February 17, 2014

You are the Garden

Posted in brisbane, health, life tagged , , , , , , at 9:55 pm by Margi Macdonald

20140217-214339.jpg

Just like us, when our gardens are stressed from poor nutrition, dehydration or damp sogginess, over-crowding or temperature extremes, invading bugs will come and take over, creating an acute health problem.

Did you know that in Traditional Chinese Medicine, we see the mind-body-spirit as a landscape or garden?

Our job is to help you become your own gardener and show you how to cultivate great health and vitality.

———–
Cautions and Care If you’re unwell, or worried about your health, please make an appointment to see a health professional. The information on these pages is not a substitute for the care and attention of appropriately qualified practitioners.

August 28, 2013

What does “spring” mean to you?

Posted in brisbane, health, life tagged , , , , , , , , at 8:45 pm by Margi Macdonald

Celeste and Jasmine

What does spring time mean to you?

Newness and all that’s fresh and enlivening?

Quiet times in nature, or pottering in the garden?

Cooking up a storm with abundant fresh produce?

The torments of hay fever or asthma? (and yes, acupuncture and herbal medicine may help with either of these conditions)

Feel free to share the best and worst of your spring time experiences with us.

_____________________________________________

Cautions & Care: This post and the pages here are for your information, and are not a substitute for the medicines, care and attention of appropriately qualified health professionals.

Image: ©Margi Macdonald

February 7, 2011

Behind the scenes in an acupuncture clinic

Posted in brisbane, health tagged , , , , , , , , , at 4:13 pm by Margi Macdonald

During the quiet days of January, many acupuncturists began preparation for national registration of our profession in 2012. We’ll be more accountable, and more closely regulated than ever before. This is a good thing for public safety and for standards of care. Registration will elevate acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine to professional status, alongside doctors, dentists and other allied health professions. Unsurprisingly, national registration will increase practice costs to each practitioner. As the year progresses, we’ll need to pass some of these costs on to the people registration  protects – our wonderful clients and patients.

Our aim is to keep fee increases modest and fair to you and to ourselves, and to tell you well in advance.

Visitors to Echidna Acupuncture and Natural Therapies will notice some additions to the clinic this year; hand-washing charts, more signage, hand sanitiser for visitors and medical-grade handwash solution.  The clinic owner – Nikki Hunt – has done a great job ensuring the clinic is compliant with recent changes to Infection Control  Management in Australia.

For clinic visitors, this means that we’re looking and sounding more like your GP’s surgery. We’ll be assessing folk for nasty contagious bugs, particularly in winter. People deemed potentially contagious may be advised to stay at home, to see their Doctors, or to come and see us, as long as they understand that wearing a surgical mask will be necessary for both patient and practitioner.  If we feel you’re contagious, we’ll also be keeping you separate from other clinic visitors.

Our clinic is now stocked with an even wider range of infection control gear, including a spills kit and more plastic aprons than we can imagine might ever be necessary. Medical supplies – even in the smallest quantities – come in bulk!

Professional development and post-graduate learning are an ongoing process in our profession. Last year many acupuncturists exceeded the minimum ongoing professional development requirements expected of us by legislation, private health insurers, and our professional associations. My own learning and study included acquisition of specialist textbooks, participation in peer review meetings and online discussion groups, business planning, and attendance at a number of important seminars and skill updates, some of them presented by esteemed international specialists. I happily exceeded the minimum requirement, learnt plenty, and look forward to doing it all again in 2011. Those unpaid hours of professional development – usually on weekends and in the evenings – help us to do our best for each of you, and to stay current with the unique mix of science, tradition and wisdom which is Traditional Chinese Medicine in the 21st Century.

Images

Red Door in Hanoi ©Margi Macdonald

Handsanitiser – not stated

Words ©Margi Macdonald

September 6, 2010

Bears in there? We’re Wildlife Aware

Posted in brisbane, health, life tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 3:17 pm by Margi Macdonald

Brown Bear having fun. Beverly and Pack

From the Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association Ltd

You may have seen last night’s Channel 7 Sunday Night feature on “Something About Mary” which informed viewers of Mary Hutton’s story. Mary is the founder of the ‘Free the Bears Fund Inc’ (www.freethebears.org.au) and has made it her mission to protect various species of bears in Asia from being captivated and used for entertainment and medicinal purposes. The use of bear bile was a focus in the feature with reporter Alex Cullen bringing attention to the practices of some restaurants in South East Asia whose patrons “have lunch, see bears and buy their bile”.

The Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association Ltd (AACMA) is opposed to the medical, cosmetic or other use of bear bile and other illegal products derived from endangered species. There are many herbal alternatives to the use of bear bile and therefore there is no justification for bear farming. AACMA is committed to raising the level of awareness, education and compliance with the legal requirements associated with the international wildlife trade through the Australian government funded Endangered Species Certification Scheme (www.acupuncture.org.au/escs.cfm) and does not support the use of Chinese medicines containing illegally traded wildlife ingredients.

AACMA CEO, Judy James, said “Traditional Chinese Medicine is one of the great global medical systems with an uninterrupted history of use and development spanning 1000s of years. The Traditional Chinese Medicine profession does not need to cage, farm, kill or use bears in order to provide effective and natural healthcare. The international trade in products containing bear parts is illegal and AACMA opposes their use for any medical or cosmetic purposes.”

