Free 10 minute Health Consults

Free 10 minute health consults

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.

Kick Your Children’s Recurrent Infections to the Kerb

with Sarah Harris, Paediatric & Family Naturopath

Are You Sick of Your Kids Being Sick?

Do you shudder when you hear someone cough nearby them because you just know you’re kids are going to get sick? Do your kids often complete a course of antibiotics to treat an infection, only for it to return a month later? You are not alone! Hordes of children are frequently unwell with upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs), influenza (flu), ear infections, and a multitude of other recurrent infections. So what is it that decreases their immune system function – and what can you do about it?

Has Your Children’s Immune System Gone on Strike?

Several factors have the potential to diminish their immune function and make them more susceptible to getting sick; these include stress, a lack of regular exercise, inadequate sleep, and poor nutrition. Frequent antibiotic use, which often goes hand in hand with repeated infections, can also contribute to lowered immunity. It’s true that antibiotics serve an essential purpose in eliminating bacterial infections to help us feel well again. However, they are commonly overprescribed for viral infections (such as colds, flus, and URTIs), even though they do not have any effect against viruses. This overuse of antibiotics can not only reduce their efficacy, but also unbalance the ‘good’ bacteria in the gut, further compromising immunity. So you may be asking “what’s the solution?” Fortunately, there are natural treatments available which can help to strengthen your immune system and keep your children well for longer.

Boost Immunity to Combat Infection

Can you imagine a life in which your children feel vibrant and healthy? With the correct immune support, this could be a reality! Ask your Paediatric & Family Naturopath about the following natural immune boosters:

Coriolus: This medicinal mushroom increases the production of immune cells that help you fight off infections more effectively.

Reishi: Another medicinal mushroom which exerts potent antiviral activity to help you recover faster.

Astragalus: A well-known immune enhancing herb which can reduce the occurrence of reinfection.

Astragalus also helps to restore energy levels after being sick.

Lifestyle Tips to Improve Your Children’s Immune Defences

In addition to taking immune enhancing herbs and mushrooms, there are numerous ways you can support healthy immunity through your children’s diet and lifestyle choices:

  1. Rest! You may be surprised by how effective your children’s immune system can be when you give it a chance. Ensure they get a good night’s sleep and let their body work its magic.
  2. Eat plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits. These foods contain abundant immune supportive vitamins and minerals including vitamin C and zinc.
  3. Go for garlic and ginger. Garlic is a broad-spectrum antimicrobial agent and an immune booster. Ginger helps to warm you up and fends off illness by reducing inflammation.
  4. Drink plenty of water. It is essential that your children keep hydrated. When they are unwell, fluids are rapidly lost through having a runny nose, coughing, and sweating.
  5. Unwind. While it may be difficult to reduce your children’s ‘stressors’ (like busy child care or kindergarten, after school activities, etc.), it is possible to manage stress more effectively.

Support them to participate in relaxing play, board games, meditation, and deep breathing exercises 3 to 4 times a week, or as often as needed.

Keep Your Children’s Immune Game Strong

Another way that you can ward off infection in your children is by ensuring they have sufficient stores of some key vitamins and minerals that support and improve immune health, such as:

Vitamin C – sources include red and yellow capsicum, citrus fruits (especially oranges), kiwi fruit, strawberries, brussels sprouts, broccoli, and even the humble tomato. heirloom-tomatoes-1188815__340

Zinc – at the initial signs of a viral or bacterial infection, zinc deploys infection-fighting white blood cells to destroy it. Food sources of zinc include seafood, meat, wheat germ, spinach, seeds (e.g. pumpkin, sesame), nuts (especially cashews), and beans (e.g. chickpeas, adzuki).

Embrace A Life Of Wellness for you and your children!

