Living in accordance to the menstrual cycle

the menstrual cycle, Kiah McGowan

How to optimise your self-care, diet and exercise changes in each phase of the menstrual cycle.

People who menstruate undergo hormonal fluctuations every month. Through each phase of the menstrual cycle, our internal bodies change, and we can feel this through our energy levels, physical symptoms, sociability, appetite and mood. It only makes sense that we listen to these changes and live in harmony with them. Living in accordance with your cycle is an amazing way to support your hormonal health, optimise your lifestyle habits and promote presence in your body.

How does Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) understand the menstrual cycle?

TCM understands the menstrual cycle as a complex ebb and flow of the Yin and Yang energies, as well as Blood and Qi (life force; energy). Yin and Yang are the fundamental basis of all life, and the balance of these determines one’s health. Yin is related to night time, cooling, moistening and stillness, while Yang is related to day time, warming, drying and movement. Similarly, Blood nourishes and supports bodily structures (more Yin is quality) while Qi supports bodily functions and mechanisms (more Yang in quality). When these four parts are in balance, our cycles should look like this:

  • Cycle length of 26-32 days
  • 3-5 day medium bleed
  • 30-80 mls bright red rich blood (full pad = 5ml/ full tampon = 10ml/full cup 15-30ml/ full period undies = 15-20ml)
  • No spotting, period starts straight away
  • No bloating, PMS, sore breasts, pain etc.
  • Clear signs of ovulation (days 12-20)
  • Minimum 11 day luteal phase (ovulation – day before period)

The ebbs and flows of Yin, Yang, Blood and Qi in Chinese Medicine are very similar to the hormonal fluctuations understood by Western Medicine. In both medicines, changes that occur in the cycle that do not line up with the above list are seen as imbalances. Which means that if you, say, get horrible period pain every month, this is not normal and is actually a sign that something is out of balance.

Promoting natural balance through cyclical living

The Menstrual phase: ‘Blood phase’

This phase of the menstrual cycle occurs from day 1 of full bleeding. Our pituitary gland in our brain begins producing luteinising hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which stimulates the growth of small sacs in the ovaries, known as follicles. Our uterine lining sloughs off and is lost through the menstrual bleed.

  • Blood is Yin in nature, and therefore we need to support our Yin through promoting stillness and nourishment. Think: cozy, warm and restful.
  • Self-care: Take it easy and enjoy activities such as reading, journalling, meditating and cooking.
  • Exercise: If you feel up to exercising, opt for more gentle activity that won’t deplete you. Yin or Restorative Yoga, stretching and walking is ideal.
  • Diet: Drink lots of tea and water during your period, avoiding ice-cold or refrigerated drinks. Eat plenty of cooked and warming foods like soups, stews and bone broths. Ensure your eat plenty of protein and healthy fats such as beans, meats and seafoods. You can also include TCM blood-stimulating foods like ginger, turmeric and apple cider vinegar.
  • Keep yourself warm: wear socks, stay cozy and keep a hot water bottle on your tummy, which may help promote blood circulation.

The Follicular phase: ‘Yin phase’

This phase of the menstrual cycle occurs from the start of the period until ovulation. The follicles we produced in our menstrual phase grow until one comes the most dominant. Our uterine lining, or endometrium, also thickens up.

  • After menstruation, we focus on Blood and Yin nourishment, and can enjoy the increase in energy that comes with this.
  • Self-care: we begin to feel more extroverted and energetic at this time of the month. It’s time to get out there: go on dates, make new friends, have more sex, try new things! This is a great time to get new projects together, focus on self development and take advantage of creativity.
  • Exercise: This is the time to get those gains in the gym! Lift heavy and focus on endurance, your body can handle it and recover better at this time.
  • Diet: Eat generous amounts of protein, fat, folic acid and B12. Think beans, fish, eggs, meat, cooked leafy greens, berries, avocado, tahini and nuts/ and seeds. Avoid alcohol, coffee, smoking and sugary, processed foods.

The Ovulatory phase: ‘Yang phase’

Ovulation generally occurs around day 11-16 of the menstrual cycle, NOT only day 14 which is a common misconception. Ovulation is affected by many factors, such as cycle length and our physical and mental health. The dominant follicle mentioned in the previous phase releases an egg after a surge in LH occurs. Yin and fluid levels are at their peak, which brings about stretchy (egg-white consistency) fertile mucus.

  • During this phase of the menstrual cycle, we transition from more Yin energy in to Yang, so we can live in a more Yang manner!
  • Self-care: It’s time to bring your creative projects to light! The best time of the month for presentations, work events and hosting. Your libido will be high too. If you’re trying to fall pregnant, this is the time to get busy!
  • Exercise: begin to get a little gentler while still riding on that energy high. It’s a perfect time for swimming, yoga, jogs, lighter weight lifting and HIIT.
  • Diet: begin to eat lighter meals with lots of cruciferous veggies and fibre to flush out excess estrogen. Enjoy warming spices like cinnamon, cloves, cumin, cardamom, cayenne and ginger to nourish the Yang. Limit cold and raw foods or drinks.

The Luteal Phase: ‘Qi Phase’

The egg released during ovulation now becomes the corpus luteum, a temporary hormone-secreting structure (secreting progesterone and estrogen). The corpus luteum will break down if pregnancy has not occurred around ovulation.

  • This is a very Yang time of the month: basal body temperature increases with all the extra warming Yang energy, and if you do become pregnant, Yang is needed here to support and hold the fetus. As we draw closer to the period, we promote Qi flow, which is impeded with stress, frustration, resentment and bottling up of emotions.
  • Self-care: focus on emotional release. Feeling irritable, upset and/or depressive are signs that you need to slow down. Prioritise rest and alone time; get in to breath work, journalling, meditation. Book that massage, acupuncture or facial session and take care of yourself.
  • Exercise: decrease vigorous exercise and opt for low-impact pilates, yoga, barre, body weight exercise or stretching. Many people naturally begin to feel a lack of strength post-ovulation, so listen to your body.
  • Diet: You may notice that your appetite is going a little haywire and this is because your metabolic rate is also increased, meaning you can up your caloric load (this doesn’t mean eat that entire block of Cadbury!!). Instead, opt for hearty meals, slow-cooked meats, stews, soups and broths with plenty of root veggies. Include green and/or pungent foods like basil, fennel, garlic, ginger, vinegar, rosemary dill etc, as well as magnesium and zinc-rich foods like nuts and seeds.

Our periods are our fifth vital sign. When we listen to our bodies and the symptoms that come up during our cycles, we begin to see the things we need to work on. If you suddenly had an excruciatingly painful, emotional period one month, think to yourself: what has my self-care been like this cycle? How have I been feeling emotionally? Have I been eating too much sugar, drinking too much alcohol? Have I been over exercising?

