Why you need Acupuncture in your Life!


How we work at our Escapada Clinics:

Integrative Health is a medical system that encompasses us as a whole individual and takes into consideration our physical body, mind and spirit. This means that our health should not be just the absence of disease, but the feeling of wholeness, balance and resilience.

We may know what’s good for us but we often struggle with the practical application of a healthy lifestyle in our everyday busy lives. In addition, with an overwhelming amount of information around us, the idea of Integrative Health can seem like an unachievable concept. At Escapada, we want to explore a diverse yet simple and individualised approach to Integrative Health. Within our clinics and on retreat, we not only treat with acupuncture but focus on nutritional intake and lifestyle advise.

Is Acupuncture for me?

Your daily stresses, lifestyle choices and injuries can upset our natural balance and lead to physical and emotional symptoms. With Chinese medicine and Acupuncture, you can begin your journey to better health. Acupuncture is a 3,000-year-old healing technique of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It improves the body’s functions and promotes the natural self-healing process by stimulating specific anatomic sites--commonly referred to as acupuncture points, or acupoints. The most common method used to stimulate acupoints is the insertion of fine, sterile needles into the skin. Pressure, heat, or electrical stimulation may further enhance the effects. Acupuncture can be used as a natural medicine from child to old age. 

What can acupuncture treat?


Because the goal of acupuncture is to promote and restore the balance of energy, which flows throughout the body, the benefits of acupuncture can extend to a wide variety of conditions, from emotional disorders (anxiety and depression) to digestive complaints (nausea, vomiting, irritable bowel syndrome). It can be beneficial for pain syndromes due to an injury or associated with chronic degenerative diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and can also be helpful in treating neurological problems like migraines and Parkinsons or as a rehabilitation strategy for individuals who suffered a stroke. Respiratory conditions, including sinusitis and asthma have been relieved with acupuncture, as have many gynaecological disorders and infertility. Acupuncture has also proved beneficial for reducing fatigue and addictions, and for promoting overall well-being.

Studies in the U.S. indicate that acupuncture can help relieve chronic low back pain, dental pain, migraine headaches, fibromyalgia and symptoms of osteoarthritis. It has been shown to assist in the treatment of emotional pain syndromes such as post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as controlling chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. It has also demonstrated clinical success in achieving pregnancy when used in conjunction with in-vitro fertilisation.

Case-controlled clinical studies have shown that acupuncture has been an effective treatment for the following diseases, symptoms or conditions:

  • Allergic rhinitis (including hay fever)

  • Biliary colic

  • Depression (including depressive neurosis and depression following stroke)

  • Dysentery, acute bacillary

  • Dysmenorrhoea, primary

  • Epigastralgia, acute (in peptic ulcer, acute and chronic gastritis, and gastrospasm)

  • Facial pain (including craniomandibular disorders)

  • Headache

  • Hypertension, essential

  • Hypotension, primary

  • Induction of labor

  • Knee pain

  • Leukopenia

  • Low back pain

  • Malposition of fetus, correction

  • Morning sickness

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Neck pain

  • Pain in dentistry (including dental pain and temporomandibular dysfunction)

  • Periarthritis of shoulder

  • Postoperative pain

  • Renal colic

  • Rheumatoid arthritis

  • Sciatica

  • Sprain

  • Stroke

  • Tennis elbow


Acupuncture is a complete medical protocol focused on correcting imbalances of energy in the body. From its inception in China more than 2,500 years ago, acupuncture has been used traditionally to prevent, diagnose and treat disease, as well as to improve general health.


Traditional Chinese Medicine is one of the oldest continuous systems of medicine in history, with recorded instances dating as far back as two thousand years before the birth of Christ. While acupuncture is the most often practiced component of traditional Chinese medicine, one should know that it is only one important piece of a much larger puzzle. Traditional Chinese medicine encompasses several methods designed to help people achieve and maintain health.  Along with acupuncture, TCM incorporates adjunctive techniques such as acupressure and moxibustion; manipulative and massage techniques such as tuina, cupping and gua sha; herbal medicine; diet and lifestyle changes; meditation; and exercise (often in the form of qigong or tai chi).

The traditional explanation for acupuncture’s effectiveness is that it modifies the flow of energy (known as qi or chi) throughout the body, but there is no scientific consensus that this is actually its mechanism of action. Research published in the May 30, 2010 online edition of Nature Neuroscience demonstrated that the effects of acupuncture needling include influencing the activity of adenosine, an amino acid which becomes active in the skin after an injury to ease pain. This may explain in part why pain relief is often experienced as one of the benefits of acupuncture. In fact, much research in the West has focused on this pain-relieving effect, rather than acupuncture’s traditional role of balancing energy to address a wide range of disorders, and the more subtle mechanisms that may be responsible for its overall benefits to health.

Chinese Medicine was a system of medicine that was formed through observation, observation of disease patterns and how we interact with nature and our surroundings. A consultation with an acupuncturist at initial meeting can take up to one hour because a Chinese Medicine practitioner will look at you as a whole and not just a disease name or symptom.



