Winter Series - The Secret To Managing Hay Fever In Spring

hay fever

PREVENTION! That is the secret to managing bad hay fever symptoms in spring.

Spring is not my favourite season of the year because I get severe hay fever symptoms such as constant nose drip during the day and at sleep, non-stop sneezing, watery and itchy eyes and etc.  It feels like you are having a common cold continuously for 3 months, and all you want to do is to cut your nose off or live in a bubble until spring is over.  I have tried all sort of western medication such as Zyrtec, Claratyne and nasal spray - none of them had worked for me.  What did work in helping my body to manage and prevent severe hay fever attacks is Chinese herbal medicine and nasal wash.

What I found when I took herbal medicine to boost my immunity and defence system in Winter season, my body was more able to cope with hay fever in spring.  Last year I had one of the best year from my severe hay fever symptoms.  There was the occasional attacks but that would only last for a day and most of the days and during the night, my nose was drip free, itchy and watery eyes free and sneeze free.

So, here is my one simple tip in preparing your body to combat hay fever in spring -

PREVENTION - acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine is by far the best.  It is natural and it works!  If you are afraid of needles, there is herbal medicine that you can take to help boost your immunity and defence function to help your body cope with hay fever season.  Preparing your body NOW is the best solution to reducing the severity of your symptoms in spring.

If you dread spring time because of hay fever and are tired of western medication that does not work for you, there is a solution.  From my own experience, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can reduce the severity of hay fever symptoms.  However, there is a catch - natural medicine takes time to work.  Therefore, the sooner you start your treatment, the better you will be able to face hay fever nose on this coming spring.  Do not hesitate to make an appointment for a consultation with us - we are more than happy to have a chat with you and your concerns.


Winter Series - 5 Tips to Help You Cope With Winter Blues

Eastential Acupuncture Melbourne

Feeling a little low mood, lack of motivation and sad during winter months?  You may have winter blues also know as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  Western medicine define SAD as a mood disorder experienced by people with normal mental health throughout the year whom experience depression at the same time each year, especially in winter.  In Chinese medicine, depression is a sign of disharmony or imbalance of Qi.  Qi is an energetic flow that circulates within the body and connects each Organs together to nourish and harmonise the body, mind and soul.  I often find in clinical practice that lifestyle, diet and emotions are a common contribution towards depression.  Overworking, frustration, irritability, anger, unexpressed feelings, overthinking, fear and over-consumption of raw and cold foods are some of the sign and symptoms that inhibits the smooth flow of Qi and Blood, thus leading to depression.  The combination of acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicines and simple lifestyle and diet changes are a great way to help lift those low moods.  Here are 5 tips that I advise my clients to help them manage their depression.

1) Exercise - 30 minutes walks daily.  A study have found that brisk walking for 35 minutes a day, 5x a week or 60 minutes a day, 3x a week had a significant impact on mild to moderate depression symptoms.  Experts have shown that by exercising it enhances the action of endorphin and stimulates the neurotransmitter nor-epinephrine.  Endorphin and nor-epinephrine are what I call 'naturally producing happy substance' that help lift and improve our mood.  In addition, regular exercise offers other health benefits such as lowering blood pressure and boost self-esteem.  So put on your walking shoes and start walking those winter blues away.

2) Sunshine - get more of it.  When the sun is out, take every opportunity to get out especially when you work in an office.  Even for just 10-15 minutes in the sun will lift you mood.  If you are lucky enough to have a window in your office, sit close to it to get an extra dose of sunshine.  If you are working from home, open up your blinds and curtains to let the sun rays in and also take short breaks to enjoy the sun.

3) Bundle up, go out and explore.  The worse thing about winter is being stuck indoor.  Granted that there will be days when it is absolutely yucky out there, and all you want to do is be indoor, read a good book and rug up by the heater.  However, for the other days, encourage yourself to go out, explore your neighborhood, or even make a trip to the ski slopes and enjoy what nature has to offer.  One of my favourite place to visit is Lake Mountain, not far from Melbourne to do some cross country skiing.  There is something quite spectacular and magical about a winter landscape.

4) Crank up the tunes.  Evidence are emerging that by listening to upbeat music can help lift and boost up low moods.  Fill your space and ears with music that makes you want to sing and dance, even if you look goofy doing it.

5) Diet - nutritious, well balanced, cooked warm meals.  In Chinese medicine, we always advocate that 'food is medicine'.  A well balanced diet consisting of protein, vegetables, fruit and grains should be the first port of call towards the health of a person.  I often advise my clients to eat warm cooked food and to minimise the amount of salad, cold and raw food in their diet.  As the weather is cold, the body naturally desire warmer food such as slow cooked stews, bone broths, roasted vegetables and soups.  In additions, adding warming spices such as ginger, cinnamon, cloves, turmeric and black pepper in cooking help enhance the warming properties of the food.  These warming foods are a great way to nourish Qi and Blood.  When Qi and Blood is healthy and well looked after, it will help manage and minimise those winter blues.

I hope these tips are useful however, if you still cannot shake those low moods away, please seek professional help.  Acupuncture and Chinese medicine are effective and natural alternatives in treating depression.  We are happy to chat with any concerns you may have.  Please contact us at Eastential Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine Melbourne


Harvard Health Publications, 2009.  "Exercise and Depression"

Blaszczak, J., 2015.  "10 Things You Didn't Know About Seasonal Affective Disorder"

Lake Mountain Alpine Resort

Wall, T., 2013.  "Trying To Be Happier Works When Listening To Upbeat Music, According To MU Research"

Rodriguez, T., 2014.  "Can Acupuncture Treat Depression?"

