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.

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.

Stories of Survival in NSW floods

Stories of Survival in NSW Floods

Our hearts reach out to all the people who have been caught in these catastrophic floods.

Within this huge group of impacted people there is a minority community who have been sharing their stories of survival with us directly – solo parent families who have lost their homes. These people are sharing their stories with us because we have launched a fundraising campaign to support this vulnerable group to rebuild their lives. Supporting community health, in particular family health, has been a mission of Fertile Ground Health Group for the last 21 years and in this time of need we feel grateful to have the means to generate momentum and support for solo parent families in NSW who have lost their homes.

These stories of survival in the devastating floods are powerful demonstrations of the resilience and willingness of the human spirit when met with such catastrophic and urgent life and death moments. These stories are both heartbreaking and inspirational.  So far it is solo mummas and their children who have registered for support with us from this campaign, and the courage these women show is incredible.

Read the Stories of Survival (continuously updated as more come through)

When we heard the news of the flood I immediately contacted my landlord who said in the 2017 flood my apartment was absolutely fine so I naïvely thought we would be okay to stay here and just use our gas camping stove for meals. I ran out and helped move things in the library in the Toy Library, and got some shopping and then settled in for a few days stuck in the house. We don’t have many support systems in the area where we can just rock up for a few days and expect them to accommodate us, even if there is the threat of disaster. By 11pm we were getting warnings that the flood was going to be bigger than predicted, and we’d need to evacuate. 

I had already moved my car and I did not think it was safe to walk 3 km through low-lying streets with my three-year-old on my back so we decided to stay put. I flagged down a passing SES car but they said they were not taking pedestrians in their cars simply warning them to evacuate. We had no choice but to stay put and hope for the best. I called my Dad letting him know what was happening in case reception went and wrote a list of important phone contacts and sealed it in a ziplock and shoved it in my dry bag. 

I rushed around moving things as high as possible, packing go bags and tying my kayak to the clothesline. A move I thought was futile at the time. At 2 o’clock I heard a large bang downstairs and alarms started blaring. The levy had broken and water was rushing so fast down our downtown apartment that trees were being snapped. A stray gas bottle smashed into our door. Cue panic – dressing myself and my 3yo and a plea to the universe that we would survive again. In January of 2021 I woke to almost our entire apartment on fire, it had just reached the hall outside our bedroom. 

I scooped my 3yo out of bed and bolted, seconds after placing my feet in the garden from the bottom step both gas bottles exploded. Now we were living a similar horror again! Hours passed, frantic calls to both police and SES begging them to just take my daughter. The last SES call at 5am was met with a blunt ‘we aren’t coming into the CBD, good luck’ and an abrupt beep as they hung up. 

I called Mum and Dad and choked out a goodbye. Called a friend and told her I didn’t blame her for the advice to stay in the apartment. By this point the water was up to my knees. My 3yo was being exceptionally calm and brave, I am so proud of her! I lifted her from the floating couch into the kayak and jumped in after her, balancing the 4 kittens we had recently rescued precariously at the front. We had about another 1m left on the tether before the top of the kayak would have been pulled under water. I had a knife ready to slash it. We were wearing helmets and she had a floaty, I had a head torch. 

Even though the water was calm and slowly flowing away from the river, the rush of water I had seen earlier was so ferocious I was convinced we were dead if we entered it, kayak or not. I contemplated drowning my 3yo myself so I wouldn’t have to watch her suffer or be sucked away, I could at least tie her to me. 

Tried to climb the roof, too high. More frantic calls to family. Suddenly a voice screaming my name in the distance. I sloshed over to the side of the balcony, it was my DAD! He had borrowed a boat, been stopped on roads four times by the SES before he found a way through. We were saved! Everyone loaded in, three wet bags with some clothes and my phone and wallet. We passed my neighbour who didn’t want to be rescued, a family of five up to their necks in the water trapped behind bars. I begged dad to save them but we couldn’t get the window open. A man lying still on a roof, someone floating in their top story. Countless others screaming from rooftops to be rescued. 

At the end of the river near the large shopping centre there were police officers helping to get people out of boats. We jumped out and Dad grabbed something from his car to try and bust open the window. I waited for him to return, the tears were flowing. Four little faces and a mother came back with him, they had their heads turned to the side standing on a table by the time he pried the security screen off. We rushed them to the evac centre and everyone got fresh warm clothes. I hate to think of the others who died with the same fear we faced that night and I’m so grateful we have escaped near death, twice!

– Los (Lauren) De Groot, Lismore NSW

NSW Solo Parent Families who have Lost Their Homes
Los and her daughter after being rescued by her Dad

 

DONATE TO HELP NSW SOLO PARENT FAMILIES WHO HAVE LOST THEIR HOMES IN FLOODS

The last thing I did before going to bed was to hang my children’s floaties on the bedroom door, just in case. A strange thing to do perhaps, but there’s only me. There’s not another set of ready hands, or another mind in the moment, to help problem solve. I’ve got to make the decisions that will give my kids the best chance and protect them as much as I can. The flood levels were not predicted to reach our house, yet I had spent the last couple of days lifting, packing and preparing our house and belongings. The doors were sandbagged. I’d packed a bag in the car and moved it up the hill. I’d turned off all power points, even the fridge. I’d set my alarm to wake hours before the ‘peak’ of the flood so I could assess where we were at. It still wasn’t enough. I don’t think anyone could have prepared enough for this. My 6 yr old son and I ‘miraculously’ awoke at 3.30am, just as the first trickle of water snaked in under the door. A man arrived at our door yelling for us to get out now. We tried to move more of our stuff upstairs to our housemate’s room (another single mum). My little boy waded back and forth carrying his belongings and treasures upstairs. We had 30 minutes before the water had risen to a level where the water reached the bottom of the mattress on which my 2 yr old was still sleeping. I snatched her up and ran out the door. We got to a friend’s house, safe. The flood breached the second level of our house. Incomprehensible. Previously the highest level breached in our house to our knowledge was 15cm. Our ceiling collapsed, our home is unlivable, but what’s most heartbreaking is hearing my little boy try to problem solve where we will now live.

– Nina Woods, Bexhill NSW

Stories of Survival - Nina Woods 2
Nina returning to salvage items after the flood waters started to recede

 

Stories of Survival, Nina Woods
Nina and son, Lachie, sorting through the few house items they managed to salvage and bring back to where they’re sheltering

 

DONATE TO HELP NSW SOLO PARENT FAMILIES WHO HAVE LOST THEIR HOMES IN FLOODS

My name is Kate Coxall, I was a volunteer firefighter with the RFS for over 4 years, and also a trained Case Manager/Support Facilitator. The skills and training I had from this saved our lives, for this I am forever grateful. We lived in Bungawalbin, on a 110 acre property we had rented for 4.5 months after being evicted due to a sale of our Upper Wilson’s Creek Property. We left on Sunday night, because the water had already come under the house and was rising at a rate that was mind blowing, metres per hour. I let our Budgies out, knowing they would be able to fly to higher points, and raised all belongings and furniture to higher points over hours. I mustered the Landlords cattle the day before in thigh deep + water through several complex scenarios including deep water, to the highest paddock on the property near the road. I was so glad I had done that, they would definitely have drowned otherwise. I took my 8YO daughter, our beloved 8YO rescue dog (member of our family) and drove to the neighbours, after leaving extra feed out and what I assumed at the time, was a barrier to water rising, a plastic storage tub, at the chook’s house door.

