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Posted by on Nov 27, 2017 in Health Hub |

6 Tips For A Bad Back ~ Julia Hammond, from

Ever heard the saying ‘got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning’? Some days this applies because you’ve awoken to a sore back which puts you in a mood all day. If you’re someone who has suffered with back issues in the past then here’s a few tips on dealing with that pesky back pain.

Step 1: Focus on quality sleep

Research undertaken last year suggests that our backs work on a 24-hour clock and disturbed sleep can be a major cause of pain. Ensuring you get a good night’s sleep is sometimes enough to reset the clock and rid yourself of the pain. Try anything and everything to up the quality of your rest from different sleeping positions to a new mattress and silky soft sheets that put you in a slumber mood. Here’s some positions to test out:

– Back sleepers: pillow under your knees

– Stomach sleepers: pillow under your pelvis

– Side sleepers: pillow between your knees

Step 2: Maintain good support

It is estimated that 1 in 6 Australians will suffer from back pain at some point during the year. Often the cause is easier than it seems such as poor posture from sitting long hours in a non-supportive chair. Office workers are obviously a high-risk group for this type of back pain but the solution is simple; upgrade your traditional office chair to a more supportive or advanced version.

Step 3: Test out natural muscle relaxers

Rosa Ghidella is the Director of Haberfield Health, an award-winning, multi-disciplinary wellness centre in Sydney. Her top tip for back pain is including magnesium in your treatment routine.

“Magnesium is essentially a very important mineral for the human body. Mainly needed to stimulate energy production within our cells, it is important as an anti-spasmodic and natural muscle-relaxant. This makes it an important mineral for supporting back pain treatments.

We recommend magnesium in 3 forms: (1) Epsom Salt bath; (2) Practitioner-grade Supplements & (3) Applying Magnesium oil to the local area. We also recommend acupuncture and remedial massage to treat chronic back pain”
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Step 4: Try anti-inflammatory agents

Aimee Clark is a food and cooking coach with Primal Influence. She suffers personally from back issues and has found bone broth to be highly effective in relieving pain.

“I have a degenerated intervertebral disc between L4 and L5 and overcame daily debilitating chronic pain through the Paleo Lifestyle and mostly.. drinking bone broth. I started drinking it about 5 years ago, about 1/2 a cup a day for two weeks, and within that time my pain disappeared. Bone broth gives us essential gelatin and collagen, amino acids and other nutrients to heal and strengthen joints, skin, nails, hair, teeth, the gut, detox us and more. It’s a traditional human food source and a very potent healer in a toxic and inflammatory day and age. If people are eating highly inflammatory foods bone broth may still provide some relief and healing, but ideally reducing inflammatory foods and lifestyle elements when starting to consume bone broth is going to make the biggest impact. It’s incredibly affordable and easy to make, I’m now passionate about providing education on it as it has helped me immensely and will always be a big part of my healing diet.

Before consuming bone broth it’s important to seek advice from a functional nutrition practitioner in case there are amino acid and other allergies present, or it interferes with medication/supplements being taken.”
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Step 5: Consult a treatment professional

Justin Balbir is a physiotherapist with Health Point Physiotherapy in Melbourne. With a Bachelor of Health Science and a Master of Physiotherapy Practice, his advice is medically sound.

“Let’s start off by making it clear that, as physiotherapists, we do not view anyone’s back as “bad”. Emerging and mounting evidence is suggesting that, with the right exercise and treatment regime, almost anyone can improve their pain and function.

As no two individuals are alike, we cannot suggest any miracle exercises, as it may be highly beneficial for one person, but ultimately detrimental for someone else.

The key take home messages for anyone dealing with back pain are the following:
· Your back is NOT broken – even if your MRI results say it is
· You generally do not even need to get an MRI unless your healthcare professional is worried there is something more sinister going on, or conservative management has not had any effect
· An active recovery is always better than bed rest
· Ultimately, exercise (potentially with some other therapeutic modalities such as manual therapy or massage) will be your best recovery tool.”
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Step 6: Experiment with both hot and cold

Applying heat or cold to an area experiencing pain is an age-old remedy. But which is better for back pain? Typically cold therapy (i.e. ice packs) are better at bringing down inflammation or swelling while heat therapy (i.e. heating pads) are ideal at reducing tension, cramps and muscle spasms. However, you should experiment with both styles to see which works better for you.

