Bell’s Palsy is typically idiopathic (meaning there is no known cause,) it can occur at any age and presents with one sided facial drooping open noticeable around the eye or mouth areas. It is hypothesised that it may occur due to inflammation of the facial nerves and / or as a sequelae to a post viral infection.
Although there needs to be further research into how acupuncture aids in recovery of the condition, combined with other therapies acupuncture is well regarded to support recovery.*
The intervention that we use at Root & Branch Oriental Therapies typically involves a constitutional distal acupuncture prescription in conjunction with a few local needles on the face in the affected area through which a light electrical impulse is applied to reduce inflammation and reinforced the nerve muscle relationship to encourage restoration of regular muscle tone.
A course of treatment is typically 4-6 sessions, however atypical cases may require longer. Acupuncture generally doesn’t have any side effects however as with all interventions adverse reactions are possible in individual cases; we recommend you consult your practitioner to see if Acupuncture may be helpful for you.
*Liu, Zd., He, Jb., Guo, Ss. et al. Effects of electroacupuncture therapy for Bell’s palsy from acute stage: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials 16, 378 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13063-015-0893-9
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.
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.
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.
Plantar Fasciitis is a condition which affects the heel and the arch of the foot. Typically, people who have the condition may experience pain all day, but especially experience heel pain when first getting out of bed in the mornings. This condition constantly generates ‘foot traffic’ for Acupuncture at the clinic. The key to treatment is between 4-8 appointments over a 2-3-week period, which may sound a little excessive however we have treatment packages to make that more affordable. Mark is our Acupuncturist, his approach is to treat the calf, the plantar fascia and distal points to target this stubborn condition, in conjunction with herbal products and exercises to use at home to further drive healing momentum between appointments. Anecdotally Mark’s clients report excellent clinical outcomes getting them back to walking and running pain free. Mark is also able to prescribe Herbal Medications which can resolve bone spurs which are often a complicating factor to the plantar fasciitis diagnosis.
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
Shiatsu Massage is a style of massage which was developed in Japan based on traditional oriental medicine doctrine. It is still very popular in Japan today, particularly at traditional hot springs & ryokan. Each treatment typically takes between 60-90 minutes which includes a short interview to ascertain the specific needs and heath status of the client.
Treatment is undertaken with the recipient dressed, lying flat on a floor mat and includes finger, hand, and foot pressure in combination with a number of stretches and gentle rotations. Your practitioner will probably also recommend some dietary and lifestyle advice which will support your condition after the treatment.
Post treatment most people feel invigorated, occasionally there is a healing reaction as toxins are released, however this is usually only temporary and will pass with adequate water intake.
Shiatsu not only feels great, but but it also proactively restores health, remove blockages of energy flow to stimulate circulation, promote relaxation, alleviate pain and support the body back to it natural state of homeostasis. It is a total body therapy which may assist numerous conditions including digestive disorders, anxiety, sports injuries, insomnia, fatigue and stress.
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…
I have been making Kvass this week, it is basically lacto-fermented raw beetroot cubes with added water, the resulting deep red liquid is taken in small doses internally for its health benefits.
Beetroot is a powerhouse of nutrition packed full of vitamins and minerals, however it is higher in natural sugars than any other root vegetable, when fermented, enzymes and beneficial bacteria consume the sugars to make the nutrients more bioavailable. Beetroot is particularly good for heart health, blood production and it is even said to lower blood pressure; anecdotal evidence suggests that is especially beneficial for the Liver.
Taste-wise, the Kvass is a little sour, sweet and salty all at the same time. In Chinese Medicine, the sour taste directs foods to the Liver, the sweet taste to the Spleen and salty to the Kidneys. So you can see already that it is quite a well balanced tonic for all three organs.
Although it’s origins are not Chinese, as an integrated health practitioner, I prefer to mix the best from all traditional health concepts regardless of where they originate.
We have all heard the saying “you are what you eat,” and the famous quote by Hippocrates: “Let food be thy medicine.”
Asian countries have a long history of using fermented foods including miso, tempeh, kimchi, natto etc. In the West also, particularly Eastern European countries have traditions such as Sourdough, Kefir, Sauerkraut and Kvass.
Before refrigeration was available these processes were used to preserve staple foods so that they were available during the colder seasons when there was less produce, however as they have been shown to be a valuable resource nutritionally, the tradition continues today and the consumption seems to be gaining popularity.
Regular intake of fermented vegetables will improve digestion, resolve bloating and compliment intestinal health. Important research is currently exploring the associations between gut health and cognitive function.
In Chinese Medicine dietary guidelines, over-indulgence of fermented foods can result in ‘dampness,’ typically noticed as excess mucous, a heavy feeling, diarrhoea and sluggishness.
So these foods should be enjoyed in small doses, as an accompaniment to meals, on a daily basis.