Due to its complexity, Chinese Medicine seems difficult to comprehend. TCM ( Traditional Chinese Medicine) is based, at least in part, on the Daoist belief that we live in a universe in which everything is interconnected, another way to put it: we are the microcosm within the macrocosm. What happens to one part of the body affects every other part of the body. The mind and body are not viewed separately, but as part of an energetic system. Similarly, organs and organ systems are viewed as interconnected structures that work together to keep the body functioning. 

Many of the concepts emphasised in TCM  have no true counterpart in Western medicine. One of these concepts is qi (pronounced "chi"), which is considered a vital force or energy responsible for controlling the workings of the human mind and body. Qi flows through the body via channels, or pathways, which are called meridians. There are a total of 20 meridians: 12 primary meridians, which correspond to specific organs, organ systems or functions, and eight secondary meridians. Imbalances in the flow of qi cause illness; correction of this flow restores the body to balance. Other concepts (such as the Yin/Yang and Five Element Theories) are equally important in order to have a true grasp of traditional Chinese medicine.

Perhaps the most significant developments in TCM are the concept of Yin & Yang and the understanding of Qi. Yin and Yang represent two opposing forces in nature, which are simultaneously related to one another. Often they are understood as female or lunar and male or solar principles. All the phenomena of nature, every function of our body, and every disease can be divided into yin and yang. 

Finding a good acupuncturist and letting them get to know your body and the way it works - is worth it’s weight in gold for a natural approach to health!

Next Month:

We discover the world of ‘The Five Elements’ and how we treat accordingly and what you can do at home for your own self healing through the seasons.


What are Healthy Sleeping Habits and Sleep Hygiene?

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What can I do to get a good nights sleep?

While the word “hygiene” conjures up images of hand-washing and teeth-brushing, sleep hygiene is different. It’s the habits that you can put in place each evening to optimise sleep. And it doesn’t take much effort. Just a few simple changes can make the difference between a good night’s sleep and night spent tossing and turning.

Escapada Top Tips for a Better Nights Sleep:


Your bedroom should be at the forefront on the journey for better sleep. A third of your life is spent sleeping in a bedroom. All too often, people overlook the importance of what a bedroom actually means in getting great sleep.

Many of us use our rooms to watch TV, browse the internet, talk with our spouses about life decisions, and a variety of other activities not associated with sleep.

If sleep is important to you, it's time to start looking at how your bedroom impacts your sleep, and methods to improve it.

  1. Clean Out All the Clutter

Your room isn't your gym, office, or playroom. To begin associating it with sleep, you need to get all the stuff out that is potential distractions. Put the treadmill in another, get rid of the computer and work desk, and most importantly (and probably the hardest) ditch the television.

Having your bedroom as the place to go for other activities only leads to your brain associating the room with other things. If your bedroom is where your office is, it can help make your mind busy and even anxious about work, because you correlate the room with busy work.

Getting rid of the TV helps in many ways. For one, it's too easy to watch it before bedtime as it's in the room. Engaging programs can keep your mind awake longer as you get sucked into the story.

TVs also emit blue light, which can trick the body's production of melatonin into slowing down. Light is associated with wakefulness. When there's light, your body doesn't produce as much melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep, making it more difficult to fall asleep.

And speaking of distractions...


2. Ditch All Electronics

For the same reasons you shouldn't have a TV or computer in your bedroom, you also shouldn't have a cellphone, tablet, laptop, portable game console, or e-reader in the room either. Most of these devices also emit the sleep stealing light and are used for consuming content that may rob you of sleep because it's so engaging.

3. Keep Your Room Cool

As you go to sleep your body temperature begins to drop as it prepares itself for slumber. Keeping your room a cool temperature (between 60-67 degrees) can help aid the process of cooling your body.

4. Use Aromatherapy

Research has shown that using certain scents in a room can help promote sleep. What aromatherapy does is creates an atmosphere that is relaxing and calming, which can help you wind down to sleep. It is also good as part of a routine that, through continued use, your brain will pick up as a cue that it's almost time for bed. The best scents to use are lavender and vanilla.


5. Make Your Bed Comfortable

If you're waking up feeling stiff, numb, or tired, or maybe just had great sleep in a hotel bed, it may time to replace your mattress and/or pillows. Most mattresses are designed to last up to 10 years, but if your mattress has lumps, sags, rips, or holes you may want to think about replacing it. Similarly if you find yourself constantly fluffing your pillow throughout the night, it may be time for a new one.

You spend a third of your life sleeping on your bed, and while up front costs of a new bed may be scary, it may be worth your while to get the best that you can afford. Choosing a mattress really comes down to personal preference, whether you sleep better with a bed that is firm, bouncy, or has a little buoyancy, there is a mattress to fit your needs. 

There are mattresses available to suit all types of sleep needs including adjustable stiffness, preferred sleep positions, disturbances from a tossing/turning partner, or even have covers if you have allergies to certain fabrics or dust mites.