If recurrent infections are an issue for you or your children, speak with your Paediatric & Family Naturopath today about boosting your families’ immune function to get well and stay well. Kick sickness to the kerb, break the antibiotic cycle and enjoy a life of health, happiness and vitality!

sarahharris_edited_colourSarah Harris is a qualified and experienced naturopath, herbalist and nutritionist with more than a decade of knowledge and practice in complementary medicine. As a mother of three children and highly skilled in providing naturopathic care, Sarah has a special interest in treating children of all ages. Her empathetic and kind nature instills comfort and confidence when providing advice to parents about their child’s health and she works well with families and individuals to find solutions for health concerns.

What is Buteyko?

by Carly Woods, FGHG Buteyko practitioner and Naturopath

Did I say potato? No. But I understand the confusion. Let’s get some clarity around what Buteyko is.

A lot of people know about Buteyko Therapy because of the incredible results it produces in asthma recovery.  Dr Konstantin Buteyko developed it in the 1950s for this exact purpose. It’s a breathing therapy that is simple, powerful, and easy to integrate into your life for maximising your health outcomes.  Let’s dive in.

So Buteyko is fabulous for asthma – great, but did you know that it’s also applicable to a whole range of conditions that aren’t even related to asthma?

Anxiety, for example, is such a pervasive and easily hidden condition suffered by so many, and you can use the simplicity and power of Buteyko Therapy to take the edge off before the panic hits. You can even use Buteyko therapy to train your body out of anxiety patterns to avoid panic and chronic internal tension entirely.

The list of conditions that Buteyko is brilliant for is extensive, and includes:

  • Stress, anxiety
  • Digestive issues
  • Respiratory issues, such as sinusitis, rhinitis, hay fever, and asthma.
  • Sleeping issues, such as insomnia, sleep apnoea, and waking with a dry mouth.
  • Cognition issues, like memory, focus, and concentration.
  • Fatigue
  • Dental issues, like palate development, teeth grinding, bad breath.
  • Muscle tension.

And that’s not even all of it.

‘So why are the beneficial effects of Buteyko so wide-reaching?’ I hear you asking me with inquisitive eyes and slight disbelief. A great question.

The answers are simple, and the systemic effects profound.

Buteyko works to

  1. balance and retrain your nervous system;
  2. align your jaw to the right position and activate your correct breathing muscles (to train you out of being a dirty mouth breather);
  3. support proper oxygenation of the tissues throughout your entire body by adjusting your blood gas set point to a more appropriate level.

So let’s think about this for a second. I’m going to just take the first point of how Buteyko works, and dissect it a bit to help you to understand how powerful ‘balancing and retraining your nervous system’ really is.  Imagine you have a chronic condition (many of you may already, so if this is you, imagine your reality). Now imagine you are SUPER stressed. How does that stress feel thrown into the mix of your chronic condition symptoms? Does it exacerbate them, or does it placate them?

It surely does not placate.

So we can see here that stress is unhelpful. Great.

Now let’s think about sleeping.  When we sleep our body LOVES to repair itself. When we sleep we switch into something called the ‘parasympathetic nervous system response’.  It governs our states of rest. In this state we digest, repair, and rest best.

The first reason that Buteyko is such an incredibly versatile therapy is because it switches your body out of the state of stress (called the sympathetic nervous system response) and lands you in your parasympathetic response – your resting, digesting, and repairing state.

So now reconsider your chronic condition – is its repair helped or hindered by stress? Is its repair helped or hindered by being in a repair and rest state?

You got it – the healing of chronic conditions is helped GREATLY by putting your body in the nervous system response state of REPAIR.  I’ve never met anyone who was all, ‘oh yes please, I’d love a bit more stress today – that will surely help me feel apex on my health mountain and heal my underlying issues.’

So we get it – the takeaway here is: Buteyko trains your body OUT of the stress state and INTO a state of repair.

Throughout the next lot of blogs I’ll get into the nitty gritty of how Buteyko helps with all of the conditions listed above. We will start with anxiety and stress.  In the meantime – to get you going with a fierce health stride make sure you grab your free access to my Stress & Anxiety Buteyko Starter Pack.

