ACH Blog

Family connections are the Earth we stand on

Isobel Cosgrove - Wednesday, May 20, 2020

In Chinese Medicine our family and our community is our Earth: the ground we stand on. It is our land, our territory, where our tribe lives and gives us a place called Home. It is where we find nurture, where we can feel loved and accepted. As children we need a safe place in which to grow and flourish. As parents providing this space, we need support from extended family, and/or the wider community. We also need loving times together.

selective focus photo of woman lifting child during daytime

How has the virus disrupted community life?

There has been no school for most children, and so no time to play with friends. There have been no conversations at the school gates, no contact with other children’s families. And no grandparents providing back up. Nor is there very much time in the day or evening when parents can just chill out together, reflect on the day, or quietly be with themselves. Working at home while homeschooling is a big ask.


So what have we lost?

The familiar shape and structure of the work/school day. Walking-to-school time with friends, and parents of friends. Checking in with teachers to see what’s working well/not working so well. Hanging out at lunch time, playing football in the playground.

The whole spectrum of after school clubs and sporting activities.

boy in green sweater writing on white paper


And what have we gained?

Time to plant seeds, to watch them grow and produce food for meals. Time to paint, draw, learn the guitar, cook, sew, knit, read, sing, watch films together. Time to explore and find a new rhythm and shape to the days. Maybe you have started the novel you have been waiting to write. 

What will we keep from this time?

We will have learnt to value the structure of the school day [instead of complaining about it]. We will have learnt to know ourselves as a family more intimately, and hopefully have more understanding for each person we share our home with. How can we carry these leanings with us as we move out of lockdown? If you'd like to talk further about this, get in touch, I'm really interested to hear your thoughts.


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Health in Spring

Isobel Cosgrove - Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Lockdown this year has interrupted the usual context in which we experience moving into and through Springtime. Energetically, Spring is a powerful moment of awakening from the darkness, cold and inward quality of Winter.



During lockdown this year, we have so many constraints imposed on our lives, which have prevented us from physically and emotionally joining in with the awakening that Spring offers.


What is in the way?

We can’t go to join friends for coffee. Tennis, football, cricket games are cancelled. How much we can exercise is limited. Our diets are changed. We are drinking more alcohol. And stress and anxiety levels are much higher than usual. Some of us are mourning the death of friends or family. 


What have we lost?

As families we have not been able to celebrate Mothering Sunday, the Easter holiday, which is about Death and Rebirth, and this week the big events marking V.E. Day have been cancelled. What impact has all of this change had on our health?


How are we managing?

Children are out in the streets, drawing with chalks on pavements, and painting rainbows to show their support for the NHS. Without time at school have their creative instincts had more time to flourish? Spring is definitely a time for creativity.

Many of my clients have been cooking, crafting and painting too. This feeds the body, the mind and the spirits of those both doing and those just enjoying/being fed.


Connecting to Spring with Chinese medicine


Make the most of all of the greens which Spring offers...garlic leaves, dandelion leaves, kale, chard, spring greens themselves!

They help the body clear out the residual debris from a Winter of more Yin [slower, quieter] activity. The sun and warmth of this year’s season, has given us a chance to fill up with the more Yang energy of Spring.

Sit in the sun each day if you can, for at least 1/2 hour. And some gentle stretching can give you more flexibility, and may put a spring in your step. Follow the example of the trees, and extend your body more each day as you walk/run/cycle. And most of all, enjoy!

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Webinar: Working with End of Life Clients

Isobel Cosgrove - Monday, July 06, 2015

Over the past 30 years I have worked with many clients who were in a dying process. This work was very inspiring, and I learned a great deal which I wanted to share. In the last few years I have run workshops at conferences, where those attending have joined discussions on how to use Chinese Medicine most effectively with those in our practices who are at the end of their lives. Read More

Menopause HRT and Ageing

Isobel Cosgrove - Friday, April 17, 2015

There are very few models for creative ageing in western cultures. We seem to have lost the art of revering the elders, and the role of handing down wisdom through generations is fading as technology races ahead of us. Read More

Dementia and Anticholinergics - An alternative

Isobel Cosgrove - Sunday, February 15, 2015

A research paper published at the end of January this year (Internal Medicine, Univ of Washington, Oregon) links a number of prescription and over the counter drugs (Anticholinergics) with an increased risk of dementia in those aged 65 years and above. They include Nytol, Night Nurse, Benadryl, Piriton, Amitriptyline and Warfarin. When taken they block a chemical transmitter in the nervous system called acetylcholine. This chemical/neurotransmitter is known to play a key role in the treatment of Dementia.  In sharp contrast, some anti-histamines, anti-depressants and incontinence medicines actually inhibit acetylcholine activity. It is therefore not surprising that this new research identifies some of these drugs as contributing to an increase in dementia. Read More

Seasons in Chinese Medicine

Isobel Cosgrove - Monday, September 08, 2014

Chinese philosophers and doctors recognise five seasons in the year. Late summer arrives early to mid-August, forming a bridge between the expansion of summer and the beginnings of contraction, of nature 'falling back' into the autumn, and later winter. Late summer is the peak, the harvest, of nature's reproductive cycle. Read More

Building Immunity

Isobel Cosgrove - Tuesday, April 01, 2014

I was called by my GP's surgery this winter to invite me to have a flu jab. I have never wanted to have one and I said I would think it over. Others I know find the flu jab helps them get through the winter. Read More

Treatment for Diabetes and Withdrawal from HRT

Isobel Cosgrove - Monday, February 17, 2014

Below is a report written by one of our clients, of her experience of Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs over the past seven months. They are her words.  Read More

The Impact of Damp Climates on Health

Isobel Cosgrove - Monday, November 18, 2013

Chinese Medicine has acupuncture and herbal treatments which specifically aim to remove damp, stickiness and phlegm from our systems. Living in a damp cool climate means that we have to take care to keep ourselves warm enough and to protect from 'invasions of damp'. These can lead to arthritic joints, bronchial asthma, digestive disturbances and other symptoms. Read More

Acupuncture and the Prevention of Illness

Isobel Cosgrove - Thursday, November 07, 2013

In China, for many centuries it has been common pracĀ­tice to give children, from seven years onwards, herbs to counteract the effects of difficult weather, a special diet to support their individual growth and development, and an acupuncture treatment once a season to maintain their health. A doctor, who looks for the individuals’ inherited areas of constitutional vulnerability, sees each child. This diagnosis then determines what diet, exercise programme, herbs and acupuncture they should follow during their growing years. Read More