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Eat your way calm – psychobiotics and the gut brain connection

A new and exciting era in the treating of mental illness could be upon us!

I have blogged before about the gut and its affect on our mental state. Though, now money is now being put into research of this fascinating subject.

With the gut-brain connection is now very well established a new wave of research is now being done into psychobiotics.

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These are, in short; biotics for the gut. Were as antibiotics are designed for the killing of bad bacteria. Psycho-biotics will be used for the increasing of good bacteria. Resulting in a much more diverse gut flora and better moods.



So far, the research on psychobiotics is still preliminary. Studies have shown that increasing the amount of “good” bacteria in the gut can curb inflammation and cortisol levelsreduce symptoms of depression and anxietylower stress reactivity, improve memory, and even lessen neuroticism and social anxiety. However, most of these studies were conducted on mice, and more research on humans is needed.”

The unfortunate thing is that approval for this new type of treatment is approximately 10 years away. But there are things that can be done in the meantime.;


1) Consuming probiotic foods


One of the best known probiotic foods is live-cultured yogurt, especially handmade. Read your labels, as many popular brands are filled with high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, and artificial flavors and are way too close to being a nutritional equivalent of ice cream. As with most food, the most health claims made on the packaging means more marketing, not more nutritional value.


Miso Soup

 Miso is one the mainstays of traditional Japanese medicine and is commonly used in macrobiotic cooking as a digestive regulator. Made from fermented rye, beans, rice or barley, adding a tablespoon of miso to some hot water makes an excellent, quick, probiotic-rich soup.



 Made from fermented cabbage (and sometimes other vegetables), sauerkraut is not only extremely rich in healthy live cultures, but might also help with reducing allergy symptoms. Sauerkraut is also rich in vitamins B, A, E and C.

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Similar to yogurt, this fermented dairy product is a unique combination of goat’s milk and fermented kefir grains. High in lactobacilli and bifidus bacteria, kefir is also rich in antioxidants. Look for a good, organic version at your local health food store.



 This is a form of fermented tea that contains a high amount of healthy gut bacteria. This probiotic drink has been used for centuries and is believed to help increase your energy, enhance your wellbeing, and maybe even help you lose weight. However, kombucha tea may not be the best fit for everyone, especially those who’ve had problems with candida.



Although this isn’t a food per se, it’s great to add to your morning smoothie. Microaglae refers to superfood ocean-based plants such as spirulina, chorella, and blue-green algae.



 Believe it or not, the common green pickle is an excellent food source of probiotics. The less commercialized the better, but most pickles will have some microbial value.



 I wouldn’t necessarily call soy a health food any longer as it’s mostly GMO. However, tempeh can be a great substitute for meat or tofu. Tempeh is a fermented, probiotic-rich grain made from soy beans. A great source of vitamin B12, this vegetarian food can be sautéed, baked, or eaten crumbled on salads.



An Asian form of pickled sauerkraut, kimchi is an extremely spicy and sour fermented cabbage, typically served alongside meals in Korea. Besides beneficial bacteria, Kimchi is also a great source of beta-carotene, calcium, iron and vitamins A, C, B1 and B2. Kimchi is one of the best probiotic foods you can add to your diet, assuming you can handle the spice, of course.



 Poi is a staple food of Hawaii, made by mashing cooked taro plant until its consistency is liquid to dough-like. Poi hasn’t been officially recognized as a probiotic food like these others, even though it contains more beneficial bacteria that yogurt. While poi is loaded with good germs, it’s stirred up some controversy as there’s currently no way to mass produce it in a way that’s 100% sanitized. (In order to pass health and hygiene standards in America to prepare and sell anything, everything has to be 100% sanitized.) Too bad, because fresh, fermented poi is teeming with bacteria. In order to reap these benefits from po, you might have to fly to Hawaii to get it, which sounds fine to me!


2) Meditate

wellness quay health sydney cbd circular quay chiropractor, acupuncuture, massageMost people “don’t think” they have time for this. Though, all you need is a quiet room. If you don’t have one I suggest purchasing some noise cancelling headphones. Put and turn them on, sit in a dark room and just concentrate on your breathing. Start trying to do this for only 5 minutes per session and then gradually increase the time as you get better. Meditation is like exercise, you get better with practise.


3) Exercise

for at least 30 minutes per day. You don’t have to train like an Olympian to get the benefits. Though, you have to make the sessions as intense as you can handle to get the benefits in full.


Darren Geer Acupuncturist Quay Health Sydney CBD Circular Quay traditional chinese medicineDr Darren Geer, Acupuncturist

Quay Health

To book an appointment with Darren click here


Insomnia, is acupuncture the answer?

Michelle always felt tired and sleepy in the day time, because she could not sleep at night. It usually took her more than 1 hour to fall asleep, and sometimes even the whole night until 5-6am, even though she was really sleepy.

Daniel a 12 years old, used to lie down on his desk at the school, due to his dreamlessness at night.

Ben also has a sleeping problem. He always wakes up very early around 3-4am. After waking up, he would not be able to go back to sleep, no matter how sleepy he was.

Insomnia is one of the most common health problems in the world. From research, there are one out of three people who will suffer from some form of sleep disturbance during their lifetime. For some this will continue for many years, and they will try many ways to deal with it, including having sleeping medication or drugs, but, it will stop working when they stop taking it.

Clinically, insomnia may occur individually or be accompanied by the manifestations of headaches, dizziness, palpitations, amnesia, etc. Insomnia is a disease, and long-term lack of treatment or mitigation will inevitably lead to a series of adverse consequences, such as reduction in the quality of work and life, reduction in the body’s immune system, endocrine disorders, easily leading to and aggravating infectious diseases, cerebrovascular diseases, diabetes, gastrointestinal diseases and so on.

In Chinese Medicine, insomnia can be divided into three different types according to the pattern of the sleep problem.

The first type of insomnia is that people try hard to fall asleep. If it takes over thirty minutes to fall asleep, it is defined as insomnia, but in some cases it can take hours and in several cases people just will not fall asleep until the sun comes up. This pattern in Chinese medicine is associated with a deficiency of the heart yin energy. The yin energy is the energy that calms, cools and moistens. Its function is especially important at night time. When the yin energy is deficient, our mind cannot calm down, and we would feel irritable and hot during the night and cannot have good quality sleep. This condition is associated with long term stress or overworking. Commonly associated symptoms are: night heat or night sweats, palpitations, dizziness, tinnitus, poor memory and concentration, constipation, dry mouth at nights and red tongue. The treatment for this type of insomnia is with Acupuncture points that nourish the yin energy reducing heat and calming the spirit. In addition to sleeping better the patient should also feel an all-around improvement in his physical and emotional health. Acupuncture for Shenmai(BL62), Zhaohai(KI6), Taixi(KI3), Dalin (PC7), Shenmen(HT7), Taichong(LR3) can help for that.

The second type of insomnia is when sleep is easy but the quality of sleep that follows is poor. The person feels that the sleep is very light and often wakes up. Sometimes it feels as if no sleep has been had at all. This type of insomnia is usually due to over work and over thinking which weaken the energies of the heart and the spleen; the digestive system. The heart in Chinese Medicine is in charge of sleep and mental activities and needs sufficient nourishment to function properly. Other symptoms often associated with this pattern are palpitations, fatigue, poor appetite and digestive problems. The treatment is by using acupuncture to nourish the heart and strengthen the digestive systems and improvement in sleep should soon follow. For acupuncture, we usually use: Xinshu(BL15), Pishu(BL20), Baihui((DU20), Shenmen(HT7), Sanyinjiao(SP6), Neiguan(PCC6). If dreaminess, can also use Pohu(BL42), Yinbai(SP1), lidui(ST45), Daling(PC7).

