Interview with Yvonne

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Interview with Dr. Carrie Kaiyan Li at Healing Pond Health Centre

Interview with Dr. Carrie Kaiyan Li at Healing Pond Health Centre

Practitioner feature: Dr. Kaiyan Li at Healing Pond Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine Centre

Dr. Kaiyan (Carrie) Li

Founder of Healing Pond Health Centre

Lecturer at Endeavour College of Natural Health

Ph.D. Sc; BHSc (Chinese Medicine)


Share with us how you discover your passion for Chinese Medicine.

I officially began my journey in 1993 and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1998 at The Guangzhou University of TCM. From then on, I had spent nearly 10 years working in The First Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou University of TCM before immigrating to Australia. I’ve been practicing Chinese Medicine in Victoria since then.

My passion for this profession was of no surprise to those around me - the legacy has been passed down from my great-grandfather to my grandfather, to my father and then finally to me! I’m a fourth-generation medical practitioner.

Since young, I have held a really deep interest in Chinese medicine because I have observed my father’s practice and how it has helped treat a variety of sicknesses within the community. Having the first-hand experience of healing properties of Chinese medicine led me to the mindset of: “Okay! I will be a doctor and continue this legacy someday!” [Laughs]

How have you combined the knowledge of Chinese Medicine and Western Medicine?

I do believe in an integrated practice of both Chinese and Western medicine. I worked in the emergency department for 3 years, and in acute stages of an illness, Western clinical methods are necessary for emergency purposes. When the patient’s stage of illness becomes more stable, Chinese medicine treatments are able to act as synergists with Western approaches to manage the recovery processes. At the end of the day, it is essential for all fields of health sciences to understand the root causes of the health condition for effective therapeutic outcomes.

What are some of your favourite herbs or formulas to use?

That is a good question. I specialised in asthma management, so I use a lot of herbs and formulas from the “Shang Han Lun”, like Gui Zhi Tang, modified Xiao Qing Long Tang etc.

Another area of focus in my practice is on the treatment of allergic conditions, so Xiao Feng San is another fabulous formula we commonly use.

Over the years in Australia, we have observed more female patients seeking treatment for women’s health conditions. For example, if the diagnosis is blood stagnation with a recurring condition, I might use Xue Fu Zhu Yu Wan or Tao Hong Si Wu Tang.

With the recent pandemic, we have also seen more general patients requesting for stress-related issues, so Xiao Yao Wan pills have been more frequently prescribed.

The type of herbs and formulas also depends on the season. In winter I enjoy using warming herbs, and in summer, mostly cooling herbs.

What are the clinical challenges you have faced during the pandemic?

One of the biggest challenges is to ensure that we follow the regulations from The Department of Health while still being open to the public. As most of our appointments are held in person, we need to protect both our staff and clients.

One of our preventative methods to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to enforce regular face mask-wearing, eye protection, and patient screening whenever a booking is made. Additionally, we use UV light in each room after each appointment, as UV light can sterilize surfaces as well as air. In our practice, we also use a variety of herbs to strengthen the immune system of our patients during this ongoing battle with COVID.

Do you think Chinese Medicine holds the right esteem within the eyes of the general public?

I believe it depends on individuals. Some people are quite open to alternative medicine like Chinese medicine, whilst others remain conservative towards Chinese medicine. If people understand more about the history of Chinese medicine that spans over 3000 years, they can appreciate and perhaps acknowledge how effective it has been at protecting the public from health conditions. The efficacy of medical practice doesn’t necessarily have to be proved via laboratory methods or through animal trials – there are many fields in medicine that is still yet to be uncovered and studied upon, so using current testing methods may not yield the most promising results even though it has withheld the test of time. When practiced by a registered Chinese medicine doctor, it is safe and effective for meeting well-being needs.

How do you educate others about the efficacy of Chinese Medicine with its longstanding culture and history? Since most people are more concerned about whether they would get healthier faster, but have failed to recover or stay healthy with other treatments?

Most of our clients come to us with a story of “I have tried everything and heard that Chinese Medicine may be able to help. Is this possible?”. Although it isn’t one of the first-line treatments in Australia, as Chinese Medicine practitioners we try our best to explain the difference in theories and concepts between Eastern and Western medicine, and that there is a reason as to why Chinese Medicine has been an ongoing practice for thousands of years even if it has not been effectively tested using western approaches.

I find that once patients experience benefits first-hand, such as instant relief from pain, they become more open to this field of medicine and begin to form a trust for our methods.

I am familiar with this because I have juggled a combination of being involved in the researching and educating roles in universities over the course of my academic and professional journey.

One of my next milestones is to use a variety of different communication methods to broadcast the intricacies of Chinese Medicine to a wider audience using layman’s terms - it’s not just about Ying and Yang, as people may think.

For this to happen, Chinese Medicine practitioners need to act as a bridge between Eastern and Western medicine to foster a harmonious connection.

So do you think, with the promotional efforts directed towards Chinese medicine, and how it’s still seen as unconventional, do you think the general public is sufficiently aware of Chinese medicine’s health benefits?

No, I don’t think so. However, people are gradually becoming much more open to Chinese Medicine. I recall that there was a 5-year-old client who said, when he saw us using He Gu LI4, “Oh, I know that point, my teacher said this is good for headaches.” [Laughs] This is a good start; in the future, they might be even more open to Chinese medicine. But for this to be more widespread we definitely need more public education and more voices, to let the people understand health as a whole picture.

