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Chinese Medicine

Chinese medicine is a system of medicine developed in China that has a different history and approach than Western medicine. Rather than treating the disease, a Chinese medicine practitioner treats patterns of disharmony (or symptom clusters) in a patient.

Chinese medicine dates back around 5,000 years where its basic concepts were established in a time when people lived closer to nature and the changing seasons. Chinese medicine believes that the many different facets in our lives contribute to our overall health by looking at the big picture, showing us that health problems cannot be viewed in isolation.

There are many branches of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture that may help a patient depending on their health needs. The following are used by Sandra at Essence of Health:

  • Chinese Herbal Medicine
  • Infrared heat
  • Moxibustion
  • Electro-Acupuncture
  • Chinese Cupping
  • Meditation & Breathing Techniques

How does Acupuncture work

Acupuncture is a stream of Chinese Medicine in which very fine (disposable) needles are inserted into various acupuncture points along meridians. The treatment works by increasing the flow of Qi, blood or fluids to specific areas of the body, or redirecting opposing energy Qi from others. A good example of this theory in Chinese medicine is using needles to stimulate Qi & blood flow to the “conception vessel” meridian influencing the blood flow to the uterus.
HOW DOES IT WORK acupuncture


With an increase number of couples and women requiring IVF, helping your body physically and emotionally may be supported through the treatment of Acupuncture by an experienced Acupuncturist.

Sandra Sapio – Acupuncture for IVF Support
Sandra has been practicing since 2003 and has an interest in supporting women and couples going through fertility treatments.

Sandra is a well trusted and highly regarded Acupuncturist who has become a highly referred to by our patients and other Allied health care practitioners in Adelaide.

Sandra is extremely passionate about helping couples, and women wanting to achieve their dream of becoming parents and mothersand has supported hundreds of women through their IVF journey.As part of her commitment, Sandra also consults outside normal clinic hours and public holidays.

Acupuncture treatment can be provided at any stage prior to commencing, during fertility treatments such as IVF,and beyond.

Sandra incorporates Naturopathy as part of her Acupuncture treatments to give patients the highest level of personalised care. Diet and Supplementation advice is also recommended as part of an ongoing service to ensure optimal health.

Traditional Chinese medicine techniques and Acupuncture used in clinical trials (refer link below) are presently being researched to determine if they have any benefits for women undergoing IVF.

Sandra has a special interest in supporting women who have more complex issue that can compromise IVF outcomes.

  • Endometriosis
  • Unexplained miscarriages
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
  • Poor egg and sperm quality

To read more about Clinical Trial click here


Pregnancy & Breastfeeding Support

The joy a women experience’s when she finds out she is pregnant is like no other. The symptoms that can accompany pregnancy are also like no other. Acupuncture, Naturopathy and Massage maybe able to help through pregnancy.No matter the Stage of your pregnancy, Essence of Health is a multidisciplinary clinic offering a wide range of treatment modalities that may support you…every step of the way.

Essence of health offers Acupuncture, Nutritional Medicine and the incorporation of Naturopathy to pregnant women, to give them the highest level of personalised care. We also suggest looking atLifestyle, Diet and Supplementation as part of an ongoing service to ensure optimal health and nutrition in the lead up to and during your pregnancy.

Sandra has a particular interest in supporting patients throughout their entire pregnancy andmay be able to help pregnant women with: pregnancy related musculoskeletal pains and nausea and vomiting.

Natural Labour Preparation and Induction

Sandra is a highly regarded Acupuncturist, who works with Flinders Birthing Centre and Women’s and Children’s Birthing Centre patients in conjunction with their midwives to help in supporting natural labour preparation and induction.


Sandra is a well trusted and highly regarded Acupuncturist, who works with Flinders Birthing Centre and Women’s and Children’s Birthing Centre patients in conjunction with their midwives to help in supporting natural labour preparation

Natural labour Preparation

Acupuncture may help increase the chances of an uncomplicated labor and natural Birth.

