Nourishing Blood with Chinese Medicine

Nourishing Blood with Chinese Medicine

Nourishing ‘Blood’ is a really important therapeutic strategy in Chinese Medicine.

This strategy you can take on for your own self-care to strengthen the effects of your treatment.  This will help you get where you want to be and maintain it.

Nourishing ‘Blood’ is really important for women, as most women of menstruating age literally lose blood regularly.


What is ‘Blood’ in Chinese Medicine?

So what do we mean when we say Blood in Chinese Medicine? It can be very confusing. Let’s clear it up.

When we talk about Blood in Chinese Medicine, we don’t mean blood in the way you know it from a Western biomedical sense.

It’s the same with organs.

It’s a translation issue. Classically, the Chinese have a very precise way to describe the functional physiology of the human body. They have Chinese terms for it,  I would prefer to call them by their original Chinese terms. But in Western translation, we use Western words that unfortunately have already important associations – ie blood, organs.


Blood As A System, Not A Bodily Fluid

Chinese Medicine is a systems medicine. We are looking at how various systems in your body function together to generate health but also how they behave in dysfunction.

‘Blood’ in Chineses Medicine primarily includes the functional relationship AND physiology of the:

  • digestive system
  • bone marrow
  • reproductive system
  • cardiovascular system
  • central nervous system
  • endocrine system
  • neuro-musculo-fascial planes.

It also includes:

  • nutritional status
  • tissue hydration
  • hormone and neurotransmitter balance.

Blood is a broad term that you can drill down into depending on what type of pathology you are experiencing.

Nourishing Blood in the human body

Why is Nourishing Blood Important?

When practitioners encourage you to ‘nourish your Blood’, we are talking about your ability to nourish yourself.  This is achieved through a proper digestive process, the building of sufficient material resources and the effective distribution of those resources.


Qi + Blood are always connected. Qi is Yang and Blood is Yin.

Qi moves the Blood, and Blood nourishes the organs that produce Qi.

Blood moistens and warms the body and its tissues. Areas that suffer from lack of Blood nourishment are cold and often painful.

Blood tends to get deficient or stagnant or a combination of both.

Blood  ‘anchors your Heart-Mind’. Adequate blood levels are really important for your mental health, cognitive function, emotional resilience and ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.


What Happens if You Don’t Have Nourished Blood?

Fatigue is the first and most obvious sign. You’ve pushed too hard and consumed your resources. Yin/Yang starts to become unbalanced. Qi and Blood are consumed and need rebuilding.

Other signs of lack of Blood nourishment can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Emotional turbulence
  • Depression
  • Feeling faint when you stand up or dizziness
  • Palpitations
  • Floaters in your eyes.
  • Poor memory
  • Cold limbs/hands and feet
  • Slow healing and recovery
  • Weak immune system
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Gynecological conditions
  • Absent periods
  • Pale complexion
  • Pale gums
  • Easily startled
  • Feeling weak.


How to Nourish Your Blood

  1. Eat food. Sounds basic but part of nourishing Blood is the willingness to be open to receive nourishment and to feed yourself well. Supplementation may be needed in Blood deficiency but you cannot build blood without eating.
  2. Improve your digestion. Improper digestion, inc absorption and assimilation, can be the root cause of so many pathologies. How is your microbiome? Do you have leaky gut? Are you experiencing inflammation in the gut? Do you have an overgrowth of bacteria or parasites? Do you have adequate stomach acids and enzyme production? Has chronic stress impaired your digestive function? Do you have chronic bloating, constipation or diarrhoea? Even if you are making great choices with the food that you eat, if your digestion can’t break it down and absorb it, you may be malnourished. See the list below for Blood-nourishing foods. Acupuncture and Moxibustion are very effective in improving digestive function.
  3. Engage in adequate movement and rest. Exercise regularly, have an active lifestyle and know-how to rest well, relax regularly, protect your leisure time and have good sleep hygiene.
  4. Replenish after blood loss. Such times include menstruation, postpartum, during breastfeeding and post-surgery.


Foods for Nourishing Blood

As Blood (in Chinese Medicine) is also made from bone marrow, bone broths and slow-cooked bone dishes are very effective at Blood nourishment. Protein and good fat in every main meal are essential for Blood building.


Excellent foods for nourishing Blood include:


  • Chicken soup
  • Beef bone broth
  • Lamb shanks
  • Osso Bucco
  • Kombu dashi (V)



  • Pate
  • Parfait
  • Offal and traditional dishes containing blood, eg blood sausage
  • Animal protein and good fats are highly effective at building blood. Any animal products should be hormone-free, grass-fed, free-range and ethically treated.



  • Soaked goji berries
  • Chinese dates
  • Figs
  • Prunes
  • Cherries
  • Pomegranates
  • Dark leafy greens; kale, spinach, watercress, silverbeet, rucula
  • Nettles and nettle tea
  • Macro (seaweeds) and micro (spirulina, chlorophyll etc) algae
  • Cereal grasses (wheat and barley grass)

Nourishing Blood - pomegranates

Cooking in a cast-iron pot can be an easy way to increase your iron intake.

Chinese Medicine doesn’t advocate a vegetarian, vegan or raw food diet, especially for women. It most certainly advocates a wholefood, locally grown, an organic diet where you eat seasonally. Any animal products should be hormone-free, grass-fed, free-range and ethically treated.

The original post can be found here

If you need professional treatment, please call 09 3601229 or make an appointment online here

How to Cooperate AIP Diet in IBS treatment

IBS treatment

AIP= Autoimmune Protocol

AIP diet therapy: mainly through taboos, reduce the intake of harmful or irritating substances into the human body to restore intestinal health and balance the human immune system.

AIP natural therapy is a compensatory, exploratory, non-antagonistic treatment. The purpose is to adopt dietary methods and structures and store health to adjust the body. Different dietary patterns are aimed at people with different needs. A change in diet results in a change in the body. 

AIP diet and autoimmune diseases

Strictly implement AIP diet therapy has effective results on various types of autoimmune diseases. AIP diet has shown significant improvement in diseases such as:

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, hyperthyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus erythematosus, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, polyarteritis, celiac disease, Ankylosing spondylitis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, fibromyalgia, Sjogren’s syndrome, autoimmune hepatitis, dermatomyositis, scleroderma, myasthenia gravis, type 1 diabetes, Edison’s disease and more.

Note: The recovery mentioned here does not mean cure, but the disappearance of symptoms. Autoimmune diseases are in a dormant state and hardly affect normal life. There is currently no cure for autoimmune diseases. For some autoimmune patients, after a few months of strict implementation of AIP diet therapy, the symptoms can disappear completely, the antibody becomes negative, and there is no need to take immunosuppressants and hormones with major side effects. (If you want to reduce your medication, please be sure to do it under the guidance of your doctor. Don’t reduce the drug without confirmation).

What is in the AIP diet?

The diet advocates the food our ancestors ate before agricultural civilisation, such as grass-fed non-polluting pigs, cows, muttons, fish, shrimps, seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and healthy fats (such as olive oil, Coconut oil, animal fat), grains, dairy products, beans, refined sugar, hydrogenated fats, vegetable oils, preservatives, and various processed foods that were introduced into our human diets after the rejection of agricultural civilisation.

The AIP diet also requires avoiding foods such as solanaceous vegetables, nuts, and seeds, because they may damage the intestines and increase the autoimmune response. In addition to avoiding the foods mentioned above, AIP emphasizes selecting specific foods that are rich in nutrients such as most vegetables, meat, animal offal, bone broth, seafood, fermented vegetables, olives Oil, low-sugar fruits, etc. Additionally, AIP foods protect the intestines and nourish the intestinal flora. However, for chronic diseases such as autoimmune diseases, diet therapy is only part of the treatment. The other part lies in the adjustment of lifestyle and mood. In other words, even if you follow the AIP diet at 100%, but your mood has been bad, the therapy effect will be limited. Examples of a bad mood include a strained interpersonal relationship, psychological pressure, staying up late, sitting for a long time, and not exercising. 


Causes of IBS

The general cause of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is the result of the interaction between the body’s stress response and psychological factors. Different individuals may be involved in genetic, environmental, psychological, social, and gastrointestinal infections, leading to changes in gastrointestinal motility and brain-gut axis interaction. Changes in autonomic nerves and hormones, or with mental disorders (such as panic, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, etc.), sleep disorders, and psychological coping disorders, stressful life events can often cause symptoms to aggravate. Researchers emphasize the influence of mental and psychological factors on the pathogenesis of IBS and pay more attention to the role of neuropeptides and related receptor functions in the pathogenesis of IBS.


In recent years, people have strengthened research on the connection between IBS and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). A few scholars even believe that IBS is the early performance of IBD. IBD is a group of chronic and recurrent intestinal inflammatory disease with unknown etiology. In recent years, the role of brain-gut interaction in the pathogenesis of IBD has received more and more attention. A large number of studies have shown that In patients with IBD, the central nervous system, hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis), hypothalamic-autonomic nervous system axis (HANS axis), and intestinal response function all have different degrees of imbalances, and they are closely related to disease activity.

Acupuncture as a treatment

It has been proven that acupuncture is an effective method for the treatment of IBD. The overall regulation of the brain-intestine interaction may be the key mechanism of acupuncture in the treatment of IBD. Acupuncture treatment consists of three needles for the stomach (Zhongwan, Zusanli, Neiguan) and three needles for the intestine (Tianshu, Guanyuan, Shangjuxu) as the main points.

IBS treatmentIBS treatment

IBS treatment

AIP is just a targeted, temporary, phased, dietary adjustment model, and it is not suitable for everyone. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can be combined with AIP to treat IBS and IBD.

If you need professional treatment, please call 09 3601229 or make an appointment online here

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) & TCM

TCM treatment of IBS etiology and pathogenesis

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a relatively common chronic intestinal dysfunction disease. The pathophysiological basis of IBS is mainly abnormal gastrointestinal motility and visceral perception, and the mechanism of these changes has not been fully elucidated. Western medicine treatment of IBS has side effects, and its clinical application is subject to many restrictions, and patients are reluctant to accept it. Many patients will seek TCM treatment, so what method and theory should TCM treat IBS?

1. Soothing the liver and regulating qi, improving abnormal emotional pain
Patients seeking treatment for IBS often have emotional disorders, suggesting that the symptoms may be related to abnormal central emotion and pain perception. IBS disease is located in the intestine, and its pathogenesis is liver depression and spleen failure. Soothing the liver and regulating qi can obviously improve the abnormal central emotion and pain, and the traditional Chinese medicine for soothing the liver can obviously alleviate and improve symptoms. The treatment medication focuses on regulating qi.

2. Invigorate the spleen and replenish qi, regulate the intestinal transport function
IBS patients’ bowel habits change, suggesting that there may be intestinal dysfunction, the disease is located in the spleen, and the main pathogenesis is deficiency. Clinically, by eliminating the hyperresponsiveness of intestinal smooth muscle. So as to alleviate the symptoms of abdominal pain and diarrhea in IBS patients.

3. Dispel dampness and turbidity, improve the environment in the intestine
Deficiency of the spleen and loss of transport, diarrhea, accumulation of damp heat or cold and dampness, loss of intestinal conduction, and poor qi flow. When the spleen rises and the stomach falls, the dampness will rise and fall abnormally, especially the stagnation of qi. It is seen that there is pain in the abdomen or bowel diarrhea, sticky stools, foaming, or diarrhea and constipation. Therefore, the general combination of dampness and qi regulation.

It can be seen that the pathogenesis of IBS is mainly liver depression and spleen deficiency, and the liver and spleen are closely related to the internal organs. The main principle of treatment is to sooth the liver, invigorate the spleen and dissipate dampness.

Simple Obesity and Acupuncture

Simple Obesity and Acupuncture

11 May 2020 Tony Jiang

Obesity is a metabolic disease caused by the interaction of multiple factors. The main clinical manifestation of obesity includes excessive accumulation and abnormal distribution of internal fat, weight increase, and imbalance of energy metabolism. Simple obesity accounts for about 95% of total obesity. Simple obesity can be divided into two types, constitutional and acquired obesity. The former is caused by congenital factors and the feature is widespread obesity, the latter is caused by acquired factors (i.e. unhealthy lifestyle and dietary habit).

simple obesity

Calculate your BMI here

Obesity has a significantly negative impact on people’s health and it can decrease quality of life (QOL). The main hazard of this common illness typically includes lethality and pathogenicity. Obesity has been considered as a preventable lethal cause. According to epidemic data, approximately 111, 909 to 365, 000 persons in the U.S. were killed by this illness per year. In addition, a lot of obese patients also suffer from other chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular, diabetes, degenerating nature, arthritis, some cancers etc.,

The treatment method of obesity includes behaviour therapy, medication, and operative therapy. Although these treatments have a positive influence on controlling obesity, the deficiencies of them cannot be ignored. For example, orlistat medicine adversely impacts gastrointestinal function, and probably have a side effect on kidneys. For another, the incidence of complications is 17% and around 7% of the patients need to receive a second operation.

According to the theory of traditional Chinese medicine, this disease can be divided into a number of patterns of the syndrome. The common patterns of obesity are spleen deficiency and gastrointestinal excessive hot. In recent years, acupuncture therapy has a great impact on treating obesity. The acupuncture treatment of this disease includes two main types: electro-acupuncture and needle warming moxibustion. The main acupuncture points of the electro-acupuncture method include Zhongwan, Daju, Tianshu, Huaroumen, Zusanli, Sanyinjiao, Biguan, etc. The waveform of electric acupuncture therapy is a continuous wave. The treatment duration of obesity is 30 minutes every time, 15 times per treatment course. To slightly obese patients, one treatment duration will have a positive influence on treating obesity. To moderately and severely obese people, 2-3 treatment duration is suitable.

If you need professional treatment, please call 09 3601229 or make an appointment online here

Acupuncture in Medicine

Acupuncture in Medicine

Acupuncture in Medicine

Traditional Chinese medicine explains acupuncture as a technique for balancing the flow of energy or life force — known as chi or qi (chee) — believed to flow through pathways (meridians) in your body. By inserting needles into specific points along these meridians, acupuncture practitioners believe that your energy flow will re-balance.

In contrast, many Western practitioners view the acupuncture points as places to stimulate nerves, muscles and connective tissue. Some believe that this stimulation boosts your body’s natural painkillers.

Why it’s done

Acupuncture is used mainly to relieve discomfort associated with a variety of diseases and conditions, including:

  • Chemotherapy-induced and postoperative nausea and vomiting
  • Dental pain
  • Headaches, including tension headaches and migraines
  • Labour pain
  • Low back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Respiratory disorders, such as allergic rhinitis
  • Risks

The risks of acupuncture are low if you have a competent, certified acupuncture practitioner using sterile needles. Common side effects include soreness and minor bleeding or bruising where the needles were inserted. Single-use, disposable needles are now the practise standard, so the risk of infection is minimal. Not everyone is a good candidate for acupuncture. You may be at risk of complications if you:

  • Have a bleeding disorder. Your chances of bleeding or bruising from the needles increase if you have a bleeding disorder or if you’re taking blood thinners.
  • Have a pacemaker. Acupuncture that involves applying mild electrical pulses to the needles can interfere with a pacemaker’s operation.
  • Are pregnant. Some types of acupuncture are thought to stimulate labour, which could result in premature delivery.

During the procedure

Acupuncture points are situated in all areas of the body. Sometimes the appropriate points are far removed from the area of your pain. Your acupuncture practitioner will tell you the general site of the planned treatment and whether you need to remove any clothing. A gown, towel or sheet will be provided. You lie on a padded table for the treatment, which involves:

  • Needle insertion. Acupuncture needles are inserted to various depths at strategic points on your body. The needles are very thin, so insertion usually causes little discomfort. People often don’t feel them inserted at all. Between five and 20 needles are used in a typical treatment. You may feel a mild aching sensation when a needle reaches the correct depth.
  • Needle manipulation. Your practitioner may gently move or twirl the needles after placement or apply heat or mild electrical pulses to the needles.
  • Needle removal. In most cases, the needles remain in place for 10 to 20 minutes while you lie still and relax. There is usually no discomfort when the needles are removed.


The benefits of acupuncture are sometimes difficult to measure, but many people find it helpful as a means to control a variety of painful conditions. Several studies, however, indicate that some types of simulated acupuncture appear to work just as well as real acupuncture. There’s also evidence that acupuncture works best in people who expect it to work.

Acupuncture has few side effects, so it may be worth a try if you’re having trouble controlling pain with more-conventional methods.

If you need professional treatment, please call 09 3601229 or make an appointment online here

What Is Medical Pulse Diagnosis?

What Is Medical Pulse Diagnosis?
By Acupuncture & Wellness Center • December 3, 2019 • Tags: Acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, wellness
If you’ve ever had an acupuncture appointment, then you might be familiar with a pulse reading.
Are you familiar with a medical pulse reading?
A method with both ancient and modern medicine, Medical Pulse Diagnosis (MPD) is a trademarked technique of reading the radial pulse.
Rooted in the Chinese Medical tradition and reaching as far back as the 2nd and 1st century BCE, the Nan Jing medical text is over 2100 years old!
The most notable medical texts published with pulse diagnosis instruction are the Shang Han Lun in 220 AD, the Mai Jing in the 3rd century AD, and the Bin Hu Mai Xue in the 16th century AD.
It’s an evolving technique ever since, leaving modern-day practitioners with a refined method in diagnosing the condition of the body.
Why is Pulse Diagnosis important?
Pulse diagnosis sheds light on the quality of blood coursing through the body.
This includes the big blood vessels and the small blood vessels, the ones feeding and draining the organs and the ones feeding and draining the extremities.
It informs on the condition of function in the organ systems as well.
Is the heart weak?
Is the liver sluggish?
Are the kidney’s optimally cleansing the blood?
There are many states of function before an organ is considered diseased. Often times there are symptoms that arise from these pre-diseased states that are not critical but are still troublesome.
Western medical testing often will pick up on a diseased organ but has difficulty detecting the stages of dysfunction before the full-blown diseased state. This is where pulse diagnosis shines. It is able to detect beginning patterns of disease.
Learning to read the pulse takes many years and a lot of practice. It is not simply something practitioners can study from an academic book. It is a palpatory skill combined with the study of physiologic function in the body. A practitioner must refine the ability to pick up on subtle characteristics in the flow of blood through the radial artery.
So, what sets Medical Pulse Diagnosis apart?
MPD is unique amongst other Chinese pulse diagnostic methods being taught today.
Other methods are able to hone the palpatory skill but lack the clinical relevance in terms of treatment.
MPD completely integrates all skills:
Correct finger positions on the wrists correlating with real anatomical locations in the body.
Understanding of the Chinese Medical diagnosis and their related Western Medical diagnosis.
The correct combination of Chinese herbs to treat these diagnoses.
No other method today has its basis in ancient Chinese medical texts and at the same time is completely integrated into the western medical model.
MPD can be logically taught; systematically practiced and can produce the same diagnosis even if completely different MPD trained practitioners are doing the pulsing.
In comparison, most other methods:
Do not relate to the Chinese diagnostic pattern with Western medical patterns.
Do not teach which herbal combinations to use to treat a pathologic pulse formation.
Cannot be easily learned, requiring the student to search multiple texts and/or schools to learn from.
MPD is a trademarked skill that is taught only by the Acupuncture and Wellness Center.
Bob Doane, Founder & CEO of AWC, has traveled the world teaching this method to Chinese herbalists, physicians, and other practitioners. His studies have been greatly influenced by the above mentioned medical texts along with the works of Wang Qing Ren in his 1830 book Yi Lin Gai. What Is Medical Pulse Diagnosis?

Acupuncture Reduces High Blood Pressure

Acupuncture Reduces High Blood Pressure

Published Friday 21 August 2015
By Catharine Paddock PhD

A new study suggests that a form of acupuncture may benefit patients with high blood pressure and lower their risk of stroke and heart disease.

Electroacupuncture is a form of acupuncture that applies low-intensity electrical pulses through needles inserted at specific points on the body.

Acupuncture Reduces High Blood Pressure
The single-blind trial, conducted at the University of California-Irvine (UCI), is the first scientific confirmation that the ancient Chinese medical technique is beneficial for patients with mild to moderate hypertension.

In the journal Medical Acupuncture, the team describes finding how electroacupuncture can lower blood pressure for up to 6 weeks in patients with hypertension. Electroacupuncture is a form of acupuncture that applies low-intensity electrical pulses through needles inserted at specific points on the body. The researchers say their findings suggest that with regular use, electroacupuncture could help people manage their blood pressure and reduce their risk of heart disease and stroke in the longer term.

Senior author John Longhurst, a cardiologist and UCI professor of medicine say the clinical study comes after nearly 10 years of bench research into the effect of acupuncture on high blood pressure. He adds: “By using Western scientific rigour to validate an ancient Eastern therapy, we feel we have integrated Chinese and Western medicine and provided a beneficial guideline for treating a disease that affects millions in the US.”

70% of treated patients experienced a noticeable drop in blood pressure. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are about 70 million American adults (29%) with high blood pressure – only about half of whom have the condition under control.

Fast facts about acupuncture

Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine that has been in use for over 3,000 years.
It uses thin needles to stimulate one or more out of hundreds of specific points on the body
US regulators approved acupuncture needles for use by licensed practitioners in 1996.

High blood pressure costs the US some $46 billion a year. This figure covers health care services, medications and absence from work.

For their study, Prof. Longhurst and colleagues recruited 65 patients with hypertension who were not taking any Meds to treat their condition. Each patient was randomly assigned to one of two groups. Both groups were treated with electroacupuncture, except that one group (the treatment group) had it applied to both sides of the inner wrists and slightly below each knee (acupoints thought to reduce blood pressure), and the other group had it applied to other acupoints along the forearm and lower leg (the control group). The trial was a single-blind trial. That means the practitioners giving the treatment knew which patients were in the treatment group and which were in the control group, but the patients did not.
The results showed that 70% of the 33 patients in the treatment group experienced a noticeable drop in blood pressure. On average, the reduction was 6-8 mm/Hg for systolic blood pressure and 4 mm/Hg for diastolic blood pressure.
Systolic (when the heart contracts) is the higher, and diastolic (when the heart rests between beats) is the lower number in blood pressure readings.

The researchers say these improvements persisted for 6 weeks after treatment.

Treatment also followed by other beneficial changes

The treatment group also showed significant drops – 41% on average – in blood concentration of norepinephrine (also called noradrenaline), a hormone that constricts blood vessels and increases blood pressure and blood sugar.
The treatment group also showed a 67% drop in the renin – an enzyme released in the kidneys that helps control blood pressure – and a 22% drop in a hormone that regulates electrolytes (aldosterone). There were no significant blood pressure changes in the 32 patients in the control group. Prof. Longhurst notes that while the reductions in blood pressure seen in the treatment group were not large – most ranged between 4 mm/Hg and 13 mm/Hg – they were clinically significant and suggest the treatment could be especially useful for people in their 60s and older with high systolic blood pressure. He concludes: “Because electroacupuncture decreases both peak and average systolic blood pressure over 24 hours, this therapy may decrease the risk for stroke, peripheral artery disease, heart failure and myocardial infarction in hypertensive patients.”

If you need professional treatment, please call 09 3601229 or make an appointment online here


Choosing the Best Acupuncturist

Choosing the Best Acupuncturist
by Dr Derek Kirkham

Seeing a new acupuncturist, especially for the first time, can be a little awkward.
You don’t know what to expect.
And even before you make the appointment, you aren’t sure you know how to pick the right one or how to know if the acupuncturist is good.
Of course, no two acupuncturists are going to be the same, and it’s important to go to one who will be perfect for you.
It helps to do your research to make the best choice. This will result in a much better experience as you venture in acupuncture. Luckily for you, we will be going over every possible question you might have in finding the right acupuncturist to help ease the transition in this ancient medical practice.

What Makes a Good Acupuncturist?

There are 3 essential factors that every reputable acupuncturist has:
1. your acupuncturist must have proper credentials. Each state in NZ has certain requirements that include education, training, and a proper certificate to practice acupuncture. Any acupuncture practises should be able to provide its license and license numbers and will be up to date with continuing education.
2. It’s vital that your acupuncturist has proper insurance. In case anything goes wrong during the procedure, you must be both covered for liability reasons.
3. It’s critical that your acupuncturist has a healthy and clean treatment room. Not only are acupuncturists in the NZ supposed to use sterilized needles, but practitioners are obliged to have clean hands as well as fresh blankets and pillows for customer use. All equipment should be on carts or tables, with a clean floor for the client to walk on.

What Are Some Red Flags to Look Out For?

If your new acupuncturist does any of the following, get out immediately!

Has a dirty treatment room
Tells you how many visits you will need before asking you about your medical history and providing a diagnosis
Rushes treatment
Doesn’t answer any of your questions
Refuses to show you their credentials, if you ask
Where to Find Your New Acupuncturist

There are two mains ways that you can find your new acupuncturist:

1. Get a Recommendation

Chances are you know somebody who has tried acupuncture in the past. Ask where they went to receive treatment. This is an especially good idea if the treatment was for the same type of condition you are experiencing. Your doctor may also be able to provide a good recommendation.

2. Search Online

If you are unable to find a personal recommendation, the next place to look is the internet. Check review websites to find highly rated and popular acupuncture practices. Doing a quick Google search can also help you to find a practitioner who specializes in your condition. This will also allow you to view the websites of potential practices and read about basic services and information.

We are on Neighbourly!


What Kind of Treatment Are You Looking For?

Many people are unaware that there are many different types of acupuncture, including traditional Chinese acupuncture, Japanese style, 5 Element acupuncture, scalp acupuncture, and more. Certain styles are more effective for certain conditions, or that will align more with the kind of approach you are looking for.

If you want to address more emotional and spiritual imbalances while treating your physical conditions, you might want to try a 5 Element acupuncture approach. Or there’s Auricular, or ear acupuncture, which is known to be good for addiction, smoking cessation, and weight loss.

Some acupuncturists can treat all types of conditions whereas some specialize in certain conditions, focusing their practice on getting really good at a particular area of expertise.

You may consider seeking out a specialist if you have a serious health condition. It would also be a good idea to go to a specialist if you are pregnant or soon expecting to be.

Before you settle on an acupuncturist, ask what their specialties are, which style of acupuncture they use, and what they have the most experience with.

In addition to acupuncture, there are several other treatments that your practitioner may offer. Many of these treatments also fall under the category of Chinese medicine. Some of these treatments include heat therapy, bodywork, cupping, food therapy, and herbalist services. Speak with your acupuncture office to see what, if any, other services they offer.

What Kind of Vibe Appeals to You?

Every practitioner is different – from the more Eastern esoteric feel to the staunchly straightforward and medical… and everything in between.

Find a practitioner that feels like your kind of place!

It will greatly affect your experience.

With the right approach and feel, your chosen practitioner can make you feel at ease and confident. A good place to start is looking at their website and social media. You may be able to get a feel for how they think and what their practise feels like.

Read reviews and look for what appeals to you most. And then try them out. You’ll never know for sure until you book your first appointment. If they accept insurance, it won’t even be on your dime!

