Lower back pain is one of the top 5 treatments for which clients regularly book to see Mark for acupuncture and herbs. This includes sciatica and coccyx (coccygeal) pain.
Mark practices a distal style of acupuncture which is super effective for both upper and lower back pain. Although Dry Needling is also an option for treating pain, Mark believes that putting needles into a local inflamed area of pain is something similar to ‘slapping a crying baby!’ needles inserted into locally inflamed tissue will only cause exacerbated pain; and for that reason, no needle is ever located on the lower back (for lower back pain.)
Although it sounds like a stretch of the imagination for instant relief of back pain when a needle is placed in the hand or on the head, this is a typical result of the application of distal acupuncture, pain is typically reduced in the first session and resolved over a course of treatment.
If you are still a little unsure of how this works, there is an excellent you tube video by one of Mark’s mentoring group by the founding member, the late Dr Richard Tan.
The video is geared to those studying his style of acupuncture, however you will get the idea of how it works.
Mark has been studying Balance Method distal acupuncture for more than 4 years. Clients report excellent results.
Herbal Formulas are also excellent to take between appointments as they increase inflammation and prolong the pain relief effectively increasing momentum between appointments; every herbal formula prescription is tailor made to match your individual circumstances and no two formulas are ever the same.
We have increased time between appointments to refresh the treatment room with a virus busting Ozone generator.
The Clinic space is well ventilated.
Hand washing and sanitiser is used regularly.
Antibacterial and antiviral essential oils are used in the treatment room, a bonus is that they smell great and relaxing at the same time!
Rest assured that we are doing everything possible to ensure good health for everyone, please don’t hesitate to make a booking at this time, however we can help from pain to stress and anxiety, it’s not worth delaying treatment, you are in good hands!
Both modalities of Acupuncture and Shiatsu improve resilience and strengthen immunity. There are even herbal formulas Mark can prescribe for your immune system before Autumn arrives.
TICK THE BOXES WHICH APPLY TO YOU. Let us do the rest…
Would you prefer a natural approach to Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) for Peri-Menopause or Menopausal symptoms? One standard pill for EVERY woman is probably not the best approach!?
Chinese Medicine can assist with symptoms of menopause and peri-menopause naturally with acupuncture or with herbs and for best results with both modalities.
Your practitioner Dr Mark (TCM) will ask you to fill out a check list of symptoms which he will use to make a tailor-made treatment plan designed specifically for YOU! Dr Mark will evaluate each symptom and add or remove herbs or acupuncture points which naturally address your symptomatology.
Of course this list is not all-inclusive, other symptoms such as headaches etc. can be included with your personal interview before treatment.
Feel free to contact us for more details or book using the green link on the right…
Natural herbs versus Laboratory synthesised medicinal copies? We Prefer Natural, Do You Too?
Most Australian University graduates of Chinese Medicine study dual modalities in both Acupuncture and Herbal medicine which is slightly different to China where they are more likely to study one or the other for a shorter period.
Our Acupuncturist and Herbalist Dr Mark (TCM) is a huge fan of both modalities; sometimes he finds that acupuncture alone is a suitable treatment for muscular-skeletal conditions, and at other times he prescribes only herbs to people who perhaps are not so keen on the albeit tiny needles.
However overall, Mark aims to combine the two modalities wherever possible as both complement the other. Distal acupuncture results are strong; however, it requires regular visits for the first few weeks. Mark finds that if he is able to prescribe herbs in conjunction with acupuncture, even if the appointment schedule is not as regular as would be perfect, the prescriptions of herbs taken between appointments continues to apply momentum to the healing process.
Dr Mark (TCM) has more than 250 herbs which he uses to tailor make a treatment strategy for individual presentations. For various reasons some people can’t take Chinese Herbs, Mark also does a lot of personal study on Integrative medicine and is able to prescribe various ‘Prescription Only’ brands of supplements from an external dispensary; unfortunately, herbal alternatives to PBS Western Medicine aren’t cheap, however Mark supplies the dispensary products as close as possible to wholesale prices.
Acupuncture has some very effective treatments for this complicated condition which can often be treated naturally without pharmaceutical or surgical intervention.