The main advice for treating a bad back would have to be to relax. It’s probably not as terrible as you think and there’s a range of easy treatment options you can try before resigning yourself to a life of grumpy back trouble.

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Posted by on Jul 31, 2017 in Health Hub |

Supporting your child through their HSC ~ Rosa Ghidella

As kids start to prepare for their HSC this year, it is important for you as a parent to find ways to support them. It can be a fine line between keeping them motivated and focused and ensuring they don’t get completely overwhelmed or crushed by self-doubt and panic or lack of sleep and worry.

Stress can be debilitating to us as adults and teenagers are not immune to it.  Here are a few tips to help your kids navigate their way through their HSC year.

  1. Create healthy social habits.  Encourage them to eat dinner with the family. Not only is this important to give them a break from their study, but also offers some emotional time out.
  2. Regular Bed Time. While meeting study deadlines is important, make sure your kids have a regular bed time schedule to get enough sleep.  It may mean ensuring they go to bed at a reasonable hour 3 times a week.  If sleep evades them, add an oil burner in their bedroom with 3-4 drops each of Lavender, Bergamot & Marjoram essential oils and light an hour or so before bedtime.  These essential oils have relaxing, calming yet uplifting therapeutic value to help your child calm down before bed and get a good nights’s sleep.
  3. If your kids are too “wired” to sleep, encourage them to turn off their devices 1 hour before bed.  If space allows, create a separation between their study and sleep areas, even if this is with a small partition.
  4. Epsom Salt Bath or Footbath. Studying is stressful, and the combination of stress and sitting in front of a computer for hours on end can result to stiff muscles and joints.  Encourage your teen to take regular baths before bed with 1-2 cups of Epsom Salts (and 3-4 drops Lavender essential oil). As Epsom salts are Magnesium Sulphate Heptahydrate – a natural, chemical-free muscle relaxant – the bath will sooth any aches and pains and help them relax so their are not so wired before bed.
  5. Support your kids to stay as healthy as possible throughout the year with nutritious, nourishing and filling food.  Keep healthy snacks such as nuts, fruit, vegetable sticks, protein bars, rice crackers and healthy dips on hand.  When kids overload on junk food and sugar they can experience brain fog.  Ensure they are also hydrated with plenty of water.
  6. Encourage them to have an active social life.  Staying glued to their study books can be isolating and limiting.  Quality time with mates offers them emotional peer support as well as a break from the heavy duty study.  Encourage them to study with their friends for periods of time as another form of peer support.  Keeping active socially and with sport is important to both their social and physical health.
  7. Keep a dialogue open with them about the broader things in life.  While the HSC is an important year for them, remind them that they have so many options by way of careers in today’s world that are fulfilling and rewarding.
  8. Regular professional massages help relax the mind and body.  A regular massage either before or after major exams (or both) gives your teen the opportunity to relax deeply.  A massage calms the mind, eases any muscle tension and headaches resulting from heavy study and gives them a welcome breather.  We recommend up to 1 hour for teens and private health rebates are available


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Posted by on Jun 7, 2017 in Health Hub |

Keep Well in Winter with a regular Massage ~ Rosa Ghidella

For many people, getting a massage is considered something of a luxury, an indulgence that your partner may gift you for Valentine’s Day or your birthday, a pamper session that you save up for to experience in a spa.

The importance of a regular massage throughout the entire year, but particularly in winter, cannot be overstated.


The truth is that a massage, in this modern world, is more a necessity than it is a one-off treat.  A regular massage has numerous health-boosting benefits that keep you well and strong, particularly in the winter months, when our bodies are exposed to more stressors through the cold and elements.  Regular massage is also a strong preventative measure to ensure that you keep a range of ailments at bay, while you stay well and healthy.  In fact, a regular massage can be one of the best gifts you can give yourself to stay well.


