As we launch ourselves into Spring, let’s let our cells and microbiomes sing with dietary delight and variation – and what better way to do that than putting your feet up with a Springtime Raspberry Lime Smoothie Bowl and bringing the essence of beachside Bali to your living room. Organic frozen berries are a beneficial and nutritious addition to your plate, bowl and drink all year round. Spring heralds the bonus of using fresh berries, with fresh raspberries starting to hit the shop shelves in the third month of Spring in Australia (early November). This recipe is safe and delicious at all stages of your fertility journey, whether you are trying to conceive, pregnant, or have already birthed your bub.
Miscarriage is a difficult yet (unfortunately) very commonly experience during pregnancy where a loss occurs prior to 20 weeks’ gestation. Recurrent miscarriage, where 3 consecutive miscarriages occur, while less prevalent, is still common and a condition we see and help manage in our patients frequently at Fertile Ground.
While in some cases the cause is unknown, there are many reasons associated with an increased risk and incidence of miscarriage including: anatomical, age, genetic, autoimmune, infectious, endocrine, chromosomal abnormalities, lifestyle and environmental factors. (1,2)
Following a thorough investigation to assess potential causes in each individual case, we usually recommend a broad range dietary, lifestyle, nutritional and herbal strategies to ameliorate the specific risk factors that may be contributing to miscarriage specific to each person/couple.
Dietary strategies we frequently recommend include reducing your consumption of refined sugars, processed, fried and vegetable fats, ‘junk’ proteins and processed foods and increasing your intake of vegetables, fruits, beneficial fats and whole food protein foods.
Why? Because such a dietary pattern will support both egg and sperm quality and many aspects of hormonal health (we know that this along with other therapeutic strategies is effective based on the many couples we have helped become parents).
Recently, a study has come out confirming what we see clinically in regards to diet quality and miscarriage – so let’s review what the investigators looked at and what they found:(Chung 2023)
What was the study asking?
The study was a systematic review and meta-analysis (which is an analysis of the findings of multiple studies) to summarise the association between preconception dietary intake and miscarriage risk in women of reproductive age.
What did they find?
It was found that eating a wholefood-based, seasonal, antioxidant-rich diet comprising increased consumption of vegetables, fruit, wholegrains and protein foods (eggs, seafood, dairy, meat) reduced the risk of miscarriage and was associated with good pregnancy outcomes.
They also found an association between a high intake of processed foods and increased miscarriage risk.
So quality matters – but so does timing and duration, as they also found that such benefits for miscarriage and pregnancy outcome involved following such a dietary pattern for between 1-4 years prior to conception.
If you have experienced miscarriage, or are starting out on your journey to conceive, preconception health for both females and males can make all the difference to your fertility and pregnancy outcomes. If you feel you need some help improving your dietary intake for fertility or general reproductive health, reach out and book an appointment today so we can help!
We’re thrilled to announce thatRhea 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.
“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.”
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.
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
We have the delightful privilege of introducing you to our unique new practitioner – Katy Woods. Katy joins our Fertile Ground team as a Movement and Embodied Dance Coach.
Katy’s passion is working with people who want to cultivate a deeper connection within and to their bodies.
This can be at any stage of life, and is particularly useful when preparing for and experiencing all the physical and emotional changes that fertility, pregnancy, new parenthood (and other life-changing times such as peri-menopause and menopause) bring the body and mind.
Why are we offering this new modality?
In early 2020 we were aching for something that would not only help us navigate our own emotional integration through the ever changing terrain of COVID, to keep us moving through Melbourne lockdowns and also to bring us joy.
Katy came to our rescue and AbunDance was birthed – a weekly online facilitated dance and movement group session that helped all of those in attendance move through their emotional landscapes and find connection and uplift too.
When the AbunDance series finished, we continued to have private sessions with Katy, focusing on feminine embodiment practices along with emotional processing. We did solo as well as couple’s consults, which offered a layer of deep connection as we rolled the shapes of our bodies through time and space together.
We found these sessions to be such an incredible asset to our personal resilience and capacity to navigate our lives through COVID that we just knew we needed to offer this widely to our community for all the benefits it brings.
Book for Telehealth/Zoom sessions with Katy on:
Thursdays 10am – 7pm AEST
Fridays 10am – 7pm AEST
Sundays 4pm – 7pm AEST
Katy Woods is passionate about offering practices that nurture your connection to yourself and your surroundings. She works with a movement-based approach to investigate issues related to your body, your emotions, and how your relationships to self and others are formed from that. Her coaching uses guided improvisations, rich imaginings and meditations, authentic movement discovery, and body science to give you long term-tools to become stronger, more confident, and help you refine a deep understanding of self.
