Have you tried Borscht before?

In Eastern Europe where Borscht it is a staple food, it is said that ‘Eating Borscht is as good as having a blood transfusion!’

Beetroot is an incredibly rich source of nutrients, combined with the gut healing benefits of bone broth and honestly I can’t think of any food, which would be a more complete source of nutrition!  Almost anyone would benefit from the goodness, but it is a particularly good all round recipe to have weekly for anyone who is considering maximising fertility. It can be served at room temperature on a hot summers day with a dollop of natural Greek yoghurt and some griddle-toasted sourdough with a lightly salted cultured butter!

There are many recipes online for bone broth, you can use anything from chicken wings to marrow bones, or even ox tails; of course organic bones are the best choice.
I like to pressure-cook the soup as it dramatically reduces the time to make the stock. It is very similar to making normal soup stock, however the extra pressure or time will extract the nutrients from the bone marrow, which makes the stock so nutrient dense.

Ingredients for Bone Broth:

  • Stock bones.
  • Water (double the volume of bones.)
  • 2-3 Tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar (important to maximise marrow extraction.)
  • 2-3 Tablespoons of Fish Sauce (replaces the need for salt.)
  • Herbs to taste such as star anise, bay leaf, black pepper, fresh garlic and ginger.

When you chill the stock it will turn gelatinous due to the marrow content, and the excess fat can be skimmed from the top prior to using it for the soup.

The next step is to make the Beetroot soup…

Ingredients for Borscht:

  • 2 medium sized onions.
  • 3-4 fresh & firm raw beetroots, peeled & diced.
  • 2 large carrots peeled & diced.
  • 1 large handful – roughly cut cabbage hearts.

Sautee the onions, add the chopped vegetables and cover with bone broth, simmer for 30-40 minutes until the vegetables are soft. That’s it; of course you can make additions yourself to taste.
You can puree the soup for a smoother consistency or consume it in its chunky form. Eat it hot or at room temperature, traditionally it is topped with sour cream and chives, but natural yoghurt is equally tasty and better on the waistline!

Eastential Chinese Medicine, David Yao Chi Guan, Four Seasons Wellness Centre, Shinma Acupuncture, Acuuncture Abbotsford Convent, Abbotsford Medical & Acupuncture Centre  

Give it a try & let me know what you think!


Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture

Case Study: This lady is 50 years of age,  this is her 4th facial rejuvenation treatment and already she is reporting a change in skin texture and tone.  The protocol shown here includes a point prescription for reducing frown lines, lifting the eyebrows, tightening the forehead, and strengthening the platysma muscle which lies beneath the skin on the area of the neck which often experiences sagging and jowls [DEC 2016.] Photo shared with permission from the patient.

Cosmetic acupuncture  can be used to reduce acne, brighten the skin even out the complexion and to soften lines and wrinkles.  It is important to keep up your intake of Vitamin C during the course of treatment as Vit C is critical for the production of collagen.  Very fine Japanese stainless steel needles made specifically for the face are used with minimal discomfort, some people even report that they can’t even feel the insertion.

We have recently started a herbal product inspired by popular Japanese kampo medicine which perfectly compliments our cosmetic acupuncture, the formula includes herbs for the skin, hair, eyes, spirit and resilience all in one for complete holistic care.

Eastential Chinese Medicine, David Yao Chi Guan, Four Seasons Wellness Centre, Shinma Acupuncture, Acuuncture Abbotsford Convent, Abbotsford Medical & Acupuncture Centre

Convenient Coconut Oil Pills

An instructional video on how to make little pills which make unpalatable powdered herbs a breeze to take!  You can use these for any powdered herbs you want to make into easily digestible pills such as anti-inflammatory turmeric golden paste, or even ceylon cinnamon for lowering blood sugar and boosting your metabolism.  Some people can’t palate the taste of the powdered herbal formulas we prescribe and you can also use this recipe to modify the powder so that it is more easily taken.  Most people are fine with the powdered herbs though, my tip is to take no more than a third of a cup & swig it down in one go followed by a glass of water.

Eastential Chinese Medicine, David Yao Chi Guan, Four Seasons Wellness Centre, Shinma Acupuncture, Acuuncture Abbotsford Convent, Yuki Murata Abbotsford Medical & Acupuncture Centre

Weight Loss & Healthy Eating with Chinese Medicine.

Weight loss and / or weight gain from a Chinese Medicine (CM) perspective is something quite different to what we regularly hear about on TV, in magazines and social media here in Australia. As with medical diagnosis in CM, there can be a few different approaches, which is determined by the individual presentation of the patient. Possibly the most common CM pathology is that of ‘Spleen qi deficiency, generating damp.’ Broken down into a simple explanation this basically means that digestive power is decreased with a propensity for us to hold onto excess fluids and generate body fat.

