Posts Tagged ‘anxiety’

Acupuncture Awareness Week 2015 – Stress

By Rhiannon Griffiths

The 2015 theme of The British Acupuncture Council’s Acupuncture Awareness Week, during 2nd to 8th March, is STRESS. I am thrilled that the BAcC has chosen this topic to focus on this year, because it is such a common modern day condition, and not many people know acupuncture can actually really help with stress. And make sure you scroll to the bottom of this page for special FREE offers, videos and more!

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Acupuncture Awareness Week 2015 - Stress

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A recent study, commissioned by the British Acupuncture Council for the awareness week, reveals British stress levels are on the increase, and we are risking our health by turning to sugary food, comfort eating and alcohol to help cope with modern life. The study of 5,000 adults found that over half of the UK are more stressed now than ten years ago, a third of us admit to comfort eating when stressed, a quarter confess to drinking alcohol and as a result 1 in 5 admit they put on weight.

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Despite 70 per cent of the UK saying they are aware prolonged periods of stress can have a long term impact on their health, almost half of people admit they just put up with it, and two thirds say stress is unavoidable in their life. A lack of time (41%), wanting to have it all (25%) and difficulty switching off from work (24%) were cited as the top reasons for the rise of burnt out Brits.

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In scientific terms, acupuncture has been shown to stimulate release of endorphins (the happy hormones) and oxytocin (the calm and contented hormone) – leading to reduction of stress and pain. Yet the statistics showed that 1 in 10 of us think stress isn’t serious enough to seek help, and 67% say they didn’t know acupuncture helps to release endorphins, in order to combat stress.

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In Chinese Medicine we view this process as harmonising Qi within the energy pathways of the body, restoring balance, health and wellbeing. It is why acupuncture is so relaxing and makes patients feel so good.

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Stress was originally a scientific term, first used to explain the temporary ‘fight or flight’ response in organisms, but is now used regularly to describe a range of physical and emotional symptoms.

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Many people suffer stress or feel “stressed out”, experiencing emotional signs such as feeling frustrated, irritable, tearful, overwhelmed, anxious, worried or depressed. Additionally, physical symptoms such as exhaustion, muscle tension, tight neck and shoulders, irritable bowel, nausea or migraine may also be indicative of high stress levels.

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In Chinese Medicine, we believe our emotions can be a huge cause of illness in our bodies – so stress, fear, worry or frustration can prevent the smooth flow of Qi energy in the body, creating stagnation in the channels, or depletion of the body’s overall energy, ultimately causing imbalance or pain.

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Acupuncture seeks to address the ROOT CAUSE of the stress, and relieve anxiety, exhaustion or overwhelm by boosting the energy that is lacking, or moving the stuck energy that is causing tension. It is this differentiation of identifying EXACTLY what is going on in a patient’s body, that is the benefit of using acupuncture to treat stress, and means the results are often better in the long term.

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I see many patients who are exhausted from being permanently stuck in this ‘fight or flight’ stress pattern – this is the daily norm for people, with extended hours in the office, balancing work and home life, a lack of proper rest or nourishing food. Acupuncture can provide vital support to break this vicious cycle.

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Rhiannon Griffiths Acupuncture AAW Thame

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To mark the awareness week I have many opportunities for you to get involved with learning more about how acupuncture could help you, & also for you to access FREE information about stress:

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+ see what my patients (pictured above) have to say about STRESS – pick up your FREE copy of THAME OUT

+ join the FREE “7 Day Stress Busting Challenge”, on instagram, Facebook & Twitter or sign up HERE

+ download your FREE “How to Help Physical & Emotional Stress” information sheet now

+ read the blog post “Top 10 Ways Acupuncture Helps Stress” on this website

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NOT SURE WHAT TRADITIONAL ACUPUNCTURE IS, OR HOW IT WORKS? WATCH THIS NEW VIDEO:

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THIS YEAR’S AAW 2015 CELEBRITY ENDORSER – DONNA AIR – ON ACUPUNCTURE & STRESS:

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SEE ME TREATING STRICTLY COME DANCING’S CAMILLA DALLERUP:

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WATCH THE PLAYLIST OF FREQUENTLY ASKED ACUPUNCTURE QUESTIONS:

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© Rhiannon Griffiths 2015

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Free Five Element Ebook CF




Top 10 Ways Acupuncture Helps Stress

By Rhiannon Griffiths

Lots of people know acupuncture is good for bad backs, migraines, fertility and frozen shoulders, but did you know acupuncture helps stress? Read on for the top ten ways acupuncture helps with stress:

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1. Stagnation of Qi

In Chinese Medicine we view stress as energy (or what we call Qi) that has got stuck or become stagnant in the body. This can cause emotional or physical stress, such as mood swings, irritability or tight neck and shoulders. For optimum health on all levels, the movement of Qi energy in the body, should be naturally free flowing throughout all the meridian channels or energy pathways from the top of the head to the tips of the toes. Acupuncture uses ultra fine needles, the thickness of a human hair, to actively move Qi in the channels, thereby tackling what we view as a root cause of stress.

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2. Happy Hormones

In scientific terms, acupuncture has been shown to stimulate the release of endorphins and oxytocin. Endorphins are the happy hormones that get released with exercise, and oxytocin is the calm and contented hormone, that is often associated with breastfeeding mothers. This leads to a biochemical reduction in stress levels, and is why acupuncture is so relaxing and makes patients feel so good!

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3. Talk It Out

In my treatment room, a large part of the session is spent talking to my patient, before I even think about picking up any needles. Discussing what has been going on for them emotionally, physically, at home, and at work. Not only does it help inform my choice of exactly which acupuncture points are needed for that session, but it also helps lower their stress levels with the old adage of “a problem shared is a problem halved”.

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4. Chinese Food Energetics

During an acupuncture session, your acupuncturist is likely to offer various lifestyle and dietary changes that complement your treatment. The way we view food is via the impact it has on the internal energy of the body, what properties the food has, and what it does. According to Chinese Food Energetics, or Chinese Dietary Therapy, green tea helps to move Qi in the body, making it the perfect drink to reach for when you feel your stress levels start to rise.

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5. Emotions

In Chinese Medicine, we believe our emotions can be a huge cause of illness or imbalance in our bodies – anxiety, fear, worry, frustration or anger can prevent the smooth flow of Qi energy in the body. This creates stagnation in the channels, or depletion of the body’s overall energy, ultimately causing stress levels to skyrocket. Needling different acupuncture points helps to stabilise and regulate different emotions, restoring flow, and giving emotional support to reduce stress.

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Rhiannon Griffiths Acupuncture Thame

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6. Relaxing & Rebalancing

Contrary to popular belief, acupuncture is not scary and painful, it is actually an incredibly relaxing experience, during which many patients actually fall asleep on the treatment couch whilst the needles are in! This makes the acupuncture session itself de-stressing, but by rebalancing the system on a deeper level, this relaxation from the clinic continues at home. In Chinese Medicine we view acupuncture as harmonising Qi within the energy pathways of the body, restoring balance, health and wellbeing.

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7. The Four Gates

The number one de-stressing point combination in acupuncture is called the “Four Gates”. It combines LI 4, found in the fleshy webbing between the thumb and forefinger, with Liv 3 on the foot, over the “knuckle” between the big toe and the second toe. This combination strongly moves the Qi in the body, calming the system physically and mentally. These can also be massaged at home as a form of acupressure to de-stress, but should be avoided during pregnancy.

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8. Energy Boost

Sometimes we can feel stressed out when we are exhausted and overwhelmed. This feels very different to the frustrated or snappy energy that we often think of with the word stress. Acupuncture can help support and nourish the body, by using points that boost up energy levels, such as St 36 just below the outer side of the knee, thereby reducing this type of stress. Eating blood-nourishing foods, as according to Chinese Food Energetics, will also help here – add beetroot, beef, spinach, eggs, apricots, figs and kale for an extra boost.

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9. Bespoke Treatment

Traditional acupuncture is a holistic practice that treats YOU as you, as an individual, as a whole person. You may have a group of people all claiming to be “stressed out”, but the acupuncture points chosen for each person might be completely different, depending on what is going on in their lives, what symptoms are present, or which of the Chinese Five Elements they are. This bespoke de-stressing is one of the key reasons acupuncture is so effective at combating stress, it’s not a one-size fits all approach.

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10. Me Time

An average acupuncture session runs between 45 minutes and 1 hour. It is your time to stop, relax, and focus purely on yourself – how often do we get that in our daily routines? Patients often say that just knowing they have acupuncture booked into their diaries is enough to help their stress levels – knowing they have a support system in place, that will help them physically and emotionally, is de-stressing in itself.

