Talking Hay Fever & Allergies

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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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Acupuncture Awareness Week

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The FIRST EVER acupuncture awareness week in the UK, as organised by the British Acupuncture Council, is about to hit a clinic near you! It launches on Monday 27th February, finishing on Sunday 4th March. This year’s theme is around dispelling the many myths that still surround acupuncture.

The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) commissioned research into exactly what the wider public think or know about acupuncture, and they found some interesting results – we acupuncturists couldn’t believe some of the things people still think about  our beloved therapy!

For example, the research revealed that over 21% of the British public think an acupuncturist’s needle is as large as that used in an injection, with even more (26%) thinking it is the same size as a sewing needle! Wowzers, no wonder people don’t want to come for acupuncture if that is what they think!!

The majority (38%) did not know what size of needles acupuncturists used, but the same percentage were put off having acupuncture because they are scared of needles. I can understand this, as I was a needle phobic before having acupuncture – and to some extent I still am scared of medial hypodermic needles, which doctors and nurses find incredibly amusing, given my profession… but they are just SO different, that they may both be called needles, but I actually LOOK FORWARD to having acupuncture, and have it regularly… yet there is still something about injections that makes me nervous.

Acupuncture needles are not only far thinner, they come down to a point as opposed to a cutting edge, feeling vastly different on insertion. Acupuncture needles are in fact the same width as a human hair and some are just 0.13mm in width – proving that size does indeed matter!

In order to set the record straight on needle size, and a whole host of other misconceptions, I am:

* Talking on BBC Radio Oxford on Monday 27th February, listen from 1pm

* Hosting 15 minute consultations & tongue diagnosis, on Tues 28th Feb, in Thame

* Presenting “Busting the Myths Around Acupuncture” webinar, Thurs 1st March, 8pm

You can register online for both the consultations, and the webinar, by clicking through to the website. The event details will then be forwarded directly to your email inbox – super simple & straight forward!

If you can’t make the face-to-face appointments to ask your questions about whether acupuncture could help you, ensure you attend the live 8pm online presentation as there will be a facility to type your questions to me in real time! Plus, you get all the info from the comfort of your own home, whilst in your PJs or having a cuppa!

I’m also putting together a video for the Awareness Week, so be sure to check back next week to watch! So get involved this Acupuncture Awareness Week, ask questions, get the lowdown, see how acupuncture could help you towards better holistic health – or if someone you know could benefit, then please do spread the word! Thanking you, I am super grateful 🙂

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© Rhiannon Griffiths 2011

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Talking Stress Reduction

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At the beginning of the month I was asked to appear on BBC Radio Oxford as their afternoon show – Jo Thoenes in the Afternoon – was covering the topic of stress, and how this can manifest in our bodies. Local personal trainer George Anderson spoke about the impact stress hormones such as cortisol, has on the body and the way it stores fat, making it difficult to lose weight.

I spoke about how acupuncture can help regulate hormonal imbalances, particularly adrenal fatigue (which is also linked to not being able to shift fat, as well as leaving patients exhausted), as it is a very regulating, balancing and harmonising treatment. And with hormones, balance is the key.

Acupuncture helps both physical and emotional stress, and the best thing about it being a completely holistic treatment, is that when these physical and emotional symptoms occur at the same time, we can treat them simultaneously – we treat YOU as you, not as a tense neck or shoulder… have a listen below!

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[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVlbxE-TVf0%5D

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The piece finishes by highlighting some of the other things your acupuncturist can do in the treatment room. For example, we can recommend dietary changes, lifestyle advice, drawing attention to the rest vs exercise balance, and so on… remember, acupuncture is not ONLY about the needles, we have a whole wealth of Chinese Medicine theory to draw upon, to help you!

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© Rhiannon Griffiths 2011

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Question Time

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No, I’m not the Prime Minister (though there is a fair few things I would like to bring in health and wellbeing wise if I was the Prime Minister – see below!) and I’m not appearing next to David Dimbleby… but I was asked a handful of questions by the local newspaper last month, in an article they called “It’s my Dream Job Being an Acupuncturist” (click link to read it)…

The additional few questions that they asked me, but weren’t printed can be seen below… tons of healthy tips, thoughts and tricks that I have in my day to day life – enjoy!

 

If you could pass one new law tomorrow, what would it be and why?

That it would be compulsory for everyone to fulfill a quota of holistic health requirements each year, a wellbeing CPD of sorts! Accessible and obligatory counseling, acupuncture, massage, dietary advice, or exercise classes, would add up to a much higher level of wellness in the wider population.

 

If you were stuck on Death Row, what would you pick for your final meal?

Sushi from Funki Sushi in Bournemouth, where I went to university the first time round! The balance of fish (raw and cooked), with vegetables, seaweed and rice really suits my system.

 

Websites you use or value the most?

I’m on my own website (www.rhiannongriffiths.com) and blog daily, but I’m often also on MindBodyGreen.com, which is a great site about meditation, yoga and holistic health. YourBellaLife.com is another super positive online magazine that has words of wisdom on everything from healthy living, to fashion, beauty and business – I get a daily dose of motivation here!

 

Favourite places to eat within 20 miles of Thame?

