What can I do for eczema?

do for eczema

Are you wondering ‘What can I do for eczema?’ How many creams and lotions have you had to use just for it to come back with vengeance? There is so much more to this condition than meets the eye and a lot that can be done to help. Read on!

Why does eczema happen?

Atopic dermatitis/eczema (AD) is multifactorial involving alterations in cell mediated immune responses, barrier dysfunction, IgE mediated hypersensitivity and environmental factors.

Alterations in barrier function along with immune dysregulation are thought to be first step in the development of atopic dermatitis with each of them work cyclically with one another to maintain the eczema presentation (2). 

Impaired barrier function with a high rate of transepidermal water loss places a person at risk of developing eczema (1). Defects in the skin barrier proteins such as keratins, intracellular proteins and transgluataminases facilitate a dysregulated immune response to external environmental antigens and drive an inflammatory skin response (1). 

Why does it itch?

We know the itch of eczema too well and it is caused by the release of histamine in the body. Histamine is released by a subset of sensory neurons which cause itch and allergic inflammation, which is why many people with eczema see a worsening of symptoms when eating high histamine foods (1). 

The importance of lipids (fats) cannot be ignored in patients with eczema. Ceramides, long chain fatty acids and cholesterol contribute to the lipid matrix that makes up the skin. In patients who experience eczema we see a decreased level of long chain ceramides and long chain fatty acids which are reduced by inflammatory Th2 cytokines (1). Th2 cytokines are associated with an increased inflammatory response in eczema as this cytokine reacts to environmental allergens (1). 

The relationship to your skin microbiome

The microbiome of the skin is particularly important in eczema with patients having decreased bacterial diversity with increased opportunistic Staphylococcus and Corynebacterium bacteria. High levels of opportunistic bacteria can increase proinflammatory cellular reactions (1).  

Patients with eczema also have significantly lower numbers of intestinal Bifidobacterium and higher numbers of Staphylococcus (1,2). Overgrowth of opportunistic bacteria such as Escherichia coli and Clostridium difficile, increases intestinal permeability causing a cascade effect on immunity and skin barrier function (1, 2).  There’s a lot you can do for eczema on a skin microbiome level.

How can eczema be treated?

Studies have shown that frequent application of appropriate moisturisers (ceramide dominant or lipid mixtures) can reduce skin inflammation, enhance skin hydration, decrease bacterial colonisation and improve skin barrier function, decreasing the need for topical corticosteroids (1,3). Creams that contain the following have measurable effects on skin barrier function and inflammatory mediators: ceramides, hyaluronic acid, dimethicone, licorice extract (glycyrrhetinic acid), and palmitoylethanolamide (3). 

  • Appropriate probiotics have proved beneficial in the prevention and treatment of eczema through modulating the gut bacteria and immune response (3). 
  • Wearing appropriate clothing textiles such as cotton and silk has been shown to reduce the number of eczema breakouts and aid in cream absorption (3). 
  • Therapeutic bathing in natural mineral rich water and gentle sun exposure has been shown to promote skin healing and improvement in eczema appearance (3). 
  • Natural oils applied directly to the skin have been shown to improve skin hydration, exert anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antimicrobial effects reducing chronic and acute skin inflammation (3). 
  • In depth dietary analysis is necessary to identify food sensitivities/allergies that may be contributing to sustained eczema presentation or acute eczema flares. Hypersensitivity to certain foods is seen in 85% of eczema patients. (3)

Eczema/AD are complex conditions that require in depth analysis and targeted treatment to get results. There’s a lot that your naturopath can do for eczema, including prescribing you an appropriate plan to help to get your eczema under control, which may include targeted lotions and assisting you with an overall assessment of your lifestyle and the factors that contribute to the expression of eczema/AD with you.

Written by Lucy Moores, Naturopath and Nutritionist at The Melbourne Apothecary. 

