Free 10 minute Health Consults

Free Naturopathic Consult

We believe that bodies and minds thrive when given the right ingredients. We are dedicated to boosting our community wellbeing and this is why our brilliant practitioners are offering free 10 minute health consults with our naturopaths and nutritionists.

These sessions are designed to help anyone wanting preventative wellness strategies for immunity, symptomatic relief for acute conditions and general health enquiries. You will , of course, be referred if needed for more complex issues or conditions.

With health there is endless possibility, multiple angles for fine tuning and a plethora of ways to start to feel better. We want to help you feel your radiant vitality shining through.

Register for your free digital consult

Simply head to our bookings page, scroll to Naturopathy or Nutrition and choose ‘Free 10 minute consult PHONE/ONLINE’

Which practitioners are offering free 10 minute health consults now?

 

Josephine CabrallJosephine Cabrall Fertile Ground Health Group Free 10 minute health consults

Josephine is an experienced, degree-qualified naturopath and trained fertility teacher specialising in fertility, reproductive health and pregnancy. She uses nutrition, dietary strategies, herbal medicine and lifestyle advice, to help her patients achieve their goals and is passionate about working collaboratively with other health care providers for the best outcomes of the patient.

Understanding the importance of a supportive and empathic support team through the fertility and IVF journey, Josephine aims to meet her patients where they are at, giving them strategies and resources to achieve the best outcomes possible.

Josephine also enjoys helping patients with gut health, thyroid health and stress reduction, recognising the impact of these conditions can have on both fertility and general health.

As well as general fertility, Josephine has a special interest in polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Acknowledging the different presentations of PCOS, she relishes in seeing women improve their fertility and other hormonal symptoms through individualised, tailored treatment plans. To help women better understand and combat PCOS, Josephine has authored an eBook, The PCOS Solution, as well as the Guide to PCOS & Diet – which she generously makes available for free – download here.

Book your free 10 minute health consult with Naturopath, Josephine.

 

Sage King

Sage King Fertile Ground Health Group Free 10 minute health consults

Sage is a diversity-friendly, passionate practitioner who provides quality healthcare for all individuals within the community. With her empathetic and dedicated approach, she aims to guide and educate her clients through an evidence-based model to reach their health goals.

Using nutrition, herbal medicine, dietary and lifestyle advice, Sage specialises in providing naturopathic care for hormonal and reproductive health, preconception care, fertility (female, male, non-binary, & transgender), IVF, ICSI, & ART Support, & pregnancy. Sage also enjoys assisting patients with gut and vaginal microbiome health, gastrointestinal disturbances, stress and mood support, metabolic health, and thoroughly enjoys working with queer individuals, couples, families, sex workers, and single women.

Sage understands the importance of thorough investigation into your personal health history to holistically determine the underlying factors contributing to your presentation, to optimise long-term health outcomes. In order to do this, Sage uses in-depth case taking and testing, and believes it is essential to collaborate with you and your other health care providers to holistically assess and manage your health and wellness goals. She has written a 6-part series to help individuals and couples of all gender identities and sexual orientations confidently navigate their fertility journey and create their own fertility plan.

Book your free 10 minute health consult with Naturopath, Sage.

 

Georga Holt

Georga Holt Fertile Ground Health Group Free 10 minute health consults

Do you want better general health? Do you experience digestive, hormonal, and/or skin issues? Are you suffering the effects of stress, anxiety or lacking in sleep? Georga is passionate about helping you become the healthiest version of yourself. She works with diet therapy, lifestyle modification, herbal medicine and nutritional therapeutics to help you find relief from those niggling health issues that stop you from performing at your best and living your radiant life.

One of the aspects of Naturopathy that Georga absolutely loves is the integrated and holistic model that identifies humans as a whole and intricately woven system – not simply a cluster of isolated symptoms to be treated separately. She really hones in on how to resolve what is going on for you in a comprehensive way that not only feels good to receive (as we all enjoy being seen in our totality) but also provides healthy long-term outcomes.

Georga specifically enjoys working with digestive health (including IBS, IBD and food intolerances), skin (including acne and hormonal breakouts, eczema and psoriasis) and hormonal issues (especially PMS, painful and irregular periods). She has helped many people get through exams with nervous system and adrenal nourishment and loves to help people get a better night’s sleep too.

Book your free 10 minute health consult with Naturopath, Georga.

 

Jane Holland

Jane Holland Fertile Ground Health Group Free 10 minute health consults

Renowned for her grounded and intuitive approach to health, Jane is a holistic nutritionist, yoga teacher and retreat facilitator who is passionate about empowering people to cultivate a healthy and honest relationship with food, eating and their body. Jane brings awareness and reverence into her sessions and is dedicated to listening and supporting her clients to unravel the subconscious patterns of behaviour which drive decision making (particularly in relation to food and eating).

