gut brain health food health wellbeing acupuncture quay health sydney cbd circular quay

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.

Healthy Eating gut health acupuncture chiropractic Quay Health circular quay sydney cbd

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.

 gut brain health food health wellbeing acupuncture quay health sydney cbd circular quay


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 treatment acupuncture Quay Health Sydney CBD

If only I could get some sleep

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 dreaminess 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 treatment acupuncture Quay Health Sydney CBDInsomnia 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 they would continue for many years, and they would try many ways to deal with it, including having sleeping medication or drugs, but these would not work 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 do 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.


To find relief from your insomnia book an appointment to see Quay Health’s accupuncturist’s Si Chen and Darren Geer.  Call 9252 2825 to book an appointment.

Si Chen Acupuncturist Quay Health Sydney CBD

Si Chen
Quay Health Sydney CBD


Running…a fine line between better performances and injuries

I am a physiotherapist and a runner. As a runner I know there is a fine line between better performances and injuries.

shutterstock_230939503Running is a quick, natural, cheap, flexible way to keep fit. Yet, so many people suffer injuries from performing their running training or competitions. There are a number of reasons for this:


1. Over training – or doing too much too soon


The body has amazing abilities to compensate and cope with the demands we place on it. But there are limits. When we exercise our body basically breaks down with the exercise and then is rebuilt but better and stronger…UNLESS we go beyond our body’s ability to adapt.


For each of us there is an individual range of activity performance where if we do too little our bodies will never improve; but if we do too much they break down more than the repair process can heal it and create positive adaptations. If this imbalance is prolonged it can result in an injury or illness. For example: someone just beginning an activity, like running, has to increase their volume or intensity at a much lower and slower level than a seasoned performer of the same task.


Generally the rule is: do not increase volume/distance more than 10% per week or increase intensity more than 2-3% in a week…speed increases, including too many hills, can cause quicker breakdown and maladaptations than increasing volume/time/distance.


I have treated many people who have started training for the City to Surf by running lots of hills the week before….they did not make it to the start line! Hills like speed and distance need to be progressed at a rate that the body can adapt to. The body adapts amazingly well but it has limits that need respecting.


Over training can also mean running too much, especially if you do not have a good nutrition base or are not sleeping enough. The body needs good healthy food to help heal the body and contribute to positive adaptations that well planned training provides and enough sleep to give the body a chance to repair and recover. Most healing occurs during sleep. Never underestimate the power of sleep. I saw a great quote on line recently it said’ if you have to choose between more sleep or an extra training run…choose more sleep!’ Adaptations from training occur when we sleep!


Many runners run fast all the time, but research is showing that the optimal training ratio is 80:20 i.e. 80% done at aerobic heart rate level and 20% at medium or high intensity….the higher the intensity the more stress on the body and too much stress leads to overtraining syndrome or illness or injury.


2. Technique errors


Many runners do not think technique is important – they think anyone can run. But like in every other sport or activity there are techniques that help to minimise stress on the body.


If you have never been injured then I would NOT change a thing, but if you constantly suffer injuries looking at technique may be very beneficial.


There are some facets to running that research is showing to be less stressful for our bodies. These include:


a) Cadence – how many steps we take per minute


Quicker, shorter steps are better than over striding and landing with the foot in front of the body. This causes a braking effect. Longer slower strides tend to have this pattern with a cadence around 160 steps per minute. Research is showing that around the 180 steps a minute is more optimal.


b) Landing with our foot as close to under our hips as possible with our lower legs vertical helps to minimise forces. Hard to know if you do this or not…so maybe get a running assessment.


3. Pre-existing weakness or tightness/muscle imbalance


Sometimes injuries we have had years ago may be affecting how we are moving today. Previous traumas and illnesses can also have an effect. Sometimes by correcting these imbalances the restricted body part can then be free to move correctly and thus be strengthened or trained to move in a more optimal pattern.


Book in today for your running assessment or assessment of your past injuries and how they might be affecting your running today!


Jo Hadley


Quay Health


Fascial Manipulation in a nutshell…a very large nutshell…

What is Fascial Manipulation and how can it help you move, live and feel better?

shutterstock_254159596I am a physiotherapist with over 25 years of experience. I treat the usual work related ergonomic injuries and the back and neck pains that often result from working in an office at a computer most of the day. I am able to provide ergonomic and postural advice and exercises. I can assess joint and muscles injuries both acute and chronic. My special interest is in running injuries, problems that persist or areas of multiple regions of pain or tightness etc. The injuries that don’t seem to want to go away but nothing specific has ever been diagnosed. I now use a whole body technique called Fascial Manipulation to help assess multi region issues and see if they are connected.