If you’re looking for help with your eczema, book in a free 10 minute chat with our Naturopath and Nutritionist Lucy by navigating to heading ‘Naturopathy – Melbourne Apothecary’

 

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6399565/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29063428/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4518179/ 

Postnatal Depletion Recovery

Postnatal Depletion

Georgia Marrion, Senior Fertility Naturopath and Nutritionist at Fertile Ground Health Group, joined Andrew Whitfiled-Cook from Natural Medicine Partners on their podcast – Wellness by Design, to discuss postnatal depletion recovery.

We know that pregnancy can take a toll on a woman’s body and involves prioritisation of nutrition to the fetus (foetus) at the expense of the mother.  We also know that this can result in significant depletion of nutrients, and furthermore can even result in  structural changes to the mother’s brain tissue.

It’s no wonder, then, that there’s a thing called pregnancy brain, and that women suffer from extreme fatigue, sometimes months, or even years after giving birth.

Stress hormones play havoc with maternal hormonal balance and immunity. When does this depletion become pathological? When does postpartum fatigue become a problem? And what other issues face women after giving birth?

Today we are joined by Senior Fertility Naturopath and Nutritionist, Georgia Marrion. Georgia is an expert in supporting women both during their pregnancy and in the postpartum period.

Join us as we delve into the aetiology and supportive measures we can offer women who suffer from prolonged fatigue, stress and ensuing mental health issues which impede optimal family functioning.

Listen on your preferred medium, see links below:

Apple Podcast

Buzzsprout

Book your free 10-minute introduction telehealth consult with Senior Fertility Naturopath & Nutritionist, Georgia Marrion to get started. Navigate to Naturopathy – Fertile Ground > 10-minute Free Naturopathic Introduction TELEHEALTH

References

Huntley R. What is postnatal depletion and do I have it? ABC Everyday. Posted 6 Mar 20196 Mar 2019, updated 19 Oct 2020. (Accessed 3023 Apr 3).

Hoekzema E, Barba-Müller E, Pozzobon C, et al. Pregnancy leads to long-lasting changes in human brain structure. Nat Neurosci. 2017 Feb;20(2):287-296. DOI:

10.1038/nn.4458

Barba-Müller E, Craddock S, Carmona S, et al. Brain plasticity in pregnancy and the postpartum period: links to maternal caregiving and mental health. Arch Womens Ment Health. 2019 Apr;22(2):289-299. DOI: 10.1007/s00737-018-0889-z

Chenko N, Dukart J, Tchaikovski S, et al. The expectant brain-pregnancy leads to changes in brain morphology in the early postpartum period. Cereb Cortex. 2022 Sep 4;32(18):4025-4038. DOI: 10.1093/cercor/bhab463

Kim P, Leckman JF, Mayes LC, et al. The plasticity of human maternal brain: longitudinal changes in brain anatomy during the early postpartum period. Behav Neurosci. 2010 Oct;124(5):695-700. DOI: 10.1037/a0020884

Zeisel SH, Niculescu MD. Perinatal choline influences brain structure and function. Nutr Rev. 2006 Apr;64(4):197-203. DOI: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2006.tb00202.x

Dhiman P, Pillai RR, Wilson AB, et al. Cross-sectional association between vitamin B12 status and probable postpartum depression in Indian women. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2021 Feb 17;21(1):146. DOI: 10.1186/s12884-021-03622-x

Houghton LA, Yang J, O’Connor DL. Unmetabolized folic acid and total folate concentrations in breast milk are unaffected by low-dose folate supplements. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Jan;89(1):216-20. DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.2008.26564

Williamson JM, Arthurs AL, Smith MD, et al. High Folate, Perturbed One-Carbon Metabolism and Gestational Diabetes Mellitus. Nutrients. 2022 Sep 22;14(19):3930. DOI: 10.3390/nu14193930

Trying To Conceive

Trying To Conceive

We know that around 80-84% of couples with healthy and fully functioning reproductive systems will be pregnant within 12 months, and 93% within two years. These couples have a 20% chance of conceiving on any one cycle and the chance is not cumulative ‒ it is a 20% chance each time. We also know that a variety of factors can affect your chance of conceiving, including your age, diet, lifestyle, fitness and stress levels. We will get to all of that, but let’s focus on sex first!

