Women with Period Pain, Please Stop Eating Acai Bowls, here’s why…

Women with period pain, please stop eating Acai bowls…

A major cause of period pain in Chinese medicine is cold. Our bodies are designed to work best when warm. This means eating warm foods and keeping warm.

Your metabolic energy – the energy required for your body to function relies on this warmth. Kind of like a steam train relies on warm coal. Imagine putting ice in the engine firebox instead of coal.

Eating cold foods, being cold, not wearing clothes to cover your feet, back and low abdomen all contribute to reduced pelvic blood flow and pain.

Cold causes the body to constrict blood vessels and slow blood movement. When your period is due to start and this blood needs to move, it’s like the blood is ‘stuck’ and causes pain when it starts to move.

If you find putting a hot water bottle or a wheat heat bag over your abdomen helps with period pain, you mist likely have some type of cold stagnation in your pelvis.

We don’t notice this cold in our abdomen during the rest of the month because blood doesn’t need to move as much in the pelvis…until your period is due.

Imagine it like a delayed ice-cream headache…but in your pelvis. 

One of the worst ‘health crazes’ is Acai bowls. I seriously think they are a serious risk to women’s menstrual health. I cringe every time I see a young women sitting out the front of a popular Gold Coast cafe in winter with ugg boots on and a jumper….and eating an Acai bowl.

Do you know, that the main ingredient in Acai bowls is actually sugar filled sorbet? You are literally eating ice cream (plus some frozen berries) for breakfast. Not only are they incredibly high in sugar, but the cold is having an impact on your health.

If you suffer from period pain, you really need to stop eating these, especially in winter. You need to look at warm porridge, cooked eggs, warming broth, even soup for breakfast. Try this for a few months and you could notice an improvement in your period pain.

I wonder if a craze of warming breakfasts could take over the Gold Coast…

In Chinese medicine, I use acupuncture, moxibustion (a type of warming herb) and heat lamps to remove this cold and warm the pelvis to help with period pain as well as improve fertility.

Remember, a baby doesn’t want to grow in a cold environment either. It needs warmth.

So eliminate Acai bowls and any cold breakfasts and see how your menstrual health and your fertility changes.

I always love hearing from you, so if you want to let me know how you went with making these changes, please let me know!

 

Registered Acupuncturist and Owner of The Point of Wellbeing, a Gold Coast acupuncture clinic focused on improving women’s health, fertility and pregnancy…naturally.

Acupuncture Relieves Period Pain

Acupuncture relieves period pain…

I need to start this post with a sentence that might shock many women.

Period pain is not normal. It might be common, but it is not normal. 

Pain of any kind is a type of body signal, telling you something is wrong.

If this was understood more clearly, it wouldn’t be taking on average 11 years to diagnose endometriosis, a pelvic pain condition that is characterised by period pain.

The thing is though, period pain is not usually fatal. Women can and have lived their whole lives with period pain.

Unless you’re quality of life is severely diminished or you are having trouble conceiving, there aren’t a lot of mainstream treatments available to you, other than pain medication or the oral contraceptive.

Both have side effects and aren’t ideal if you’re trying to conceive.

 

From a Chinese medicine point of view, the arrival and the flow of your period occurs due to a number of carefully orchestrated blood and energy movements.

Anything that affects these blood and energy movements can result in pain.

There are a number of patterns of period pain we treat depending on your pain presentation.

For example, a cold, twisting type of period pain that comes on with your period, which is alleviated by a warm shower or wheat heat bag is a cold type of period pain. The cold constricts blood vessels, causing pain when blood tries to move.

Another example is a type of dropping, severe ache type of period pain, which worsens a day or two after your period. You have a blood deficient type of period pain. Your body doesn’t have enough vital essences and is aching in pain with the loss of more blood.

Last one, a stabbing, severe fixed pain that comes and goes even starting the day before your period is due is a type of blood stagnation pain. Blood is not moving as it should through your pelvis and so when it needs to move for your period to arrive, it gets stuck and causes pain.

There are others, but these are the main patterns I see. There are treatment methods for each of these type, depending on the rest of your presentation.