Having this presence in your life and with your body can be a game-changer for your hormonal health. However, natural changes do take time to come in to effect, so be patient with yourself. If you need extra support, acupuncture and Chinese Herbs work cyclically to support your bodies’ changes at each phase to promote hormonal balance and happy periods.

Book your acupuncture sessions with Kiah to get back in to balance naturally. Navigate to heading ‘Acupuncture > Acupuncture Initial’ and select Kiah McGowan.

Oaty Blueberry Muffins

Oaty blueberry muffin The Breakfast Project

Oaty Blueberry Muffins…of course, these are not your usual fluffy sugar-filled muffins like you might have grabbed en-route to work from your favourite coffee shop once… or twice…

These are a hearty, guaranteed-to-fill-you-up-with-goodness kind of muffin.

Oaty Blueberry Muffins Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 ½ cups almond milk, warmed
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or seeds of one pod
  • 1 sweet red apple, skin on, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries

Method

Preheat oven to 170°C and prepare the muffin pan by greasing with coconut oil or lining with baking paper.
Mix oats, chia and warm milk together in a small bowl, and soak for 10 minutes. Add in coconut oil.
Stir in maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla, apples and almond meal
Gently fold through the blueberries, still frozen.
Spoon into prepared muffin pan.
Bake for 25-30 minutes.
Cool to cold. They keep for about 5 days in the fridge.

These scrumptious muffins will keep you fuller for longer. They are a great breakfast on the go or snack that will keep you going. Love to meal prep? We do too! You can bake and freeze so you have a muffin on hand all week!

Want more?

Book in for a free 10 minute introduction consult with one of our naturopaths or nutritionists to get started with revamping your diet and lifestyle with delicious, healthy choices that support your wellbeing, energy and taste buds!

Contemporary Birth Culture – a free webinar with Rhea Dempsey

Contemporary Birth Culture

We’re thrilled to announce that Rhea Dempsey (renowned counsellor, best selling author and childbirth educator) is offering a wonderful free event to all practitioners about understanding contemporary birth culture and its impact on birth experience.

Register your spot for this free 45 minute webinar with Rhea Dempsey, going live on Wednesday July 27, 2022 at 4pm AEST.

“I hear far too often of the dismay you feel as a practitioner when the pregnant woman, whose body and being you have been treating and preparing for birth returns with a distressing birth story. A birth story filled with interventions and just-in-time emergencies, leading to distress and trauma – and you wonder what on earth happened?

In this free 45-minute webinar I will introduce you to the key structural factors in contemporary birth culture that hijack so many women’s birth dreams and leave you puzzled.”

Rhea Dempsey

 

Contemporary Birth Culture

This webinar is open to all health professionals

In particular, this webinar is for those counsellors, psychologists, naturopaths, acupuncturists, doctors, birth workers and all supporting practitioners who are integral to the healthcare team of patients moving through pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period.

You’re most welcome to register for this event. Please share it with any colleagues you believe would also benefit.

Rhea’s classes and workshops have long been held in high regard by practitioners and patients alike. She has been doing incredible work in the birth space for decades and we’ve no doubt you’re already a raving fan (as we are).

 

 

We are honoured to be launching this digital offering with Rhea and creating a reservoir of her wisdom for people to access. It will feature in the Fertile Ground Legacy Series – an initiative we are creating to translate the decades of collective wisdom that Fertile Ground practitioners have amassed, because we want to ensure that this important knowledge is passed on to you and the next generation of practitioners to come.

Looking forward to seeing you there.
Warmly,

Charmaine Dennis & Carly Woods
Directors | Naturopaths
Fertile Ground Health Group

www.fertileground.com.au
Facebook & Instagram
a: 33 Smith Street, Fitzroy
(03) 9419 9988

PS – Register now for the Free Webinar with Rhea Dempsey – going live Wednesday, July 27 at 4pm.

Change Seems To Have Been Knocking

Change Seems To Have Been Knocking

Hello 🙂

Change seems to have been knocking pretty loudly on the doors to our souls for the last few years. And as human beings we generally love familiarity and resist change. So how do we find a smooth path forwards amidst the intensity, knowing that change is one of the certainties of life?

Change is inevitable.

Growth is optional.

-John C. Maxwell.

I find inspiration in reflecting on the element of choice amidst change. Perhaps many of us feel like life is happening TO us. I prefer to think that life is happening FOR me and that I have the incredible privilege of choice in how I respond to anything that the winds of change serve up on my colourful life platter. 

Change brings with it a huge opportunity for choice and personal growth. Now, growth is a lovely sounding word HOWEVER in actuality the experience of growth is often downright painful. 

Growth is reaching into realms we don’t yet know (no familiarity). Growth is being a learner at something and not getting it right straight away. Growth is putting something out there, failing, learning from that failure and recalibrating to soar to new heights. Growth is extrication of patterns of thought, emotion and behaviour that have become embedded in the subconscious parts of our brains, and the stretching effort involved to movement beyond that to something that better serves us in our lives.

Growth is uncomfortable

Thankfully, discomfort is the currency of our dreams, so what an amazing gift!

Imagine moving from a state of resistance into a state of delight when met with change and growth. Imagine being so willing to feel the discomfort of growth that you’re constantly reaping the rewards on the other side of it. Imagine using constant external change in your environment to inspire you to push through the discomfort of personal growth in a way that catapults you into an incredible spectrum of human experience that you’ve not yet touched in your life…

The opportunities change brings are endless

And I wish you many beautiful moments of growth amidst it!

If you want support amidst big changes and the discomfort of growth in your life; if you want to steady your capacity as you step into the discomfort and choose to grow in ways that serve you; if you want a moment of spaciousness to breathe and let everything fall away to recalibrate yourself for the next step on your journey – know that we are here for you.

Find the practitioners you need here → www.fertileground.com.au/practitioners 

Your MA 💕

PS – we’re beginning to experience limited availability for many consult types, so we recommend booking in advance for your appointments.

The Two Week Wait

the two week wait with Naturopath Tess Doig, Fertile Ground Health Group

It’s important to explore your options for mind and body support during the two week wait, as this is the time between ovulation or transfer of an embryo during IVF,  to when you find out the outcome of your pregnancy test. It can be a time of great anguish, as you wait (for about 2 weeks) to find out if you are pregnant. 

Many women that have been on a fertility journey for a while often say they are living their life in 2 week increments. The 2 weeks leading up to their ovulation are filled with planning, and lots of sex in the days before ovulation, which then moves into stress and anxiety post ovulation, followed by a depressed few days when their period comes, to be repeated over and over. 

Seek Support

To help support you in this time, here are a few tips to help optimise your body in lowering stress, improving your mood and as well as optimising your body to hopefully lead to a positive pregnancy test. 

