It is that time of the year again; all the flowers are in bloom, the sun is shining (well some days!) the evenings have a lovely long stretch and some people are really suffering with hay fever symptoms. In Ireland, the high pollen season begins sometime in June.
So what is hay fever?
Hay fever or seasonal allergic rhinitis as it is known medically, is an allergic reaction to pollen and spores, the microscopic grains that plants, trees, grasses or fungi use for fertilisation. In spring, plant life comes into bloom and many forms of trees, grasses, fungi and flowers release pollen and spores in order to reproduce. While many plants rely on insects to transfer their pollen, others release their pollen onto the wind. It tends to be this wind-borne pollen that causes problems for people with allergies.
Symptoms consist of: frequent sneezing, running or blocked nose, itchy, red or watery eyes, an itchy throat, mouth nose and ears and sometimes but not as common, the loss of your sense of smell, facial pain (caused by blocked sinuses), sweats and headaches.
For the treatment of hay fever, antihistamine medications are available in chemists and they are well stocked up for the summer months. But there is an alternative, acupuncture!
So how does Acupuncture work to treat hay fever?
Acupuncture works on many levels in the treatment of hay fever. Studies have concluded that acupuncture has direct benefits for treating allergies.
• Acupuncture reduces IgE levels
In one study patients with allergic rhinitis (hay fever) were treated with acupuncture. IgE levels were tested before treatment, immediately after treatment, and then again two months after the treatment. IgE levels dropped 61% immediately after the treatment and 76% two months later. Those whose IgE levels dropped greater than 50% remained symptom free for 6 months.
• Acupuncture reduces blood levels of histamine better than oral anti-histamines
In another study of allergic rhinitis patients, about half of the patients received acupuncture and the other half received oral anti-histamine treatment. The blood histamine level was tested before treatment, right after treatment, and again three months after treatment. The histamine levels decreased gradually and the symptoms improved significantly in the acupuncture group compared to the oral anti-histamine group.
With the above studies showing such great benefits, acupuncture is therefore an ideal treatment option for those who want to avoid taking antihistamines for the treatment of hay fever or other over-the-counter remedies.
Acupuncture can also be safely combined with conventional medication, reducing the side effects and enhancing the beneficial effects.
The wonderful Ciara Ryan from Ciara Ryan Nutrition will be presenting a talk this evening at the Lavender Suite, CityNorth Hotel, Gormanston from 7pm-8pm on food intolerance and also some handy tips and recipe ideas.
The talk was prepared for all clients who have had a food intolerance blood test (Fitzwilliam FoodTest) through Anam Mai Acupuncture Clinics but it is open to anyone that may be interested, so if you are around please feel free to pop in.
A great talk this evening with Ciara Ryan with lots of food samples to see & taste. Thanks to all staff at CityNorth Hotel for the tea coffee & biscuits :)
For anyone who missed it if you email me or PM me your postal address Ciara will post out a pack that she gave out this evening with some fantastic hints and tips and recipes.
Insomnia was the chosen topic for Acupuncture Awareness Week back in February this year, with the intention to highlight how acupuncture can help a whole range of sleeping disorders.
Insomnia may present itself in different ways and does not just mean sleepless nights.
While some people don't get any sleep at all, others might experience difficulty falling asleep, or might be unable to reach a deep level of sleep at night and wake up often during the night, or even repeatedly wake up at 2-4am.
Any insomnia symptom would frustrate most sleepers, but night after night for months or years can lead to an accumulation of symptoms such as physical tiredness, difficulty concentrating and feeling depressed, irritable or lethargic.
Prolonged lack of sleep means more than a slow start the next morning and can have a damaging effect on our lives. It can reduce our immune system leaving us vulnerable to illness. It can affect our relationships, both in our personal lives and in the workplace. Exhaustion from prolonged insomnia can also affect our decision-making and cause us to have an irrational perception of our reality. Everything is much harder to deal with when we are sleep deprived.
Insomnia may have a number of causes including stress, depression or anxiety and major life changes; irregular work schedules; medication, drug or alcohol abuse; chronic pain, hyperthyroidism, or arthritis; hormonal changes brought on by menopause.
The good news is that acupuncture can help whether you have trouble falling asleep at night, or drift off quickly only to wake up in the early hours, or your worries keep you awake, or you just wake up tired.
From a western science point of view, acupuncture is believed to stimulate the nervous system, bringing back the body to a homeostatic state (state of balance), thus promoting physical and emotional well-being. Stimulation of certain acupuncture points has been shown to affect areas of the brain that are known to reduce sensitivity to pain and stress, as well as promoting relaxation and deactivating the “analytical” brain which is responsible for insomnia and anxiety.
In other words, acupuncture reduces sympathetic nervous system activity and increases relaxation. It also increases night-time production of melatonin which helps ensure a good night's sleep.