Acupuncture, used with a type of warming herb can warm the pelvis, alleviate pain, improve pelvic blood flow and circulation to alleviate period pain.

Some patterns respond really quickly and some take time. Dietary factors make a big impact too, as does your level of exercise and emotional wellbeing.

Research has found that acupuncture and moxibustion are effective, safe and cost effective treatment options for period pain with long term health changes.

Besides acupuncture, there are a couple of natural things you can do to treat period pain:

  • Warmth – a bath, wheat heat bag, hot water bottle
  • Keep your feet warm – warm feet helps pelvic blood flow
  • Keep your abdomen and low back warm (avoid midriff tops and layer up with singlets)
  • Take a good quality, practitioner brand magnesium, zinc and fish oils – all show great results in reducing period pain
  • Eat really good quality, warm, cooked nourishing foods
  • Castor oil packs
  • Eliminate cold breakfasts, cold smoothies, ice cream, juices and sorbets from your diet for at least 6 months
  • Eliminate dairy – dairy has been found to cause inflammation that worsens period pain

Keep in mind that your period acts as a kind of report card for your month of health.

If you’ve been eating a sugar loaded, alcohol filled, fatty food filled, dairy filled diet, sat on the couch all month and neglected your health, you will experience a worse period.

Give the healthy tips a go. If they don’t make a change within three months, get in touch with me and we’ll start making some more specific changes.

You may in fact have endometriosis, which could require surgery. You can still implement these health tips and seek acupuncture treatments for pain management and support as well as seek medical care from a medical specialist.

Don’t accept that you will forever experience period pain.

With love,

Registered Acupuncture and Owner of The Point of Wellbeing, a Gold Coast acupuncture clinic dedicated to supporting women’s health, fertility and pregnancy…naturally!

 

Acupuncture Support in Early Pregnancy

Acupuncture support in early pregnancy can be a great alternative to ‘waiting and seeing.’

So you’ve just found out that you’re pregnant. Congratulations! You might only be 4 weeks along with your embryo no bigger than a chia seed.

You may have waited for years or months or it’s a complete surprise.

You’ve might have had your beta HCG tested and booked in your first scan, but it’s not for 3 more weeks…seems like a lifetime away.

You may have already read what seems like thousands of articles about women who have experienced miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies and you’re so scared about wondering what could happen in your pregnancy.

You’re feeling lost as to what you can do to support your pregnancy but there are a few natural things you can do.

First, take a breath. At this moment, all you know is that you have created the beginnings of a tiny human. This is wonderful!

Also plan to rest a little bit more than normal.  This doesn’t mean sleeping 10 hours per night or napping for 2-3 hours during the day. It just means slow down, pay attention to what your body is telling you.

Plan to eat warm, healthy foods while you don’t feel queasy just yet. This may change soon so enjoy.

You can of course start to read about what your body is going through and know what foods to be mindful of eating.

If you’ve experienced a miscarriage before or can’t stop negative thoughts, try replacing those thoughts with positive affirmations. Some examples:

  • I got this
  • I set my worries aside and I allow my body to do its job
  • I have within myself all the necessary resources to grow a beautiful, healthy baby
  • I trust my body
  • I am relaxed and calm (this one may need more repeating than most!)
  • I have complete confidence that my body is working perfectly

Another thing you can do, is make an appointment with an experienced acupuncturist, as early as 4-5 weeks.

“Acupuncture has been used for centuries to help women conceive, grow and give birth to healthy babies, naturally.”

Treatments are based on preventative care and support. They work to ‘uplift’ pregnancy energy which can help to hold a pregnancy in place. It can work to strengthen digestive energy to alleviate pregnancy sickness and can help you improve hormonal symptoms like headaches, constipation, low back pain  and emotional volatility – all common in early pregnancy.

Seeing an experienced healthcare practitioner in early pregnancy can also help you with reassurance. This doesn’t seem big…until you’re in your first trimester and you’re overthinking every single symptom and wondering whether you’re doing all you can to make sure your embryo becomes a healthy baby.

Gaining confidence in your body’s ability to nourish and support your  can make a difference for how you experience your first trimester.

