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Posted by on Feb 27, 2018 in Acupuncture, Health Hub |

Why I chose to practice Japanese Acupuncture Meridian Therapy

Christina Atkins ~ Japanese Acupuncture

Why I chose Japanese Meridian Therapy

Why I chose to practice Japanese Meridian Therapy 

At college 20 years ago, we were all taught Chinese Acupuncture (TCM).  After all, this is where to all started.  It was interesting and mainly symptomatic-based. I found it effective but it hurt.  When I did my practical time in China, the needles were even thicker than in the West. The mantra was “no pain, no gain”.  Furthermore, I well understand this notion, as I am Chinese and was raised in such a “tough love” manner.

As years passed, I became increasingly reluctant to induce pain in my patients. In fact,  so much so, that I considered giving up Acupuncture altogether.  Something about it did not resonate with me.

My curiosity was sparked by Japanese acupuncture.  Some of my colleagues had dabbled in this form of acupuncture. I had my first treatment.  Although I didn’t feel the needles penetrating my skin, I found it powerful.

Through my discovery of Japanese style Acupuncture, I found a renewed passion for my modality.  It breathed life into my practice.  Consequently, I continue to be inspired from teachers, primarily Masakazu Ikeda, whose practice is firmly rooted in the classical of texts that are 2000 years old.

The most notable differences with Japanese Acupuncture are:-


Palpation is an integral part of a Japanese acupuncturist’s practice. We feel the temperature and texture of the skin.  As Japanese Acupuncturists, we palpate the hara (abdomen), which is an important diagnostic tool.  We look for the live or active acupuncture points and engage with the living human being in front of us.  I believe the interplay of energy between the practitioner and patient is really important. This interplay can greater determine and impact on the outcome of the treatment.  Throughout the treatment, I continually reference back to the patient to see what changes are occurring by checking the pulse.  The pulse guides me, as the practitioner, to see how the body is responding to the treatment.  It  lets me know if I am on the right track.

Thinner needles, Shallow Insertion or Deeper insertion

I love that the needles I use are thinner and therefore less invasive.  Also, I feel that due to component of palpation in the Japanese Acupuncture style, I can subtly nudge the patient back to a place of wellness as the body opens itself to finding balance.  I come across many people with needle phobias that say they honestly enjoy their Japanese Acupuncture treatments.

What is that smell?  Its Moxabustion or mugwort 

I am a self-confessed moxa junky.  Actually, I love using it in my practice in all its forms. And, I use it frequently.  Moxabustion is a herb that is dried, rolled up and placed on specific points on the body.  Once lit, the moxa creates a deeply penetrating and healing heat in the body.  In fact, the soft cones of moxa that I roll, fill up the empty exhausted well within a person.  It is like a warm, nourishing soup that fills the void of exhaustion.  In addition to this, I love the small, but powerful, rice grain or thread moxa that penetrates deeply into an acupuncture point to revive life into a channel again.  In addition, Moxa creates a deeply relaxing response in my clients.

To me everyone is a puzzle 

When working with human beings, we must use a different key to nudge the body into wellness.  I believe that you don’t need a bulldozer to create change.  In fact, a gentle stroke of a feather can more powerfully and effectively lead the body towards the direction of good health by redirecting the flow of the river of energy within.

Japanese Acupuncture is a true art form

When I first went to Japan to spend time with one my teachers, Edward Obaidy and saw him practice, I was in awe. This was the first time I truly recognized Japanese Acupuncture as an art form.  Edward’s Sensei’s hands lovingly danced along patients’ body, filling up the spaces that were empty, moving along energy that was stuck all the whilst laughing, engaging and teaching us all that we are all the same humans doing our best to strive towards wellness.

~ By Christina Atkins, Japanese Acupuncturist

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Posted by on Feb 26, 2018 in Health Hub |

Pain Management Without Prescriptive Painkillers

Pain management without prescriptive painkillers

Treating Pain with Acupuncture

There is increasing concern today about the current epidemic of dependence on traditional prescriptive painkillers’ and their addictive properties.

