Posts Tagged ‘holistic health’

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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Acupuncture Awareness Week 2014 – Back Pain

By Rhiannon Griffiths

The 2014 theme of The British Acupuncture Council’s Acupuncture Awareness Week is BACK PAIN. As traditional acupuncturists we are so passionate about raising awareness, spreading the word of what acupuncture can do & how it could help you in your life.

In Chinese Medicine we view back pain as being caused either by a deficiency of energy (or Qi) in the body, which feels like a constant dull ache or as though the back is weak and could “go” at any time; alternatively, back pain can come from a blockage of energy (inflammation), which is like a spasm or a strong stabbing pain, that comes on quickly.

Acupuncture seeks to address the ROOT CAUSE of the back pain, and relieve it by boosting the energy that is lacking, or moving the stuck energy that is causing the pain. 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 back pain, and means the results are often better in the long term.

In scientific terms, acupuncture has been shown to stimulate release of endorphins (the happy hormones) and oxytocin (the calm and contented hormone often associated with nursing mothers) – leading to reduction of stress and pain. In Chinese Medicine we view it 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.

Camilla Sacre Dallerup acupuncture testimonialAcupuncture Awareness Week 2014 launches on Monday 3rd March, through to the 10th. I was also incredibly thrilled to be chosen out of over 3000 members of the British Acupuncture Council, to treat the celebrity endorser of Acupuncture Awareness Week this year – Strictly Come Dancing’s most successful female professional dancer, Camilla Dallerup.

You can watch us talking about how treatment with acupuncture helped Camilla’s back pain, as well as seeing what a treatment looks like, in this video:

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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 back pain:

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+ book your FREE 15 minute consultation on Tuesday 4th March 2014, at The White House in Thame

+ watch a LIVE online presentation about acupuncture & back pain, at 8pm (GMT) on Thurs 6th March 2014

+ download a FREE “How to Help Back Pain” information sheet, with tips & tricks you can do at home

+ read patient testimonials about how acupuncture has helped their back pain, including Camilla Dallerup!

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WATCH THE PLAYLIST OF FREQUENTLY ASKED ACUPUNCTURE QUESTIONS:

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© Rhiannon Griffiths 2014

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5 Ways to Connect with the Water Element for Winter

By Rhiannon Griffiths

This post was first published as a guest post on Aussie health blog This Is Lifeblood – it is most definitely Winter here in the Northern Hemisphere, that cold, still, watery, dark Yin time. I often write about the Water Element, as Water is my constitutional element (or CF), but Winter is the season of the Water Element, and it is important to connect in with this energy now, at its most potent, whatever your own Element is.

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Water CF Element Five Elements Chinese Medicine

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1. Slow Down & Think Hibernation

The quickest way to connect with the Water Element at any time of the year, but particularly as we move into Water’s season of Winter, is to slow down! Many of us will have been super busy and outwardly sociable during the Summer, with lots of outdoor gatherings with family and friends. Winter is about stillness, coolness, darkness, hibernation – think about what nature is doing at the moment, everything is retracting inwards, seeds of potential are underneath the ground, barely a bud or leaf above soil, and animals are retreating to warm safe spaces. The Water Element will respond beautifully to increased rest in warm safe spaces! Up your commitment to quiet self-care, scale back your social commitments, and keep the Kidneys warm – no crop tops or showing your midriff! Just remember, the energy you conserve during the Winter, becomes the pot of Qi you have for the following Summer – it’s well worth topping yourself up now!

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2. Activate the Water Element Taste

Each of the Five Elements has a “taste” associated with it. Fire is bitter, Earth is sweet, Metal is pungent, Wood is sour, and Water is salty. Salt is a hot topic in health circles, and many people avoid salt at all costs. Processed table salt is not advisable, especially if you have high blood pressure, but in Chinese Medicine, we know that the Water Element and its associated organ, the Kidneys, actually NEED some salt to be supported and function correctly. Add a touch more sea salt or pink himalayan salt to your Winter cooking, or opt for something naturally salty like miso – it is warm, sweet and salty in terms of Chinese Food Energetics. It goes straight to the Water Element organ of the Kidneys, helping to activate their function of fluid control within the body.

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3. Warm the Qi with Food Energetics

As seen above, we can affect the balance in our bodies with that we eat. During Winter we need to reduce raw and cold food intake, cutting down on salads and turning to physically warm dishes like soups, stews and risottos. Apart from being warming, they also have a very “watery” aspect to them, which automatically connects in to the Water Element. Adding energetically hot spices like garlic, cayenne, chilli, ginger, or cinnamon is important in Winter as the temperatures drop down. But note, if you have a tendency to run towards being a hot person, go easy with those very heating spices, even in Winter – nourishing your Yin with rest, and gently warming with thyme, sage or rosemary should be a good balance for you.