The third type of insomnia is when the problem is waking up early in the morning. The person will wake up some time between 3 and 6 in the morning and will not be able to go back to sleep. In Chinese medicine this problem is related to the liver and it is usually caused by emotional problems, stress or worry. Like worrying about what will need to be done during the daytime. Other symptoms often associated with this type of insomnia are: irritability, tearfulness and sometimes light headedness. The treatment is with Acupuncture points that treat the liver and calm the mind. You can expect an improvement in your mood and general feeling, in addition to sleeping better. For the acupoint, we can use: Xinjian(LR2), Zuqiaoyin(GB44), Fengchi(GB20), Shenmen(HT7), Sishencong(EX-HN1) etc.

Those suffering from insomnia understand how important a good night’s sleep is in order to feel great and be productive the next day. Acupuncture for insomnia is one treatment that can help to alleviate insomnia without the need to take potentially harmful prescription sleeping aids. It focuses on treating the whole body and not just the symptoms, the root cause of the insomnia will be addressed, be it stress, pain, dietary irregularities, etc. By resolving the underlying imbalance, the insomnia will effectively be treated, and the individual will enjoy a better overall quality of life.

Si Chen
Quay Health

To book an appointment with Si Chen call us on 9252 2825 or book online at

A simple and easy guide to how acupuncture works


Today, I was trawling through Facebook looking for ideas for another blog. When I came across an excellent short 3min video simply describing how acupuncture really works. It was so easy to understand that I decided to just simply post the link to the video, (link at bottom of this blog), as well as copy out its salient points. I have done this more as an easy reference. Rather than having to scroll back on your device which I know can be painful.


how does acupuncture work quay health sydney cbd acupuncturist Darren Geer

I have posted blogs and articles written by others including Dr’s and scientists but this one was much easier to grasp. I hope you enjoy and it gives you a better understanding of this amazing therapy.





How does acupuncture work? A simple and easy guide.


The mistranslations of ancient Chinese texts into English have given acupuncture a very mystical, esoteric and some say spooky reputation. Which has completely missed the mark of what it really is.


Acupuncture, does not enhance some strange universal power using divine intervention that helps you recover from your ailments. Even though some acupuncturists would like you to believe that.


Acupuncture is actually a real type of medicine or medicinal theory that is based on actual anatomy and physiology. Concentrating on the improving the flow of Oxygen (Qi), Blood (Xue) and Nutrients (Ying Qi).


The impairment of blood flow or blood stagnation is the number 1 cause of disease. Which makes sense, if there is a problem with blood flow to any area of the body there will be impaired function. 


The body cannot heal without blood flow to the affected area so this make sense,  as acupuncture helps the body heal itself.  Acupuncture does this by causing the blood vessels to dilate or constrict to either; increase or decrease blood flow to specific areas of the body. This is done to relieve pain and improve organ function.


It also works by stimulating the nervous system by activating nociceptor sensory nerves and proprioceptor fibers that travel from the skin, to the spine and to the brain. Acupuncture does this by improving nerve signals to your brain to realise opioids (natural painkillers) to shut off the pain signal eliminate the pain.


The combination of these two effects is what helps the body heal itself while reducing any pain. This is done by treating the 5 main factors that influence your health:

  1. The flow of oxygen (Qi)
  2. The flow of blood (Xue)
  3. The health of your blood vessels (Xue Mai)
  4. Health of your organs (Zang Fu)
  5. The health of the nervous system (Jing Mai)


Acupuncture can treat an endless number of conditions. Either on its own or in conjunction with Chinese herbal medicine or other therapies.


So if you are looking for a solution to your problems, without drugs or side effects, give Acupuncture a try.


Contact Quay Health on 02) 9252 2825 or at


Acupuncturist Darren Geer Quay Health Sydney CBD Acupuncture


Darren Geer


BASc Acup



Gut Health – You are what you eat

Approximately 6-7 years ago I attended a seminar on “Gut Health”. Ever since then I have been a big advocate of the importance of gut health and the overall wellbeing. In health circles there isn’t a more important quote than; “you are what you eat”!

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What I am happy to see is the amount of press the results of the relevant studies have received. Just last week a documentary appeared on SBS, The Diet Myth.

