Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture in Autumn

Chinese medicine and acupuncture is often a misunderstood treatment option, and so over the next year our resident practitioner Robin Burby will be going through various health areas where Chinese medicine and acupuncture can be beneficial to your health, and at times offer alternative treatment options to acute/chronic conditions.

Today’s blog is concerned with the upper respiratory tract, i.e. the sinuses, allergies, post nasal drip and a low immune system.  Through Chinese medical diagnosis, it can be discerned what is underlying your symptoms and how best to treat the root cause.

We are now well into autumn, and within Chinese medicine we associate this time of year with allergies and sinus infections.  You may have noticed the odd sneeze, or maybe a dry cough, or even a cold that is just lingering on and won’t go.  You may be finding that you’re sensitive to the cold weather and finding it difficult to get warm, or maybe you have started having more regular headaches.  Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture can be extremely helpful in strengthening your immune system to shake off these issues and get you back on track, breathing freely and feeling full of energy again!

It is also common at this time of year for your asthma to start to flare up or for you to develop a dry cough.  Again, Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture may be of help in supporting your regular control of asthma and help you take back control.

Contact Halos on 01883 713434 for more information and to book in for a consultation.

Robin Burby is fully registered with Tandridge council and is comprehensively insured with the British Acupuncture Council.  Robin is a practitioner of Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture with just under 10 years’ experience, having trained in both London and China.  Although enjoying treating a variety of conditions, Robin has very good success rates in musculoskeletal acute and chronic problems, headaches, skin diseases, cancer support, gynaecological irregularities, and support in pregnancy.


Honor Thy Body

For some of us, "Honor thy self" can be a well used phrase that we have heard many times, especially from the media, most of which promote how we should be looking after ourselves while coping with our busy lives.  And what would our interpretation of honor thy self be?  Do we think about it in terms of treating ourselves, a good work/life balance or nurturing ourselves.

During these stressful times, do we ever stop and take the time to think about what our body actually needs and requires, or the short and long term effects of our busy lives on our body.  Often our body actually informs us of what it wants, we're just not necessarily adept at listening to it properly or even giving it the time it deserves.  We listen to our children, partners and friends but seem to side step our body as we "don't have time". 

It can be so easy to 'go with the flow' and just follow all the advice that is being handed to us through the media and any other method that reaches out to us. So often we are being told what food our body requires, whether that be a high fat diet, a high protein this or a low carb that. Or what exercise would best serve us, or what will help us lose weight quickly.  It's no wonder we're feeling stressed out, tired or just plain exhausted, we simply don't know which way to turn.

But have you ever thought about the effect that stress actually has on your body?  Mostly we have an awareness of some of the effects as we feel them and often read about them, but do we ever stop and change things.

So what does happen to us?  It's known as the "fight or flight response".  This is our body's primitive, automatic inborn response that prepares the body to "fight" or "flee" from a perceived attack, harm or threat to our survival.  It was first described by Walter Cannon in the 1920's as a theory that animals react to threats with a general discharge of the sympathetic nervous system.  A very simple description of what happens in the body would be that chemicals such as adrenaline, noradrenalin and cortisol are released into our bloodstream.  These chemicals cause a series of very dramatic changes in our bodies: Our breathing rate increases. Blood gets directed away from our digestive system and redirected into our muscles Our pupils dilate and our sight sharpens Our awareness intensifies Our perception of pain diminishes.

So when our fight or flight system is activated, we tend to perceive everything around us as a possible threat to our environment.  The system bypasses our rational mind and moves us into "attack"mode" causing us to see everyone and everything as a possible enemy, we may overreact to the slightest comment and our thinking can become distorted. Unlike animals who have the ability to release the chemicals that surge through their bodies by simply shaking them out, we don't, or not that ever has been witnessed.  Generally, animals don't tend to carry stress around with them because of this ability to release the chemicals.

You'd be forgiven for thinking that something significant needs to happen for the fight or flight response to be activated, but it doesn't. These days it can be everything and anything, from the diary full of daily appointments to the cancelled train, from the exercise class you attend to the posture you adopt.  Without knowing it we end up in the "freeze" state and fail to move into the second stage, releasing the chemicals surging through our body.  Instead it ends up in our connective tissue and muscles. 

