Welcome Rebecca Bau

Welcome back to Rebecca Bau

We are pleased to welcome back Rebecca Bau to our Wholistic Medical Centre team!

Rebecca is an acupuncturist, Chinese herbalist and Lohan Qigong practitioner who integrates eastern life philosophies and eastern medicine practices for everyday health and wellbeing.

She brings clinical skills in Acupuncture, Japanese Acupuncture, Moxibustion, Shonishin, Chinese herbal medicine and Lohan Qigong which she has practiced for over 15 years.

Rebecca has been a part of many amazing stories, primarily in women’s health assisting with fertility, pregnancy and labour. However, in practice she treats people of all ages and conditions… Her youngest patient was a 9mth old baby who had digestive upsets unable to gain weight, and the eldest a 97yr old with shoulder pain unable to go for their everyday swim.

To find out more about Rebecca’s experience and her treatment consultations, click here.

painful periods

Is Your Period Pain Normal?

Painful periods        painful periods

Many women experience some kind of pain with their periods, but period pain (or dysmenorhea) is definitely not normal in Chinese medicine. Statistics vary widely around the world but show that a significant number of women suffer from regular pain with their periods. It is so common that many women assume painful periods are normal because their friends have it too. Period pain is something that a lot of women just put up and manage with painkillers, heat packs or other medications every month.

Even when period pain is affecting their quality of life, many women do not seek help from a doctor or other health professional.

Pain is your body’s way of letting you know that there is a problem, it is a symptom of an underlying issue that needs to be addressed. While medication may be helpful for temporary pain relief, it does not address the underlying issues causing the period pain.

Types of period pain

Period pain, or dysmenorrhea, can be caused by many factors. Clinically it is classified as either primary or secondary depending on whether or not there are structural abnormalities in the pelvis. Primary dysmenorrhea is menstrual pain with no identified organic cause. It can vary from mild to severe and affects as many as 50% of girls and women, often beginning soon after a girl starts having periods. In many cases periods become less painful as time goes on, and this kind of dysmenorrhea may improve after giving birth. Secondary dysmenorrhea has a known cause such as endometriosis, adenomyosis or fibroids. It tends to begin later in life than primary dysmenorrhea and often becomes worse over time.

Chinese medicine and period pain

Chinese medicine has a long history of treating gynaecological conditions including period pain. There are many Chinese medicine texts, some written as far back as 1000BC, containing detailed analysis and understanding of the menstrual cycle with recommendations for self-care and specific Chinese herbal medicine formulas to address symptoms such as pain.

What does a normal healthy period look like?

According to Chinese medicine a normal healthy period is regular (ideally around 28 days each cycle). There should be minimal or no discomfort, and definitely no pain. The flow of blood should be smooth (not interrupted), bright red in colour, and free of clots. It should be not too heavy or too light. The blood should not be too thick or too watery, and the entire period should last between 4-6 days.

In Chinese medicine, period pain is seen as abnormal and a symptom of an underlying imbalance in the body which is blocking the smooth flow of menstrual blood. This blockage can be caused by many factors and an experienced practitioner will know whether your period pain is due to Qi (energy), blood, cold or dampness blocking the flow in your body, or whether the flow is obstructed because your Qi, Blood, Liver or Kidney energy is depleted. Often there is a combination of underlying patterns that need to be untangled and addressed. Each of these dynamics require a different approach. An experienced Chinese medicine practitioner will be able to assess what is out of balance and use acupuncture and/or Chinese herbal medicine to assist in supporting your body towards a pain free and healthy menstrual cycle.

If you would like support for your painful periods with Traditional Chinese Medicine please book an appointment with Tanya Newton at Flow Chinese Medicine.

Ultrasound showing mother is Pregnant with twins!

Wholistic Approach to Pregnancy Complications and Miscarriage

Pregnant with twins!

Pregnancy complications and miscarriage

So you’ve decided you’re ready to start a family… all begins well, you fall pregnant easily but sadly you have a miscarriage. You prepare yourself and start again, understanding that sometimes maintaining a pregnancy can be difficult.

This is Simone’s* story. A 35-year old university lecturer, living a busy but healthy and active lifestyle.

Pregnant with twins

Simone and her partner had been trying to have a baby for 2 years. Following recurrent miscarriage her doctor ordered blood tests which diagnosed Anti-Phospholipid Syndrome (APS). Just days later, they were advised they were 7 weeks pregnant with twins.

Anti-Phospholipid Syndrome (APS) is an auto-immune disorder of the blood. It is sometimes called Hughes syndrome or sticky blood. 

In early pregnancy the anti-phospholipid antibodies (aPL) can cause early miscarriages because they prevent the pregnancy from embedding properly in the womb, and they inhibit the growth of fetal cells.

