your family and friends. It can also be working a job you hate, but for reasons, known only to yourself, you cannot leave the job and feel you have to put up with it.
As a student of traditional Chinese medicine, during my course on Differential diagnosis, stress was listed as a cause for just about every disease known to man; and this right across the spectrum of medicine (orthodox and traditional forms). Think about this for a second – stress has the potential to cause, or contribute to causing almost every disease known to medical science…. That’s amazing!
There are lots of books and other information on how to help recognise and manage stress in your life, and I won’t go into a lengthy
how to manage and recognise stress session here.
This article focuses on how stress will show up and affect your skin – especially your facial skin.
Someone once said that your parents are responsible for how you look until your 30 – after that it’s your responsibility… So are you smiling or frowning more often during the day…? Both produce different lines on your face – don’t believe me – look in the mirror and smile, then frown – see. Which do you like better?
Frowning causes your neck and facial muscles to tense up and this in turn reduces blood flow to the skin, which is in part responsible for
causing facial lines and wrinkles prematurely.
Did you know that smiling requires a lot less effort and energy than frowning? And that it’s better for you? Did you know that smiling can
actually make you feel happier?
Scientists and psychologists have found that the muscles around our mouth and jaw that allow you to smile actually stimulate a specific part of our brain, which is linked to our emotions. When these brain cells are stimulated, they make us feel happy. So, even if you feel sad, irritated, angry or frustrated, just by smiling, it will make you feel better. Aside from this physical benefit of smiling, a smile to others often makes them feel happier.
Picture this. If someone greets you every morning with a sullen and sulky face, it does not help you to feel any better, in fact, it will also dampen your mood. If you are met, however, with a cheerful smile and a friendly greeting, you easily catch the happy mood and you start the day with enthusiasm. This simple yet very effective technique of motivating others is an underestimated skill.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could train ourselves to smile instead of frown? To have a ‘permanent smile’ on our faces? We’d end up with happy lines on our faces and lots of other faces smiling back at us – good idea?
Here’s a very simple way that you can start changing the lines on your face and reduce the effect of stress on you body without buying anything, reading any books or spend any money.
One way you can have this ‘training’ start right now is by asking someone you live with or a trusted friend to make an agreement with you – each of you agrees that when the other one is seen to be frowning, they get charged a frowning fee – say $0.50 and this is put into a jar. At the end of a month, you both get to go out and do something which will bring you joy or make you happy. That’s got to be worth trying, No?
The Winter Season from a Chinese Medicine Perspective
By Dr Danny T. Siegenthaler (Chinese Medicine Practitioner – MSc. (TCM), BSc. (Hons.), DTCM; DAc. (Aust/China)
Winter time is the most Yin of Yin time compared with Summer which is the Yang of Yang. The nature of Yin is cold, quiet, inward looking and nurturing. It is a time of rest, conservation of energy and stillness; just as nature is dormant and has short days and long nights.
The season of Winter is associated with the Element of Water (see diagram opposite); its organs are the Kidneys (Yin) and the Urinary Bladder (Yang).
The classic texts of Chinese Medicine urge us to follow the cycle of the seasons in order to stay healthy. The Huang Di Nei Jing (“The Inner Classic of the Yellow Emperor”), contains some of the oldest teachings about winter and its relationship to the Kidneys:
“During the Winter months all things in nature wither, hide, return home, and enter a resting period, just as lakes and rives freeze and snow falls. This is a time when yin dominates yang. Therefore one should refrain from overusing the yang energy. Retire early and get up with the sunrise, which is later in Winter. Desires and mental activity should be kept quiet and subdued, as if keeping a happy secret. Stay warm, avoid the cold, and keep the skin covered. Avoid sweating. The theory of the Winter season is one of conservation and storage. Without such practice the result will be injury to the Kidney energy. This will cause weakness, shrinking of muscles, and coldness; then the body loses its ability to open and move about in the Spring.”
The Kidneys hold our body’s most basic and fundamental energy. Chinese medicine asserts that by harmonising oneself with the seasons you can stay healthier and prevent disease, so Winter is a good time to strengthen the kidneys. Rest is important for revitalising the kidneys, which is why some animals hibernate in Winter.
Eating seasonally is another aspect of how to strengthen and nourish your Water element (Kidneys and Bladder). By choosing root vegetables, and other vegetables that are ripe for harvesting in Winter, we are nourishing our Kidneys (Water element).
An example of some healthy winter vegetable are listed below:
✓ Mustard greens
✓ Sweet potatoes
✓ White radish
✓ Ginger, etc.
Winter is about storing up potential and using our resources (qi, money, abilities, gifts) wisely (discernment, boundaries). The classic texts say that to use your qi wisely is to expend it only on activities that align with your heart – who you are and your reason for being – not to fritter it away or waste it with things that don’t connect to YOU.
What to do if you do ‘Catch Cold’ or get the Flu
We’ve written several articles on how to improve your overall health and thus strengthen your immune system. But no matter what you do and no matter how well you look after yourself, there will not doubt come the time when you do get a cold or get the flu.
Here’s what to do:
Kick-A-Germ-Joy-Juice – Our Remedy of Choice
* 1 Clove of Garlic (finely chopped)
* 1/4 tsp. of a Ginger root (finely chopped)
* The juice of 1 or 2 Lemon (depending on how juicy they are)
* A pinch of Cayenne pepper
* 2 Desert spoons of honey (more if you like)
* 1 Nip of Brandy (this is optional, but effective)
Make approximately 0.5 litres of Peppermint or Lemon grass Tea and add the ingredients. Let sit for 10-15 minutes, strain, then enjoy the brew! It really tastes great. [Note: You should also be in bed. And the tea will probably make you sweat. This is good, but be sure you drink plenty of water as well and put on some dry bed clothing when necessary.]
Drink approximately 250mls 3-5 times daily (you can keep what is left from your 1st batch hot in a thermos bottle for use later in the day, but you should make it fresh daily.
If the you or the person your looking after has a fever, you may use the following suggestion. It works! We’ve used it with amazing success on literally hundreds of patients of ALL AGES.
Vinegar Socks – yes, that’s right, Vinegar Socks.
Using natural fiber socks, soak them in white vinegar, wring them out so they do not drip, but no more than that. Put them on the person with the fever, wrap a towel around their feet. Redo this when ever the socks dry out.
You will be amazed how quickly (usually within 12 hours) the fever will go down.
IF THE FEVER STAYS UP CONSULT A HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL, AS THIS COULD INDICATE A MORE SERIOUS REASON FOR THE FEVER ! ! !
* Using Echinacea purpurea fresh plant extract together with Garlic capsules is a great way to fight both viral and bacterial infections. Make sure you buy quality products, don’t go for the cheap stuff – it just does not work anywhere near as well.
* Steam inhalations: using Eucalyptus oil, add 3-5 drops, no more, to a bowl of boiled water, place it on the floor near the bed where the patient is lying. This will help break up a congested chest and help to keep the sinuses clear.
* If you feel up to it, have a shower occasionally to keep the pores of your skin clear and clean – your skin is eliminating toxins and it helps to keep it clean.
* Rubbing Eucalyptus oil directly on the chest and back helps to loosen sticky phlegm. A drop or two on the cushion (in a corner or the underside of the cushion) will also help this process.
* If you have an oil burner, use it to evaporate Eucalyptus, Aniseed & Peppermint oils floated on water. Place it in the sick-room.
* If you are hungry eat – if not don’t. Follow what your body tells you. You’ve probably heard the saying starve a fever and feed a cold – well, there is some truth to this. If you are hungry, eat food that is easily digested, such as soup, fruits, lightly steamed vegetables and the like are a good source of nutrients without overloading your digestive system.
* Get as much sleep as you can – this provides the body with the best chance to fight the bugs.
* Remember – it’s better to take a few days off and fully recover from a cold than sharing your bugs with your colleagues – they won’t thank you and your body will take much longer to recover from the illness.
Being Gentle with Ourselves
So often we are sabotaging ourselves by being in our own way without even knowing we are doing so.
During those times when our lives are filled with what seems to be constant change and growth, it is important to remember that we need to be gentle with ourselves. Since it can be easy to use our energy to keep up with the momentum of our lives, we may not be aware of the fact that we are much more likely to run ourselves down. When things seem to be moving quickly, it is especially essential that we make a point to slow down and be gentle with ourselves.
It might be difficult to notice what is happening to us for we may be so caught up in the whirlwind of our lives that we lose sight of the direction in which things are heading. Being gentle with ourselves doesn’t mean that we don’t accomplish things. Instead it means that we honor ourselves on an ongoing basis and take care of the needs of our bodies.
This means different things to different people. For instance, it couldmean having a session with a healer; taking a remedy, herbs, or vitamins; or getting extra sleep. Putting our energy into ourselves in this way helps create space for a more positive, loving, and accepting view of our lives. By setting the intention to do so, we will be more cognizant of our energy levels on a daily basis and more able to replenish them as needed.
The more we are able to treat our bodies with gentleness, the more tenderness and compassion we will call forth into our lives. Learning to understand and pay attention to what our self needs will in turn allow us to fill our lives with unlimited loving and healing energy and to truly take care of the things that mean the most to us.
Did You Know?
We hope you enjoyed our this Edition of our Wellness Magazine. We are always open to constructive feedback and ideas for future articles. If you have a particular topic you would like us to cover relating to yoga, alternative medicine, meditation, etc., please let us know and we will include it in an up coming Magazine
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Page last updated: 26th June 2020
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