Beat the Bloat – Helping your digestion over Christmas

We’re all prone to a little overindulgence at Christmas, and all that rich rood and overeating plays havoc with our digestion leaving us bloated, uncomfortable and suffering from indigestion. Chinese Medicine sees our digestive health as particularly important, determining our vitality, mood, immunity, and more. Here are  some tips to try and minimise the stress we put on our poor stomachs during the party season.

Chew your food: Chewing food properly releases digestive enzymes into the saliva to break down carbohydrates. Undigested carbohydrates cause bloating, so chewing more can prevent distended bellies. Also, really chewing and tasting your food makes it more satisfying, meaning you may eat less.”

Drink warm liquids: The smooth muscle of your digestive system likes warmth. Ingesting cold will weaken your digestion whereas warm liquids will relax and strengthen it over time, reducing bloating. Drinking a glass of warm water first thing will get your digestive metabolism going for the day.

Drink Ginger Tea: Ginger is revered for its ability to soothe the digestive tract and bring gastric juices back into balance. It has been used for centuries to treat hangovers and overeating. Pour hot water over fresh ginger root and sip slowly both before you eat a big meal, and after festivities.

Move: if you’re feeling lethargic and bloated, movement is essential. The best cure is to get the family together and take a walk after the big meal. It doesn’t have to be for long, just enough movement to help stimulate digestion. Plopping down on the couch will slow down your system, and that stagnation causes the discomfort of bloating. Yoga can also be a great help as twisting postures aid in digestion.

Relax: Stress and anxiety can cause an upset stomach and the chaos and family stress of the Christmas period can lead to higher stress levels. Follow an evening of celebrating with some alone time to enjoy peace and quiet.

Rub your belly: In Chinese medicine, bloating and indigestion indicate that your digestive energy is obstructed, so self-massage can improve flow and regulate the digestive organs. Lie comfortably on your back, place your palm above your belly button and rub your abdomen in a circle around your belly button. Circle clockwise (as you look down at your belly) as this is the direction of your bowel.

Have acupuncture: If you find you have digestive problems year round, not just when overeating, acupuncture could help to strengthen your digestive system. Give me a call to find out more.


Eleanor Breen Acupuncture, Bristol

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Christmas gift vouchers: Give the gift of wellbeing!

Acupuncture christmas gift voucher

Don’t know what to buy your loved ones for Christmas this year? Looking to give them a more meaningful gift?

You could start them on the journey to better health and wellbeing with an acupuncture gift voucher.

Gift voucher for 1 treatment: £35
Special Offer:  5 treatments for the price of 4. Just £140

Eleanor Breen Acupuncture, Bristol

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New Clinic in St Nicks Market, Central Bristol

Fantastic news!

From December I will have a new clinic in All Saints Court next to St Nicks Market in Bristol City Centre. I will be in new yoga studio Breathe Bristol ( which is opening in a beautiful 4 story townhouse in the close next to All Saints Church.

Once the clinic is up and running I will be practicing there Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays

Pictures to follow once I have painted the room and made it beautiful


Eleanor Breen Acupuncture, Breathe Bristol, 3 All Saints Court, Bristol, BS1 1JN

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Inspiration for Autumn

This morning the presence of autumn was palpable, the mist in the air, the damp smell, and the slight feeling of heartbreak that brings me.  For many including me, autumn brings a sense of melancholy, a feeling of loss; having to say goodbye to the warmth and joy of summer.

Autumn is a time of change. Chinese medicine describes it as a time for letting go, and for many of us this can be quite difficult. We may become mired in nostalgia or grieve for what has passed from our lives, focusing on regrets or lost opportunities.

By not letting go of the past we close ourselves off the potential of change and the amazing opportunities this brings. It closes us off from seeing the beauty of the present

In Chinese Medicine autumn is associated with the Lungs. The sadness and grief of autumn can be felt in your chest, often as a sense of emptiness, but breathing is also known as inspiration, and autumn is as much about taking in as letting go. Go out in the beauty of autumn and breathe in deeply and you can fill yourself with a sense of potential and inspiration, allowing you to accept that all things are cyclical and everything changes.