When you find the right one, you’ll know it. Don’t be afraid to try a few and see who most gels with your personality and expectations.

Choosing the Best Acupuncturist for Your Needs

Aside from the basic qualifications that every acupuncturist should meet that we listed above, there are a few other things you should consider when selecting your new specialist. Look for someone who:

1. Asks and Answers Questions
An acupuncturist who asks questions is good. This allows them to get to the root of your problems and provide you with a good session. Questions also allow them to point you in the right direction on your own wellness and healing journey.
Search for someone who will answer your questions as well. You should be able to feel comfortable asking questions about anything from qualifications to advice. Your acupuncturist should be patient and able to answer any one of your questions.

2. Listens Deeply
Find a practitioner who listens to your symptoms, concerns, and anything else you have to say. This allows them to tailor your treatment to your needs and provide you with the best possible visit every time.

3. Spends Plenty of Time on You
The last thing you want is an acupuncture session that feels rushed. Whether your session is spent talking or with the needles, you should have your acupuncturist’s full attention. With a good practitioner, even a 30-minute session can feel satisfying and fulfilling.

4. Is Upfront About Treatment Plans and Costs
There is nothing worse than enjoying a relaxing acupuncture treatment, getting home, and seeing a surprise charge on your bill. It will completely negate the relaxing treatment you just had. Make sure you discuss at length the exact cost of each visit and follow-up visit. You also want to talk about your treatment plan and create one that works for you.

5. Is Convenient
The location of the practice and the hours of operation are sometimes just as important as the acupuncturist. This is especially true if you have time-intensive therapies.

Look for a practitioner that is easy to get to and probably close to your home. Also, take note of the operation hours as many acupuncturists have limited hours. If you work full-time, this can be a real hassle. Find us on Neighbourly!

Make sure you pay attention to the small details as well. Is there parking? Is there an elevator or are they on the first floor? All of these things should contribute to your decision.

How Much Should an Acupuncturist Cost?

Your treatment cost will vary based on a few different factors. The price is often dependent on the style of acupuncture, the experience of the specialist, and where you are located. Make sure you ask for the prices upfront before you make any commitment.

For lucky ones in places where their health insurance covers acupuncture treatments (like the state of Washington), you may not have to worry about cost at all! Just go in and have it covered by insurance… just be sure to check first with the practitioner and your insurance company!

Even though it may be covered, there may only be a certain number of sessions allowed. Or you may need to pay a certain amount out of pocket for each session.
You will need to check with your insurance company to see if they cover this type of treatment and if so, ask your acupuncturist if they accept your insurance.
Here are a few questions you should ask your health insurance provider before making any decisions.
Is acupuncture covered?
What is the deductible?
How much can be reimbursed for each visit?
Is there a limited number of trips that are covered?
Are you Afraid of Needles?

Never fear! Even those who are afraid of needles can enjoy the benefits of acupuncture. A good acupuncturist can quell those fears and provide a relaxing treatment despite the original anxiety.

Search for a specialist who is:
Understanding of your fears and inhibitions
Calm and can establish a relaxing environment
Attentive and listens to your needs and will stop treatment if you ask
Able to explain the whole process in detail and make it clear that acupuncture needles are different from other needles and cause no pain
If you are still afraid, there may be hope for you yet!
According to a recent study, poke-free acupuncture may be just as effective as regular acupuncture. In this process, also known as sham acupuncture, blunt needles are used and they do not puncture the skin at all.
In fact, many acupuncture practices don’t use needles at all and can be an excellent alternative.

Choose an Acupuncturist Confidently:
You are ready to start choosing an acupuncturist you can be confident in.
Now that you know how to choose an acupuncturist, brush up on the types of acupuncture to further choose the right approach for you.

If you’re in Seattle, give me a call. If not, find a local acupuncturist that fits your needs. You won’t regret it!

If you need professional treatment, please call 09 3601229 or make an appointment online here


All you need to know about the AIP diet

All you need to know about the AIP diet

By Lana Burgess
Reviewed by Natalie Butler, RD, LD

What is the AIP Diet? Foods to eat on the AIP diet Recipes and snack options Do the AIP diet work? Takeaway
The autoimmune protocol (AIP) diet is designed to help reduce inflammation in the body to relieve symptoms of autoimmune disorders. But what can you eat on this diet and what evidence is there of the benefits?

An autoimmune disease is any condition where a person’s immune system mistakenly attacks and damages its own bodily tissues. Inflammation is a common feature of an autoimmune disease. Examples include psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus.
This article explores what the AIP diet is and what foods a person can and cannot eat if they want to follow the diet. It also considers the scientific evidence available to support the effectiveness of the AIP diet in the management and treatment of autoimmune diseases.

What is the AIP Diet?

The AIP diet is a version of the Paleo diet, designed to help treat autoimmune diseases. Also known as the paleo autoimmune protocol, the AIP diet is a much stricter version of the Paleo diet (which is based on meat, fish, vegetables, nuts and seeds).

It advises eliminating foods that may cause inflammation in the gut and eating nutrient-rich foods.

The AIP diet is based on a belief that autoimmune conditions are caused by something called a “leaky gut”, which is medically now referred to as altered intestinal permeability. The theory is that small holes in the gut cause food to leak into the body. This is thought to cause the immune system to overreact and start attacking bodily tissues in error. By eating nutrient-rich foods and avoiding inflammatory ones, the AIP diet aims to heal any holes in the gut. This is thought to help:

  • reset the immune system
  • prevent the autoimmune response
  • reduce symptoms of autoimmune diseases
  • prevent the occurrence of secondary autoimmune diseases

People who do the AIP diet should follow it strictly for a few weeks and then slowly reintroduce foods that they have avoided.
The idea is to see if there is a reaction when the food is reintroduced. If there is a reaction, the suggestion is that a person should exclude this food from their diet long-term.