In fact, one of the techniques employed using electrical stimulation on two needles close to the ankle has been patented and actually used by Drs in Urology clinics.
The acupuncture points used lie on the Kidney and the Spleen ‘pathways’. These points are located close to the Percutaneous Tibial Nerve which innervates the same nerve plexus which controls the bladder. Interestingly the ancient sages of Chinese Medicine described the Spleen as controlling muscles and sphincters and the kidney overseeing water metabolism; just another way of looking at the same pathology.
There have been several studies in which it was found to be just as effective as other Western Medical interventions, however with fewer side effects (de Wall LL, Heesakkers JP, 2017, p145–157).
Why wait on a list to drive to a specialist outpatient clinic, pay for exorbitant parking fees and get charge through the nose for a technique which we can provide for possibly half the price?
Click on the green button check out Dr Mark’s (TCM) availability.
Looking forward to seeing you soon!
References: de Wall LL, Heesakkers JP. Effectiveness of percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation in the treatment of overactive bladder syndrome. Res Rep Urol. 2017;9:145–157. Published 2017 Aug 14. doi:10.2147/RRU.S124981
Did you know that the easiest way to make an appointment for your next Shiatsu Therapy or Chinese Medicine is to bookonline?
It doesn’t matter whether you are looking for a practitioner late at night before bed, or even if you have insomnia and decide to book at 5am! You can easily access our availability with the online booking tool. If you are thinking about coming in to see us the same day there is a short blackout window, so some times for the same day will not show even if they are available. So, don’t hesitate to send us a text to request a specific time if you can’t find it online, we are always open to finding a way to get you in so that you can feel better, more alive and more relaxed as soon as possible!
Click on the green button to see available times for your practitioner. Otherwise you can SMS:
Masa (Japanese Shiatsu Therapy): 0425 737 896.
Mark (Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine): 0425 722 217.
Gift Vouchers now available for everything we do at Root & Branch – Shiatsu, Acupuncture, Chinese Medicine, Oriental Therapies etc… Give a healthy gift to your loved one!
We find that people are often time poor, shy, not ready to make the commitment or simply not sure of the effectiveness of alternative medicine.
A gift voucher is a great way to allow those people to take the next step at their own pace, and allow them to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment themselves. We find that most people respond well and many of them make the decision to continue care.
Contact us to purchase or for further detail.
Eastential Chinese Medicine, David Yao Chi Guan, Four Seasons Wellness Centre, Shinma Acupuncture, Acuuncture Abbotsford Convent, Abbotsford Medical & Acupuncture Centre
Acupuncture taught at Western Universities is usually a type of Traditional Chinese Medicine style of acupuncture which can incorporate a distal point or two, but often more needles are located closer to the site of disharmony; there are however many different styles which practitioners study & practice post-graduate. In addition to the general study of TCM, Mark has trained in two popular styles of Distal Acupuncture – ‘Master Tung Style’ and ‘The Balance Method.’
Master Tung was a famous modern day acupuncturist from Mainland China who later settled in Taiwan; he was not formally trained, but honed his skills from a family lineage of acupuncturists from whom secrets were passed from father to the eldest son over many generations.
Balance Method Acupuncture is based on ancient I-Ching theory, modernized in recent times by the late revered Dr Richard Tan. Dr Tan was an engineer before immigrating to the USA and spent many decades analyzing and perfecting his own acupuncture techniques which have become famous worldwide in recent times.
Distal Acupuncture uses theories of embryology to explain its effect on different areas of the body through neural pathways to the brain, which have existed since the time that the body was still a foetus. We all start out the same way, as you see from the photo below – everything is connected, it is only later that the limbs separate, however the neurological connections still exist many decades later.
The photo below shows a distal acupuncture point used for fertility, as you can see the points are located nowhere near the gonads, however they are highly effective points for fertility.
(photo courtesy of ‘Art of Acupuncture’)
For physical symptoms, practitioners will often needle points of similar body landmarks on the opposite side of the body, or even opposite and distally such as needling the shoulder to resolve pain in the hip.
There is an excellent book, which details these theories called ‘The Spark in the Machine’ it was written by a Western Medicine ER Doctor known as Daniel Keown, it explains these theory in everyday language.