A fertility equation

If 100 couples try to get pregnant in January, about 20 will conceive, leaving 80 to try again in February. If another 20 per cent (or 16 couples) conceive, then 64 will be trying again in March. Continuing the one-in-five success rate, by the end of April roughly half will have successfully conceived. At this rate, after seven months 78 couples would have conceived (leaving 22 not yet pregnant).

 

Trying to conceive (TTC) takes time – it is like predicting the weather really. It can look like rain, feel like rain, even have lightning and thunder and yet still hold off. It will rain eventually in most cases, but we can’t say exactly when. When you start TTC, if you can, try to keep hold of the understanding that you would like to conceive sometime over the course of the year. This will help avoid what many couples experience as the roller-coaster ride of TTC – the highs and lows that come with expectation and disappointment if you don’t have a positive pregnancy test; feelings that are often compounded by PMT!

Having said that though, research shows that if you can interpret your body’s signs of ovulation and time your sex and conception attempts to the fertile window, your chances of conceiving on any one cycle are significantly higher.

 

When is the best time to have sex?

Every pregnancy truly is a miracle of its own. When it comes to getting pregnant, it seems that many couples aren’t doing it right. A recent Australian study of women trying to conceive found that although more than half (68.2%) thought they were timing it right for conception, only 13% accurately estimated their day of ovulation.

Understanding the most fertile time of the female cycle is critical for conception to occur and it is so important to get good education and advice about this. An inaccurate understanding may contribute to delayed conception and many cases of ‘unexplained’ infertility. Women only have a small window in each reproductive cycle to conceive so it is important to get the timing right. While you can feel like you have been trying for months and months, if you are not focusing your efforts on this optimal window of time, the likelihood of conceiving is slim.

 

Jane’s Story

Jane had been trying to conceive based on when her app told her she was ‘flowering’. Sure enough, as her cycle was irregular (31-45 days), it was way off, saying that she was ovulating a lot earlier than she was and hence missing the fertile window for healthy conception. This couple tried the next month at the right time, and low and behold it worked! Jane also made diet changes and had started herbal medicine, but the timing was an important factor. 

 

The Fertile Window

We know that eggs only live for 12-24 hours while sperm may be viable for up to five days (although most have very little vitality left after three). For optimal chances and the healthiest conception, ideally sperm will be ready and waiting in the fallopian tubes for when the egg is released by the ovary (ovulation). The best chances of conceiving occur with intercourse within the two days before ovulation and the day of ovulation. These three days are called your ‘Fertile Window’.

Technically, you do have a small chance of conception from five days prior to ovulation but you have the highest probability during this three-day window. This is also the best time for insemination for same sex couples or single women who are planning to time insemination at home. In most cases you don’t need to rely on technology or your doctor to tell you when this is occurring. Happily, there are signs to indicate the fertile window and that the egg is about to be released.

When is my fertile window?

To improve your chances of conception, have sex during the two days prior to ovulation and the day of ovulation. e.g if you ovulate on Day 14 of your cycle, your most fertile days (and also the best to have sex) are likely to be days 12, 13 and 14.

 

Having said that, ovulation can be affected by many factors – stress, weight (over and under), excessive exercise, excitement, travel, thyroid problems, polycystic ovarian syndrome and anaemia (as well as all the various types of infertility). Read on for more information on how you can understand how to determine your fertile window, but it is important to seek guidance with a qualified and experienced fertility professional if you are confused. 

