I’d like to address a common question, and that is ‘What is Chinese Medicine Acupuncture?’ I have written previously on what Acupuncture needling is, to assist one to differentiate it from other modalities that also insert needles into the body. If interested in that, I guide the reader to my Facebook business page @WalkerAcupuncture.

In that piece, I explain that Chinese Medicine is really just the application of Chinese Philosophy.
Via the analyses of the ebbs and flows, or if you prefer, the circadian rhythms of the macrocosm, the sages were able to apply the synergistic relationships of all things as merely a reflection of ourselves. It is said in Chinese Philosophy that Earth responds to Heaven. This suggests that to follow the way of heaven, one must pay attention to how the Earth is behaving. As humans, our vertical spine connects us between Heaven above and Earth below, allowing us to act as a bridge between these planes. This implies that as humans, we require a relationship with both planes in order to be that which we were born to become.

The point that I’m making is that we are inseparable to the environment that we are surrounded by. The soil, light, oxygen, water, and then everything beyond this planet that has it’s own purposefully chaotic trajectory, rotation, collapse and fusion as this universe continues to stretch.

I also touched on what is a philosopher, and according to the Chinese character for a philosopher it is to take something complicated and make it easier to process for humanity. The understanding of Space and Time (Earth and Heaven) is represented in the book known as the IChing (Classic of Changes). This was the attempt to simplify how things were, are and will be. To reiterate that point, the book is most notably used for divination purposes.

So as humans experiencing life, what does this have to do with acupuncture? As I mentioned our bodies are inseparable to everything that we experience, if you are interested in this concept, have a google for “epigenetics.” Or get yourself the book called “Inheritance – How our genes change our lives and our lives change our genes” by Sharon Moalem.

In any case, these philosophies are laid over the body represented by the channel systems of acupuncture. I say systems as there are five separate channel systems that possess their unique behavioural qualities, resonance, sequencing and destination.
Most acupuncture courses will teach these so called “primary channels”, these are the most common channels that you will see depicted on diagrams when you google Acupuncture or see some posters about. Essentially the commonly used primary channel system represents post natal (after birth) life, from birth to death. Where one is exposed to external factors like oxygen and pollution, internal factors like food and parasites and our constitution like our DNA and its expression.

So I invite you to contemplate, like a philosopher, where in your body represents the beginning of your life after birth? Did it begin at the top of your head, the crowning, as you emerged into the world, or perhaps the bottom of your feet? Maybe it began with the very primal sound of the wailing vocal chords? What about the functions of the body, perhaps that would better represent that which brings in and supports post natal life. The beating heart that began its rhythmic beat many months before entering the world, the purification by the kidneys, the digestion of mother’s milk or maybe it’s the lungs’ first breath of the air. This is what the ancient sages did, and once they did, they continued the continuum of life and life’s unfolding as a prioritised sequence, concluding with death. This became the superimposed “roadmap” onto the body, represented by the primary channel system.

However, there are many strains of interpretations of classical texts and thought throughout Chinese history. The modern application of Acupuncture and Chinese medicine called Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), was constructed in the mid 1900s to easily and quickly teach people in China out of a necessity for more doctors. However, the Classical approach and teachings of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine still exist.

Individual clinicians also have different thought processes surrounding their application of Chinese philosophy. I refer the reader again back to my facebook business page, and my piece on what is needling to the classical Acupuncturist. Mostly, it boils down to the intention (Yi) of the practitioner and their resonance (Gan Ying) with their client. That which the practitioner has cultivated within themselves, and invokes within the client by the medium of a needle into an Acupuncture point.

I’m aware that I am delving into the more philosophical side of the medicine, the research community is doing their part explaining this from a westernised biomedicine perspective. My intention with this is to provide a snapshot into the other side.

I hope that I have satisfactorily answered my own question of what is Chinese Medicine Acupuncture, and provided some insight and awareness into an elusive medicine. Some things are not about gathering more knowledge, sometimes its more about letting go of the things that think we do know. As Lao Zi wrote in the third chapter of the Dao De Jing, “The wise rule by emptying their hearts, and therefore filling their bellies.”

Andrew Walker, Acupuncturist (OMD)

Naturopathy is a distinct and complete system of health care – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual It may be considered both an art and a science as today’ naturopaths use scientific evidence as well as traditional knowledge in practice. Naturopathy is particularly well suited to preventive medicine.

They are able to respond to the individual needs of patients and develop a treatment plan that could include nutritional supplements, herbal remedies, flower essences, homeopathy and diet therapy, all gentle methods to restoring health.

Six principles are kept in mind when a naturopath takes your case and develops a treatment plan as well as offering maintenance for long term good health.

  1. First, Do No Harm (Primum non nocere)
  2. The Healing Power of Nature (Vis medicatrix naturae)
  3. Identify and Treat the Causes (Tolle causam)
  4. Education (Docere)
  5. Treat the Whole Person (Tolle totum)
  6. Prevention (Praevenic)

Naturopathy seeks to use the natural healing powers of the body to cure itself. It focusses on treating the cause of a disease rather than the symptoms themselves. Naturopathy is not an alternative to modern medicine but is used by people as an additional therapy or alternative for some non-life threating medical conditions.