Foods to eat on the AIP diet

These include:

  • meat and fish, preferably not factory raised vegetables (but not nightshades, such as tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and potatoes).
  • sweet potatoes
  • fruit (in small quantities)
  • coconut milk
  • avocado, olive, and coconut oil
  • dairy-free fermented foods, such as kombucha, kefir made with coconut milk, sauerkraut, and kimchi
  • honey or maple syrup (but only to be used occasionally, in small quantities)
  • fresh non-seed herbs, such as basil, mint, and oregano
  • green tea and non-seed herbal teas
  • bone broth
  • vinegars, such as apple cider and balsamic

Foods to avoid on the AIP diet

These include:

  • all grains, such as oats, rice, and wheat
  • all dairy
  • eggs
  • legumes, such as beans and peanuts
  • nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and potatoes)
  • all sugars, including sugar replacements (except for occasional use of honey)
  • butter and ghee
  • all oils (except for avocado, coconut, and olive)
  • food additives
  • alcohol

Here are some AIP meal plans to get started.


A green smoothie can be nutritionally dense and filling enough to replace a small meal.
This AIP smoothie recipe, from Paleo Mum, is a tasty breakfast meal replacement:
½ banana
¼ avocado
1 cup of vegetable juice
2-3 cups fresh leafy greens (for example, spinach and kale)
1-2 scoops AIP-friendly (collagen) protein powder
Blend all the ingredients except for the protein powder in a food processor for up to 2 minutes. Add the protein powder and pulse the food processor to blend it in.


This soup recipe from AIP Lifestyle is a simple and tasty idea for lunch that a person can make in advance:
3 cups of fresh, washed baby arugula
2 ½ cups of bone broth
2 cups steamed parsnips
1 cup roasted spring onions
1 tbsp. olive oil
pinch of salt
After heating the bone broth in a pan and steaming the parsnips, add all the ingredients into a food processor and blend.


This quick and easy AIP chicken dinner idea is inspired by Eat Something Delicious:
1 whole chicken
1 lb. frozen cubed sweet potato
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
2 ¾ AIP-friendly herb blend (such as garlic and herbs)
1 lb. frozen broccoli
Arrange the frozen vegetables and chicken in a baking tray and season with the oil, salt, and herb blend.
Cover the tray with foil and roast in the oven for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and roast in the oven for a further 20 minutes, or so.
Carob chip bars for snacking

This tasty snack idea is from Angel Slice:

2 large ripe plantains
½ pumpkin
2 tbsp. tigernut flour
½ tsp. baking soda
3 tbsp. coconut butter
¼ coconut oil
2 tbsp. honey
¼ carob chips
Blend all ingredients except for carob chips in a food processor. Pour into a greased loaf pan and add in the carob chips. Bake for up to 50 minutes. The bars can be served with whipped coconut cream on top as an addition.

Does the AIP diet work?
The logic behind the AIP diet is that avoiding gut-irritating foods and eating nutrient-rich ones will reduce inflammation and heal any holes in the gut. This is believed to reduce or prevent the immune system from attacking bodily tissues. In this way, the AIP diet aims to reduce the symptoms of autoimmune diseases.

The link between gut health and autoimmune disease

Gut health may affect inflammatory diseases. The AIP diet attempts to treat such diseases with a specific diet. There is some scientific evidence to support the link between gut health and inflammatory disease. A 2012 study suggested bacterial growth in the gut might be linked to inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.

This study in 2014 notes that the gut wall is maintained by networks of proteins. It explains that inflammation affects how well the gut wall functions. It also notes that food allergies can make the gut wall more porous.

The study concludes that problems with the gut wall are associated with autoimmune diseases. This goes some way to support the idea of the “leaky gut” proposed by supporters of the AIP diet. However, the study adds that more research is needed to confirm that gut wall dysfunction is a primary risk factor in the development of the inflammatory disease.

The AIP diet and autoimmune disease symptom reduction. A 2017 study found that eliminating certain foods as part of the AIP diet can improve symptoms of the autoimmune disease inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). This is one of the first clinical studies into the effectiveness of AIP diet. Further studies are required to support claims that it can reduce symptoms of other autoimmune diseases.


Research suggests that autoimmune diseases may be linked to how porous the gut wall may be. It follows that a diet that promotes gut health may be beneficial for those with autoimmune diseases. There is evidence that one such regime, the AIP diet, may reduce symptoms of the autoimmune disease IBD. More research is needed to say with certainty that the AIP diet can improve symptoms of all autoimmune diseases. However, the AIP diet is a healthful diet that people with autoimmune diseases may find beneficial. This diet may also reduce the need for certain medications or high dosages. Anyone with an autoimmune disease looking to try the AIP diet should discuss this with their doctor.

If you need professional treatment, please call 09 3601229 or make an appointment online here

Here is Why Acupuncture Won’t Work for You

Here is Why Acupuncture Won’t Work for You

November 1, 2017, by Dr Caitlin Bree Nespoli

“I tried Acupuncture once and it didn’t work for me.”

