Archive of ‘Chinese Medicine’ category

Woody Springtime

By Rhiannon Griffiths

So Spring has sprung… well, it kinda sprung, then jumped to a week or so of Summer heat, then the snow came back and we all put our mittens and earmuffs back on… and now, it sort of seems right, April showers are here and we’re uncertain what kind of coat we should be wearing – yep, that sounds like Spring to me!

In Chinese Medicine Spring is the season associated with the Wood Element. It represents a new beginning, a coming out of the hibernation and inward energy of the Winter. There is a real push to this Yang Woody Spring energy, a force to it – like the “shout” tone of voice, the assertion, justice and defiance associated with the Element. I guess there has to be a strength to this Element and season, all the shoots need this kind of energy – they are coming up and out of the bulbs and seeds after a Winter underground, waiting, storing all their energy ready for this time when the light and temperature increases.

The colour of the Wood Element, and Spring is very aptly green, the movement of energy (or Qi) is upwards and outwards. Quite literally, I see the Wood Element in my mind as a tree, the branches reaching upwards to the sky, and outwards, growing, moving forward with strength, blossoming and blooming with leaves, flowers, and fruits – it is this positive, busy, expansive and increasing energy that we can tap into at this time of year.

The Wood Element (along with its organs of the Liver and Gall Bladder) is all about vision of the future, planning, acting on those plans and moving forward. The sense organ of Wood is the eyes, so we can “see” things in different ways during the Spring. We may have new visions, feel compelled to start a new venture, or to pick up on something we put down during the Winter months… its no surprise that everyone feels inspired to get to work on the garden, the home or the DIY as soon as Spring arrives! It’s all about new projects!

People who have Wood as their CF (Element, or constitutional factor) can thrive during this time – as the old saying goes, they really can be “in their Element”!! Ideas blossom, things flower – reflecting the activity in nature and in our gardens. Or it can be a difficult period where they feel as though they should be moving forward, but can’t. It can be difficult to “see” where the future plans or vision should be, the Qi (or energy) doesn’t flow upwards or outwards as it should, it can get stuck and stagnant… this can create what I refer to as a Springtime depression.

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And don’t forget, although we tend to revert back to one “default Element” or CF – mine is Water – we do actually all have all Five of the Elements within us, working together (harmoniously, or otherwise!), so we can ALL feel pushed positively forward on this wave of Woody springtime energy, or feel a bit lacking and unable to “see” ahead.

A tree can be flexible, bending in the wind, and weathering the storm, as long as it’s branches are properly nourished… if the tree is lacking or deficient, it can become stiff and brittle, breaking easily at the first sign of stress. And this is how some of us can feel during the Spring. We may have done too much during the Winter, or been exhausted by coughs and colds at the beginning of the year… as the rest of the world around us starts to blossom and push forward with Wood energy, we can feel flat and unable to move forward at all.

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This disparity between what we feel inside, and what the rest of the busy world appears to be doing outside, can cause us to feel hopeless, stuck and numb, we may feel as though we (or “our branches”) might break if we even try to do anything at all.

Whichever way you’re feeling at the moment, acupuncture can provide a real boost during this change of season, helping you to top up your energies, to move forward in a way that you want, overcoming any stagnation or frustrations. Treatment at this time can also help with hay fever (that might be starting to creep in around now?!) and can expel any pathogens left over from Winter that we haven’t quite managed to shake off yet… and in true Wood Element style, this “forward planning” of sorts, actually leaves our immune systems in better shape for next Winter! So Spring into action and contact me now, to start something new and positive today – acupuncture!

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© Rhiannon Griffiths 2012

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The Luck of the Irish

By Rhiannon Griffiths

On Friday I was back at college, continuing with the paediatric acupuncture diploma study, and discussions in class raised a very interesting point about Ireland that I had never realised before.

The Irish have to pay for their doctors appointments, and not just a token fee like we do for NHS dentists, they pay private rates which varies between €50 and €100. And yes, that is for a 10 minute appointment! Furthermore prescriptions are €25-€50, not around £7 as they are in the UK under the NHS at present. So what does this have to do with acupuncture and alternative medicine? Why should you or I care if they have to pay in Ireland?

