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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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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.

Hay Fever? Try Acupuncture.

   Hay fever season is in full swing and many of my patients coming to see me for acupuncture are suffering from really bad hay fever. Most don’t realize that acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can treat the symptoms of hay fever and are pleasantly surprised when their symptoms improve.

In the Chinese way of thinking, which is rooted in the ancient philosophy of yin yang theory, spring is the time of great transition and the decline of cooling nourishing yin and the flourishing of warming, protecting yang.

Yin yang theory is also rooted in the traditional Chinese way of understanding how the body works. The yang qi (or energy) in the body is the body’s ability to protect itself and it is during this flourishing of the yang energy in the spring when symptoms of hay fever manifest.

If the body’s defence is poorly regulated the immune response, trigged by pollen, overreacts and causes the symptoms of blocked and runny nose and sore itchy red eyes. In terms of the Chinese way of thinking the body’s yang qi is too strong and not controlled.

Over 2000 years of history and tradition is now supported by evidence and acupuncture has been proven in clinical trials to relieve the symptoms of hay fever1 while acupuncture combined with Chinese Herbal Medicine is a safe and effective way of treating hay fever2.

Visit www.breathe-london.com/waterloo-acupuncture to learn more.

Simon Plant February 2011

Simon Plant BSc (Hons) MSc MBAcC

www.acumoxatherapy.com

Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine

Breathe London Well Being Centre

1 Xue, C., English, R. et al. (2002) Effect of Acupuncture in the Treatment of Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis: A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial The American Journal of Chinese Medicine. 30 (1)1–11.

2 Brinkhaus, B., Hummelsberger, J. et al. (2004) Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine in the treatment of patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis: a randomized-controlled clinical trial. 59 (9) 953-960.

Photograph by Arvind Balaraman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=1058

Upset stomach? Try acupuncture and herbs.

In the west acupuncture is associated with treating pain but there is a history and tradition of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine being used to treat digestive problems.

In 2009 I was lucky enough to study with Dr. Zhou Gengsheng a specialist in gastrointestinal medicine at the outpatients department of Zhejiang Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital in Hangzhou, China.  Dr. Zhou treated over 40 patients in a morning using a combination of his knowledge of bioscience and Chinese herbal formulas, some of which have been in use for over 2000 years.  He treated disorders ranging from Irritable Bowell Syndrome (IBS), Chron’s disease, ulcerative colitis, h.pylori infection and acid reflux and made a massive difference to the quality of life of his patients.

Traditional knowledge is being increasingly supported by scientific research. Although acupuncture and Chinese medicine is rooted in ancient Chinese philosophy, the action of acupuncture points that have a direct effect on the digestive system can be demonstrated from a western understanding of how the body works.

A study in the Journal of Gastroenterology1 identified that stimulation of the acupuncture point zusanli on the stomach meridian causes muscle contractions that may be beneficial to constipation-predominant IBS sufferers while acupuncture point zhongwan causes muscle relaxation which may help diarrhea-predominant IBS sufferers.  Zhongwan may also inhibit gastric secretion and aid heartburn.

A further study2 investigated the use of Chinese herbal medicine in the treatment of IBS and found that using traditional herbal formulas offers improvement in symptoms for patients with IBS.

If you are interested in trying acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine for the treatment of gastrointestinal problems please visit: www.breath-london.com/waterloo-acupuncture. Learn more about other therapies at Breathe London by visiting: www.breath-london.com

Note: No animal products, minerals or endangered species are used only herbs of botanical origin that are of the highest quality, that contain no adulterants, are tested for heavy metals and contaminants are used.

Caution: Never treat yourself with herbal remedies without the guidance of a practitioner of herbal medicine.

1 Takahashi, T., (2005) Acupuncture for functional gastrointestinal disorders. Journal of Gastroenterology. 41 (5) 408-417.

2 Bensoussan, A., et al. (1998) Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Chinese Medicine. A Randomised Control Trial. Journal of the American Medical Association.

Simon Plant March 2011

Simon Plant BSc (Hons) MSc MBAcC RCHM

Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine

http://www.acumoxatherapy.com

Breathe London Wellbeing Centre

Sports Injury? Try Acupuncture and Herbs

Many people are aware of the therapeutic benefits of deep tissue and sports massage to relieve pain and speed up the healing process and some have experienced acupuncture for the treatment of injuries and pain. However, there is a long history of treating injuries with a combination of massage, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine.

The warring states period in China (221-207BCE) was a pretty dangerous time and Chinese generals required a medicine that was quick and easy to apply and also effective. In addition secret formulas where passed down through the years in Shaolin temples and in the Kung Fu martial arts tradition. Known as die da or hit-fall medicine a range of pre-prepared soaks, liniments, plasters and herbal powders to be drunk where developed.

Herbs such as frankincense, myrrh, angelica root, safflower and turmeric are used both internally and externally to reduce swelling, cool inflammation and reduce pain. In the Shaolin tradition herbs are also used for ligament damage, deep bruising, and to speed up the knitting of fractured bones.