Buteyko is a combination of simple, practical breathing techniques – I’ll be writing all about how and why they work in these blogs.  If you’re keen to learn how to use Buteyko for yourself and start feeling better immediately – come and see me so that we can tailor a Buteyko program specifically for your needs.  In my consultations we create a Buteko program specifically for you, teach you how and when to use your techniques at home, I’ll show you how to measure your progress, and you’ll learn about what signs to look out for from your body that indicate you’re on the right track with your balance and healing.  My aim is to make it super accessible and easy for you to stay on track with your health long-term.

I usually see patients 3-4 times, and then it’s up to you to implement the changes consistently in your life – which is not hard at all with Buteyko since it’s practical and simple, plus the way you feel as you progress through it is so wonderful that you’ll undoubtedly be a keen Buteyko breathing bean, looking forward to your integrated self-care spaces.

Breath is so incredibly fundamental to life. You meet your breath before you meet your mother.

Learn to get the basics right, and from there your health and healing potential is limitless.

In breath

Carly

Carly Woods - HeadshotCarly is a Buteyko Practitioner and Naturopath. She is passionate about helping her patients access their innate balance and wellbeing using practical, simple, and powerful fundamentals.  If you’re keen to get started now, book in to see Carly. She is available to see you at Fertile Ground Health Group on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Take a look at Carly’s bio to find out more about the way she works and how Buteyko Therapy can help you.

The emotional rollercoaster of infertility

by Suzanne Hurley, FGHG counsellor

Anyone in the throes of trying to conceive knows the grueling fertility cycle of hope then worry realised into disappointment, the grief and numbness that takes hold right before a new found fortitude and grit. Each new hope that is a little less sure of itself with each cycle, that if allowed, will vanish and harden into a no expectation kind of expectation.

They will know how disorienting, chaotic, demanding and painful it is to be a part of a world that all too often disallows space for such a massive struggle. Workplaces that have little or no flexibility, friends you simply cannot tell for fear of bringing darkness into their baby making bubble, families that will not or do not understand the what, how and why of what is involved. Your right to privacy and confidentiality that cannot be upheld and the all encompassing feeling of failure and shame, albeit real or imagined that prevents you from stopping the spilling over of grief from your heart, carried as tears that first pool and then pour for all to see.

In times such as these we can benefit from slowing the pace and collecting ourselves long enough to create a simple structure to help keep our vulnerability safe. Establishing some emotional scaffolding can alleviate us of any unnecessary burden we may keep on trying to carry. It can help to ground us in knowing some core well-being skills, either not yet learnt along the way to our adult selves, or are no longer effective. How can we ever be prepared to face infertility when the norm is for our bodies to work when we ask it of them?

No one expects this level of adversity in thinking about starting a family. We may dread it or worry that it may be our story but mostly we expect things to go smoothly. When it does not it can rock us to our very foundations of who we are in the world. It is this crushed illusion of who we are that needs the scaffolding in the same way we provide a stick or trellis for a plant that may struggle to bear fruit if not supported.

Identifying with a fertility counsellor who you are, why you are the way you are and knowing where you are right now when faced with fertility challenges, can be the glue that holds you together. It will be the scaffold you need until you too bear fruit. A task made easier with someone who can hold you lightly as you rise and more tightly as you yield.

The extra bonus is whilst doing all of this you earn yourself a confidant and a witness to the best and worst of you. A person who will see you and get to know you and listen and keep learning what it is that you need. They can plan with you how to have that need met, respectfully and honourably, with compassion and awe.

 

SuzanneHURLEYCSuzanne Hurley is an exceptionally compassionate, understanding and experienced counsellor with a very specific skill set and deep understanding of the challenging nature of infertility and the path to becoming a parent. Learn more about Suzanne Hurley here.

How to Improve Endometrial Health

By Jo Sharkey, FGHG Acupuncturist and Gina Fox, FGHG Naturopath

The big fertility discussion is often about enhancing egg quality to improve pregnancy rates, however, there is much less said about the other major aspect of being able to conceive and that’s the health of the endometrium and getting the embryo to stick. If the soil isn’t right the seed won’t grow and in this podcast we’re going to discuss things you can take control of to create a health endometrium and improve implantation success. Take heart in knowing that the endometrium regenerates every four weeks so by making some small changes today you’ll have an impact on your next menstrual cycle.

As usual the discussion is with acupuncturist Joanne Sharkey and naturopath Gina Fox and today to bring her knowledge to this topic is another Fertile Ground naturopath, Rhiannon Hardingham.

Listen to the podcast… How to Improve Endometrial Health

Beautiful times through pregnancy to see your Acupuncturist

Pregnancy can be so demanding on the body.

Physically and emotionally.

Acupuncture can be Oh So Useful in pregnancy.

As an Acupuncturist I often get asked – when are the most delicious times to check in with your Acupuncturist?

So let’s jump in.

 

Regularly though the first twelve weeks

Especially if it’s taken some time to conceive this babe, you’ve experienced pregnancy loss in the past, or you’re feeling particularly anxious about this pregnancy.

Also, if symptoms like nausea and fatigue are having a considerable impact, give your Acupuncturist a call. And the sooner the better on this one.

 

Through the middle of the pregnancy: as symptoms arise

And again, the sooner the better on this one. Catch things like carpal tunnel, back pain, insomnia and indigestion as they arise.

An alternative to the ‘catch things as soon as they creep in’ approach is to schedule monthly check in appointments with your Acupuncturist through the middle of the pregnancy. There is always work to do. And a month can be a very long time during pregnancy!

Go with what you feel will work best for you.

 

Weekly in the final weeks of pregnancy

Weekly from 37 weeks is ideal. This will help facilitate the smooth preparation of bringing this divine soul earthside and prepare your body for labour.

There is so much divine work going on inside your body during this time. Many women become physically more tired and sore. And it may become harder to reach good pockets of sleep.

On top of that, there can be car seats to fit, renovations to finish (why does that always happen?!), and an influx of information coming at you from your birth provider.

There’s the endless thoughts of what labour is going to be like. How we are going to work with the pain.

In other words, there is A Lot. And our minds at this time can go into overdrive.

As the To Do List can whir around us, it’s time to breathe and come home.

A space that Acupuncture is so great at facilitating.

 

More often if you pass your estimated due date

Great to book in some treatments for 40.5 weeks and even 41 weeks. It’s very common to reach these! An estimated due date is just that, an estimate.

So if you do become ‘overdue’, lets use the pins to create some calm space, and facilitate the most optimal environment for your body to go into labour.

 

On ‘the other side’

If you’re seeing an Acupuncturist, ask them what to do regarding treatment on ‘the other side’.

Once pregnancy has drawn to a close, the summit of labour has been climbed, and you have that sweet delicious soul in your arms, there may still very well be work to be done.

Stepping over the threshold from pregnancy to motherhood does not mean you no longer require support.

In general, Chinese Medicine advises that it’s absolutely best for mum and babe to stay indoors and rest for the first 6 weeks. To get to know each other, facilitate recovery from the big experience of birth, and sync up in their rhythms.

At the same time, be in contact with your Acupuncturist if any bumps arise. They may be able to help you. Or they may be able to guide you towards the correct support you may require. Early intervention can be so useful with many postpartum conditions, so please remember that it is always, always okay to ask for help.

 

AmyObrienColourAmy O’Brien is a registered Acupuncturist and Chinese Medicine practitioner with a passion for preconception, fertility and pregnancy care. Amy has extensive experience in acupuncture, including a 2 year period of administering acupuncture in a Melbourne hospital. She enjoys working with every aspect of health and disease to assist you in creating fabulous health.

How is acupuncture going to help me conceive?

by Naomi Jankowski, FGHG Acupuncturist

The question I receive the most frequently in clinic is ‘How does acupuncture work?’ This is such a fantastic question with multifaceted answers. The question I like even better is ‘How is acupuncture going to help me conceive?’ When I consider this, there are two parts to the answer which are relatively easy to explain, and which are very important for patients to hear so they understand what we are doing, rather than just going along with a bunch of arbitrary needles.

The first part of this relates more broadly to the question of how acupuncture works. Through my experience in clinic, I have found that so much of acupuncture works on benefiting blood flow and circulation.  Acupuncture does not just work by bringing blood flow to the area where the needle is inserted, in fact often the needles selected will direct the blood flow to an entirely different area of the body.  For example, I routinely use points on the hands that have a direct affinity to the ovaries and uterus.  If a patient comes to see me on a day that they have menstrual cramping, using these points on the hands usually decreases the pain within a few minutes.  By facilitating blood flow to the area, the uterus is then able to function more efficiently.

In many cases, menstrual cramping is caused by a small amount of uterine clotting that is stuck.  The cramps occur when the uterus has small contractions to try to push the clots out.  Unfortunately, the contractions often become inefficient, and then we have the problem which we so often see in clinic, where a woman either has pain or heavy bleeding.  Increasing the blood flow to the uterus facilitates more efficient uterine contractions.  This in turn will decrease pain, decrease heavy bleeding, and, most importantly, create a good basis of endometrial lining.

This brings us to the next point, and our next question of ‘How is acupuncture going to help me conceive?’ Patients often tell me they have low AMH, and that their fertility specialist has told them they cannot conceive as a result of poor egg quality.  Egg quality is certainly part of the picture, and cannot be overlooked.  But let’s consider another perspective.  What good is the perfect egg if the quality of the endometrial lining is so poor that implantation cannot occur?

The analogy of soil works best to illustrate this point.  A seed will not be able to form roots in soil that is littered with rocks, debris and clumped up dirt.  No matter how much fertilizer you add, if there are enough rocks in the soil, your seed will not grow.  These rocks are the clots in the endometrial lining.  First and foremost, our job is to help eliminate this clotting.  Secondly, we work to add fertilizer to the soil i.e. thicken the endometrial lining.  Then, if necessary, we work on egg quality.  Often I never need to directly work on step three, because by that time, conception has successfully occurred.

It is important to note here that patients often have their lining measured, and are told that it looks fine.  This is a measurement in millimeters that does not take into account quality of lining and possible clotting.  Clots will, in a sense, artificially increase the ‘true’ lining of the uterus present on the scan.  It is detrimental lining that leads to a false reading in millimeters.

So to summarize and answer these clinically relevant questions, the benefit of traditional Chinese gynecology is that it takes into account the quality of the endometrial lining.  Acupuncture can facilitate blood flow to the uterus, to improve the quality of this lining which increases the ability of an embryo to implant.

NaomiJANKOWSKIColourNaomi Jankowski is a highly experienced, registered acupuncturist and Chinese herbal medicine practitioner. Naomi is known for her ability to build relationships with her patients where they feel truly supported supported, even the most difficult of fertility and reproductive journeys.

Putting up with pelvic menstrual pain?

by Naomi Jankowski, FGHG Acupuncturist and Chinese Herbal Medicine practitioner.

Pelvic pain is one of the most common pain complaints that I see in clinical practice. Many women experience and endure a level of pelvic menstrual pain on a regular basis, believing that symptoms such as cramps, spasms and aching are common and expected during their menstrual cycle. Some women suffer even more severe and debilitating pelvic pain, affecting their life for most days of the month.

I am always impressed by the effect of acupuncture when treating women for this type of pain. Acupuncture can be a safe and non-invasive way of managing these symptoms, whether it be caused by endometriosis or otherwise.

When treating pain, I use a technique called “distal acupuncture” where needles are mostly placed in arms and legs, regardless of where the pain is presenting. It’s a very comfortable, effective treatment and there is no need to remove clothing for this type of session.

