July 12, 2016

Good sleep needs good design (among other things)

Posted in brisbane, health, interior design, life tagged , , , , , , , at 8:40 pm by Margi Macdonald

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Well, I had no idea last week, when I wrote this post, that it was Sleep Awareness Week.  Who knew?

Information-overloaded like so many of you, I almost missed this gem of an article.

There are so many good ideas here.

Let us know in the comments what’s most appealing to you.

July 6, 2016

Acupuncture for insomnia. Yes or no?

Posted in brisbane, health, life tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 8:40 pm by Margi Macdonald

 

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Louise Bourgeois, #53 from the series The Insomnia Drawings 1994-95

Yesterday somebody asked me if acupuncture for insomnia has been proven effective, so I checked a meta-analysis, and quickly reviewed “insomnia”.

Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep and/or the inability to remain asleep, with non-restorative sleep lasting for a month or more.
Anyone who’s experienced insomnia understands how this can affect their quality of life, their ability to work efficiently and safely, to concentrate, and to enjoy life and relationships without feeling irritable, frustrated and exhausted.
There are different reasons why people have insomnia, and there are different types of insomnia. Medical doctors understand that insomnia may be a “primary” or “secondary” condition, with the International Classification of Sleep Disorders listing more than 100 differential diagnoses of the condition.(1)
Acupuncture – as part of a comprehensive treatment approach which can include medical care, counselling, cognitive behaviour therapy, a nightly bedtime routine or ritual, nutrition and lifestyle changes – may help some people to fall asleep faster, or to sleep longer, or to sleep with fewer awakenings during the night.(2)

As yet, the exact mechanism of action for acupuncture is unknown, but many acupuncture studies have shown that various biological responses may occur in the nervous system. In 2012 it was found that more research is needed to fully understand acupuncture’s efficacy for  this condition.(3)

Acupuncturists  who practice Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) know that there can be many factors contributing to insomnia.

An in-depth consultation at your first visit helps both you and your acupuncturist understand why you have insomnia.
A TCM pattern of disharmony is identified – according to the nature of your Yin, Yang, Qi and Blood – and a course of treatment will be suggested, tailored to your unique needs.

The language of TCM is quite poetic, and insomnia can be summarised as “Spirit not settled”.
As TCM is a holistic therapy, acupuncturists can also help you with lifestyle and nutritional guidance and support. Many of us are also qualified to prescribe herbal medicines for your specific pattern of disharmony.

Insomnia is a common and distressing concern, and I’ve blogged about it before. Go here  and click on the infographic about the importance of sleep, particularly for people living with cancer.

One of my areas of special interest is helping women through menopause transition, when sleep, exhaustion and hot flushes can become a vicious cycle. For most women, a reduction in the number and intensity of hot flushes and better quality sleep go hand-in-hand, and acupuncture may help with this.

You can make an appointment here (acupuncture in Chermside, Brisbane north) or here (acupuncture in Holland Park, Brisbane south)

Cautions and Care: If you or someone you know is suffering from a condition which causes concern, please see your primary health practitioner. This blog is for  information and educational purposes, and is not a substitute for the assessment and care of an appropriately qualified health professional.

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1,2,3: Cheuk DKL, Yeung WF, Chung KF, Wong V. Acupuncture for insomnia. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2012, Issue 9. Art. No.: CD005472. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD005472.pub3.

The image: You can read a little more about this series of works by the sculptor Louise Bourgeois here

 

March 19, 2014

Sleep…one of our most important “natural therapies”

Posted in brisbane, health, life tagged , , , , , at 7:42 am by Margi Macdonald


November 25, 2010

Do you really need your over-the-counter pain-reliever today?

Posted in health, life tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 10:55 am by Margi Macdonald

Exercise

If we simply think of it as ‘getting up and doing something’, we inevitably want to do it more and more often.

It’s free, it can make us laugh out loud, it’s entertaining, and it doesn’t come with a long list of potential medication-induced, life-threatening side-effects.

What are you doing after you read this?

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Cautions & Care: This article and video do not replace medical assessment and care. If you have a health concern, or have persisiting pain, visit  an appropriately qualified health professional. The activities shown in this video may not be suitable for everybody. Please use your commonsense, or seek the guidance of a specialist exercise professional.

September 13, 2010

Alco-fuelled blues, violence and despair

Posted in brisbane, health, life tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 10:01 am by Margi Macdonald

After a weekend which saw a nationwide police blitz on alcohol-induced misbehaviour, today we learn that 7% of people in a group of 600 Australians ‘drink [ alcohol ] to feel normal’. *

The major reason people overdo alcohol consumption is to mask the darkness and despair of depression and other difficult emotional states.

There are safer, life-affirming ways to restore joy and equanimity, rather than self-medicating with alcohol, a substance which used often and excessively, destroys mental health and generates nasty longterm physical disorders.

You can start here, at Beyond Blue, an Australian initiative.

Australians who are struggling can also call Lifeline:  13 11 14

Your family doctor can help.

There are also well-established acupuncture protocols which help people through drug and alcohol withdrawal.

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Cautions and Care: This article is for information only, and is not a substitute for diagnosis or treatment. If you have concerns about your emotional, mental or physical health, or that of another, you must visit an appropriately qualified and experienced health professional.

* Source: Australians drinking to mask depression: research

July 20, 2010

Pain is the biggest moral issue in Australia today

Posted in health, life tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 10:05 am by Margi Macdonald

Professor Michael Cousins, AM, a world authority on pain and its management considers pain is the biggest moral issue in Australia today.