Adjust your Lifestyle:

  1. Keep a consistent sleep schedule: Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day—even on the weekends—reinforces the natural sleep-wake cycle in your body.

  2. Skip the nap: Sleeping throughout the day makes it harder to fall asleep at night. If you must, limit your snooze session to 30 minutes, and give yourself at least four hours between the nap and when you plan to go to bed for good.

  3. Develop a bedtime routine: Creating a set of habits to run through at night will help your body recognize that it’s time to unwind. For instance, 30 to 60 minutes before bed, read in bed or take a warm shower or bath. (The warm water trick is particularly helpful – as you cool off, the drop in your body temperature will help you feel sleepy!)

Make Healthier Choices:

The foods and beverages you consume, whether you smoke, and how often you exercise can all play a role in how well you hit the sack.

  1. Stay away from stimulants at night: Nicotine and caffeine are chemicals that are designed to help keep you awake, so drinking tea or coffee or eating chocolate (all of which contain caffeine), or using anything containing tobacco or nicotine should be avoided for four to six hours before you plan to go to sleep. Even alcohol, which initially makes you feel sleepy, makes it harder to get high-quality slumber, so skip more than a single glass of liquor, wine, or beer in the evening—especially as bedtime gets closer.

  2. Pay attention to food and drink intake before bed: Feeling hungry or overly full at bedtime means that you’re less likely to get comfortable sleep. Plus, drinking too many liquids late in the evening could cause you to make multiple trips to the bathroom throughout the night. So choose your food and beverages wisely and time your meals accordingly.

  3. Get physical during the day—at the right time: Exercising during the day fosters sleep at night, but keep this in mind: Exercising too close to bedtime may keep you wired and make it hard to settle into sleep. Listen to your body; most people will want to work out at least a few hours before bed, if possible, or at least swap their Crossfit routine for something more relaxing, like yoga, if they are working out in the later evening hours.


Ingrid’s Night Cap;

Warm some milk (almond/oat or whichever milk you like). Mix half milk with half water. Add a pinch of nutmeg and a dash of honey.

You can also add cinnamon to make it sweet, especially nice during the Winter….


Are you getting enough Sleep?


The Importance of Sleep!

Sleep is not important - it is essential. Sleep and health are strongly related - poor sleep can increase the risk of having poor health, and poor health can make it harder to sleep.  Sleep disturbances can be one of the first signs of distress and that the body is out of balance. An old Chinese quote says that “replenishing health with medicine is not as good as replenishing health with diet, but that replenishing health with sleep is the best treatment of all”

How much sleep should I get?

Sleep needs vary across ages and are especially impacted by lifestyle and health. To determine how much sleep you need, it's important to assess not only where you fall on the "sleep needs spectrum," (what age you are) but also to examine what lifestyle factors are affecting the quality and quantity of your sleep such as work schedules and stress.

The National Sleep Foundation released the results of a world-class study that took more than two years of research to complete. The panel agreed that, for healthy individuals with normal sleep, the appropriate sleep duration for newborns is between 14 and 17 hours, infants between 12 and 15 hours, toddlers between 11 and 14 hours, preschoolers between 10 and 13 hours, and school-aged children between 9 and 11 hours. For teenagers, 8 to 10 hours was considered appropriate, 7 to 9 hours for young adults and adults, and 7 to 8 hours of sleep for older adults.

Why do I wake at the same time every night?

In Chinese Medicine theory, night time is Yin, while daytime is Yang. That means that Yang activities, such as working, eating and exercising should be done during the day, while Yin activities such as relaxing, digesting and sleeping should be done at night. Many people report that they fall asleep easily, but wake at the same time in the middle of the night. This can be incredibly frustrating, especially if you can't fall back asleep and wake up tired the next day. The concept of an “Organ Clock" in Chinese medicine is a useful tool in understanding why this occurs. In Chinese medicine, energy or qi, moves through the body’s meridians and organs in a 24 hour cycle. Every two hours the qi (or energy) is strongest within a particular organ and its functions within the body. And that's not all - the body, mind and emotions are inseparable in Chinese medicine - meaning that if you have disharmony in your physical body, it is tied to your emotional state. So if you wake up at 3 AM, when Liver energy peaks, you may be suffering from Liver Qi stagnation, which could be related to an unhealthy diet, excess alcohol consumption, unresolved anger or high levels of stress. If you consistently wake at 4 AM - it could be due to an imbalance in your Lungs, which is related to grief and sadness, fatigue, or reduced immune function. 

Check out the guide below to find some insight into why you might be waking up at a certain hour.


11 PM - 1 AM  //  Gall Bladder (strongly tied to the Liver)
Emotion: Indecisiveness
Functions: The Gallbladder stores and excretes bile to facilitate proper digestion. It also rules the decision making process, controls the sinews and tendons and governs dreams. 
Symptoms of imbalance: Indecision, frequent sighing, rash decisions, poor judgement, difficulty making decisions, shyness, timidity, high cholesterol, resentment, dream-disturbed sleep, weak tendons, tendonitis. 
Tips: Avoid alcohol, transfats and spicy foods. Eat a small dinner well before bedtime and avoid snacking before bed. 