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Monthly wellbeing column in the Bishopston Voice

Bishopston Voice Logo

If you live in Bishopston, Henleaze or Redland you will be able to read my wellbeing column monthly in the Bishopston Voice. The August edition should have hit your doormats in the last week.

or you can read it online here: on page 23

Eleanor Breen Acupuncture, Bristol

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Inspiration for Summer

In Chinese medicine our energy changes with the seasons. The ‘Fire’ energy of summer is associated with joy and our extrovert qualities are at their peak. Here’s how to let your Fire energy thrive while looking after yourself:

  1. Be Active: This is our most energetic time so get outside, play with the kids, swim in the sea. Just don’t overdo it in the heat.
  2. Eat raw foods: In China foods are seen as warming or cooling. in hot weather, cooling raw foods like salad, juices and fruit will keep you balanced
  3. Spend time with people: Express your Fire energy by connecting with others.  Friends and laughter are important. Say yes to that BBQ. Talk to a stranger. enjoy time with your partner
  4. Spend time near water: Fire can rage out of control sometimes, we get overexcited and overheated. Water can cool and calm our minds and bodies.
  5. Get enough sleep: it’s natural to sleep less in summer but rest is still important. Make sure you recharge that energy you’re using.

Eleanor Breen Acupuncture, Bristol

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Acupuncture outperforms migraine drug

A recent study has found that acupuncture performs better than valproic acid in the prevention of migraine pain. Valproic acid is often prescribed as a migraine preventative.

The study, by the Department of Neuroscience at The University of Padova, Italy, showed that patients given acupuncture experienced lower pain intensity and needed to use less painkillers (Rizatriptan) at six-months follow-up compared to those that were given the drug. They also experienced no side effects.

The study can be seen here:

If you suffer from migraines or headaches and would like to know more about how acupuncture could help you, please get in touch for a chat

Eleanor Breen Acupuncture, Bristol

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How does acupuncture help fertility?

It is not commonly known that acupuncture is an effective treatment for increasing fertility and regulating menstruation.

Women often ask me about how acupuncture could help them to get pregnant. So here is a brief overview of how acupuncture benefits fertility in women.


  • Regulates fertility hormones, which means:
    • more regular menstrual cycles
    • more regular ovulation
    • better follicular development
    • better uterine lining
  • Increases blood flow to the ovaries and to the uterus, which:
    • improves the quality of eggs
    • improves the thickness of the endometrial lining
    • increases the chances of embryo implantation.
  • Counteracts the effects of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) – PCOS is one of the most common causes of female infertility. By reducing sympathetic nerve activity and balancing hormone levels, acupuncture has been shown to reduce the number of ovarian cysts, stimulate ovulation, enhance blastocyst implantation and regulate the menstrual cycle in women with PCOS.
  • Acupuncture also works on an emotional/spirit level, so can help reduce the stress and anxiety that can come with trying to get pregnant, which in turn will lead to increased chances of successful pregnancies.

Acupuncture is also a useful adjunct to IVF treatment and is recommended by many private IVF clinics as it improves success rates.

I also give dietary advice as this can often be a factor in fertility. We can suggest foods which build blood or reduce blocks such as Cold or Damp, based on our diagnosis of the individual.

And finally don’t forget male health is a vital role in fertility – so it’s important that both partners are in good health. Acupuncture can help increase sperm health too.

This is a great simple video that explains how acupuncture can help

Do get in touch with me if you would like to know more.


Eleanor Breen Acupuncture, Bristol

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Acupuncture for hay fever – Enjoy your summer!

So summer is truly here, but while many people are enjoying themselves in the outdoors, for 20% of our population it not such an enjoyable season. For those that suffer with hay fever this can be a miserable time of year.

But sufferers should know that this need not be the case. Acupuncture can both relieve the symptoms of hayfever and prevent your immune system over reacting to the pollen in the first place. It can be used successfully during the hay fever season but is effective as a preventative treatment pre-hay fever season. Aisling (34) describes her experience of acupuncture:

“I’ve suffered from chronic hayfever since I was 11 years old with some years being so bad that I’m pretty much house bound for days at a time. I’ve tried EVERYTHING…from local honey to steroids with varying degrees of success (and side effects!). I tried acupuncture as a last resort two years ago and it’s genuinely the only thing that has worked. I don’t have to remember to take antihistamines every day, there are no side effects and it’s the most effective treatment that I’ve come across yet.”

