Treating sinusitis naturally with herbs and acupuncture

Sinusitis is the infection and inflammation of the sinus passages. In Chinese medicine the nose opens from the lung, and sinus problems are usually due to an imbalance in the lung energy but can also be spleen (digestive) related.

It is very important to have infections treated in the body because long-term they can cause problems at the organ level and to related structures and tissues. Prevention is better than cure.

Chinese medicine is excellent for sinus infections and poor immunity as we have many effective methods and tools that can boost the lung and spleen Qi (energy) to overcome the infection.

If you have chronic sinus issues and it doesn’t matter how much zinc, vitamin C or antibiotics you take it won’t resolve; then you need to look further and try something different.

Cupping involves the use of glass cups which create a suction on the skin so that when they are removed fresh blood and lymph nourish the area locally. It enhances breathing and can remove phlegm and mucus.


Acupuncture is deeply relaxing and allows the body to enter an intuitive state, improve circulation and blockages which are causing the chronic condition. Famous points used include ‘Ying Xiang’ which means welcome fragrance and is located at either side of the nostrils.

Lifestyle and dietary advice are also pivotal given you may be doing things to aggravate the condition such as consuming cold foods and drink.

Chinese herbs help immensely, they clear the damp, heat or cold in the lung and then herbs to direct this to the nose such as Bo He and Hou Po may be used.

Its never to late to start treatment for chronic sinusitis, and if you tend to suffer from poor immunity during winter, book in before the cold weather settles in to get your best results.

@Ilana Sowter Acupuncture Melbourne, Ivanhoe, Northern suburbs

Cosmetic acupuncture: a natural alternative to Botox?

Are you feeling and looking, haggered, worn out? New shops are opening all the time in Ivanhoe but never really survive, the ones that seem to do well are … the beauty salons! So many of us prioritise beauty and how we appear above everything else.

If you are looking for a natural alternative to Botox or anti-wrinkle treatments, cosmetic acupuncture is worth trying.


The benefits of cosmetic acupuncture are not only to improve blood and lymph circulation to the face but also treat your underlying imbalance and constitution, after all if your organs are working at their optimum internally then externally the face and skin will flourish and glow. A healthy inside reflects a healthy outside. This way the results of the treatment will look authentically good rather than fake and not only will you look good, you will feel  great too!

Like my recent post on the Mei Gui Hua Cha (rose bud tea), the Chinese have been using natural methods to preserve and elongate their beauty so they look much younger than they are. It’s time learn about these tricks of the trade!

In the photo above you can see the precious Jade roller, which I also incorporate into my treatment which gently invigorates the skin and enhances the cosmetic acupuncture treatment.

Next time you are thinking of trying some anti-wrinkle or Botox treatment, consider a package of cosmetic acupuncture… You will be pleasantly surprised!

@Ilana Sowter Acupuncture Melbourne, Ivanhoe, Northern suburbs

Butter is a superfood hero💫

I seriously can’t believe how many people still think butter is bad for you!!! They say it is fattening or unhealthy. Butter is SO delicious and nutritious it should be in everyone’s fridge for good health.


My favourite butter and the best I believe available in Melbourne is made by the biodynamic cows of Paris Creek dairy. My granny says it tastes just like what butter used to taste like 70 years ago.

Why is butter so good for you?

It contains vitamin A, Lauric acid, lecithin – note lecithin metabolises cholesterol. Grass-fed butter in moderation will not increase your cholesterol levels, margarine and vegetable oils will.

It also contains minerals, Vitamin D, E, K, Activator X and the good fats it contains are great for your hormones.

Butter is a glorious superfood! It even has anti-cancer agents, strengthens bones and prevents tooth decay. It can balance blood sugar and the fats it contains are also essential to children’s brain and nervous system development. It has properties of anti-stiffness factor which prevent calcification of the joints, arteries and pineal gland.

Who can benefit from butter?

Everyone! Babies over 4 months, children, teenagers, women and men, pregnant and breastfeeding women, it’s also great for fertility and balancing hormones. I recommend 1-3 tablespoons per day. It is probably the only dairy food that lactose intolerant people can efficiently digest.

So I urge you to try some real, organic, grass-fed butter and enjoy and feel the goodness!

@Ilana Sowter Acupuncture Melbourne, Ivanhoe, northern suburbs

Gut health & immunity: kefir, curd & benefits

The weather is often hot then cold in Melbourne and many people are consequently suffering from cold, flu and poor immunity at the moment as I’m sure you’re aware!


Enter kefir or fermented milk as super probiotic to replenish your gut bacteria and restore immunity. The theory is that if you are getting sick all the time it is can be due to a deficiency of your natural probiotic flora thus your natural immune defence system is too weak to defend the body from invading pathogens. This explains why some people are more prone to recurrent respiratory or gastrointestinal illness than others.