Most of us know that a regular (and I emphasize a REGULAR massage) helps to ease muscular aches and pains, sports-related injuries or those symptoms that are stress-related.  In doing so, it creates a deeper sense of relaxation that can be experienced long after the massage has ended.


Boosts Circulation
One of the most important benefits of a regular massage is the boost it offers our circulation or blood flow.  Why is this important?  Our blood transports important nutrients and oxygen to our cells, to our inner organs, our skin, muscles and joints, ensuring they are properly nourished.  Blood also transports waste products from our liver, kidneys and intestines, to ensure effective elimination.  During the colder months, everything contracts and this can mean that we experience a myriad of aches and pains.  For example, if you suffer from arthritis, you may have noticed that your joints are stiffer and the pain you experience is more intense.


Strengthens the Immune System
The immune system helps us fight off infection, bacteria and other illnesses, many of which we are more vulnerable to in the winter months.  Massage helps to keep our immune system strong by promoting more effective lymph flow.  Lymph is a fluid that is transported via the complex lymphatic system, and its role is to carry white blood cells which help to fight off infections and bacteria, and to help eliminate waste.  An effective lymphatic system is essential to a strong immune system and more importantly during winter.


Improves skin tone
One of the secondary benefits of a regular massage is improved skin tone.  As massage therapy boosts circulation and oxygen flow to the cells, it naturally helps nourish the skin.  Our massage therapists only use practitioner-grade massage oils, which are rich in vitamins and essential fatty acids that help nourish and feed the skin.


Treating low moods in Winter
During winter, many of us experience lower moods.  This can be the result of many factors, but particularly the cooler weather, increased aches and pains, stiffer joints, the grey skies and our “hibernation” indoors.   Like nature, we tend to slow down during the winter and this can result in feelings of depression. Regular massage can help improve mood, reduce anxiety and promote a deep sense of relaxation.  By relieving pain, massage can go a long way in easing both the physical and emotional discomfort connected to pain.

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Posted by on May 11, 2017 in Health Hub, Naturopathy |

Miracle Magnesium ~ Keri Hogarth, Naturopath

Magnesium – Sparking energy

Magnesium is a miracle mineral needed to drive body energy systems.   It is the green component in plant chlorophyll, and without it, plants cannot take nutrition from the sun and survive.   In essence humans cannot tense a muscle or focus a thought without enough magnesium in our cells.  As it cannot be stored in the body, it must be obtained from diet.  Magnesium is depleted with alcohol consumption and stress.  It is an alkalising mineral salt which can counter our over-acidic western lifestyle.  Do you consume enough of this sparkling mineral?

Magnesium – Why we need it

Magnesium is principally used to spark energy production within cells.  Magnesium also plays a crucial role as an anti-spasm mineral, and operates at a cellular level in all body systems.  If muscles, nerves and organs are not energised our muscular, nervous and supporting systems will fail, resulting in ailments ranging from chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, PMS, cramping, migraines, high blood pressure, insomnia to asthma.

Can I get enough from my diet

Getting magnesium in your daily diet requires a vegetarian-based wholefood approach including green leafy vegetables, tofu, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains.  Magnesium is low in a diet based on fish, meat, dairy, fruit and some vegetables.  Diets high in refined foods, meat and dairy contain low magnesium. (2)

Magnesium in Superfoods

If you can’t manage a predominately green/vegetarian-based diet, drink alcohol regularly and have a stressful lifestyle, it is possible to become magnesium deficient.  Magnesium is present in wholefood form in superfood sources present in Spirulina, Chlorella, Wheat Grass and Barley Grass. The chlorophyll component of these plant powders is packed with magnesium. Taking 1 scoop daily in a juice or smoothie is a delicious way to maintain magnesium stores.  Of course, the superfoods contain enzymes, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals as well as magnesium, so are an excellent gap-fill for diet deficiencies.

