Kurrajong Natural Medicine Centre
We Take Care of Your Health Naturally, Using Traditional Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture and Western Herbal Medicine, Diet and Body Therapies.
Kurrajong Natural Medicine Centre
We Take Care of Your Health Naturally, Using Traditional Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture and Western Herbal Medicine, Diet and Body Therapies.
Kurrajong Natural Medicine Centre has moved to our Home-based Clinic. As of the 5th of October, 2022, we will be practicing from our home-based clinic in Grose Wold.
If you’d like to make an appointment, please call 4573 0784 (same number as always).
Susan and I are looking forward to seeing you there!
Our Clinic will be closed from the 19th December 2022 to the 10th January 2023 inclusive.
We’d like to take this opportunity to wish all out patients a Merry Christmas and a Healthy, Happy New Year.
by Natalie Chandra Saunders and Katherine Berry
Since the menopausal transition is such an individual and elongated process, tailored treatments such as those used in acupuncture may provide significant benefits.
Various studies have shown that acupuncture may offer relief from some of the most common menopausal symptoms. However, it is currently under-utilised in clinical practice.
Vasomotor symptoms (VMS), including hot flashes and night sweats, are among the most common issues menopausal women experience. They affect approximately 70% of women in Western cultures. VMS are also one of the best-studied areas with regard to acupuncture
A 2009 review by Alfhaily and Ewies concluded that the majority of studies on acupuncture for VMS reported 50% reductions in hot flashes that lasted for up to six months. A 2015 meta-analysis by Chiu et al. supports these results. It reviewed 12 studies with a total 869 participants, finding that acupuncture significantly reduced hot flash frequency and severity. It also found that acupuncture improved menopause-related psychological, somatic, and urogenital symptoms, as well as overall quality of life. The results of these reviews suggest that acupuncture has significant benefits for women suffering from menopausal VMS.
DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY
Many menopausal women also suffer from mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. This is another area where acupuncture may help.
A 2013 review by Sniezek and Siddiqui included six trials with a total of 605 female subjects aged 18– 71. Of these studies, four were on depression (with three focusing on major depressive disorder), one was on anxiety, and one was on both conditions. One of the studies involved menopausal women with depression and VMS.
The authors of the study concluded that although the quality of the evidence was mixed, acupuncture was “promising” as a therapy for menopausal women with depression. They went on to say: “At this time, it is reasonable to use acupuncture as an adjunctive therapy for treating depression in postmenopausal women who have vasomotor symptoms.”
An earlier 2007 review by Pilkington et al. focused on acupuncture for anxiety. It included 12 controlled trials, 10 if which were RCTs. All of the trials reported positive outcomes.
SLEEP DISTURBANCE AND INSOMNIA
A 2015 review by Berezza et al. included 12 studies on acupuncture for sleep disorders in post- menopausal women. The studies involved a wide range of treatment protocols, interventions, and durations. Overall, 75% reported improvements in sleep complaints following acupuncture treatment.
Osteoporosis is a common issue in post- menopausal women. Several large-scale reviews indicate that acupuncture could help.
A 2018 systematic review and meta-analysis by Pan et al. included 35 studies and a total of 3014 participants. It found that, compared with pharmaceutical treatment alone, warm acupuncture increased bone mineral density (BMD) of the femur and lumbar spine. It also increased serum calcium and estradiol levels, reduced serum alkaline phosphatase, and relieved pain. Electroacupuncture also had positive effects on serum calcium, serum alkaline phosphatase, and pain.
A 2020 review by Xu et al. supported these results. It included 13 systematic reviews and meta-analyses published between 2013 and 2018. They found high quality evidence that acupuncture and moxibustion can improve BMD in primary osteoporosis. They also found that these therapies could benefit visual analog scale (VAS) pain scores, although the quality of the evidence was lower.
COGNITIVE DECLINE AND ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE
The risk of cognitive decline, including Alzheimer’s disease (AD), also increases significantly following menopause. A 2019 systematic review and meta-analysis by Huang et al.12 found that acupuncture provided some benefits. It included 13 studies comparing acupuncture with medication alone. The results showed that acupuncture had positive effects on Mini Mental State Examination scores, Ability of Daily Living Scale scores, AD Assessment Scale-Cognition scores, and a high clinical efficacy rate.
