Bone Broth Recipe

Bone Broth (Selina’s recipe)

  • 2 organic chicken frames (Bostocks chicken frames) – available from some butchers or Alternatively can use left over chicken bones from roast chicken.  Alternatively can use beef bones, fish frames.
  • 3 cloves of garlic (optional)
  • ½ tsp. whole peppercorns
  • ¼ tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1 inch piece of ginger (optional)
  • 4-5 kaffir lime leaves (optional)
  • Optional – add 2 chopped stalks celery, small bunch of parsley.

Add all ingredients into slow cooker, with 2 L of water. Slow cook for 12-15 hours. Strain broth, store liquid in the fridge/ freezer.

If making over the stove – bring to a boil, then simmer for 6 hours. Strain liquid and store.

To drink add salt and pepper to taste, or use instead of water in soups and stews.

Tips to ease hay fever symptoms naturally

Tips to ease hay fever symptoms naturally

Winter is quickly coming to an end, and on fine days we can start feeling spring is arriving soon. In Chinese Medicine, spring is the season of the Wood element and the Liver organ system. This means a time of rejuvenation and new growth. Unfortunately, for some of us, it also marks the season of hay fever.

Hay fever is a common condition in which the immune system “over reacts” to seasonal changes. Plant pollen and dust irritate the mucus membranes in our respiratory system and cause and allergic reaction. It is important to recognise what triggers your hay fever for better treatment results. Symptoms can include a runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes, post nasal drip, sinus congestion and headaches. Your doctor may prescribe antihistamines or decongestants to address these symptoms. However, these medications can make you feel drowsy and there are other ways, more natural ways, you can prepare yourself for spring.

Acupuncture treatment is a great way to ease acute hay fever symptoms as well as addressing the root cause of the condition; an overactive immune system.  In Chinese medicine we call this your wei qi or antipathogenic qi, basically your immune system.  Treatment is a balance between treating acute hayfever signs and boosting your immune system to reduce the factors that cause it to overact to your various triggers.

Acupuncture treatment is a holistic personal treatment, each person has different triggers and reactions. Your acupuncture practitioner will tailor the treatment to your needs and will recommend life style adjustments to reduce your hayfever reactions.

To help reduce hay fever symptoms, we recommend you reduce intake of alcohol and dairy food and increase the intake of easy to digest, warm food such as soups and slow cooked stews. Elderflower Tea may help relieve the symptoms of nasal congestion, sinus inflammation, runny nose, headache and itchy eyes.  You may also want to increase your intake of vitamin C to support your body through the change of seasons.

If you regularly suffer from hay fever, schedule an appointment soon, so we can help before symptoms arise.  Get in touch with our acupuncture team and we’ll help you spring into spring. For a personalised, natural and safe way to improve your health and ease hay fever give acupuncture a try. or

Simple Techniques to Alleviate Stress

Simple Techniques to Alleviate Stress

Tired and stressed? We have all felt that way but it can be managed naturally through simple techniques such as breathing and challenging the way we think about stress.

Our psychologist Grace talks about stress and provides some simple tips on how to manage it.

What is stress?

We talk so much about it: “I had a stressful day”; “My job is very stressful”; “I don’t spend time with the kids as when I get home I am far too stressed”.

Stress can be defined as a physiological state that prepares our body  (the organism) for action. In other words, stress is our emotional and physical reaction to pressure.

That pressure can originate from external factors such as illness, death, an earthquake, having a demanding job, study etc. Also, that pressure can be caused by the way we relate to our environment.

Our bodies are ‘wired’ to respond to stress in ways that will protect us from danger. For example, when we face everyday life demands such as a demanding boss or tight deadlines it can interpret those everyday hassles as life threats. As a result, the hypothalamus (a miniscule region at the base of our brain) sets off an alarm system in your body. Through a combination of nerve and hormonal signals, this system prompts our adrenal glands, to release hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol.

Once the supposed threat has passed, hormone levels are likely to return to normal. However, if we are often passing the message to our body that it needs to get ready to fight our fight-or-flight reaction stays turned on.

The challenge is that long-term activation of the stress-response system combined with the overexposure to cortisol (and other stress hormones), can destabilize/confuse our body’s processes. As a result we are at risk of developing health problems such as anxiety, depression, digestive problems, heart disease, weight gain, memory, concentration impairment etc.

As humans we are active agents who can influence the impact of a stressor throughout our behaviours, thinking and emotional state.