So enjoy your positive news and please get in touch if you have any questions about your pregnancy.

Registered Acupuncturist and Owner of Gold Coast Acupuncture Clinic – The Point of Wellbeing

Chinese Medicine and Grief after IVF

The entire IVF rollercoaster can pretty much cover every type of emotion possible. From joy, hope and happiness to anger, sadness, loss and grief.

Experiencing negative emotions in intensity, for long periods of time or not acknowledging them or expressing them can result in long term health concerns.

Chinese medicine has a different way of looking at emotions. We see pathological negative emotions as a cause of disease, similar to a poor diet and lack of exercise.

Each emotion has a particular affect on the body’s energy. For example, worry and anguish ‘knots qi’. Worry specifically affects the stomach, which is why you can feel that knotted feeling in your abdomen when you’re worried or anxious.

Anger causes your Liver energy to tighten and heat up, sending heat up to your head. The old saying of ‘steam coming out of your ears’ exactly describes what anger does to the body. Alcohol can worsen this reaction in some people because it adds heat to your Liver.

But sadness and grief has a strong affect on the Lungs. In Chinese medicine, healthy Lung energy works to pull the breath into the body, manage the rhythm of all of the body’s processes and is the first line of defence in protecting the body against pathogens.

Sadness weakens Lung Qi. After loss, you can experience a tight chest, shortness of breath, hyperventilation and general tiredness. You may even develop a cough within a couple of days.

I see in clinic many women suffering from the effect sadness and grief has on the Lungs after an IVF failure or miscarriage. But I also see lots of women who haven’t expressed their grief or sorrow. So below are some health tips for helping deal with grief and sadness…naturally.

Natural Health Tips for Dealing with Grief, Sorrow and Sadness

Breathing – spend time each day to breathe. Mindfully concentrate on deep inhalation and exhalation – even pairing this with yoga if you feel up to it. You will noticeably feel better

Crying – don’t be afraid to express your grief with tears. Crying moves qi and helps you to ‘let go’ of sadness. Holding on to tears can actually cause accumulation in the lungs and I often see bronchitis or pneumonia develop after experiencing loss because of this.

Keeping warm – this prevents you from getting sick. Because the Lung’s defence is weakened during grief, make sure you keep your neck, abdomen, low back and feet warm.

Talking to someone – if it’s your partner, a good friend, your mum or even a professional, talking again keeps Lung energy moving. It helps with the process of ‘letting go’. I find as an acupuncturist, seeing women after their IVF has been unsuccessful, this appointment is really important for expressing feelings.

Massage – a great way to unknot stuck energy. I would advise telling your massage therapist about your loss as massage during grief can result in huge emotional releases. You could be sobbing the whole way through your treatment….which is ok!

Acupuncture – we have specific points and treatments to improve the function of your Lung energy after experiencing grief and sadness. We can use acupuncture to strengthen Lung Qi, move accumulation and improve the Lung detoxification process. Similar to massage, acupuncture can result in a big emotional release.

Grief, loss and sadness are unfortunately an inevitable part of life. Our bodies are great at managing negative emotions when give the opportunity to do so. Be kind to yourself and let your body process your grief in it’s own time.

Avoiding Getting Sick with the Change of Seasons

A cool shift has already started as early as this morning. Summer is almost over.
The body is really great at adapting to seasonal changes when you feel healthy. However, if you feel run down, stressed, exhausted or feel like you’ve been fighting off a cold for the last couple of weeks, the change of seasons can really upset it’s ability to adapt.

In Chinese medicine, you have this incredible type of energy called Wei Qi, translated as Defensive Qi, that circulates in the outermost layer of your body. It’s kind of like the security guard to pathogens entering your body.

When you are really healthy, this energy is thought to extend further than the skin, kind of like a protective shield around your body.

It is continuously fighting off pathogenic attacks but if it can’t match the strength of the pathogen, you unfortunately get sick.

The change of seasons is almost like the ‘shift change’ of one security guard to another. There’s a little gap of time where immunity is not as strong as the body adapts to changing environments.