To read the AACMA’s full media release please visit http://www.acupuncture.org.au/media.cfm

To view the transcript visit http://au.tv.yahoo.com/sunday-night/transcripts/article/-/article/7284436/something-about-mary-transcript/

To view the video visit http://au.tv.yahoo.com/sunday-night/video/#fop

A member of this Association, I fully support and conform to AACMA’s ethical standards and codes of professional conduct, and similarly oppose the use of illegal products – in particular animal products – in our medicines.

Only herbal medicines are prescribed in my practice.

_____________________________________________________

Image: by Beverly and Pack on Flickr. Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License

February 3, 2010

Complementary medicine and cancer care in Australia – far from best practice

Posted in brisbane, health, life tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 1:18 pm by Margi Macdonald

Recently I’ve reflected upon progress towards a greater integration of complementary therapies with Australian biomedical oncology practices and attitudes.

My reflections arose after a recent enquiry about my work.

Here’s my edited response to that particular heart-felt enquiry.

I can definitely offer appropriate therapies to help your friend through the rigors of  treatment, and the whole ‘thing’ of dealing with cancer.

Mine is a compassionate, gentle, supportive style of practice, which places the client and her/his unique needs at the centre of the process.

I have a brochure which outlines all of this.

This week, I am facilitating an information session with a cancer support group at a regional private hospital. The group is a satellite of a larger support program offered in Brisbane, where in times past, I’ve presented information sessions.

Two medical oncologists – mainstream – sometimes refer people to me, but sadly, they wait until people have very advanced disease.

I am definitely a Complementary practitioner; my work is informed by the work, research and programs offered in the USA for a decade now, at places such as the MD Anderson Cancer Center Houston; Memorial Sloane-Kettering Cancer Center in New York; and other centres such as Dana Farber, and Alta Bates Summit. I just dropped my membership of the US-based Society of Integrative Oncology. I attended the SIO conference in Atlanta in late 2008. Mindblowing.

I rarely prescribe herbal medicines or supplements while folk are receiving chemotherapy, and if I do, it’s in consultation with their medical oncologists.

Best practice oncology in the USA, and some European countries – which very definitely incorporates Complementary therapies – is ten years ahead of the antiquated practices and attitudes in this country.

I consider that given the emerging overseas evidence – clinical, empirical and anecdotal – Australian oncologists are bordering on negligence in their failure to actively seek to understand Complementary therapies, and direct their patients to credible practitioners.

I hope I am able to help your friend.

I wish it was different here, I really do, and I am perplexed and increasingly irritated at the blinkered vision and conservative attitudes which pervade the thinking of too many medical practitioners in this country.

I cannot understand why it is that most oncologists here, seem ignorant of the therapies, programs and facilities offered to cancer patents and their families in some of the world’s most prestigious, highly regarded institutions.

And what stage do we call attitudes and platitudes such as the ones below negligence, and not just plain ignorance, and a distinct lack of compassion and insight into the needs and lives of people living with cancer?

These comments were made to me by Australian oncologists within the last three years.

”I’m just too busy to find out about it”

“My peers would give me a hard time if they knew I was doing this”

“I let the patients figure it out and make the choices themselves”

I know that there remain equally disturbing levels of ignorance, and antiquated and blinkered thinking, in certain sectors of the natural medicine world. There are, sadly, still some absolute quacks out there, whose practices and attitudes are ego-driven, unkind, and negligent.

How do we integrate the best of biomedicine, with powerful and effective healing arts and sciences?

Do leave a comment.

This is important.

To see how the ‘big guns’ in cancer treatment and research are including Complementary therapies in their care of people touched by cancer, follow the links listed below.

If you are living with cancer, or love someone who is, consider asking the oncologists involved, why Australians don’t receive the levels of care available at these centres.

Place…of Wellness MDAnderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas

Integrative Medicine Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York

Complementary Therapy Programs & Support Groups Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, California

Zakim Center for Integrative Therapies, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston

Cautions and care

These pages are for information purposes only, and are not a substitute for the correct care and attention of appropriately qualified and experienced health care professionals. If you have a concern about your emotional or physical health, seek the advice of your preferred health practitioner.

© Unless stated otherwise, all images and content here are the property of Margi Macdonald.

November 28, 2009

My on-going professional development is good for you

Posted in brisbane, health, life tagged , , , , , , , , , at 2:06 pm by Margi Macdonald

Like all health professionals, natural medicine practitioners must dedicate themselves to a life-time of observation, study, and inquiry.

The benefits to our patients and clients are innumerable.

This year I spent a semester tutoring 2nd year acupuncture students. Imparting one’s knowledge, and needing to be ten steps ahead of our students kept me on my toes, and honest!

I regularly participate in an international discussion group of scholars and practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

This year we’ve explored – amongst other things – difficult and tricky cases, H1N1 flu prevention and management, health reform, and the history of our medicine. I am in esteemed company there, and am regularly in awe of the accumulated knowledge, wisdom and experience of many contributors.

The year’s activities enabled me to reflect upon my style of practice, and the individualised care and attention I offer to people.

I’m confident the ability to understand and respect natural and traditional medicine without disregarding the discoveries of bio-medicine is not only safe and effective, it is the medicine of the future.

_________________________________________________

The image

A 19th century representation of the great Tang dynasty physician, scholar, doctor and medical ethicist – Sun Simiao. He’s the one sitting on the tiger.

He was the supreme physician. Read some more about him here, if you like.

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.
___________________________________________________
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.

%d bloggers like this: