Other conditions

Depression, anxiety, stress and insomnia
Digestion problems
Respiratory problems
Skin problems
Women’s health
Pain conditions


Depression, anxiety, stress and insomnia

When we experience a negative response to something in our environment, our body experiences this as danger. To get away from the danger, the “fight or flight” protection response turns on. This creates physical and mental changes that allow us to get away from danger. In the modern world, if we experience something stressful we will usually not run away (or physically fight). We simply experience this stress response internally. Stress is thought to be damaging to physical health in the long term.

One of the great benefits of acupuncture is that it can stimulate the opposite response – the parasympathetic nervous system or “relaxation response”. This creates the opposite situation in the body, where things can settle and calm, replenish, repair and restore.

Acupuncture treatments are very calming and relaxing.  People often notice one of the first things to change is improved sleep – regardless of why they have come for acupuncture.  These relaxation-promoting benefits of acupuncture may be helpful for people with insomnia, stress or anxiety. Acupuncture may be a helpful add-on to standard care for some kinds of depression, and it may help relieve depression in cases of chronic pain by addressing pain symptoms.

Western medication

If you are already taking Western medication, such as anti-depressants, then acupuncture is a low-risk adjunct therapy to use alongside your current medication.

Treatment strategy

I can help you to put together a strategy that includes strategies such as acupuncture treatments, Chinese Herbal Medicine, food-as-medicine diet advice, meditations, simple lifestyle changes utilising Chinese medical wisdom and nutritional supplements (by external referral).  I will help you to do this at a pace that suits you, making very small changes if necessary – whatever works for you according to your energy levels.

Regular, ongoing treatment recommended

The key to success with these kinds of imbalances is regular treatment.  Please be prepared to commit to acupuncture treatments every week or at least every fortnight.  Allow yourself a decent period of time to expect to see changes. Understandably, you are looking to be free from distress and start to enjoy your life again.  However, Chinese medicine is not band-aid medicine.  We are looking to help the body to recover functions as an interconnected whole, so that positive changes may become self-sustaining.

Root cause of imbalance

One factor that will affect the rate of healing is your Chinese medicine diagnosis – considered the root imbalance that is causing your symptoms.

For example, anxiety can arise because of “Liver Qi Stagnation” – meaning that the free-flowing energetic movement of the body systems called “Liver” in Chinese medicine have become stuck, usually due to stress or overthinking. For this pattern, acupuncture often works very well and results may be felt quite quickly. Chinese herbal medicine is a very useful supportive therapy.

On the other hand, if your anxiety is related to “Heart and Kidney Yin Deficiency” then Chinese herbal medicine therapy would be a very important part of your treatment, and we would expect the rate of healing to be somewhat slower because building up Yin means building up moisture and substance in the body. As a healing process it is normally slower than clearing blocked energy flow.

This is how two people with “anxiety” can be expected to heal at different rates – it is due to the underlying pattern of symptoms.

Benefits of herbal medicine

When you work with a qualified Chinese herbal medicine practitioner, herbs are combined according to classical formulas that bring out the best qualities of the herbal substance while balancing unwanted effects.  Herbal medicine is tailored to you and the prescription continues to change as your condition changes.

More information

See helpful articles on the Ocean Acupuncture blog:



Digestive problems

Digestion is a very important part of Chinese medicine.  Every time we make a diagnosis we always pay careful attention to areas such as:

  • Appetite (too little or too much)
  • Cravings
  • Food allergies and intolerance
  • Heartburn, nausea, reflux, belching, hiccups
  • Pain, bloating or gas
  • Loose stools or constipation
  • Haemorrhoids or prolapse


All of these areas are vital clues that point to what’s going on in the body.  Each person is different, so the cause of their health problem is different too.

For example, one person may experience constipation because they have too much Heat in the digestive organs.  It creates blockage and we need cooling and moving herbs to clear out the Heat and blockage to bring things back to normal.  We could also talk about which foods are Hot in Chinese medicine theory, and how lifestyle factors might lead to Heat buildup.

On the other hand, another person might have constipation because they don’t have enough Yin.  Yin in the body refers to coolness, moisture and substance.  For this person, we need much gentler herbs that nourish the Yin and restore the body’s internal moisture balance.  It would be normal for this condition to take longer to treat, because building up Yin takes time.  Lifestyle factors that lead to “burning up” the Yin are very important.  The advantage of making changes to take care of the Yin is that this person will likely feel more settled and sleep better once their Yin improves.

The link between stress and digestion

One of the main factors influencing digestion according to Chinese medicine is stress.  The “Liver” energy system easily becomes stuck when we experience even a small amount of stress.  As the stuck flow turns into blockages, the energy that is trying to flow starts to build up behind the blockage.  Finally all of that built-up energy needs to go somewhere, and one of the most common places that it affects is the digestive system.  There is simple Chinese medicine theory that explains why it happens in this way.

So the general relaxation effect of acupuncture is very useful for a lot of digestive disorders.  Then in addition to this, we have very specific points that help to reduce inflammation, regulate bowel movement, stimulate digestive enzymes and so on.  Acupoints and herbal formulas are prescribed according to your Chinese medicine diagnosis.

Other therapies

Many people who come to the clinic are already taking products such as probiotics or following nutritional plans.  Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine work well alongside other therapies you are doing, or if you are interested I can refer you to practitioners who can help you in these areas.

More information

See helpful articles on the Ocean Acupuncture blog:



Respiratory problems

Chinese medicine is an excellent approach for many respiratory problems.  As well as addressing acute symptoms, there is a detailed system of knowledge to diagnose and address more chronic problems involving the nose, airways and immune system.