Here we chat with Isabel, naturopath at Elements Yoga and Wellness:

What does a Naturopath do?

A naturopath aims to bring an individual back to a homeostatic state by reaching internal stability. Whole body equilibrium may be achieved through the use of dietary advice, herbal medicines, and nutrient supplementation alongside lifestyle changes. Naturopaths treat both acute and chronic conditions. Naturopathic care is well suited to anyone at any age. Naturopaths have many answers for common conditions. Naturopaths use various modalities in their practice. These may include: herbal medicine, nutritional medicine, homeopathy, dietary and lifestyle advice, massage therapy or other therapies.

Why would I see a naturopath? What areas does it particularly help?

You can see a naturopath for many different health concerns. Some examples include;

  • Gastrointestinal concerns
  • Increasing energy
  • Fertility & male and female reproductive health
  • Stress reduction
  • Improving sleep
  • Boost immune function
  • Weight loss
  • Sports Nutrition
  • Children’s health
  • Skin concerns
What should I expect when I see a Naturopath?

An initial consultation with a naturopath will generally take around about an hour. During this time a naturopath will aim to identify the underlying cause of concern by investigating lifestyle, family history, diet, stress, sleep, bowel habits and past medical history. The information gained as a means of putting all the pieces of the puzzle together and make sense of why the existing concern/s exists in the first place. Herbal medicines (in tablet or liquid form) and/or nutritional supplements are recommended to regain, restore and replenish complete wellness again.

Removing insults or triggers contributing to the concern is also advised, which may include lifestyle, environmental and dietary changes. Education on making these changes is essential in any given treatment plan. It is more than likely your treatment with a Naturopath will require more than one visit. Reassessing the treatment plan is important in order to track your progress to better health. Observing an individual’s progress is rewarding, knowing a client won’t be returning due to a beneficial outcome is more rewarding.

What a Naturopath doesn’t do

It is important to note a Naturopath isn’t a Medical Doctor. A Naturopath’s qualifications does not and should not allow them to diagnose any health conditions. If a Naturopath suspects a particular disease/condition then appropriate investigative and functional tests should be ordered via a General Practitioner or Laboratory. If the presenting condition is severe and out of scope of Naturopathic practice then a referral to another health practitioner is warranted.

It is unethical practice for a Naturopath to intervene with Doctor’s advice or pharmaceutical prescriptions. Authority should be given by the client (if necessary) in order for a Naturopath to communicate with and inform other health practitioners of any given naturopathic treatment plan.

People assume Naturopaths do not agree with conventional medicine. In my opinion conventional medicine plays a vital role within the health sector particularly emergency situations. In my ideal world working alongside Doctor’s and other health professionals collaboratively would benefit everyone involved, particularly the patient.

What do you need to consider when finding a practitioner?

Your chosen naturopath should be accredited with training minimum of an Advanced Diploma and many have Bachelor’s degrees and beyond. Naturopaths offer the public significant health support providing millions and millions of consultations with good outcomes across the nation and is rising in popularity each year. Naturopaths work alongside your GP or other health professional to offer you the best patient-centred care.

What do you love most about what you do?

Personally, I particularly enjoy the time allowed to me to investigate what is truly going on within an individual’s health situation. It is such a privilege to be a partner in another’s journey to wellness.
To find out more or book your naturopathy consultation with Isabel visit elementsyogaandwellness.com.au

On the weekend I facilitated a Yoga Wellness Day that took participants through an active 90 minute practice in the morning, a walking meditation around a lake before lunch and a more relaxed 90 minute Yin practice after lunch, to aid digestion. Thirteen people booked in to deepen their experience and knowledge of Yoga and the wellness it promotes. Why would anyone do that? There were an eclectic mix of people ranging in ages from early 30’s to mid 60’s, both male and female.

All had one thing in common: their willingness to build community. Now what does yoga have in common with building community? Well quite a lot in fact. You see, a yoga asana or posture requires every part of the body to play its part to activate the beauty and benefits of the posture. Some parts of the body will need to be in contraction and other parts in a more lengthened state, some parts of the body will need to be spiraling one way while others spiral in another. In yoga anatomy terms it’s called reciprocal inhibition. For the posture to take place every part of the system must play its part and one part is no more or less important than the other. The body, if you like, functions to its highest potential by being in a state of community. A singular part aware of its communal purpose.

As participants arrived there was some sense of community but as they did not know each other, it was limited. The full potential had not been reached. As the day unfolded and people began to be free to explore the asana and to be utterly themselves in doing so, a freedom emerged that promoted a consciousness level that creates an “US”. An “US” is a powerful field of consciousness as it is not self – serving or motivated by fear or competition. Any subconscious beliefs that are held from the level of fear will often arise through the practice of Yoga and these beliefs and the emotions that come with them, can be addressed as they arise on the mat. People often experience moments of exhilaration as they realize they are letting go of an old version of themselves. I often hear “I’ve never done that before!” Letting go of such limited consciousness levels becomes a way of being when off the mat if Yoga becomes a discipline or devotional practice. As a yoga practice deepens there is a natural movement towards being in community with another and so a sense of being an “US” grows.