  • Reward yourself with a massage, a shopping trip or a delicious meal out with your partner (no wine though please). There is some evidence that supporting dopamine can help support implantation. Dopamine is produced when we feel a ‘reward’, so no better excuse to treat yourself than this. It doesn’t need to cost money either, it could be running a bath for yourself with some candles, chatting with an old friend on the phone or anything else that feels good. As well as supporting dopamine, it can also help as a point of distraction during the two week wait.
Sex for everyone
  • Commonly, when couples have been trying to conceive for a long time, sex can become a little mechanical and left for just the fertile window.  However, studies show that a woman being exposed to a male partner’s semen post ovulation or transfer can actually help implantation. When an embryo implants into a woman’s uterus, her body has to perform a miraculous feat of down-regulating her immune system to allow the foreign cells from the embryo to join into her body and allow her blood supply to continue to nourish and grow the embryo. In no other time does this happen, think of how many immunosuppressive drugs a person must take in an organ transplant. It is believed that a woman continuing to be exposed to a male partner’s cells through contact with semen, this supports that down-regulation of her immune system to support the embryo’s implantation. Sex can also be a wonderful way to boost dopamine, see above, as well as to strengthen the connection between a couple.
  • When going through the fertility journey, allowing sex to be for pleasure and not just baby making, can be a wonderful way to maintain your connection in any context you choose – be it to yourself, to your partner or otherwise. Sex can be supportive whether you’re conceiving naturally, through IVF or in a heterosexual or same-sex couple. For single women, self-pleasure can be just as beneficial. 
When is sex not recommended?

The only time I may consider sex may possibly not be safe during the two week wait, is if you have a significant vaginal infection such as Bacterial Vaginosis. Hopefully this has been looked into and treated prior to conception but if you are unsure, speak to your naturopath practitioner. 

Nutritional & Medicinal Support
  • Eat nitric oxide rich foods such as berries, beetroot, dark chocolate, pomegranate and leafy greens. Nitric oxide is a chemical in the body that helps to open blood vessels and promote blood flow. Increasing blood flow is important for implantation to help nourish the uterine wall and embryo. Some examples of how to include these foods could be a berry choc smoothie with cocoa and organic raspberries, or a roasted cauliflower and beetroot salad with a yogurt dressing and pomegranate sprinkled on top. The other benefit of these foods is they are often feel-good foods, boosting your mood. Another fantastic way to support blood flow can be getting acupuncture, and many studies support acupuncture for not only improving implantation but also relieving stress and anxiety.  
  • Take your progesterone or progesterone supportive herbal medicines. Progesterone is produced in a natural cycle post-ovulation from the corpus luteum, the temporary gland that is produced once an egg leaves the ovarian follicle. Progesterone supports implantation by down-regulating the immune system, lowering inflammation and maintaining the uterine wall for implantation. If during your preconception work up, your naturopath has found you have low progesterone, they may have implemented strategies through nutritional supplementation or herbal medicine to increase progesterone levels. If this is the case, please remember to take your medicines in this time as it is important to continue to work on your progesterone. During an IVF cycle, progesterone pessaries are very commonly prescribed, and please continue taking these as prescribed by your fertility team. There are other benefits too – low progesterone can increase anxiety and insomnia, so by supporting healthy levels of this hormone you can also support a happy mood. 
  • Take your probiotics: some strains of probiotics can support progesterone production which helps with implantation as well as supporting good bacteria that support implantation as well. Bifidobacterium strains, in particular, have some research they can increase progesterone, while the lactobacillus species are the beneficial species in the vaginal microbiome. As mentioned above, vaginal infections can possibly affect the implantation process, by increasing inflammation, and triggering the immune system, so support a healthy vaginal flora while helping to boost your progesterone levels. Speak to your naturopath about which probiotics are right for you, as different species have different roles in the body. 

These strategies can be really helpful in supporting your body to increase the chances of falling pregnant and lowering your stress and anxiety during the two week wait, but the real work comes in preparing your body BEFORE conception. Working with your naturopath for at least 4 months prior to conceiving, can increase your chances of pregnancy through natural conception or IVF by improving egg and sperm quality, supporting healthy nutrient levels, looking at microbiome issues and addressing hormone imbalances (just to name a few). There is a myriad of things we look at improving for people who are struggling to conceive. 

If you would like to find out more how I can help you, please book a free 10 minute consult and we can have a chat about your current fertility struggles and make a plan to move forward.

Yours in wellness

Tess Doig

Tess Doig is a highly skilled degree qualified naturopath with over 9 years of practice specialising in the areas of fertility, pregnancy, women’s health and mental health. She is skilled in complex infertility cases, helping support many women and couples through unexplained infertility, recurrent miscarriage, IVF, male factor infertility and more. 

Along with supporting singles and couples with fertility, she also has a passion for all areas of women’s health including hormone imbalance, gynaecological disorders, vaginal infections, autoimmune conditions and mental health.

Read more about Tess and make a booking to get started on your journey together.

Support After a Pregnancy Ends or a Baby Dies

Support After a Pregnancy Ends or a Baby Dies

As a counsellor, listening to and being present to the unfolding stories after a pregnancy ends too early, or when a baby dies, requires me to hold space for another’s sorrow in a way that can seep in, grow, and be held as a deepening sadness. This impact can be felt, yet remain as invisible and silent as the way society responds to these unspeakable losses.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside, you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.

Naomi Shihab Nye

Supporting someone after a baby dies as a loved one requires holding compassion for any perceived failings in supporting the unravelling of another in sinking downwards into an unfamiliar terrain. Allow them to decide whether to rise again or not and just be there alongside, being the doula for the other side of birth where a baby is missing in every part of their imagined shared futures. It is bleak and dark and unbearable and yet bear it you must as it is only a fraction of what the other carries. 

Often the joy of having babies is preceded with experiences of grief, and yet we only see the images around us of blissfully expectant mothers and smiling parents with their children. So rarely do we see the stories of loss, often born shrouded in silence such as with miscarriages, terminations or when a baby dies in utero, during birth or shortly after.

If you visit a maternity hospital, you will likely see image after image of the joy of having a baby. Go seeking a visual representation of the babies that will never be born, die in pregnancy, in labour or shortly after birth and you will notice little to no representation for this reality. With life comes death and the lifetimes in between the two are varied and many, yet we only champion live births and happy parents.

Sitting with

Being alongside such experiences is profound in its sadness, and yet there is honour in being a companion to such grief. Sitting with the love lost and the agony felt in letting go is an enormous task to hold. Forgiveness is needed when you fear you might get it wrong as it comes with the territory where ‘getting it right’ does not really exist. It is as much a fantasy as being a perfect mother. There is only what is.

Be present when others cannot be. Be there because there is a need. Hold self-compassion as you cannot be blamed for any failings as who taught you to hold the unbearable? Who taught you to know what to say, not say and when to do and give instead of speaking?  When you cannot ‘fix it’ there is no room for questioning, only sitting with, being with, sharing the uncertainty.

Anchor

Allow the depth of despair to be felt and be held. Give them an anchor to secure themselves to. Let them know their rights in honouring the loss, speaking of their loss, to expect to be heard for as long as they need to speak of their pregnancy, their baby, the child missing from the dinner table. Speak their baby’s name, ask them about their cherished one. Find ways to honour this experience, a tree that blooms at this time of year, a memory box full of all that is known and not yet known about their pregnancy, their baby. Allow for meaning making and disbelief to coexist.

Let them know it gets easier, you get to know the grief, recognise its needs, make room for it, be forever changed by it. Know your limits and encourage professional support so they can become more than the sum of their broken parts. Seek help yourself as you begin to feel that deepening sadness seep in and start to grow. You and I cannot ward this off for we are human, and it is too big to wriggle our way out of it. When attending to another’s grief we must attend to our own breaking hearts.

Know that a parent that has endured suffering on the path to parenthood will be better equipped to know something of their child’s suffering and may pass to them what has been learnt in reaching rock bottom and rising again. 

What a gift to give to another to reshape suffering into a way to comfort even if you have never received that yourself. Hold light where there is darkness and know if you only offer kindness, it is enough where there is sorrow.

Suzanne Hurley

Support After a Pregnancy Ends or a Baby Dies

Perinatal & Fertility Counsellor & Supervisor

Fertile Ground Health Group

If you would like help navigating grief and loss please feel welcome to make a booking with Suzanne.

How to tackle guilt during the silly season

Dinner

Are you eagerly anticipating the start of the silly season (and holidays!), or dreading the craziness which inevitably emerges when you mix families/ food/ alcohol and the (second) weirdest year on record?! It feels like the perfect time to talk about how to tackle guilt during the silly season – and to be kinder to our bodies and minds.

For many, this time of year can feel challenging. ESPECIALLY if there is an already fraught relationship with food and eating… Instead of being a time of celebration, it becomes a time of consternation. Worrying about over-indulging, constant fear of gaining weight, imagining how your family will judge you for your body or appearance after a year (or two) apart, and guilt about the dessert… or the ham… or the pavlova you take a slice of every time you walk past the kitchen. Instead of being a time of relaxation and enjoyment, it can feel exhausting and stressful.

But it doesn’t have to.

As we temporarily step away from the routines and rituals which structure our daily lives, our mind can ring the alarm bells (often loudly!). These routines provide us with certainty and a sense of control, which means as we move into a more ‘fluid’ time of year, we lose trust in our capacity to honour our inherent needs and are instead filled with uncertainty about our ability to cope. We fear that, without the diet or meal plan or gym session, we will become chaotic eating machines. What follows is usually guilt and remorse for our apparent lack of willpower and self-control and a rollercoaster of emotions as we grapple with our constantly nagging inner critic.

So what can we do?

Firstly, BE KIND.

Our tendency is to berate ourselves for stepping outside the lines. A part of us is desperately afraid that if we ‘fall off the wagon’ it will mean we will never get back on again. We might find ourselves eating differently during the holidays, because it is a different time of year.  This in itself is JUST WHAT IT IS. It is what we MAKE THIS MEAN that ultimately creates dissonance. In other words, we eat a big slice of Christmas pudding.

The only truth here is that we ate a big slice of Christmas pudding. What we tell ourselves (ie what we make this mean!) is that we are hopeless/ have no willpower/ will get fat/ might as well eat everything all day long…/ fill in the blank… The truth is, you ate something. Full stop. It is what it is and instead of judging yourself for the choice you made, ask if you can accept this, with kindness, and move along. Fixating on every extra chocolate you eat will not change what happened, but it will create discomfort and anxiety.

Secondly, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.

This one can feel a little challenging if you rely on a diet plan or eating regime to make decisions. Outsourcing our inherent body cues instead of paying attention to what we are feeling can mean we are very disconnected to what is going on inside. Taking a moment to breathe and notice your hunger, the sensations that are present and what it is you TRULY want can go a long way to nourishing yourself. And it’s not always food you are needing! In fact, oftentimes food is simply a convenient way to relieve stress, boredom or loneliness.

Being present with the sensations that arise in each moment and enquiring where they are in the body, as well as allowing them to move through us can mean instead of reacting by eating unconsciously, we are able to respond and meet our needs instead.

Thirdly, HONOUR YOURSELF + SET BOUNDARIES.

Find ways to support and connect to what nourishes you EVERY SINGLE DAY. Sometimes when we step outside of our day-to-day lives and get around family, we can get triggered. Creating a daily ritual or practice can be an incredibly powerful way to check in with yourself. And it doesn’t have to take a long time! Five minutes of conscious breathing, a quiet cup of tea on the grass, a morning shake or stretch or 10 minutes of meditation can bring us back into our sovereignty. Be honest with yourself and others about what you need so that instead of being at the mercy of the world around you, you can connect first to your intuition and be in service from there.

And finally, HAVE FUN!!

It’s been a year for all of us, so don’t be afraid to enjoy yourself! Laugh, connect, dance, eat, be merry. Life is short and we are here to experience it all. It’s ok to be who you are, your messy, beautiful imperfect self.

Lots of love, Jane x

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

Jane is running a free webinar on 11th January 2022 which will be available as a recording after the event. Register here to get free access Reprogram your relationship with food, eating & your body

Book in with Jane to understand and reshape your food story, build 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)

Free 10 minute Introduction Consults

Free 10 minute introduction consults, Fertile Ground Health Group, The Melbourne Apothecary

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 team of practitioners offer free 10-minute introduction consults on rotation, so that you have access to expert care.

These sessions are designed as an introduction to what is possible whilst working with your chosen practitioner.  They are a great way to virtually meet and discus your needs to see how they can help your individual circumstances, fertility and health care needs. You will , of course, be referred if they think another practitioner will better suit your needs.

With health and fertility, 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.

Click on each modality to find your practitioner

Acupuncture

Registered Acupuncturist – Meghan Smith
Registered Acupuncturist & Chinese Herbal Medicine Practitioner – Kiah McGowan

Coaching

Buteyko breath coach / Financial Health Coach – Carly Woods

Counselling

Perinatal & Fertility Counsellor – Suzanne Hurley
Perinatal & Fertility Counsellor, Accredited Mental Healthcare Social Worker – Chanel Keane

Naturopathy

Senior Fertility Naturopath – Charmaine Dennis
Senior Fertility Naturopath – Gina Fox
Senior Fertility Naturopath & Nutritionist – Georgia Marrion
General health & Postpartum/Postnatal Naturopath – Shantini Iyngkaran
General health & Skin Health Naturopath – Lucy Moores

Register for your free 10 minute Introduction Consult

Simply head to our bookings page, navigate to Acupuncture, Naturopathy, Counselling, Coaching or Midwifery and choose ’10-minute Free Acupuncture/Naturopathy/Counselling/Coaching/Midwifery Introduction TELEHEALTH’

Note: If you are interested in fertility, IVF support or trying to conceive, please book with a Fertile Ground naturopath. For general health concerns and questions, please book with a Melbourne Apothecary naturopath or nutritionist.