If you have chronic respiratory problems, treatment involves addressing the body as a whole, helping different systems to work harmoniously together. When acute infections arise, it is important to help the body to deal with these symptoms and rest to ensure the best recovery possible. Acute infections can cause setbacks, so it’s important to have a range of tools and techniques available to help you recover well. Ongoing attention to the immune system and the strength of other body systems aims to help recover function and develop resilience.

More information

See helpful articles on the Ocean Acupuncture blog:



Skin problems

Skin in Western medicine is the largest organ of the body.  In Chinese medicine, skin most often reflects the condition of the “Lung” organ energy system.  However, because of the complex relationships between body systems, it can also reflect other issues.  For example:

  • A build-up of Heat in the body can lead to red-coloured skin blemishes or lesions – the treatment is to clear Heat
  • A build-up of Toxic Heat leads to skin problems that are hot, very red, swollen and may contain pus – the treatment is to clear Toxic Heat
  • A build-up of Dampness, usually from digestive issues, leads to skin blemishes that are filled with white secretions such as cycts or acne – the treatment is to resolve Dampness
  • If Blood flow is not able to nourish the skin then dryness or flaking arise – the treatment is to nourish Blood directly or to detect and fix the problem that is blocking correct Blood flow
  • Itching skin usually arises from “Wind” beneath the outer layers – treatment is to quell the Wind while addressing the causes that lead to the Wind
  • Skin that doesn’t heal well usually reflects weak “Middle energy” – the treatment is to strengthen the Middle energy and use specific herbal ingredients that stimulate skin healing
  • Unusual rashes, skin problems that started after an illness or a shock, skin problems connected to unknown or suspected “allergies” – these can be clues to a dysfunction in the immune system. If other symptoms fit the picture, then the treatment is to clear Lingering Pathogen and then repair energy levels and fluid balance


Some skin problems respond well to external therapies such as herbal washes, patches, creams or ointments.  You need to follow an individual program to address your unique situation, and the program needs to adapt as you change and improve.  One of the great benefits of choosing Chinese medicine to treat skin issues is that interconnected whole-body symptoms are woven together into a complete picture, so your overall health may often improve while your skin problems are addressed.

More information

See helpful articles on the Ocean Acupuncture blog:



Men’s health

We see a lot of men in the clinic for fertility issues. The most common reasons for  treatment with Chinese medicine include:

  • Routine cleansing, nourishing and strengthening treatments to enhance sperm quality, for healthy male partners, as part of the Preconception Program
  • Low sperm count
    (ideal count is >48 million, infertility is <13.5 million, with fertility problems likely between 13.5 and 40 million)
  • Low semen volume
    (should be >1ml)
  • Poor sperm motility
    (ideally >63% moving well for natural fertility, WHO standards >50% moving vigorously and purposefully, infertility likely at <32% moving)
  • Abnormal sperm morphology
    (ideally >12-14% normal forms, with infertility likely at <9% normal forms)
  • Anti-sperm antibodies
    (immune response to sperm, either in male or female partner)
  • Low libido
    (in male and/or female partner)
  • Erectile dysfunction


Other male conditions commonly treated with Chinese medicine include urinary issues (such as frequency or hesitancy) and prostate issues such as enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia).



Women’s health

Follow these links for more information about various women’s health conditions (this list will be progressively updated):

Menopause articles on this blog

Menopause articles on the Ocean Acupuncture blog

Fertility, preconception and IVF




Other conditions - Womens health


Depression, anxiety, stress and insomnia
Digestion problems
Respiratory problems
Skin problems
Women’s health
Pain conditions

Pain conditions

Pain is one of the most common reasons that people seek treatment with Chinese medicine, especially acupuncture.

There are several ways that acupuncture may help with pain conditions, such as:

  • releasing knots and trigger points that create referral pains
  • relaxing tight muscles
  • reducing inflammation
  • reducing nerve transmission of pain
  • releasing pain-stopping hormones
  • stimulating healthy blood flow
  • triggering the “relaxation response” that tells the body to switch to “repair mode” and heal problem areas


See the Ocean Acupuncture blog for information about the following conditions:


Treatment of chronic pain

Chronic pain can be a complex problem. It may involve pathways in the brain, so that the original alarm signal that told you about a damaged part of the body has now become on “loop” in the brain. This may even take place after the original site has healed. Chronic pain may also involve body-wide functions such as inflammation and other chemical signals.

If you have a chronic painful condition and feel like you have “tried everything” but nothing has given you lasting relief, then it is likely that you have a multi-factor pain condition that will need a multi-layered approach.

You probably have not tried acupuncture AND nutritional supplements AND appropriate graded exercise AND osteopathy AND meditation and breathing AND appropriate Western medication, for example.  I think there is a temptation to try one therapy at a time so that we can gauge its effect.  A lot of us are natural scientists in this regard – we want to keep all things constant, make one change and measure the effect.

If you have been trying this for some time, however, without lasting results, then it could be time to gather those therapies that have given you SOME relief, and start adding them together.  If you start feeling better, your inner scientist will be frustrated that they never found the “one” thing that “worked”!

But you will be feeling better, which means you will be reversing the pain pathways in the brain and laying down pathways of feeling healthier and happier.  This will propel your recovery forward.

Acupuncture can be very useful in a program of chronic pain recovery.  If you would like to know more about how chronic pain develops and how a multi-level approach can help, I recommend The Pain Cure by Dr Dharma Singh Khalse, a pain specialist. He illustrates how acupuncture fits within a wholistic and integrated Western and complementary medicine program.