Acupuncture works via numerous physiological mechanisms, accounting for its diverse effects on the human body. One of the most critical of these is purinergic signalling, a system which utilises adenosine triphosphate (ATP) as a signalling molecule in the regulation of a range of physiological functions. In the short-term, it plays a role in neurotransmission, neuromodulation, and secretion. In the longer-term, it influences proliferation, differentiation, migration, and death, thus directing the activity and fate of cells.
Purinergic receptors have been investigated as potential therapeutic targets in a broad range of disorders, including many which affect peri and post-menopausal women. They include depression and anxiety, sleep disturbances, osteoporosis, endocrine disorders, cardiovascular, and neurodegenerative disease. In terms of VMS, studies have suggested that acupuncture influences the release of beta-endorphins.7 These neurochemicals are thought to be involved in the pathophysiology of VMS, although this is still not clearly understood.
Acupuncture also appears to influence cortisol, cortisol metabolites, and DHEA levels.10 Cortisol levels tend to increase following menopause, contributing to changes in mood, metabolism, bone density, and cognitive decline. It is, therefore, possible that the same underlying mechanisms play a role in the treatment of VMS, depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, abdominal obesity, osteoporosis, and dementia.
Further suggested mechanisms for acupuncture’s effects on obesity include anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, regulating the endocrine system, promoting digestion, and influencing lipid metabolism.
Meanwhile, animal studies have shown that acupuncture may offer some protection against osteoporosis by regulating the OPG/RANK/RANKL signalling pathways. All of these are involved in the protection of bone tissue.
Finally, MRI studies on patients with AD or mild cognitive impairment have shown that acupuncture activates and deactivates several regions of the brain. They include the basal ganglia, cerebellum, cognitive, visual, and sensorimotor-related areas.
Menopause is fast becoming a specialty area. In the past 40 years, our understanding of female endocrinology has improved greatly, expedited by the rapid growth of assisted reproductive therapy. This growth, coupled with women becoming more vocal about their experiences and seeking solutions, has brought menopause to the forefront of both medicine and the media.
The primary mainstream approach to treating menopausal symptoms is hormone replacement therapy (HRT), comprising either estrogen or progesterone monotherapy, or a combination of the two.
HRT has been controversial since the publication of the Women’s Health Initiative, which suggested that its use increased the risk of breast cancer, stroke, and pulmonary embolism. However, industry-funded guidelines developed in partnership with clinical specialty groups have pointed to flaws in this study.
Current prescribing guidelines suggest that the benefits of HRT generally outweigh the risks for most women aged 60 or under, or within 10 years of menopause.1 However, there is also evidence that these hormones can increase the risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer. With so much conflicting information in circulation, the decision regarding whether or not to take HRT is a difficult one. Acupuncture, on the other hand, has a demonstrated track-record of safety and when performed by appropriately trained clinicians, has been found one of the safest treatments in modern medicine.
Therefore, many women are now choosing other modalities, such as acupuncture, as a first-line treatment. Acupuncturists can also play a crucial therapeutic role by helping to inform and support women in adopting beneficial lifestyle changes.
1. Jane FM, Davis SR. A Practitioner’s Toolkit for Managing the Menopause. Climacteric. 2014; 17(5): p.564-579.
2. Hillard T, Abernathy K, Hamoda H, et al. British Menopause Society Management of the Menopause Sixth Edition 2017.
3. Thurston RC, Joffe H. Vasomotor Symptoms and Menopause: Findings from the Study of Women’s Health across the Nation. Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinics of North America. 2011; 38(3): p. 489-501.
4. Hess R, Olshansky E, Ness R, et al. Pregnancy and Birth History Influence Women’s Experience of Menopause. Menopause. 2008;15(3): p. 435-441.6.
5. Alfhaily F, Ewies AAA. Acupuncture in managing menopausal symptoms: hope or mirage?. Climacteric. 2007; 10(5): p. 371-380.