ACUPUNCTURE

Meghan Smith

Registered Acupuncturist

 

Meghan Smith Fertile Ground Health Group Acupunctdure

Meghan Smith is a registered Acupuncturist with a Bachelor of Health Science (Acupuncture) from Endeavour College in Perth, Western Australia. 
 
Meghan first fell in love with Chinese Medicine after being faced with her own health challenges in her early twenties, which inspired her to re-evaluate a career in design and pursue her fascination for Chinese Medicine. From the beginning she found herself drawn to helping women and individuals trying to conceive, throughout pregnancy, labour/birth and into parenthood. 
 
Meghan is passionate about assisting people through the major transition of becoming parents, in particular educating new parents or parents to be about the importance of postnatal care during the fourth trimester, also known as Zuo Yuezi. 
 
Before relocating to Melbourne, Meghan worked in a fertility focused clinic in Perth, WA, supporting individuals and couples going through Assisted Reproductive Technology and IVF. Meghan emphasises the importance of acupuncture alongside IVF treatment following evidence-based treatment planning to optimise outcomes with her patients whilst focusing on providing emotional support and stress relief too. 
 
Meghan is a knowledgeable and confident acupuncturist with a great skill for putting her patients at ease during acupuncture. She is passionate about continued learning and has plans for further education in birth and postnatal support to continue to be able to educate and empower her patients at a high level.
 
Aside from fertility and IVF support and reproductive health generally, Meghan is also passionate about preventing illness and burnout. She loves to provide support to people who suffer from auto-immune conditions, digestive issues, mental health, anxiety, fatigue or immune support when feeling out of balance. Meghan’s evidence-based treatment plans will often be combined with Chinese diet therapy and other advice to help patients maintain harmony and general health.
 
Meghan is a caring and empathetic practitioner who understands the challenges people face when trying to conceive and is dedicated to provide a welcoming and safe space for all her patients.
Book your free 10-minute introduction consult with Registered Acupuncturist, Meghan by navigating to Acupuncture / Chinese Medicine  > 10-minute Free Acupuncture Introduction TELEHEALTH

 

Kiah McGowan

Registered Acupuncturist & Chinese Herbal Medicine Practitioner

 

Kiah McGowan, Fertile Ground Health Group, The Melbourne Apothecary, Cosmetic acupuncture, acupuncture

Kiah McGowan is a Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner who completed studies at University of Technology, Sydney, as well as at the Chengdu University of TCM in China. In their 4 years of practice, Kiah has developed a deep understanding and respect for holistic health, and treating people as whole beings rather than just their symptoms. Their goal is to cultivate a space where you feel valued, heard, and supported in your journey toward balance.

Kiah has a personal passion for mental health – initially finding Chinese Medicine in their teenage years as relief for anxiety and insomnia, they now find it incredibly fulfilling to help those struggling with stress, depression, anxiety and sleep issues. Kiah quickly began to discover their fascination with female reproductive health early in to their studies, and enjoys seeing people along their journey through all aspects of hormonal health: from regulating hormones and cycles, promoting optimal fertility and conception, assisting during pregnancy, supporting mothers through the postnatal phase and the transition to menopause. Kiah also provides Cosmetic Acu-facials, having developed a signature combination of traditional Chinese facial tool massage and cosmetic acupuncture to enhance the skin’s natural radiance.

Kiah is your go-to general health acupuncturist, employing holistic approaches for all health concerns, including common conditions such as muscular pain or tension, fatigue, and digestive issues. Kiah has special interests in areas of hormonal health (from balancing cycles, to fertility, pregnancy and menopause), mental health (stress, anxiety, depression and sleep), and offering rejuvenating cosmetic acu-facials for radiant skin. Kiah is committed to nurturing a sense of understanding and self-awareness within all their clients, so that they may recognise the ways their body speaks to them through their symptoms.

Kiah loves to balance the ancient intricacies of Chinese Medicine with their love for modern science and research, and enjoys practicing in an evidence-based manner. Kiah believes in empowering individuals on their path to health, both inside and outside the acupuncture room. They do this through creating highly structured treatment plans which highlight weekly at-home self care tasks, so that patients can take an active role in their healing journey.

Ready to get your journey started and find out if acupuncture can help you? Book your free 10-minute Acupuncture introduction consult with Kiah by navigating to Acupuncture > 10-minute Free Acupuncture Introduction TELEHEALTH.

 

 

COACHING

Carly Woods

Buteyko breath coaching for total health / Financial health coaching for women

Carly Woods Buteyko Breath Coaching / Financial Health Coaching

Buteyko Breath Coaching with Carly for total health

Carly is passionate about teaching people simple and powerful ways to be able to regulate their nervous systems and enhance healing using Buteyko breathing therapy and Naturopathic lifestyle support, because these are foundational aspects that have been so profoundly transformative to her own health. Carly believes in making health fun, engaging, and practical. She loves to give you simple tools to help resolve your stress and anxiety, optimise your respiratory health, enhance your sleep and soothe your digestion.

Begin to experience the effects of healthier breathing ahead of time by accessing Carly’s Free Buteyko Breathing Starter Pack. Maximise your healthy life by rewiring the patterns of your respiratory tract, nourishing your nervous system, resting easy with better sleep and easing your digestion by using these simple Buteyko breathing techniques.

Financial Health & Business Coaching for women who want to take more control of their lives

Carly is co-director of Fertile Ground Health Group and The Melbourne Apothecary alongside her partner, Charmaine Dennis. To say that Carly is obsessed with empowering women financially and contributing to the uplift and wealth cultivation of women in our community for the betterment of the planet and all life on it, would be an understatement.

Carly helps women identify what stage they’re at, where they want to be, and develops strategies to help them get there. Carly coaches on everything from the foundations of money management (budgeting and assessment for present and future),  to options to grow your wealth leveraging the capacity of your money to make money on itself (and how to stop trading your time for money), to getting more out of your superannuation for long term security, money mindset (understanding your unconscious money behaviours and blocks), business growth techniques (marketing, engagement and evaluation), personal growth tools to help you polish your capacity for change, and even offers education about how to invest in the stock market according to your ethics and values for long term gain and asset diversification.

Carly wants to first empower women to satisfy their own financial needs then secondly, to help women make MUCH MORE MONEY so they can feel safe enough financially to take chances and bold action toward creating a better world in the ways they feel inspired to. Access Carly’s free 30 minute talk – “How to Make More Money

Read more about Carly and book in for a free 10-minute introduction consult with Buteyko breath coach / Financial health coach, Carly by navigating to Coaching  > 10-minute Free Coaching with Carly Introduction TELEHEALTH

COUNSELLING

Chanel Keane

Perinatal & Fertility Counsellor

Accredited Mental Healthcare Social Worker

 

Chanel Keane Fertile Ground Health Group Counsellor

Chanel Keane is an accredited mental health social worker and counsellor with 23 years experience in private practice and a variety of community based and health care settings. She is passionate about being a counsellor – particularly the therapeutic benefits her clients experience of being heard and engaged in a human relationship that is respectful, safe, honest, and focused on their needs and resolution of their struggles.

Throughout Chanel’s counselling and social work career she has been dedicated to supporting women through many life challenges particular to women. This includes experiences with infertility, IVF, unplanned pregnancy, pregnancy loss and perinatal and postnatal mental health issues. She believes deeply in the importance of reproductive choice in a woman’s life and that women’s reproductive journeys are complex and can be fraught with challenges.  So often women can feel very alone and isolated in these experiences which in turn compounds some of the distress and suffering they feel.

Her engagement with clients is passionately grounded in a person centered, feminist counselling practice. Chanel respects that the lives of people are complex – your needs are diverse and always influenced by the broader social, political and economic realities in which you live. Her approach to supporting you is to listen to your experiences and needs in an open, non-judgemental and empathic way, providing counselling, information, options, advocacy and therapeutic interventions in partnership with you. She honours each person’s subjective experience of their struggles, and lived experience, exploring how these experiences intersect with their identity and sense of self.

Chanel has extensive experience  in working with people whose lives have been affected by childhood and adult trauma, mental illness, drug and alcohol dependence, sexual assault, and family violence. It is her hope that through therapy, you can develop a greater self-awareness of your emotions, thoughts, strengths and supports, and in so doing feel an improvement in your overall well-being, connection with yourself and with others.

Chanel  believes that you feelings and struggles are not signs of weakness or ill health, but are most often normal responses in trying to cope with challenging life experiences. She likes to encourage the use of diverse mediums such as creative writing or journal writing and other creative forms of expression to explore and  express your experiences.

Chanel’s employment experience includes roles at Adora Fertility, CASA House (Centre Against Sexual Assault), The Royal Women’s Hospital, Pregnancy Advisory Service (RWH), Marie Stopes Australia, Headspace, Sexual Assault Crisis Line, 1800 Respect.

Areas of counselling experience

  • Women’s mental health and well-being
  • Infertility and IVF
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy options
  • Reproductive loss
  • Parenting
  • Childhood and adult trauma
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Relationship concerns
  • Interpersonal violence
  • Grief and loss

Chanel offers face to face, phone and zoom consultations.

Medicare rebates may apply for up to 10 sessions per year – this requires you are referred from your GP or medical practitioner with a GP Mental Health Treatment Plan and have a valid medicare card. The rebate is $77.80 for Mental Health Accredited Social Workers. 

Private Health Rebates may also apply – please check with your health fund. The amount you can claim depends on your level of cover.

Book your free 10-minute introduction consult with Perinatal & Fertility Counsellor, Accredited Mental Healthcare Social Worker, Chanel by navigating to Counselling > 10-minute Free Counselling Introduction TELEHEALTH

 

Suzanne Hurley

Perinatal & Fertility Counsellor

 

Suzanne Hurley Free 10 minute health introduction consults

Suzanne Hurley is a Perinatal & Fertility Counsellor, Supervisor & Dance/Movement Therapist. She attends to those who may be unhappy, distressed, afraid or otherwise impacted by fertility related events where additional support may be needed. She has an impressive level of expertise having worked with varying degrees of reproductive loss, including pregnancy options counsellinginfertility and IVF supportperinatal mental healthabortion counselling, parenting and with reproductive health issues. She has provided her clients with counselling, group support and presented to health professionals in various perinatal settings. Her expertise and understanding of the issues women, couples and families face when immersed in the perinatal period is highly specialised. She knows that when confronted by the unexpected you need someone by your side.

Suzanne brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience after having worked in multiple settings where perinatal mental health has been the focus of her work. This has included time on the PANDA Helpline (Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia), at Carrington Health in the Community Outreach Perinatal Support Service. She spent 10yrs at The Women’s Hospital’s Pregnancy Advisory Service and other periods of time at Marie Stopes Australia National Counselling Service for unplanned pregnancy, Melbourne Pregnancy Counsellors and at Adora Fertility.

Suzanne also works at Austin Health Psychiatric Unit in the Parent Infant Program as a Dance/Movement/Play Therapist. She has also run groups Pregnant Pause and Moving Stories: explorations of the pregnant body, past present and future, through movement.

Suzanne provides clinical supervision to health professionals often working with perinatal mental health, reproductive loss, grief and infertility and in other areas of public health and community services.

In Counselling Suzanne can address:

Contemplating Pregnancy
  • Fear and worry about pregnancy, birth, baby.
  • Relationship issues including Family Violence
  • Infertility
  • IVF
  • Single women contemplating using donor sperm
  • Another baby after difficult perinatal experiences
  • Health issues
Unintended Pregnancy
  • Pro Choice, unbiased pregnancy options counselling
  • Unplanned/planned/IVF, wanted/unwanted, complexity in circumstances
  • Unplanned and unwanted with beliefs against abortion
  • Unplanned, wanted but am I sure?
  • Difficulties deciding
  • Pregnancy the result of sexual assault
  • Considering abortion later in pregnancy
  • Abortion support; pre and post
Pregnancy Support
  • Anxiety and or Depression
  • History of mental illness
  • Unhappy
  • Change of circumstances during pregnancy
  • Birth preparation
  • Foetal abnormalities
  • Harmony testing at 10wks
Life With Baby
  • Birth debriefs
  • Not enjoying your baby
  • Not feeling like yourself
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Isolation
  • Family issues
  • Postnatal Anxiety and or Depression
  • Missing work or thinking of return to work
  • Who we are as a family?
  • Who am I as a mother/father?
  • Unexpected outcomes
  • Grief and Loss
End of Reproduction
  • Who am I if I am not a mother?
  • Childless not by choice
  • Health issues impacting fertility
  • Hysterectomy counselling
  • But I wanted more children

Suzanne’s approach to counselling:

What I believe…

I firmly believe compassionate, early counselling intervention for all reproductive trauma events, including unbiased abortion support, will establish parents both today and in the future with the best possible outcomes for managing the unexpected realities for if they do, when they do and during having their babies. This can be done alone, isolated and uncertain or accompanied with honour, good humour, and grace. You get to choose…Read more about Suzanne

Book your free 10-minute introduction consult with Perinatal & Fertility Counsellor, Suzanne by navigating to Counselling > 10-minute Free Counselling Introduction TELEHEALTH

 

 

 

NATUROPATHY

Charmaine Dennis

Senior Fertility and Oncology Naturopath 

 

Charmaine Dennis

Charmaine Dennis is a naturopath, fertility and health expert, mentor, writer, mother, and businesswoman with 20+ years of experience. She is the founding director of Fertile Ground Health Group and The Melbourne Apothecary, co-author of Create A Fertile Life and The Breakfast Project and co-creator of the Be Fertile relaxation CD series, among other health inspired projects. Her greatest gift and inspiration is making health, wellbeing, and passionate living accessible, inspiring and achievable for everyone. 

Through her own health crisis at 34 years old (a shocking and life-threatening diagnosis of acute leukaemia in 2010) Charmaine experienced first-hand immersion into the medical system.  This transformative, life-affirming, challenging time has refocused and reinvigorated her drive for good health and living life to its fullest. Undoubtedly this experience has deepened her passion for collaborative health care.

Charmaine’s naturopathic career has followed a special interest in working with people with fertility issues requiring IVF support since 1999.  She has assisted many in realising their dreams to conceive healthy, beautiful babies in collaboration with GPs and fertility specialists, acupuncturists and other health modalities. Since her own cancer experience, she can see the gaping need for more collaboration between natural and medical oncology approaches and enjoys working with people who need support for wellness and advocacy through their own cancer journey at any stage of treatment or recovery.

As well as mentoring and supervising students, naturopaths and other practitioners at Fertile Ground Health Group, Charmaine is running retreats, immersions and workshops for anyone to support their personal or business development.

Book your free 10-minute introduction consult with Naturopath, Charmaine by navigating to Naturopathy – Fertile Ground > 10-minute Free Naturopathic Introduction TELEHEALTH

 

Gina Fox

Senior Fertility Naturopath

 

Free 10 minute introduction consults Gina Fox Fertile Ground

Gina Fox is a naturopath with over 20 years’ experience. She trained under Francesca Naish (author of Natural Fertility Management and Better Babies) and has a Masters in Reproductive Medicine. As well as being an experienced clinician she is a speaker, naturopathic lecturer and student clinic supervisor.

Gina is highly skilled in providing naturopathic care for women’s health issues, pre-conception health, infertility, IVF support, pregnancy care and through menopause. She treats a wide range of issues including recurrent miscarriage, thyroid, auto-immune antibodies and she has seen good results working with men to improve sperm quality. She also enjoys the post birth appointments with mother and baby, maximising wellness for the whole family and educating parents on how to manage many common childhood illnesses. Her professional approach involves working in collaboration with doctors and specialists to create an effective co-ordinated treatment.

Gina loves to help couples achieve full-term pregnancies and give birth to beautiful healthy babies. She excels at addressing underlying stressors while couples achieve their optimal fertility. Her own meditation practice led her to become a meditation instructor and co-develop the Be Fertile series of guided relaxation meditations for women around conception, IVF and pregnancy support, which is now available for free to everyone to access and download.

Book your free 10-minute introduction consult with Naturopath, Gina by navigating to Naturopathy – Fertile Ground > 10-minute Free Naturopathic Introduction TELEHEALTH

Georgia Marrion

Senior Fertility Naturopath & Nutritionist

Georgia Marrion Free 10 minute health introduction consults

Georgia is a naturopath of 19 years’ experience with a Degree in Complementary Medicine and a Masters in Nutrition. Along with extensive clinical experience in reproductive health and fertility, Georgia is also an experienced writer and well regarded speaker.

Initially embarking on reproductive health as a clinical speciality following her own personal experience with sub-fertility and pregnancy complications, she has a strong curiosity and passion for supporting people who are experiencing reproductive challenges. Georgia specialises in supporting individuals and couples during their journey through preconception, conception, pregnancy and postpartum life stages.

Areas of focus  include menstrual cycle irregularities, endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) , pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS), mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS) and histamine issues as well as male fertility and sperm health issues.

With 2 children of her own in their primary school years, Georgia can help to expertly guide you through the early years of family health issues, and enjoys treating babies and children with recurrent infections, failure to thrive, digestive issues at all ages and any challenges that you need support with for your baby or child’s best health.

Georgia also enjoys treating women and individuals during the transition to menopause including peri-menopausal imbalances.

Her clinical approach involves supporting and guiding you to optimise your health physically, mentally and emotionally using an approach blending traditional and scientific knowledge. This is based on an integration of her many years of clinical experience with ongoing education to stay up to date with new research and treatment strategies. Along with gaining her Masters Degree, this includes post graduate mentoring and training with Rachel Arthur, Rhiannon Hardingham, Leah Hechtman, Dr Andrew Orr and The Fertility Mentoring Program (The Baby Maker Network) among others.

Georgia believes that a team approach gets the best outcomes for all. She works in close collaboration with her patients’ medical care team to ensure the most effective, appropriate evidence-based treatment plans for each individual.

Book your free 10-minute introduction consult with Naturopath, Georgia by navigating to Naturopathy – Fertile Ground > 10-minute Free Naturopathic Introduction TELEHEALTH

 

Shantini Iyngkaran

General Health & Postpartum/Postnatal Naturopath

 

Shantini Iyngkaran Free 10 minute health introduction consults

Shantini Iyngkaran is a Naturopath whose practice focuses on maternal care including pre and postpartum experiences. She believes the vitality of a mother is the result of unconditional support, attuning the mother to her body and replenishing all her cups, emotionally, physically, and relationally.

She also has a special interest in gut and immune health. As someone who has struggled with her own health challenges in these areas, she approaches this with lived experience and compassion.

Shantini values time and presence in her consults as she learns about the individuals physical, spiritual, emotional, and home health. She discerns a variety of modalities, techniques, herbal, and nutritional knowledge to identify and support health needs.

Shantini brings insights to her work from her multifaceted career as a solicitor, entrepreneur, personal trainer and yoga teacher. Her multi-passionate approach to her career and life, allows her to provide a holistic and tailored naturopathic practice.

When she isn’t working at the Melbourne Apothecary, you will either find Shantini walking in nature, with her beloved pooch, Sir Waffles, creating in the kitchen, serving her local community, enjoying a matinee at the cinemas or relishing the company of her friends. She is a connoisseur of hugs, so if you feel like a warm embrace book in with her.

As someone who deeply values connection and community, Shantini is currently offering free Naturopathic 10-minute consults to help to get you started towards better health. These sessions are a chance for you to make sure the therapeutic relationship is a great fit and get clarity about what you want to achieve on your health journey.

Book your free 10-minute health consult with Shantini by navigating to Naturopathy – Apothecary General Health > 10-minute Free Naturopathic Introduction TELEHEALTH

Lucy Moores

General Health & Skin Health Naturopath

Lucy Moores, The Melbourne Apothecary, Skin Health, Naturopath, General Health, Nutrition

Book a free 10 minute introduction consult with Lucy Moores

Lucy Moores is a passionate nutritionist and naturopath dedicated to helping you achieve optimal health and wellness. She has a particular passion for helping her patients rejuvenate, protect and balance one of the largest and most exposed organs of their body – the skin. Lucy helps you not only with skin as it relates to restoring your natural healthy glow and addressing dermatological issues, but also as relates to immune health, your microbiome, your hormones and your vaginal health.

With her expertise in nutrition and naturopathy she can offer a unique perspective and comprehensive support to guide towards a balanced and vibrant life.