Katy is like an old friend, welcoming, insightful, and attentive. She is currently running free toe-dipping 10 minute consults to help you get a sense of what this new connective practice could be like for you.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
What do you love about your work as a remedial and pregnancy massage therapist?
I love being able to give women relief from any aches, pains or discomfort they have. I also absolutely adore when women lie down on the table and 9 times out of 10 there is an instant “Ähhhhhhhh” moment as they allow themselves to relax, knowing that the next 60-90 minutes is all about them and nurturing their bodies. Being a remedial and pregnancy massage therapist it’s my job be as caring, kind, compassionate and knowledgeable about the body as I can possibly be. Considering these are my favourite things to be in life, I truly think I have one of the best jobs in the world!
As well as being an aromatherapist and reiki practitioner, you teach feminine embodiment yoga. Would you like to tell us a bit about that?
Love to, it’s a massive passion of mine. Feminine Embodiment Yoga (FEY) is a specialised yoga practice uniquely celebrating the female form and flow. The practice allows you to strengthen your body through a combination of hatha yoga poses and rhythmic movements. It also has a strong focus on breath, balancing active and restorative poses and meditation. I love being a woman and learning about how unique our minds, emotions and bodies are, so when I discovered a yoga style specifically developed for women I couldn’t get enough and I enjoy sharing this practice with all women.
As a Practitioner, layering treatments with several modalities brings incredible results. For example, in a birth preparation massage the physical massage will work on an anatomical level, with the essential oils in the massage oil penetrating to a physiological level, add some reiki to reach the energetic level and once the massage is complete we the discuss home care and simple yoga postures and stretches that can work wonders to continue the birth preparation process.
Do you think women could benefit from feminine embodiment yoga during their fertility journey? How?
Definitely, Feminine Embodiment Yoga (FEY) focuses on relaxing the nervous system by releasing physical and emotional tension from the body. When the nervous system is relaxed your body goes from being in the ‘fight or flight’ mode (sympathetic nervous system) to “rest and digest”mode (parasympathetic nervous system) allowing your body to heal and restore itself. The practice also targets specific areas of women’s bodies for greater engagement and toning. For example, in today’s society we do a lot of sitting at desks, in front of the TV, in the car, on transport etc. So FEY focuses on building strength in your legs, bottom and core, as well as stretching out the hips and pelvis, as these areas can become tight and locked. This is especially beneficial for fertility as it creates space and increases blood flow and nutrients to the area.
You support many women with massage on their journey through pregnancy and also post birth. What are some of the biggest challenges you see women going through physically and emotionally during these times?
It is an amazing privilege to be able to support women through this time of great transition as their bodies adapt and change to accommodate the next generation they are growing inside them. Exhaustion and fatigue are common challenges I see women facing during pregnancy and post birth. We live in a fast pace society and being the matriarch of the family comes with a never ending to do list, which you have just added “grow human” and/or “raise child” to the list! It’s important to get enough rest so your body and the baby has the best chance to grow and thrive. Getting a massage is amazing for this and I’m delighted when women come in to see me, having placed importance on putting themselves and their babies on top of their priority list. A massage helps relieve tension, headaches, body aches and pains, and cramping, to name a few. Massage for birth preparation is crucial to be in the most relaxed, rested and healthy state for the labour.
Post birth massage is essential to relieve the stress your body has gone through in labour and accelerate the healing process by releasing tense muscles which aids in moving lymph, fresh blood and nutrients around the body. It can be a challenge to find the time with a newborn to make it into the clinic so we recommend timing it just after a feed and then your gorgeous baby can sleep peacefully in their pram in the room while you receive a much needed massage. If they wake and cry it wouldn’t be the first time the awesome team on reception coo them back to sleep (it’s literally a pleasure and cuteness overload). If leaving the house still seems too hard (which it totally can be trying to time feed and sleep cycles) we offer home visit massages, we recommend you have someone at home with you to watch over baby so you can fully relax in the massage and receive as much nurturing as you give your bundle of joy.
How else can men and women benefit from massage?
Massage can benefit men and women in so many ways by increasing circulation, assisting detoxification, relieving tension and pain, reducing stress and anxiety, improving sleep, and boosting your immune system, just to name a few.
Massage also counteracts all the sitting we do which is an awesome benefit considering how many of us have office jobs equating to prolonged periods of sitting. All this sitting leads postural stress which most times manifests in the shoulders and neck. More advanced postural stress can show up as pain or weakness in the lower back and gluteals. More often than not after a massage I will have patients comment how they didn’t realise how tense they were or how tight a specific area was until it was massaged. It’s highly beneficial to have a regular massage, even just once a month, to check in with your body before any aches or pains become acute or chronic.
What part of your work has ever brought you to tears?
As much as I try, I can’t help the rush of emotion when I hear about the birth, see pictures of, or meet a baby of a mother I have been massaging during her pregnancy. Its humbling and special to be able to share the joys of watching their belly grow and feeling the baby move when they receive a massage in Mum’s tum. Knowing that I have been able to support the mother through massage, which may have helped them have a more relaxed and enjoyable pregnancy is just wonderful.
Learn more about Nicole McCowan, remedial massage therapist at Fertile Ground Health Group or make an appointment to have one of her fabulous massage treatments. Online Booking
As an Acupuncturist I often get asked – when are the most delicious times to check in with your Acupuncturist?
So let’s jump in.
Regularly though the first twelve weeks
Especially if it’s taken some time to conceive this babe, you’ve experienced pregnancy loss in the past, or you’re feeling particularly anxious about this pregnancy.
Also, if symptoms like nausea and fatigue are having a considerable impact, give your Acupuncturist a call. And the sooner the better on this one.
Through the middle of the pregnancy: as symptoms arise
And again, the sooner the better on this one. Catch things like carpal tunnel, back pain, insomnia and indigestion as they arise.
An alternative to the ‘catch things as soon as they creep in’ approach is to schedule monthly check in appointments with your Acupuncturist through the middle of the pregnancy. There is always work to do. And a month can be a very long time during pregnancy!
Go with what you feel will work best for you.
Weekly in the final weeks of pregnancy
Weekly from 37 weeks is ideal. This will help facilitate the smooth preparation of bringing this divine soul earthside and prepare your body for labour.
There is so much divine work going on inside your body during this time. Many women become physically more tired and sore. And it may become harder to reach good pockets of sleep.
On top of that, there can be car seats to fit, renovations to finish (why does that always happen?!), and an influx of information coming at you from your birth provider.
There’s the endless thoughts of what labour is going to be like. How we are going to work with the pain.
In other words, there is A Lot. And our minds at this time can go into overdrive.
As the To Do List can whir around us, it’s time to breathe and come home.
A space that Acupuncture is so great at facilitating.
More often if you pass your estimated due date
Great to book in some treatments for 40.5 weeks and even 41 weeks. It’s very common to reach these! An estimated due date is just that, an estimate.
So if you do become ‘overdue’, lets use the pins to create some calm space, and facilitate the most optimal environment for your body to go into labour.
On ‘the other side’
If you’re seeing an Acupuncturist, ask them what to do regarding treatment on ‘the other side’.
Once pregnancy has drawn to a close, the summit of labour has been climbed, and you have that sweet delicious soul in your arms, there may still very well be work to be done.
Stepping over the threshold from pregnancy to motherhood does not mean you no longer require support.
In general, Chinese Medicine advises that it’s absolutely best for mum and babe to stay indoors and rest for the first 6 weeks. To get to know each other, facilitate recovery from the big experience of birth, and sync up in their rhythms.
At the same time, be in contact with your Acupuncturist if any bumps arise. They may be able to help you. Or they may be able to guide you towards the correct support you may require. Early intervention can be so useful with many postpartum conditions, so please remember that it is always, always okay to ask for help.
Amy O’Brien is a registered Acupuncturist and Chinese Medicine practitioner with a passion for preconception, fertility and pregnancy care. Amy has extensive experience in acupuncture, including a 2 year period of administering acupuncture in a Melbourne hospital. She enjoys working with every aspect of health and disease to assist you in creating fabulous health.
Ashley Gordon, FGHG Acupuncturist takes us through the basics of acupuncture during pregnancy and explains why it’s such a good idea.
Is it your first pregnancy? Maybe your second or third? Whichever is the case, when you are looking for pregnancy advice, if you Google it you will be inundated with pages of links and information overload. If you don’t have time to navigate the extensive library of information, here is a short spiel on pregnancy acupuncture, the best bits, to save you some time!