Jane is deeply committed to building community and creating safe and supportive spaces for people to live more harmoniously within their inner and outer environments.

Jane carries degree level qualifications in both Environmental Management (Sustainable Development) and Health Science (Nutritional Medicine) and is trained in both Hatha and Yin Yoga (400hrs Teacher Training certifications). She is also a Food & Spirit practitioner and Emotional Anatomy coach, integrating Eastern and Western philosophies in a wholistic approach to wellness. Jane uses her technical knowledge and understanding in these modalities, together with her deep insight and intuition, to ignite profound and lasting transformation for her clients.

Book your free 10 minute health consult with Holistic Nutritionist, Jane.

Alongside nutrition consultations, Jane also offers Yin Yoga for Deep Sleep classes every Monday night. Your first class is FREE.

Emily Macfarlane

Free 10 minute health consults

Emily’s particular areas of interest include enhancing your energy and vitality, rectifying sleep issues, fine-tuning gut health, and optimising hormonal, thyroid and metabolic health. She appreciates the importance of strengthening the relationship between body and mind, and understands that fostering an integrated awareness to tune in to that dual expression can provide strong foundations that keep your health steady. Emily holds a strong belief that your body has an innate ability to heal itself and uses both herbal and nutritional medicine as well as dietary and lifestyle advice to gently and simply support your body to move toward its optimal function.

Emily regularly integrates self-care practices into her prescriptions by teaching her clients about the importance of mindful eating, movement, meditation and rest. She believes that when we respect our bodies by prioritising self-care vibrant health will follow.

Access Emily’s free ebook on energy and vitality to inspire action at home and support your sleep, digestion, hormones, energy and improve the quality of life that you are living on a daily basis.

Book your free 10 minute health consult with Naturopath, Emily.

Zucchini and Chilli Pepita Salad

Zucchini Salad with Josephine Cabrall from Fertile Ground Health Group

Zucchini and chilli pepita salad is a simple dish that I love for shoulder seasons where we are still having some nice days but the weather is getting colder. It’s still got a lot of freshness about it but the grilled zucchini is easier to digest than raw salad and the chilli pepitas give it some warmth. The lemon, dill and feta really get your tastebuds going.

This dish is super yummy as a BBQ side salad with just about every type of protein – fish, tofu, tempeh, chicken, red meat, falafel, chickpea or lentil burgers. If I have some leftover I often have it for breakfast on a slice of dense wholegrain bread with a poached egg on top.

Zucchinis are very high in fibre, which feeds beneficial gut bacteria and helps you to feel full and satisfied, as well as aiding healthy bowel movements. They are also very low in carbohydrate. All of these things are great for hormone balancing, general health and are compatible with a PCOS diet, if that is what you are aiming for. Being dark green in colour, they are a natural source of antioxidants and folate, making them great for fertility and pregnancy.

Pepitas (pumpkin seeds) add a good source of zinc – helpful for skin, hair, immunity, fertility and so much more.

Ingredients
  • 4 large zucchinis, sliced lengthwise
  • A large handful of pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • A pinch (or more as desired) of cayenne pepper (chilli powder)
  • Half a bunch of fresh dill, leaves picked
  • 30-40g of goat’s chevre or goat’s feta
  • Half a lemon, juiced
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
Method

Brush zucchini slices with olive oil and cook them on a grill plate until soft and browned, flipping halfway. You could also roast them in a 200 degree oven on trays (don’t overcrowd the trays or they’ll go soggy before they brown).

Toast the pepitas in a fry pan with a splash of olive oil, pinch of salt and the cayenne pepper until just starting to go light brown, then remove from heat to cool on a plate.

Assemble the salad by tossing the zucchini with the dill, lemon and olive oil, crumbling the feta on top and sprinkling over the pepitas.

Want more? Download your free PCOS & diet guide, filled with delicious and healthy recipes specifically for people with PCOS – Written by Naturopath Josephine Cabrall.

EMERGE – allow your natural buoyancy

Jane Holland from The Melbourne Apothecary talks adapting to COVID

How are you this week? I know a few of you reading this in Melbourne have just started yet another lockdown – and of course many of you overseas are still managing the restrictions and ongoing changes that COVID brings each week… We’re a pretty adaptable and resilient species really aren’t we? That’s not to say we’re always comfortable in the adaptations we are forces to make, but somehow we manage to find our way.

Which has got me thinking this week about how we will emerge from this period in history??

Emergence

I really love the concept of emergence – it suggests there is a natural buoyancy, an intrinsic ability to rise, that exists within us.