 Magnesium explained

Magnesium is an essential mineral needed to drive over 300 enzyme reactions required to produce body energy. (2) Magnesium also is needed to move electrolytes in and out of cells, which are essential for optimal cell function.  It has the ability to block the entry of calcium into blood, muscle and heart cells, allowing body cells to function more efficiently;  this is how magnesium relaxes muscles and relieves pain.  It thus drives energy into body systems, and stabilises sodium, potassium and calcium movement in the body.  Magnesium essentially stabilises muscular and nervous systems in the body, allowing them to function efficiently.

Symptoms of low Magnesium levels

Common symptoms of low magnesium include fatigue, mental confusion, headaches, irritability, weakness, muscle cramping, problems with nerve and muscle contraction, loss of appetite, insomnia, heart disturbances. (2)

Magnesium Research

“A study on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome treated with supplemental magnesium reported improved energy levels, a better emotional status, and a reduction in pain. The clinical improvement in those receiving magnesium versus placebo was statistically significant in this study.” (3)

“Magnesium supplementation has been shown to be useful for migraines, PMS and dysmenorrhoea.  Premenstrual migraines have been shown to respond to magnesium supplementation, due to its effect against vasoconstrictive agents in arteries and veins, in addition to its effect on serotonin and nitric oxide levels.”(4) 

Research from Sweden reported oral magnesium supplementation to be effective in treating pregnancy-related leg cramps.(5) Restless leg syndrome (RLS) research has reported oral magnesium supplementation to improve mild to moderate symptoms, including sleep-related limb movement (PLMS) (6)

Do I need to supplement?

Currently there are no definitive blood tests that can be conducted to measure body magnesium levels, as only 1% of body magnesium is found in blood.   Holistic practitioners need to review presenting symptoms, diet, stress and lifestyle to accurately gauge individual client needs.  Magnesium is one of the most common deficiencies presented in naturopathic, chiropractic and physiotherapy clinic scenarios.

If magnesium supplementation is deemed necessary, you will need to supplement with a therapeutic active form of magnesium, preferably in a powder form for up to 6 weeks to gain elevated tissue magnesium levels.

When supplementing magnesium, it is important you choose a product with enhanced absorption and digestive tolerance.  These principally need magnesium in an amino acid chelate form.  Formulas like Ultra Mag (magnesium diglycinate) (7) and Meta Mag (magnesium bisglycinate) are superior trade-marked chelated formulations which are available in practitioner range products.


  1. Zeigler EE, Filer LJ, eds. Present Knowledge in Nutrition. Washington DC: ILSI Press;1996:256.
  2. Murray Michael T, ND, Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements, Prima Health, 159 – 175.
  1. Cox IM, Campbell MJ, Dowson D. Red blood cell magnesium and chronic fatigue syndrome. Lancet.1991;337(8744):757-760.
  1. Facchinetti F, Sances G, Borella P, et al. Magnesium prophylaxis of menstrual migraines: effects on intracellular magnesium. Headache. 1991;31:298-310.
  1. Dahle LO, Berg G, Hammar M, et al. The effect of oral magnesium substitution on pregnancy-induced leg cramps. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1995 Jul;173(1):175-80.
  2. Hornyak M, Voderholzer U, Hohagen F, et al. Magnesium therapy for periodic leg movements-related insomnia and restless legs syndrome: an open pilot study. Sleep 1998 Aug 1;21(5):501-5.
  1. Schuette SA, Lashner BA, Janghorbani M. Bioavailability of magnesium diglycinate vs magnesium oxide in patients with ileal resection. J Parenter Enteral Nutr 1994 Sep-Oct;18(5):430-435.

Article written by Keri Hogarth, Naturopath

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Posted by on May 1, 2017 in Acupuncture, Health Hub |

How to Cure Migraine with Acupuncture ~ Christina Atkins, Acupuncture

Many people suffer from debilitating migraines on a weekly, monthly and even daily basis. Often they have tried many drugs from pain killers to suppositories to help ease this chronic pain.

