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Traditional Chinese Medical theory is based in part on ancient Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian philosophies, living in harmony with nature and being aware of how the change in seasons impacts on our health and wellbeing is a central principle of Taoist thinking. The ancient Taoists developed a subtle and profound system of thinking that looked at how our body reacted to changes in the seasons. The Wu Xing or Five Elements or Phases represents the dynamic change in the seasons throughout the year and the ancient Taoists related this to our physiology and how our vital energy or Qi transforms throughout the year.

Our ability to adapt to the seasons is important to maintain health and wellbeing throughout the year. In Chinese Medicine the emphasis is on health preservation and developing body awareness, through techniques such as yoga or Tai Qi and being mindful of what we eat and nourishing ourselves with adequate rest. By developing mindfulness and body awareness we are able to identify any problems that may arise early and deal with them before they develop into something more serious or chronic.The change in seasons is incredibly important and can impact on our health and wellbeing.  Spring is related to the Wood element in the Five Elements system of thinking, spring is a time of growth and a flexible outward flourishing of energy.  In terms of physiology the Wood element is related to our Liver and Gallbladder, which in Chinese terms is responsible for the smooth flow of Qi in our body. When Qi flows smoothly our body’s function well and our emotions are balanced and our physical body as well as our mind is flexible. As the spring energy comes into fruition the Wood element dominates and if our Liver is poorly regulated, from either poor nutrition, lack of exercise or unresolved emotional issues manifesting as frustration, our Qi can become easily stuck.

Stagnation of Qi can manifest in pain particularly along the pathway of the Gallbladder meridians which traverses the neck and shoulders, and chronic habitual neck and shoulder pain is often a sign of Qi stagnation.  Stagnation of Qi can also manifest as IBS type symptoms with abdominal bloating and pain and alternating constipation and diarrhea and in woman stagnation of Qi can manifest as period pain with PMT symptoms.

The Liver is also responsible for the smooth flow of our defensive qi which protects us from catching colds and flus. If our Qi is stagnant then our defensive qi can become easily ‘stuck’ and not perform its function properly. Our Qi responds to changes in the weather and our environment and with the incredibly changeable weather in Spring, particularly this year, our defensive qi becomes confused.  Seasonal hay fever can be aggravated if our defensive qi is poorly regulated.

Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine can help many of the problems associated with stagnation of Qi, each of us is unique and as a result acupuncture treatments and herbal prescriptions are individualised. The ancient Taoist’s would treat themselves with acupuncture and herbs when the seasons were changing to prepare themselves and to be in optimal health for the coming season.

How healthy is your wood element?

Are you physically flexible?

Can you bend and flex when circumstances don’t go according to your plan?  Or do you get frustrated and angry?

Are you nourished?

Do you restore yourself after exertion or do you have a residual tiredness?

Is your sleep refreshing or do you wake tired?

How much of your time are you frustrated and angry?

Do you find ways to flow past or grow through meeting obstacles in your life?

SPECIAL OFFER IN MAY

For the whole of May Simon Plant, Breathe London’s Acupuncturist will be offering a £10 discount on your first treatment  (normal price £55), refer a friend and receive another £10 discount.

Simon Plant BSc (Hons) MSc MBAcC MRCHM

Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine

Member of the British Acupuncture Council

Member of the Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine

Breathe London Acupuncture Clinic

acupuncture.breathe@gmail.com

www.breathe-london.com/waterloo-acupuncture

07570091568

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Acupuncture Awareness Week

The first ever Acupuncture Awareness Week launches today Monday 27 February 2012 and will attempt to dispel the many
myths still surrounding acupuncture. Simon Plant, British Acupuncture Council Member will be offering free fifteen minute taster treatments at Breath London at the Colombo Centre and Westminster Gym this week and will be on hand to answer your questions about how acupuncture can help you.

Recent research has revealed that over 21 per cent of the British public think acupuncture needles are as large as the needles used for regular injections. Not true! But it just goes to show that in spite of Chinese medicine’s ever increasing popularity, there are still a whole host of common misconceptions surrounding this ancient form of treatment.