Where time permits, it is useful to check and record the signs and symptoms of your reproductive cycle for a few cycles before you try to conceive

Knowing your signs of ovulation and timing your sex with understanding of your cycle will give you an increased sense of confidence in your conscious conception. Marking secondary symptoms like headaches or fluid retention will give your fertility practitioner team very useful information about your cycle and hormones to assist with providing the best treatment for your individual needs. 

Make sure you scan and email or bring your charts to every fertility related appointment where possible. Your practitioner will help you to understand and interpret your chart with ease. It may seem confusing at first, but within a few cycles it will become clear – a free and easy method to understand your cycle for your reproductive life. 

 

For more information or to get help on your fertility or pregnancy journey, book in with a Fertile Ground Naturopath

 

References:

Crosignani P, Rubin B, The ESHRE Capri Workshop Group. Optimal use of infertility diagnostic tests and treatments. Hum Reprod. 2000;15(3):723-732. doi:10.1093/humrep/15.3.723.

Fritz MA, Speroff L. Clinical Gynecologic Endocrinology and Infertility. 8th edn. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2011.

Gnoth C, Godehardt D, Godehardt E, Frank-Herrmann P, Freundl G. Time to pregnancy: Results of the German prospective study and impact on the management of infertility. Hum Reprod. 2003;18(9):1959-1966. doi:10.1093/humrep/deg366.

Hampton K, Mazza D. Fertility-awareness knowledge, attitudes and practices of women attending general practice. Aust Fam Physician. 2015;44(11):840-845.

Jansen RPS. Elusive fertility: fecundability and assisted conception in perspective. Fertil Steril. 1995;64(2):252-254. doi:10.1016/S0015- 0282(16)57718-8.

Manders M, McLindon L, Schulze B, Beckmann MM, Kremer JAM, Farquhar C. Timed intercourse for couples trying to conceive. Cochrane database Syst Rev. 2015;3(3):CD011345. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD011345. pub2.

Sharma R, Biedenharn KR, Fedor JM, Agarwal A. Lifestyle factors and reproductive health: taking control of your fertility. Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2013;11(1):66. doi:10.1186/1477-7827-11-66.

Te Velde ER, Eijkemans R, Habbema H. Variation in couple fecundity and time to pregnancy, an essential concept in human reproduction. Lancet. 2000;355(June):1928-1929. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(00)03202-5.

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.

Changes to health insurance rebates for naturopathy

By now you will have received notification from your private health insurer informing you that your rebates for naturopathy will no longer be available.  For the millions of people who have benefited from the very real and very powerful results of naturopathic care, this political decision is equally concerning and confusing.

While we are busy being politically active, speaking and writing to members of parliament and signing petitions to change this unfounded decision, it looks like it is still going ahead as of the 1st April, 2019.

You will still be able to take advantage of your rebates for naturopathy up until the 1st April and as far as we understand, all claims that need to be made online for past appointments must be submitted before the 1st of April as well. If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to organise your receipts and make those claims.

We will keep fighting for this decision to be overturned and if you are benefiting from your work with our naturopaths, you can fight for it too. Give your local member a visit or call, write a letter using this template or sign this petition and help them to see how valuable our naturopathic services have been for your health and fertility outcomes.

There is SO MUCH EVIDENCE to support naturopathy and it’s not difficult to find the published research for the benefits of herbal, nutritional and lifestyle medicine.  In fact, we are about to launch a book with over 200 scientific references supporting naturopathic approaches just for preconception. This represents a mere drop in the ocean for research and evidence supporting naturopathic approaches in diet and lifestyle modification, herbal and nutritional medicine for fertility, general health, acute and chronic conditions.

Rest assured that FGHG naturopaths will continue to provide professional, evidence-based naturopathic support and you will still be able to claim for acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, osteopathy and remedial massage at Fertile Ground, so all is not lost! Besides, the benefits you receive from naturopathic support will continue well beyond any rebate you don’t receive!

If you would like to learn more, or do something about the decision to remove naturopathy from health insurance, we hope you find these links to information useful and insightful.