Interestingly the word EMERGE comes from the Latin root ’emergere’ meaning ‘bring to light.’ For me, it’s an innate sense of something bubbling up, a knowing that something wants to manifest. Sometimes we notice it, but often our own stories or narratives are in the way, intercepting the emergence of whatever idea or concept that is trying to rise.

This suggests then that it may be more important for us to remove the obstruction (stories, beliefs and conditioning) so we can ALLOW for the natural emergence, rather than placing all our attention on what we think SHOULD emerge. In other words, to bring our awareness to the ways in which we impede the natural buoyancy of ourselves, so we can simply ‘get out of the way’ and receive whatever it is in us that is naturally moving towards the light….

“Just as the acorn contains the mighty oak tree, the Self has everything it needs to fulfil its destiny. When the inner conditions are right, it naturally emerges”
~ Derek Rydall

What inner conditions  do you need to allow in order for your mighty oak seed to sprout?

Written by Jane Holland, respected holistic Nutritionist at The Melbourne Apothecary, renowned international retreat facilitator, adored Deep Sleep Yin Yoga teacher.

Book in with Jane to understand and reshape your food story, create a healthy relationship with your food and body, and create behaviours in your life that support your healthiest self. (Jane is currently offering free 10 minute Nutrition consults to help you take action – when booking navigate to heading Nutrition > Free 10 min consult > Jane Holland)

How do you know if you have Leaky Gut?

Leaky Gut with Georga Holt at The Melbourne Apothecary

Leaky gut – you have probably heard it before, but what exactly does it mean?

Leaky gut refers to when the lining of your gut wall becomes damaged, causing pathogens/toxins to leak into the gut and reduce nutrient absorption. Unfortunately leaky gut is relatively common, but fortunately it is something that we can heal. So let’s get a bit deeper into it. I’ll share with you WHY you need a healthy gut wall, HOW you know if you’ve got a leaky gut, and a few key HEALING options to factor into your leaky gut care plan.

 

What is the purpose of your gut wall?

Your gut wall is essential for the uptake of minerals, nutrients & water. It also prevents entry of pathogens & toxins and also reduces the loss of nutrients that you consume. If there is a ‘leak’ it can cause a vicious cycle with your health systemically, as your gut health plays a significant role in every organ and system of your body.

 

How do you know if you have a leaky gut?

If you notice any of the following symptoms it’s a good idea to chat with your naturopath or practitioner about it during your next treatment session.

  • Irregular bowel motions
  • Diarrhoea
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Abdominal pain
  • Low energy/fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Brain fog
  • Nutrient deficiencies

 

How do you get leaky gut in the first place?

Here are a few factors that can contribute to or reduce the integrity of your gut. Cast your mind back to the time when you started developing any of the above symptoms and see if it lines up with any of the following triggering factors.

 

Triggering factors:

  • Antibiotics
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Medications
  • Poor diet/inflammatory food
  • Stress

 

Okay, so this is all great to know. But how do you heal the gut?

Well, there are certain steps that need to be taken to ensure you are on the right path – for example see a trained health practitioner – whether that be a Naturopath or Nutritionist – this allows investigative work to take place to find out underlying causes/triggers, plus they will be able to design an individualised treatment plan to heal YOUR gut. Because at the end of the day, everyone’s gut (and health) is so unique and what worked for the person next to you won’t necessarily work for you.

In saying this there are some key components to a healthy glowing gut so here is a list of my top 4 go-to nutrients – make sure you consult with a practitioner to access high quality products at the right dose for your situation:

 

Glutamine

It repairs the tight gap junctions, boosts immune cell activity in the gut, prevents infections & reduces inflammation. It also soothes the intestinal tissue which can contribute to improving the integrity of the gut lining.

 

Zinc

Strengthens the tight gap junctions of the GIT lining which will reduce a leak of pathogens/toxins into the gut and plays a regulatory role in the immune system – which we know communicate quite closely.

 

Vitamin D

Plays a role as an immune modulator, anti inflammatory and antimicrobial agent. Low Vitamin D levels can contribute to IBS like symptoms due to a reduction of Vitamin D receptors which are found in the gut, this can reduce gut function such as motility causing bloating & digestive upset. Vitamin D also plays a role in intestinal epithelial barrier function and bowel inflammation.

 

Vitamin A

Studies have found that Vitamin A deficiency increases intestinal permeability (leaky gut), as it modulates inflammation and is an important component to the integrity of the GIT lining.

Written by Georga Holt, Naturopath.

Georga Holt is a respected general health Naturopath at The Melbourne Apothecary. Book in with Georga to improve your gut health and start  to reignite your sense of vibrancy.

 

References

Bischoff, S. C., Barbara, G., Buurman, W., Ockhuizen, T., Schulzke, J. D., Serino, M., Tilg, H., Watson, A., & Wells, J. M. (2014). Intestinal permeability–a new target for disease prevention and therapy. BMC gastroenterology14, 189. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12876-014-0189-7

Camilleri M. Leaky gut: mechanisms, measurement and clinical implications in humans. Gut. 2019 Aug;68(8):1516-1526. doi: 10.1136/gutjnl-2019-318427. Epub 2019 May 10. PMID: 31076401; PMCID: PMC6790068.

Rao JN, Wang JY. Regulation of Gastrointestinal Mucosal Growth. San Rafael (CA): Morgan & Claypool Life Sciences; 2010. Intestinal Architecture and Development. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK54098/

Skrovanek, S., DiGuilio, K., Bailey, R., Huntington, W., Urbas, R., Mayilvaganan, B., Mercogliano, G., & Mullin, J. M. (2014). Zinc and gastrointestinal disease. World journal of gastrointestinal pathophysiology5(4), 496–513. https://doi.org/10.4291/wjgp.v5.i4.496

The next step in your Acupuncture career?

Are you our new Acupuncturist?

An exciting opportunity for an experienced acupuncturist / Chinese herbal medicine practitioner to join Fertile Ground Health Group is now available.

FGHG practitioners are leaders in their respective professions for IVF support, fertility and pregnancy related treatments and are well respected among medical specialists and experts within this area of practice. The launch of the new preconception bible (Create A Fertile Life) by the team at FGHG, along with moving to beautiful new premises and creating The Melbourne Apothecary, has seen huge growth for us in what evidently (and very sadly) has been a devastating year for many other practices and dispensaries.

We are ready to grow our team and we are looking for our next incredible Acupuncturist. To be eligible for this position you already have passion, confidence and experience in reproductive health, pre-conception care, infertility, IVF/ART, pregnancy, birth and beyond. Importantly, you also have a point of difference and love treating conditions or patient groups we don’t already have covered by our expert practitioners already.

Sound like a fantastic opportunity for you? Would you like to join us?

You will receive

You will have a fabulous, supportive team of well-known professionals to work, grow and collaborate with, along with a highly experienced business management and support team to guide, develop and expand your professional profile. You will have new patients waiting to see you and the established reputation of Fertile Ground Health Group to provide you with a consistent flow of patients to work with on an ongoing basis.

Is this you?

You value collaboration and your ability to develop referrer relationships and patient results are a must. You want to establish yourself as a leader in your profession and you are willing and ready to raise your profile through opportunities that excite you (or even scare you at least a little in all the juicy, good growth ways). You understand the value of writing blogs and social media, marketing contribution, networking, speaking opportunities (to health professionals or patient groups), running workshops, classes or support groups (in person, on zoom or on social media). The opportunities for growth within our team are endless, especially with your full access to all the foundational goods that come as part of the extensive springboard that is Fertile Ground Health Group.

What we’re looking for

We are looking for an experienced Chinese medicine practitioner who would like to simplify the work involved in running a business, who is ready to focus on being a fantastic and fully supported practitioner, dedicating efforts to growing patient reach and enhancing their profile and career with Fertile Ground Health Group.

Mentoring is also available for the right candidate if needed.

Practice session times

You will need to commit to a minimum of three sessions per week including alternate Saturdays. You will be working in one of Australia’s most intentionally beautiful and vibrant clinic spaces with an extensive dispensary supplying all of your prescription needs. We stock a Chinese raw herb, granule and pill dispensary and supply needles, moxa, and general equipment and other needs for practice. There is an extensive nutrition and western herbal dispensary available at The Melbourne Apothecary too.

What is The Melbourne Apothecary?

The Melbourne Apothecary has been created to provide Melbourne’s first prescription-only naturopathic dispensary, serving the FGHG team as well as filling prescriptions for Naturopaths all over Australia. The MA serves to protect the privacy of our fertility and IVF patients (for those who need it) along with opening up to the general health population as a street-frontage “shop”. It is a truly beautiful space and strives to be an example of what is possible.

Apply

To apply please email a cover letter and resume to Charmaine Dennis at charmaine@fertileground.com.au

Interviewing now

We will be interviewing as soon as the right candidates land in our inbox.

“Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life” Confucius

Ten Fertility Enhancing Foods

Ten fertility enhancing foods

Let’s talk about the top ten fertility enhancing foods. Of course, there are a number of foods that are great for fertility and health, however there are some that are indeed more super than others. Getting the basics of healthy heating right is the most important step. From there you can integrate some nutrient dense superfood options that are still commonly over looked by many people.