Every year traditional acupuncturists carry out 2.3 million acupuncture treatments and this figure is on the rise. Yet the latest research clearly demonstrates how myths about acupuncture still remain strong. Acupuncture Awareness Week, the first of its kind, aims to banish these myths and provide the public with all the answers they need to feel confident about giving acupuncture a try.

A growing body of evidence-based clinical research shows that traditional acupuncture, as practised by British Acupuncture Council members safely treats a wide range of common health problems including low back pain, [click here to visit BAcC research page],  tension headaches and migraine-type headaches. In fact the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines on best practice now recommend that GPs offer a course of ten sessions of acupuncture as a first-line treatment for persistent, non-specific low back pain.

TV presenter Clare Nasir had had several failed attempts to conceive using IVF alone. She had one last chance, and decided to use acupuncture in conjunction with the IVF to boost her chances of success. She now has a two year old daughter – listen to her story in the video below.

Learn more about Acupuncture by visiting http://www.introducingacupuncture.co.uk/

Learn more about Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine available at Breathe London by visiting http://www.breathe-london.com/waterloo-acupuncture

To book a free fifteen minute taster treatment contact Simon Plant at Breathe London: 07570 091568

 

Simon Plant BSc (Hons) MSc MBAcC MRCHM

Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine

 

Cupping – An Acupuncture Technique

Cupping is an ancient technique used throughout East Asia, the middle east and in many eastern European countries to treat muscular skeletal pain and in traditional cultures it is believed to help treat colds and flu’s. Cupping is one of the techniques commonly used alongside acupuncture. Cupping involves the application of a sterile glass cup to the skin, air inside the cup is heated to create an air tight seal. Cupping is incredibly relaxing and like having a strong massage, massage oils infused with herbs such as mint are applied to the skin and once the cup is on it can be moved up and down the affected area, a technique known as slide cupping.Chinese medical theory developed over centuries, through observation of nature and our interaction with the environment and as such the language used in understanding illness, pain and the cause of disease is very different from modern western medical language. Environmental causes of diseases such as wind, cold, damp and heat are very important in Chinese medical thinking. In traditional Chinese medicine the use of cupping helps to expel cold, move stagnant blood and reduce swelling and inflammation and as a result stop pain. An ancient Chinese medical saying “Where there is pain there is no free flow, where there is no free flow there is pain” sums up neatly the understanding of the causes of pain from a Chinese medical perspective.A recent study1 found that medicinal cupping reduced the level of pain and tender points in patients with Fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a medical condition characterized by pain and pain on pressure. Other symptoms associated with fibromyalgia are fatigue, sleep disturbance, joint pain and stiffness and digestive and bladder problems. The cause of fibromyalgia is unknown and there is no known cure.At the Breathe London Acupuncture Clinic patients come to see me for help with the symptoms associate with Fibromyalgia. Cupping is one of the techniques I often use to help with pain. However I always use the principles of Chinese Medicine to try to understand what is happening to the patient and treat the root cause of the illness rather than treat purely symptomatically. I use a combination of acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and cupping and to treat each patient’s unique experience. Treatments are constantly modified and adapted in response to the patient’s needs.

If you are interested in learning more about how acupuncture, cupping and herbs can help you please contact Simon Plant at Breathe London. Free 15 minute chats are available if you would like to know more.

Simon Plant BSc (Hons) MSc MBAcC MRCHM
Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine
Breathe London Acupuncture Clinic
acupuncture.breathe@gmail.com
www.breathe-london.com/waterloo-acupuncture
07570091568

1 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21701180

Acupuncture may reduce period pain

A recent systematic review1 has found that current evidence supports the use of acupuncture to reduce period pain. The systematic Cochrane review is recognized as one of the most authoritative and valid sources of evidence in healthcare and systematic reviews are recognized as producing the most valid and rigorous results. The systematic review critically reviewed ten clinical trials involving over 900 participants who where treated with acupuncture for period pain. 

The review found that acupuncture and acupressure reduced nausea and back pain associated with period pain and improved quality of life compared to placebo controls and medication. The research is an example of the increasing evidence base being generated through clinical trials to validate the use of traditional acupuncture treatments.

