1. Home
  2. Blog Home
Interview with Dr. Bettina Brill at Shen Healing Chinese Medicine

Interview with Dr. Bettina Brill at Shen Healing Chinese Medicine

Dr. Bettina Brill
 Co-Founder of Shen Healing
 Co-Editor of The Lantern Journal of Chinese Medicine
 Lecturer at Southern School of Natural Therapies
 Ph.D. Sc; BHSc (Chinese Medicine)

 HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN PRACTISING? 
27 years. Michael and I established Shen Healing in 1990 in Carlton and we have been here ever since. 

 HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN CHINESE MEDICINE AND WHAT DREW YOU TO IT? 
The first time I came across Chinese herbs and acupuncture was when I came to Australia. I was working on my Ph.D. and I was at the computer all the time and had really sore shoulders. There was an integrated medical doctor in Newcastle, and he prescribed strange-looking herbs and twigs for me to boil up for my shoulder. However, what really got me into it (Chinese Medicine) was once I moved to Melbourne and got into martial arts. I started to study a bit of Chinese philosophy and massage; I also met Michael, my partner, who was doing acupuncture. That was all a really long time ago [laughs]. Then we went to China in the early 1990s and spent some time there. When I came back I studied with several practitioners. I spent 5 years at Steven Clavey’s clinic. In those days we didn’t have a comprehensive course in Chinese Medicine. We certainly didn’t have any at the university level. Students don’t know how lucky they are today. Eventually, I ended up going to Victoria University to get my Bachelor’s Degree. 

IT IS INTERESTING HOW A LOT OF PEOPLE COME TO CHINESE MEDICINE THROUGH MARTIAL ARTS. 
Yes. I guess that is because it is a part of the philosophy, the whole package of Chinese Medicine; taking care of one’s self, practicing yang sheng. 

YOU SAID YOU WERE STUDYING PRIOR TO ALL OF THIS? 
I have a background in science. I came down originally to work at Melbourne University and then discovered Chinese Medicine. 

WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHANGES YOU HAVE SEEN IN YOUR YEARS OF PRACTICE? 
Definitely registration. First registration in Victoria, and then later nationally with AHPRA, that was a huge step, a huge change, and that has been really good. Also, the public is more aware of Chinese Medicine now and in general has a great deal of confidence; they know that if they see a practitioner they have to be registered and are properly educated. Another big change is now we have courses at university. That wasn’t available in the early days, so as a result we have lots of good practitioners that are really well educated. There are a lot more resources too, lots of good textbooks. You could almost say there are too many, do we actually have time to read them all [laughs]. Also journals, I will put my own little plug here [laughs]. I would like to mention our own Australian journal The Lantern. 

SO DID YOU DID YOU DO A MASTER-APPRENTICE STYLE OF LEARNING INITIALLY? 
I went to China and basically got an introduction there. Then when I came back I studied with different schools. I originally studied with Gary Seifert in Sydney; he has passed away now, unfortunately. I studied western science subjects with Health Schools Australia. At the same time, I was doing an apprenticeship with Steve Clavey. It took many years, much longer than it would take nowadays, but you had all that time to absorb, it’s actually not a bad way. Eventually, I went on to study my Bachelor’s Degree and fill in all the gaps. I guess it took around 8-10 years in total, all while practicing and learning. 

WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES YOU FACE IN-CLINIC? 
I would say the biggest challenge for practitioners is the business side. For people starting out that can be difficult as they are not quite prepared for it. You have all this knowledge you want to apply, but there are all these restrictions on how you can advertise. You can’t really tell your patients all you can do for them. So that is a bit tricky. We are fortunate to have been around for a long time and get most of our patients via word of mouth, but for new practitioners, I can imagine that it is very difficult. 

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR TCM STUDENTS AND GRADUATES? 
I  recommend having a part-time job when you start out. This takes a lot of the pressure off and it gives you time to learn and set yourself up. I also think it is important to keep in contact with other graduates so you have support. Don’t get discouraged. I would also say don’t move away from raw herbs. There is a movement of people using prepared medicines because they view raw herbs as too difficult, but patient compliance is actually quite good. Patients will take the herbs when you explain to them how to take them and what they are for. Keep the true medicine alive, don’t move away from it. And don’t get downhearted, it is hard at times but it is also a great lifestyle choice. Remember why you chose Chinese medicine in the first place. 

WHAT WOULD BE ONE OF YOUR FAVOURITE HERBS OR FORMULAS? 
I have to talk about at least three; I can’t just say one because I love formulas. Formulae are the favorite subject that I lecture at school. I really love Li Dong-Yuan’s Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang. It is a great formula for digestive problems, which lots of people have, but I also use it for menopause sometimes. Another one is a gynecological formula by Zhang Xi Chun, Gu Chong Tang. That formula works a treat with the right patient to stop heavy bleeding. My favorite formulas, however, are the Wen Bing formulas. I really love Wen Bing, the warm disease theory. I can’t pinpoint one formula, it is more the theory, individual herbs and the general approach. It works so well for our climate and also for lots of skin problems that we have here. Finally, how good is Gui Zhi Tang! My favorite herb is Ji Xue Teng. 