There is a lot of talk about superfoods and all the amazing things they have to offer for just about every conceivable human ailment and worry. From Cacao to Gubinge, Maca to Goji and Acai the promises include increased fertility, cures for cancer, recovery from all sorts of disease, anxiety and woe. Certainly these foods have so much to offer and definitely can be considered to be powerful, nutrient dense foods with super qualities. However, they fall short of being miracle foods. No amount of goji berries is going to make up for the 2 or 3 coffees or cokes you might drink in a day, or if you gorge on junk foods week after week. If you haven’t got the basics covered, superfoods are not your miracle cure-all for a modern-day poor lifestyle.

Get the basics right first

While superfoods can be fantastic, we (naturopaths and nutritionists) are big believers in the necessity of getting the basics right. Eat whole, live foods that are as close to their fresh form as possible, preferably locally grown or even better straight from your garden. This includes veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, pulses, grains, meat, fish and dairy. Often it’s the unassuming, simple whole foods that actually have incredible super qualities that should be taken advantage of daily.

Consider blueberries, salmon, oats, green leafy veggies and garlic just to name a few. To be super, food does not necessarily need to be exotic. For example, eating a seasonal diet ensures that the foods you do consume are as fresh as possible and are consumed when they are picked – not after they have been stored for a year or two. Truly super eating is actually quite simple. The foods we most commonly refer to as superfoods (spirulina, maca, goji, acai, etc.) are really just the cherry on top!

Superfoods are a useful and highly beneficial addition to your diet. But of course, as always, there is no quick fix and no way around eating the basic ‘super’ foods with every meal, everyday for ultimate health and a fertile life.

Tips for daily essential top 10 ‘super’ foods for fertility and health

 

Chia seeds

Chia is an important addition to your diet if you aren’t already eating it. It’s gluten free and as well as being high in fibre, it absorbs water to form a gelatinous texture that is soothing and healing to your digestive tract. Chia contains eight times more Omega 3 than salmon, more calcium than dairy, is high in iron as well as vitamin C, potassium and antioxidants. Best of all, chia seeds are a complete protein and contain all 8 essential amino acids. Athletes find Chia seeds improve endurance and hydration as well as maintaining blood sugar levels. Aim for 1-2 tablespoons daily.

Blueberries

These little bundles of joy are packed full of antioxidants! Blueberries are low in sugar (a low GI fruit) and so are great for women with PCOS or people trying to lose weight. They are a good source of fibre, vitamin C, manganese and Vitamin K. Best of all, they taste delicious. Be careful to choose organic with berries as they are commonly sprayed because bugs really like berries too. Look for local berries as many berries available in major supermarkets have been shipped from across the globe (often China), which makes it harder to ensure the freshness and quality of your final product.

Green leafy vegetables

Include silverbeet, spinach, rocket, kale, lettuce, parsley, coriander, mint, etc in your diet. These foods are a good source of fibre as well as being high in important vitamins A, B, C, K and folate. They are essential for women who are preparing for pregnancy or are pregnant as they contain folinic acid, which is the most absorbable form of folate. Maximise your daily intake with a green smoothie during the warmer months.

Eggs

Free range, organic eggs are one of your best sources of protein, vitamin D, B12, zinc, phosphorus and selenium. Yes, they contain cholesterol, so if it is a problem for you, take fish oil at the same time to lessen the absorption of cholesterol. Also, as part of a healthy diet that is low in saturated fat and high in healthy fats, a little cholesterol is required. Cholesterol has been painted as the bad guy but it’s also what our hormones are synthesised from. If cholesterol is an issue, check with your naturopath about how to use food to regain control.

Yoghurt

Organic, full-fat, unflavoured yoghurt contains calcium, good fats and ‘friendly bacteria’ to keep your digestive system healthy. Have a serve of yoghurt daily to keep your immune system strong.

Quinoa

While technically a seed, quinoa cooks up like a grain and unlike most (even whole) grains, quinoa is a complete protein. That simply means that it contains all 9 essential amino acids. It also contains more fibre than other grains and is rich in essential fatty acids, iron, lysine (great if you suffer from cold sores), magnesium, B2 and manganese. Quinoa is also gluten free. It is a significantly better grain choice than pasta or even brown rice due to its protein and nutrient content.

Salmon

One of the richest sources of anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids. It’s also high in protein, selenium and B vitamins, especially B12. Eat salmon with the bones for the added bonus of calcium. Most of the salmon in Australia is farmed but the best source is Huon Tasmanian salmon. Locate your nearest Huon stockist.

Oats
High in soluble fibre, oats eaten daily have been shown to lower and help maintain healthy cholesterol and blood pressure. They improve bowel function and are a good source of B vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium, zinc and selenium – all the best nutrients for fertility. Oats are also considered to be a ‘nervine tonic’ in herbal medicine, which means they are useful for calming and nourishing your nervous system.

Walnuts

Researchers from UCLA in California found that men who ate a couple of handfuls of walnuts (75gms) a day saw improvements in their semen quality. They found improvements in sperm motility and morphology and the suggestion is that it was due to walnuts being a rich source of alpha-linolenic acid (an Omega-3). Other benefits with these great fats include improved brain and heart health. Be sure the walnuts taste fresh and are organic.

Remember, superfoods are a useful and highly beneficial addition to your already amazing diet. As always, there is no quick fix and no way around eating the basic ‘super’ foods at every meal, everyday for ultimate health. Get the basics right and build from there.

Counselling for Fertility

Counselling for Fertility - Written by Suzanne Hurley, Perinatal Counsellor

Counselling for Fertility is an important aspect to consider for your Fertility journey. When fertility plans are interrupted or delayed it can cause great distress with feelings of helplessness and eventually hopelessness. My clients often decide that it just shouldn’t be this hard and maybe it is their fate to be childless. An incredibly painful conclusion as you can imagine.

When does counselling for fertility begin?

I can begin my work with you at any stage of the fertility pathway. Sometimes it is following a pregnancy loss, which then complicates how one feels about the next pregnancy. Or you may have been trying to conceive for some time and fear may set in that pregnancy may not happen. You may be at the point at which you have been informed you will need fertility assistance and as such may be struggling with this new identity of needing IVF.  Or you may have made many attempts with IVF and may be left feeling drained emotionally, mentally, and physically. Addressing the grief of what has and or is happening is fundamental to the work that I do to help you through these times.

How to make your way forwards

Acknowledging what this all means is vital to establishing a plan of what next. The impact of the whole experience can be extremely profound on work, health, relationships, family and mental health. Often those people facing these challenges have been running on empty for a long time, putting other life plans on hold to chase the elusive goal of wanting their baby yesterday. It can be heartbreaking, tender work that my personal and professional experience allows me some insight into the rocky terrain to navigate together with you. The life you may now be living may have been intended as a short term change to get the outcome you wanted, however adversity may have struck and now you may feel like you’re stuck, with your life on hold for too long, perhaps even devoid of pleasure. 

Finding your centre

Often this life is lived silently, in the shadows of others’ joys and celebrations of their own fertility successes. Sisters, colleagues and friends all seem to competently become pregnant and have the babies so yearned for. Self-esteem plummets, anxiety symptoms bring a sense of panic and the exhaustion of grief brings depression. I am often met by a person barely hanging onto life, so scared to pause and reflect lest the only opportunity they have to conceive will pass them by. This is often nothing like the ideal most of us aspire to for starting a family.

The task is no small one for either of us. A task too big for one person alone and best advised held in the warmth of company.  We build a care team and soon we find a path that embraces greater wholeness, joy, laughter, purpose, and clarity about what is needed and awareness of what is harmful. We develop strategies to walk through the treacherous forest of others’ seemingly blossoming fertility at every turn and find a quieter, kinder, position to begin to thrive once again.

For more support, Suzanne Hurley, Perinatal Counsellor, is available for consultations at Fertile Ground Health Group or you can make an appointment for a phone or video session for your convenience. Learn more about Suzanne.

Yin for the Sleep Win…#Yinning

Deep Sleep Yin Yoga with Jane Holland at The Melbourne Apothecary

How many nights have you SWORN you would get off Netflix earlier/ stopped scrolling social media in bed/ run a bath/ rubbed lavender in your pillow/ done a guided mediation/ got a better night’s sleep?! Or perhaps you tend to lay in bed, wide eyed, coaxing yourself to drop down, only to become more restless the longer you remain awake?! If you answered yes, you are not alone! An astonishing 39.8% Australians are not getting the recommended quality and/or quantity of sleep each night, leading to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, cognitive dysfunction, poor immune regulation and higher chances of depression and anxiety during and post-pregnancy (Adams 2017).  And this where yin yoga comes into play – yin for the sleep win. Let’s dive in.

Increasingly, we are living in a screen-driven, complex, and uncertain world. The prevalence of sleep problems and prescribed sleep medications actually increased between 2010 and 2016, suggesting that despite increasing awareness in the general media and medical literature about sleep, we are not making meaningful changes!

So, what can you do?

One of the first things you can do to support your sleep is to get honest and conduct a night-time audit. It is much harder to change a behaviour you are not aware of, so understanding your patterns and how they might be contributing to poor sleep comes first.

