Understanding puberty in girls from a TCM perspective

We can all remember the struggles of our teenage years; problems such as acne, the start of our periods, breasts forming, getting used to wearing bras, peer pressure, increasing levels of school work and home work, not being able to get out of bed in the mornings.

As a parent, I want my own daughters to have an easier time than I did. As a therapist, I am more aware of the strains put upon children and teenagers, and how this can effect them physically, psychologically and emotionally.

In my previous blog post, I explained in general terms about our Kidney energy being responsible for our growth and development, and reproductive health. If we experience a painful puberty it is likely that we will experience a more difficult menopause. We also want to optimise fertility, pregnancy and childbirth in between these two milestones, as well as general health and wellness, and they are all interlinked.

The following behaviours can have a significant impact on a young woman’s health:

  1. Early sexual activity. This can have an impact on uterine health at such a vulnerable time, causing imbalances such as blood stasis.
  2. Excessive physical work and exercise, During puberty, this may cause weakness and deficiency in the developing body (Spleen and Kidney), which in turn can lead to stagnation. Of course this depends on the individual constitution, but it is important to be aware of as a parent.
  3. Exposure to external cold. Young women are vulnerable to invasion of external cold, particularly during puberty. Social pressure to wear clothes that reveal the lower back and abdomen, going out without a coat and scarf, prioritising their physical appearance over their well-being can leave them prone to being attacked by the external pathogen of cold. If cold attacks the uterus, it will contract and cause stagnation.
  4. The use of tampons blocks the natural downward flow of blood and can cause stagnation. There are also many other health risks associated with tampons including the exposure to environmental oestrogens which is covered in a different blog post.
  5. Emotional stress and anxiety will have a massive impact on energy levels, depleting the Kidneys and creating excess Heart energy. If it is held onto then this can cause stagnation.

Taking care during this sensitive time will have a massive impact on our young women’s health as they get older. Common problems such as period pain, irregular periods, heavy/scanty periods, infertility, endometriosis, anxiety and depression, fatigue can all be improved through gentle communication, education and sensitivity around these issues at a young age.

If you are interested in receiving some acupuncture or reflexology sessions please contact me directly for an initial chat.

Jackie Marsden is a Reflexologist, Acupuncturist and Foot Reading Practitioner, based at Elder Cottage Clinic, Warton, Preston, PR4. She is a full member of the Association of Reflexologists.

Combating Winter Colds and Viruses

ID-100231025It’s that time of year again when the weather turns colder, the central heating goes on, and windows tend to be closed, creating a breeding ground for winter colds and viruses.

There are simple ways of combating the prevalent cold virus, and this is more in prevention rather than cure.

Immune system

Our immune system needs regular boosting so that it is ready to fight any invaders. Do this by eating lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, preferably organic. Fruit and vegetables are full of antioxidants, which fight those free radicals which are released within the body to attack.

A regular vitamin C supplement can also help boost the immune system, optimising it for attack. Have you ever drunk a glass of organic juice and noticed its acidic effect on the digestive system? This is caused by the ascorbic acid. The vitamin C supplement I use contains Calcium Ascorbate instead, which is slow release, non-acidic form of vitamin C.

Stress will also damage our immune system, prioritising our adrenalin and sympathetic nervous system, and thus neglecting those systems that are not needed for immediate survival such as immune and digestion. A regular session of reflexology can help reduce stress and evoke relaxation.

Vitamin C

Patrick Holford’s advice re. vitamin C absorption is to take around 2 grams every 4 hours. This will saturate the tissues with vitamin C and thus flushing out the cold virus, maintaining a high level of immune protection. [1] This will completely blow the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) out of the water, however vitamin C is water soluble and thus the body cannot store excess amounts in fat – it simply excretes via the kidneys.

The RDA was written years ago based on the nutritional value of our foods after the war – nowadays our foods are nutritionally poorer due to the depleting quality of our soil. This is why I advocate an organic based diet and lifestyle. If we don’t adopt this way of life our future foods will be nutritionally worthless.


berry complexI have been using the Organic Berry Complex to continually saturate my body’s tissues throughout the day, particularly if I know I’m going to be busy with clients, driving long distances or late nights. Whiz up 2 scoops of the complex with some sprigs of mint and a blender jug full of water. Add a glug of Elderberry syrup to give a deeper taste and a richer content. It tastes amazing, so refreshing and the children love it too. Take a small glass of it regularly throughout the day to top up.

The supplements created by Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic are superior in the way they work because they are synergistic blends of carefully selected and sourced vitamins and minerals. Vitamins and minerals work with each other to do their jobs efficiently – not in isolation.

[1] Patrick Holford The Optimum Nutrition Bible pg. 289 How to kill a cold

Jackie Marsden MAR is a qualified reflexologist and independent consultant (Team Leader) for Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic. Jackie leads and mentors a growing team of consultants (many of whom are therapists integrating organic products into their existing businesses) via the NYRO social selling channel, holding regular team meetings, one-to-one coaching via phone and facetime, and a closed facebook group. All views are my own.



Image courtesy of cooldesign at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Chicken Pox: A Mother’s and Therapist’s Perspective

My youngest daughter has recently contracted the common virus known as Chicken Pox (herpes varicella-zoster).

The virus can cause a high temperature, loss of appetite and the well known spots or rash. The spots start off looking like red spots, then they blister and finally scab over.

Once the blisters have scabbed over the child is no longer contagious, even though the scabs are still present and can still look alarming, particularly to other parents! They can take up to two weeks to fade and disappear.

Chicken Pox
Chicken Pox

During the blistering and early scabbing stages in particularly, itching can be pretty debilitating. My daughter didn’t try to scratch the spots but just stood there and cried in despair! At this point I used Calendula and Oat lotion. I chose this over the “traditional” calamine lotion because I always want to avoid synthetic preservatives that are found in many products nowadays.

Calendula and oat lotion is deeply soothing and calming, with anti-inflammatory properties. In addition to this, it also contains Stellaria media (Chickweed) extract, a traditional herb renowned for cooling and soothing itching or red skin: ideal for Chicken Pox.

Stellaria media (Chickweed)

We had only one full day of itching and feeling miserable in general. I used the Calendula & Oat lotion regularly during this day, as well as giving her an oat bath. To do this I simply put half a cup of organic porridge oats into an old sock and knotted the top. Then I placed it under the running water when filling up the tub.


I genuinely believe that the two above remedies reduced the time of itching and discomfort for my daughter (and subsequently me!) and am now prepared for my older daughter to contract the virus too!

In addition to the above, I really wanted to give reflexology, however my youngest daughter is very much a person who knows her own mind and would not be persuaded. I would have liked to give some short and gently zone therapy with emphasis on the thymus and lymphatics to help the immune system fight the virus, and the solar plexus for calming. My older daughter is more welcoming to the therapy and she is already receiving reflexology regularly in the anticipation of catching the virus.

It should go without saying, that in addition to topical lotions and medicines such as paracetamol, what the body needs the most in situations like this is water, and plenty of it.

Now that the worst is over for my youngest daughter, I am now applying Organic Rosehip Seed Oil to reduce any potential scarring. Rosehip seed oil contains vitamin A, vitamin C and the essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6, which are fantastic ingredients to encourage skin rejuvenation, moisture replenishment, and healing.


Jackie Marsden MAR is a qualified reflexologist and independent consultant (Team Leader) for Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic. Jackie leads and mentors a growing team of consultants (many of whom are therapists integrating organic products into their existing businesses) via the NYRO social selling channel, holding regular team meetings, one-to-one coaching via phone and facetime, and a closed facebook group. All views are my own.