1 AM - 3 AM  //  Liver
Functions: The Liver is responsible for detoxifying our bodies and processing emotions each night. The Liver stores the blood and governs the qi of the body. It is associated with the tendons, nails and eyes. Think back to a night when you had too much to drink or a period of intense frustration at work. Did you wake up around between 1-3am unable to fall back asleep? From a Chinese medicine perspective your liver was overloaded with and struggled to do its work.
Symptoms of imbalance: Explosive outbursts of anger, bottled up emotions, resentment, irritability, moodiness, frustration, high blood pressure, chest distention, PMS, bitter taste in mouth, digestive upset, dizziness, migraine headache, breast tenderness, blurred vision, eye floaters, red face, tendonitis, frequent sighing. 
Tips: Make sure to drink alcohol in moderation and eat your last meal a few hours before bed. Consider a whole foods cleanse. Cut out coffee for a week and replace it with green tea. Find ways to deal with your anger and frustrations in a healthy way. Get regular exercise. 

3 AM - 5 AM  //  Lung
Functions: The Lungs govern the respiratory and immune system, regulate the sweat glands, and moisten the skin.
Symptoms of imbalance: Feelings of sadness or grief that have not been dealt with, shortness of breath, sweating easily, weak voice, shallow breathing, fatigue, cough, frequent cold/flu, fever with chills, sore throat, runny nose, headache, allergies, asthma, chest pain, pale complexion, dry skin, depression, crying.
Tips: Try breathing exercises, meditation or yoga to improve your lung capacity. Consider getting counseling or talking to a friend about feelings of sadness or grief. Write in your journal about your emotions before bed each night. 

What time should I go to bed?

Many of us are creatures of habit and think nothing of it, especially if we get a decent amount of sleep each night. But, according to Chinese medicine, it’s not only how much sleep you get that matters, but also when you get itA bedtime of 10:30pm (at the latest) is advised so that you are asleep by 11pm when the Liver and Gallbladder start to regulate qi, process emotions, balance hormones and detoxify the body. According to Chinese medicine, the window from 11 PM - 3 AM, which correlates to the Liver and Gallbladder, is most important in terms of maintaining health, especially as we age. Many of us have heard the old adage: “Every hour of sleep before midnight is worth two after midnight.” This idea is supported by modern sleep science - we experience the deepest part of sleep during the first third of the night. This deep sleep, or Slow Wave Sleep (SWS), is the most restorative part of our sleep. During these hours the stress hormone cortisol is reduced and parasympathetic nervous system activity increases, which allows us to fully rest and move away from the fight or flight responses that dominate during waking hours. SWS is associated with memory and learning. A lack of this type of sleep can lead to reduced daytime functioning and alertness as well as waking feeling unrefreshed. Further, human growth hormone, which is essential to repairing our bodies from daily injury and maintaining health, is released from 9pm-7am, making each hour of sleep during this time critical. 

Message from Co-Founders ~

Irregular sleep patterns, poor sleep hygiene and insomnia are some of the most common complaints that we treat in clinic. Many of our clients don’t even recognise it as a problem and can fail to see the links between poor sleep quality and dis-ease in their body. When we don’t get sufficient quality sleep, our bodies start to give out to us. The beauty of Chinese Medicine is that it aims to treat the root of the problem as to why the client is struggling with their sleep. Taking a sleeping tablet is not solving the root of the problem , it may be poor sleep hygiene, stress, anxiety, unresolved grief or even imbalanced digestion.

Because we see these problems so much in our clinics, it inspired us to create a full retreat around this topic as it is so important to get it right for an individuals health. Dedicating a full four days to sleep hygiene, the importance of sleep and rest, is simply the best way we can show how essential it is to get it right and to get yourself into a good sleeping routine. See full details below:

Restorative Sleep Retreat ~ Nov 29th - Dec 2nd // Kerry, Ireland

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Stay tuned for our next E-Magazine which will focus on our top tips for establishing a good sleep hygiene routine and some yummy night time recipes from Ingrids Kitchen to send you off to Zzzzzzzzz land.

Lots of love,

Maeve & Emilia

Why you need a digital detox?

Do I need to digitally detox?


What’s the first thing you do when you wake up? Read the news? Check your emails? Scroll through social media? Now, imagine your phone’s not in the room. If that makes you feel aimless or uncomfortable, it may be time for a digital detox. Depending on who you are, and how much you use technology in your daily routine, a digital detox might seem either insane or too easy. It’s not until you begin to experience the highs and lows of a digital detox rollercoaster that you realise just how addicting social media and television is.

Why should I do a Digital Detox?