For people living with chronic pain, life becomes so much more than managing pain-relief medication, and ‘getting on with it’, as you can see in the image here.

Ours is not yet a culture which supports people living with persistent pain, a condition which can be severe and disabling, and which affects people physically, personally, and socially.

Last week I was accepted as a member of APMA – Australian Pain Management Association Inc

APMA’s work involves ‘providing practical health information, social, workplace and training support’.

APAM members are people living with pain, their families and friends, and health professionals.

There’s much we can do to help people who are affected by chronic pain.

Why not take a few minutes to explore the APMA
site?

If you know someone who is struggling with pain persisting beyond three months, let them know that pain relief is a basic human right.

July 15, 2010

Distress. De-stress. Stress Down and Dress Down

Posted in brisbane, health, life, love tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 9:06 am by Margi Macdonald

The effects of stress on our bodies

So you see, it never has been a simple case of “it’s all in your head”.

Go to Lifeline’s Stress Down Day

You’ll discover how you can manage stress, have some fun, and raise money for an organisation which does a great job.

If you’ve realized your health is affected  by stress, you must see your family doctor for a check-up, and then schedule a deeply relaxing acupuncture or Reiki session.

If you’re struggling with insomnia, you might like this.

You can also take the 30 second health check here.

November 21, 2009

Grappling with the night – insomnia and related torments

Posted in brisbane, health, life tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 10:48 pm by Margi Macdonald

There really is nothing worse than spending wretched nights tangled in the bedclothes, thrashing, watching time tick slowly by, while all around one’s family and neighbours lie sweetly sleeping.

Similarly, nights spent interrupted by graphic, unsettling, incessant or just plain terrifying dreams are no recipe for a refreshed and quietly enlivened mind and body.

Detail from the right ("Hell") panel of Hieronymous Bosch's "The Garden of Earthly Delights" c. 1500

Afterall, such nocturnal torments will have us falling asleep at the wheel, frustratingly unproductive, snippy and snappy, fraught and frazzled.

So what’s going on here?

Quite a bit! If we consider all the information we receive in a day, the thousands of visual and auditory stimuli – many of them pernicious – the way we use our minds, life events and our reactions to them, and what we eat and drink, you can see why difficulty falling and staying asleep can become a problem.

There is an art and science to welcoming sleep into our busy lives, called sleep hygeine by those in the western medical sciences. So as well as counting sheep, you might like to see what works for you here:  Reach Out

Some things to remember:

Daytime – Yang time – is the time for most of our mental and physical activity, including eating and digesting.

Nighttime – Yin time – is for restoration and relaxation of mind, spirit and body.

Our bedrooms are for sleep and sex. They are not information super-highways, so keep your electronic geewhizzery such as TVs, computers and telephones out of them! Why anyone would want these intrusive information-overloaders interfering with two of life’s simple pleasures is a modern-day puzzle!

If alcohol is needed to help us nod off, then we’re headed for trouble, and must seek the help of an empathetic, appropriately qualified health professional.

There is an emerging body of evidence which links high blood pressure and stubborn weight gain with poor sleep. There are also some significant medical and psychological  problems associated with insomnia.

The good news is that most of us will experience transient periods of insomnia which resolve spontaneously. For those who grapple with a chronic inability to sleep well, help is available.

Fortunately Traditional Chinese Medicine provides us with a supreme framework in which to understand the relationships between consciousness – our Shen or Spirit – organ function and dysfunction, the Will and Intellect, the body’s natural rhythms and cycles, our Blood, Essence and Fluids, and our ability to sleep restoratively. Acupuncture, professionally prescribed herbal medicines and essential oils, Reiki and massage can all help us to re-establish restful, refreshing sleep.

But for now, turn on your sound, and enjoy the poetry below, accompanied by this famous old lullaby.

Serenade

by Mary Weston Fordham

Sleep, love sleep,
The night winds sigh,
In soft lullaby.
The Lark is at rest
With the dew on her breast.
So close those dear eyes,
That borrowed their hue
From the heavens so blue,
Sleep, love sleep.
Sleep, love sleep,
The pale moon looks down
On the valleys around,
The Glow Moth is flying,
The South wind is sighing,
And I am low lying,
With lute deftly strung,
To pour out my song,
Sleep, love sleep.
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Staying safe
These pages and the information here are not a substitute for safe and correct health care. If you have a concern about your own physical, mental or emotional health – or that of another – you must seek the guidance of an appropriately qualified and experienced health care professional.
Acknowledgements
Insomnia graphic by ArtbyAllyson; Counting Sheep by matt_collingwood. Both available at BigStockPhoto{dot}com
Artworks available everywhere:
Hieronymous Bosch Garden of Earthly Delights detail from the panel Hell 1504
Gustave Courbet The Sleeping Spinner 1853
Serenade sourced at Poetry Foundation
Blog post content © Margi Macdonald.

April 24, 2009

“Bad Heart Linked to Depression”

Posted in health, life, love tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 12:34 pm by Margi Macdonald

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So stated The Courier Mail last week.

Hmmm

What is a ‘bad heart’ anyway?

What makes a heart go ‘bad’?

Cholesterol?

Adiposity in excess?

Love gone wrong?

Existential crisis?

Being bitter?

Check back in a day or so for a Traditional Chinese Medicine, Care of the Soul, and Tarot-based interpretation of this important issue.

Today, and any other day, if you feel something is amiss with your heart, your mind, your body or emotions, please see an appropriately qualified and experienced health professional.

Margi Macdonald

A note about ownership of today’s image: the Three of Swords from the Tarot.

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