6. Chiu HY, Pan CH, Shyu YK, Han BC, Tsai PS. Effects of acupuncture on menopause-related symptoms and quality of life in women in natural menopause: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Menopause. 2015 Feb; 22(2): p. 234-244.
7. Sniezek DP, Siddiqui IJ. Acupuncture for Treating Anxiety and Depression in Women: A Clinical Systematic Review. Medical Acupuncture. 2013; 25(3): p.164-172.
8. Pilkington K, Kirkwood G, Rampes H, Cummings M, Richardson J. Acupuncture for anxiety and anxiety disorders–a systematic literature review. Acupuncture in Medicine. 2007; 25(1-2): p.1-10.
9. Bezerra AG, Pires GN, Andersen ML, Tufik S, Hachul H. Acupuncture to Treat Sleep Disorders in Postmenopausal Women: A Systematic Review. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2015; 2015:563236.
10. Pan H, Jin R, Li M, Liu Z, Xie Q, Wang P. The Effectiveness of Acupuncture for Osteoporosis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. The American Journal of Chinese Medicine. 2018; 46(3): p.489-513.
11. Xu G, Xiao Q, Zhou J, et al. Acupuncture and moxibustion for primary osteoporosis: An overview of systematic review. Medicine (Baltimore). 2020; 99(9): e19334.
12. Huang, Q., Luo, D., Chen, L. et al. Effectiveness of Acupuncture for Alzheimer’s Disease: An Updated Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Current Medical Science. 2019; 39: p.500–511.
13. Burnstock G. Purinergic Signalling: Therapeutic Developments. Frontiers in Pharmacology. 2017;8:661. Published 2017 Sep 25. doi:10.3389/fphar.2017.00661
14. Wang LH, Huang W, Wei D, et al. Mechanisms of Acupuncture Therapy for Simple Obesity: An Evidence-Based Review of Clinical and Animal Studies on Simple Obesity. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2019; 2019:5796381.
15. Huang F, Zhao S, Qiu M, et al. Acupuncture for primary osteoporosis: A network meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials protocol. [published correction appears in Medicine (Baltimore). 2019 May;98(21): e15898]. Medicine (Baltimore). 2019;98(15):e15108.
16. Shan Y, Wang JJ, Wang ZQ, et al. Neuronal Specificity of Acupuncture in Alzheimer’s Disease and Mild Cognitive Impairment Patients: A Functional MRI Study. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2018; 2018: 7619197
17. Manson JE, Chlebowski RT, Stefanick ML, et al. Menopausal hormone therapy and health outcomes during the intervention and extended poststopping phases of the Women’s Health Initiative randomized trials. JAMA. 2013; 310(13): p.1353-1368.
18. Linde, K., Streng, A., Hoppe, A., Jürgens, S., Weidenhammer, W., & Melchart, D. (2006). The programme for the evaluation of patient care with acupuncture (PEP-Ac) – a project sponsored by ten German social health insurance funds. Acupuncture in Medicine, 24(Suppl), 25–32. https://doi.org/10.1136/aim.24.Suppl.2
by Susan & Danny Siegenthaler
Your skin can be one of your greatest assets or become an expensive liability. It’s all in the way you treat it.
We hear a lot these days about skin care, skin care for the Metro-sexual man, anti-aging skin care, anti-wrinkle crème, and so on. But what is skin care really?
Skincare consists of Skin and Care – obvious really, but let’s look at exactly what that term means. Anything that is taken good care of will look, last and function better for longer and retain its value.
Maybe we should think about skin care in terms of ‘Skin maintenance’, because there are several factors, which constitute good skin care. Consider that your skin is involved in both absorption as well as elimination of chemicals; does it not stand to reason that the healthier your skin is, the better it will be able to fulfil these functions?
Most people think of skin care as keeping your skin clean and if it gets dry, use a moisturiser and that’s that. Well, it’s a start, but far from constituting skin care or maintenance of skin function.