1. Start using your time for things that need it!

When was the last time you completed your tasks and/or to-do lists on time without procrastinating? The digital world is a distraction that easily gets in the way of managing our time. We are wasting too much time on something that doesn’t matter in the long run. It’s time to gain back control of your sleep patterns, your work schedule, and your free time.

2. Regain your love for yourself!

With so much comparison going around, it’s no wonder that self-love is strange to understand. Every picture on social media gives a new meaning to the word “perfect,” and “beautiful.” When your reflection in the mirror doesn’t add up to the images you see on social media, your self-esteem goes down. When we’re constantly comparing, there’s no way we live the life we were always meant to be. It’s time to put down that smart phone and invest that time in developing self-love.

3. Get back to your creative self!


With all the energy the digital world drains from us, there’s less time to feel motivated to create, to complete our goals, and to chase our dreams. By taking time back for yourself, inspiration has room to rise again. It’s time to remember what it feels like to accomplish something, to dream outside of the box, and to chase the life you actually get to live. When you have time to reflect, pause and observe you have a chance to see patterns and connect dots. Patterns are the insight necessary to have ideas both big and small. 

4. Don't miss those moments!

Memories are always being created, and if we are constantly checking our phones, we’re bound to miss something. It’s simple pleasures that make life more fulfilling. It’s time to stop letting life pass us by and start experiencing all the real world has to offer us–instead of looking for it in a TV series or an Instagram account. When your phone is down, your eyes are up and you’re looking around noticing things, talking to people, listening to those around you and receiving information from all your senses, you are topping up your creative fuel. As Alfred Hitchcock says, "Ideas come from everything". But you have to be present to notice things.

5. Positive relationships!


Nothing kills meeting a friend for a catch up when they spend their time with you updating their instagram with photos of their cup of coffee.  Being present is one of the key but basic elements of positive relationship building. Being on your phone makes this next to impossible. We touch our phones 80 times a day. It’s a staggering number that most likely makes you cringe. It’s truth that we’ve become slave to our devices. Which gives better hugs? Your partner/friend or your phone?


Simple steps to start today!

- Ban phones at night, sleeping with it outside of your bedroom (just buy an alarm clock!)

- Go phone-free entirely on the weekends

- If you establish a maximum daily time allowance for your devices then you will be more likely to it and you will probably notice the need for daily allowance decrease

- Make sure you turn all screens off at least two hours before bed - that means no phone, no laptop, no iPad. "Your bedroom is for sleeping - so don't turn it into a cinema, a shopping centre, a bank or a casino.

How long should I detox for?

A week is typically a good time for a digital detox. However, if you’re enjoying the process, why not extend it? Pick what works best for you, but be sure to challenge yourself.

Moments are passing us by, and there’s a life out there that’s waiting for you to explore!

On our retreats:

On our health retreats, it has been a subject we have battled with! Do we ban phones?? Do we turn off the wifi?? etc etc. We never want people on retreat to feel like they are in school but yet there is an overwhelming need to digitally detach from our technology. Normally on retreat, this happens naturally over the course of a couple of days - being in the right environment surrounded by healthy interventions, time off etc.,  allows a natural process of digital detachment to happen, however this is not so easy back in our normal lives. The break from this on retreat is invaluable for our guests, to realise, firstly, how addicted they are to their phones/laptops and most importantly to another world of social media, that is in fact not the real world you are living in. Secondly, how wonderful it feels to let go of technology...Even for just a few days and break into your own reality...Just you and create that time and space for you....

We have decided to 'digitally detox' our next two retreats in Mallorca. Maybe sometimes people do need a helping hand. We will let you know how we get on. If you need a digital detox ~ see our next two retreats:






Come Away with Us & Escape your Routine


What can I tell about my health from my tongue?


Why does my acupuncturist look at my tongue?

In Chinese Medicine, it is believed that the appearance of your tongue is a reflection of your health and can be a powerful diagnostic tool. Tongue diagnosis is a very traditional and effective method, which has been used to diagnose diseases for over two thousand years. Knowledge of tongue diagnosis is one of the unique treasures of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

What do they look for?

  • Body of the tongue: The normal tongue body should be flexible, shape of the tongue should

    be suitable to mouth size (not too puffy or narrow)

  • Coating: The tongue coating is the layer over the tongue. A normal healthy coating should

    be white, thin and allow the tongue body to be seen through the coating.

  • Colour. A fresh red (not too dark, too red or pale)

  • Have suitable moisture (not too dry/wet)

  • Cracks in the tongue body can be an indicator of disease progression

    A Chinese medicine practitioner will look at each of these areas and any imbalances seen can further confirm diagnosis. Tongue diagnosis will be done in conjugation with pulse taking and a full consultation.

How do I look at my tongue?

Make sure you have good natural light. The tongue body needs to be relaxed so only stick your tongue out for short intervals at a time. Make sure you haven't eaten or drank anything recently that will effect the colour of coating on tongue.

What if my tongue looks like one in the picture?

It is important to work alongside a trained acupuncturist when you notice an imbalance but there is a lot you can do for yourself too!

Top tips for each imbalance:

1. Qi deficiency

What it means - qi is the life force that drives every activity in organic life forms, according to TCM. It’s thought that a sufficient amount of qi is required to maintain the yin and yang of your body. When a person’s qi is balanced and in harmony, they’ll benefit from health, well-being, and contentment. When one’s qi is deficient, pain, suffering, and illness may occur. Dependant on where the qi deficiency is, individuals have different symptoms related to that organ, foe example, Lung qi deficiency - shortness of breath

- Diet

The majority off a person’s qi comes from the foods they choose to eat and the air they breathe, so we would obviously look at an individuals diet and make nutritional recommendations. Typically, a Chinese medicine practitioner would reduce/eliminate raw and cold food. Utilising heat to cook foods by steaming, grilling or roasting can build qi. It will also be recommended that junk food, fried foods and dairy be dramatically decreased or removed. Warming and qi nourishing foods such as grains, pumpkin, chicken as well as spices like cumin, cayenne and ginger should be consumed frequently

- Slow down!

While Western culture tends to reward and admire people who are always on the go and constantly busy, TCM advocates for the opposite. Slowing down one’s lifestyle and not doing many things at once, or multitasking, is often recommended to get one’s qi in balance.

- Regulate sleep!

Sleep is as important as diet and exercise. Our bodies need sufficient sleep in order to maintain or build qi. Sleep deprivation is one of the leading causes of qi deficiency

2. Heat

What it means:

In very simple terms Chinese medicine as too wet/too dry, too hot/too cold. If we liken our bodies to the engine of a car, because effectively our bodies are engines. Our cars needs certain aspects of hot and cold to work effectively, for example the spark to start the car, cooling fluid, water, oil etc. If one of these aspects are absent over a period of time, the car can over heat. This analogy can be used in our bodies, we if we have lost or are depleted in the cooling aspect of our bodies, our bodies can start to over heat and create an imbalance of heat in our system

1. Diet

Eat foods that are good for moistening and cooling bodily functions. Foods to tonify Yin include;
Grains: Barley, millet
Vegetables: Alfalfa sprout, artichoke, asparagus, kelp, mung bean sprout, pea, potato, seaweed, string bean, sweet potato, tomato, water chestnut, yam, zucchini
Fruit :Apple, apricot, avocado, banana, lemon, lime, mango, mulberry, pear, persimmon, pineapple, pomegranate, watermelon Beans Adzuki, black beans, black soya, kidney, lima, mung

2. Herbs/spices and supplements
Herbs and spices: Marjoram, nettle Oils and condiments Honey, malt, Common supplements: American ginseng, royal jelly

3. Lifestyle
A Chinese Medicine practitioner will always look towards the root cause of the imbalance, so for example if there is a consumption of excessive alcohol or smoking etc, then advise will be given around practical ways to reduce or eliminate


3. Damp Retention

What it means: Dampness represents a condition existing within the body that is a reflection of dampness as it occurs in nature.
Dampness arises from the body being affected in several ways. It can be due to either a problem arising from the inability of the digestive system to transport and transport fluids, or from the body being overwhelmed by external damp from the environment, (damp weather, damp living conditions, damp- producing foods). It can also arise from as a response to an illness, or from the overuse of medication that promotes dampness, such as certain antibiotics. Phlegm is seen as a condensed form of dampness.

Foods to resolve dampness include;

Grains: Corn, barley, basmati rice
Vegetables: Alfalfa sprout, button mushroom, caper, corn, pumpkin, radish, turnip,
Fruit: Papaya, lemon, umeboshi plum
Beans: Aduki, lentils,
Fish: Eel, tuna,
Herbs, spices: Aniseed, garlic, horseradish, marjoram, nettle, parsley, white pepper
Beverages: Green tea, raspberry leaf tea, jasmine tea

Foods to avoid in cases of dampness
It is essential that those prone to dampness avoid excessive amounts of food that will contribute to promoting dampness in the body these include:
• Dairy products: milk, cheese, ice cream and all foods that contain high amounts of dairy products such as dairy milk chocolate. It is important to read food labels as some food (such as muesli) may contain high levels of milk powder. Yoghurt is perhaps the exception to the dairy food rule. Sheep and goat products are regarded as less prone to causing dampness. In dampness and phlegm, it is important to nourish the Spleen, which means that the consumption of raw, cold and processed sugary or fatty foods need to be limited to aid the spleen’s essential digestive function. 

4. Qi Stagnation

What it means:

When Qi congests, flows improperly or moves in the wrong direction (called rebellious Qi), it stagnates. This is just like rush hour stop-and-go traffic, or cars piling up in a traffic jam. One of the most common disharmonies in the body, it affects not only the Liver, but the other Organs and the Seven Emotions as well.

  1. Exercise. Within Chinese Medicine the organ that typically is affect with stagnation is the liver. The liver is responsible for the free flow of qi around the body. When it stagnates, we need to move our bodies. You know that feeling when you are really stressed and you need to go for a run. All the bent up energy..thats your liver asking to be moved

  2. Massage Liver 3. This is one of my favourite acupuncture points. We all need it needled. It is widely used point on the liver channel to help keep energy flowing smoothly. To find it, place your foot flat in front of you. Palpate in the space between your 1sta nd 2nd metatarsal bones. Find the sore spot close to the junction where the two bones meets and massage this point daily

  3. Manage stress: Emotional stress affects all organ systems. The liver however is where it starts. Stress and blocked emotions are the most common causes of “stagnated Liver qi” in our fast paced society. Anger, frustration, sadness and depression can all result from stuck liver qi and when not expressed or health with appriorately, can also cause our Liver qi to stagnate further and lead to other symptoms such as migraines, menstrual irregularities

  4. Beware of the false live movers. Alcohol, for example, will temporarily free up your liver energy. A drink here and there, for most of us, feels good and is not a problem. But overuse of alcohol nd drugs is a common way for people to feel relief from emotional symptoms of liver stagnation. This relief is temporary and instead of treating the body at the root of the issue, it is merely putting a plaster on it and eventually making it worse

5. Blood Deficiency

What does it mean:

The concept of blood in traditional Chinese medicine shares a close relationship with the western concept in that it has both a nourishing and moistening function. However, with the concept of blood deficiency there is also emphasis placed on your body’s qi. Blood is seen as a condensed form of qi with qi playing a vital role in helping the blood to circulate to where it is needed. Attention is also focused on the strength of your digestive system’s ability to successfully obtain the nutrients from your food necessary for the production of blood.


1. Diet
Food to build blood includes;
Grains: Barley, corn, oats, rice, sweet rice, wheat, bran
Vegetables: Alfalfa sprout, artichoke, beetroot, button mushroom, cabbage, celery, dandelion leaf, dark leafy greens, kelp, shiitake mushroom, spinach, watercress, wheatgrass
Fruit: Apple, apricot, avocado, date, fig, grape, longan, mulberry
Beans: Aduki, black soya, kidney
Nuts and seeds: Almonds, black sesame
Fish: Mussel, octopus, oyster, sardine, tuna Meat
All red meat especially bone marrow and liver (beef, pork, sheep)

Examples of every day western foods that can be used to build Blood include:
• Rice porridges with Soya milk, apricots and almonds
• Dark leafy green salads with avocado and grated beetroot
• Scrambled Eggs with parsley
• Mussel Chowder with calamari
• Snacks of dried apricots and almonds
• Kidney bean and mushroom lasagne with a spinach salad
• Any red meat dish. (Note that in traditional Chinese medicine meat is viewed as a strong tonifing food to be eaten in small amounts so that serving sizes are based around two to four ounces per serving, taken several times a week depending on individual energetic patterns).

2. Supplements
Common supplements: Algae, dongui, pollen

3. Lifestyle. The majority of causes of blood deficiency come from our lifestyle choices. At work we spend long hours that demand our attention and energy to go beyond their healthy limits. We skip meals, eat badly and push our mind and body to the edge to get done what has to be done. This in turn will have a knock on effect on our internal system as it further depletes it. An individual with blood deficiency needs to really address these areas of their life.

4. Activities that relax and calm
- meditation, gentle yoga , Tai Chi or Qi gong, Cooking, reading, walking or whatever works for you

6. Damp Heat 

What does it mean?

Heat and dampness, have opposite effects on the body. While heat increases activity, dampness brings stagnation to our system. These two imbalances can easily combine and cause a variety of symptoms Signs and symptoms: allergies, skin problems such as acne, eczema urinary infections, clammy skin, sluggish bowel, vaginal discharge

  1. Acupuncture

  2. Herbal medicine - Ba Wei Dai Sia Fang, Ba Zheng Wan, Chen Xiang Hua Qi Wan are examples of some

    commonly used Chinese Herbal medicine prescriptions. Herbal medicine is medicine and needs to be

    taken under the supervision of a qualified practitioner

  3. Lifestyle and diet as above

7. Blood Stasis

For the body to remain healthy, it must be constantly moistened, nourished and detoxified by an abundant supply of clean, fresh blood. When blood does not circulate freely, know in Chinese Medicine as blood stasis, the body begins to show signs of disease.

  1. Acupuncture. The practitioner may use electro acupuncture dependant on the area and what is causing the stagnation

  2. Chinese Herbal Medicine. 

  3. Chinese Medicine believes that a certain amount of physical exercise is necessary to maintain one’s health and prevent disease. Exercise speeds up a sluggish metabolism and increases production of qi and blood. Aerobic exercise from twenty to thirty minutes every other day increases circulation and body temperature, and aids digestion, appetite, mood, energy and sleep. Exercise greatly reduces the severity of any endometriosis symptom or symptom associated with stagnant qi and blood stasis.

8. Yin and Yang Deficiency

What does it mean?