You can easily make your own kefir at home, you just need a tablespoon of kefir “grains” to start with, which are little white bits full of the kefir culture that will ferment your milk. You can inherit these from a friend or buy them from places like GPA whole foods.

For any friends, family or patients reading this, please ask me for some kefir grains and I will lovingly pass them on – I have heaps!

How To Make Easy Kefir – add one tablespoon of kefir grains in a sterile, clean glass jar then one cup of the best milk you can find, such as goats or full-cream organic, unhomoginised milk. Screw the lid on then place in a dark place (it will die when exposed to light), mine lives in my cupboard. Leave it to ferment for 12-24 hours then pour half in a cup and drink, and top up with a cup of milk again and repeat the process. NB. Only use a plastic or wooden spoon when dealing with the grains, they react to metal.

If your prefer creamy, sweet kefir, ferment it for less time. If you are hardcore like me and love strong, sour, highly fermented kefir then leave it longer.

Along with herbs and acupuncture for immunity, kefir is a key adjunct. It is also suitable to take during IVF, pregnancy, post-partum and for kids too.

Some studies have found that kefir is more effective than therapeutic probiotics, and I love to think my little jar of ❤️ holds the key to good health and happiness.

@Ilana Sowter Acupuncture Melbourne, Ivanhoe, Northern suburbs


Wild Rose🌹: mei gui hua for pain, beauty & pms

Admiring this stunning rose today made me think of the herb mei gui hua or dried rose buds (rosa rugosa) that are used in Chinese medicine often for women’s health, periods and fertility.


The rose is the universal symbol of love has been used for medicine purposes for centuries. It is fragrant, clearing, and mild in nature which makes it ideal for nourishing the liver, moving qi and blood and most importantly clearing stagnation: which in Chinese medicine is a common reason for why we present with pain or illness.

You can make a straight tea or blend the dried rose buds with other herbs such as ginger, peppermint or calendula for men or women.

Benefits of rose tea include it regulating the qi as to calm stress and move tension. When taken regularly it can support good metabolism and weight loss for those with endocrinological disorders: think thyroid. Long-term use of Rose tea clears the complexion and benefits the breasts, you know for that pre-menstrual tension breast pain? Lastly it can ease constipation and help the period flow. Given it performs these functions it would be best taken from 36 weeks onwards in pregnancy.

Drink some special rose tea tonight to your good health!

@Ilana Sowter Acupuncture Melbourne, Ivanhoe, Northern suburbs

Sleep, wellbeing & acupuncture

Sleep! It’s so essential. As we get older it can change and become more difficult to stay asleep or fall asleep. Not being able to fall asleep can be due to blood deficiency, we say not enough blood in the body to nourish the heart and Shen to fall asleep at night. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs are excellent tools for helping people with sleep problems naturally.

Acupuncture for sleep

Sleep is vital for life, this is when our organs regenerate and heal themselves. Sleeping well keeps us young and gives us good energy to live our life to the fullest. Chronic illness can occur when we don’t rest enough and burn ourselves out.

If you have things on your mind that interfere with resting, having a coaching session to support you resolve and successfully deal with the challenges in your life is a positive and constructive way to manage these kinds of issues. As Louise Hay says every time we pop a pill for a physical ailment we are effectively telling out bodies to shut up.

Did you have a good night sleep? Hopefully you did, because the early work gets the bird.

@Ilana Sowter Acupuncture Melbourne, Ivanhoe


Are air-con & fans bad for you?

imageFinally the summer, I mean the real Melbourne summer has hit us! With this everyone has responded with blasting out cool air from every air-conditioning and fan unit possible and me telling them to turn it off!

Funnily enough, like being served endless iced water in a fancy restaurant, have you ever wondered if these practices of icing the body are good for you?

Like I continually advise, good health is connected to your body’s source and yang Qi, the beautiful fire and metabolism that keeps it alive and young. When we douce this fire with ice and cold, it can make it flare and go in the wrong places (hot flushes, nightsweats, extreme heat and dryness) or to the point of cooling it down so baldly that weakly burns and gives signs such as cold lower back, feet, sluggishness and diarrhoea.

Full blast air con and fans are not good for your health. Of course it is important to use them in moderation especially if you are struggling in the heat but to have a constant breeze of icy air blowing on you is not good for your mingmen (yang source fire) or your immunity or circulation.

Having studied science at Melbourne uni, it makes sense to me that the constant cooling of a particular area such as the neck will mean that less blood and lymph (thus white blood cells which fight pathogens) is brought to the area as we know heat does the opposite. Long-term this means that any bugs in your throat will not be met by enough of your white blood cell army, causing recurrent sore throat or immunity.