Petition – change.org
Have your say – template letter to the government
Letter to Minister from Your Health Your Choice – Formal request to Australia’s Health Minister, Greg Hunt to amend the Private Health Insurance  Rules 2018
Article – Article from Gill Stannard: You’ll soon be unable to claim for naturopathy and herbal medicince
Article – How did the Australian government conclude “There’s no evidence for naturopathy”
Article – Subsidies for natural therapies abolished 
Latest news – Your Health Your Choice Facebook Page
Listen to report – Discusses the flawed method of review in the decision to amend private health for naturopathy. Features Professor Stephen Myers, Southern Cross University

5 Steps to Take Before IVF

Steps to IVF

Written by Gina Fox, FGHG Naturopath (This article was originally published on www.conceivebaby.com.au)

Trying to conceive takes time and once you’ve made the decision to have a baby frustration, impatience and sadness are just three of the emotions that can grow with each menstrual cycle that passes.  It’s worth reminding ourselves that we have a 20% chance of conceiving in any one cycle and that 80% of couples will be pregnant within 12 months.  Having that longer term view and doing things to improve your chances of conceiving can be a good focus while you wait.

This impatience for results and lack of understanding about timing is one of the reasons why many couples embark on IVF treatment before they really need to.  We find that many couples benefit from focusing on some key basics they do have control of.  Addressing these things increases the chance of conception within a reasonable time frame and allows women to exert some control over their ability to fall pregnant.

Here are 5 steps to take before IVF:

Have sex at the right time of the month

Know when your fertile window is so that you have sex on a day when you increase your chances of conception.  You only have at the very outside 6 days in your cycle that you may be able to become pregnant and that’s if the sperm lives for 5 days and the egg for 1 day.  The most likely days you will conceive are 2 days prior to ovulation and the day of ovulation.  If you have sex on one of these days then your chances of becoming pregnant in that cycle dramatically increases to 27-33%.

The funny thing is that although 70% of women in a recent Australian study thought they knew when they were ovulating, only 13% accurately estimated their day of ovulation.

If you are relying on an app for this they can be grossly inaccurate. It’s much more accurate is to keep track of your vaginal mucus changes and recognise when your mucus is wetter and more stretchy.  Ovulation predictor kits can also help to more accurately pinpoint your fertile window.  For more information on this go to Your fertility website and watch the video by Kerry Hampton on pinpointing your ovulation (http://yourfertility.org.au/for-women/timing-and-conception/).

Check that your weight is in a healthy range

If you are overweight then you can improve your chances of conceiving by committing to healthy eating and exercising and reducing weight even by a little.  A common measure of whether you are over or under weight is the BMI calculator which you will easily find on line and by putting your height and weight into the calculator it will work out if you fall in the 18.5-25 healthy BMI range.

For women who are overweight and have PCOS reducing weight by as little as 5 % can significantly improve regular ovulation and your chance of conception.

Being underweight can also affect hormones and reduce fertility. Underweight women may be twice as likely to take over a year to conceive compared with healthy weight women.  A man’s weight is also a factor, so father’s-to-be also need to trim down to improve fertility.

Three tips to start off a healthy weight plan:

–  swap soft drinks and alcohol for water;

– make half you plate vegetables or salad at lunch and dinner with a palm size of lean protein such as meat, fish, eggs or pulses;

– get moving more by standing every 40 minutes from your desk, walking rather than taking the car to the shops and taking the stairs.

Have you stopped smoking and drinking?

Smoking affects egg and sperm development and can damage the DNA in both eggs and sperm.  Smoking not only reduces your chances of getting pregnant but also puts you and your baby at risk of pregnancy and birth complications and birth defects.

Even if a woman has never smoked, her partners smoking makes her up to 30% more likely to miscarry.

It’s much easier to quit smoking with your partner so make a plan to do it together and seek help from a counsellor or acupuncturist to give you extra support.