Ljubinovic, N.  "Acupuncture, Anxiety & Depression"


Winter Series - 7 tips to help you manage Dry skin in winter


The first thing that you will notice in winter is dry skin.  As we enter into colder and windier months, our skin begins to feel dry, cracked, flaky and itchy.  To help your skin cope during these colder months, here are 7 tips that had helped my skin cope better in winter.

1) HYDRATE -  one of the best way to combat dry skin.  By hydration I mean drinking plain water, preferably warm to room temperature plain water.  Aim to drink at least 1-2 litres (6-8 glasses) on a daily basis.  I find filling a water bottle which is in clear sight  from where I work is a great reminder to keep up with my fluids.  Also aim to reduce intake of caffeine (coffee, tea), sugary drinks (fruit juice, energy drinks) and alcohol as these often lead to dry skin, and is a leading cause of wrinkles.

2) MOISTURISER - natural ones are the best.  In winter, I swtich from a light weight moisturiser that I use in summer to a more heavier and hydrating moisturiser to prevent my skin from drying out.  This makes sense as the temperature and weather changes, so does our skin care products and regime.  Aim for moisturisers that have nourishing properties such as sweet almond oil or apricot kernel oil which are especially good for dry skin.  It also helps to improve your complexion giving you that 'youthful glow' and keeps wrinkles at bay.  Three to four drops of either of these oils added to regular moisturiser for people with oily skin is often sufficient for colder months.  For those with dry or mature skin like myself, the best is to invest in a heavier and hydrating moisturiser that contain ingredients such as shea butter, jojoba oil and avocado oil.  I will also add a few drops of either sweet almont oil or apricot kernel oil to the moisturiser to give my skin a further boost of hydration.  Avoid cleanser that has alcohol labeled on it.  This will strip your skin of your natural oil and will make your skin feel dryer and potentially make it itchy.

3) SCRUB - a great way to shed off dead skin for the face and body.  Scrubbing is a great way to stimulate and circulate Qi and Blood to the face and body while getting rid of dead skin.  It is important to do this often to encourage skin regeneration.  I use a mild scrub for my face once a week and a loofah scrub for my body at least once every two weeks.  I find my skin feels amazingly soft and subtle, and is able to absorb the goodness from my moisturiser better.  Scrubbing is also a great way to encourage lymphatic drainage.  CAUTION! If you have skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis and any other skin problems, please seek advise from your health care practitioner before using this technique.

4) MASQUE - adds additional hydration to your skin I tend to use facial masque sheet more often in winter than I do in any other season to add more hydration to my dry skin.  I use a signature Chinese herbal masque powder which I use on my clients in my clinic, that helps with nourishing and hydrating the skin.  It is a great way to use the 10 minutes while the facial masque sheet is applied to meditate and calm your senses, in return it will help to combat signs of aging from the stresses of daily life.

5) EXERCISE - great for skin health When you exercise, you stimulate and circulate Qi and Blood around your body and to the surface of the skin.  Good Qi and Blood is vital to keep your skin soft, moisturise and hydrated.  In addition, exercise is good at eliminating unwanted toxins from your skin when you sweat.  Bare in mind that what you sweat out, you will also need to replenish it back in with fluids such as water or coconut water.  In addition, exercise is a great way to reduce stress which is one of the most common cause of aging and wrinkles.  I would recommend a 30 minute to an hour of daily exercise such as brisk walk, yoga, dancing etc to get some benefits out of it.  Added bonus -  for those that have cold hands and feet like I do, daily brisk walking for 40 minutes to circulate Qi and Blood has been the best remedy so far.

6) HOT SHOWERS - reduce it!  As much as hot showers or baths are very enticing during colder months, they are actually bad for your skin.  The longer you are in a shower or bath, the more if will strip away the natural oil from your skin.  Aim for shorter showers, avoid hot baths as much as you can and if possible, recuce the temperature of the hot water used.  Once you jump out of the shower, dry your skin by gently wiping you face and body with a cotton towel, then lather on your nourishing oils and moisturiser soon after.  This will ensure that you skin will absorb all the nourishing goodness from your moisturiser which will keep it soft and moist.

7) DIET - nourish dry skin from inside out.  I often tell my clients that comes in for Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture that the skin is the biggest organ in our body.  What we eat if often a good indicator of how our skin is performing.  To help with dry skin, aim for foods that are high in omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids.  This will help to keep the skin cells strong, maintain elasticity and help keep the skin moisturise.  Foods that contains these nutrients are avocado, oily fish such as sardines, flaxseeds and walnuts.

I hope these tips would be helpful for your skin survival during winter. 

We are offering a special "Winter Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture Package" for a limited time from June until end of July2016 to help your skin survive winter.  To find out more about this package, please refer to our "Fees and Book Online" page.


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Guthrie, C. 2010.  "8 Ways Exercise Makes You Gorgeous"

Parson, J. 2015.  "Hot Showers Harmful To Skin During Winter"

Wu, S. 2014.  "Eating For Beauty: The Best Diet For Healthy, Clear Skin"

Angelo, G. 2012.  "Essential Fatty Acids."