Although needling locally (traditional acupuncture) is beneficial for some conditions by increasing blood flow to the area, for acute conditions you could think of it like – shaking an overtired crying baby, which is only likely to seriously exacerbate the problem!! A smarter approach (similar to distal acupuncture) is to use techniques which will lull them into a sound sleep from afar, music in the background, rocking the cradle, aromatherapy etc, etc.
The benefits of a distal style include the fact that most treatments are on the arms & legs, so there is no need to disrobe; secondly it relies on the ‘Homokulus Effect’ (see the diagram below):
Because our hands and our feet are so important to our everyday function, they use a proportionally large area of our brain’s motor cortex, needling in these places has a very strong effect. For this reason distal acupuncture typically uses fewer needles with a higher rate of success.
Using specific neural pathways the intervention sends a signal to the brain via the nervous system to release natural painkillers through the circulatory system, vasodilation occurs delivering extra nutrients and oxygen to heal the affected area. Treatments are quick, effective and I have found that they have better results in the longer term.
Most people who experience a Distal Acupuncture session are usually slightly confused initially, it isn’t always obvious why a practitioner might be needling an unrelated body part, however they are often later amazed with the results experienced.
Dr Tan would often explain the distal theory by saying that the switch that ‘turns on the light’ need not be at the actual site of pain, it can be located anywhere in the room, no matter how large – so long as there is an electrical connection…
Asian countries have a rich tradition of using herbs in traditional medicine; one of the simplest things we can do for good health is using healthy teas to improve our health when used appropriately.
From Green, Pu’er, Oolong, Loquat, Dokudami, Omija to Hawthorn tea and beyond, I have long enjoyed these tasty teas on a daily basis for many years; with their vibrant colours people often exclaim ‘what are you drinking?’
I enjoy them Hot in the morning and during the cooler months and slightly chilled during summer, even kids can adapt to the taste and in Asia they are often enjoyed in place of soft drinks, calorie free!
The results can be subtle for occasional use, or marked if you make a conscious effort to follow a particular tea as a health regime.
We’ve all heard about the life prolonging benefits of green tea (especially Sencha & Matcha) the health benefits include antioxidants & disease fighting catechins and rich vitamins profile with moderate caffeine levels for a ‘pick me up’ effect.
The leaves of Camellia Sinensis and its many sub species are unprocessed and plucked from buds at the apex of the plant. It contains high levels of free radials for cellular stress, it boosts metabolism, reduces cholesterol and stimulates the brain to improve memory. It is said to have anti-cancer properties -research is continuing particularly for prostate cancer.
Matcha powder is also a great addition to homemade puddings and desserts. Overall green tea has a cold nature and whether drunk hot or cold, it may not be suitable for people who yearn for a heat pack on their belly.
People often laugh when I tell them I’m serving them ‘poo er’ tea, unfortunately it doesn’t do what it sounds like it might; however it is great to harmonise digestion.
An oxidised, aged form of fermented tea leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant are mostly produced in the Yunnan province of China. In China Pu’er tea is revered for its weight loss benefits, cholesterol reducing and cardiovascular protective benefits.
The microorganisms that ferment the tea have been shown to compliment a healthy gut flora with aids digestion for heavy meals and this is the tea you will often find served at Chinese restaurants in conjunction with Yum Cha.
It varies hugely in price, its not necessary to buy the crazy expensive ones, however the cheapest are likely to be a waste of money.
Partially oxidised leaves of the Camellia Senensis plant are popular in Japan as both a hot and cold beverage often enjoyed after meals, favoured for its effect of being able to metabolise fatty foods.
Additionally regular consumption of Oolong tea is said to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, lower the risk of cancer through its high antioxidant content, promote healthy blood sugar levels and decrease inflammation.
Oolong is great to be enjoyed all day long, take it in your drink bottle as a water replacement.
Loquat Leaf Tea:
Loquat trees are native to the southern parts of China, Korea and Japan, the leaves form the basis of a famous Chinese Medicine Cough formula called ‘Pei Pa Koa,’ it is a traditional cure for itchy skin, dermatitis and as a treatment for coughs and bronchitis
Loquat leaf tea, or ‘biwacha’ is also high in antioxidants so helpful to support immunity, while also being highly beneficial in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels and even said to be beneficial to pancreatic cells.