It’s known that drinking alcohol in large quantities reduces your chance of conceiving but low and moderate drinking may also have an impact.  For men alcohol can cause impotence, reduce libido and also reduces sperm quality and so reduces fertility.  Because of the known toxic effects on a baby’s development the National Health and Medical Research Council recommend that not drinking is the safest option for women who are planning to conceive or who are pregnant.

Clean up your environment

Reducing the levels of environmental toxins that have been shown to affect DNA cellular health can affect your Simple steps to take include:

  • increase your intake of organic food;
  • buy non chemical cleaners including laundry powder;
  • start to use natural face and body creams such as coconut or almond oil;
  • men keep your mobile phone away from the reproductive area by not carrying it in your trouser pocket and at night keep on flight mode if you have it by your bedside.
Optimum nutrition

Research shows that optimum nutrition in the pre-conception period three months prior to conception is associated with a lower rate of birth defects.  If you eat well your eggs and sperm will benefit from all the nutrients required for healthy DNA.  Eating for a healthy weight and to support the growth and development of sperm, eggs and healthy hormones we suggest referring to the Fertility Boosting Diet Summary on our Fertile Ground Health Group website (www.fertileground.com.au) and for more information and recipes read The Fertility Diet by Tasha Jennings and The Fertility Food Map by Petra Joly. Or if you feel like you could benefit from some more specific nutritional testing and advice, you could make an appointment with a Fertile Ground Health Group Naturopath.

By taking some control of your own health, most women and couples find they feel happier and healthier and regain a sense of control over their own fertility.

Of course expert help is not far away if you need further support to achieve your aims and make changes, or if you feel you have more complex issues to manage. For more information on support available for your fertility, explore our Trying to Conceive information and other related FGHG blog articles:

Fertility Charting Instructions

Marijuana and your fertility: Are my eggs / sperm stoned too?

Acupuncture to help you quit smoking

 

References

Hampton K, Mazza D; Fertility-awareness knowledge, attitudes and practices of women attending general practice. Aust Fam Physician. 2015;44(11):840-5.

Your Fertility Website

 

 

 

 

 

Gina Fox

Gina Fox is a naturopath with over 15 years’ experience. She trained under Francesca Naish (author of 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.

Freekeh superfood salad with Persian feta

Ginas Salad
By Gina Fox, FGHG Naturopath
– based on recipe from Oxfam website

Freekeh is a superfood. It is an ancient form of wheat made from young, whole-grain, green wheat kernels that have been roasted and sun-dried. This gives it a lovely nutty, slightly smokey flavour and because the wheat is so young when it’s harvested, it holds plenty of nutritional value. Freekeh is very high in protein and fibre, which helps you feel full and satisfied, whilst also being great for beneficial gut bugs, supporting healthy digestion and keeping you regular. It is also rich in minerals such as magnesium, zinc, potassium, and iron – essential for good health.

Being packed with nutrition and flavour, this freekeh salad is sure to add health to any meal, without compromising on taste. It pairs well with roast meats, fish, roasted eggplant slices, roasted chickpeas, grilled haloumi cheese, lamb koftas or meatballs but it’s also filling enough to have a stand alone dish. What’s more, its super easy and can be made in a big batch to feed a group or help get you through the week. You can find Freekeh at most health food stores and supermarkets, in the grains section.

Ingredients
  • 1 cup freekeh
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 6 tbs toasted pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup currants
  • 1/4 cup barberries (optional)
  • 1/4 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/3 bunch mint, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley or equivalent baby spinach leaves, roughly chopped
  • 100g Persian feta
Dressing
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1 tbs preserved lemon, finely chopped
Method
  • Bring stock to the boil, add freekeh and cook until tender or the stock is absorbed, approximately 20 mins.
  • Remove freekeh and allow to cool.
  • In a bowl, combine freekeh (breaking up any lumps), pine nuts, currants, red onion, mint and parsley or baby spinach leaves.
  • Combine dressing ingredients and pour over.