Period pain is one of the most common conditions I treat in the acupuncture clinic at Breathe London and the treatment of period pain and other problems associated with the menstrual cycle are well documented in classical Chinese medical texts.  I also combine acupuncture and herbal medicine for the treatment of period pain and from my personal experience find that the combination of the two is more effective than acupuncture on its own.  The aims of the treatments are not to provide short-term pain relief but to provide long lasting changes so that even when treatments have finished period pain is significantly reduced.

Each person’s experience of pain is different and treating period pain with traditional acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine is no different from treating other conditions with acupuncture. Although there a classical acupuncture points for treating pain, an individual diagnosis and treatment is essential for long lasting and effective results.

An In depth initial consultation is important during which a traditional diagnosis is formulated and the treatment is tailored to each patient and involves close monitoring of the menstrual cycle. The points used will also change throughout the menstrual cycle. Acupuncture may also be combined with moxibustion which involves the gentle warming of acupuncture points with the herb Artemisia vulgaris. Dietary and exercise advice are also given and a short course of herbs may be recommended.  After acupuncture treatment for period pain many of my patients report other beneficial experiences including the relief of the symptoms of premenstrual tensions (PMT) including improvement in digestion and bloating, and also mood.

If you are interested in learning more about how acupuncture and herbs can help you please contact Simon Plant at Breathe London. Free 15 minute chats are available if you would like to know more.

Simon Plant BSc (Hons) MSc MBAcC MRCHM
Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine
Breathe London Acupuncture Clinic
acupuncture.breathe@gmail.com
www.breathe-london.com/waterloo-acupuncture
07570091568

1 Acupuncture for primary dysmenorrhoea. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Jan 19;1:CD007854.

Acupuncture can help with Nausea

A recent Swedish pilot study (1) has found that acupuncture can help with nausea and vomiting associated with radiotherapy. Although an essential part of treatment for cancerous tumors radiotherapy has unwelcome side effects including nausea during and after treatment.
During the study acupuncture sessions of thirty minutes duration was used two to three times a week during the course of radiotherapy treatment. Results indicated that the acupuncture treatment reduced the feelings of nausea and incidents of vomiting. In addition patients reported a reduction in pain, increased relaxation and improved sleep.The acupuncture point neiguan on the pericardium meridian was used. Neiguan is a point commonly used to treat nausea not just as a result of radiotherapy but also nausea due to morning sickness and also anxiety. The use of neiguan to treat nausea was recorded in early Chinese medical texts and its use continues to this day. Neiguan is located on the inner aspect of the wrist and is the acupuncture point stimulated by the sea sickness bands that can be bought in pharmacies. Neiguan treats nausea because the acupuncture point is on the pericardium meridian which connects with the stomach.

Although the results of the pilot study were positive one of the negatives was that patients were treated with only one acupuncture point and following a set treatment protocol. The strength of traditional acupuncture, which is often poorly reflected because of the nature of clinical trials, is that treatments are individualized based on a upon each individuals experience of health and their own body awareness. Using dialogue with the patient and also by examining the tongue, feeling the pulse and palpating the abdomen a unique diagnosis and prescription of points is used.

In the acupuncture clinic at Breathe London I often use neiguan when treating patients for nausea but only in combination with other points and always based upon my traditional diagnosis. I also teach patients simple acupressure techniques to help them with their nausea and also offer dietary advice. The acupuncture sensation is totally unlike having an injection although you may feel a numbness or tingling sensation and only fine sterile needles are used.

If you are interested in learning more about how acupuncture can help you please contact Simon Plant at Breathe London. Free 15 minute chats are available if you would like to know more.

Simon Plant BSc (Hons) MSc MBAcC MRCHM
Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine
Breathe London Acupuncture Clinic
acupuncture.breathe@gmail.com
www.breathe-london.com/waterloo-acupuncture
07570091568

1 Pilot testing of methods for evaluation of acupuncture for emesis during radiotherapy: a randomised single subject experimental design. Acupunct Med. 2011 Apr 3

Reiki taster evening, 25 July

Have you heard of Reiki but never quite knew what it was?