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© Rhiannon Griffiths 2015

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7 Natural Tips for Healthy Flying

By Rhiannon Griffiths

Here in the UK, the Summer holidays are upon us. The schools have finished for their extended six week break, and families are jetting off to sunny places for some rest and relaxation, despite it having been unusually hot on our shores for the last month or so! And so many patients in clinic have been asking exactly HOW I managed my 24 hour flight to Australia earlier in the year, despite having a BIG fear of flying, AND suffering crippling travel / air / altitude sickness.

So today I am sharing the WHAT – those specific things that went into my carry-on hand luggage – yes, all the right sizes and no dodgy restrictions – that got me through the seven flights I did in March. It did raise a few eyebrows from the folks sitting next to me every time I got out my “flying survival toolkit”, but it became somewhat of a talking point, and I KNOW there will be things in here that will help you too, especially if you’re not a big fan of planes!

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healthy flying tool kit.

1. Acupressure Travel Bands

As an acupuncturist, the one security blanket you have is that you can put needles in yourself to treat acute conditions e.g. sickness or migraine, to give instant and immediate relief. Even THINK about going near a plane, and all sharp objects, including your gorgeous, magic, special little needles are out of the question. Cue freaking out. Ok, when I calmed down, I realised acupressure was my new best friend.

So called “travel bands” are available from Boots (in the UK), and most pharmacies, or online – heck, I even lost one of my wrist bands on the first leg of my homeward bound journey, and managed to pick up a replacement in Singapore airport!

You wear them like wrist bands, and they have a plastic half-sphere on the inside. They work by stimulating an acupuncture point called Pc 6 or “neiguan”, which is translated as “inner gate”. The deep pathway of the channel goes directly through the stomach, which harmonises and settles the organ, keeping Qi (energy) down, instead of it rising up which causes you to feel (or actually be) sick. Having acupuncture on this point BEFORE you go can also help massively.

The main time I remember thinking I might actually vomit on the flight from Heathrow to Singapore (to then go on to Brisbane), I looked at my wrist bands and they had moved off the Pc 6 point – a small adjustment, and the nausea ceased again. It is important to get the point location exact, else these bands won’t work for you – I have a sheet on my website that I give to patients before they travel, just to make sure they are guided properly to putting the bands on correctly.

I also used a second pair of the bands on my feet to stimulate the acupuncture point Kid 1 – to “ground” my energy DOWN as much as possible, whilst being up in the air! And an acupressure plaster on He 7, to help calm my anxiety and nerves. Acupressure really rocks!

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2. Homeopathic Remedies

Before I travelled, I went to see my fabulously lovely homeopath, Jill Roarty, so that I could have a range of remedies tailored to my needs and my personality. The main one for altitude sickness was Coca, and it works like a dream! I had a special jet lag formula, and a strong dose of arnica, to take whilst on the flight, to help the adjustment to the new time zone – I didn’t have ANY jet lag when I arrived in Australia! Plus a couple of other remedies to help with my anxiety, fear of freaking out when “trapped” inside the airplane for 14 hours etc… and I was ok!

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3. Flower Remedies or Essences

Bach Rescue Remedy is a staple in my first aid kit, and the smaller “flight friendly” bottle (double check when you buy) definitely went in to the “flight survival pack”, to calm the nerves. This was especially useful in the airport BEFORE the flight. And it seemed only fitting to have an Australian Bush Flower Essence in there too, especially as I was flying to Aus! The “TRAVEL” essence was perfect, and I took it before, during and after the flights. It helps energetics wise, when you’re in such close proximity to strangers when travelling, as well as tiredness, jet lag, adjusting to new places and time zones.

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4. Aromatherapy

I also had two bespoke remedies blended for me by great aromatherapist Jo Partridge. They come in “flight friendly” rollerball vials. One was very calming, with rose, geranium and a couple of others. It was great when the nerves started to creep up, I just dabbed some on my wrists, so the oils could be absorbed easily. The other blend had very grounding scents including vetiver and lavender. This again helped to keep my Qi down, despite being up in the air!

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5. Throat Sprays

I am always treating patients who have had a fabulous holiday, but come home with a sore throat, or a cough / cold they have picked up on the plane. Too many people in very close proximity, and the re-circulated air, does nothing for keeping well. I pre-empt this, and ensure my throat is supported, reducing the likelihood of nasties getting in and setting up camp. Higher Nature Colloidal Silver is good at “sterilising” the air around you on a plane – I spritzed this around my face and seating area every few hours, as well as directly spraying the back of my throat to “kill any bugs” that I might be breathing in. Additionally, the A.Vogel echinacea throat spray is fabulous for boosting and supporting the immune system, plus sage is antibacterial and soothes any soreness.