The Thatch in Thame is a favourite haunt – the superfood salad (spinach, beetroot, tuna & pumpkin seeds) on their Winter menu was delicious! Amazingly blood nourishing according to Chinese Food Energetics (or dietary therapy), plus a boost of zinc from the pumpkin seeds! Truly super indeed!

I also like a healthy cuppa in Time Out, Thame with their excellent range of Teapigs – from regular black tea, through to green and rooibush (even a Crème Caramel Rooibush which I think tastes like apple crumble – all the taste and none of the naughtiness!), and the vegan, raw wholefood, no refined sugar, no wheat, non-dairy, gluten free Nakd bars make it easier to “go out for tea” and still be healthy!

For a homemade sweet treat whilst relaxing with friends or family, I head to Little Italy in Haddenham. Incredibly friendly and a beautiful energy, a home away from home – they even know my order of earl grey before I get to the counter!

 

Have you got a favourite shop within 20 miles of  Thame town centre? Why is it so good?

I love Planet Health in Greyhound Walk. I would live in there if I could – a fresh juice bar, all the vitamins, supplements and tonics to support your body and emotions, plus a vast array of fabulous foodstuffs. From Pukka Tea, rice milk and almond nut butter, to the seeds, chickpea flour and flaxseed I bake my healthy breakfast muffins or pancakes with. We are really blessed to have such an Aladdin’s cave of health in Thame.

 

What’s your best kept entertainment or social life secret, or guilty pleasure? Tell us about it…

I love watching Quincy in all its faded 70s glory! I’m not very good at doing nothing or stopping working, so figuring out who did what and how, provides enough mental stimulus for my brain to tick over and not get restless, whilst resting my body. It’s all about conserving the quiet, calm, and nourishing Yin energy!

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© Rhiannon Griffiths 2011

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Allergy or Intolerance?

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This week (23rd – 29th January 2012) has been Food Allergy & Intolerance Week. Full blown allergies have strong reactions, big angry red rashes, massive vomiting, swellings or even anaphylactic shock, requiring doses of adrenaline via an epi-pen, or even hospital admittance. You can read some stories on via Allergy UK, that show the physical, social and psychological impact these types of allergies can have on people, and the importance of highlighting this awareness week.

Thankfully, there aren’t many of us that have food causing such a violent impact on us, but we can recognise less intense intolerances to food on a daily basis. This may come in the very basic inkling of a certain food “not being good for us” – despite us liking or craving it! And even with intolerances, it can be tricky to find suitable foods when on-the-go

For me, as you will know by now, it is dairy that I know I must avoid – but with it being an intolerance, rather than a full-blown allergy, I may occasionally allow myself to have cheesecake for pudding if eating out… I just know I will suffer later feeling tired and heavy, with a blocked nose, slight nausea, and a muzzy or full head – unable to think clearly. I love dairy, but it really hates me!

And this is where acupuncture is not only all about the needles! During a treatment, we question around food, drink, diet and digestion (amongst all the other things like sleep, energy levels and mood) so that we can pick up on small cues that might be telling us our patients have intolerances to certain things, and how that fits in to their overall health picture, or lack thereof – it may be that an intolerance is playing into the issue that a patient is seeking help with.

We view these intolerances in terms of Chinese Food Energetics, i.e. whether the food is energetically hot or cold (not just the actual physical temperature of food), blood nourishing or Damp-forming etc. Many food intolerances that we acupuncturists see in the treatment room are to do with the Damp-forming group of foods, though not all are. For example, migraine sufferers may be intolerant to oranges as they are too yang and heating energetics wise, sending heat up to the head, triggering a migraine.

Damp-forming foods include dairy, wheat, sugar, bananas, orange or tomato juice, peanuts and yeast. These foods are the ones that cause a build up of mucus or phlegm in the body – think about when you eat peanut butter, it sticks to the roof of your mouth, glues your mouth together (particularly on bread – another Damp food!) and leaves a residue on your tongue afterwards.

That claggy, sticky, dense feeling of peanut butter, is exactly what these Damp-forming foods are doing inside your body – clogging things up, making things heavy and sticky. This can cause, or perpetuate conditions like sinusitis, headaches, snoring, chronic fatigue (or exhaustion), eczema, asthma, and even being overweight (or struggling to shift those pounds you want to shed). In children, it can particularly cause chronic cough and repeated ear infections.

In the treatment room, we don’t just give you a list of foods you “must not eat” – Chinese Food Energetics allows us to understand the energetic changes that go on in our bodies when we eat certain foods. This kind of understanding and information helps educate and empower our patients about what dietary changes might be beneficial to them, to what degree, and how strict they have to be.

More often than not, the proof is in the pudding (that should be a wheat, yeast, sugar and dairy free pudding!), patients come back knowing their bodies feel different! And more importantly, upon eating the food that they are “intolerant” to, they have a recurrence of symptoms that they can see for themselves. It’s like their very own scientific study! It really shows that simple dietary changes can have a significant impact on your health.

If you suspect your diet is giving you unwanted symptoms, or adding to an illness or condition you’re struggling with, email me at info@rhiannongriffiths.com or visit http://www.rhiannongriffiths.com to see how acupuncture or a nutritional analysis according to Chinese Medicine, could help you.

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© Rhiannon Griffiths 2011

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