The Sydney Morning Herald, in July 2017, published an article, looking at Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data.  It discussed how  “more Australians are dying from accidental opioid overdoses each year, with prescription painkillers rather than heroin now accounting for two-thirds of the fatalities“.  The SMH article went quoted findings from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre.  They found 668 overdose deaths took place in 2013.  Of those, 68 per cent were related to prescriptive painkillers or pharmaceutical opioids.

Role of Western Medicine

At Haberfield Health, we recognize there is a place of Western prescriptive medication and Western medicine has played a very powerful and important role in saving lives.  However. we also believe that there are many other options of pain management without prescriptive painkillers.

“Our body is always communicating with us. Pain and tension are the body’s way of letting us know that there is something going on in the body that needs attention”, Rosa Ghidella, Director of Haberfield Health says.  However, we often ignore these symptoms.  “As a society, we now value busyness, speed and productivity, often that the expense of our health”, she says.  There is so much emphasis on taking a pill and “soldiering on”.  We hear it all the time.  Life is so busy with so many demands on each of us. So many people with a cold or headache or pain pop a pill so they can get back to work as fast as possible. We no longer stop and pause to see what may be triggering that pain.  In addition, we know painkillers simply work to mask the symptoms, without consideration for the actual cause.

Acupuncture treats the cause of the problem

Acupuncture doesn’t work that way.  It focuses on treating the root cause of the pain rather than just the symptoms.  It recognizes the body as a complex organism made up of interdependent systems. Each body system depends on and is impacted on by every other body system.  For example, headache pain may be caused by many factors including eyesight strain, neck and shoulder tension or even poor gut health.

Our Acupuncturists can explain how acupuncture can help you deal with chronic pain more effectively,  without the side effects of prescriptive painkillers.

Acupuncture appointments are available Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Private health fund rebates available on all acupuncture consultations.



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Posted by on Feb 15, 2018 in Health Hub, Uncategorized |


Chronic pain

Chronic pain, whether from hip or knee pain, osteoarthritis, chronic back pain, Rheumatoid Arthritis, inflammatory conditions such as tendonitis or bursitis, can be get in the way of quality of life.  Chronic pain can lead to mobility restrictions, poor sleep and challenges with every day tasks.

Effective pain management requires an tailored approach.  Every person is different and your experience of pain will not be the same as someone else’s.  Our approach includes both physical and emotional support and complementary take-home treatment options.

The Issue with Opiods

Opiods (pain medication) can play an important role in an individual’s care plan and can be effective in the short term to ease intense pain. However, they also present with potential and serious side effects and the risk of addiction when taken over an extensive period of time.  For example, many commonly taken non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can result in ulcers and stomach issues. They can also present serious complications for individuals suffering with kidney or heart conditions, fluid retention or high blood pressure.  Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications can deplete nutrients from the body and lead to other potential health complications.

Natural therapies and chronic pain

Natural therapies such as remedial massage, acupuncture, naturopathic and herbal medicine offer an effective alternative. These therapies have a long history in effective pain management for chronic pain sufferers.

Nutrition is important too.  The modern Western diet can lead to and worsen inflammatory conditions. Individuals with chronic and inflammatory conditions tend to present with deficiencies in Magnesium (natural muscle-relaxant that also helps to block pain receptors); Vitamin D (complements calcium in building strong bone; immune strengthening); Vitamin B12  and Omega fatty acids (anti-inflammatory, cardiovascular and neurological support).  Bach Flower remedies that include Impatiens, or Rescue Remedy, can also help ease pain and pain-related anxiety without side effects.

A Naturopath can guide you through the health maze by ensuring that any supplements or herbal medicines work together with, and don’t contraindicate, medications you may be on.

Topical Magnesium Oils can also be helpful in the easing of muscular tension and fatigue, as well as relieving other stress-related symptoms.