Here is Why Acupuncture Won't Work for You

I hear this statement at least once or twice a month. I usually respond kindly stating, “I’m sorry to hear that,” but I follow that up with questions to understand why that person did not respond to treatment. It’s important for me to find out why someone didn’t respond to acupuncture because it’s usually not for the reason the person assumes. Acupuncture always works. I’m going to repeat that for impact: acupuncture always works. I found that when people say acupuncture didn’t work for them it’s for one of several reasons. I’ve listed them below so you can have a better idea why acupuncture might not be working for you!

1. You don’t follow the treatment plan that your acupuncturist prescribed for you. Normally when you first come to see an acupuncturist they recommend you come in 1-2x/week (depending on your condition) for the first few weeks and then at least once a week after that. Slowly, your treatments begin to decrease to once a month “tune-up” sessions to make sure you’re feeling healthy and any other conditions stay at bay. Acupuncturists are not doing this to steal your money, or take you away from other things that need your attention, they are doing this because they genuinely want to see you get better. I try to explain to my patients that when they come to see me that their body is energetically out of balance. When they come in for treatment, their body gets closer to being more energetically balanced. If you go too long without treatment in the beginning, your body is going to try to go right back to where it was, which was causing you discomfort and pain. Remember, you can never have acupuncture too close together, but you can have it too far apart. If you want to get better, I recommend following the treatment plan.
Acupuncturists will often prescribe nutritional recommendations or herbs as well, and these are expected to be followed as closely as possible. You as a patient have to take part in your own healing. I had a patient once that had eczema and when we went over what she ate in a day I realized the days she was having the worst flare-ups she had eaten a lot of wheat. She agreed to stay off of it for a week and with acupuncture treatments her eczema improved dramatically! When I gave her substitutes the next few weeks and told her to avoid what she was happy to agree and was feeling great. After a few weeks of getting tired of that lifestyle, she went right back to her wheat, claimed acupuncture didn’t work and was frustrated. The same can be said for herbs. Herbs are tailored to each person. Herbal medicine is not like a prescription a doctor gives you, there is no “one size fits all”. So when we ask you to take some herbs and let us know how you feel, it’s important to give us the best feedback possible and stay as strict with the herbs as possible. Perhaps there is a better formula for you, or perhaps herbs aren’t for you. If you don’t stick to the plan, I can’t help you.

2. You’re seeing a medical doctor trained in acupuncture and not a licensed acupuncturist. This makes all the difference in the world. I’m not knocking medical doctors or their understanding of acupuncture, but much of the time doctors do not have the extensive training that a Doctor of Acupuncture receives. Medical Doctors, Physical Therapists and Chiropractors can all take a 300-hour course to become certified in Acupuncture. A licensed acupuncturist is required to do over 3,000 of training at a master’s level over 3-4 years at a full-time, year-round school. Medical Doctors are able to do their “hands-on/clinical training” online, whereas licensed acupuncturists are required to do it on-site at their school. Licensed acupuncturists are required to have over 100 patient contact hours, which others are not. Lastly, L.Ac is required to pass several different National Board exams that doctors are not required to take. As an acupuncturist, I have spent years learning about each point, how patients should react to each point and how mixing and matching points can help the patients. You are just not going to get the same experience from someone who only had a quarter of the training.

3. You’re holding onto your illness/pain or there is something emotionally stuck preventing you from getting better. I often see this with elderly patients who identify with their disease. They are so used to identifying as their disease that it is all they know how to be. They are so used to going to doctors and talking about their illness that they don’t know who they would be without it. Many people find this to be a problem when they begin to see results, they are almost afraid of who they might be without their illness.

Many people also have emotional things preventing them from getting better. Whether people realize it or not, the mind and body are connected. If you are someone who is always in pain with no real answer as to why this might be the cause. Many people experience symptoms like this: vivid dreams, menstrual cramps and clots, pain, headaches and depending on the type of emotions, colds, asthma and cough. I always tell patients to find a way to release their emotions: journaling, running, walking, screaming, crying, singing. Whatever makes the patient feel their best and releases all that emotion is what is going to help them in the long run.

4. You’re not open-minded to acupuncture working. This is something that has to do with mind/body again. Now listen, I have had patients that were sceptical when they came in and easily made them see the magic and beauty of acupuncture, but they wanted to be there and they wanted to get better.

I always remember the story my professor told me about the couple he had coming in. The woman wanted her husband to come in and he wanted no part of it. He came in, barely answered any questions and expected a miracle. Even though the woman explained that acupuncture was a series of treatments, he said it didn’t work the first time and gave up all hope of acupuncture working. Going back to what we just said in the last bullet point, mind matters. You can’t have a negative mind and expect a positive result.

5. Acupuncture can be supplemental to another treatment. This one is so important! People often think that just because I am an acupuncturist I hate all kinds of western medicine and pharmacology. That is not true at all! I don’t like the fact that MD’s put patients on medications without trying other things first such as diet and lifestyle changes. Many doctors even prescribe medications to help people with the side effects of other medications! It drives me crazy!

I am a firm believer that acupuncture can cure just about anything, but I am never going to tell a cancer patient to see me exclusively. The best treatment, in that case, would be acupuncture to supplement the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation.
In my practice, I treat a lot of children and I absolutely love it. I’m able to confidently say acupuncture always works because children respond to the treatment every time. They don’t have preconceived notions about what medicine should be or why acupuncture might not be able to work. They just go to the doctor and come out feeling a lot better. The fact that children respond best to acupuncture shows that acupuncture really does work!

So, the next time you or someone you know tells you, “I tried acupuncture once and it didn’t work for me,” ask them a few questions and you will quickly learn why! Remember, Acupuncture always works!

If you need professional treatment, please call 09 3601229 or make an appointment online here