acupuncture

Irritable Bowel Syndrome on BBC Radio Oxford

by

At the beginning of the week I was asked to go on BBC Radio Oxford’s afternoon show to talk about Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and how acupuncture can help sufferers with their symptoms. ITV’s Dr Hilary Jones was also on the show to give the conventional medicine view, and to highlight a new study into the illness that suggests 45% of Britons suffer some form of digestive problem.

IBS is an umbrella term for many digestive issues such as pain or discomfort in the abdomen – anywhere between the chest and the hips – and also includes changes in frequency or consistency of stools.

Jo Thoenes (of “Jo in the Afternoon” fame) spoke to a lovely patient of mine, and fellow alternative therapist, Anna Shaw, about how treatment with me helped her with bloating and pain, that was affected by stress and her menstrual cycle. And I explained how we view IBS in Chinese Medicine – all to do with the smooth flow of Qi or energy within the body. Take a listen to what she, and I, said below:

.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfYRa3FgZ4Y%5D

.

Emotions can also disrupt the smooth flow of Qi. Stress, frustration or anger can cause energy to move upwards, interrupting the digestive energy’s normal flow. Worry can knot the Qi, causing stagnation, that creates pain and bloating.

We can also offer advice underpinned by Chinese Food Energetics, identifying possible food intolerances, like wheat or dairy, guiding patients toward better food choices. Additionally with IBS, adding in foods that help promote the smooth flow of energy in the body can be beneficial – these foods include green tea, lemon, carrots and almonds – stick around for a recipe and Spring baking film coming your way next week with these very ingredients! As Spring is the season when energy is all about flow and movement and growth, its particularly important to ensure the smooth and correct flow of Qi at this time!

If you recognise some of the symptoms discussed during the show, contact me to discuss how acupuncture could help you have a better quality of life – stop thinking about the potential of needing to go to the toilet wherever you are, stop thinking about whether you can wear your favourite slinky outfit or whether your tummy is too bloated, stop thinking about if you can eat out at a fabulous restaurant without getting pain… start living and feel better! If you’re weary of needles, talk to me about how Chinese Food Energetics could make a difference to your diet.

.

© Rhiannon Griffiths 2012

Visit the website

Like on Facebook

Follow on Twitter

.

Yin O’Clock

by

I am really struggling to be proactive and productive today. Way too much procrastination, and the grey cloudy weather doesn’t help. My business brain is telling me I need to write blog posts, edit the new Spring baking video I filmed last week, finish my patient notes and the accompanying research and reading… but all I REALLY want to do is sit on the sofa, switch my mind off, and watch the earliest CSI in town, 1970s medical pathologist-come-detective Qunicy ME.

I’m currently sat on the sofa with an apple, lemon and carrot juice, and I have made a deal with myself – write this post, then you can watch Quincy… but for me, there is more to it than JUST being a lazy bum and wanting to veg out! It has taken me a long time to be able to “actively rest”, and get my head around this concept.

I am really rubbish at stopping or slowing down, my mind is always ticking over with everything I must do, the list is endless, and potentially I could ALWAYS be doing something. I have always been this way.

.

But as discussed in my post about the petrol crisis, we have a metaphorical tank, and if we are on the go the whole time, without rest, that tank of energy can go down pretty quickly, and we continue going whilst running on empty… this eventually leaches the watery, cooling, moisturising, nourishing Yin energy from our bodies.

For Water CFs in particular (as Water is an inherently Yin substance), but also for many other Elements (or CFs), carving out time to actually STOP, rest, and top up the Yin energy of the body, is incredibly important. A lack of Yin in the body can manifest as, feeling hot or sweaty towards the end of the day or at night, needing a drink of water during the night, feeling “tired in the bones”. We can have a vulnerability to stress, migraines, constipation, dry skin, hot flushes, anxiety and insomnia. Additionally, over the course of our lives, there is a natural depletion of Yin, so it becomes even more important to nurture our Yin the older we get.

Therefore working at having some time to be quiet, inward and still is paramount – all three of these characteristics are important in cultivating more Yin, but are also part of the Yin energy itself. But if you’re anything like me, just sitting quietly on the sofa, pottering around the house, or laying down and resting just doesn’t work – I spend the entire time going “you could be doing x right now”, “why aren’t you doing Y”, “Sally called you earlier, you must remember to call them back”, and so on and so on! That is NOT restful! In fact, it just agitates the Yin energy, creating restlessness and agitation – totally the opposite of the desired intention!