Natural Labour Induction

Acupuncture treatments proceeding the preparation phase change slightly and in Chinese medicine are aimed at helping to stimulate the body and the natural processes that are required to go into natural labour.

Acupuncture points may also help to stimulate the uterus and initiate more ‘Braxton’ practice contractions.

The impact of acupuncture on labour is the subject of continuing research. For example,. Aa review of controlled trials on the effects of acupuncture for on labour inductionby research charity Cochrane published in 2017 found that acupuncture hormonesshowed some benefit in improving cervical maturity.

Depending on the circumstance weekly treatments are commenced from 32-34 weeks and are aimed at helping with preparing the physical body for the induction process. An important focus of Acupuncture is not only to try to prepare the body physically but to help ensure that mentally and emotionally the body remains relaxed and calm about the birthing process.

For more information on the Acupuncture Labour induction clinical trial, click here:

Post Natal Recovery

Acupuncture and Chinese herbs may be able to help support new mothers struggling with breastfeeding due to insufficient lactation. This can be a stressful time for some woman, and Acupuncture treatment supports the relaxation of the nervous system to assist alongside with the postnatal treatment.

Massage for Labour Preparation

Pregnancy massage may be able to facilitate the preparation of for forlabour by releasing any muscular tension and treating any joint and ligament pain, so that there is increased mobility, along with assist to improv posture and help the change alignment of your body

Labour preparation treatments may also help to relax the mind and body, by easing tension and helping to create a clear and grounded space, which in turn has the potential in womana leaving feeling more emotionally balanced for the labour.

Natural labour Preparation

Acupuncture and Massage may help a woman relax and encourage the natural onset of labour.

Pregnancy Massage is start at any stage of the pregnancy, as the massage is adjusted based on your needs and what stage of the pregnancy you are at. Preparation treatments are commenced from 34-35 weeks and are aimed at helping with relaxing any tension and improving joint mobility. This along with acupuncture may provide the opportunity for the baby to move into the correct position and preparing the physical body for the induction process. An important focus of Acupuncture & Massage is not only to prepare the body physically but to also support the nervous system ensureso that mentally and emotionally the body has the potential of remaining relaxed and calm throughout the birthing process.

Aside from focusing on the Labour preparation, there are many other potential benefits that massage may provide at any stage of pregnancy and include:

  • Reduce pain, tension and distress in the lower back, neck, legs and sciatic region.
  • Reduce fluid retention ‘odema’
  • Help relieve tension headaches, caused by neck and shoulder stiffness
  • Improve circulation, by stimulating blood flow
  • Increases energy and a reduced sense of fatigue
  • Brings about a deep relaxation, and can work well in conjunction with mums wanting to use hypnobirthing
  • Relief of the everyday discomforts of pregnancy such as back pain, joint pain, neck pain, headaches, pelvic pain, and leg cramps, by targeting specific trigger points and muscle tension
  • Reduces excess fluid retention which generally manifests as swelling in the hands and ankles
  • Reduced sciatica pain
  • Improved circulation
  • Improved sleep from being more relaxed, reduced muscle tension and feeling less uncomfortable.
  • A greater sense of relaxation which may lead to the improvement in the progression of labour.

Many health practitioners may recommend acupuncture as a treatment that can complement and may assist with IVF treatment. Sandra has a particular interest in providing this type of complementary treatment, which may help manage symptoms relating to;

Women’s Health

  • IVF preparation and support
  • Pregnancy preparation and support
  • Endometriosis
  • PCOS
  • Hormone support
  • Regulating the menstrual cycle
  • Menstrual pain and heavy menstruation

Research into whether acupuncture may assist with fertility is ongoing. For further information please click here which takes you to links to various acupuncture and IVF trials, research and commentary.