What does the future of Chinese Medicine look like for you?

I would hope to see Chinese medicine being more imbued into Western society. It would be great to see this type of integration within the health community.

I believe this would require the current and future practitioners to cultivate a nurturing environment to soil the seeds of education. By continuing to share our knowledge and background with others, it will lead us into a society of integrating both modalities. Akin to cultivating a beautiful forest, the seedlings of the trees need good sunlight, water, and fertilizer.

And that would let everyone contribute to making this happen?

Yes exactly! We’re working just toward one goal: Improving human health. Everyone has a different path to achieving health and we would like to be there to cater to their needs.  

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Winter Breakfasts

Winter Breakfasts

Winter is a time of return, reflection, and rest. It is the period of the year when deep nourishment of our primordial energies is required so that we can enjoy the fruits of the warmer months. Breakfast has long been touted as the most important meal of the day and this sentiment rings especially true during winter. A warm, nourishing breakfast is critical during the colder seasons to ensure both proper gut health and to provide the necessary fuel for our body’s optimal function. In our busy modern life, we often neglect breakfast. Instead, we opt for convenience and caffeine to provide us the energy to get through the day. The outbreak of COVID-19 has forced many of us to slow down and remain at home. This period can be used as an opportunity to break previous habits surrounding our morning schedule. Many of us now have the time to indulge in a leisurely and healthy breakfast, and with a little planning, we can continue to do so as our lives begin to return to a normal pace. Below are a few simple yet delicious and wholesome ideas to suit your body’s breakfast needs.

A wet breakfast is considered one of the superior breakfasts. Not only does it nourish the Spleen and improve weak digestion but it also provides healthy moisture to the bodies other systems, especially the Stomach, Kidneys and Lungs.


A quick, easy and healthy porridge can be made in 15 minutes. Good quality oats, some cooked fruit (both fresh and dried) and a few toppings make this breakfast satisfying and alimentative. Below is a basic recipe that can be modified to taste or season.

·        1 cup organic rolled oats (soaked overnight for maximum digestion)

·        Half an apple

·        Small handful of dried goji berries

·        Small handful of mulberries

·        Half a teaspoon of cinnamon

·        A couple of slices of fresh ginger




·        1 teaspoon of hemp seed

·        1 teaspoon of black sesame seeds

·        1 teaspoon of raw cacao

·        Fresh yogurt or coconut yogurt (Optional)


Congee has been a staple of Chinese cooking for centuries. It is simple and nutritious and has a myriad of regional and seasonal varieties. Below is a basic chicken congee recipe with a few topping ideas. Chicken can be left out or substituted with a good quality firm tofu. Congee is made easily in a slow cooker. You can put it on when you go to sleep and wake up to a delicious warm breakfast. This recipe makes enough for 6 people. Leftover congee can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days or frozen for several months.

·        1 cup of medium grain or long grain rice

·        8-10 cups of water

·        2 chicken breasts

·        1 small knob of ginger sliced or grated

·        A small amount of salt

·        A dash of oil

Before serving, remove the chicken and shred it, then add it back to the pot.

Toppings can include; sliced spring onion, black sesame seeds, coriander, sliced hard-boiled egg, or kimchi.


If something a little more substantial is to your liking, a warm hearty breakfast of protein and carbohydrates may suit.

Baked Sausages and Apples:

Baked sausages and apples are a delicious substantial way to start your day. It is also surprisingly simple. Some warm crusty bread on the side and you have a lean yet generous start to the day. Simply combine some fresh butcher shop sausages (we want quality here) with some thick slices of apple and seasonal root vegetables in a lightly greased tray. Cover with aluminum foil and cook for 30-40 minutes at 180 degrees celsius. Uncover the tray and turn the heat up to 200 for a further 10 minutes to really crisp up those sausages. The combination of rich, hearty sausage and sweet moistening apple is delectable. Serves 4.

·        8 sausages (quality beef, chicken or pork)

·        2 apples sliced

·        1 potato quartered

·        1 small sweet potato cut into pieces

·        Crusty whole grain or sourdough bread


For those of you that don’t eat meat. Here is a wonderful hearty winter breakfast that uses chickpeas and potatoes. This can be eaten with rice, flatbread or regular bread. I like to keep a little Indian mango pickle on hand for dishes like these. A good pickle can be found at most Indian grocery stores.

Spicy Chickpeas and Potato

·        1 cup of chickpeas soaked overnight or 1 can of chickpeas

·        1 potato cut into small cubes

·        Half onion thinly sliced

·        1 can of tomatoes

·        2 cloves of garlic

·        1 small knob of freshly grated ginger

·        1 tablespoon of curry paste or alternatively garam masala and curry powder




·        Coriander

·        A squeeze of lemon

·        Mango pickle

Lightly fry the garlic, ginger and onion and curry paste, add the chickpeas and potatoes and cook for a few minutes. Add the tomatoes and a dash of water and simmer until the potatoes are cooked through (the small cubes should cook relatively quickly). Garnish with coriander and a squirt of lemon.


We hope you have enjoyed this post and have a go at some of these recipes. Having a substantial breakfast in the morning is a life-changing routine for many people. A little planning will go a long way and the rewards speak for themselves.






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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)

27 years. Michael and I established Shen Healing in 1990 in Carlton and we have been here ever since. 

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. 

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. 

I have a background in science. I came down originally to work at Melbourne University and then discovered Chinese Medicine. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

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.
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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)



15 years.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.

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