Fascial Manipulation is a holistic manual therapy technique devised and refined by Luigi Stecco an Italian physiotherapist over the past 40 years and being further refined and researched by his children who are both medical practitioners and researchers. It is a developing field and technique that is growing around the world but is very new to Australia.


But what is fascia? Fascia is the soft tissue that covers every cell, muscle, muscle group and organ etc in our bodies. (It is the white bit around meat!) Until recently it has been ignored by anatomists, even though it covers everything and most of our neural receptors are within it. There is the superficial fascia (the skin and neural receptors) and the deep fascia (more muscle related). The iliotibial band (ITB) and the plantar fascia in the foot, are the best known parts of the fascial system, because they are some of the densest fascial places within the body. Fascia is usually a lot thinner in other areas – but just as important!


Whereas muscles attach bone to bone, fascia through its spiraling interconnected, multi directional layers, connects our feet to our heads to our hearts, lungs and hands etc. Many muscles also attach into fascia as well as onto bone and so fascia has the ability to transfer forces throughout many areas of the body. It has the ability to cause muscle dysfunction and timing issues, for example have you had a muscle that you have tried to strengthen but nothing changed? It could be a fascial system block.


As well as affecting the tension of the fascia around muscles the fascial tension around organs can be altered, which can cause symptoms like constipation, bloating, recurrent throat or voice issues, reflux, cysitis, and palpitations to name only a few.


Fascial or soft tissue tension over time and years and/ after suffering a number of injuries and/or illnesses etc, can result in various areas of the fascia tightening up and exerting force at a point of compensation, often away from the site of breakdown or pain or dysfunction. The body has an amazing ability for compensation, so part of the Fascial Manipulation treatment, especially for internal dysfunctions where the organs are involved, aims to restore some ‘give’ and flexibility to the body’s fascial system by releasing areas where adhesions have formed and prevented normal movement. The body can operate very well even without perfect fascial flexibility but if it reaches a point where the compensations are no longer possible then injuries/pain/internal dysfunctions can begin to have an affect on our lives.


Fascial Manipulation technique has a number of points throughout each part of the body, very similar to acupuncture points. In the initial assessment, your present, as well as your past injuries, illnesses, surgery, trauma etc are taken into account and the whole body is assessed to locate the most efficient points to release for your condition.


If the right points have been found then 50% improvement or more should occur with the first treatment or with internal dysfunctions improvement over the following week should occur. Some purely musculo-skeletal conditions can be resolved in 1-3 sessions, whereas depending on the internal dysfunctions or complicated cases with multiple conditions/injuries etc may take longer. Generally the treatments are spaced out one week apart to give the body time to adjust to its new tensioning and after about 3 sessions at least one month is recommended between treatments, if required, to allow the cells of the fascia to regenerate.


The treatment can be quite tender and often remains sore for about 2-3 days after the treatment session. This is normal and part of the healing process, as the treatment involves causing friction to the points that are found to be densified. The friction heats up the ‘stuck’ densified hyaluronic acid layer until it becomes fluid once more and thus small areas of inflammation are created. The points may stay sore but usually the condition being treated is improved, immediately for musculo-skeletal issues and over one week for internal dysfunctions.


Fascial Manipulation works well on any sports injuries, back and neck injuries, overuse injuries, chronic injuries and for people who have developed multiple areas of pain or issues in their bodies.


Within 1-3 sessions you will know if it will work for you! Once treated, the areas that were previously ‘blocked’ are now able to move as they are supposed to making exercises more likely to work and help strengthen the targeted areas. With internal dysfunctions, by removing the fascial tension the organs are more free to move in the rhythm they need to work, (all organs have small amounts of movement.), thus minimising unusual symptoms. Fascial Manipulation cannot change pathologies but may be able to help pre-pathological states with the internal organs. The treatment points do not involve manipulating the internal organs, instead the points are located at sites where tension has been found to concentrate for example along the abdominal muscle sheath or feet.


Jo Hadley


Quay Health


Click..ouch! Was that my jaw?

Jaw pain is no laughing matter!


p1040971The jaw, also known as the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), is one of the most frequently used joints in the body. It is used for talking, eating, sucking and yawning. The TMJ muscles activate and oppose gravity to keep the mouth closed. When the mouth is slightly open, the TMJ is relaxed.


If you are experiencing pain in the TMJ, this is usually caused by an imbalance in joint movement because of poor bite, bruxism (clenching or grinding), or joint problems such as inflammation, trauma and degeneration.