After dedicating 8 years of her life to studying and immersing herself in the field of natural healing, Lucy’s passion for this transformative approach to health burns brighter than ever.  As a qualified nutritionist, Lucy has a deep understanding of the vital role that proper nutrition plays in optimising well-being. Having personally experienced the challenges of autoimmune disease, she knows firsthand the impact this can have on quality of life. This personal journey ignited a passion for exploring the intricate connection between nutrition, autoimmunity and inflammation and she believes that food can be one of our most powerful medicines.

Additionally, as a qualified naturopath, Lucy combines the best of traditional healing with evidence-based natural therapies. As mentioned, Lucy has a special interest in all types of dermatological skin concerns as well as vaginal health, menstrual irregularities and general immune or inflammatory conditions.

She is passionate about collaborative health care and integrates functional testing alongside natural healing principles, enabling a comprehensive understanding of your body’s unique needs.

Lucy’s greatest joys come from witnessing transformations with her patients as they make positive changes in their lives. She provides compassionate guidance and unwavering support throughout your wellness journey, empowering you to take control and live your best life.

Lucy takes her passion beyond one on one consultations and educates and inspires the wider community through workshops and patient education. Her goal is to create awareness and empower you to gain a deeper understanding of your body and equip you with the tools to make positive changes that promote optimal health and radiant skin.

Embark on a transformative journey with Lucy to revitalise your quality of life, restore your skin from within, reclaim your vaginal and hormonal health and/or nourish your immunity!

Lucy is available via telehealth and in person.

Book a free 10 minute introduction consult with Lucy Moores by navigating to Naturopathy – Apothecary General Health > 10-minute Free Naturopathic Introduction TELEHEALTH

Access more resources from Lucy Moores

Blogs

Getting to know your practitioner – Michelle Lowe, Massage Therapist & Doula

with Michelle Lowe, FGHG pregnancy and fertility massage therapist and doula

What do you love about your work as a remedial, pregnancy and fertility massage therapist?

There’s so much that I love about what I do as a massage therapist, I feel I am very fortunate and lucky to be able to do work that I am deeply passionate about. I love being able to see the transition patients make from when I first see them to when they leave the treatment like a whole new person and then seeing the progress they make with each treatment. I love being a part of the journey with women to falling pregnant and helping them to switch off and just receive. Hearing my patients’ good news that they’ve fallen pregnant, or the relief they feel after a pregnancy massage is really rewarding for me as I love to help.

What initially inspired you to add womb massage to your skill set?

So I used to suffer from really bad period pains, with no real understanding as to why I was suffering from them. I tried many different things to help, but for me they weren’t overly successful or not well suited for my lifestyle. It was definitely more of a personal journey for me initially to train in fertility/ womb massage. I remember sitting in circle on the first day and all my symptoms were explained so clearly to me as to why I was experiencing period pains. With this experience I learnt so much about my body that I wanted to help others who experience the same.

What types of benefits do you commonly see in your patients doing regular womb massage?

Everyone can be vastly different as all cases are unique. The main benefits I will see in almost everyone is that they are more relaxed and grounded. Almost everyone reports a lighter feeling in their abdomen, better bowel movement, reduction in period pain and feeling less stress and anxiety.

In your work you support many women on their journey to becoming pregnant. Do you recommend they continue to see you after becoming pregnant? What benefits does massage have to offer women in pregnancy?

Absolutely, massage is really beneficial to have throughout pregnancy. It’s great for relaxation, especially during first trimester or if any stage of pregnancy is causing some stress and/ or anxiety. It’s also great for relieving any aches and pains associated with pregnancy or pre-existing aches and pains that may be exacerbated by pregnancy. Beyond that, its beneficial for sleep and circulation, especially during third trimester when everything is starting to feel compromised. I like to think massage gives you a boost mentally and physically to help you feel more comfortable and relaxed.

You are also a doula (also known as a birth attendant). What inspired you to become a doula?

This has always been a tricky question to answer as there are many reasons why I decided to become a doula/ birth attendant. I think one of the biggest reasons why I wanted to become a doula was to support women and be with women during a time that can make you feel very vulnerable. I’ve been treating pregnant women for many years and I’ve heard lots of stories from women who hadn’t felt well supported during their births and many other stories when women haven’t been aware of their choices and options during pregnancy and labour, maybe wanting to have done it differently. If you look at the statistics and the possible causes of medical intervention, having a support person, particularly a doula, has shown positive research results. I’d love to help women have better birthing experiences.

What sorts of things do you do to support women in your work as a doula?

As a doula I am an emotional and physical support person during the pregnancy and labour of a mum to be. I support the mother in helping her through the pregnancy in the lead up to the labour, really getting to know her and her partner and what’s important to them during their labour experience. I personally like to go over any fears and try our best to work with them so that a couple can have a positive birth experience.

We go over a birth plan and their options as to what they might like to experience and how they usually cope with pain. I am currently working on a plan to try and determine tools that couples can use to help women cope with pain. This will allow partners to have a better idea of what they can do and possibly what role the mother wants from them – whether that’s eye contact, movement, massage, pressure points, music, rebozo work, there are sooo many things we can use to help create a safe space that is working with pain (if that’s what a mother’s goal is). Having said that I obviously bring in my own tools to work with pain and that’s massage, rebozo techniques (using a shawl) and pressure points, which are also great at boosting oxytocin for labour. I can use and teach these tools to partners so that we can support each other in supporting the mother to be.

After the birth I also like to meet up with the new family and see how they are going and offer any support that I can during this transitional phase too.

Can you share a moment from your work that you will never forget?

I will never forget that magical moment of seeing a baby born for the first time. I was so in awe of the mother’s strength and perseverance, it’s a magnificent journey to witness and be a part of, words cannot describe the feeling in the room once that baby is born. There are ups and downs, but you’re working as a team to support the mother and father along the way. That first birth taught me soo much, and I think it will forever affect my approach to being a birth attendant.

Your patients are often seeing acupuncturists and naturopaths as well. What type of benefits do you see in these types of shared care?

I find the women and couples who are seeing an acupuncturist and or a naturopath are very well supported through all aspects of health. We’re all looking at different angles of the individuals’ health and I find these clients tend to have better overall health and reach their health goals quicker, generally speaking.

What other modalities do you find your clients get benefit from?

Meditation and yoga, and when necessary counselling.

When I see patients who have a lot of mind chatter and trouble switching off I like to advise meditation to calm the monkey brain.

I also hear lots of good feedback from clients who have seen a counsellor, whether it’s to put things into perspective or have someone with an unbiased opinion to talk to.

I am also a yoga enthusiast and will often advise patients to do certain yoga poses to help stretch and strengthen muscles for better alignment, but if people can get to a class that’s even better.

 

Learn more about Michelle Lowe, remedial massage therapist at Fertile Ground Health Group or make an appointment to have one of her fabulous massage treatments. Online Booking

Kick Your Children’s Recurrent Infections to the Kerb

Kids Fruit

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.