Acupuncture and massage reduces inflammation, facilitates the flow of blood and lymph, increases range of movement and is effective for treating strains, sprains and myofascial pain. A range of pre-prepared herbal products in the form powders, sprays, plasters and creams are available.

Luckily for us we don’t live in the warring states period of Chinese history but we do have access to the medicine to treat sports and traumatic injures, as well as occupational injuries such as tennis elbow and repetitive strain injury to help us recover quickly and get back to being active as soon as possible.

Visit www.breathe-london.com/massage and www.breathe-london.com/waterloo-acupuncture to book a series of massage, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine treatments to suit your needs.

Note: No animal products, minerals or endangered species are used only herbs of botanical origin that are of the highest quality, that contain no adulterants, are tested for heavy metals and contaminants are used.

Caution: Never treat yourself with herbal remedies without the guidance of a practitioner of herbal medicine.

Coming Soon: Using acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine to treat gastrointestinal disorders.

Simon Plant March 2011

Simon Plant BSc (Hons) MSc MBAcC RCHM

Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine

Breathe London Wellbeing Centre

Statutory Regulation of Herbalists

The Department of Health announced on 16th February 2011 that herbalists, including practitioners of Chinese herbal medicine will be regulated by the government’s Health Professions Council from April 20121.

After a ten year campaign by the RCHM (Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine) and its parent association the EHTPA (European Herbal and Traditional Medicine Practitioner’s Association) and by many people who use herbal medicine the government has recognised the desire for freedom of choice coupled with strict standards of health care.

Herbal Medicine has been practiced in China for over 2000 years and is used alongside western medicine or as an alternative for conditions that do not respond well to western medicine.  The evidence base for the efficacy of Chinese Herbal Medicine is growing.

What does this mean to you as a patient?

It will ensure that only the most competent practitioners can treat the public and those who are regulated, fully insured and adhere to a strict code of ethics.

As recognised health care practitioners it is hoped that more private medical insurance companies will cover patients who visit herbalists.

It will mean that you will prescribed herbs by a qualified practitioner who uses an approved supplier that supply herbs that are of the highest quality that contain no adulterants, are tested for heavy metals and contaminants, are only of botanical origin, and are not endangered species.

While we wait for statutory regulation to be implemented in April 2012 only visit a herbalist who is a member of the EHTPA and their affiliate bodies.

If you are interested in learning more about Chinese Herbal Medicine visit www.breathe-london.com

Keep and eye on our twitter feed for news and up to date research about acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine: http://twitter.com/breathelondon

Keep up to date with our blog for more detailed articles about acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine.

Coming Soon.

Using herbs and acupuncture in combination to treat sports injuries.

Simon Plant. March 2011

1 http://www.mhra.gov.uk/NewsCentre/CON108789

Simon Plant BSc (Hons) MSc MBacC RCHM

Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine

Breathe London Well Being Centre

Suffering From Hay Fever?

Probably not considering we are still in the last throes of what has been a long and cold winter and your probably thinking what a bizarre blog entry to make!

However if you do suffer from hay fever in the spring months read on and discover how having acupuncture treatment now before the spring fully starts can reduce the severity and symptoms of hay fever.

It may be the end of winter but the first signs of spring are just starting to struggle through, early shoots appearing and days slowly and surely getting longer and just of hint of warmth in the midday sun.

In the Chinese way of thinking, which is rooted in the ancient philosophy of yin yang theory, spring is the time of great transition and the decline of cooling nourishing yin and the flourishing of warming, protecting yang.

Yin yang theory is also rooted in the traditional Chinese way of understanding how the body works. The yang qi (or energy) in the body is the body’s ability to protect itself and it is during this flourishing of the yang energy in the spring when symptoms of hay fever manifest.

If the body’s defence is poorly regulated the immune response, trigged by pollen, overreacts and causes the symptoms of blocked and runny nose and sore itchy red eyes. In terms of the Chinese way of thinking the body’s yang qi is too strong and not controlled.

Alternatively the bodies defence can be compromised, which can often happen after a long winter and the stresses and strains of modern living, the bodies yang qi is weak and people are much more susceptible to hay fever in the spring.

Acupuncture works by regulating the qi in the body and in turn regulates the immune system to calm this overreaction. Acupuncture can also strengthen the bodies immune system.

Over 2000 years of history and tradition is now supported by evidence and acupuncture has been proven in clinical trials to relieve the symptoms of hay fever1 while acupuncture combined with Chinese Herbal Medicine is a safe and effective way of treating hay fever2.

Book a short course of acupuncture treatment at Breathe London and enjoy the coming spring.

Visit www.breathe-london.com/waterloo-acupuncture to learn more.

Simon Plant February 2011

Simon Plant BSc (Hons) MSc MBAcC

Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine

Breathe London Well Being Centre

1 Xue, C., English, R. et al. (2002) Effect of Acupuncture in the Treatment of Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis: A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial The American Journal of Chinese Medicine. 30 (1)1–11.

2 Brinkhaus, B., Hummelsberger, J. et al. (2004) Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine in the treatment of patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis: a randomized-controlled clinical trial. 59 (9) 953-960.