Often, Acupuncture is the last stop on the bus for these people as they are in such a desperate state and are skeptical of the notion that inserting needles (which they associate with more pain ) can help.  If you suffer from debilitating and chronic migraines, or know someone who does, please read on and share this information.  I will show you how we can cure migraine with acupuncture.

Here is a recent patients experience I can share with you:-

Young professional woman, 29 years old has suffered chronic migraines for the past 2 years. The pain was constant and sharp with accompanying dizziness, fainting, anxiety, tightness in the chest and accompanying digestive issues.   She often felt nauseous with no appetite, had no energy and relied on coffee to help her keep going.  Her shoulders, lower back and neck were often stiff from her job which required her to stand all day.  She also had leg cramps at night and had to evacuate bowels 3-6 times a day, which was affecting her life and ability to work.

One year prior to coming to see me, she was admitted to hospital with tingling on the left side of her body. The doctors said she’d had a small stroke and recommended she go on anti-coagulant medication, although, after researching this medication’s side-effects, she decided against it.

It was then she decided to try acupuncture.

After the first treatment, the pain has reduced and she did not take any painkillers from that week on. She has continued to enjoy a pain and drug-free life.  Her digestion has improved and she no longer lives on coffee but has a renewed appetite for food.  She passes stools only once daily now, and this has reduced the anxiety of needing to always be nearby a bathroom.  Her period is no longer debilitating and she enjoys a  painless menstrual cycle.  Her leg cramps are now gone as the blood can now nourish the muscles.

This young woman had long-term exhaustion from her work, which in general terms had lead to lack of movement in blood flow. When blood doesn’t move through the body well, it will end up causing blockages of energy, which leads to pain as muscles are not being nourished. There is a break down of communication between the body’s muscles and tendons and eventually, organs can be effected (long term).

Acupuncture is able to release natural endorphins, encourage blood flow to tissues and release muscle tension.

Moxibustion can bring heat to cold places, warming gently as it dilates the capillaries.

After 6 x weekly treatments, this patient continues to live a pain-free, drug-free life and frequently comes in for regular treatments  to maintain her overall health and well being.


Christina Atkins, Practitioner of Japanese Acupuncture

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Posted by on May 25, 2016 in Health Hub |

Helping your breech baby with Moxabustion & Acupuncture

With breech babies, generally, most babies turn spontaneously but, as the pregnancy neaPregnant Young Womanrs the end, there is less room for the baby to move.  From 33-34 weeks onward, if your baby has not turned, your midwife or obstetrician may tell you that your baby is in breech position.

Breech position is when your baby is presenting buttocks, feet or knees down rather then in a head first position.  This poses a problem with delivery.  The baby needs to be turned in the quickest and safest way as the space in the uterus is quickly diminishing.

Moxibustion and acupuncture are safe, effective and the gentlest way to encourage the turning of babies within the uterus.

Moxibustion is a warming herb that smoulders and does not burn. It has been used therapeutically for thousands of years as a healing modality. Through moxa-therapy  we are able to stimulate the pelvic floor muscles causing the baby to move. From an eastern medicine point of view, the aim of the treatment is to increase the yang Qi, which in turn will warm and soften the walls of the uterus as blood flow is directed there.  This can allow the baby to turn to the correct birthing position and, often, the mother will report feeling active movement for hours after the treatment.

I also like to prepare women’s bodies for the birth by softening their hips, calming their minds and getting her into a focused place in preparation for one of the most significant events in their life .

2- 6 treatments are usually recommended and women will be given a Moxa stick to be used everyday at home with clear instructions.

There are many clinical studies that have proved the effectiveness of Moxa – therapy  increasing chances of a natural birth  and less incidence of cesarean births. It is also effective for babies in posterior or transverse presentations.  This treatment is completely safe and painless for mother and baby.

So, if you have been told your baby is in breech presentation then having a treatment at between 33-36 weeks using acupuncture and moxibustion  is an effective safe option in helping your baby get into the right position.

Christina welcomes any questions.

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