Acupuncture focuses on treating “the Root and the Branch.” This means that treatment will address the immediate symptoms, the itchy eyes, the stuffy nose etc, but most importantly treatment will be focussed on treating the cause of your hay fever. The diagnosis will focus on how your body responds to triggers, and why your immune system has such an extreme response to something as seemingly harmless as pollen.

Some improvements in the hay fever may be seen in the first season of acupuncture treatment, but major improvements will be seen in the second season of treatment. It is often advised to seek treatment before the hay fever season starts, in early Spring, to support the immune system for the coming season

Acupuncture treatment focuses on treating fundamental imbalances within a person, so regulation of the immune system will be a natural part of most treatment. Because of this, people who come for acupuncture for other reasons can often report an improvement in their hay fever symptoms. Tom (34) found that this was the case:

“After 5 summer of suffering from Hay fever quite badly I had been having acupuncture throughout winter and spring for other reasons but got to the time of year it would usually start and no symptoms at all – for the last 4/5yrs now!”

For more information and details of scientific research into the use of acupuncture for Hay fever visit the British Acupuncture Council on

For further information on how acupuncture can help you, please contact me


Eleanor Breen Acupuncture, Bristol


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Acupuncture for Diabetes

Acupuncture is a relatively uncommon treatment approach for diabetic patients here in the UK, however in modern China it is very much part of the mainstream. Acupuncture puts the emphasis on treating diabetes with the integrated care of body, the removal of symptoms and prevention of complications. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recognises that acupuncture can help resolve both specific symptoms and conditions.

From a biomedical viewpoint, acupuncture stimulates the nervous system, influencing the production of the body’s communication substances – hormones and neurotransmitters. These biochemical changes activate the body’s self-regulating systems, encouraging the homeostasis, and thus stimulating the body’s natural healing abilities.

Acupuncture promotes emotional and physical well-being helping people manage better with stress. Stress is a significant risk factor for diabetes sufferers as stress hormones cause blood glucose to rise and promote insulin resistance.

There have been a number of clinical trials demonstrating the efficacy of acupuncture in treating diabetes and reducing the risk of developing complications.

These indicate that acupuncture helps diabetes sufferers by:

  • regulating insulin production (Lin et al, 2004)
  • regulating blood sugar levels (Lin 2004; Chang 2006; Cabioğlu 2006; Jiang 2006)
  • improving the blood lipid profile (Cabioğlu 2005; Jiang 2006)
  • improving blood circulation (Tsuchiya 2007), thus helping to slow the onset and progression of diabetic circulatory complications

Acupuncture can be safely and effectively combined with Western medicine and most people who come to acupuncture for the treatment of diabetes do so as part of an integrated treatment plan combined with Western medication.

If you have diabetes and you would like to know more about how acupuncture can help you, please call me for a chat.


CabioğluMT, Ergene N. Changes in levels of serum insulin, C-Peptide and glucose after electroacupuncture and diet therapy in obese women. Am J Chin Med. 2006; 34(3):367-76.

Lin JG et al. Multiple sources of endogenous opioid peptide involved in the hypoglycemic response to 15 Hz electroacupuncture at the Zhongwan acupoint in rats. Neurosci Lett. 2004 Aug 5;366(1):39-42.

Chang SL et al. Enhanced insulin sensitivity using electroacupuncture on bilateral Zusanli acupoints (ST 36) in rats. Life Sci. 2006 Aug 1;79(10):967-71.

CabioğluMT, Ergene N. Electroacupuncture therapy for weight loss reduces serum total cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol levels in obese women. Am J Chin Med. 2005; 33(4):525-33.

Jiang H et al. Clinical study on the wrist-ankle acupuncture treatment for 30 cases of diabetic peripheral neuritis. J Tradit Chin Med. 2006 Mar;26(1):8-12.

More information can be found in the British Acupuncture Councils FactSheet:


Eleanor Breen Acupuncture, Bristol

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