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Well, the answer is this, when people have to pay for healthcare – and I mean healthcare as an umbrella term, to include conventional Western medicine, and alternative or complementary medicine like acupuncture, herbs, homeopathy and so on – they think more carefully about what treatment they wish to invest their money in.

If you’re faced with having to shell out €60 on a 10 minute appointment with the doctor, and then potentially another €25-€50 on each prescription, an acupuncture session at €60 for a whole hour, suddenly doesn’t seem quite so expensive, unreasonable or off the table, does it?!

The Irish are therefore more open to acupuncture and its positive role in the healthcare system. It is seen as more of an equal, it is a valid first-line option, instead of being a “last resort” once patients have been back and forth to the doctors numerous times to no avail. I am often the “end of the line” person that patients come to once they have tried all the conventional stuff – been on a whole host of different drugs, had many investigations or tests, all suppressing symptoms (or worse, making no difference whatsoever) without necessarily treating the underlying root cause of the illness. I wish that wasn’t the case, I wish I would be the first person they think to call!

So, I can’t help but feel slightly envious of my fellow acupuncturists in Ireland, they are practising on a level playing field! They really are lucky! And I’m not having a dig at the NHS, I think they do a good job within their limited means, and for some issues conventional intervention is still necessary. But I do believe a large number of repeat prescriptions or ongoing issues could be served more efficiently long term with complementary medicine like acupuncture.

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The role of GPs does have a part to play here, but actually the onus is on patients themselves. If patients were forced to be more selective or mindful about their health decisions, through a financial consideration or commitment, then it could massively reduce the number of people who “pop to the doctors” as a knee jerk reaction. It would shift UK society from the “sticking plaster” approach, to a pro-active, preventative healthcare framework, building and maintaining a positive level of health from the inside out, including diet, lifestyle, stress and emotional factors.

The idea of being “in better overall health” becomes far more appealing when money is a factor. Who wants to see the doctor for 10 minutes once a month (or more!) at €60, if you can see an acupuncturist for an hour, and have support and sustained longterm health at the same price?!

It really raises the question of the VALUE of health, the value people put on themselves and their overall level of health. If you can’t invest in yourself, who can you / are you investing in?! For me, I have chosen acupuncture over nights out on the town, a new pair of boots, a new outfit or days out. For the last 11 years, given the choice, its been acupuncture every time, and I still have acupuncture regularly.

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Acupuncture wins every time because I value it (and its affects) highly. But perhaps more importantly I value MYSELF highly, and put my health first.  I have chosen to invest my money in myself, in my own health. And that’s my holistic health – my mental, emotional and physical health, which you just cannot get (in my humble opinion) from a pill at the doctors.

Are you ready to invest in yourself and your longterm health? If so, get in touch here… or maybe you already do invest in health and think carefully about your treatment choices, leave me your thoughts in the comments box below!

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© Rhiannon Griffiths 2011

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The Sunshine Award

By Rhiannon Griffiths

I was awarded The Sunshine Award last week! But what is this you may ask?! The Sunshine Award is awarded to bloggers who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere! Amazingly humbled to receive this “award of the people”!

 

 

 

As with all the greatest things, with honour comes responsibility, there are rules to being nominated and things I now have to do! The rules of the Sunshine Award are as follows:

Thank the person who gave you the award; write a post about it; answer the questions below; then nominate ten other bloggers, link their blogs, and let them know you have awarded them with the Sunshine Award!

So, THANK YOU Maisie Villegas – my very new, but already very dear friend; a doula extraordinaire, student acupuncturist, fellow paediatric diploma student, and big lover of tea and cake! As she mentioned in her own Sunshine Award blog, when nominating this blog, we do practice very different styles of acupuncture – my Five Element and TCM integrated approach, always gives us something to talk about, bringing a slightly different viewpoint to the same issue… plus, I can talk about Chinese Medicine ALL DAY, so it is always great to find someone new to do that with!

Favourite Colour: Green – fresh, calming and about life and growth… the colour of the Wood Element in Chinese Medicine, and of course, my leaf logo!

Favourite Animal: Birds – they have a magic all of their own, graceful and beautiful.