From a Traditional Chinese Medicine point of view, insomnia is not considered a disease but a manifesting symptom. Consequently, acupuncture is extremely successful in treating insomnia as it treats the underlying causes and not just the symptoms. Patients often find that as their insomnia clears, so do other ailments.
Acupuncture is therefore an ideal treatment option for those who want to avoid taking sleeping pills or over-the counter remedies from fear of dependency.
Acupuncture can also be safely combined with conventional medication, reducing the side effects and enhancing the beneficial effects.
What is Chinese Dietary Therapy?
In this article we are going to discuss Chinese Dietary Therapy and how it can used to improve and maintain our health.
The Neijing Classic of Internal Medicine compiled over 2000 years ago sets out the relationship between health and the energies of foods. In this traditional system of dietary cures, foods have been organized into categories based on their innate temperature, energetics, the direction in which they move qi (internal energy) and how they affect qi and blood flow, and the organs they affect.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), foods are Yin or Yang in nature and to maintain a healthy body and mind we have to maintain a balance between Yin and Yang. Foods with a Yang nature are believed to increase the body’s heat, which increases metabolism, whilst foods with a Yin nature are cooling. There are also foods which are considered to be neutral. For example, a person who has a wind cold condition, (in western medicine that is a head cold), with excessive clear mucus might be told to consume hot soup made from onions and mustard greens. The onions are warming, expel cold, and sedate excess yin. The mustard greens have similar properties, and they also help expel mucus and relieve chest congestion. Flavouring the soup with ginger and black pepper enhances the warming, expectorant action.
Food is also categorised by Taste and Colour e.g. Green Foods are cleansing in nature, Red food types can help prevent cancers, Yellow foods have lots of vitamins, White foods promote energy and Black foods promote growth and development.
In TCM it is believed that we are influenced by climatic changes and should live in harmony with the seasons and eat accordingly. Each season has a flavour and energy associated with it and by eating foods with a similar dynamic you are taking advantage of the natural ebb and flow of yin and yang, and this benefits your health and energy levels.
As we come into the Spring, it is a time when Yang activities commence, new life begins. It is a good time to detox our bodies. Springtime equates to the Liver and the colour green. The Liver is responsible for the smooth flow of Qi (energy) throughout the body. We should be eating fresh young plants and greens to improve Liver function and also carrots and parsnips, leeks, citrus fruits, and pickles, yogurt, wheat, barley, beef, chicken and duck. Avoiding salty foods and processed meats.
So where can I find a licenced Acupuncturist in the Meath Coast area?
Chinese Food Therapy comes as standard in all of our treatments as necessary. If you have any questions about how TCM can help you, or someone you know, please feel free to contact Sharon, Niamh or Sabine
the Meath Coaster Magazine, April 2013 issue, Page 38, written by Sharon McGinty, Niamh Muldowney & Sabine le Boulicaut
Niamh Muldowney, owner and founder, Anam Mai Acupuncture
A bad chest infection that refused to clear, despite seven courses of antibiotics, lead Niamh Muldowney to try acupuncture. Amazed at the results it produced, she was inspired to learn more and signed up with the Acupuncture Foundation Ireland in Milltown Institute to begin what would be her life changing studies. Now a fully qualified & Licenced acupuncturist, at Anam Mai Acupuncture she provides safe and effective treatments which result in restoring health using the holistic wisdom of traditional Chinese medicine. With three clinics in the Meath and Dublin areas, Niamh also sits on the on the executive committee of the Acupuncture Foundation Professional Association with the title role of Communication coordinator.
“What I love in my job is the ability to help someone recover or to help change their lives,” she says. Her clinics’ tends to be 90% female with presenting issues ranging from painful periods to trying to conceive, stress and anxiety as well as pain management. And of course being part of the professional association means that Anam Mai Acupuncture clinics are fully recognised by VHI, Aviva, Quinn Health Care and HSF among others. Niamh also practices what she preaches. After that serious chest infection six years ago, she continued with treatments once a month, even after she’d recovered, and still does.
Acupuncture Awareness Week 2013 is running from Feb 25th to March 3rd this year and to mark this special week Anam Mai Acupuncture will be providing free demonstrations of acupuncture, mini treatments, fire cupping, moxibustion, tongue and pulse diagnosis and other Traditional Chinese Medicine techniques from 3pm-5.30pm on Thursday 28th February 2013, everyone welcome, come along and experience the wonders of acupuncture and how it can help. Look forward to seening you there.
Since starting our Acupuncture practices we have become aware just how common it is for stress and anxiety to impact on people’s lives. Stress and anxiety affect most people at some stage of their lives; a small amount of stress can be beneficial; it may aid performance under pressure and help an individual stay focused and alert. If a person is continually stressed, however, the constant state of stress takes its toll. Cortisol, the body’s stress hormone elevates, blood pressure increases, and our immune function is suppressed. And this can develop into anxiety, depression, fatigue, digestive problems, and tension headaches. A number of strategies are available to manage anxiety and stress and Acupuncture is one of them.