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6. Skin Hyrdation

Apart from drinking TONS of water on the plane – make sure you buy a large bottle once you have gone through security, especially if you’re headed on long-haul – I used the deliciously scented face mist from Liz Earle. It’s for mature or very dry skin – but don’t let that put you off, it is natural and exactly what your poor dehydrated skin requires… and need I say, NO makeup is essential.

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7. Fear of Flying Audios

One last thing that wasn’t in my “travel survival pack” as such, but it really helped to prepare me before the long-haul flights, both to AND from Australia – Flying Without Fear audios and books. I really cannot recommend them highly enough. They dispel all the common misconceptions – did you know there are no such thing as air pockets?! They go through all the various sounds you might hear onboard, so you don’t jump to the conclusion that the clunk you just heard is the wing about to fall off! And they gave me my mantra of 24hrs – “turbulence is NOT dangerous, it is JUST uncomfortable”. My goodness, that got me through it!

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I cannot tell you how much all of these things helped during my travels. Until this year, I didn’t think I could ever fly again after a 7 year absence, or that if I did, I would have to be drugged up to the eyeballs on medication, which is just NOT me! You CAN travel naturally and keep healthy! Do let me know if you try any of these yourself over the summer vacation, or if you have something else I could add to my travel toolkit… what is your number one fail-safe thing to have when you are travelling? Or could you benefit from acupuncture on Pc 6 before you go on holiday to help with travel sickness? Get in touch!

Wishing you safe travels and a restful break, wherever you are headed

R xx

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© Rhiannon Griffiths 2013

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Belated Post: Why I’m Going to Australia

By Rhiannon Griffiths

I just found the following in my travel journal, and wanted to share – kind of a #latergram for the blog world… have altered ever so slightly from its original version to make is appropriate for this space. Enjoy! R x

UK to Australia

I’m sat in Heathrow Airport waiting for my flight to Singapore, which will eventually lead me to Brisbane, Australia. I got here super early as my Water needed to be at the airport – all risks of missing the flight, getting stuck in traffic, rushing, rising panic, eliminated by arriving early… that’s what Water is about, assessing and eliminating risk. So, with this in mind, you won’t be surprised that I am NOT a good flier… this means ANY flight is super frightening, and even contemplating (let alone booking!) a 24 hour flight to the other side of the world sets off the alarm bells on the “risk assessor”, big time! So this trip is a pretty BIG deal.

Why am I even thinking about it then?! Well, if you had treatment with me in clinic during 2012, chances are you know it was an incredibly challenging time health wise for me – repeated bouts of tonsillitis, then a severe unknown virus that affected my liver and kidneys, leaving me with chronic adrenal fatigue. And although I am TONS better, I still get some relapses of fatigue. The Christmas break had a couple, and heading in to 2013 I saw the potential for more episodes… with all the reflection and taking stock that comes with the arrival of a new year, I wanted 2013 to be about POSITIVE health, and to bring some new INSPIRATION, products, opportunities and services to my practice. I really want 2013 to be DIFFERENT to last year. I didn’t know how to make it different… so I went to the complete OPPOSITE end of the spectrum in terms of my comfort zone. And as Thomas Jefferson said, “If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done”… and I have certainly never done anything as big, SCARY or crazy as this!

Thomas Jefferson

This place [Heathrow] is so busy, the energy is crazy – busy, nervous, jittery, exhausting, tearful – waaay too much for a Water Element who is already scared, nervous and jittery. I am having to remind myself of the STILLNESS that is a virtue of the Water Element – see, we do have a positive flip side to all that scary fear! Sitting in a corner, quietly listening to meditations on my ipod is the only thing keeping my nerves at bay. I see some children. They are tired, scared, overwhelmed, and not being understood by their parents – behind the tears is fear. I empathise hugely. I feel just like them.

I am tired, but hopefully that will (for once in this chronic adrenal fatigue journey) go in my favour as I board a night flight. I am scared about the flight, scared of being trapped onboard, scared of freaking out, scared about vomiting for 24 hours, scared of not being able to sleep, scared of horrendous jet lag, scared the trip will make my chronic fatigue worse, scared I will spend the whole time in Australia in bed, even scared that I will love it so much out there I won’t want to come home – yeah, a whole BIG BUCKET of scared.