Favourite Number: 7, it is very me.

Favourite Non-Alcoholic Drink: Tea – in Chinese food energetics, black tea is bitter & sweet, which benefits the Heart & Stomach – this is why you feel so calm & contented when you have a good cuppa! Green tea has a more cooling energy & it moves Qi, which makes it a great stress buster!

Facebook or Twitter: Facebook definitely – good for more photos, but more importantly you can write much much more! I am a huge rambler – yes, you knew that already I’m sure! – and need more room to express myself! The 140 characters is always a HUGE challenge!

My Passion: Acupuncture, Chinese medicine, holistic health, emotions, Five Elements, Chinese food energetics… living life slightly differently, with huge benefits and rewards on many levels.

Getting or Giving Presents: Giving presents – especially those you put tons of thought into, the really unusual, quirky, poignant and personal ones.

Favourite Pattern: I do like the Orla Kiely leaf pattern, but then I do have a penchant for leaves! It is a lovely mixture of 70s retro (which I adore!), with a modern twist.

Favourite Day of the Week: Sunday – love waking up late (topping up that yin!), watching “Something for the Weekend” (though next week I will be switching over to “Sunday Brunch” on Channel 4!), having a walk in the village, having a cuppa or a bite to eat in the local cafe, roast with the family… easy sunday things 🙂

Favourite Flower: Sunflowers or gerberas – the bright yellow makes me smile, and they kind of look like they have little faces! They bring cheer to a room, and I love giving them as presents, it’s like giving a bunch of joy!

The following are my nominations for handing over the baton for The Sunshine Award:

Intelligent Running – let’s get one thing straight, I am NOT a runner, I don’t do running… but I do enjoy George’s blog for his boundless enthusiasm and positivity for health, nutrition, living well, and of course, running! His example (business wise and personally) keeps me striving to be better! And I wish I had his energy, incredible!!

Emma Martin: Mission to Motherhood – fabulously honest and funny blog about my Bournemouth uni buddy’s journey into motherhood. The challenges of being a working mummy, learning as a family at every stage, astute reflections on being with her beautiful boy Phoenix. It’s a joy to read.

Little Mountain Homeopathy – as part of the paediatrics diploma I am doing this year, I am learning more about homeopathy and how it can slot in very nicely alongside acupuncture in the natural treatment of children. This blog has some very good information set out in a very accessible way.

Polly’s Path – a blog that follows Polly’s journey to heal herself of cancer naturally. There are raw recipes, inspiration on how to live a life you love, anecdotal accounts of her journey thus far… she always has something positive to share!

The Pink Peril – my childhood friend Rachel is running the London marathon for the first time! The blog traces her steps from novice to expert, ready for 22nd April, with a lovely dose of humour and reality! She is raising money for The Outward Bound Trust, a cause close to her heart.

Integrative Nutrition Blog – I LOVE this blog, a mixture of recipes, healthy tips, lifestyle advice… they advocate nutrition on all levels, what you eat, what you think, what you study, what you do… just excellent.

On the Road with the Urban Psychic – my good friend Amy Holland is a fabulously talented medium, as well as being a highly qualified psychotherapist and healer. This blog follows the adventures in the “psychic bus” that locals will recognise driving around Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire!

Raymond Blanc – a local celebrity around these parts, and I have been lucky enough to meet the funny, passionate chef – he even winked at me! And the food at Le Manoir is just beautiful. You can hear him talking through his blog (and his twitter feed!), and it always makes me laugh, even if its not always meant to!

MindBodyGreen – a collection of blog posts from a variety of authors on yoga and wellness. I love dipping in and out of these writings, there is always something that is applicable to your day, invoking self-reflection, growth, and development.

Build Your Dream Practice – Kevin Doherty has a whole host of great tips and tricks for marketing your alternative practice… great if you’re new to social media and general marketing strategies, or if you’re an old hand like me, it just keeps you on track!

