Long lasting health: A Chinese Medicine Perspective

by Amy O’Brien, FGHG Acupuncurist

This is important. And it’s inspired by the conversations we have in the clinic every day around truly cultivating wellness.

In Chinese Medicine, long-lasting health is a result of good balance. Balance between what we create and what we use. We feel abundant and strong when we’re producing more blood, energy, oxygen and nutrients than we are using. When this is the case there’s a net gain. We are in surplus and it feels good.

We are saving for a rainy day. We are flooding all our organs and tissues with a full amount of nutritious fluids. We are passionately building our stores. Deeply nourishing our body. We do this because it feels good, but it also allows us to build a reserve that we can access in times of need.

Many moons ago it was this reserve that would have allowed us to run away from the tiger.

It can be relied upon in times of conflict, famine and trauma. We draw from this stockpile to repair us when we are unwell, and as we age. Women naturally draw from this reserve when we are pregnant, when we breastfeed, and, to a lesser extent, when we have our periods. Our reserve also acts to strengthen us and provide a necessary buffer when we’re thrown a curve ball and big life changes come our way.

It’s important that we hold onto this deep reserve. This self nourishment. But do we?

As a society it seems that we are relying more and more on these reserves just to get through the day. Extreme overwork and constant stress are asking us to dig deeply regularly. We’re pushing hard, and we’re praised for doing so. The warning lights are there, in fact, they’re often all over the place. But we’re busy. We ignore them, and push through.

At this point, we’re running at a deficit, using more energy then we’re creating, depleting our blood, and depleting our bodies. We are left with no buffer.

Call it burnout, adrenal fatigue, adrenal exhaustion or chronic fatigue. Call it hard to get out of bed in the morning, foggy head, susceptibility to coughs and colds or a chest infection that just never completely resolves. Call it a reliance on coffee to feel alive or finally taking that holiday only to find your body collapses in a heap the moment you arrive. Call it constant, sub-par health, and just not feeling ‘amazing’.

It’s a common place to be. But definitely not a fun place to be.

Now for the amazing part.

It’s all up to us.

This is totally and completely in our own two hands.

We control where our energy goes.

We can create and add to the stockpile through:

  • Good food and nutrition
  • Early nights (10pm)
  • Deep breathing
  • Exercise (moderate)
  • Rest

We can avoid depleting our stockpile by becoming aware of and actively managing:

  • Over thinking and excessive worry (ie: using our brains too much)
  • Poor diet
  • Late nights
  • Overwork
  • Overexercise
  • Inefficient Breathing
  • Stress
  • Excessive fluid loss: heavy bleeding, heavy sweating

We can learn to relax, build in downtime, and give our body a real chance to be as brilliant as they are designed to be.

We can listen to our bodies.

So simple, but so vital. We can become more observant of the warning lights.

We can explore and uplevel our own blend of lifestyle and dietary needs.

We can replenish.

We can engage more with what trusted health professionals have to say.

We can listen to the insides of our own skins.

Chances are it will often crave rest and downtime, peace and quiet, time for creativity, development and learning new things.

Sometimes it will so desperately want us to say no to a dinner date or jam packed weekend plans. Maybe we can let it.

Sometimes our bodies will want to move. Pop the runners on.

And when feelings of guilt come, greet them like an old friend. Gently remind yourself of your commitment to become whole, full and vibrant in health. Because when you do that, you serve the world up some of your finest work.


Amy O'Brien black and whiteAmy O’Brien is an Acupuncturist and Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner passionate about working with every aspect of health and disease, including fertility, pregnancy, period problems and cycle irregularities, as well as the conditions that often accompany them such as anxiety, sleep issues and digestive disorders. She thrives on empowering people to take an active part in their own health story.

Time for a cleanse?

by Sonia Millett, FGHG Acupuncturist and Chinese Herbalist

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the liver’s energetic function is responsible for removing toxins from the body, as well as many other important metabolic functions. It regulates and carries Qi (body’s vital energy), stores blood (which carries Qi throughout the body) and supplies blood to the muscles. While we sleep, blood returns to the liver to be cleansed.

The Liver is also important in functions such as optimising immune system and weight loss. With all the Christmas and New Year celebrations just gone by, plus holiday food to boot, it is likely that you’ve had an increased consumption of greasy and heating foods, as well as alcohol. This can make your liver sluggish.

Some TCM tips to cleanse your liver, detoxify and feel more energized, include the following:

Use Acupressure
TCM theory states that certain acupressure points help aid digestion and stimulate the liver. Breathe deeply and apply firm pressure to the points, starting with 2-3 minutes daily and building up to 10 minutes. Apply up to several times/day & alternate sides of the body where possible.

Liver 3 – Located between your big toe and second toe – start at the webbing and slide your finger back about an inch, until you find a cavity just before where the two toe
bones meet.

Spleen 6 – Four fingers above the inner ankle bone along the back of the tibia. Stimulating this point on both the legs can help improve flow of energy and blood throughout the body. It is often used treat gynaecological disorders, and can be a great point to use in between acupuncture sessions, or while on holidays.

Include some ‘Sour’ foods in your diet

According to TCM, sour foods help nourish the Liver. A glass of lemon water has a diuretic effect, which can help you flush toxins from your body.

Include some Ginger & Turmeric in your diet
Ginger may help strengthen digestion, nourish blood, improve circulation, and have antibiotic and antibacterial effects. Turmeric may help decongest the liver, and clear heat from the body. Simply add a little freshly sliced sliced ginger or a dash of turmeric to teas, curries, porridge and soup.

Have an Acupuncture session
The New Year is a great time to add acupuncture to help improve your digestion, activate sluggish Qi, and get you started on any health-related New Year’s Resolutions.


Sonia_M_colour2Sonia Millett is an experienced Acupuncturist & Chinese Herbalist with a strong focus and additional training in fertility, IVF Support, pregnancy pre-birth and labour treatment. Sonia has helped hundreds of couples improve their health and achieve their goals – maximising their chances of conceiving, or ensuring a smooth pregnancy and labour. Sonia has trained with four of Australia’s foremost Chinese Medicine gynaecological/ obstetric experts (S. Clavey, J. Lyttleton, D. Betts & K. Wolfe). She has over 8 years of clinical experience working in, and managing several dedicated fertility/pregnancy clinics in Melbourne.