With the main aim of the documentary to explain obesity and how the new theories of gut health, relate.


As it turns out, the amount of microbes (bacteria) that live in the gut has a massive effect on your ability to lose weight and why the theory of “eat less do more”, does not work!


But before you “non activity lovers” get too excited. Exercise, is a very important aspect of a healthy body and mind. The human body is supposed to move. Our evolution has not caught up with our lifestyles yet and don’t expect it to any time soon.


Now, back to the track…


The main points of the documentary that relates to human health are:


·      The more gut microbes you have, the leaner you are.


·      If you still can’t lose weight even though you are doing all the right things. The reason is you don’t have enough have a board enough variety of gut microbes.


·      One reason for this is an over use of antibiotics. Use of antibiotics can cause havoc on the gut microbes which can take up to a year to sort themselves out after their use. Use of antibiotics in children increases their chance of becoming obese.


·      Poor diets, if you mostly consume sugar and saturated fat. Your gut microbe diversity becomes limited, at best.


·      Your diet has to be: clean, unprocessed and diverse.


·      Think of your gut microbes like a complete ecosystem. If you pollute an ecosystem what happens?! Species die!


·      Serotonin, our “happy chemicals” are produced in the brain by our gut microbes. If they are unhealthy it can make you depressed and anti-depressants will not work.


In conclusion, as you can see from the few examples I have given. Your gut is you!


If you require more advice on this subject. Book in for a consultation at 


Darren Geer Acupuncturist and Massage Therapist Quay Health Sydney

Darren Geer / Acupuncturist and Traditional Chinese Medicine Expert



Why is Women’s Health suffering?

Women’s health is suffering terribly, and it’s time for something to change.


women's health naturopath quay health sydney cbdIn our fast-paced, modern society, we are seeing ever-greater incidence of challenges to women’s health, including infertility, chronic PMS and period pain, endometriosis, PCOS, burnout, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and sheer exhaustion.


At the very root of such issues, is the chronic and constant stress that the majority of women face. For many women, life is just one big, frantic, double shift – tending to their careers during the day, and their loved ones at night and on the weekends.


Consequently, women have little to no time for themselves – to rest, recuperate, and tend to their own basic needs. This is taking a huge toll on our health.


The pace of modern life, and the stress and pressure that this has created for so many women, drives the constant production of stress hormones. When not addressed, this leads to chronic nervous system depletion, and a stress-related condition known as adrenal fatigue.


When a woman is experiencing adrenal fatigue, it is next to impossible for her delicate reproductive hormones to be balanced. Stress hormones are extremely dominant, and drastically interfere with a woman’s ability to experience a healthy monthly cycle.


Contrary to what we have been taught, PMS and other female hormonal conditions are NOT normal. And unfortunately, there’s no ‘quick fix’ for overcoming them. However, with a commitment to addressing stress, nutrition, and lifestyle, it is more than possible to get your hormones back in balance.


As a naturopath, I often work with women to get their hormones back in shape. To begin with, we work to get a holistic picture of what’s going on in the body, through a thorough case history, and often with a variety of hormone testing. This gives me a clear understanding of exactly what is happening for each woman, so that I can tailor a treatment plan that is precisely indicated for her individual needs.


In the course of treatment, we work to address BOTH stress hormones and reproductive hormones, in a way that is long-term and sustainable. The ultimate aim is to get these hormones back in balance, and keep them that way – for good!


Because hormonal imbalances often occur as the result of many years of constant stress, it can take a number of months to get them back to their normal, balanced state. However, the dramatic change in health and wellness that women experience as a result of doing this, makes it well worth the effort.


As women, nothing is more important that our hormonal health. Our hormones literally have the ability to change our entire experience of life. They affect how we feel on a day to day basis – how much energy we have, whether we can jump out of bed in the morning, how we interact with the people we love, and whether or not we suffer each month with our cycle. Our hormonal status also dramatically affects our digestion, often resulting in symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Of course, all of these signs and symptoms can be drastically improved once hormones are addressed.