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© Rhiannon Griffiths 2011

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Talking Hay Fever & Allergies

By Rhiannon Griffiths

With the beautiful Spring-like weather we had over the weekend, the weather people have predicted the hay fever season is set to arrive earlier than ever this year! TODAY the pollen levels are expected to peak at their highest, indicating the misery of runny noses, itchy eyes, scratchy throats and sneezing is about to commence…

During Acupuncture Awareness Week at the end of last month, I spoke as part of BBC Radio Oxford’s Health Team, on the subject of hay fever and other allergies, and how acupuncture is helpful in building the immune system to treat the root cause, as well as treating the dreaded symptoms as they arise.

Have a listen below, and hear from one of my patients, the beautiful Amanda Trott, who has suffered with hay fever as far back as she can remember, (as well as a couple of other random allergies!), and she feels acupuncture has cured her! It’s a really compelling example of a complicated and well-entrenched case, where the hay fever was even causing some allergic-asthma… she is now an acupuncture convert and can breathe easy during the summer without the sneezes!

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[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ns6Mkz2ALgI%5D

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If you are dreading the Spring, and are already poised to reach for pills, sprays and tissues, contact me to chat through how acupuncture could help you! Avoid that heavy-head, drowsy-feeling this year, ditch the drugs and use natural medicine to strengthen your immune system and enjoy the warmer months outdoors in the brilliant sunshine!

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© Rhiannon Griffiths 2011

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Year of the Water Dragon

By Rhiannon Griffiths

Happy New Year! No, I’m not on a time lapse, or having some kind of deja vu, it is the start of the Chinese New Year today! As you may already know, the Chinese calendar attributes different animals to different years, and depending on the year you were born, you are a different animal – I am a Dog! If you don’t know what animal you are, you can check it out here!

This year (2012) is the year of the Dragon in China, or more specifically, the Water Dragon. So, as we say goodbye to the year of the Rabbit, and enter into one of the most revered years in the Chinese Zodiac, let’s see what goodies it has in store for us, and how we can make the most of it…

The Dragon has supernatural powers and is a deliverer of good fortune and intense power; according to the Sung dynasty, he has a head of an ox, body of a serpent covered with fish scales, and feet of a phoenix. He gives happiness and success, watches over good, honest people and the family, cultivating smart and healthy children. Which I guess makes it a very good year for me to be doing a paediatric acupuncture diploma! If you have children, ensure holistic health (body, mind and emotions) features big this year; and if you don’t  have children, but are intending to start a family, this year is the one for you!

It is a time for boldness, big ideas and new projects on a work and social level, as the Yang part of Water of this “Water Dragon” year, is more like an ocean or a rushing stream, opposed to a stagnant pond. It is powerful, dynamic and has strong energy. So think outside the box, push the boundaries of your comfort zone, and try something new – this year, nothing is off the table, you can achieve whatever you put your mind to – after all, you have the power of Water behind you, pushing you forward!

It brings all the qualities we know and love about the Water Element in Chinese medicine – bringing wisdom and perception, re-evaluting situations, researching when necessary, assessing levels of risk – making plans even more successful, as the pitfalls have already been thought of and accommodated for. So if you’re embarking on a new project this year, ensure you do all the research, and it’s likely to be a success. Or why not use your wisdom and passion inspire others – organise a talk or seminar, invite the girls round to talk about your favourite books, make a video on what you know about and post it on you tube! Spread the word and lead the way, as the Dragon would!

The parts of the body Water relates to include the kidney, immune system, sexual organs and the urinary system; so ensure you keep an eye out for kidney problems, kidney stones, inflammation of urinary tract, and general virus or bacterial infection. Drink enough water to keep your body hydrated, to reduce vulnerability to these issues; and acupuncture can help keep your immune system topped up.

The Dragon is said to be a karmic animal, bringing the positive, loving energies we have given to others, back to us! (You have been giving out positive, loving energies, right?! If not, make this something you do this year – give big and you’ll get tons back). This year is set to have love and success at the top of its agenda, and who wouldn’t want that?! New love can blossom, and as the Dragon is associated with festivals and celebrations, 2012 is THE year for engagements and weddings! And its not just small successes, Dragons bring those BIG dreams to life!

So take the opportunity to start with your new year’s resolutions all over again, grab hold of the Dragon’s optimism and positivity, get rid of those January blues, and embrace a new start, for a second time!

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© Rhiannon Griffiths 2011

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