WHAT DO YOU THINK THE BIGGEST ISSUES CURRENTLY INVOLVING CHINESE MEDICINE ARE? 
We do have problems. I think the biggest one at the moment is the restriction of advertising. Chinese Medicine is again under pressure, but it has been under pressure over the dynasties. It has always come out and survived. So I am sure we will survive this one as well. It’s an international issue. When I was in Europe recently I met quite a few practitioners and they are under pressure over there as well. Here we are very lucky because we are registered, so we have a professional body that gives us some degree of protection. The other issue is the accessibility of herbs. I think there is a need to protect our herbs and I think importers and researchers need to get behind that, to make sure our herbs remain accessible to us. Slowly one after the other, we have seen herbs vanishing and I think that’s a danger. So I think those are the biggest issues, but Chinese Medicine is resilient and I am sure it can get past these. 

 HOW DO YOU SEE CHINESE MEDICINE EVOLVING IN THE FUTURE? 
Well, there are good things happening too, so it’s not all negative. The Epworth Hospital is going to have a section in Box Hill with Chinese Medicine in the near future. This will open up Chinese Medicine to the general public in a hospital setting. That’s good, good for the public, good for us. Hopefully, that will lead to more research, which is needed, especially in herbal medicine. I think that’s definitely the direction of the future. I also think young practitioners need to have a voice. They need to go out there and represent Chinese Medicine, defend Chinese Medicine and fight for our medicine to stay alive. One way of doing that is to keep using the medicine, using the herbs, don’t abandon them for convenience. We also need to stay united as practitioners and keep our lobby strong.
Read More
(0) Comments
Interview with Dr. Annalise Drok at Quiescence Chinese Medicine

Interview with Dr. Annalise Drok at Quiescence Chinese Medicine

Annalise Drok

Director at Quiescence Chinese Medicine.

B.App.SC (Chinese Medicine)

B.C.Ap.S (Human Nutrition)

 

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN PRACTISING CHINESE MEDICINE?

15 years.

 

HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN CHINESE MEDICINE AND WHAT DREW YOU TOO IT?

I actually came across it in several different ways. My father is a physiotherapist and he practiced acupuncture as part of his physiotherapy. He came to Australia to learn acupuncture from a Chinese guy that was teaching in the early eighties. So that sort of thing was always part of my life but I never really assumed that Chinese Medicine was something that I could study until I was traveling. I was in Canada and came across a student clinic which was filled with herbs. I wandered on in and had a look around and they said “If you are interested you can study this” and I was like, “Great! Tell me more.” So I told my dad that I really wanted to study Chinese Medicine and he thought it was a great idea. I grew up in New Zealand, so he started looking for schools a little closer to home, but I was ready to sign up to the school in Canada [laughs]. Anyway, I actually ended up studying at RMIT in Melbourne, which was a bit easier.

 

WHAT WOULD BE THE BIGGEST CHANGES YOU HAVE SEEN IN YOUR YEARS OF PRACTICE?

I feel like people are much more open to Chinese Medicine. I get a lot less of  the “So do you think Chinese Medicine actually works?” questions and a lot more of “Ahh, my dad had acupuncture before”, or “I've had dry needling”, or “I've had experience with herbs.” So I feel like there are a lot more people who are comfortable with having Chinese Medicine in their lives.

 

WHAT WOULD BE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES YOU FACE IN THE CLINIC?

I think advertising and keeping our name out there is challenging. It's a very different world from when I was first starting, you would just hand out a business card and that was it. Now we have websites and social media and all of that. So the day to day running of the business has definitely changed over the years. Other than that we have it running pretty smoothly, I feel really lucky we have such great people around to help with a lot of the technological side of things. That leaves us free to focus on treating our beautiful patients.

 

WHAT IS ONE OF YOUR FAVOURITE FORMULAS?

I go through phases of different favourite formulas [Laughs]. At the moment I am loving Gui Zhi Jia Long Gu Mu Li Tang. I've been finding that has really been useful. We've got a lot of blood deficient, anxiety type people at the moment, so that is working a treat. I recently did a course with Sharon Weizenbaum, which was a two-year post graduate program. She focuses a lot on the Shang Han Lun formulas, so I have really been enjoying the simplicity and powerfulness of those formulas.

 

WHAT DO YOU THINK THE BIGGEST ISSUES CURRENTLY INVOLVING CHINESE MEDICINE ARE?

Well [laughs] we have just gone through the whole AHPRA drama, with advertising and how we put Chinese Medicine out there. There definitely seems to be a bit of a problem talking about the power of Chinese Medicine. How powerful Chinese Medicine truly is and how it can treat so many wide and difficult conditions. I think that would be the main thing at the moment, not being able to talk freely about what our art can do.

 

HOW DO YOU SEE CHINESE MEDICINE EVOLVING IN THE FUTURE?

I would like to see it becoming even more mainstream than it is. After spending nine months in China and seeing how incredibly integrated it is in the hospitals over there, it would be great to see acupuncture in the ER of hospitals here and having herbs used much more freely. Just much more integration overall. That would be amazing.