Simone was immediately concerned about the potential for miscarriage. Querying what she could do to take this pregnancy to full term, she began to search online… What natural pregnancy support is available? Can acupuncture provide pregnancy support?

A wholistic approach to health and pregnancy support – TEAM

Simone came in for an initial consultation seeking pregnancy support. We discussed her medical history, current condition and doctors’ approach and treatment to address APS and her pregnancies. Her doctor had prescribed administration of daily Clexane injections and aspirin medication to thin the blood and prevent her blood from clotting.

Further to this, we discussed eastern medicine – primarily the use of Japanese and Chinese acupuncture, moxibustion (moxa) and Chinese herbal medicine in pregnancy support. Traditional East Asian Medicine (TEAM) considers one’s outlook, the current state of day-to-day health, looking into clinical signs, symptoms and results to determine a diagnosis – using traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) or traditional Japanese medicine (TJM) paradigms. The TCM diagnosis guides the acupuncture and moxa treatment and any herbal medicines to work alongside and complement other medical treatment.

Thus, at each consultation we would work as part of a wholistic health and pregnancy support team: comprising of doctors, obstetricians, physiotherapists, specialists, midwives and her doula.  Information from medications, blood tests, urine tests, ultrasound scans, baby positions, baby weights, physical exercises and recommendations would determine the TCM diagnosis and adjust the acupuncture and moxa treatment to her changing needs as the pregnancies progressed.

Natural Pregnancy Support with Acupuncture

Diagnosis of her health from a eastern medicine perspective indicated that constitutionally she had a life-long blood deficiency. Her blood was always working hard, generating extreme heat especially with her love of bike riding and 5-10 km jogs.

Given Simone’s constitution, pregnancy, APS presentation and medications, I recommended the following TEAM plan including acupuncture treatment and some lifestyle changes to reduce the heat in her blood, generate blood and promote blood circulation. The acupuncture treatment involved weekly consultation until she reached 12 weeks, follow-ups every 3 weeks until approximately 32 weeks, then fortnightly to weekly after that depending on her needs. The lifestyle changes involved reducing and changing her sport activities and making some dietary changes.

I worked together with her through the duration of her pregnancy for constitutional, APS-related and common pregnancy symptoms until the birth.  Her blood work at 15 weeks showed there were no traces of anti-phospholipid antibodies (aPL), suggesting APS remission. She gave birth at almost 37 weeks by caesarean due to pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure) and the babies descending into the birth canal.

Following birth, one baby spent the first night in a humidicrib with both babies in the special care nursery monitoring for 2 weeks. Post nursery care they remained healthy and well and at 18 months reached the 50th percentile for weight. The babies have continued to be average weight for their age.

To understand more about how TCM treatments may assist you in your fertility journey please continue to read through our other fertility stories or contact us to book a consultation.

*Name has been changed

By Rebecca Bau – Acupuncture, Japanese Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine, Traditional East Asian Medicine (TEAM), Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Traditional Japanese Medicine (TJM), Lohan Qigong. 

Have aching shoulders? Come and get help from our Osteopath and Physiotherapists at Wholistic Medical Centre

Massage to the rescue when shoulder pain gets in the way

 Men, women, and teens can experience restricted movement due to shoulder pain

Shoulder pain can impact on your day. It can disrupt your sleep and make the simplest actions like brushing your hair or reaching for items on the top shelf of the pantry unbearable.

What can be done to break the cycle of shoulder pain?

Jane* was seeking help for her persistent right shoulder pain that was aggravated when she raised her arm above her shoulder. This pain had been ongoing for three months and had been limiting her ability to exercise and move freely. Remedial massage had been recommended to improve movement and reduce pain.

I approached the consultation as I always do with a thorough history and background of Jane’s condition. I conducted a thorough assessment of both shoulders, comparing movement, symmetry and strength in each arm and closely observing posture that can affect how the shoulders are positioned.

What I noticed first was that the affected shoulder was brought forward and held higher compared to the unaffected shoulder indicating that those muscle groups of the chest and top of the shoulder were creating the problem by raising the shoulder and scapula up and forward and limiting movement of the right shoulder. This was confirmed with palpation of the muscle groups to the chest, upper shoulders and those muscles surrounding the scapula.

The initial treatment targeted those affected muscle groups to the chest, shoulders and upper back, improving blood flow and softening those affected muscle tissues. After the first treatment Jane could raise her arm above her shoulder and her pain had been reduced considerably. She was happy with this initial result.

Jane returned for a further three weekly massage treatments and her pain had resolved after the fourth treatment. Jane was able to return to regular exercising and was even able to help her sister move house at our last consultation.

* Name has been changed

By Kyla Mayer – Pregnancy and Remedial Massage, Lactation Consultant, Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine