Tuesday, 24 February 2015


By Dianna Porter (Registered Chinese Medicine Practitioner)

The tongue has many important uses.  It is used for taste, helping in chewing and swallowing our food, forming sounds when we speak and as an aid in determining how much food to eat (for some).
But to a trained practitioner of Chinese medicine it has so much more to offer.
The tongue is a highly vascular muscle which contains taste receptor cells.  The tongue is richly supplied by the nervous and circulatory systems.  It is constantly “bathed” in saliva that is secreted by our salivary glands and is controlled by the autonomic nervous system.  Saliva contains water, enzymes, electrolytes and mucous – these can change the appearance of the tongue.  Observation of the tongue, from a Chinese medicine perspective, enables us to see subtle changes in body systems and functions.  When we ask you to stick out your tongue we are looking for these physiological changes in the body.
So how can that wiggly little muscle tell us so much?
Firstly we look at the tongue proper – this is the body of the tongue.  We check to see the size of the tongue in relation to the mouth.  Sometimes a tongue can look thick and swollen, or have teethmarks at the sides (scalloped edges), it may be too thin or it may tremble.
We may also look at the colour of the tongue to get an idea of one’s general health and vitality.  A healthy tongue should be pink/red.  If the tongue is too pale it can indicate blood deficiency in Chinese Medicine.  This may be a sign of anaemia or a weakened system.  If the tongue body has a mauve/purplish hue it may be a sign of blockage, congestion or pain.  If the tongue body is too red it may indicate a heat or inflammatory condition.  The tongue body should have signs of vitality, it should have moisture. 
The tongue in good health has a very thin white coat as an indication of proper enzymatic content and salivary secretions.  If the coat is too thick it signals an imbalance in the digestive function.  When the coat is peeled it is a sign of weakening in certain area.  A yellow tongue coat frequently means infection or inflammation.
Different regions of the tongue are represented by the function of different areas of the body ie. The tip of the tongue represents the emotions in Chinese medicine.  Therefore a red tongue tip can indicate anxiety, changes in mental state, insomnia. 
The sides of the tongue represent the liver function in Chinese medicine and changes can indicate toxicity levels in the body.
The middle of the tongue represents the area corresponding to digestive function and any changes or cracks here can be a sign of an imbalance in the digestion and absorption functions of the body. 
A complete tongue assessment can only be made, in person, by a qualified Chinese medicine practitioner.  The tongue diagnosis is used in conjunction with other diagnostic tools to give a complete picture of your health. 
Don’t eat any foods that may discolour your tongue before your assessment and don’t scrape your tongue beforehand.

So next time when we ask you to stick out your tongue, please do it with gusto and don’t close your eyes.  

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Do You Have a Navel Piercing or Belly Ring and are Trying to Fall Pregnant?

Fertility Acupuncture Specialist, Dianna Porter, explains how piercings and belly rings can interfere with your fertility

Navel Piercing 🌸


The human body has a network of meridians or energy channels and in order to maintain a healthy balance, the energy must flow through these meridians without hindrance (see my previous article verifying the existence of acupuncture points and meridians by modern research).  As an acupuncturist I work on these meridians to enable the body regain health by balancing the body's energy systems.    
According to traditional acupuncture theory a navel piercing is not a safe practice as it can cause an obstruction to the flow of energy.  The acupuncture meridian running down the centre front of the body is known as the Conception Vessel and the piercing can interrupt the energetic field of the body.  The Conception Vessel is an important meridian related to the reproductive system, hormone regulation, ovulation, menstruation, implantation and the quality of your eggs.    Any blockage on this meridian may cause problems down the track including - infertility, amenorrhea, uterine fibroids, endometriosis.  
The navel itself is an acupuncture point on this meridian known as CV 8.  Acupuncturists never needle this point in a clinical situation.  In fact, in ancient texts it is forbidden to do so.   
When I have a client with fertility issue or menstrual complaints I always check whether she has a piercing, either currently or in the past.  Sometimes they may have a scar on this meridian from previous surgery.  I am sure not all people will develop a problem from having a piercing  but is it worth the risk?
To maximise your changes of pregnancy it is recommended removing piercings and belly rings and have acupuncture treatment to restore the flow to the Conception Vessel meridian and to prepare your body for pregnancy.  This is the same if you have surgery scars on this meridian.

Sunday, 8 February 2015


Did you know that acupuncture can reduce the stress associated with trying to fall pregnant and may help some women fall pregnant due to its effect of increasing blood flow to the uterus and ovaries. 

It is also a relatively new concept that you can modify your diet and lifestyle to effect changes in fertility, however this has been a belief of Traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years.  If you are overweight it could be effecting your chances of falling pregnant.  Every 5kg you lose may increase your fertility by about 15%.  Being too thin is also detrimental to falling pregnant.  Aim for a healthy body weight with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of between 20 and 25.   Firstly cut out processed and junk foods.  All food should be as close to nature as possible.  Trans fats are bad news, they are often not listed on labels, and can increase insulin resistance which disrupts oestrogen and progesterone.  Exchange high GI foods with low GI versions - eat whole grains, fruits and vegetables and ditch the refined carbs.
Both men and women should take a folic acid supplement.  Women are recommended to take a multivitamin with 400mcg of folic acid and iron.  Men benefit from folic acid and zinc to increase sperm count.
A lot of women come to the clinic with "I want it now mentality" but if your body is not ready you really need to put in the work beforehand.  The soil needs to be fertilized before you can grow a seed.  A pre-pregnancy programme should be from 3-6 months before you even start trying to fall pregnant to maximize your chances of having a viable pregnancy.
In Chinese dietary therapy seeds are considered amongst the Top Fertility Foods - pumpkin, sunflower, chia, quinoa and sesame seeds.  Wholegrains such as brown rice, millet, amaranth and barley are high on the list.  Also include oily fish, loads of green leafy vegetables, avocados, and cinnamon.

Femoral Artery Massage will help increase blood flow to the uterus and ovaries. It should be done twice a day and only takes a couple of minutes.   Here is the link  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBhifKPeqg0

To reduce stress, take time out for a daily meditation.  Find a peaceful spot to sit or lie and listen to some relaxing music.  One of my favourites is Riley Lee.  He is the only non-Japanese to reach the level of Grand Master in the shakahuchi tradition and has performed world-wide.  Now based in Australia he continues to play this beautiful flute.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3VAqPfZjgI

Sunday, 1 February 2015


Image result for year of sheep 2015This year, Chinese New Year is on February 19th. Red is considered a lucky and auspicious colour so have some fun wearing it, fill your fruit basket with juicy mandarins (find ones with the green stalks and leaves still on) and have a lovely dinner with family and friends.  It is the year of the Wooden Ram/Sheep/Goat.
It is important in Chinese culture to spring-clean the home before the beginning of the New Year, often referred to as "sweeping away bad luck".  Cleaning is believed to not only sweep away bad luck that has accumulated over the past year, but also creates a new environment for good luck to occur again.  Do not clean during the fifteen day holiday as you will sweep away the good luck you have already received (this included from February 4 to February 19).  
Once your house is ready to accept good luck, re-decorating with a red theme is a popular occurrence as it symbolizes good luck in Chinese culture.  Lotus flowers are a common decoration as well since they symbolize rebirth and new growth.  Mandarins can also be found in bowls throughout the home, they are considered the fruit of happiness.  Display them in even numbers, odd numbers are thought to bring unhappiness!
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