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4. Reign in the Fear & Ramp up the Reassurance

The emotion associated with the Water Element is Fear (or conversely, complete lack of it!). This element is all about risk assessing and then reassuring. In Winter, my fear tends to crank up a few notches, as the weather gets worse with snow and ice in the UK – it is riskier to travel, there is more disruption, more uncertainty, and my Water Element has a bit of a wobble! It might not be about the weather, but notice if fear is creeping in and holding you back, this exercise may help you reign in the fear. Write down the issue you are fearful about. Then divide the page in two, with a line down the centre. On the left, write down everything you can think of that is the “worst case scenario”, what you are afraid will happen, what could go wrong, what is stopping you. Once you have really connected into the fear of that column, and exhausted all the potential options (remember, the Water Element WILL find ALL the possible risks, so to harness the positive side of this power, you need to do the same!), turn to the right hand column. You may find it helpful to switch seats or go into a different room for the right hand column – be in a different energetic space!

For each of the risks or fears you wrote down on the left, write down ONE thing that you COULD do, if indeed the worst thing were to happen. For example, it could be the idea of moving to another city is too scary for you, despite your heart knowing it is what you want to do. So in the left column you might write, “I could move away and then not have enough money to support myself”; then in the right column, one thing you COULD do if that were to happen would be “I could find a flatmate”, or “I could move back home with my folks”, or “I could be creative with coming up with new revenue streams”… whatever feels congruent and true to you – this is not a BS exercise, else your Water Element will not feel reassured enough. It must feel as true as possible.

You should find that by connecting to the Water Elements resourcefulness in coming up with contingency plans, you can prove to yourself (and your Water) that even if the worst thing happened, you WILL be ok. Give it a try, it can be really liberating to write it all down and visually see if the bad thing happened, it really wouldn’t be such a big deal – and this is coming from a Water CF girl, who does the risk assessing thing constantly!!

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5. Have Acupuncture!

And of course, having acupuncture will immediately connect us into the Water Element ready for Winter! There are specific points we call “horary points”, which have particular potency during their specific season. Don’t forget each of us has ALL of the Five Elements – Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal & Water – within us, we just tend to have ONE of the Elements that we resonate most with, or is like our default setting… (read more in my FREE ebook to see what Element you might be!)… So although this post is particularly relevant to those Water CFs (constitutional factors or constitutional Elements) amongst us, we can ALL benefit from connecting in with the Water Element in Winter.

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© Rhiannon Griffiths 2013

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What Does Going Off Coffee Have to Do With the Heart?

By Rhiannon Griffiths

A patient recently emailed me, surprised that she had gone off her beloved coffee. Having previously drunk a lot of the black stuff on a regular basis, she found she just didn’t feel like she wanted it any more. She was intrigued and wanted answers.

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From my integrated Five Element Acupuncturist perspective, it wasn’t a surprise. Each of the Five Elements – Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood – have an associated taste, as well as many other resonances, read more in my new ebook. Coffee is bitter, and bitter is linked to the Fire Element. The main Fire organ is the Heart, and in Chinese Medicine and Chinese Food Energetics, the bitter taste is said to go straight to the Heart and affect the energetics, feelings and functionings of the organ.

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Coffee Heart Five Elements Chinese Medicine

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This is why I avoid coffee, I LOVE the smell, but its affects on me and my heart are super strong. I get shaky, light headed and feel sick, like my blood pressure has dropped. I feel my heart beating like mad, skipping around with palpitations.

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For others, and maybe for you, it is different and the Heart is given some support from coffee – some boosting, a little kick in the morning of familiar warmth, of feel-good happy contented energy. But for some, a craving or too much dependence on coffee can indicate (or even create in the long term!) an imbalance in the Fire Element and it’s energy.

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The more we return to balance in the Fire Element and the heart, the less we NEED coffee. And this is what had happened to my gorgeous patient. Through work on herself, with the support of coaching and acupuncture, she had become more in touch with her Heart. She connected with her Heart, acknowledged it and really FELT into it. She was fully enjoying this Heart space she hadn’t realised she had been missing.

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So what does that have to do with coffee? The support from acupuncture and coaching had created a mindful, ACTIVE connection to the Heart space. This connected to the energy of the Heart, the nurture of the Qi (or life force) there, focusing attention there, shifting the energy there, creating a boost, a stimulation, a kick start of the Heart and the Fire Element. It therefore no longer needs to rely on the coffee and it’s bitter taste for that Heart boost or stimulation. As a result, the craving goes down, the body, mind and spirit no longer require it; it’s a sign that something internally has changed.

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Have you noticed something has changed for you recently? Have you gone off a certain food, or found yourself suddenly reaching for something that isn’t normally on your menu? It could be an indication of an internal shift, one of your Five Elements is in a changing state of balance – towards imbalance, or toward a better state of balance. Share your thoughts in the comments below and my acupuncturists brain may be able to shed some light on it for you!

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© Rhiannon Griffiths 2014

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Note: original coffee cup photo from Tumblr

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