Tips to manage stress:

  • Breath! The way you breathe affects your whole body. Breathing exercises promote feelings of calm and relaxation, and relieve stress. Breathing exercises are easy to learn and you can do them whenever you need.
  • Challenge your thinking. Researches have shown that people give different cognitive meaning to stressors. Meaning that stress is a very personal/subjective experience. What stresses me may not stress you! Therefore, our cognitive interpretation plays a key role on the eventual magnitude on our stress response. So the way we interpret and respond to stress is crucial.
  • Notice how you may respond to thoughts such as “I haven’t got enough time”; “I can’t do this”; “This is too hard”; “I will never finish in time”. Thought are just thoughts. Perceive them just like cars in a busy road, they are just passing by, no need to react to them, observe them and just let them go. You are the thinker and not the thought!
  • Music is such a great healer. Have a relaxing playlist on your phone and take a few minutes during the day to listen to it when you need to relax.
  • Be present. We often miss the ‘here and now’ as our thoughts can be in the past or in the future. Try to take day by day and don’t plan too far ahead.
  • Develop techniques that may help you to transit from a busy day to me time or family time. Some people like to have a shower or get change when you get home.
  • Limit your responsibilities and communicate assertively – it is ok to ‘say no!’
  • Write down your stressful thoughts and feelings. Researchers have shown that Written Emotional Disclose is a valuable and cost effective therapeutic approach as it can help you to process what has happened and will give your mind a break.
  • Go back to the basic – healthy balanced diet, with lots of fruit and vegetables, reduce caffeine and alcohol intake, drink plenty of water and go to bed early.

If you are feeling stressed and would like to talk about it then either call to see your GP at the Holistic Medical Centre or call Grace or Katarina at Richmond Psychology located within the Holistic Medical Centre on the corner of Ponsonby and Crummer Rds.

Acupuncture and Pregnancy

Acupuncture and Pregnancy

Acupuncture is an ideal treatment during pregnancy and childbirth, offering women drug-free relief for a myriad of complaints that can occur during a normal pregnancy.  A noninvasive treatment; we use hair-thin sterile single-use needles to stimulate certain points and create a positive reaction.  I have found that the increased blood flow of pregnancy enhances the effects of acupuncture with fewer needles and less treatments required.

In my experience acupuncture can be beneficial in the treatment of the following conditions that can occur during a normal pregnancy;

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Heartburn
  • Constipation
  • Varicose veins
  • Haemorrhoids
  • Chronic UTI’s
  • Sinusitis
  • Odema
  • Pregnancy induced hypertension
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Fatigue and exhaustion
  • Anemia

Acupuncture is a great support during the first trimester, especially for women who suffer from recurrent miscarriages. Progesterone supports the fetus until 12 weeks when the placenta is fully-grown and takes over.  Stress negatively affects progesterone with the increase of cortisol in the body.  The acupuncture treatment protocol for supporting early pregnancy is to reduce stress, calm the mind, balance the hormones and treat any underlying disharmony.  Treatment is usually continued on a weekly basis for the first trimester, which also helps with any nausea and fatigue.

If you are having a difficult time with your pregnancy, looking for a healthy supplementation treatment contact us to ask how acupuncture could help you. or

Salmon and Couscous salad (Diabetes NZ approved recipe)

Salmon and Couscous salad (Diabetes NZ approved recipe)


1 Can (100 to 200g) salmon
1 ½ cupsLiquid
½ teaspoon Minced chilli (optional)
¾ cup Couscous
2 Spring onions (chopped)
1 to 2 Tender celery stalks (sliced)
2 to 3 cups Chopped lettuce leaves
1 cup Chopped cucumber
1 cup Chopped red tomatoes
1 cup Chopped fresh coriander
1 Juice of lemon
2 Tablespoons Olive oil


Drain the liquid from the canned salmon into a measuring jug and make up to 1 ½ cups with chicken stock (or 1 tsp instant chicken stock and water). Stir in the chilli if using it, then bring the mixture to the boil in a microwave oven or pot. Tip the couscous into a large, shallow, heatproof bowl. Pour the heated liquid over it, cover the bowl with a plate and leave to stand for 6 minutes while you prepare everything else. Prepare all the vegetables, keeping the cubed tomatoes separate. Chop up or tear the herbs. When the couscous has soaked up all the liquid, break the salmon into chunks and mix it through the couscous with half the lemon juice and oil. Add the prepared vegetables (except the tomatoes) and herbs and fork everything together. Drizzle with remaining lemon juice and oil, top with tomatoes and serve.