It’s good to be out in a bit of heat if your body is strong and can handle it, nothing like a little sweat and heat pushing toxins out of the body and getting the circulatory system working.

Embrace summer, the sun and the vitamin D it brings us… Winter will cool you down!

@Ilana Sowter Acupuncture Melbourne, Ivanhoe, Northern suburbs

Natural support for miscarriage at home

Miscarriage can occur for different reasons; a blighted ovum, genetic deformities, hostile uterine environment and even a cold uterus that fails to provide the warmth and nourishment to the baby.

Winter Magnolia

As a woman you will have a choice to have a D&C (dilate & cutettage) where the products of conception are surgically removed or to wait and miscarry at home.

It can be very frustrating and challenging if you are waiting to miscarry and continue to feel the signs and symptoms of pregnancy.

I have supported women over the years who chose to miscarry naturally; here is some information for how to support your body To miscarry with herbs, lifestyle and mindfulness.

Take a hot bath every day and add a cup of magnesium sulfite or empsom salts, a few drops of lavender and/or clary sage essential oils can be soothing.

Apply heat packs and hot water bottles to your lower abdomen and lower back, you can even make a ‘castor oil pack’ to help things move along.

Acupuncture is very effective to get the blood and energy moving, I recommend treatment as soon as you have found out the news, it’s also very calming for the mind.

Listen to meditation and look after yourself, it’s really helpful if you have someone you trust to talk to about it and support you emotionally.

Chinese herbs are excellent for supporting the body to expel the products of conception, they will also help it happen more smoothly.

Drink raspberry leaf tea, about four cups of strong tea a day and add some freshly grated ginger to the pot. Raspberry leaf is highly nutritive for the uterus and can support its function to cramp.

Add cinnamon to all your food and drinks, it is warming, sweet and soothing and moves Qi in the channels.

Eat spicy warming foods and drinks. Avoid cold foods and drinks. Ginger, garlic, turmeric and chilli all have heating properties and can increase your temperature and metabolism to miscarry.

Affirmations: I love the mantra

Let god

Let Go

Let love

To support this process. Tell your body that, “I am healed, I am healthy”.

Be kind to yourself and as heartbreaking the situation in, I truly believe it provides one with hope and faith that they do indeed have the ability to conceive.

@Ilana Sowter Acupuncture Melbourne, Ivanhoe, Northern suburbs



Wake up & smell the roses: to your purpose

It’s Wednesday morning and many of you may be thinking, bugger, another day at work and it’s only Wednesday!

Remember before all our complaints and dislikes comes the gratitude for the simple and essential things in life we take for granted. You’re alive! You have choices, you have purpose, you came here to do something and only you can take the risk to find out what it is. We are well off enough to have access to the Internet, a cup of coffee and a roof over our heads. All of these things are miracles that we bypass everyday.

When I coach my clients to awaken to the gratitude and find their life purpose we move out a lot of the crap that is plaguing their lives and blocking them from really flourishing as they are.


It’s an absolutely divine day today here in Melbourne, so reach over and smell those roses, think about what you have that is good in your life and what you are looking forward to in the future. Only good lies ahead! 🌹

@Ilana Sowter Acupuncture Melbourne, Ivanhoe, Northern suburbs

Hickeys? No it’s gua sha – benefits & action

Gua sha (Chinese: 刮痧; pinyin: guā shā) translates to “scraping sha-bruises”, is a key treatment in traditional Chinese medicine where a clay spoon or tool is used to scrape the skin which brings out toxic heat from the body.

The sha or toxic heat that is brought out from gua sha.

Yes, it certainly looks unsightly, a trail of bruising that could pass for a love bite track or hickey crawl.

However the benefits certainly outweigh the look, especially if you prefer to avoid medication and want to detox the body, by moving blood and toxins to the surface of the body to be renewed and healed.

In my case here the gua sha has been indicated for sore throat. It is amazing how it provides instant relief. The theory suggests that by scraping the neck, the blood brings the pathogen, stagnant qi and toxic heat to the surface, which will take some days to fade. However the internal sore throat pain is alleviated, depending on the severity of it.

Gua sha has a myriad of uses from sore throat, infection, high fever, inflammation, chills, cough, sinusitis, heatstroke to pain and much more. Discomfort can be experienced as the spoon is pressed from top to bottom, however the relief produced is usually instant and many swear by it.

This is a common theme in Chinese medicine where we aim to ‘release the exterior’, rather than always pop pills to treat symptoms, we bring it out through the skin.

As they say, better out than in!

@Ilana Sowter Acupuncture Melbourne, Ivanhoe, Northern suburbs

The sha or toxic heat that is brought up from gua sha