Information on exfoliation, cleansing, toning and moisturising is readily available, and both men and women of all ages should follow these basic skin care concepts. However, as we become older, the type of maintenance needs to change and the skin care regime that is relevant in your 20’s changes as we move through our 30’s, 40’s and beyond.
Your skin is a valuable asset. Treat it well, and you will reap the rewards, treat it badly and it could ultimately kill you!
Skin cancer is a growing concern in the health industry. As the Ozone layer is under ever increasing pressure and indeed thinning over some parts of the World, UV radiation is reaching the Earth’s surface in greater concentration and this is not only having a detrimental effect on our climate and ecosystems, but also affects each and every one of us directly.
UV rays have been shown to cause skin cancer. Getting sunburn is now accepted as a leading cause for skin cancer and guarding against it is not quite as simple as staying out of the sun.
Maintaining a good skin care regime is now more important than ever, and consists of several important parts:
1. Eating a well balanced, healthy diet which consists of fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, grains and if you choose good quality meat, is paramount to supplying your skin with the nutrition it needs to function at its optimal level.
2. Water – you cannot under estimate the body’s need for being well hydrated. Medial research shows that your body requires at least 2-3 litres of water per day to maintain its functions.
Dehydration is not as obvious as one might think and can be chronic with few or no symptoms. If you are physically active, you will need to drink even more that 3 litres per day.
3. Exercise – Now you do not have to be a ‘Gym-Junky’, but being unfit will have consequences that you will ultimately not appreciate; go for a walk 3-4 times a week; use the stairs not the elevator; park the car further away from the office or the shops; join a walking club; ride a bike; play tennis, golf or another sport that gets your body moving – you don’t have to be an Olympic champion you know, but get moving and have fun.
Finally, there is one more important consideration in the maintenance of your skin – should you use natural skin care products or will any products do?
The answer is NATURAL, naturally. Think about it from this point of view: When you buy food, do you look for ‘no artificial colouring’, ‘no artificial flavours’, ‘contains not GMO’s (genetically modified organisms), etc., or don’t you care?
What about your drinks, do you not look for 100% natural, low in salt, no artificial this or that, no added sugar, etc.? Of course you do. Well, your skin does absorb nutrients whether they are natural or not; it will absorb these chemicals into the tissue and it will then be able to use them, or not. Natural substances are much more easily assimilated in your body and are also more easily eliminated, once they’ve performed their functions.
As scientific research is becoming more sophisticated we are discovering more and more information on how our body works, how foods interact in our systems and how some foods contain substances which are not able to be made synthetically – well, the same of course stands true for plants. Phyto-estrogens are just one example of naturally occurring substances essential to the wellbeing of our bodies. Similarly, herbal extracts, essential oils, fruit extracts and so on, all contain naturally occurring chemicals, which science is not able to make synthetically due to their complexity.
This means, that the synthetic version of a plant extract (often in concentrated forms) is not the same as the natural version and can in fact have different and even side effects on your body. An old, but good example is Aspirin. We are all aware by now, that Aspirin can cause stomach irritation and even lead to stomach ulcers.
The active ingredient in Aspirin is salicylic acid. It naturally occurs in the bark of the White Willow tree. The big difference between taking Aspirin as opposed to the herbal extract of the White Willow bark, is that in the herbal extract there are many more substances contained which have secondary effects – one substance for example is a mucilaginous substance, which has the function of protecting your stomach lining! Guess what, there is nothing in Aspirin (from the chemist) that acts to protect your stomach – That’s the difference between using natural versus artificially manufactured substances.
So, the choice is yours, natural or not, it’s your asset and it is up to you to choose whether you will invest in your asset or withdraw from it.
Life unfolds as it will, and the universe will wait patiently as we make our way into the unknown.
Our lives are guided by natural rhythms that are particular to each of us and cannot be altered by force of will alone. Life itself is a journey made up of processes and events that manifest before us only to be swept away when time marches on. Whether we envision ourselves creating a career, building a family, or developing the self, we instinctively know when the time has come for us to realize our dreams because all that is involved comes together harmoniously. When the time is right, the passage of destiny cannot be blocked. Yet as desperate as we are to touch these beautiful futures we have imagined, we cannot grow if we are not fully present in the evolutionary experience. The present can be challenging, uncomfortable, and tedious, but life unfolds as it will, and the universe will wait patiently as we make our way into the unknown.