I’ve had many questions asked of me about acupuncture, but undoubtedly the most common is “Does it hurt?” and specifically for pregnancy acupuncture, “Is it safe?” The answer to the second question is YES, it is safe! The first question, is a bit more troublesome as it is based on an individual’s pain tolerance, which is subjective, but in general acupuncture doesn’t hurt. Sure, we are puncturing the skin with a needle, so there has to be an initial prick, but there should be no unwanted sensations after that. Some patients even fall asleep, or use the time to meditate while the needles are doing all the hard work for you!
The next most common question is “Is pregnancy acupuncture beneficial?” During the first trimester, it’s very commonly used to treat and alleviate symptoms such as nausea, heartburn and fatigue. Acupuncture aims to maintain health and restore balance within the energy flow of the body – this is crucial due to the multitude of amazing changes that occur during pregnancy. Not only do we need to give the body some credit for the incredible task it has ahead of it, but also give you as much assistance as we can to help the pregnancy move forward with ease and grace.
Equally as important as the first trimester is the third trimester. This time can be used to prepare the body for labour. This is all about blood flow, ensuring the body is well nourished and all of the key organs active in labour are supported and regulated – this is what is called birth preparation acupuncture.
But why is birth preparation acupuncture important, you ask?
Think of it as training. Would you front up to a marathon without any training? Probably not. The #1 reason for birth preparation treatments is to promote a smooth labour. Birth preparation acupuncture consists of a series of weekly treatments from 34-36 weeks onwards and can help to prepare the body for labour. Due to this preparation, your body will not be a stranger to acupuncture if used for labour promotion and will be more receptive to it’s effects. When the time arrives to assist in helping your baby engage, increase cervical ripening and dilation or strengthen contractions, acupuncture is here to help.
Here at Fertile Ground, not only do we have skilled acupuncturists, but we also have Naturopaths, massage therapists and Osteopaths to further assist you and your body throughout the incredible journey of pregnancy. It’s the wholistic approach that we love the most here at Fertile Ground and it would be our pleasure to help you on your way…
Ashley Gordon, FGHG Acupuncturist
Ashley is an experienced acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist who is passionate about utilising the innate healing qualities of the body in achieving the desired outcomes, be that in fertility, pregnancy or general health. He has developed a strong focus and passion for pregnancy, birth preparation and pre conception care, and is motivated by being apart of each individual journey and the emotional and physical changes of these experiences.
We talk to Ashley Gordon, Acupuncturist at FGHG and discover what makes him such a fabulous, dedicated practitioner and why he has chosen to focus on reproductive health, fertility and pregnancy acupuncture.
What initially ignited your interest in studying to become a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner and acupuncturist?
Before my time as a TCM practitioner, I was a middle school Biology and Maths teacher. This was good, but I knew there was something… I was on the prowl for job satisfaction. Whilst having a treatment from my acupuncturist, she said “you seem to know a lot about it, ever thought of studying it?”… baffled at the timing of that statement, my answer was “not until now…” and the rest was history!!
How does an Eastern philosophy differ from a western philosophy in terms of fertility and reproductive support?
In my understanding, as different as they can be, they are both just as crucial as the other. Simplistically and generally, Western philosophy seems to go by numbers… if they fit, then they are good. This may not always take into consideration factors such as stress, emotions, sleep and their related symptoms in the body… this is where Eastern philosophy comes in quite strongly. Together, they can make as awesome team, but each have their own ability to stand independently. Fertility and reproductive support can be so easily affected by so many different lifestyle choices. It make sense to sort these out ASAP!
What unique challenges and rewards come from working with your patients in an independent, non-Western healthcare care setting ?
The rewards are many. In fertility and reproductive support specifically, the answer is simply sharing in the joy of people succeeding in their goal of having a baby. In general, assisting people in working towards better health and maximising all that their body and life has to offer. The body knows, we just need to point it in the right direction sometimes…
Chinese Medicine is such a broad discipline with so many different tools, could you offer some insight into how Chinese Medicine works best for you as a practitioner and which areas you particularly love treating?
Without a doubt, my passion lies in treating pregnancy with acupuncture. My fascination and intrigue with the human body is epitomised by pregnancy. Watching the body, grow, adapt and mould whilst still supporting the day-to-day life of a human, blows me away. My other favourite is pre-conception care – assisting this miracle to happen is such a joy!
Ashley is an experienced acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist who is passionate about utilising the innate healing qualities of the body in achieving the desired outcomes. Be that in fertility, pregnancy or general health.
Ashley has a strong focus on preconception care, pregnancy and birth preparation and is motivated by the journeys and emotional and physical changes that these experiences bring. It is his privilege to a be a part of such a personal and life-changing journey.