Have you heard of Reiki but didn’t believe it could work for you?

Or maybe you’ve never heard of Reiki…..

 

Monday 25th July, 7.30pm – 9pm

Breathe London Wellbeing Centre at the Colombo Centre – Map

 

Whatever your experience with this complementary therapy, come along for a relaxing, informal evening which will include:

 

Short history of Reiki

How Reiki works and the benefits of Reiki

A chance to ask any questions

An experience of Reiki

 

And maybe you will be the lucky one who wins a FREE treatment! A lucky dip will be held on the night.

 

Your investment: £10 (or £15 on the night)

Please contact Emily Wilson to reserve your place or to find out how to make payment: 07979 591716

info@emilywilsontherapies.co.uk

www.emilywilsontherapies.co.uk

Treating Insomnia

 

Treating Insomnia 

Wellbeing is often defined as more than just an absence of illness, and the ways in which we react to stress is often an indicator that although we are not ill we are not necessarily balanced. Insomnia is one of the main indicators of stress affecting our lives in a negative way and I often treat patients in the acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine clinic at Breathe-London for insomnia. In fact many patients come for acupuncture or herbs for different reasons but often come with chronic insomnia and have just accepted this as a normal way of being.

In the ancient Chinese way of thinking about health and wellbeing a poor sleep pattern or poor quality sleep is an indicator of an underlying imbalance in our Qi.  At night our defensive Qi circulates throughout the interior of our body nourishing and warming our internal organs, if this circulation is disrupted then over time other health problems can arise.

There is a long history of treating insomnia with acupuncture and Chinese medicine in fact there is an acupuncture point called Anmian that translates as peaceful sleep and is one of the main points to treat insomnia. If insomnia is due to a background of anxiety herbs such as licorice and angelica root, goji berries, and Schisandra fruit are used to calm the spirit.  A full case history is taken during the first consultation and patients are treated with a unique combination of acupuncture points and a bespoke formula of herbs is created to treat the insomnia and also to address any underlying imbalances that may be causing the insomnia.

In London noise and light pollution are common causes of sleeplessness and we also can get into negative patterns of behavior with our sleep including drinking too much caffeine during the day and not having enough down time to quiet the mind after a hectic day. Teaching sleep hygiene and developing positive new patterns of behavior is an important part of the treatment process.

If you would like to learn more about acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine Visit www.breathe-london.com/waterloo-acupuncture

Simon Plant May 2011

Simon Plant BSc (Hons) MSc MBAcC

www.acumoxatherapy.com

Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine

Breathe London Well Being Centre

Graeme Weatherston / FreeDigitalPhotos.net http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=330

Note: Do not take any herbal medicines without consulting a qualified herbal medicine practitioner.

CBT – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

What is CBT?

CBTlooks at how our thoughts affect our feelings and subsequently our behaviour. Our thoughts have an extremely powerful effect on how we feel. If we approach a siltation with a positive mindset we are more likely to succeed than if we concentrate on the negative and everything that could go wrong.

As we grow and develop, our external influences model the way we feel and approach situations. We continue approaching life with the same mindset but often desire a different outcome. It is only when you start to challenge these entrenched thought patterns that you can change the way you feel about a situation.

Look at The Wright Brothers. Everyone thought that flight was impossible; the external influence upon their thinking was that it couldn’t be done. The Wright Brothers challenged this and saw a different way; it was only through changing their mindset and focusing on the positive that they were able to challenge the laws of physics.

Henry Ford said it perfectly: “Whether you think that you can, or that you can’t, you are usually right.”

As did Albert Einstein: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

The thoughts that go through our minds on a regular basis, the ones that are second nature, contribute to how we feel about ourselves and situations. CBT works by understanding these thought patterns and breaking through them to challenge them and give you a different approach, allowing you to develop techniques to have a more positive and constructive way of thinking that dramatically improves your self-esteem and confidence.