The fate that awaits us is not dependent on our pace, so there is no reason to rush through life to reach those pinnacles of success associated with the paths we have chosen. Enjoying and fully experiencing the journey of life is as important as achieving goals and reaching milestones. There are lessons we can learn during the moments that seem insignificant that we cannot learn at any other time. However, appreciating these takes patience because human beings tend to focus on the fulfillment of expectations, rather than the simple joys of being.
Like many people, you have no doubt longed for the ability to fast forward through certain periods of your life. Yet haste is, by its very nature, vastly more stressful than serene fortitude. When you feel yourself growing impatient because the pace of your development is deceptively slow, remember everything that will occur in your life will occur in its own time. Quelling your urge to rush will enable you to witness yourself learning, changing, and becoming stronger. There is so much to see and do in between the events that we deem definitive. If you are patient enough to take pleasure in your life’s unfolding, the journey from one pinnacle to the next will seem to take no time at all
We see ever increasingly more people who are suffering from anxiety, depression, insomnia, headaches, and other stress related conditions. Up until about 10 years or so, the most commonly seen problems used to be related to women’s issues or back-, neck-, or other joint and muscular pains.
Increasingly however this has shifted to mental and emotional disorders. I used to say jokingly to my wife: “We should have an arthritis day in the clinic and a PMS day.” Now it’s more like Anxiety and Depression Week.
Teachers have told me that some of their 8 year old students are on anti-depressants!!! and that’s just crazy. It is however a clear indication that we as a society are not coping with the demands made on us on a day-to-day basis and that this is leading to depression, anxiety, etc. even in our children and grandchildren. This is completely nuts.
In traditional Chinese medicine, anxiety and depression are usually linked to liver, kidney and/or heart conditions. These, among others, are directly affected by stress and overworking. Lack of sleep or insufficient amounts of sleep will also drain your resilience to stress and disease generally.
We hear a lot about the term Work/Life Balance, but few of us really understand what exactly that means and how to implement it in our lives.
It does not necessarily mean that you work for half the week and relax for the other half. What it does mean is that when you are not at work, you work at doing something for YOU, not your boss. For example following a hobby, spending quality time (uninterrupted by texts or calls) with your family. In short, engaging in activities that build you and your family up, not disrupt and break it apart.
There are some steps we can all take, but it does require a conscious decision to do so and some effort, because we have to break ‘bad’ habits in order to achieve good ones.
Here are some:
1) Go to bed earlier and make sure you get at least 7 hrs sleep every night
2) Don’t eat in a hurry. Sit down quietly in a comfortable place and eat your meal. Don’t watch TV or look at your Phone while doing it. The idea is to be fully focused on the food you’re eating, it’s texture, taste, flavour and smell. This will promote better digestion, reduce indigestion and help your immune system.
3) Meditate – most people at this point will tell me “I can’t meditate”. My response is: “Where you able to read and write on your first day of school?” Of course not. This is a learned technique, just like riding a bike, driving a car or any other discipline we had to learn. So give yourself time to learn it. It is not enough to attend a class or two, but 6-12 months of regular (daily) mini-meditations, or classes at least 2x a week.
4) Be in the Here and Now – how often have you driven from point A to B and not remembered much of the journey? I bet all of you have had this experience at different times. Living in the here and now requires concentration on your part to think about what you are doing, saying, thinking at every moment. More often than not we let our brain wonder and end up in a semi-conscious, almost dream-like state, only to ‘awaken’ when something unexpected happens that requires our full attention.
Massage, Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are powerful ways to assist you, but YOU have to do the rest and that includes a shift in the way you do things.
If you need any further assistance or would like to talk to either of us, just give us a call (02 4573 0784) and we can talk about how to get you and your life back on track.
We hope you enjoyed our latest 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
Namaste and Merry Christmas