Taoism and the art of Hibernation

Baby its cold outside. No I mean it’s REALLY cold outside.

OK so it’s not as cold as Canada.

Or Russia.

But its mid-January and we are in the full depths of the Great British winter. Dark at 4pm. Scraping ice off the car before work. Siberian winds coming in from the Continent. A DUSTING OF SNOW in some parts of the North.

When you take a look around at nature you can see what’s happening at this time of year. The trees have lost their leaves, the ground is hard and frozen, the animals are hibernating. Everything is still, conserving energy for the coming spring.

Everything that is, except us.

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Sleep like a baby

Sleep like a baby - Katy Bradshaw AcupunctureAccording to recent research over two thirds of adults are getting less than the recommended eight hours of sleep a night.  That’s over 40 million people starting each day not feeling their best.

In England alone doctors make over 10 million prescriptions for sleeping pills every year. Like most medication these can have unwanted side effects, especially dependency.

Given the scale of the problem I’m sad to discover that only 1 in 5 of us would consider acupuncture for insomnia. And even then that would be as a last resort.

Acupuncturists love to ask about your sleep

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Evidence for Acupuncture

There are around four million acupuncture treatments per year in the UK, of which around half are delivered by members of the British Acupuncture Council. Musculoskeletal pain is the most common condition that patients present with, but traditional acupuncturists see people with a wide range of conditions; mental ill health and infertility are the next most prevalent (Hopton 2012): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22240649

The best place to look at the evidence for acupuncture is at Evidence Based Acupuncture. I cannot rate this work highly enough.

You can also find out  more via the British Acupuncture Council, who provide a series of fact sheets on a wide range of conditions and These fact sheets provide summaries of research and how acupuncture may be beneficial.

Contact me for more information.

You are when you eat

you are when you eatYou are when you eat. Who hasn’t heard the saying ‘eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper’? But why? What difference does it make to eat at certain times of day?

Chinese dietary advice is pretty simple when it comes to timings.

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You are what you eat

you are what you eat

The old saying goes ‘you are what you eat’. But have you ever considered that you might also be how you eat and when you eat? And what should you be eating anyway?

Now there are about a million different diets out there and I have no intention of adding another one to your repertoire.  We know that ‘diets’ mostly don’t work anyway.

But there are some principles of Chinese dietary therapy that continue to hold relevance after thousands of years and I’d like to introduce them to you here.

Essentially there are three main principles – what, when and how you eat is important.

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Transformative acupuncture – say what?

transformative acupunctureI wanted to talk a bit today about why I chose the tagline ‘Transform your Health’ for my acupuncture business.  What exactly is transformative acupuncture?

We live in a service economy – 70% of all consumer activity in the world is made up of services – and acupuncture is one of them.

Now for the science-y bit.

The evolution of goods and services goes something like this:

  1. Produce commodities
  2. Make goods from those commodities
  3. Provide a service that delivers those goods
  4. Provide a positive experience whilst delivering that service
  5. Transform people’s lives with that positive experience

I’m going to argue that a good acupuncturist sits nicely in stage 5.

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A pain in the neck (and shoulder, back, arm, wrist)

pain relief

I was idly scanning the internet this weekend looking for some stats of people suffering with pain in the UK (um… nearly half of the population!) and stumbled across some great videos posted by British Gypsom. They’ve worked with a physio to create a series of exercises designed to help plasterers ease the various aches and pains they suffer with as a result of their jobs.  That’s necks, shoulders, elbows, wrists, forearms and lower backs.

What a great idea!

So I started looking around a bit more and found some forums with loads of threads about people being stopped from doing their jobs because of pain and desperately looking for pain relief.

‘Go to your GP’

‘You’ll just have to rest it’

‘Take a holiday’

I hunted for what I was really looking for but couldn’t find it.

‘Have you tried acupuncture?’

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WOMEN’S HEALTH

women's health

Chinese Medicine is particularly interested in women’s health. The classic texts that date back over thousands of years dedicate a great deal of time to the study, diagnosis and treatment of women’s health.  As a result of this long history acupuncture is hugely beneficial in treating gynaecological issues. In particular acupuncture can benefit:

  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Short/long cycles
  • Painful, heavy periods
  • Lack of periods
  • Spotting, bleeding outside period time
  • Ovulation pain
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
  • Fibroids, cysts, polyps
  • Endometriosis
  • Hormonal imbalances eg: PMS, migraine, skin eruptions, emotional issues

Fertility

Acupuncture is of great benefit in the treatment of fertility. It can support couples to conceive naturally and during the assisted reproduction process. It is a physical and emotional support during what can be an extremely challenging time. Read about how acupuncture can benefit fertility for both men and women here.

Menopause

The menopause often brings disruption and misery to a woman’s life.  It can involve one or more of a range of symptoms, which women experience to varying degrees and levels of distress. These can include night sweats and hot flushes, insomnia, anxiety, depression, fatigue, headaches, aches and pains, palpitations and genital and urinary problems.

Acupuncture supports the body to alleviate these symptoms in a natural and long-lasting way, without the need for Hormone Replacement Therapy.  For women who want to continue with HRT it is still beneficial to receive acupuncture as it will treat the hormonal imbalance that the medication is masking.

You can read more about acupuncture and the menopause in the blog post ‘Acupuncture – an effective alternative to HRT?’

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FERTILITY

fertility acupuncture

Acupuncture can be of great benefit for anyone wanting to start a family by ensuring you are in the best health possible to maximise your fertility.

For couples who have been trying to conceive for a while acupuncture can also provide the extra help needed to increase your chances of success.  It is especially beneficial to the 20-30% of cases of ‘unexplained’ infertility. This is because acupuncture treats the person rather than the disease, which makes it particularly good at dealing with fertility issues that don’t have a medical diagnosis.

Furthermore research has shown that acupuncture can regulate the menstrual cycle; lower raised levels of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), relieve symptoms of endometriosis; induce ovulation in women with polycystic ovaries (PCOS); improve the quality and motility of sperm and release endorphins that reduce stress and promote relaxation.

Treatment helps couples to make changes to their diet and lifestyle as well as helping to resolve underlying emotional or physical imbalances that can affect fertility. You can read more about women’s health issues here.

Male Fertility

Lifestyle factors such as stress and obesity and environmental factors such as pesticides and chemicals are all thought to play part in men’s rapidly declining fertility – up to a fifth of men now have low sperm count.

However there is a lot that can be done to improve its function and research has shown particular benefit on sperm quality and quantity. Acupuncture can benefit men’s:

  • Sperm count – morphology, motility, antibodies
  • Immune system issues
  • Low libido
  • Erectile dysfunction/impotence
  • Testicular health

Because it takes 60 – 90 days to develop mature sperm, for the best results treatment is ideally given over a 3 to 6 month period prior to conceiving.

Assisted reproduction

There are many studies that show that acupuncture administered at certain points during the assisted reproductive cycle (ICSI/IUI/IVF) can increase the chances of successfully conceiving and support couples emotionally and physically along the way.

A recent study in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) showed that acupuncture may increase the success rate of implantation and pregnancy during IVF by as much as 65%.

  1. During IUI – improving thickness of lining of uterus
  2. Downs Regulation – reducing side effects such as hot flushes, headaches and mood swings
  3. Up regulation & ovary stimulation – helping to thicken the lining of the uterus and preventing ovary hyper-stimulation
  4. Prior to egg collection – helping to soften the cervix and encouraging relaxation
  5. Day of transfer – increasing pregnancy rates from 26.3% to 42.5%
  6. Post-transfer – improving blood flow to the embryo and providing emotional support to the couple

For more information on research into acupuncture, ART and fertility please visit the BAcC

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Your acupuncturist

Acupuncturist - Katy Bradshaw

I’m Katy Bradshaw. I’m a highly regarded acupuncturist with over ten years of clinical experience. I am a member of the British Acupuncture Council and a graduate of the renowned College of Integrated Chinese Medicine.

Why I became an acupuncturist…

I became an acupuncturist after receiving treatment myself; firstly as a child and then later in life. The treatment I received had a hugely positive impact on my life. As a result of my personal and professional experience I truly believe acupuncture can transform a person’s health – both physically and mentally.

I already had a degree in Social Anthropology from Sussex University so took a great interest in people. After several years working in the public sector I began looking for a way to make a real change to people’s lives and decided to train as an acupuncturist.

Since then I have also undertaken further study in fertility and specialised pain relief techniques. I am also a member of ACT – the Brighton Acupuncture Childbirth Team.

What kind of acupuncturist am I?

As a result of my training I draw on both Traditional Chinese Medicine and Five Elements theory and use a combination of styles and techniques. These include full body acupuncture, moxibustion, cupping and auricular acupuncture.

My integrated approach means that I can treat a range of emotional and physical complaints and any underlying constitutional imbalance patients may have. I strongly believe that our emotional well-being plays an important role in our physical health and vice versa.

I also blend my treatments with ongoing lifestyle and dietary advice which enhances the benefits.

Find out more about acupuncture…