Yin and Yang are relative or complementary opposites. They cannot exist without the other and are mutually dependant. They are interconnected by virtue of the fact that they are opposite aspects of the same phenomenon. For instance the inside of the body, which is yin cannot exist without the outside, which is yang. Where there is balance between yon and yang, there is health. As we get older these two fundamental aspects begin to decline and can become imbalanced.

Yang deficiency: feel cold easily, pale complexion, back pain, tendency to panic, emotionally low, fertility problems
Yin deficiency: hot flushes, sweat at night, insomnia, irritable, ringing in the ears, menopause , irregular menstruation

Yin deficiency

Yin represents the energy that is responsible for moistening and cooling bodily functions. When this energy is depleted your body begins to show signs of “heating up”. This is not a true heat but rather a lack of the moistening and cooling functions that are necessary to maintain a healthy balance.

1. Diet
Foods to tonify yin

Grains: Barley, millet

Vegetables: Alfalfa sprout, artichoke, asparagus, kelp, mung bean sprout, pea, potato, seaweed, string bean, sweet potato, tomato, water chestnut, yam, zucchini

Fruit: Apple, apricot, avocado, banana, lemon, lime, mango, mulberry, pear, persimmon, pineapple, pomegranate, watermelon

Beans: Adzuki, black beans, black soya, kidney, lima, mung

Nuts and seeds: Coconut milk, sesame seed, black sesame seed, walnut

Fish: Fish in general but especially clam, fresh water clam, crab, cuttlefish, oyster, octopus, sardine Meat Beef, duck, goose, pork, pork kidney, rabbit

Dairy: Cheese, chicken egg, cows milk, duck egg
Herbs and spices: Marjoram, nettle
Oils and condiments: Honey, malt

2. Herbs/supplements

A trained practitioner would consider yin tonics that are lubricating and cooling (anti inflammatory), oils such as fish liver oils, olive oil, borage seed or evening primrose oil could be considered a yin tonic in a treatment protocol

3. Lifestyle advice

An excessive use of alcohol can cause an imbalance of heat in the body. Individuals generally feel this themselves, too much red wine and you get a red face, start sweating etc.

Yang deficiency
Yang represents the energy that is responsible for warming and activating bodily functions. When this energy is depleted your body begins to slow down, displaying signs of under activity and sensations of coldness.

1. Diet
Foods to tonify yang include;
Grains; Quinoa, sweet (glutinous) rice, wheat germ
Vegetables: Leek, mustard greens, onion, radish, scallion, squash, sweet potato, turnip, watercress
Fruit: Cherry, litchi, logan, peach, raspberry, strawberry
Nuts and seeds: Chestnuts, pinenuts, pistachio nuts, walnuts
Fish:Anchovy, lobster, mussel, prawn, shrimp, trout
Meat: Chicken, lamb, venison, kidneys (both beef and lamb)
Herbs and spices: Basil, black pepper, caper, cayenne, chive seed, cinnamon bark, clove, dill seed, fennel seed, fennugreek seed, garlic, ginger, horseradish, nutmeg, peppermint, rosemary, sage,
savory, spearmint, star anise, tumeric, thyme, white pepper
Beverages: Chai tea, jasmine tea

Common supplements: Algae, brown sugar, Korean ginseng, malt sugar, vinegar

Herbs / spices: basil, clove, rosemary, chive leaf, fennel seed, fennugreek seed, horseradish Beverages jasmine tea
Supplements: algae

2. Dont skip meals. The body relies on you to feed it regularly. It then uses that food to create energy. If you are irregular with your diet habits the digestive fire (a yang function of the spleen warmed by the kidney yang) will burn out. Your metabolism slows and weight will creep up. The digestive fire is at its peak from 7-11am in the morning, so eat a good breakfast

3. Keep the body and kidneys warm. Its essential to give the body the aid it needs in keeping warm with this disharmony. Don’t challenge the weather and dress appropriately until your energy recovers. Kidney 1, located on the ball of the foot is a significant source for yang energy in the body. If your feet are cold, you run the risk of decreasing the body’s overall yang

4. Get appropriate rest - constantly going, working and moving are all yang qualities, without resting and restoring (yin qualities) will lead to a collapse of yang which takes time to recover from. Yang and Qi are replenished when we partake of Yin activities–that rest, gentle qigong and t’ai qi. This can be quite the task for some clients that work and play hard. I often ask them to schedule in at least on PJ day a month. A day to just rest–remember when the norm used to be that you took one day a week to rest or take it easy? Pop in naps every now and then too.

 Escapada Health Retreat ~ Mallorca

Escapada Health Retreat ~ Mallorca

8 reasons to get on the mat

8 reasons to get on the mat

Historically yoga was more than just a method of teaching; it was a way of life. You dedicated yourself to a lifestyle and culture that surpassed meditation techniques and included healthy eating habits, bathing habits, social interaction and work. Its philosophy is rooted in a physical culture of health and well-being that is still emphasised today at our Health Retreats.