Tips and advice from The Holistic Medical Centre on all things Type 2 Diabetes

Tips and advice from The Holistic Medical Centre on all things Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a condition which mostly occurs in people aged over 40. However, globally we are seeing increasing numbers of younger people and even children diagnosed or at risk.

Type 2 diabetes is more common than type 1, but in most cases can be managed through a healthy diet and lifestyle. Diabetes develops when there is not enough insulin produced and / or your cells do not use insulin properly (insulin resistance), and in type 2 diabetes the body still produces insulin so the condition develops slowly over time.

There are well known risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes. These are:

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Sedentary
  • Having a first degree (does this mean descendant?) relative with type 2 diabetes
  • Having pre-diabetes (impaired glucose tolerance)
  • Having diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes)

If type 2 diabetes is not well controlled it can lead to long term complications including

  • Kidney damage
  • Eye disease
  • Hardening of the arteries
  • Nerve damage
  • Foot complications

Prevention is always better than cure, but if you do develop diabetes there are many things you can do to manage the effects of the disease and live an active and healthy life. We recommend coming into the Holistic Medical Centre for a thorough consultation and blood tests. We are then able to make specific recommendations to assist you individually with prevention or management.

Changing our lifestyle and diet is the most important form of treatment in the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes. It is also important to keep alcohol consumption to within recommended limits and to stop smoking.

Losing weight if you are overweight will improve your body’s ability to use insulin (reduce insulin resistance). It also helps lower blood pressure and can help lower cholesterol. In doing this, you reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke as well as reducing the risk of diabetes.

The best way to lose weight is to look at both diet and exercise together. Current guidance is that we do something active every day and a minimum of 2.5hours of moderate exercise spread throughout the week. It is also important to do some strengthening exercises at least twice per week. Ideally, you want to develop an exercise regimen that you can maintain long term. Exercise doesn’t have to be done at a gym, consider sports and activities you enjoy doing.

Maintaining a healthy and well balanced diet is also important.  Eating whole foods as much as possible, and getting nutrition from a range of different food sources is key to maintaining a healthy diet. We understand that making changes can be difficult, so our naturopaths can help you identify and implement specific nutritional and lifestyle changes to assist you in losing weight, prevention and management of diabetes.

If changes in lifestyle alone are not helping, there are medications that can be prescribed to help control your blood sugar levels.

The onset of type 2 diabetes is often slow, and you  The main symptoms are:

  • Excessive thirst / hunger
  • Passing large volumes of urine
  • Fatigue
  • Recurrent sores or infection
  • Blurry vision

If you have any of these symptoms or you are concerned about diabetes make an appointment to see one of our GPs at The Holistic Medical Centre

Our osteopath’s practical tips for managing sciatica

Our osteopath’s practical tips for managing sciatica

Sciatica is a fairly common condition that is estimated to affect approximately 2% of the population annually with the vast majority of cases caused by a spinal disc injury. Fortunately the prognosis for sciatica is generally good, and with some practical steps you can maximise your chances of a full and speedy recovery. Frequently asked questions:

Q: Should I rest to help my recovery?

A: There is good evidence that trying to remain active within your capabilities will aid in your long term recovery. This could include some simple stretching, water walking at your local pool or going for a short walk (even just down to the mail box can be helpful).

Q: When should I see my doctor?

A: If sciatica is having a significant impact on your everyday life, if you have had a significant accident, or if you experience any incontinence or numbness around the groin. For acute cases of sciatica the primary goal of treatment is managing your pain so it’s usually worth discussing medication with your doctor, particularly in the early stages.

Q: Do I need an X-ray?

A: Sciatica is mainly diagnosed by talking to your therapist or doctor and a physical examination. In most cases, people with sciatica don’t need an x-ray or an MRI.

Q: How can osteopathy help sciatica?

A: Osteopaths work to identify and address any underlying conditions, by obtaining full history and conducting a thorough examination of the musculoskeletal system. Your osteopath will put together a reliable strategy to manage your pain that will help:

• improve joint mobility
• minimize muscle stress and nerve irritation
• help reduce likelihood and severity of future episodes
• provide guidance on posture, exercise and stretching

With appropriate treatment and self-care strategies, most patients can expect to see improvements within days, and resolution of symptoms within weeks without the need for surgery and reduced reliance on medication.

If you are suffering from sciatica then please book online at or call Alastair on 021 1660254. Or contact the Holistic Medical Centre for a full examination on 09 3700650.

