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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 |

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 Health Hub, Uncategorized |

Acupuncture can relieve chronic Migraines ~ 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.
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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Posted by on Feb 25, 2016 in Health Hub |

Brain Teasers for Better Health

Brain Teasers for Better Health

Keeping our brains active is incredibly important; and solving riddles is a great way to do this.

It improves memory and processing speeds, which has a positive impact on mental health, and is a great way for students to improve their exam scores while having fun.

It prevents the build up of sticky amyloid plaque in people who have the Alzheimer’s gene variant; while new research has revealed that it doesn’t prevent Alzheimer’s for everyone, as previously suggested, people with this gene variant will find it incredibly helpful.

And finally: it provides a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction and gives us problem solving skills that we can use in our day to day lives. If we feel able to tackle difficult problems, our anxiety goes down and our resilience goes up.

So, here’s a few to try with your friends and family:

A magician claims he can turn water into wine – but he can only do it if the water is frozen. He pulls out a full ice cube tray, gets an audience member to taste a cube and they agree that it’s frozen water in the tray. He pulls out another cube, allows it to melt in a glass, and gets an audience member to taste it – lo and behold, it’s white wine. How do you think he did it?

Barbie lives in a one storey house with a pink front door. She has pink walls, pink chairs, and a pink bedspread. Her coffee mugs are pink and her window panes are pink. What colour are her stairs?
A basket contains 5 apples. Do you know how to divide them among 5 kids so that each one has an apple and one apple stays in the basket?

A girl who was just learning to drive went down a one-way street in the wrong direction, but didn’t break the law. How come?


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Posted by on Feb 22, 2016 in Health Hub |

Fertility and Nutrition: An Eastern Perspective ~ Christina Atkins

Fertility and Nutrition: An Eastern Perspective ~ Christina Atkins

Modifying our diet to encourage pregnancy is one of the most simple and powerful tools we have to ensure optimum fertility and a healthy pregnancy.


Asian culture sees food as medicine – what we eat today will sow either the seeds of health or those of disease of the future.

All things in nature can be explained in basic terms of yin and yang and the interplay of these energies.   Classical medicine states that:-

“Yin is still in nature , yang is active in nature . Yang generates and yin grows things. The yang function radiates and moves, yin stores and nourishes ” ~ (Su Wen )

Yin and yang constantly affect each other and we can easily find ourselves out of balance because of many factors, from the lifestyles we lead to the foods we eat. For example, overeating of hot spicy foods causes the yang to excessively radiate which causes excess sweating, open pores and then chilling of the body.  Long term this can lead a person to experience exhaustion.

On the other hand, excess consumption of cold, raw foods can chill the digestive system causing sluggish movement of digestion.  This results in bloating and the accumulation of water, which in turn, can lead to phlegm build up and disease.

The good news is that we can improve the yin-yang balance of our bodies just by changing our diet and thus improving your chances of a healthy pregnancy.

When I palpate a person’s ‘hara’ or abdomen, and feel it is “cold and empty”,  usually it is due to their over consumption of raw and cold foods.  This often means that they also tend to have a weak digestion.   I will then immediately advise them to eat only steamed vegetables and warm or room temperature beverages.  This enables the body to transform food into fuel with ease, without taxing an already weak digestion.  This is especially important if a women is trying to conceive; we want to encourage an environment that is warm, where blood flows freely and is able to nourish a developing foetus.

Here is an example how yin and yang work together to conceive a life:

Yin dominates the fluids in our body. Stretchy fertile mucus is needed to guide the sperm through the generally acidic environment of the uterus.  Yin encourages the cultivation of fertile mucus to carry the sperm safely up the pathway to the ovum.  Yin ensures the egg and sperm that are released within 3-months’ time is ripe and succulent to carry life. We need yin to encourage a lovely thick endometrium for the fertilised embryo to embed its home in the uterus snugly and be nourished for the next 10 months.

Yang energy is needed to circulate energy throughout the body.  It ensures the egg is fully released from the ovum and completely makes its way out of the fallopian tubes to the uterus.  Sufficient yang Qi ensures the sperm swims efficiently through the uterus to meet the waiting ovum and, subsequently, impregnate successfully.  Often men that have poor circulation have issues of viable sperm motility.  This can be improved with regular acupuncture sessions.  Women who have irregular cycles and ovulation issues can benefit from regular treatment also. Maintaining upright yang Qi ensures the baby is held safely in the uterus for the full gestational period.
Basic Yin nourishing foods –

  • Soup or stocks made from bone marrow. You can add the stock to hearty soups or risotto or consume as a broth on its own
  • Pork and pork marrow
  • Osso Bucco – this nourishes fluids
  • Eggs – great blood tonic
  • Coconut milk
  • Anything with gelatin
  • Dates – spleen and blood tonics
  • Tofu – lubricates dryness
  • Honey
  • Kidney beans
  • Maltose
  • Pears
  • Spinach
  • Walnuts
  • Watermelon

Basic Yang foods –
We aim to warm the middle of the body, put fire back under “the burner” so we can strengthen the digestion and stomach.

  • Sardines
  • Cinnamon Bark, Clove
  • Dill Seed
  • Fennel root and seed
  • Pistachio nuts
  • Beef Kidneys
  • Chestnuts
  • Star anise
  • Red dates and black dates
  • Chicken soup, especially in winter. If taken regularly it will benefit you for the rest of the pregnancy
  • Chai teas


Yang tonics need to be taken in moderation as overdosing can cause a dispersive effect rather than gathering of energy.

The beauty in eastern medicine is that every person is seen as an individual and there is not one recipe or fix for everyone.   The above information is general in nature.

For a more individual treatment plan, it is recommended that you see a professional eastern medicine practitioner who can provide individualised recommendations.

Christina is available in clinic on Mondays and Wednesdays.  Private health rebates are available.

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