There is SO much that can be done to help your precious hormones get back to balance. Please don’t feel helpless – come and see me for a consultation, and let me help you change your health (and consequently, your life) for the better.


Book Your Online Appointment


Beth Bridges Naturopath Quay Health Sydney CBD

Beth Bridges | Naturopath

Is Posture the Window to Your Health?

Is Posture the Window to Your Health?

We all want better health, and the ability to thrive day to day. Well into February and the motivation for some that began at the beginning of the year towards better health is still reasonably high. So before we get to burn out stage, and lose motivation due to our bodies just ‘not feeling right”, let’s shift our focus to our physical health.


We all know tGood-health-good-posture-300x300hat regular exercise and eating right is the way to go to stay feeling better. But have you considered yet the health of your spine? Everyday we see clients who can’t believe the effects that posture has on their health, and the huge impact it has on their everyday life. They feel more free and better able to deal with the stresses everyday living. Their outlook is generally more positive and their immune systems are stronger. Elite athletes never have slumped posture, whereas anybody with a serious system illness will not have proper structural integrity and almost certainly have a forward posture. We see that the body cannot perform at a high level if the body structure is not correct.


Chiropractic adjustments aimed at correcting posture, will allow you to to feel stronger in your own body. Truly feeling as you were created to feel, which is your spine holding you upright without effort on your part. Leaving you ready and able to tackle all of life’s daily changes with one less stress on your back.



Dr Aline Dahdah, Chiropractor

Why am I so exhausted? The low-down on adrenal fatigue.

Why am I so exhausted? The low-down on adrenal fatigue.


Chronic exhaustion is often the product of long-term stress, which results in adrenal fatigue. In modern society, where stress and busy timelines prevail, adrenal fatigue is becoming more and more common, with many people finding it hard to get themselves out of bed, let alone get themselves through the day. We’re relying more and more on stimulants such as coffee and alcohol to keep up going – but in the long run, this simply isn’t sustainable for our health.

adrenal fatigue, naturopath quay health sydney cbd beth bridges

What is adrenal fatigue?


Your adrenal glands are two walnut-sized glands that sit above your kidneys. Despite their small size, they exert a powerful effect upon your entire wellbeing. The adrenal glands are responsible for secreting your two main stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, in response to stressors in your environment.


For many, many people in today’s fast-paced world, stress hormones are being secreted all day, every day, due to over-activation of the nervous system, and a dominance of what we call the ‘fight-or-flight’ nervous response.


Our bodies enter a state of ‘fight-or-flight’ whenever we find ourselves in a challenging situation. This can be something as simple as bad traffic, getting the kids out the door to school, a stressful conversation, or an excessively tight daily schedule.


When we exist in this state of ‘fight-or-flight’ for too long, it’s easy to enter a state of adrenal fatigue, where our adrenal glands can no longer keep up with stress hormone production.


In this state, we feel burnt out, exhausted, rundown, and irritable, finding it hard to face our daily lives, with no energy. This poses a particular problem for women, whose delicate reproductive hormones are profoundly affected by their adrenal status, and who consequently may experience symptoms such as imbalanced hormones, chronic PMS, endometriosis, challenging menopausal symptoms, amongst others.


Many of today’s modern health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, challenged immunity, and poor digestion are hugely influenced by the state of the adrenal glands.


Boosting adrenal health requires addressing both physical and lifestyle factors, including diet, supplementation, exercise, sleep, stress, and more. Balancing your stress hormones and adrenal gland function will, without a doubt, contribute to your greatest health picture.


In my personal and client experience, these are 7 common reasons why people can be experiencing exhaustion due to adrenal fatigue.


Can you relate to any of them?


  1. Too much caffeine.

The second that coffee (or any other caffeinated beverage) hits your stomach lining, caffeine passes into your blood stream, which leads to stress hormone release from your adrenal glands. For someone who has multiple caffeinated beverages daily, this can contribute significantly to the development of adrenal fatigue.