How Acupuncture can help ease anxiety and stress:
Acupuncture treats anxiety and stress by identifying the individual pattern of disharmony which is strongest in the person attending for treatment, looking to treat the root cause of the problems as well as the symptoms. Acupuncture treats the underlying cause which gives rise to the anxiety itself. According to Chinese medical theory, energy or Qi flows through our bodies via a network of meridians or “roads”. Stress, anger, or any intense emotion acts like a traffic jam, blocking the free flow of energy in the body leading to a pattern of disharmony. For example, many people who are very stressed out complain of upper back, shoulder and neck pain. This is because stress is causing tension in those areas, blocking the free flow of energy, causing pain, tightness, and often leading to headaches. Through Acupuncture, theses energy blockages can be addressed.
From a Western viewpoint, Acupuncture works to alleviate stress by releasing natural pain-killing chemicals in the brain, called endorphins. In addition, Acupuncture improves circulation of blood throughout the body, which oxygenates the tissues and cycles out cortisol and other waste chemicals. The calming nature of Acupuncture also decreases heart rate, lowers blood pressure and relaxes the muscles. By mellowing out the nervous system Acupuncture will help you feel less affected and better equipped to manage the stress in your life.
How many treatments would be required?
A course of six to eight treatments is recommended, everybody reacts differently to Acupuncture and some feel the benefit of the sessions sooner.
Latest Article in the Meath Coaster Magazine, page 38, February 2013 issue. Co-written by Sharon McGinty (Sharon McGinty Acupuncture), Niamh Muldowney (that's me!) & Sabine Le Boulicaut (Shen Dao Acupuncture)
It’s time for the Fertility Focus Telesummit 2013! This is an online fertility information event that you can attend via your computer wherever in the world you are. And the best news is that it’s FREE!
At this year’s event we’re featuring 10 presentations with top fertility experts from around the world. They all have a LOT of valuable information to share and can’t wait to speak to you!
The Fertility Focus Telesummit starts on Monday 11th February and continues for 5 days, and to listen in all you need to do is register here: www.fertilityfocustelesummit.com
Check out our latest article in The Meath Coaster Magazine, January 2013 issue; Acupuncture for a Happy, Healthy, Easy Menopause!
Menopause is one of the key stages in a woman’s life when she moves out of her childbearing years. It is a challenging time where women have to adapt to their changing body and not everyone finds it a positive experience.
The physical symptoms and the emotional mood swings that come with menopause can be so severe, to the point of having an unhealthy impact in a woman’s life and greatly affect the way she feels about herself.
The hormonal changes that happen at this time of transition produce many different symptoms. Physical symptoms include hot flushes, night sweats, sleep disturbances and sometimes insomnia, headaches, fatigue, loss of libido and vaginal dryness.
Mental and emotional symptoms include depression, moods swings, irritability and anxiety.
Some women will experience mild symptoms for a few weeks or months while others will experience severe symptoms for as long as 5 or even 10 years.
Conventional medical treatment focuses on replacing lost hormones with Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) and treating women for depression. When it comes to HRT research indicates caution and most GPs now prescribe it for 5 years only. HRT is not without side effects and comes with an increased risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
Menopause is an area in which Chinese Medicine shines. Acupuncture has the ability to regulate hormonal changes that happen in the body and quickly relieve symptoms like hot flushes, foggy mind and irritability.
Treatments focus on stimulating the endocrine system, promoting elimination and fluid balance, boosting the immune system, relieving stress, promoting emotional balance and boosting self-esteem. Within 3 or 4 treatments, women who used to have to wake up with their nightie drenched in sweat report virtually no sweat, full night’s sleep, better energy levels, no more palpitations, better moods, relief from pain in the joints and more importantly “feeling themselves again”.
Acupuncture can balance hormones for menopause in the same way that it can balance hormones to allow pregnancy. The same recommendations for fertility patients apply for menopausal patients: keep your work/life balance in check, get out and get some exercise, eat a balanced diet and take a good quality multivitamins and minerals supplement.
Food is medicine and nutrition plays a key part in your wellbeing. The right diet will support the endocrine system and help relieve menopausal symptoms.
As acupuncturists, we do not see menopause as a disease that needs to be cured but as a natural process and we strongly recommend the gentle balancing power of acupuncture at this special time in your life.
We want you to move forward in this new phase of life and want to bring you a happy, healthy and easy menopause.
We are always happy to take the time to answer queries, please do not hesitate to contact Sabine, Niamh or Sharon for a confidential chat
Niamh Muldowney, owner, Anam Mai Acupuncture