  1. RECORD… Track your movements between 6pm and bedtime each night for the next two weeks. Keep a record of the times you ate/ drank, what you watched on TV, amount of alcoholic drinks/ cigarettes, interactions with partners/ family/ housemates, time on your phone, reading, what you do when lying down to bed, exercise etc. Also note caffeine intake (how many coffees/ teas/ cola drinks you had during the day) Make this as detailed as possible.
  2. ASSESS… Each morning, record how your sleep was the previous evening – how many times you woke, if you got up during the night, how vital you feel when you wake on a scale of 1-10 (if you have a device that tracks this you could record the data as well).
  3. REVIEW… After two weeks, go back to your journal and notice if there are correlations between evening activities and sleep quality/ quantity.
The next step? Operation SLEEP HYGIENE
  1. EDIT… Start small. That is, find ONE thing you can remove from your evening ritual that might be connected to poor sleep, and introduce ONE thing that might improve your sleep.

SUGGESTIONS…

  1. REMOVE– Wi-Fi in your home after 9pm, scrolling on apps whilst lying in bed, alcoholic drinks, caffeine after midday, bright lighting around the home in the evening, arguments with family/ housemates, going straight from Netflix to bed, eating/ working within an hour of going to sleep, electronics in the bedroom.
  2. INTRODUCE– dimmed lighting for an hour before sleeping, sipping warm water in the fresh air for 10 minutes before bed, yin yoga, 10 mins of meditation, reading, a warm shower or bath, daily exercise (20-30mins), going to bed at the same time every night, removing all electronic devices from your bedroom
  3. REVIEW… Notice what changes for you over the following two weeks. Does your sleep improve? What are you feeling since your audit? Can you introduce another small change after these two weeks?

Including meditation and gentle yoga before bed is one simple method of reducing stress and supporting in to ‘come home’ to your body and breath. Studies have shown that including meditation, breathwork and yoga reduces stress and associated negative health effects, as well as improving sleep quality and quantity.

Yin yoga, a practice which includes long held postures targeting deep connective tissue and calming the nervous system, has shown great promise in reducing stress and ensuring good sleep hygiene.

A 2012 US study found 55% of participants who included yoga in their weekly practices reported improved sleep, and 85% reduced stress (Stussman 2015). Yoga’s ability to increase relaxation and induce a balanced mental state has also been explored, with a regular yoga practice resulting in an increase in the total number of hours slept, significantly less time getting to sleep, and a feeling of being rested in the morning (Woodyard 2011).

While there is not one definitive answer to improving sleep quality and quantity, becoming aware of our daily habits and behaviours is an incredibly important starting point in establishing what is true. By getting honest, it is possible to firstly acknowledge and then establish what changes can be made. Implementing a regular yoga and meditation practice may provide both a nourishing and supportive way to come back into alignment with our natural cycles, improve sleep and experience deep rest.

So as the sun sets on your day, watch your own habits and behaviours as you prepare for sleep. Will you be winding down with nature and following your natural rhythms supported by yoga and mindfulness? Or will you scrolling mindlessly, yearning for deep restoration but unwilling to make changes… The choice is yours.

Written by Jane Holland

Jane Holland is a respected yin yoga teacher, international retreat facilitator and educator. She is the creator and facilitator of our current “Deep Sleep” series – yin yoga for restoration.

 

 

References:

Woodyard C. Exploring the therapeutic effects of yoga and its ability to increase quality of life. Int J Yoga. 2011;4(2):49-54. doi:10.4103/0973-6131.85485

(Stussman BJ, Black LI, Barnes PM, Clarke TC, Nahin RL. Wellness-related use of common complementary health approaches among adults: United States, 2012. National health statistics reports; no 85. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2015.)

Adams RJ, Appleton SL, Taylor AW et al. Sleep health of Australian adults in 2016: results of the 2016 Sleep Health Foundation national survey. Sleep Health 2017;3:35-42

Daukantaitė D, Tellhed U, Maddux RE, Svensson T, Melander O. Five-week yin yoga-based interventions decreased plasma adrenomedullin and increased psychological health in stressed adults: A randomized controlled trial. PLoS One. 2018 Jul 18;13(7):e0200518. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0200518. PMID: 30020987; PMCID: PMC6051627.

Pain in Pregnancy

Pain in pregnancy
Pain in pregnancy

Pregnancy can be an amazing and rewarding experience for many women. It’s an experience that is often accompanied by varying degrees of pain, but how you look at pain and how much you understand it can drastically alter your perception of it.

Pain is a misunderstood beast

It is perhaps one of the most important survival systems your body has.

It used to be believed that pain was a reaction to tissue damage, but we now know that pain is predictive, it functions more like a warning of potential damage either real or imagined, and the most interesting part is that it is an adaptive system.