Caffeine may pep you up in the short term, but it inevitably leads to a crash in energy. Try cutting back, or replacing your coffee with a gentler caffeine hit, such as black or green tea. Even eliminating coffee from your diet for one week will have you feeling SO much better if you’re experiencing ongoing exhaustion.


  1. Too much alcohol.

It’s wise to be mindful of alcohol consumption when you’re feeling particularly stressed. Alcohol, despite feeling like it relaxes you, concurrently raises your stress hormone production, just like caffeine. So, although you might feel nice and sleepy after a few wines, you’ve got extra stress hormones circulating through your body. This contributes to exhaustion more than you might like to believe.


Giving yourself a couple of alcohol free days a week can do you the world of good if you’re experiencing stress, hormone imbalances and adrenal fatigue.


  1. You get to bed too late.

Our body biologically needs sleep. Adequate sleep does wonders for lowering stress hormones in the body, as well as allowing hormones to naturally balance overnight (the body does all sorts of miraculous things as we sleep).


It’s amazing how many people are exhausted, rundown, and burnt out, but not willing to prioritise their sleep. Aim to get however many hours of sleep you know your body thrives on. It’s usually around 7 hours.


Sleep is free, and it’s honestly the most underrated thing we can do to achieve great health, and beat the exhaustion.


  1. You’re too wired in the evenings.

Following on from above, it’s no use getting to bed earlier if you’re too wired to actually fall asleep. Nighttime is for winding down. I get that this may not be an option every night, but for the most part, it’s ideal to be getting into ‘wind down’ mode by around 8.30pm each evening. Dim the lights, have a warm shower, read a book, do some gentle stretches. Nourish yourself.


You need to feel calm when you get into bed, to maximise your sleep quality. Do what you can to reduce disturbances before and during sleep time, and you’ll find you may sleep a lot more soundly.


  1. You can’t say no.

Inability to draw gentle, healthy boundaries, and say no to things that you feel are a bit much, or that deplete you, is the quickest way to exhaustion. Even if you had all the physical vitality in the world, it’s genuinely exhausting to spend your days consistently doing things that you don’t want to do, just to please people.


It’s so important to prioritise. There’s seasons in life, and depending on the responsibilities that are currently on your shoulders, you’re going to have to learn to say no to things that just aren’t important. Other people will get over it when you say no to their requests, but you’ll continually suffer if you keep on saying yes, yes, yes.


Say more ‘no’ to other things, so you can say more ‘yes’ to yourself.

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  1. You have a problem with delegating.

As much as we need to learn to say no, we also need to learn to delegate. We must be able to delegate non-essential tasks to other people. We cannot do everything ourselves. Asking people to help, allows them to step up and grow into their potential. It also means we don’t exhaust ourselves by trying to take on the world.


The mindset of ‘no one can do it as well as I can, so I’ll just do it’, or, ‘if I don’t do it, it won’t get done’, can contribute majorly to your exhaustion.


  1. You’re not creating ‘nothing’ space in your life.

If you’re feeling exhausted, often, it’s a sure sign that you’re likely filling your days, and leaving zero space for rest. If you’re feeling stressed and rundown, it’s important to schedule small pockets of space to do ‘nothing’. To just relax and recuperate. Our bodies are not designed to operate, without some degree of rest.


So, how do I heal my adrenal fatigue, and help my body cope with stress?


Most of the things that we turn to when we’re exhausted – caffeine, alcohol, sugar, late nights in front of the TV – they’re an attempt to combat the exhaustion.


Except, they only make us more exhausted! It really is a vicious cycle. To beat exhaustion, you often have to get really back to basics.


Naturopathy and other holistic therapies, will help you to uncover the ‘why’ behind your stress and adrenal fatigue, and make sustainable, long-term changes towards resolving them for good. The effort will be more than worth it, as you banish burnout and reclaim your vitality!


Beth Bridges is Quay Health’s Naturopath.  She specialises in helping people deal with stress and fatigue.

You can book an appointment to see Beth here

Beth Bridges Naturopath Quay Health Sydney CBD