MA’s October Love Letter

MA's October Love Letter

Welcome to MA’s October 2021 Love Letter. We’ve been receiving MA’s monthly love letters from The Melbourne Apothecary since the beginning of 2020. These letters contain links to a variety of life enhancing freebies that our fabulous practitioners are constantly creating to help you cope during COVID and beyond.

The letters are also a fantastic and charismatic resource that share all the goings on within both The MA and Fertile Ground. So we thought we’d best share them with you here so that you can join in and receive the monthly intel from our delightful and ever wisdomous MA. Please enjoy.

 

Hello my dear,

As I sit here writing to you the gentle rain is tumbling down on my tin roof. My teapot brews beside me and I find myself feeling rather reflective. My 2 young, silky bantam hens are perched in their house, sheltering from the sky and calmly preening their feathers. I watch them out there, simply accepting what is, whilst softly preparing themselves for when the sunshine inevitably bursts through the clouds again, at which point they’ll romp around yet again with adventurous energy. My insightful hens are reminding me that when what can appear like dreary circumstances set in for a while, it’s an opportunity for us to sit into the quiet spots of it and preen our own “feathers”, to prepare ourselves for the imminent shift to the opposite. Everything always changes – it is one of the certainties of life. Suffering and struggle is a feature of lack of acceptance of what is. By accepting what is, I don’t mean rolling over and not doing anything about changing our own circumstances. I mean more allowing a sense of serenity to descend, giving a frayed nervous system the chance to catch up and prepare for the next vault into the unknown.

And so in line with that – let’s preen our feathers shall we?

The 3 things I want to share with you are perfect for helping to bring you back to your centre, to nourish, to unwind, to prepare for the next phase of the beautiful unknowns of life.

#1 is a beautiful article, written by one of the Fertile Ground naturopaths, all about 10 foods to enhance fertility. As luck would have it, it is one of Fertile Ground’s best performing articles of all time (says google analytics). No doubt you might find something on there that tickles your foodie fancy.

#2 is a wonderful learning centre. Fertile Ground practitioners have created so many resources (free and paid ones) over the last 1.5 years of COVID that they’ve had to build a whole learning centre to house it all. You can now go there and download anything and everything to your heart’s content. You’ll find immunity resources, stress relief, meditations, healthy eating guides, movement classes and more.

#3 is a gorgeous online shop. Fertile Ground has been preening their digital feathers over the last few months and have come out with this lovely new online shop featuring all their recommended books, herbal teas, gift vouchers and lovely retail items (like Skintimacy cream and Yantra Botanicals facial oils – oh my goodness these skin care ranges are my favourite and a daily staple! Where would I be without them!!). Word on the grapevine is that there’s a new bespoke organic herbal tea range soon to be launched too, so keep your eyes peeled for that! Take a wander through Fertile Ground’s new online shop wares.

I hope you’re finding space to relax into a sustainable end of year pace darling.

Sending you all my love.

Your MA 💕

Are you our next Fertility Naturopath?

Fertility Naturopath

An exciting opportunity is available now for an experienced Fertility Naturopath to join our team at Fertile Ground Health Group.

Fertile Ground Health Group practitioners have been leaders in their respective professions for IVF support, fertility, pregnancy-related treatments and general reproductive medicine care for over 21 years. Our practitioners are well respected amongst medical specialists and experts within this area of practice.

We pride ourselves in providing exceptional standards of patient care and believe that collaboration and co-creation create the best learning environment where everyone involved benefits – practitioners, patients and the team supporting both. We have a large influx of new patients ready and waiting for the right new practitioner.

To be eligible for this position, you already have passion, interest and experience in reproductive health, pre-conception care, infertility, IVF/ART, pregnancy, birth and beyond. Mentoring and supervision with seasoned practitioners on our team is also available if required.