 

Nutrition Myths Explored #1: Eggs

I am often asked questions by both clients and friends regarding the validity of nutritional information picked up through the media, here say etc. Although nutritional advice is abundant, sadly so are the myths and this can lead to confusion. The most recently discussed issue has been that of eggs and the question posed by a friend was this: ‘ Aren’t eggs bad for you?’  Here I hope to provide an explanation…..

Eggs are an excellent source of Vitamin K and a very good source of all the B Vitamins, including biotin, thiamine and Vitamin B12. One egg contains around 78 calories, 6.3g of protein and 1.6g of saturated fat. Some eggs now contain omega-3 fatty acids (depends on what the chickens have been fed). Eggs are regarded a ‘complete’ source of protein as they contain all 8 essential amino acids (the ones we cannot synthesise in our bodies and must obtain from our diet).

For years eggs have been considered more of a health risk than a healthy food. They were tarred with the ‘high cholesterol’ brush. But it turns out the cholesterol content for which they have been vilified is much lower than it was 10 years ago – a whole 13% lower according to a US Government survey. This reduction has be attributed to the changes in hen feed since the BSE crisis in the Nineties. British research shows that a medium egg contains about 100mg of cholesterol, a third of the 300mg recommended daily limit. Also it is saturated fat in the diet, not dietary cholesterol that influences blood cholesterol levels the most. In a study published by The Journal of the American Medical Association it was shown that people who reported eating four eggs per week had a significantly lower mean serum cholesterol concentration that those who reported eating one egg per week.

Not only that but eggs contain more Vitamin D than they did ten years ago, which helps to protect bones, preventing osteoporosis and rickets. And they are filling too. A recent study by Surrey University found that eating one or two eggs for breakfast could help with weight loss as the high protein content makes us feel fuller for longer. Eggs should be included as part of a varied and balanced diet. Opt for the free-range variety and ensure they are cooked thoroughly to minimise risk of Salmonella.

Quick serving idea: For a healthy southwestern-influenced breakfast, add 1-2 diced jalapeño peppers (removed seeds and pith) to 4 scrambled eggs. Divide into two portions and serve each with 1/2 cup black beans and 2 steamed tortillas. Top with a small dollop of low-fat, organic sour cream and 1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander.

For further advice or Nutritional Therapy consultations at Breathe click here 

Madeleine, Charlotte, Erika and Andy offer Life coaching, Positive Psychology Coaching, Personality testing and Hypnotherapy – Breathe Coaching

In the workplace we run corporate wellbeing events, emotional intelligence coaching and stress management – Breathe Psychology at Work

Keith and Andy provide Tai Chi, Yoga and Meditation courses – Breathe Yoga & Tai Chi

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Learn a simple Tai Chi exercise

 

In order to have a relaxed, pain free body and achieve flowing and graceful movement, students of Tai Chi spend time paying attention to their standing posture. Try these visualizations and see if they help you to be more comfortable in your skin.

Stand with your feet hip width apart, your knees soft (not locked back) and feet relaxed, as if melting into the ground. Try to have your feet parallel, toes and kneecaps facing forward. If your normal habit is to stand with the feet and knees pointing outwards, this new position may at first feel a little odd and just means that the muscles in your thighs and buttocks are over tight. Now allow all of your weight to sink downwards through the strong bones of your legs and feet into the ground. Scan your body for places where you holding on and let the tension in these places sink into the ground through your legs too. Allow the muscles of the legs and thighs to go as soft as possible, let the bones do the work and know that the Earth can take it all.

Next, imagine that you are a giant jam sandwich, (you may choose your own flavour) The front piece of bread goes from the hip bones up to the collar bones. The slice at the back goes from the top of the shoulder blades down to the top of the buttocks (or just where a t-shirt would end). As you breathe in, imagine the front slice sliding up and the back slice sliding down. Finally, allow the head to float upwards like helium filled balloon tied by a light thread to your heart.

If you make it your habit to stand like this you will gradually start to notice that your posture improves, that you have more energy and your muscles and joints move more freely.

To read more about Tai Chi and Yoga go to Breathe Yoga, Tai Chi and Stress Management

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