I need something to occupy my over-analytical, chatty mind, whilst I allow my body to rest and for the Yin to be topped up. So my key is to watch something like Quincy; Diagnosis Murder or Murder She Wrote are other valid Yin nourishing TV choices – no real gore or violence, that level of Fear would totally undo all the Yin nourishment! This keeps my mind ticking over, figuring out who did what to whom, so that I am not constantly thinking about what ELSE I could, or should, be doing! I am still, quiet and calm – actively resting my body and quietening my mind! It’s a meditation of sorts, a seventies flashback whodunnit kind of meditation!

So, if you’ll excuse me, I am off to pop the kettle on, watch a bit of Quincy and top up my Yin!! What do you do to carve out “rest” time? Is “active resting” a new concept for you? What could you do to top up your Yin? Could Quincy be helpful for you?! Let me know by leaving your comments below… or ask me how acupuncture can help you top up your Yin too!

.

© Rhiannon Griffiths 2012

Visit the website

Like on Facebook

Follow on Twitter

.

Enough Petrol in the Tank?

by

Here in the UK things have gone a bit crazy on the petrol front. Everyone queuing to fill up their tanks, beeping at each other, blocking surrounding roads, running the petrol stations dry, general hysteria. And all of this is BEFORE the potential strike by tanker drivers even happens, before it is even the same week of the proposed strike. The general advice is fill up so your tank is full to the brim.

This panic buying reminds me of the yang side of the Water Element. As I have described before, there are five Elements in Chinese Medicine – Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood – and each of the five Elements have organs associated with them, one yin and one yang (though Fire is greedy and has four!!). The Water Element organs are the Kidneys (Yin) and Bladder (Yang). And although the Kidney energy has a lot to do with “reserves”, it is the Bladder energy that makes us feel panicky over “running out”, before the potential threat has even happened.

On a physical level the Bladder (and Kidney) regulates the balance of Water in our bodies by adjusting the volume of urine. Emotionally, an imbalance in the Bladder official (or energetic organ, not necessarily the physical organ itself) on an energetic level, can give rise to the huge fear, or lack of fear, associated with the Water Element. When the well is dry, there are no reserves of water for the coming year to bring fluid and nourishment; when the bank’s “rainy-day fund” has gone, the reassurance from having a monetary back-up disappears… the general notion that there might not be “enough” for the future is scary, and can induce panic. This is how I am viewing the public’s behaviour this week with the petrol – as I always say, I see the world through “Five-Element tinted glasses”!

When we feel we don’t “have enough” (emotionally and physically) to get us through into the future, everything appears to be a threat, and we may imagine all the worst possible outcomes, never secure in the knowledge that we can survive. The mental and emotional impact can be huge if our Water Element is depleted, particularly if we have a perceived “lack” of actual physical things in our lives too – in this case, a lack of petrol – or should that be a PERCEIVED lack of petrol?!

To a Water CF (a person who has Water as their main Element or Constitutional Factor i.e. CF), it does not matter if there is a perceived threat or a real threat, the fear or panic is exactly the same. It is a case of managing the fear and managing the road towards catastrophisation; for example, A and B leading to X, Y and Z in one or two jumps instead of twenty five!

This case is an incredibly accurate and timely working example of this route that the Water Element and fear can go down – a potential strike of petrol tanker drivers has made the country jump to the conclusion that there will be no petrol, no Easter holidays away, no getting to the doctors or hospitals, patients will suffer, people will not get to work, they will lose money, lose their houses etc etc – the escalation from “the drivers MAY strike”, to “the UK will be ground to a standstill and everyone will suffer” seems to have been one simple step – creating the crazy panic buying seen in the last few days! I reckon quite a lot of people need their Water Elements treating at the moment!!

As a Water CF, I am trying hard not to buy into this mass hysteria and panic buying, though I do have a full tank at the moment (both petrol, and energetic tank from having had acupuncture myself this week!), so perhaps that makes it easier to keep calm! If you recognise feelings of fear of the future, feeling easily overwhelmed, worried about whether you have enough energy to survive what is coming your way, you could benefit from Five-Element acupuncture. This is my favourite part of acupuncture (as a patient and a practitioner!) and it can have a huge impact on your quality of life – contact me here, keep calm and feel better!

.

© Rhiannon Griffiths 2011

Visit the website

Like on Facebook

Follow on Twitter

.

The Luck of the Irish

by

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?

.

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.

.

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.

.

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!

.

© Rhiannon Griffiths 2011

Visit the website

Like on Facebook

Follow on Twitter

.

The Sunshine Award

by

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!

.

© Rhiannon Griffiths 2011

Visit the website

Like on Facebook

Follow on Twitter

.