For more information or to speak to one of our qualified health professionals, contact us on 9797 0422,

~ Rosa Ghidella

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Posted by on Jan 27, 2018 in Acupuncture, Health Hub |

Endometriosis and Acupuncture

Acupuncture is known to treat Endometriosis effectively


Endometriosis is a painful condition that affects 1 in 10 women of childbirth age.  Every month, normal hormonal changes result in the lining of the uterus to thicken. This is a normal  as if preparing for pregnancy.  If a woman doesn’t fall pregnant, the lining of the uterus (endometrial tissue) breaks down and is released from the body as menstrual blood and this is a normal part of the menstrual cycle.


Endometriosis results when the endometrial tissue develops outside of the uterus.  Women with this condition experience problems when the endometrial tissue is not released from the body, and this, in turn, leads to swelling (an inflammatory response) and pain.   In this situation, you may experience common symptoms such as painful periods, heavy bleeding or clotting, irregular periods. You may also experience symptoms such as chronic fatigue, pain during intercourse, cramping and pelvic pain.

We recognise that in cases of mild endometriosis, the symptoms can result in issues with fertility, conception or even the normal development of an early-stage embryo.  In more moderate to severe cases, tissue scarring can get in the way of healthy ovulation and interfere with the clear  movement of the egg through the fallopian tubes.   We also understand that other issues such as the prevention the sperm from reaching the egg for fertilization, can also arise.

Having said that, many women with endometriosis go on to have healthy pregnancies and births with no difficulties.

Causes of Endometriosis

There are several possible causes for this disorder, including hormonal factors, immune dysfunction, lifestyle issues.  For example, we are learning that exposure to environmental toxins can play a part in endometriosis.  In addition, we know that genetics can also play a role in the development of this disease.  A laparoscopy is one of the more common methods used to diagnose this disorder.

Acupuncture can be effective in managing pain, easing discomfort and regulating menstruation.  One of the primary benefits of Acupuncture for women suffering from this disorder is to reduce blood stagnation, therefore improving blood flow to the uterus and the entire reproductive area, further nourishing the body. Acupuncture also helps to minimise stress-related symptoms of anxiety or depression that may result.

Another benefit of acupuncture is supporting overall health and wellbeing, providing more energy and stamina for each individual.

Appointments available Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Private health rebates apply.


Gurates B & Bulan SE. Endometriosis: the ultimate hormonal disease. Seminars in Reproductive Medicine 2003; 21(2): 125-134.

Flower A, Liu JP, Lewith G, Little P. Chinese Herbal Medicine for Endometriosis 2009


Written by Rosa Ghidella

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Posted by on Jan 26, 2018 in Acupuncture, Health Hub |

Acupuncture and Chronic Pain

Acupuncture is a powerful pain management therapy

Acupuncture and chronic pain

In this article, I talk about the effectiveness of acupuncture and chronic pain.  Anyone with chronic pain can testify that it can completely undermine the quality of your life.

Over the years, I’ve heard so many sceptics dismiss the idea that acupuncture can be an effective or viable form of medicine.  Many argue that there is insufficient scientific evidence to prove the case.  Even further, others suggest that it is some kind of woohoo, mumbo jumbo.


Today, however, there are many credible clinical trials that have consistently demonstrated the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating a wide range of disorders and symptoms.  The World Health Organization (WHO) compiled a list of 34 symptoms and conditions proven to be treated effectively by acupuncture.  Some of these symptoms and conditions include headache, back pain, neck pain, TMJ (jaw pain) and dental pain, osteoarthritis, sciatica and knee pain.

In addition, recent studies have even proven that acupuncture is as effective as many pain-management medications such as opiates, in treating chronic pain. Furthermore, there is now recognition that there are no serious side effects or risk of substance abuse as is the case with opiates.

We believe acupuncture is a very effective form of medicine that can ease chronic pain without other adverse effects.  It is based on a solid foundation, a practice that is traced back to over 2000 years.

Private health rebates are available on all acupuncture consultations.


Acupuncture for Chronic Pain: Individual Patient Data Meta-analysis. JAMA Internal Medicine, October 2012.

The safety of acupuncture during pregnancy: a systematic review. Acupuncture in Medicine, June 2014.

Cost-effectiveness of adjunct non-pharmacological interventions for osteoarthritis of the knee. PLOS One, March 2017.

Written by Rosa Ghidella

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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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