Acupuncture’s history and origin deals more with internal health and wellbeing. Our clinical Acupuncturist and Nutritionist Bernie has extensive experience and success in treating and supporting the following health conditions:

Acupuncture may provide assistance for people suffering from:

  • Upper Respiratory complaints
  • Gastrointestinal complaints
  • Insomnia
  • Stress & Anxiety
  • ENT Complaints – Hay fever & Sinusitis
  • Headaches & Migraines

Muscle & Joints

Acupuncture is a supportive treatment therapy that may help with managing the symptoms and pain relating to many types of inflammatory muscle and joint conditions. The disappointment of not being able to do some of the things we enjoy through injury, the frustration and agony of hurting your back, twisting a knee or pulling a muscle just playing with the kids, doing household chores or simply bending in the garden. It doesn’t matter whether it comes from a physical injury or an internal degeneration, the fact is, it hurts!

Acupuncture is a therapy which may help you manage a range of symptoms including pain and may also assist to achieve increased mobility.

Our clinical Acupuncturist and Nutritionist Bernie has extensive experience and success in treating many issues relating to muscular strain and tension, joint pain; swelling and inflammation, including;

  • Back pain
  • Sciatica
  • Rye neck
  • Shoulder tension
  • Arthritis
  • Bursitis and Tendonitis
  • Tennis elbow
  • Knee complaints
  • Post surgery recovery

Your acupuncture treatment will be specific to you. Alongside the use of acupuncture needles, Bernie may use a combination of tuina massage, cupping and heat therapy.


Cosmetic Acupuncture

What is Cosmetic Acupuncture?

Cosmetic acupuncture is not new. In fact, it was first mentioned in Traditional Chinese Medicine texts over 2000 years ago. The popularity of cosmetic acupuncture has grown over the last decade.

Cosmetic Acupuncture may help to brighten the skin, increase elasticity, reduce fine lines and wrinkles by boosting collagen, reduce dark circles under eye and treat scarring, or prevent any of the afore mentioned conditions. It may also be beneficial in cases of acne, psoriasis and eczema.

How does it work?

Cosmetic acupuncture works by improving qi and blood flow to your skin and moving your lymph system. It stimulates the production of collagen and elastin by causing micro injury at the site the needles are inserted which turns on the body’s healing response. This is may reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Acupuncture may also relieve tension in the facial muscles to relieve severe frown lines and tighten muscles to create firmer looking skin and lift any drooping.

Our clinic uses the highest quality, ultra fine cosmetic facial needles for cosmetic acupuncture.

How many treatments do I need?

The number of treatments depends on age and skin concerns.

We recommended a course of 10-12 weekly treatments to see the best results. However in mild cases we can tailor treatments from 6-8 weekly treatments. 

After this, we extend treatments to maintenance with most patients eventually having maintenance treatment every 4 – 8 weeks.


Tunia is a massage technique which forms one of the four branches of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Pain is often caused by the blockage or stagnation of energy or qi in the meridians. Instead of using needles, your practitioner will use hands-on-techniques along meridians to stimulate and balance the flow of qi, to resolve pain and discomfort.

At Essence of Health, Bernie uses tuina in combination with acupuncture to treat pain conditions of the back, neck and shoulders which may help to reduce your pain symptoms faster.


Cupping is a Traditional Chinese Medicine technique whereby glass or plastic cups are used on certain areas of the body to help resolve stagnation of qi.

Pain is often caused by the blockage or stagnation of energy or qi in the meridians. Cupping techniques along meridians is used to resolve stagnation, and stimulate and balance the flow of qi.

At Essence of Health, Bernie uses cupping in combination with acupuncture to treat pain and tightness of the back, neck and shoulders which may help to reduce your pain symptoms faster.

TCM for Labour Preparation - How to use TCM techniques before and during labour (Coming Soon)

In this hands-on education session, we will teach you and your birthing partner Traditional Chinese Medicine techniques that you can use before and during labour. Techniques will include acupressure and tuina massage. We will provide you with an educational booklet to take home so that you can refer to it as needed. As a bonus, we will include techniques to help with postpartum care including the importance of the fourth trimester, acupressure to help with lactation and letdown, and nutrition to help with healing and nourishing you as a new mum.

The initial session will be 1 hour in-clinic or via Skype. A 15-minute follow-up can be arranged if needed.