This might seem obvious to anyone who understands that the body is a living, learning and constantly changing organism, but unfortunately many medical professionals fall into the trap of seeing the body as a machine with simple mechanisms and unintelligent parts.

It’s too often from this view point that many medical professionals discuss healthcare with their patients. Modern science is at odds with a mechanistic view, the more we learn about pain the more we see a highly complex system capable of completely remodelling itself.

The pain we feel is influenced by many aspects our life and physiology. The unique make up of our bodies, how we move, what we eat, as well as our thoughts and beliefs are just some of things that contribute to our experience of pain.

Knowing this we can take a different approach to treatment by understanding that pain can help navigate us towards what our bodies need.

During pregnancy the body transforms dramatically and its needs can change daily, so interpreting what it’s trying to tell us becomes even more important.

Pain is multi-faceted, and so should your treatment be

As many healthcare professionals specialise in particular areas, the best care is often delivered by a team who work together to provide you with an individualised and multifaceted care plan. Your team should collaborate with you to ensure you are receiving the appropriate treatment, guidance and advice that reflects your wishes, goals and intentions. That is the philosophy of multimodal and patient centred care.

If you are experiencing pain, it is often a good idea to see a healthcare professional who specialises in musculoskeletal pain and associated conditions such as a Clinical Myotherapist.

What to expect when you see your Clinical Myotherapist

During your consultation your Clinical Myotherapist will take the time to have a detailed discussion about all possible aspects of your life that may contribute to your health.

Then with your consent they may assess any areas of pain to help gain a better understanding of your musculoskeletal health. Using all the information collected they will then work with you to draw up a healthcare plan that can be used as a roadmap to achieve your health goals.

Your healthcare plan is tailored to your specific needs and may incorporate things such as manual therapies (massage, PNF stretching, dry needling), pain education (understanding how pain works in the body), and exercise prescription, as well as referral to other practitioners that may be better suited to different areas of care.

Your Clinical Myotherapist can be an important part of your healthcare team.

Written by Zach Hannan

Zach is a Clinical Myotherapist at Fertile Ground Health Group. He is available for in person consultations to support you through pain, through your pregnancy, through COVID and beyond. Learn more more about Zach here.

Springtime In Mind

Springtime in Mind - Suzanne Hurley
Spring and fertility go hand in hand.

By holding springtime in mind as a time of new growth and new life we can harness its vitality. We can get in and hug it close.  I have found myself witnessing my daughters’ raising a newborn lamb after his mother died during his birth. Witnessing him being loved and cared for as he gains strength and recovers from pneumonia has filled me with delight. He provides the perfect container for my daughters to manage their struggles with COVID restrictions dampening their wings, in getting on with the business of taking flight away from the parental gaze. He has provided a structure of feeding times, nappy changing (yes he wears nappies with a hole for his tail) and cuddles. They have also had to figure out how to house him once he is able to be left outside in a little paddock with shelter for protection.

Extending the love you have to a willing recipient is never time lost, but rather the stuff OF you and the life you create. Extending the love you give to include yourself is too often overlooked. It is a gift we love to give but too often fail to receive. Accepting the need to love ourselves somehow is always the last priority that we just never seem to get back to. As I say to my clients it is a discipline that requires your consideration and requires skill building. It is a constant endeavour, also never lost, but it will fade if not fed and watered and fertilised. Just like our lamb.

The idea of fertility is varied and many to different people and life circumstances.

It can be a time of regrouping with new energy for latent projects including our own fertility, be it reproductive fertility, new experiences, wealth creation, new ideas and passions created or reinvigorated. It is a time to uncurl, albeit slowly if needed, from the nestled cocoon of Winter where we have rested our energies and made room for inactivity and quietude, perhaps more so this year than any other. Have a think about how you want to get down and hug in close to your own fertile mind. Care for a lamb, a new baby, nurture your eggs, build a nest, bud forth an idea, spring into life.

Spring is a time of opportunity new and renewed. Seek out the evidence of the fertile season. Spend time in your garden to see the rich green of new leaves, the buds of maples amid the bursts of ideas that spring to mind as you mindfully wander your surroundings. Reap what you sow and do not bypass yourself. Spend time with your goals, your dreams no matter how fanciful, get real with your budget and imagine the life you seek and how to get there. If you can’t spring into life, just walk or crawl, one foot in front of the other, one day at a time and allow the seasonal vitality to be absorbed through your skin, your cells and your imagination. Set your gaze at different distances, near, middle and far and align your ideas with achievable actions at each pinpoint. Join with others, team up, mentor in. Make it sow.

Written by Suzanne Hurley

Suzanne is a Perinatal & Fertility Counsellor at Fertile Ground Health Group. She is available for telehealth consultations to support you through COVID. Learn more more about Suzanne here.