Spleen qi deficiency can occur due to a number of reasons such as overindulging in ‘damp forming foods’ such as ice cream and cheese, fast foods & eating in a hurry, an excess of greasy foods, foods high in processed sugar, an excess of cold foods (slows the digestive process) and cold drinks like chilled wine and beer. Shift workers are particularly vulnerable to eating at irregular times and for that reason they might find digestive disorders, in CM the peak time for digestion is between 7-11am and it is during these hours that it is most beneficial to eat the largest meal of the day; and for similar reasons eating late at night and prior to going to bed can be quite destructive to the waistline.

Scholars of Chinese Medicine had an amazing knowledge of the human body long before anatomy knowledge was enhanced by the scalpel. So you might be wondering why the Spleen is associated with digestion? Some scholars say that when the ancient texts were translated that there was a mistranslation and the Pancreas was confused with the Spleen; however for all intensive purposes the actual translation is unimportant as the way digestive disorders are actually treated is the same regardless.

Emotions are very important in CM, different emotions resonate with various organ functions, and for the Spleen (or digestion) the main emotion is worry. So the physical act of eating, and improving digestion relies heavily on taking time to eat when we are relaxed, not rushing, not sitting in front of the TV and not binge eating when we are upset! Other things such as regular movement, maintaining a good sleep regime and good quality food is important to building up Spleen qi, excellent digestion and ultimately our goal of weight loss.

CM is slow medicine, although you are encouraged to make an effort to move more, and eat better (because ultimately we are what we eat), weight loss won’t happen overnight, although most people will quickly notice that their digestion is improving and symptoms such as bloating can be expected to resolve quite quickly.

Most people who have weak digestion typically find themselves bloated having cravings for certain foods (particularly sugar,) they feel sluggish, have irregular bowel movements, food sensitivities, dull skin, poor immunity and low self esteem. Sugar cravings are particularly prevalent when Spleen qi is deficient and overindulgence leads to the formation of ‘damp’ or fat between the organs, which can become a catch 22 situation. However when digestion and spleen energy is improved you can expect the sugar cravings to go away.

Chinese Medicine describes the human body the same way as it does everything else in nature, so similar to a stream clogged by rubbish, it becomes swollen and stagnated and fills with algae and grime. A similar thing happens to the human landscape, damp accumulation within us (aka fat) leaves us feeling sluggish & heavy, fatigued, foggy headed and a feeling as though we cant think clearly; eventually there might be a phlegm producing cough a feeling of fullness and nausea.

So how do you start the journey of turning things around? There are several important CM ideas, which will get you started…

Eat earlier in the day, and less at night, be particularly aware of this if you are a shift worker.

Avoid everything cold room temperature drinks or warm tea and well cooked foods place the least strain on our digestive system.

Placing more importance on the ritual of eating and he classic weight loss tip of eating only until you are 80{6988025dad1f1fbb9b51e07fee2d9ed2e6922123f9d85e2f87ced971590a95a6} full, and get up and move after eating, don’t sit to too long after eating, moving qi will aid digestion.

Avoid foods the damp formers like refined sugar and deep-fried foods, but also too much raw food. Green smoothies in moderation might be good for a hot summer’s day but not so great at other times of the year. We all benefit from eating foods that are in season; so mango smoothies in winter will do nothing to help our Spleens with digestion!

Here are some ideas for healthy eating. You will notice that many of the ‘good’ foods are traditional foods unmodified by modern techniques. In general, always look for whole foods.

Animal FatsOrganic grass fed lamb & beef.

Organic chicken, duck & turkey

Organic, free range eggs.

Grain fed red meat

Battery hens & eggs.

Whole Food FatsAvocado, coconut, olives, cacao butter, dark chocolate.
Fish & Seafood(Fatty fish) wild salmon, sardines, mackerel, cod, clams, oysters, mussels, prawns, scallops, crab, calamari and octopus.Crayfish, tuna, catfish, king mackerel & swordfish.
DairyGrass Fed, cultured butter (used cold) Ghee (for cooking), unsweetened almond, cashew or hazelnut milks. Cottage cheese, goat’s milk, full fat unhomogenized cow’s milk Kefir.Lite milk products, cow’s milk cheese, cream, regular butter & soy milk (esp. Caucasians.)
Nuts & SeedsAlmonds, macadamia, walnuts, pecans, brazil, chia, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, nut & seed butters (without added sugars or trans-fats.)Peanuts
OilsCoconut oil (organic, virgin & cold pressed), Olive oil (extra-virgin, cold-pressed), Flax seed oil, avocado, walnut, pistachio & hemp oils.Safflower, soybean, corn, cottonseed, margarine, shortening & ANY spray oils!
BreadSourdough, gluten free (for digestive issues such as bloating & cramping.) Spelt, rye.White & all processed breads.
SugarsWhole vegetables & blended fruits, organic honey, coconut sugarAgave, corn syrup, cane sugar, juiced fruits.



Depending on the individual diagnosis, placement points selected include a variety on your hands legs & abdomen. Fine needles are inserted below the skin and a soft electo-acupuncture charge is applied creating a mild tingling effect in the area.   Typical weight loss acupuncture course would initially be weekly for the first 4-6 weeks and then spaced out slightly longer once momentum has been reached.