A full day of yoga heightens for participants the lessons around working together, letting go of fears, trying a new posture and understanding that mastery takes time and patience. A day of Yoga solidifies these lessons in a way that an hour’s practice may not be able to. The benefits continue to penetrate the subtle and physical body of the participants over the weeks ahead. There appears to be a sense of enthusiasm and the energy level is more buoyant.

Sharing Yoga is a big part of the day but so too is sharing an organically grown meal that celebrates wholesome growing practices and is lovingly cooked. This is accompanied by the beauty of nature all around. Personally, as the facilitator, there is a deep awareness that sharing Yoga this way is a lesson in life, a life we are each asked to live fully, with awareness and with each other.

At Elements I teach 3 classes a week and look forward to meeting you on the mat as a way of beginning or continuing your Yoga practice. I especially look forward to building a Yoga and Wellness community in the heart of Belmont.

Marise Jose, Yoga & Qi Gong Teacher and Psychotherapist.

Indian Head Massage! It sounds exotic and and it feels exotic. Flowing, gentle, vigorous, enveloping, nurturing, loosening. Feel tight muscles release, your neck becomes soft and your head feels light; your inner self blossoms like a flower opening.

Indian Head Massage is coming to Elements Yoga and Wellness from February 16.

Indian Head Massage has been part of Indian culture for over 1,000 years. It is a seated massage which focuses on the upper back, shoulders, neck, face, head and hair. It is deeply relaxing and rejuvenating and can be done fully clothed. If you love being at the hairdressers as much for the scalp massage as the cut and dry, this is for you!

It is a wonderful aid for stress, tight neck and shoulder muscles and it has helped some clients find relief from headaches and migraines. It may promote healthy hair growth with the stimulation to the scalp and the addition of lovely essential oils. Eye strain and sinus issues may also receive benefit from this amazing massage.

It is one part of the Indian system of healing called Ayurvedic Healing. I really connect to this philosophy as it differs to the Western idea of taking our health for granted until it is somehow ‘failing.’ It is about maintaining and building wellness rather than reacting to illness. It places responsibility for building our health, squarely in our hands. Ayervedic literally means the ‘science of longevity’ and is holistic, with an aim to restoring balance in the body, mind and spirit. Ayurveda addresses a person’s lifestyle and diet and promotes purification, massage and herbal medicine.

You can still observe IHM being performed in India’s street today. Men attend barber’s for their daily shaves and this involves their scalps being massaged to stimulate and refresh them so that they are ready for their work day. Women in India prize their long, lustrous hair and IHM is part of their regular grooming to maintain strong, beautiful hair. Techniques have been passed down from mother to daughter and may vary within families and regions. Oils such as sesame, almond, coconut and olive are massaged into the scalp to help its healthy lustre. In my massages I prefer to use almond oil as it’s scent is very light and doesn’t interfere with essential oils that I add and doesn’t become hard when cold. If you prefer a ‘dry’ massage without oil that is fine too. Benefits of adding oils into the hair are twofold; the smell enhances relaxation both during and after the massage and the chemical constituents in the essential oil blends can penetrate the hair follicles at the scalp and assist to strengthen and rejuvenate the hair. It is particularly good for hair that has been dyed frequently and become dry.

Sometimes you many hear Indian Head Massage referred to as Champissage. This is where the word shampoo had it’s origins. Originally, it was primarily about the head and hair. The technique as we now know it incorporates massage to the face, neck and shoulders as well as the scalp and was launched in the western world by Narendra Mehta. Narendra was a blind, Indian Osteopath who worked in London. In the 1970s after a trip home to India he realised how he missed IHM and he created his own Westernised version and started teaching. It has since spread throughout the world and has gained popularity as people have experienced it’s benefits and soothing effects

I sometimes hear people refer to the massage as a pampering or an indulgence. I align with the Eastern idea of a regular massage being part of an overall wellness plan. I frequently find myself educating people about the level of tension in their body and encouraging them to be more in touch with their bodies and allow themselves to fully let go into the massage. This assists with the bodies capacity to hold onto wellness and ward of impending health problems that can have some basis in a body holding stress and tension. Regular massage of any sort allows you to be more in touch with how you are feeling each day and to practice letting go of tight muscles or body stiffness.

Another beautiful benefit of the massage is the nurturing through touch. Much has been written about this in recent times. Touch is also of tremendous value to our wellbeing. I delight in transporting my clients to a safe haven through touch where there is a feeling of connectedness and nurture. Ayurvedic practices suggest that Indian babies are massaged regularly from birth. Massages do not stop in any part of the life span and all family members are encouraged to learn how to massage one another. This is a vital part of family bonding and promotes and cohesive, loving family environment. In our Western world, massage can be an important portal to feeling connected, where families can be fragmented or people chose to live alone.

I regularly run workshops to teach Indian Head Massage to the public and also to enable people to become practitioners. The first one for 2019 is on March 2 & 3, contact me for more details, Pam Allen 0417 357 030.