Exercise can be a great contributor to the Fight/Flight Response without us even realising it.  Posturecan also play a significant role, anyone who has poor posture can be at risk of increasing the adrenal response throughout their body, compressing the joints and affecting the fascial network which in turn is perceived as a threat, this then weakens the rest of the our body. Our digestive systems suffer as a result of the hormones and chemical changes and we can end up gaining weight along with other potential digestive problems.

So what can we do to help minimise the effects of stress?

An open posture can create spaces in the joints and encourage the body's ability to release its pent up stress.  With an lovely open posture, the hormone cortisol can release itself, the joints then have the opportunity to have spaces between them and this in turn will encourage a strong system of support.  We can breathe properly and fully, which then nourishes the body naturally as well as the organs it houses - who wouldn't want that.....

We can make sure we feed our bodies with wholesome nourishing foods.  Our inner body is likened to a garden that is well tended and cared for.  Gardeners spend time and immense effort nurturing their gardens and we should do the same with our digestive systems - choosing the foods that best serve us and taking time to eat and digest them.

Massage treatment will work on the connective tissue that holds the stress.  Focusing on the muscles that keep us in a flexed posture will start to bring relief to the body and that relief canrelease us into the desired open posture.  You might not realise that your posture has changed as our body has an innate ability to correct itself just by levelling our eye focus accordingly. As a Massage Therapist I see many people who have ended up with chronic muscular problems, this can then lead to skeletal issues if left untreated.  If left long enough, problems can evolve into acute situations which cause pain and discomfort and then the cycle begins again, we end up back in the "Fight or Flight" response, causing the chemical release through the body, only this time the pain doesn't diminish, it increases.

Massage can also have amazing effects on our Parasympathetic Nervous System, the system required to serve in the release of the stress hormones, slow the heart rate and generally relax the body overall.  So many people come away from this type massage feeling lighter, relaxed, calm,  soothed and generally more comfortable in their body.  The benefits of different types of massage treatment are endless, they all have immense value, you just need to decide which one would most benefit you and your body.

Of course, there are many other things, such as Pilates, Yoga or Acupuncture, that can contribute to ensuring we aren't constantly reacting with a 'Fight or Flight" Response, you just need to listen to what your body is asking for....

Honor thy Body!

By Helen Randall 

Do You Really Have To Live With Pain?

 by Robin Burby MATCM, MBAcC

Halos Centre for Complementary Healthcare

How many times has the doctor told you that the pain you are suffering from is something you just have to put up with? Or that the symptoms you are feeling are just normal and part of everyday life? Wouldn’t it be nice if you could get a second opinion, or maybe even analyse your overall health by taking account of all your symptoms before reaching a diagnosis?

Many people have been living in pain for years despite having had several operations, steroid injections, and a tummy full of pain killers when in many cases their suffering just isn’t necessary and can either be significantly reduced or in some cases even cured.

Chinese medicine and acupuncture is an ancient medical system that has been developed, researched and refined for more than 2,000 years and is now widely used and accepted all over the world and throughout the UK including within the NHS. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine work to maintain the body’s equilibrium by focusing on all aspects of wellbeing (physical, mental and emotional), and then arriving at a diagnosis and henceforth a treatment plan.

When a patient comes for acupuncture treatment, ultra-fine needles are inserted at chosen points around the body (commonly known as pressure points) which attempts to stimulate the body’s own healing response and restore its natural balance. Treatment is always aimed at the root of the condition as well as the symptoms so it’s not simply a substitute for your current medication. 

Robin Burby is a practitioner of Chinese medicine and acupuncture at Halos who studied fulltime for five years both in London and China. He is a member and insured by both the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) and the Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture (ATCMA) and is covered by most private medical insurance policies.

 by Robin Burby MATCM, MBAcC

British Weather Blues? Yoga Can Help!

It’s not long after Summer Solstice but if it weren’t for the odd sunny day to remind us of those much-loved moments eating ice cream and building on your T-shirt tan you’d be forgiven for thinking it was October, not July.

Unfortunately, ‘muggy’, ‘muddy’, & ‘highly unpredictable’ are the best adjectives to describe summer this far but I’m still holding out hope for the words, “what a glorious day” to be uttered from my lips more than once in the next 8 weeks!

