Articles in Category: Newsletters


Written by Richard McMahon, BSc (Acupunture), Dip Remedial Massage on Monday, 03 July 2017. Posted in Newsletters, General Health, Acupuncture, Chinese Medicine



By Richard McMahon

BHSc (Acupuncture), Dip Remedial Massage


What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a therapy that has been an integral part of the Chinese Medical Tradition for over 2500 years making its way to the west in the early 70's. Acupuncture involves the insertion of fine, single use needles into specific points in the body with the aim of increasing the natural healing capacity of the body and reducing pain.


Do the Needles Hurt?

Patients’ sensitivity is extremely varied but most people do not find Acupuncture to be especially painful. Once the needles are in place most patients find they feel deeply relaxed and calm. However, these treatments are not weak, and in order for a sense of pain relief to occur post treatment, some sensation will be felt. Sometimes treatments are uncomfortable but the idea is to get a good outcome, rather than being specifically gentle and potentially not get a specific result.


Are there any Side Effects to Acupuncture?

The most common side effects of Acupuncture are deep relaxation and drowsiness. However small amounts of bruising can occur occasionally, aching around a tight muscle that has been treated is common in sensitive patients, similar to a deep remedial massage which can last for up to 24 hours, and extremely rarely a patient may feel faint and light headed if they are sensitive and haven't eaten anything that day.


Can I Benefit from Acupuncture Even If I Don't Have Reason to Get Medical Treatment?

Acupuncture has a strong regulating effect on the body and nervous system and can be useful in reducing stress and encouraging better rest and recuperation. Overall, Acupuncture has the potential to create a positive outcome for different conditions.


How Long Will It Take to Recover?

Most patients are very relaxed and sleepy after treatment so intense activity shouldn't be scheduled immediately following treatment. If treatment was for specific injuries or strong muscle tension, it is best to rest after treatment and the area can be achy for up to 24 hours in sensitive people. The patient should expect to be sore the day after treatment however relief should be felt the following day. The acupuncturist is interested in the response the patient is feeling a couple of days after treatment rather than the immediate 24 hour response, often if the acupuncturist is interacting with the problem then a reaction is most likely going to occur, if a patient has a more reactive system they may be sore for a couple of days, but if that means that in a week the patient is on the road to recovery then that's a good outcome from treatment. All of these effects are temporary and usually not perceived as an issue for patients.


How Many Visits Will I Need?

It totally depends on the patient and is adjusted case by case. This relies heavily on how much a patient is willing to do as homework e.g. stretching, diet and sleep and how much stress they have in their lives.  


Do You Use Herbs?

It is preferable to combine Chinese herbal therapy with Acupuncture when treating internal conditions such as digestive issues, sleep disturbance, menstrual irregularities etc. Herbal treatment aids in healing of injuries but usually external herbal formulas such as liniments or soaks are used in the West.


Do You Use the Heat Moxibustion?

Moxibustion is a fantastic therapy but due to smell/smoke I only use it when really necessary such as conditions of strong fatigue or when the patient has strong sensitivity to cold or strong pain that is worse in cold or damp weather.


Is It Similar to Getting an Injection?

Acupuncture needles are extremely thin so are usually much more comfortable than the larger needles used for injections.


Do You Use the Electrical Devices?

Electrical stimulation can be used to enhance treatment especially if the condition involves swelling e.g. chronic knee injuries or bursitis of the hip.


What Are the Known Conditions Treated by Acupuncture?

Musculoskeletal conditions treated include; lower back ache, knee pain, bursitis, tendonitis, tennis elbow, frozen shoulder, muscle tension, arthritis, sciatic, joint pain, sporting injuries.

Digestive conditions treated include; heartburn, diarrhoea, constipation, abdominal bloating or pain and ulcers.

The respiratory system can have beneficial effects from Acupuncture; these include the common cold, asthma, sinusitis, bronchitis, chronic cough, low immune system.

Acupuncture can also help with women suffering from menstrual cramps/pain, irregularity, abnormal bleeding and menopausal symptoms.

Cardiovascular problems can also be treated by the use of Acupuncture; these include patients with high or low blood pressure, fluid retention, chest pain poor circulation, muscle cramps, stress, insomnia, withdrawal from medication or drugs, headaches, migraines, facial and inter-costal neuralgia, some paralysis conditions, post stroke recovery, fatigue, chronic pain, post-op recovery.

What Should I Expect on My First Acupuncture Visit?

When you first attend our clinic for treatment you will be asked to fill out a detailed form about your general health and the history of the complaint that you would like treated. It is important that you fill out the whole form even if you feel the questions don't relate specifically to the condition you would like worked on. This questionnaire assists in understanding the unique state of your body so that we can address any underlying imbalances that may be contributing to your condition.


Your therapist will then ask a series of questions to further understand your unique constitutional make up. Your pulse will be taken and your therapist may need to perform some abdominal palpation to obtain further details about the state of the body.


Sports medicine assessment techniques will now be utilized if you are attending the clinic for a musculoskeletal complaint.


Exercise and Mental Health

on Monday, 03 July 2017. Posted in Newsletters, General Health, Training and Performance

Exercise and Mental Health

By Emily Holzberger

B.ExSS Majoring in Clinical ExPhys. Memb: ESSA

ACSA level 1 Strength and Conditioning coach, Sports Medicine Australia Sports Trainer, Level 1 Volleyball coach


Research has shown time and time again the significant influence exercise has on an individual’s mental health and well-being. Being physically active plays a major role in the prevention of mental health conditions.


Below you will see a figure demonstrating the link between physical activity and depression using the Centre of Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale. Individuals who performed moderate or higher levels of exercise had a much lower score than those who performed no exercise, especially for women.

For individual’s with mental health conditions, exercise is crucial in helping to manage their condition; it should go hand in hand with psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy. The reason for this is because of the wide range of benefits exercise and physical activity provides:


    • High levels of subjective well-being and improvements in mood (Biddle, 2000; Sharma 2006
    • Release of endorphins and serotonin post-exercise lead to improved mood and reduced depression and anxiety symptoms (Health Direct, 2016
    • Exercise has an ‘anti-depressant effect’ (Mutrie, 2000
    • Improves self-esteem and cognitive function (Callaghan, 2004
    • Leads to improved sleep (Sharma, 2006
    • Increases energy and stamina (Sharma, 2006
    • Reduces tiredness that can increase mental alertnesss (Sharma, 2006
    • Reduction in weight which may be necessary because of the weight gain commonly associated with anti-depressant and anti-psychotic medication. (Sharma, 2006
    • Provides social interactions, and allows people to build social networks and communication skills. (Peluso, 2005)


The figure below clearly outlines the phenomenal effect exercise has on people with depression. The exercise group of participants had the highest rate of recovery and the lowest rate of relapse out of the three groups.

Professor Jorm, from the Centre for Mental Health at the University of Melbourne, provides a good explanation of what often is the case for most individual’s with poor mental health;

"When people get a problem like depression or severe mental illness, it affects their motivation and enjoyment of life, and that can drive physical activity down. But there's also probably a reciprocal effect, in that when they exercise less, that seems to make [their mental health] matters worse."


This cycle can be very difficult to get out of, however by taking small steps people will be able to feel the benefits for themselves. Supervised exercise has been shown to have greater adherence rates than unsupervised sessions, especially for this population group (Courneya, et al., 2012). This may be a strategy people could use to get back into exercise.


Emily Holzberger, the Clinical Exercise Physiologist here at Institute of Sports and Spines has experience working with patients with mental health conditions. Through her experience Emily’s seen just how much exercise can do for a person’s mental health. If you think incorporating exercise into the management of your current condition or need help with motivation give her a call (3398 7022).


Fascial Dysfunction and Treatment

on Monday, 03 July 2017. Posted in Massage, Newsletters, General Health

Fascial Dysfunction and Treatment

By Luke Attkins

Diploma of Remedial Massage, Certificate IV of Massage Therapy

Member: AAMT, SCA, CAA, CA.


Fascia is commonly described as a 3D spider’s web that runs underneath a person’s skin and attaches, stabilizes, encloses, and separates muscles and internal organs.
















A common problem that arises between fascial tissues is adhesions that are caused by the shortening and tightness of the muscular units that surround that area. Fascia that surrounds muscle compartments or is in broad superficial sheets has a tendency to shorten in areas of stress, causing problems in mobility and joint function.


Professor Vladimir Janda, characterised myofascial dysfunction into two categories; upper cross and lower cross syndrome. These two syndromes are classified as postural syndromes causing shortening and weakening of specific muscles, leading to postural dysfunction. 


Upper-cross syndrome is described as rounding of the shoulders and forward carrying of the head. This postural syndrome shows the tightening and shortening of the pectoralis muscles and upper trapezius whilst simultaneously weakening the rhomboids (middle trapezius).


In lower-cross syndrome postural signs are anterior pelvic tilt and accentuated lordosis of the lumbar spine. This is caused by the tightening and shortening of these muscles: hip flexors, tensor fasciae latae (thigh) and erector spinae group whilst simultaneously weakening the abdominal and gluteal muscles.


Things that are associated with these two postural syndromes can lead to chronic pain through the back, legs, neck, shoulders, and chest and if left untreated it can start to affect the diaphragm causing problems with breathing.

























Myofascial release (MFR) is a physical therapy technique that involves applying gentle pressure into the connective fascial tissue releasing muscular shortness and tightness which in turn helps eliminate pain and help with restoring motion.


Techniques that are used in the release of fascial tissue are: skin rolling, fascial stretching, and fascial separation (lifting and rolling of the muscles). The benefits of this treatment are diverse.  Direct bodily effects can help improve flexibility, function, ongoing back, neck, shoulder, hip or any type of pain that is affecting an area containing soft tissue.  MFR is commonly used as an approach to work with tissue-based restrictions and their two-way interactions with movement and posture.  


This style of treatment usually goes for 30-60 minutes a session. Recommended amounts of treatment sessions are 4-6 but that may vary across the board as each person responds differently to treatment. 


If this sounds like something you may be suffering from or are finding hard to correct, give us a call and book in with Luke Attkins as he is trained in MFR treatment.