2 Day Seminar on Maternity Acupuncutre
I enjoyed a two day seminar on maternity acupuncture in May 2015 at The College of Integrated Chinese Medicine in Reading with leading light Debra Betts.
I was delighted to meet Debra.
DIY Natural Pain Relief in Labour
I was delighted to visit Leyton Library last month to give a workshop for a group of pregnant women and their partners, family and friends to show them acupressure points they could use themselves to help relieve pain and promote a more efficient labour.
It was part of International Women’s Day.
Photos by Kirsti Aberenthy
Participants at the session had fun and found the points were easy to find and simple to use.
Ideally the woman and her birthing partner become familiar with the points and practice using them with light pressure in the last few weeks of pregnancy. One of the major benefit of using acupressure in labour is it allows the woman’s birthing partner to be closely and actively involved in the birth.
I was also explaining what Chinese medicine has to offer during the final weeks of pregnancy, and how best it can be used along side medical care to promote the most natural and efficient labour possible.
Here participants passed round a moxa stick - a lighted charcole stick - and were intrigued to learn how it can be used safely and effectively to turn a baby in breech position.
I was demonstrating how to locate a number of acupressure points that relieve pain and help the uterus to contract. This one on the hand relives pain and helps energy to descend.
A number of studies have shown specific points used in labour and childbirth can relieve pain, increase the speed and quality of contractions and calm the woman. Safe, non invasive and easy to learn acupressure is far more practical that acupuncture during labour as it allows the woman to move about freely and be in any position: sitting, leaning against a wall or on all fours. It can also be used in water.
This acupressure on a point on the sole of the foot is calming and useful with fear and anxiety during labour.
This point four finger widths above the ankle bone connects to the uterus and helps with the quality and strength of contractions.
Sally Lancaster is a registered acupuncturist and shiatsu practitioner and works from her home clinic Wellbeing East in Walthamstow.
Chestnut and Kale Soup
Dark leafy green vegetables are still in season and continue to be top of the list to keep you vital and healthy for the next few weeks.
If you've been eating kale all winter and fancy a change try this Cavolo nero variety, rich, sweet, almost meaty flavour will have you hooked from the first bite and it is delicious in this traditional Italian kale and chestnut soup.
• 1/2 tin white beans such as cannellini,
• 1 large onion, chopped
• 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
• 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 (14-ounce) can whole tomatoes in juice
• 1 ½ pints stock
• 2 cups water
• 1 piece Parmigiano-Reggiano rind
• 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
• 8oz Chestnuts halved (vac packed)
• 1/2 pound cavolo nero or regular green kale, chopped
• 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
• Accompaniment: grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Fry onion, and garlic in oil in a wide 6- to 8-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 8 minutes. Add, beans, stock, water, cheese rind, salt, and pepper and simmer, uncovered, 30 minutes. Discard cheese rind and stir in chestnuts.
Transfer 2 cups soup to a blender and purée until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids), then return to pot. Stir in kale and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until leaves are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in thyme.
Rest and Digest
Spring is just around the corner and it can be tempting at this time of year to start eating more cold raw foods to improve energy by detoxing. But think twice. Chinese medicine says these foods are cooling and more difficult to digest than cooked. While it is still cold and wintery outside it is important to continue to nurture and nourish our energy by eating warming foods like hearty soups and stews help to warm the body’s core and to keep us nourished.
Sufficient rest is always important and we need more of it at this time of year than we do in the summer months. “Lack of energy” is one of the top five complaints that doctors hear, particularly at this time of year.
As a busy person and small business owner I know only too well how hard it can be to find the time to take care of myself and rest.
No one resists drinking a glass of water when they are thirsty but for many of us we have strong judgements and conditioning around taking the rest we need when we need it. When you feel the call to rest do you drink a cup of coffee, reach for a sugary snack or look for yet another job to do? These are common evasions to rest. It is remarkable how even a 10 minute rest with legs up and eyes closed can renew our energies and allow us to be even more effective throughout the day.
In Chinese medicine this ability to rest and digest is managed through intake of easily digestible foods, appropriate exercise and adequate relaxation and rest. If any of these aspects are out of balance then a build up of undigested, un processed metabolic waste can cause gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, heat burn, acid indigestion, fatigue, strong cravings and poor sleep.
Daily routine is vital in managing energy flow and good digestion and I’d like to share one aspect of my daily routine that I have found incredibly supportive to management of energy flow and optimise digestion.
- I regularly aim to rest with my legs up for a minimum of 15 minutes to active a relaxation response in my system, usually after lunch but any time in the afternoon or evening is always beneficial!
Mastering Auricular (Ear) Acupuncture
I recently enjoyed a weekend workshop on auricular (ear) acupuncture alongside friends and colleagues in Southend. Pictures show the highly accomplished Jim Chalmers showing us how it was done and there was plenty of time for us to practice on each other. I have since been using it since in my clinic to relieve pain so far in backs, elbows and shoulder with some great results.
Treatment for colds and Flu
According to Chinese medicine colds are due to invasion of the superficial layers of the body by pathogenic wind accompanied by cold, heat or damp. The key to success of treatment is timing, the earlier the treatment the faster the cold will resolve. Ignoring the bodies signals and ‘soldiering on’ through a cold may cause the pathogen to progress further into the body and lodge there becoming 'the cold that never really went away'. Access to the body by pathogens occurs when the bodies defensive energy is weak or temporary dispersed or because the invading pathogen is very strong. A very strong pathogen can enter even in strong individuals and is seen in flu epidemics where people of all constitutions fall ill.
Cupping: vacuumed glass container is placed on the skin creating a senstionof suction. The suction draws cold pathogens out of the body.
People often ask, when they already have a treatment booked and they feel a cold coming on, if they should cancel their appointment. They don't relasie Chinese meidicne can be an effective treatment cold, particulalry the early sages, a prompt treatment might nip it in the bud. This is often done with cupping.
In Western Scientific terms Acupuncture may help relieve symptoms of colds and flu by:
• Enhancing natural killer cell activities
• Reducing pain through the stimulation of nerves located in muscles and other tissues
• Reducing inflammation
This information comes from research fact sheets provided by the British Acupuncture Council.
5 Tips to Support Your Immune System
Wind and cold pathogens often enter through body through the back of the neck. Protect yourself by wearing a scarf or make use of your hood.
Sudden changes of weather, gong from a centrally heated building to the cold outside or going out outside straight after a after a hot bath are all times when the bodies protective energy is dispersed and therefore vulnerable to invasion by pathogens. Dress warmly when you go out and avoid going out safer a hot bath or shower.
Your mother always told you not to go out with wet hair because of the risk of catching a cold. Chinese medicine would agree because the cold and damp in your hair can invade the body, particularly in cold weather.
The bodies protective energy, which keeps cold pathogens out, lies at the very surface of the skin and can be stimulated and strengthened by brushing it with a loofer or exfoliating glove, either on dry skin or when you are in the shower.
Inhale steam on its own or with tee tree oil helps as it is anti bacterial, anti viral.
If you’d like to know more about how acupuncture and Chinese Medicine could help you contact me.
E17 Arts Trail
I am enjoying having the Five Phase photos I put on my therapy room walls after the Arts Trail and have decided to keep them all there for a bit longer.
Meeting the neighbours. Fatma, Sophie and Jeffrey having a chat at our Arts Trail cafe 12 June 2014.