Tony Robbins

But I know I HAVE to do this. The importance of this trip is MASSIVE. Things in my life need to CHANGE, and as Tony Robbins says, “By changing nothing, nothing changes…” So yeah, I’m changing it up. Changing it up in the BIGGEST way possible. And I have NO idea what is ahead.

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© Rhiannon Griffiths 2013

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12 Days of Christmas – Fire & Water Balance

By Rhiannon Griffiths

So for the last three weeks my life has been in limbo whilst everything else (except treating in clinic of course) has been put on hold for me to revise for my paediatric acupuncture exams. Ideally, I had wanted to merge my 30th birthday celebrations in November, straight into Christmas loveliness, but sadly it was not to be. I have been absolutely itching for my Christmas season to get started, but have had to hit the books in every spare waking moment! But the exams were today (three of them, lasting the entire day!), and now my Christmas can officially begin! Yay!

To celebrate the fact I can now embrace Christmas in all its excess sparkliness and magic, I am partaking in “12 days of Christmas”, where I intend to do one thing each day that is inherently of festive spirit! And as it is me, there might be a couple of healthy holiday activities, a big dose of self-care, but it might be purely because it is good for the spirit, not hugely virtuous – even I like to indulge a little at this time of year! Why not join me and enjoy 12 days of Christmas joy?! Post photos of your Christmassy things each day over on my Facebook page – you’ll find all my photos there too!

And speaking of Christmas spirit, it is THE part of the holidays that I adore the MOST – how it makes me FEEL. This year is a little different in the fact that I have had to “put a cork in it” for the last few weeks, and the bubbles, sparkles, excitement and magic have been building up and building up, so now it is all gushing out in a waterfall of child-like craziness! It is this pure JOY, merriment, warmth, and upward, outward energy that corresponds to the Fire Element. Fire is all about socialising, love, celebration, parties, connections to others and joy! And this is EXACTLY what Christmas is about! Everyone gathering around an open fire, exchanging presents and good wishes, drinking mulled wine, smiling, laughing, loving – that IS Fire. I love how literal Chinese Medicine is sometimes – or most of the time actually, a lot of the theory comes from observing nature around us.

open-fire-in-fireplace

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But for those of you who have read about Water on this blog before, you may be thinking “but Christmas is in Water Winter time, not Fire time” – yes, this is true, unless you are lucky enough to live in the Southern Hemisphere (Hello Aussies and Kiwis!), the Fire time of the year is the Summer, and it is the traditional time for warm, sociable Yang energy – think BBQs, garden parties, days at the beach with family and friends – we do more, socialize more, enjoy time together. Winter is a Water time of the year where we hibernate, stay indoors, do less, go to bed earlier, enjoy a more inward, still Yin energy.

Yin-Yang-Fire-Ice

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And yet our Christmas celebrations seem to be at odds with the seasonal energy at this time of year. But it is all about BALANCE – Fire and Water balance each other out. Without the Water to temper and dampen down the Fire, it can rage and burn out of control – this is like getting sunstroke from too much sun and not enough water to rehydrate you. There are many other conditions I treat in clinic that have an imbalance of Fire and Water at their root – menopausal hot flushes, anxiety, insomnia and heartbreak to name but a few.

Conversely, if we do not have enough warmth from Fire, the Water becomes frozen, the Fire is needed to warm the Water, to make it bubble, sparkle and move. And this is exactly what we get at Christmas – we need the joy, excitement, fun, love and light at the very darkest, coldest part of the year – it’s like the candles, the lights on the tree, tinsel and sequinned decorations that shine and reflect the light and warmth. Just seeing a tree decorated beautifully makes me smile and brings me happiness. Without this, the deepest depths of Watery Winter would be pretty tough to get through.

candles

And that is also what acupuncture is about – bringing balance; balance to the body, mind, spirit and emotions. If you think acupuncture could help you with your balance of Fire and Water, don’t hesitate to contact me! And don’t forget to share your 12 days of Christmas JOY with me on my Facebook page – for my first day, I bought myself some festive flowers, partly for the Christmassy spirit, but also to congratulate myself on getting through all my exams! Go have a look at the photo, they’re BEAUTIFUL! Off to bed now, see you tomorrow for day 2!

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© Rhiannon Griffiths 2012

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