The following may be indicative of TMJ dysfunction:

  • Headaches in the temporal region
  • Point tenderness in jaw muscles on the sides of the face
  • Pain on full open or full close
  • Lateral deviation of the jaw during movement
  • Pain while eating
  • Chewing food on one side instead of evenly across both sides
  • Waking from sleep with jaw pain
  • Breathing from the mouth instead of the nose
  • Clicking during jaw movements
  • Jaw locking
  • Malocclusion, missing teeth or dental decay
  • Clenching or grinding of teeth (bruxism)
  • Bad habits such as chewing gum, biting nails, leaning on the chin and smoking
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Stomach sleepers
  • Poor cervical and thoracic alignment
  • Dizziness


Everyday tasks such as sleeping, brushing your teeth or eating tough foods can be become difficult and painful.


If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, physical therapy such as chiropractic adjustments, massage and acupuncture can decrease pain, restore function and limit degenerative changes.


Dr Rebecca Squire
Quay Health

I’m in pain, do I go to a Physio or a Chiro?

I’m in pain, do I go to a Physio or a Chiro?


Throughout my years in practice, I quite frequently get asked this question. So I thought I would blog about it this week, and clear up a few misconceptions, at least from the chiropractic end. I would like to start by saying that contrary to popular belief, chiro’s and physio’s do like each other and get along very well! The truth is, each has a special part to play and neither can think of doing the work of the other.


chiro or physio, Quay Health Chiropractor Sydney CBD Circular Quay Dr Aline DahdahI have patients that I have suggested see a physio in addition to the work that I do with them. Physio’s help with rehabilitation exercises post injuries, after I have worked on their spinal alignment. Physio’s do a great job in prescribing strengthening and reconditioning exercises, muscle release, stretching and joint mobilisation.


My area of expertise is in the human spine and improving the communication between the brain and the rest of the body. I do this by removing interference along the spine. People typically come in for low back pain, sciatica, headaches, neck and shoulder pain which can result from sitting too long at their desks. My job is to find misalignments of joints along the spine and remove them. This takes pressure off joints, reduces inflammation around nerves and allows muscles to relax and start working properly again. If a patient has a chronic (long standing) condition, they would really benefit from strengthening exercises.


In my practice, I focus on posture correction. I correct posture by releasing stuck tissue deep within the spine and then realigning joints along the spine. After that, strengthening exercises are recommended and seeing a physio is a great idea! I don’t claim to be able to properly guide a rehabilitation program and so referring to someone who does it very well is a must. Similarly, purely strengthening muscles around the spine isn’t the complete answer either, so looking at spinal alignment is necessary too.


So the answer is this. If you are in pain, or not, you need to find the therapy that best works for you. Both have great roles to play, and I would consider seeing both.


Chiropractic has also been used for years as preventative alternative medicine, and in my opinion, getting a spinal assessment early, before pain, is a great idea. You could learn a lot about your body and see how great your body was designed feel. It is not necessary to be in pain to see one of us. So care for your spine. It is the only one you have. Never stop looking for answers or the therapy that will give you the best results. There are many, great quality practitioners out there, be it physio’s or chiro’s. It is your job to find the right one, and what works best for you.


Dr Aline Dahdah


Quay Health

Dr Aline Dahdah Chiropractor Quay Health Sydney CBD

Custom Orthotics Vs Store Bought

Unlike store bought inserts, custom orthotics are developed professionally with a personalised fit.

orthotics moulding at quay health  podiatrist sam towers sydney cbd
Often, patients experience quicker pain relief and recovery with a custom product for their unique concern. Additionally, materials and in-shoe fit can be determined within your preferred shoes.

Activity levels and body mass are also  taken into account when ordering custom orthotics, as is asymmetry and unusual anatomy. Plus, necessary modifications are also included.


There are a number of benefits to ordering custom orthotics, but pain relief is the primary one. Knee and back pain particularly can be greatly improved when orthotic devices are used. 


Plus, you’ll be able to perform daily activities like standing and walking with minimal to no complaints of pain.


Custom orthotics are also designed to support the spine and help efficiently realign it. Ultimately, the daily use of orthotics helps to reduce symptoms in the long term and may assist in the reduction back pain.


Additionally, minor foot deformities such as bunions can be managed by using foot orthotic devices. 


Rigid orthotics are used to control the function of the foot and to reduce or altogether eliminate pain in the feet, legs and back. As the name suggests, rigid orthotic devices are made of firm materials such as plastic and are most commonly fitted tightly to the affected region.


If you don’t suffer from a medical condition, injury or deformity, you can still use orthotics to help with shock while performing high-impact activities like jogging, walking and running.


Ultimately, custom orthotics can help you get a personalised fit, eliminate pain, support your spine, aid foot deformities and improve your active lifestyle. 


Sam Towers


Sam Towers Podiatrist Quay Health Sydney CBD