Hormone Balance

Hormone Balance

Hormones are a hot topic, it seems everyone is finally talking about them. The lives we lead can create a huge impact on our hormone balance leading us to feel like we’re going slightly crazy!

You are not alone. You may have ticked all the boxes in life…. job, house, partner, travel, recreational activities, but something is just not right. Your moods swing, you’re not sleeping well and you’ve started experiencing anxiety. PMT is off the charts, those hot flushes are getting you down, your family and friends notice something is off and you just don’t feel right!

Your clever sophisticated hormonal feedback systems have been affected by a myriad of things; those regular takeaways, too much alcohol, over the counter medications taken for that weekly headache, daily double espresso to get you going in the morning, pressure to meet the deadline and pressure to organise the family gathering.

Endocrine disrupting chemicals can also interfere with our own endocrine (or hormonal) systems. Some examples of these are beauty products, cleaning products, dioxin, PCB’s, pesticides, synthetic hormones in food and animal products.

If any of these sounds like your life, the first thing you can do to is come in and see us at the Holistic Medical Centre for a full and comprehensive assessment and functional testing. It could be as simple as a saliva sample, some blood tests or a dried urine test of comprehensive hormones (DUTCH test). These results will help us determine what your hormones are doing, and from there one of our practitioners will guide you through your analysis and prepare a simple treatment plan to help put you at ease immediately.

Menstrual cycles are on average once a month; therefore in order to assess how treatment is progressing it is necessary to follow a plan for at least 3 months to gauge the affects on your cycle. Some people get immediate relief with changes to diet and lifestyle, others need to take a recommended supplement regime for 3-6 months to help balance hormones. Most pertinent is learning how to manage stress. Stress can be actual or perceived, which places an extra load on the mind and body affecting us physically and psychologically. Learning techniques to bring the mind and body into a relaxed state will be of benefit to your hormones too, by helping to bring balance.

Tips for a healthy and happy festive season

Tips for a healthy and happy festive season

As exciting as the festive is, the fun is often precipitated by an awful lot to do and finding balance can be a challenge.

A few simple tips to help you regain some balance and keep up at this time of year:

1. Make time for quiet personal time: take a walk on the beach or with the dog, have a cup of tea and read a book or your favourite magazine, water the garden, be present in the moment or try a few yoga stretches.

2. Practice saying ‘no’: if saying yes means you are stretching yourself only to then burn out, it is worth finding ways around this or saying no, kindly. You can only give what you have, if you are feeling at the end of your tether and need a quiet night in, then go for it.

3. Dietary: Nutrients can often be lacking in the general festive diet of eating out, alcohol and sugary treats. Delicious Christmas treats can easily be over-indulged on, and often not just for 1-2 days. Here are a few tips to support your system while you still enjoy the decadence of Christmas:

  • Keep up your vegetable intake – aim to have some at each and every meal
  • Keep up with regular meals: skipping meals makes you more likely to indulge in sugar, large portions or both
  • Support the liver – try Artemis Liver Detox tea before eating out to assist with digestion and bloating and supporting detoxification within the body
  • Moderation is a good thing – enjoy your treats as opposed to allowing guilt to take over the experience.

4. Skin: Safe sun exposure increases our Vitamin D levels, which help support mood, bone density and reduces inflammation. Some of our favourite sunblock’s include: Synergie Uber Zinc; Coola Sunscreen and Skinnies – all available at The Holistic Medical Centre.

5. Keep Hydrated The holiday season usually involves running around in the sun. Hydration at this time is very important, aim to have 2.5 litres of water daily (this does not include caffeinated beverages). If drinking water is something you struggle with, add a few slices of cucumber, or seasonal berries or citrus fruit. If you exercise frequently especially outdoors, make sure you have electrolytes added into your water (without the sugar is a better option) we recommend the Elete Electrolyte drops mixed in with some fresh lemon juice.

Energy Dense Smoothie

Energy Dense Smoothie

This smoothie is full of fibre, omega 3’s and high in vitamins and minerals that incudes great nutrients for improving your gut health, and will also give you a big energy boost.


  • 1 handful of soaked or sprouted almonds (or ground almonds if blender is weak),
  • 1-2 cups of water,
  • 1 banana,
  • 3- 4 soaked dates or 1-2 figs plus the water,
  • 1 tablespoon of nutritional  yeast,
  • 1 teaspoon of tahini,
  • 1 handful of chia seeds
  • Some leafy greens


  • In a blender place all ingredients.
  • Blend until the seeds thicken the drink.   Add spirulina powder for extra iron.