Moreover, if I can put in an order for sunny weather during my camping break I’d be very happy indeed!

Generally speaking summer is a time we place our hopes in; and bad weather can hit us hard! We can find our slightly unrealistic dreams of the ‘perfect’ holiday period being replaced by bored & unhappy children desperate to get outside and run off some steam. Relationships too can come under stress when we put so much emphasis on this time of year to act as a one-fix wonder.

But how can yoga help? I’m sure you’re desperate to hear so I’ll let you in on this widely known secret…

Yoga is proven to not only provide exercise for the body but also calm for the mind. And a calm mind with some ‘me time’ can refresh mind, body and soul. With its focus on mindful-movement alongside breathwork (pranayama), and a restorative relaxation at the end, yoga is ideal for stress release.

Unfortunately, all the ridiculously flawless and intimidating media images of incredibly flexible people contorting themselves into what are essentially very advanced postures – all done with a gentle gaze of course – can most definitely be off-putting. Luckily though, this misrepresentation of yoga in the West is just that, a misrepresentation.

Though it is true that some people can perform these amazing feats that’s not what yoga is about. To get the most out of your yoga all you really need to do is make sure you find the right class for you.

Tuesday’s yoga classes at Halo’s Complementary Therapy Centre are small and friendly. My favourite class to teach is the 10:45am Gentle Stretch Yoga for Pain Management & Deep Relaxation, here you’ll find a deep sense of peace as you gently begin to release old ‘stuck’ patterns of both body & mind and build strength & flexibility too. It’s suitable for recovering from many injuries as well because there are so many variations of each and every pose. In this class we work towards getting to know our bodies again and exploring our range of movement, learning to trust our own judgment of what’s right and wrong for ourselves.

So if you’re already wondering how on earth you’ll get through the summer blues then why not give us a call and schedule in some ‘me time’ just for you.


Rosie Haysom

Halos Centre of Complementary Healthcare

Acupuncture for Headaches & Migraines

Acupuncture for Headaches & Migraines

Robin Burby MATCM MBAcC - Acupuncturist and Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner, Halos Centre of Complementary Healthcare, Oxted

As a professional my understanding of acupuncture has changed so much since graduating from my initial degrees, where I have learnt new theories, new strategies, new points locations that my opinion today is that all acupuncture is effective and it’s my job to see which theory fits best for each unique patient I treat.  What works for one patient is definitely not the answer for everyone! ...


Are you running the London Marathon? Help for runners at Halos

Marathons, running and preventing your niggles from turning into injuries

Running, its easy, you just put one foot in front of the other and it’ll be fine because we are all built for it, right?  Unfortunately, it’s not that simple, a staggering 90% of all runners get injured at some point in a year. The nature of running produces a very repetitive movement and most injuries are due to over use or overstraining. For me it’s the outside of my knee, it doesn't actually hurt, it’s just annoying...

Classes at Halos, Spring 2016

Pregnancy Yoga with Angie Chapman on Wed mornings at 10am. Its a very friendly and fun drop in class, £9 per session. This class is designed to keep you moving safely during pregnancy, to strengthen and tone and help your body ease through the changes ahead. It also incorporates important elements of relaxation and breathing techniques making it a well rounded,active but gentle class. If you have any questions or are interested give us a call. 

Pilates after Easter! We have two new 6 week pilates classes with Aileen Ross, starting on the 14th of April. There are only 8 spaces in this class to allow optimal teacher:student ratio so you benefit from close attention, posture adjustment and having your individual needs addressed better.

Classes take place on THURSDAY:  join our popular Morning class:  10.30am - 11.30am or our brand new Evening class from 6pm - 7pm.

Classes are open to block bookers who will be guaranteed a space but are also open to drop-in participants, provided the class hasn't been filled. Block of 6: £48; Drop in: £10. 

Rosie Haysom's Yoga classes on a TUESDAY morning:

The first class is a dynamic flow yoga class suitable for individuals with a reasonable level of fitness and some basic yoga experience. 

The second class is a gentle flow class, suitable for those looking for a slow and gentle class or anyone with injuries and pain. 

Please speak to Rosie directly on 07734 944535 if you are interested in either of the classes, she will be able to guide you which class is best and also to book you in directly.