You will receive

You will not only receive dedicated business management and administrative support, but will also be immersed in a collaborative team of well-known professionals to grow, work and co-create with. We provide support and opportunities from all angles to guide, develop and expand your professional profile. You will have new patients waiting to see you and the established reputation of Fertile Ground Health Group including professional and collaborative referral networks to provide you with a consistent flow of patients to work with on an ongoing basis.

Is this you?

  • You value collaboration and your ability to develop referrer relationships and patient results are a must.
  • You want to establish yourself as a leader in your profession and you are willing and ready to raise your profile through opportunities that excite you (we have opportunities for exposure and growth rolling in all the time).
  • You understand the value of writing blogs and social media, marketing contribution, relationship building, speaking opportunities (to health professionals or patient groups), running workshops, classes or support groups (in person, on zoom or on social media).
  • You may feel ready to be a mentor in the naturopathic field or run masterclasses of your own, for practitioner or patient audiences (or both). In either instance, we are fully set up to support you to take off in this arena too.

As a member of our team you receive full access to all the foundational goods that come as part of the extensive springboard that is Fertile Ground Health Group, providing you with endless opportunities to accelerate your practice.

What we’re looking for

We are looking for an experienced naturopath who would like to simplify the work involved in running a business and dispensary, who is ready to focus on being a fully supported, fantastic practitioner, dedicating efforts to growing patient reach, enhancing their profile and growing their career with Fertile Ground Health Group. Ideally you are ready to let go of all the (often unpaid) work of running your business and ready to fully immerse in what you love most – seeing patients and being  the best practitioner you can be (without wearing so many different hats).

Prerequisite

We require up-to-date fertility and IVF knowledge in order to continue serving our patient base with the high standard of care that they enjoy. The successful applicant will, of course, be well supported and integrated into the existing naturopathic team, with mentoring if desired. A solid baseline understanding of current research and confident clinical application is required as a baseline and completion of relevant reproductive medicine courses or demonstration of equivalent experience is considered favourably.

Practice session times

You will need to commit to a minimum of two sessions per week with room to grow over time. Sought after Saturdays are encouraged even if alternating. Practicing options include both in person and/or Telehealth (Zoom or phone). Appointments can be conducted from wherever you are – providing you have a stable internet connection. In light of this new Telehealth paradigm, if you are interstate you are also welcome to apply.

If you are able to offer face to face sessions from our practice at 6 Smith Street, Collingwood, Melbourne, you will be working in one of Australia’s most intentionally beautiful and vibrant clinic spaces with an extensive dispensary at The Melbourne Apothecary, which supplies all of your prescription needs. At present, our naturopaths work both from home via Telehealth and in person at the practice, depending on preference.

What is The Melbourne Apothecary?

The Melbourne Apothecary (The MA) was created in 2020 to provide Melbourne’s first prescription-only naturopathic dispensary, serving the Fertile Ground Health Group team as well as filling prescriptions for naturopaths all over Australia. The MA serves to protect the privacy of our fertility and IVF patients (for those who want it) along with opening up to the general health population as a street-frontage “shop” and growing general health practice. It is a truly beautiful space and strives to be an example of what is possible.

Apply

To apply please email a cover letter detailing your interest, availability and ideal scenario along with your resume to Charmaine Dennis at charmaine@fertileground.com.au

Applications close December 15th December 2022. Apply asap as we will be interviewing as soon as the right candidates land in our inbox.

“It always feels too soon to leap. But you have to – because that’s the moment between you and remarkable.” Seth Godin

Choosing Your Obstetrician

Gina Fox (FGHG Naturopath) talks with Dr Sushen Naidoo (Obstetrician)

Want some help with deciding which Obstetrician to choose and how to go about getting an appointment?

What qualities do you want in your Obstetrician? What does a good relationship with your Obstetrician look like?

Have a listen to this podcast for a short discussion and get some questions answered before you decide.

Listen to the podcast here: Choosing Your Obstetrician