However, you can strengthen this immunity by improving your general wellbeing. A balanced lifestyle and diet is the ideal way to improve your Wei Qi and protect your body against pathogens.

So over the next week or so, aim to do some of these things:

  • ensure you get 8-9 hours sleep each night and be asleep by 11pm (Wei Qi needs time to be nourished)
  • have a big glass of water first thing in the morning, before you doing anything else – with lemon if you can
  • ensure you are eating 5-7 serves of vegetables per day
  • avoid cold foods – especially for breakfast
  • drink peppermint tea and ginger tea – great for boosting immunity
  • enjoy low intensity aerobic exercise and yoga/tai chi or qi gong
  • practise mindfulness to help slow down your body, save energy for immunity instead of stress
  • keep with your regular acupuncture treatments – all acupuncture treatments strengthen qi, including Wei Qi. Many people notice they stop getting as many colds with their treatments, even if I’ve been treating their back pain!
Lastly, and most importantly, RUG UP – this is a big problem on the GC, going from summer to winter. Start getting out your closed in shoes, slippers, cardis, jackets and scarves. Start wearing singlets under your work shirts and keeping your slippers on around the house. Keep your neck, low back, low abdo and ankles warm as this is where pathogens enter your body. Let your clothes protect you first so your Wei Qi doesn’t have to work so hard.

If you do think you are starting to feel sick, pop in for a treatment. Acupuncture works so well in the very early stages of getting a cold. It actually supports your Wei Qi to push invading pathogens back out instead of just masking symptoms. Kind of like improving the strength and training of your ‘security guard’.

I can honestly say I do this. If I wake up with a sore throat, I make an appointment with my acupuncturist that day. This has happened twice in the last month as my exposure to people being sick is increasing. I haven’t taken a cold and flu tablet for at least 10 years now. They don’t help very much anyway.

Acupuncture, rest and nourishing foods is the best cure for a cold :)

Falling Pregnant in 2017

If you and your partner have been ‘kind of trying’ for the last couple of months or even years with little luck but have now decided that this is your year to fall pregnant, listen up…

  1. Stop comparing yourself to strangers on the internet – get off the forums and get in to see a real live person who can give you individual advice and treatment.
  2. Stop making excuses about your diet. No matter what anyone tells you, your diet and the nutrients you and your male partner absorb are incredibly important for your fertile health.
  3. Get some basic blood tests done, sperm testing done and pelvic ultrasound to eliminate serious causes of infertility so you can either seek natural treatment or move on to another cause.
  4. Start charting your basal body temperature and show it to the real live person you are seeking treatment from in step 1. Learn how to tell when you are fertile and when you are not, learn about your body and start building a better relationship with it
  5. Exercise – get your body moving! Walking or yoga are two great options that everyone can do. Moving blood around your body helps deliver nutrients to your growing eggs or developing sperm for the males.
  6. Sort out your ‘minor’ health complaints – if you suffer from bloating, poor digestion, frequent headaches, tiredness, skin complaints, low libido, insomnia, painful periods, short or long menstrual cycles, get these treated. They may be related to your difficulty in falling pregnant.
  7. Seek emotional support – either through a great group of friends or with a professional, surround yourself with people who love and support you.
  8. Drink water – the simplest tip but for some reason, the most difficult. Keep hydrated. You want full, luscious reservoirs of eggs for ovaries, not dried out raisins
  9. Relax. Falling pregnant can take time. Stress can negatively impact ovulation and your ability to conceive so do the things that bring you joy.
  10. Have lots of sex! The biggest cause of infertility is not enough sex. Knowing when you’re fertile (step 4) can help target the best ‘window’ but regular intercourse is your best chance at conceiving.
  11. Lastly, get acupuncture. This incredible therapy has the ability to help with all of the above – provide individual and holistic advice and treatment, help you relax, improve your blood flow, treat a myriad of health complaints and provide emotional support especially when given by a practitioner experienced in fertility.

Best of luck in your pregnancy goals for 2017. I’d love to hear from you if you have any specific questions about your individual fertility concerns – info@thepointofwellbeing.com.au

Paige x