"For the first time, I started to feel at home in my body. This connection inspired a yearning to help others and a deep curiosity to dive deeper into my culture and medicine. It is now my utmost passion to share this feeling and knowledge with folks, mothers, and mothers-to-be throughout all the various stages..."
Why did you start your practice? / What drew you to do this work?
My first seeds of Chinese medicine were planted through food. I grew up in a Chinese family and remember loving all the herbal aromas seeping out of my aunty and por por’s (grandma) pantries. I would greedily slurp up their delicious herbal bone broths, and be intrigued by their comments on the thermodynamic properties of foods (like, ‘ginger is warming, cucumbers are cooling’) and what was best to eat or avoid whenever anyone was unwell.
However, my path to becoming a practitioner was not a lifelong dream or a sudden aha moment. I began my professional career in engineering and sustainability consulting, where I suffered from burnout and a heavy cocktail of chronic health concerns. I was also diagnosed with PCOS, put on the pill, and advised that I would struggle to conceive. Seeking solutions, I turned to acupuncture and Chinese medicine and realised this did not have to be my narrative. My practitioner prescribed herbs, lifestyle changes, and regular acupuncture which became pivotal in helping me recover.
For the first time, I started to feel at home in my body. This connection inspired a yearning to help others and a deep curiosity to dive deeper into my culture and medicine. It is now my utmost passion to share this feeling and knowledge with folks, mothers, and mothers-to-be throughout all the various stages – menstrual health, preconception, pregnancy, postpartum, parenthood, menopause, and beyond.
What do enjoy the most about your work?
It is a dream and honour that I get to do this for work and there are so many things I love about it!
My clients openly trust, share, and invite me into their worlds with big hearts and immense vulnerability, and I get to form these special relationships with them as we navigate space to heal. I love being able to educate and provide clients with the tools needed to support their goals, listen to their needs, set boundaries, and make steady sustainable changes.
In connecting to the traditions of Chinese medicine, this often opens the door to clients tuning into their own cultural or family traditions. I see the spirit in their eyes and complexion blossom as they too come home to themselves, developing stronger connections to their bodies, emotions, and natural rhythms. I also love seeing those delicate acupuncture needles and potent herbs facilitate strong messages to further support healing – the power of this medicine consistently amazes me.
What is the most memorable thing you can tell someone about your job?
I see miracles take place every day, each one making me beam with immense love and joy. From chronic pain or ailments melting away allowing one to enjoy the simple things in life again, newfound clarity and zest after working through trauma or loss, absent/heavy/light/painful periods that become regular and pain-free, and so much more. I particularly adore pregnancy and birth announcements, especially after what can often be long, anxious, and immensely challenging prenatal journeys.
Based on your area of expertise, what can you share with our followers around postpartum care?
There are many traditional practices worldwide that centre around unburdening, honouring, and caring for the mother throughout the postpartum period. In Chinese medicine, this is called Zuo Yue Zi, which translates to sitting the month. It is also known as the Golden Month or Confinement. Chinese classical medical texts state that the way a mother recovers and rests in these first forty days has the power to impact her health for the rest of her life.
In Chinese medicine, blood, fluids, and circulation support all aspects of physical, mental, and spiritual health. The Golden Month is centred around replenishing these stores after an immense amount of energy, fluids, and blood are lost from the body during childbirth. This state of postpartum depletion means that mothers are particularly vulnerable to catching colds or developing aches and pains. Fatigue, dryness, digestive weakness, and emotional sensitivity are also commonly experienced.
The most important aspects to focus on during this time are:
1. Rest – this means dropping the general household tasks, to focus on you and baby. Taking time to rest without the influence and pressure of a bounce-back culture is a huge act of self-care. It’s an opportunity to heal, recover, and be in good health to care for your baby, and it gifts you with intimate bonding time together.
2. Warmth – after childbirth, the body has used up its energy stores. This can be likened to the fire underneath the cooking pot, where much of the fuel has been consumed and needs to be replenished. Staying warm supports this replenishment – keep the body, feet, and neck warm and covered, avoid cold foods and drinks, and avoid swimming and windy draughts. Chinese medicine also utilises a practice called moxibustion to further infuse warmth into the body to encourage healing. (Moxibustion sticks are available to purchase at Elan)
3. Nourishment - warm cooked foods with lots of fluids are the focus here. Soups, bone broths, stews, casseroles, bakes, and porridges are wonderfully nourishing, easy to digest and help build that fire underneath the cooking pot.
4. Support – find your support people to hold you, care for you, and help you complete the everyday household tasks while you rest and recover.
Additionally, being a Chinese medicine practitioner in this space, I encourage mothers-to-be to incorporate these principles earlier on during the preconception stage. I did this throughout my pregnancy journey and it allowed me to embrace and recognise the sheer importance and benefits of rest, nourishment, and warmth very early on. I had time to get comfortable with tuning into my body’s needs, asking for help, and setting boundaries - skills that do not come easily to mothers as we are often holding space for others around us.
I also highly recommend finding your health and support team early on. This can be very individual depending on your needs. Pelvic floor physios, lactation specialists, doulas, counselors, nutritionists, osteopaths or chiropractors, and Chinese medicine practitioners (though I am biased).
Preparation is key, so plan as best you can. Do your research, seek out your village, stock the freezer with nutritious meals, and have conversations with your partner and village about expectations and what you would like your postpartum period to look like. Reach out for help if you need and know that you are not alone on this journey.
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