Self Care for Autumn Changes

Autumn Changes with Reina Hanaoka from Fertile Ground Health Group

How to look after yourself in Autumn

According to Eastern medicine, Autumn is the driest season. What can you do to support yourself during this transitional time and the impacts that this shift has on your system?

You might notice that your skin can start to feel dry and itchy, your mind unsettled and distracted, and some discomfort in your joints and muscles. This can occur because as Summer bends slowly into the cold and windy days of Winter, the dryness in our bodies can mirror the inherent dryness of the Autumn weather shaping the environment around us (like the leaves browning and falling crisp to the ground).

Our lungs and large intestines are more vulnerable in Autumn, which can lead to constipation and/or bloating. Asthma and/or a dry cough are also common in this season.  It is important to look after yourself now so that your body can get ready for the cold Winter season without any trouble.

How to prevent dryness in the body.

Keep warm and moist

Swap out your shower for a warm bath with Epsom salts. This can provide both warmth and moisture at the same time to your body. Adding some oil into the bath in addition to the Epsom salts helps to keep your skin moist even after the bath. You can add warming essential oils like Cinnamon or Ginger to your bath to really bring the warmth to your body. 

Eat warm food

To support good digestion, avoid any cold foods from Summer (eg. Salad, cold drinks, smoothies etc.) Eating cooked, warm vegetables with warming spices can help to reduce any bloating and constipation that you might be experiencing.

Get an oil massage

As previously mentioned, oil is amazing for adding moisture to the body and massage helps to bring heat and warmth by increasing your circulation. Not only do oil massages relax your body and mind, they also help to prevent some of the conditions associated with the Autumn season. 

When you get an oil massage, on top of great outcome of the body releasing tension, the skin also absorbs all the benefits from oil itself. As a result, the skin is moisturised, movement in your joints and digestive system are soothed and busy minds start to calm down. You can add simple self-oil massage as a small routine at home with warming essential oils. Or if you don’t know how to do self massage, you can even just rub oil into your body to access the benefits.

Tips for self-oil massage at home
  1. Warm the oil before use (but not too hot!) and optionally – you can add essential oils
  2. Apply oil all over the body (don’t forget your head, ears and back of feet)
  3. Gently massage the body. Use circular movements (don’t worry about technique too much)
  4. Apply extra oil into the part of body you feel any discomfort (stomach, joints, skin or chest area)
  5. Keep oil on the skin 5-10 min
  6. Have a warm shower or bath

It’s a great idea to adjust your lifestyle to be in rhythm with the seasons and not against them. Understanding the seasons can give you an idea of what adjustments you can make to optimise your health. I believe that making these small, habitual changes to everyday life are the most beneficial way to achieve a healthier body and mind.

Written by Massage Therapist, Reina Hanaoka, who is also expanding her knowledge and and completing a course in Ayurvedic lifestyle consultancy. Book in a Massage with Reina to help you enhance your health this Autumn.

Exercise during Pregnancy

Pregnancy and Exercise - with Osteopath Nicole Cukierman at Fertile Ground Health Group

Exercise during pregnancy should be done and is safe in a healthy, uncomplicated pregnancy. In fact, performing the recommended type and amount of physical activity during pregnancy achieves health benefits for mother and baby including reduced risk of pre-eclampsia, pregnancy induced hypertension, a reduction in instrumental delivery and unplanned caesarean section birth and may help to reduce the severity of lower back and pelvic girdle pain 

According to the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) evidence- based guidelines for physical activity in pregnant women, it is recommended that in a normal pregnancy woman participate in 150-300 minutes of moderate intensity or if previously exercising can continue 75-150 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise per week. 

This can be completed over a minimum of three days per week, however, being active every day (ideally 30 minutes per day, less if previously inactive) is encouraged and doing some physical activity is better than none. 

Training should be a combination of aerobic (brisk walking, cycling, swimming, dancing, exercise classes) and strength (body weight, light weight or resistance band) exercises and exercise intensity will vary depending how physically active you were or we not pre-pregnancy. Women who were active prior to conceiving can continue with their usual activities for as long as they feel comfortable but are advised to check with a health professional if they would like to continue with vigorous intensity or high impact sports and exercise 

 Additionally, some exercises may need to be modified as your pregnancy progresses due to biomechanical changes and pain i.e. After 16 weeks it is best to avoid exercises lying on your back. 

Exercise is not recommended in all circumstances. The following are cases in which exercise is not recommended; 
  • Incompetent cervix  
  • Ruptured membranes, preterm labour 
  • Premature labour 
  • Persistent second or third trimester bleeding  
  • Placenta previa  
  • Pre-eclampsia  
  • Evidence of intrauterine growth restriction  
  • Multiple gestation (triplets or higher number)  
  • Poorly controlled Type 1 diabetes, hypertension or thyroid disease  
  • Other serious cardiovascular, respiratory or systemic disorder  
Stop and seek advice from a health professional if you experience any of the following while being physical activity: 
  • Chest pain 
  • Persistent excessive shortness of breath – that does not resolve with rest  
  • Severe headache 
  • Persistent dizziness / feeling faint – that does not resolve with rest 
  • Regular painful uterine contractions
  • Vaginal bleeding 
  • Amniotic fluid loss 
  • Calf pain, swelling or redness 
  • Sudden swelling of the ankles, hands or face 
  • Decreased foetal movement 

 Still unsure what physical activity you can or cannot be doing during pregnancy speak with your health care provider before starting an exercising program 

*Exercise intensity ratings are based on ratings of perceived exertion on a scale of 1-10 where 1 is not moving and 10 is maximal effort. Activities in the range 3-7 indicate moderate-vigorous intensity and are considered safe and are recommended for health benefits in pregnant women. This can also be judged by the ‘talk test’ in which a conversation can be held during moderate intensity activities but difficult during vigorous activities. 

Written by Dr Nicole Cukierman, Fertility, Pregnancy and General health Osteopath at Fertile Ground Health Group.

Dr Nicole Cukierman is available for one on one consultations in person at Fertile Ground Health Group. Book in with Nicole and find out what’s possible for your situation.

References

Brown, W.J., Hayman, M, Haakstad, L.A.H., Mielke, G.I. et al. (2020). Evidence-based physical activity guidelines for pregnant women. Report for the Australian Government Department of Health. Canberra: Australian Government Department of Health. 

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.

Your Free COVID Care Package

COVID Recovery Package with Fertile Ground and The Melbourne Apothecary

We are here to help you – it’s what we love to do. This COVID care package is for you if you:

  • Want better health, rest and body-wide repair,
  • Want help with navigating the complexities of making your Fertility Plan,
  • Have PCOS and want to start making healthy recovery strides simply by adjusting your diet,
  • Need help creating better breathing and respiratory health habits to carry you through a COVID climate,
  • Are experiencing frayed mental edges that need soothing,
  • Want relief, attention and release of areas that experience cyclic or persistent pain,
  • Love to have beautiful restorative sleep,
  • Want insights into how to ramp up the health of your diet and your digestive tract
How can we help?

You may have noticed that we’ve enacted an outpouring of free things to you since the inception of COVID. We have made a concentrated effort to create free resources for you with love from many of our wonderful practitioners, to support your mind, body, and sense of connection through all the recent challenges and beyond.

These resources have felt like a lifesaver for many people who have felt disconnected, stressed, in pain, anxious and fearful with reverberating body-wide repercussions like restlessness, digestive issues, insomnia, panic attacks, breathing difficulties, muscular pain and more. It’s important that you pay attention to your health with even more precision during stressful times like these.

We are robust and resilient when given the right ingredients for thriving and surviving.

 

Your COVID Care Package Freebies

We are dedicated to supporting you now and beyond – download any and all of the freebies contained below in our free COVID Care Package. We have built all of these resources for you and will be adding to this package often over the coming months, so keep your eyes peeled on our newsletters and Instagram OR Facebook pages so that you can grab each freebie as it comes out.

It is our pleasure and mission to support your glowing health and healing always.

 

Free 10-minute Naturopathic Wellness Consults

Book here for anyone who needs preventative wellness strategies for immunity, symptomatic relief for an acute condition and general health enquiries. We will, of course, refer you if needed for more complex issues/conditions, but this is a great way to make a start toward your healthier life.

 

Immune Essentials E-book

Nine simple steps to enhance your health and resilience written by our wonderful naturopathic team.

Get instant free access and start taking simple actions every day to improve your immunity and stay well this winter.

 

Your Fertility Plan

Naturopath, Sage King, is putting together a free 6 part series designed to help you navigate your fertility journey. Sage touches on everything from preconception care, pathology screening, to assisted reproductive technology (ART) and how to optimise your outcomes with Naturopathy. Register to be notified when the series is released.

 

Free PCOS & Diet Guide

Do you have PCOS? Access this simple Naturopathic guide to get started with balancing your body through your diet. Inside you’ll receive delicious PCOS friendly recipes, detoxification details, information on how to approach carbohydrates, fats and proteins, food swap charts, as well as steps that you can take to really kickstart your healing. Well known PCOS treating Naturopath, Josephine Cabrall, has put this together to help anyone suffering with PCOS start to find the path to healing. Get your free copy of this fantastic resource.

 

Deep Sleep Yin Yoga

Jane Holland, yoga teacher, international retreat facilitator and educator has lovingly created this Deep Sleep online series in collaboration with Fertile Ground at The Melbourne Apothecary.

These yin classes are designed to guide you into your body to fully inhabit sensation, find release and arrive in spaciousness, allowing you to melt tension and move into a deep state of rest. Jane is generously offering to everyone to come and experience their first class free.

Register for your first free class and get ready for the rest 😴 of your life.

 

Free Buteyko Starter Pack for Healthier Mask Breathing & Nervous System Relief

Mask wearing and mask breathing is really hard. Why? Much of it is to do with carbon dioxide which, when understood and used to your advantage, can actually be used to improve your health rather than hinder it. In fact it can be part of the solution to many health issues beyond respiratory protection. Use this Starter Pack to begin to address your foundational respiratory health.

The Starter Pack includes 3 x 15 minute Buteyko embedded meditations and comprehensive instructions about duration, frequency, what to expect as results. Made with love by our breath specialist naturopath Carly Woods

Carly has also made a hilarious and informative online quiz entitled ‘Are you a Dirty Mouth Breather?’ So go ahead and find out – are you a Dirty Mouth Breather?

 

Acupressure for Stress Relief

Stressed? Understatement of the year perhaps.

Download this wonderful Acupressure for Stress Relief Guide from Acupuncturist, Chinese Medicine practitioner and Naturopath, Holly Peyton-Smith (thanks so much Holly).

Grab it fresh out of the digital inbox and take therapeutic action to slay your stress.

 

Winter wellness Super Soups RecipEbook

This fabulous Super Soups Ebook has been built for you with love by Naturopath Tina Jenkins. Do you want to ramp up your Winter wellness in an oh-so-delicious way??  If so, make sure you grab your copy here.

 

Phew! That’s A LOT of resources for healthy living that you can use right now or access later as you need. Feel welcome to share it with your friends too – these resources are for everyone.

Have a great time consuming all of these wonderful resources packed full of actionable health-enhancing goodness. Thank you to all of our loving practitioners and team for putting these together for our community so quickly and with such care.

Brought to you by Carly Woods Director, Naturopath and Breath Specialist, Fertile Ground Health Group and The Melbourne Apothecary.

Movement with AbunDance

Movement with AbunDance - Katy Woods
Why AbunDance?

I have always been a fan of moving. I dance when I’m happy, stressed, blissfully confused. I dance out the whole rainbow spectrum of emotion that moves through my body. Free flowing movement gets what is on the inside, out.

When I move, my feelings and thoughts become more tangible, malleable almost. There, in movement, I can choose to literally shape my thoughts and feelings, or purely bear witness to them. To me this shapes potent self connection. This kind of communication to self (and to others beyond words) is aaaaaDictive, extraordinarily humbling and honestly, necessary.

Please, do what you came to do in this life, and dance.

In my youth dancing was an activity like any other sport. So I danced. I grew my foundation, I delighted, I performed. However, the more I craved new ways of moving the more I understood I had only dipped my young toes into the pond of possibility.

There is a Story. Creativity. Connection.

These aspects of movement – they are an ocean. I will always be grateful for my greatest teacher and friend, Kirsty Lee, who nurtured these aspects of dance in my forming years as it has guided much of the joy in my life. I grew my practice, diversified, experimented, listened, watched, felt, made contemporary works, joined contact jams, fused disciplines, spoke for artist circles, trained and performed internationally … and in all that I came to know what I wanted to share – I wanted to facilitate this profoundly connective movement in others.

And so I began facilitating. The more I taught, the deeper I too understood, felt and connected with myself and others. I have a fond memory of directing a dancework named THREADS – this was a site specific performance that considered how a thread could imbue memory, attitude and relationship.

By night I would gather with my gaggle of wonderful movement loving women inside a friendly and eccentric Op-shop in town. Here I explored ideas, created tasks, collaborated and blended together a string of thought in movement (occasionally interrupted by a frenzy of op-shop treasure hunting, of course). It was a space and project where the process was joy and the product was a bonus.

The pure juice of creativity is in the process; it’s in the making and the maintaining. It’s playful, vulnerable and thrilling.

Now, bringing all of this experience, play and creativity together I have created AbunDance.

Abundance is a series of dance workshops that uses grounded contemporary technique, curiosity, improvisation and wholesome conditioning to fuel the sense of embodied feminine.

I offer this series exclusively to Fertile Ground and The Melbourne Apothecary, to the mothers and the mothers to be, to join me in opening to, generating and maintaining your sense of feminine sensual movement. This is about confidence. This is about play. This is about curiosity and moving even more into connection with your body and mind.

AbunDance is a community where you can nurture your capacity to connect, where you can develop a practice of dedication to yourself and all that you are as a woman.

Katy Woods is a professional dancer, group facilitator and dance teacher. She loves developing classes that initiate and sustain the love of movement for others.  to access her current class series – AbunDance. Katy is offering your first class for free.

Find out more and register here