Painless ear tacks can also often be used to compliment the main acupuncture treatment. The ear tacks are strategically placed in points that stimulate digestion, reduce cravings, or for extra calming effect; they are typically worn for 5-6 days and support the client between visits.



Powdered herbs or liquid tinctures may be prescribed to assist with weight loss. Generally a formula consisting of 10-12 herbs will be chosen that suit the client’s body type. In addition the herbs selected are able to strengthen the spleen for better digestion, increase energy, eliminate damp & phlegm while also calming the mind.

Herbal prescriptions are tailor made to suit the individual’s constitution and certain ‘weight loss’ herbs may be contraindicated for certain individuals; for that reason the products are only available with a professional consultation. The formulas are usually available in tablet, tincture and granule (powder) form:

Tablets: Weekly cost approx: $32. Tablets are easy to take and typically don’t have a strong taste, they are very convenient however the contents are set and therefore cannot be tweaked to suit the individual.

Granules: Weekly cost approx: $26. Granules or powders are stronger in action, however some people find the taste challenging. The advantage is that your practitioner is able to fully customise the formula to suit your condition.

Tinctures: Weekly cost approx: $14. (available from early December) Easy to take, however not quite as tasteless as the tablets, the herbs have been extracted in alcohol for 30 days+ and should be taken in hot water. This is the cheapest option, however as with the pills, modification for individual circumstances is not easily achieved.


For those individuals who are committed to making a change, prepaid 6X consecutive weekly bargain packages are available including both acupuncture and herbal products; please contact us for further information.

Due to the fact that weight loss doesn’t happen overnight (sorry 🙂 6 consecutive week packages are available to assist with affordability.  The package includes weekly acupuncture sessions and herbs.  Health insurance rebates apply, meaning that the real cost is affordable at around $60 per week.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us to discuss your individual needs or any concerns you might have…


Table 2 of the Acupuncture Evidence Project (McDonald J, and Janz S, 2017) retrieved from:



How To Aid Your Back Pain With Sleep!

Back pain can occur for a variety of reasons, for sudden & acute circumstances such as kidney stones, trauma or even a fractured vertebrae – immediate care may be required; information provided here is only suitable for those who have been cleared of any specific diagnosis and need to care for their condition unsupervised at home.

In Chinese Medicine terms, typically back pain is a result of one or more of the following:

  • Arthritis
  • Traumatic injury
  • Over use of a specific muscle group
  • Posture / scoliosis
  • Sitting / driving for extended periods
  • Fractures, herniations or degenerative changes
  • Obesity
  • Side effects of medications
  • Unknown

Chinese Medicine (CM) involves identifying locations, channels, triggers of pain and conditions, which alleviate it. CM diagnosis will often include:

  • Qi and Blood Stagnation
  • Yin / Yang deficiency
  • Cold Damp Painful Obstruction
  • Bi Syndrome

Regardless of the specifics of diagnosis, CM considers that stagnation (poor circulation) is the cause of pain and by eliminating stagnation, healing is promoted – relieving the pain.

Acupuncture and prescribed herbal medications will assist to increase circulation to aid healing, however the healing process can be hindered through habitual actions such as sleeping on your sides or stomach, which can restrict circulation causing stagnation to reoccur.

Changing your sleep patterns can be very beneficial, however it is acknowledged that this is not an easy task. By making small changes on a regular basis however, you should be able to initiate the healing process.

So What Do I Need To Do?

It’s easy, all I ask you to do is to take your pillow from the top of the bed and relocate it under your knees for 10 minutes when you go to bed! At first you might find a strange feeling in your sinuses, but this is also beneficial!

Take some deep breaths and relax in this position, if you need a small hand towel rolled up under your neck that is fine. Allow yourself to fall asleep if you are comfortable, if not you are free to readjust to the normal sleeping position after 10 minutes!

Should you wake during the night to go to the toilet, use the opportunity to put the pillow under your knees again, just for five minutes. If you wake with an alarm on snooze in the morning, also use this opportunity again to lie on your back and put the pillow under your knees.

Of course it will take some adjustment and pain will dissipate with practice. By assuming this pose on the comfort of a mattress you are allowing the force of gravity to work in your favor and naturally alleviate stagnation. Other sleeping positions although they may feel comfortable, can reduce circulation to the extremities and the spinal cord due to your body weight compressing muscles, nerves, lymph and blood flow.

It is understandable that you probably cannot maintain sleeping on your back all of the time, however if you are able to practice this method it should be enough together with your Chinese Medicine treatment to give you the advantage moving forward to improve back pain.

If you have a spare pillow, some people also find it advantageous to use the pillow between their legs at times when they choose to roll over onto their sides after the initial instructions. The extra pillow will work in a manner to soften the obstruction caused by the weight of limb on limb.



© Root & Branch Oriental Therapies (2015).