It is also highly favoured for its ability to aid in removing toxin accumulation in the body to aid the skin and liver health, it contains a substance called Amygdalin (B-17)(also found in peach kernels) B17 is a currently experiencing a research spike in western laboratories for cancer trials.
Houttuynia Cordata is a flowering invasive ground cover native to Asia. It grows in dark moist areas, sometimes called “fish-smell herb” and its common name ‘Dokudami’ means “poison-blocker” in Japanese.
Dokudami has natural anti-histamine effects, which may be beneficial for allergies and for asthma. It is again a good source of antioxidants, and has he ability to neutralise free radicals while also supporting the lymphatic system to maintain the body’s natural health defences.
Dokudami is a popular home remedy in Japan for allergies, detoxifying and even for skin rashes; its purported benefits include an anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal function while also having a mild laxative and diuretic effect.
Dokudami is one of the main constituents often found in detox foot patches.
Is a popular iced summer tea from Korea. Omija is also known as Schizandra or ‘five flavour berry,’ and it is often used in Chinese Medicine herbal prescriptions. Used as an infusion is has some benefits such as improving liver and kidney function, boosting circulation, good for the skin and makes us resilient to stress. Some herbal traditions ay that this wonderful berry has anti-ageing benefits!
This tea may not be suitable to everyone it should be used with care for people who suffer from heartburn or those who suffer from phlegm on the chest, or sinus infections.
Hawthorn Berry is often called ‘the heart herb’ for good reason, even when you look at a Chinese Hawthorn Berry slice it resembles the side profile of an artery itself (there is a lot of symbolism in Chinese Medicine). It is said that the cardio protective effects include angina, high blood pressure, hardening of the arteries and even irregular heart beat. Even the Native Americans used hawthorn for heart and gastrointestinal complaints.
Similarly in Chinese Medicine the hawthorn fruit called ‘shan zha’ is used for an overloaded digestive system after overindulgence of meat products in particular (in addition to the heart and blood moving benefits).
Sciatic pain (sciatica) typically affects the body unilaterally, with pain extending from the hip / lower back down one leg. People often describe the uncomfortable sensation as a ‘pain in the butt cheek’, often worse when sitting, as numbness, burning or tingling which runs down the leg or even as sharp and shooting sensations from the hip the calf.
Sciatica is a symptom of an underlying lower back condition such as a structural impingement or compression of the sciatic nerve, which exits the spinal column around the upper sacrum. Trauma, chronic disk degeneration or even pregnancy can be the cause of the condition. Sciatica and Piriformis syndrome are two conditions which are often confused, they are quite different structurally however the pain and symptoms are very similar, pain management of both conditions resolves over time, and the symptoms of sciatica can be expected to improve in the absence of significant structural damage.
Sciatica is a condition, which can come and go over time; western medicine typically treats it with surgery, painkillers, anti-inflammatory medicine and even cortisone injections.
Research into acupuncture treatments has shown effective pain relief and the resolution of symptoms are manageable naturally with acupuncture. Fine needles are inserted into specific sites, which trigger a nerve system response including a cascade of natural endorphins and enkephalins for pain relief. Blood circulation to the area is increased which nourishes the surrounding tissue and over the course of several treatments it is likely to resolve the symptoms and prevent further deterioration of the condition (McDonald & Janz 2017.)
At Root & Branch Oriental therapies, Mark Davis [Dr of Chinese Medicine] treats sciatic pain using a combination of trigger points, electric stimulation, cupping and distal acupuncture using the ankles and wrists. Increasing blood flow and relaxing the muscles around the lumbar vertebrae is the first step followed by targeting the nerve itself to increase circulation and muscle relaxation along its pathway down the back of the leg.
Manual therapies such as Shiatsu can also contribute significantly to rehabilitation through stretching and by working on the tight muscle tissues of the Glutes, piriformis and hamstrings.
Table 1 & 2 of the Acupuncture Evidence Project (McDonald J, and Janz S, 2017) retrieved from: www.acupuncture.org.au