I recently treated a young woman using distal acupuncture, who had endured severe pelvic pain for the past 15 years. Alison (named changed to protect privacy), aged 31, described her pelvic pain as a sharp and inflamed sensation felt throughout her lower abdomen, particularly on her right-hand side. The pain was present almost every day, with only 3 days each month being pain-free. The pain was at its worst during menstruation and ovulation, when it was so debilitating that pain killers were no longer effective and she was unable to work.

Alison had seen a gynecologist who had confirmed Stage 4 endometriosis. The gynecologist referred her to see me, after having performed a second laparoscopy, removing the endometriosis and also scar adhesions from the first surgery. Unfortunately, the laparoscopy had not sufficiently relieved Alison’s pain.

On presentation to the clinic, Alison also had pain in the soles of her feet, which would come on at the same time as the pelvic pain. Her energy was very low, sleep was poor, she had “IBS” symptoms of alternating constipation and diarrhea, and also suffered from profuse night sweats.

Acupuncture points were chosen to facilitate blood flow to the pelvic cavity. While these were distal points (located on arms and legs rather than the pelvis), the patient felt a decrease of pain from a 7out of 10 to a 1 out of 10 by the end of her first session. This pain relief only lasted for 12 hours after the first session.

However, now, after 7 sessions in total, Alison has gone from being in pain for 25 out of 28 days, to only having pain 4 days out of 28, around the time of menstruation and ovulation. The pain is much more manageable and Alison no longer needs to take time off work. She also notices that her energy and sleep have both improved, the pain at the soles of her feet has almost completely gone, and night sweats have not occurred since our second session together. Digestion is also changing, with bowels becoming more regular.

Overall, Alison feels encouraged by her progress, and we have now been able to drop the acupuncture sessions down to once per month, for maintenance of the pain at the worst part of her cycle.

Of course, this is just one example of how this technique has worked for one woman and is not necessarily how other individuals will respond to this method of treatment. Given the severity and long-term nature of the pain however, Alison and I agree that this has been a great outcome and a positive example of distal acupuncture for pelvic pain conditions.

 

Naomi Jankowski, FGHG Chinese Herbal Medicine practitioner & Acupuncturist

Naomi has a special interest in treating pain arising from a multitude of conditions and in particular, relating to women’s reproductive health. With her extensive experience as a practitioner, Naomi brings a warmth and deep understanding to the treatments she provides and particularly enjoys working with pregnancy and women trying to conceive.

Why your glute muscles are so important!

And how some key exercises will help protect your back, hips, knees and ankles…

Written by FGHG Osteopath, Dr. Nicole Cukierman

Many of us spend hours a day sitting either at our desk, driving to and from work, or on the couch after a long day. This time usually increases over the winter months when we tend to hibernate to stay warm and spend less time outdoors. When in a seated position our buttocks muscles are inactive and overtime this can lead them to become weak and dormant.

Why does this matter you may ask? Well, our gluteal muscles are the biggest and one of the most important muscles in the body. They are necessary for pelvic stability and propulsion, standing, walking and running, supporting your core, strength when lifting and provide protection of our back, hips, knees and ankles. Gluteal dysfunction can present as tightness in the buttocks or hips, this can be sudden or gradual onset, you may have stiffness after rest and can experience weakness.

The gluteal muscles are made up of a group of three muscles; gluteus maximus, medius and minimus. Weakness or inactivity can cause malalignment of the pelvis and thigh bone. When this occurs our biomechanics change which may pose strain on various joints, for example a weak gluteus medius results in our hips rolling inwards placing excess strain on our knees and ankles. This can lead to a range of complaints such as tendonitis, bursitis and patella-femoral tracking syndrome. Furthermore; pelvic dysfunction or instability from poor gluteal function results in compensation by other muscles and vulnerability to our core, predisposing lower back pain.

Below are some simple, yet effective gluteal exercise you can perform to ensure your gluteal muscles are working at optimal function. Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions for supine bridges and complete clam shell & donkey kick exercises on each side. Repeat crab walks twice, 10 times each direction.

 

Written by Dr Nicole Cukierman, FGHG Osteopath

Nicole enjoys treating a wide variety of patients and has a particular interest working with babies, children and women during pregnancy. Her knowledge in paediatrics and antenatal care has been enhanced through extra courses in the osteopathic treatment and management of children and women during pregnancy. She is also proficient in dry needling and myofascial cupping with experience managing acute and repetitive strain injuries though her work as a sports trainer.

Create solid foundations for your fertility

By Gina Fox, FGHG Naturopath and co-author of Create a Fertile Life.

 

Preconception health really does set the foundation for creating healthy eggs and sperm to conceive, and to have a healthy pregnancy and baby. 

So what is involved in a preconception and fertility plan with a naturopath?

Ideally for at least 3-4 months before you begin trying to conceive, you will both pay close attention to your diet and lifestyle, your environment and any chronic health issues that need to be addressed.  Extensive testing for nutritional levels, infections and other contributing factors are all undertaken.  Your family history is explored and your personal medical and health history is extensively mined for clues as to anything that may compromise your fertility.  Everything from digestive issues to nutrient deficiency, hormone imbalance to urinary tract infections can be really important contributors to fertility, many of which are highly treatable or responsive to natural medicine support.

This process is comprehensive, enlightening, empowering and most importantly, takes you on a journey of continuous improvement that at the very least leaves you feeling healthy, energised and vital, but more importantly may help you achieve a healthy baby.

Preconception planning directs us away from unquestioning or despairing acceptance of genetic destiny or environmental randomness. Investing in yourself at this time of your life goes a very long way. There is surely no other time of life in which such major changes occur and where our action is potentially most powerful.

Both the sperm and egg take around 3 months to develop / mature and in this time they are both vulnerable to damage; creating interruptions to normal healthy development and even chromosomal abnormalities.  The embryo and developing baby are significantly influenced by their environment, and their genetic development is profoundly altered by influences from outside.  So we focus on reducing risk factors, optimising the environment in which they develop and hopefully creating the most positive outcome possible: a sweet, healthy baby.

What is the ‘perfect embryo’?

Both the egg and the sperm contain 23 individual chromosomes, which combine at the moment of conception to create the 23 pairs of chromosomes required to make a human. At the very moment conception occurs your child’s genetic stamp, the strongest predictor of their future health, learning abilities and susceptibilities, is created. And the thing that dictates these outcomes are those individual 23 chromosomes in the sperm and the egg.  And the good bit is that you can influence the genetic make-up of your child by improving your own health during the months prior to conception.

Your fertility is a barometer of your general health. As well as an increased chance of conceiving a healthy baby. This approach promises a host of other benefits.  All treatment approaches have their side effects and ours is no different.  Reported effects of regular visits here have included: improved aging (anti-aging), increased energy, healing or improvement of chronic health issues, stress reduction, weight loss, sleep enhancement, reduced disease risk, especially for some of the most common lifestyle diseases including diabetes, cardiovascular disease … and so much more! The investment you make in your health now will have consequences well into advanced age.

We are often asked by patients what the odds are of their falling pregnant, or, what our success rate is. It is a fair question but not a straight-forward one to answer. Unlike a running race, the fertility journey for most people is not a straight run to the finish line. But very much like a race, those who do well are usually the ones who have put in the hard yards: done the training, eaten well, taken care of themselves, made adjustments along the way, done as their team of experts has advised and consequently showed good endurance.

At Fertile Ground our focus is on optimising, creating the best you, making the most of what you’ve got.  Are you ready to start?

We hope you enjoyed this peek into our new book, Create a Fertile Life which is packed with practical information – It’s an A-Z of pre-conception health so you can create the ideal foundation for your healthy baby.  

Written by Gina Fox, Naturopath, Fertile Ground Health Group and co-author of Create a Fertile Life