Read More
(0) Comments
Winner Trading Media Release  on the Media report of

Winner Trading Media Release on the Media report of "the research on the TCM products"

Date: 15/12/2015

 

Dear Business Owner/Practitioners,

 

You may have been aware of the negative news released by ABC for the study, and subsequently, some media reprinted with some important elements missing, causing a misunderstanding about manufactured TCM.

The article recently released from nature.com heading “Combined DNA, toxicological and heavy metal analyses provides an auditing toolkit to improve pharmacovigilance of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)” (Link as follows).

http://www.nature.com/articles/srep17475

It might cause some panic among TCM communities, and also remind us of the impact of the Green Peace report a few years ago.  However, we would not agree with the finding from the study due to the following reasons.

1.  Several mistakes found in the final published paper, and some figures differ from the ABC news report.  Meaning that the media and the public have all been misled.   We feel regret that such a well-known journal can tolerate such mistakes in their paper.  Therefore this study can be regarded as low quality and unconvincing;

2. Neither from Chinese pharmacopeia or nor from classic TCM formulations or practice, cat or dog species could be possibly used in TCM products, detection of such a DNA is questionable;

3.  Of 26 samples, 17 are unlisted (not 14 as the news reported) or unregistered products.

4. A study based on the wrong products will definitely lead to a wrong conclusion. These unlisted products cannot represent the TCM product or TCM industry.

5. The claim of non-compliance over 50 %, and 90% not suitable for human consumption is a misleading interpretation, as over 65% of the products are non-listed.  

6. To apply the standard of heavy metals for pharmaceutical products to herbal medicines is not a scientific approach.

 

At Winner Trading, we are sourcing more of our certified herbs that are compliance-tested both in house according to Chinese Pharmacopoeia, and tested by the leading independent laboratory Eurofins Germany, with its world-wide leading analytical and testing laboratory services. This way we can assure our practitioners and the public that our herbs are free from pesticides and heavy metals, and within the most stringent existing standards for herb importation into Europe. European standards are higher than the current Australian standards.

 

 

We have been working with many suppliers to source the best quality herbs we can get. We want all our prescribing physicians to feel confident in using our products in response to the health concerns of their patients. We want the public to know they are being prescribed the best quality and safest products. Winner Trading will work together with practitioners to continue to advance the quality of our products and promote the benefits of traditional Chinese herbal medicine.

Please also find Sunherbal managing director – Tony Reid ‘s statement about Sun Herbal products.

https://ssl.gstatic.com/ui/v1/icons/mail/images/cleardot.gifTo all Sun Herbal products distributors, practitioners, end users,

 The main problem with the paper is in their calculations regarding safe levels of toxic heavy metals (THM):

‘ .the TGA limit for medicines (based on 60 kg person; 1.2 µg/daily dose arsenic, 2.2 µg/daily dose lead, 0.22 µg/daily dose cadmium).’

 It is important to note that the levels for Chinese herbal medicines that the TGA accepts are as follows:

Lead <5 ppm

Mercury  < 0.5 ppm
Arsenic <3 ppm
Cadmium <0.3 ppm

 ppm = ug per g

For 36 pills per day at 180 mg per pill = 6.5 g of pills per day

If you do the maths, even 3+ score on the published table of THM contaminants could still be within acceptable limits.

It seems that the authors of the report have applied TGA standards for pharmaceutical drugs to the assessment of toxic THM's in herbal preparations.

 In addition, salicylates are naturally occurring throughout the plant kingdom and as the authors note, many herbal formulas contain salicylates. In regard to Ephedrine, Pseudoephedrine, and Methylephedrine, these are all components of the herb Ephedra Sinica (ma huang) and will be detected in herbal preparations that contain this herb. These are regulated by the TGA and must be present in quantities less than 10 ppm.

 

 

 

Sun Herbal formulas in the Black Pearl, ChinaMed and Red Peony ranges are all tested before each new batch is released for supply and are only released if they comply with the above standards for THM's. We also test for bacteria, yeasts and molds, pesticides and aflatoxin, and released products must be within the specified safe limits.

 Sun Herbal formulas only contain the ingredients listed on the label and do not use any animals or animal parts in the formulas.  The following tables may be of interest regarding the relative safety of herbal medicines compared to pharmaceutical drugs, compiled by the Alliance for Natural Health International.

 Please go to the following websites for more information:

 http://anhinternational.org/2012/08/15/anh-exclusive-lightning-more-dangerous-than-herbs-or-vitamins/

 and

 http://anhinternational.org/2012/07/11/anh-exclusive-natural-health-products-ultra-safe-and-drugs-as-dangerous-as-war/

 ‘Practitioners can be assured that when you prescribe Sun Herbal formulas, they are produced to the most rigorous standards’”

At the beginning of 2016, we will release a series of marketing materials such as a poster, window stickers, and brochure to clinics who are using certified herbs, to make patients and public awareness that they are applying the highest standard of patient care.

Say No to Pesticides and Heavy Metal!

This is what we tell practitioners, the public and our mother nature – Yes, We care!   

 

 

 

www.eurofins.com     


Read More
(0) Comments