I came back after another minimal sleep night of the heaviest rain I have ever heard, at 10:30am. The house had already been inundated, to floor height, I was absolutely shocked. I saw the chicken yard was 1m under water and left the car and my wet weather gear on the fence at a high dry point, and waded through 5ft deep water, over a fence to rescue the chickens, all 9 plus our rooster who snuggled into me to thank me, they had 20cm left till they would have drowned. My daughter has not only named them, they come to her and jump into her arms when called.. I managed to put 3 in the plastic tub to take back to her, but then bogged my car trying to turn around. The neighbour came to help out, and bogged her car, we had access to her partner’s family Ute, which we drove back to the cars, i tried to two her out, unsuccessfully due to the conditions and angles. We saw 5 people carrying a motor, then a boat, attempting to get from Bungawalbin to Coraki, some shoeless, one, Craig, with a huge gash on his head. We begged them not to keep going, just to come and shelter with us, but they refused, and attempted to go on. We later got an urgent message on social media that they were in need of desperate evacuation and had chained themselves in the Tinny to a tree. I cried for them many times, desperately asking other emergency service and medical trained friends to call 000 as I couldn’t call out, but could message. They survived thankfully, we later found out. 

Then the water rose and rose, and we heard the neighbours on the other, much lower side hadn’t been rescued yet and had lost all communication. I again asked friends to please, please call in the rescue knowing Lehann Suffolk and partner were mature aged, and much lower down than where we were. That night, after hearing choppers throughout the day go past, having logged the rescue for them, and us, I couldn’t sleep. I left a flashing torch on the fence post, illuminating the house, deck lights on, hoping the SES would see us. We learned that SES and ADF were grounded at midnight by the time the messages came through, it was terrifying knowing how incredibly fast the water was rising and how inundated we were. At 4am after many days with minimal sleep, I thought I heard 3 voices and screaming.. I felt beyond desperate, worried the Suffolks had not survived. I kept messaging people and services asking for help. That next day I was worried the other lady with me had gone into sepsis, and I felt I had started to go into shock, the water was still rising, and I was exhausted. We spent many hours outside trying to wave at Choppers. The first went straight over us, but the cloud cover was so thick that they missed us altogether. That moment was very disheartening, I thought we may not get rescued. 

My daughter was so brave throughout, but I saw her struggling with the reality that we may/may not get rescued, the fact she learned our house was fully under and the gravity of the idea that we may need to not just leave Budgies AND chooks behind, but her beloved support dog. I was so glad that I could identify what was happening for her and hold her through it. When the chopper came, after I had suggested that we find fluoros and other high visibility materials, which we laid down in the house yard and my neighbour laid on the road, after we waved and yelled and thought they may not find us, we were so, so relieved. I hugged Rob from the ADF thanking him, and then he told us that we couldn’t bring our dog. It was heartbreaking for us both. I took her back to the house where I had laid all the dog food we had and a large bowl of fresh water and told her to “stay home”. She got out and tried to follow us. My heart broke as I had to tell her to “go home”. I was worried she would get hurt or traumatised further from the chopper. I will never forget her face, I just want her back with us. We then were airlifted to Lismore SCU Evacuation Centre, given fresh food, a bed and offer of clothes, medical support and toiletries and charging stations. The gravity of what we had been through was starting to hit me, but we are so grateful to be safe. My employers, from The Lismore App, now family, offered us a place in their home, which is where we have been since, in Gooonellabah. What blew me away most is that a lady came up to me and offered that we could go and stay in her Mum’s granny flat, her name is Mim, and she could lend us a car.. everyone was so kind, I could never thank them enough. The best moment for me was when I was able to ask the man who had already been rescued in the chopper if he had come from the Suffolks property, the neighbours I thought I heard screaming and was desperately worried had drowned.. he confirmed they were all alive and not too unwell. That moment was just the most heartening of all. Thank you to all the rescue personnel, friends and community for your support to get us out, and to check in. It’s made all the difference.

– Kate Coxall, Richmond Valley NSW

Stories of Survival, Kate Coxall
Kate and her daughter

Stories of Survival, Kate Coxall

Stories of Survival, Kate Coxall 3
Being airlifted to Lismore SCU Evacuation Centre

 

DONATE TO HELP NSW SOLO PARENT FAMILIES WHO HAVE LOST THEIR HOMES IN FLOODS

I’m overwhelmed by what a long haul this is going to be. It’s taken me years after my husband left us with nothing to rebuild our lives & now my daughter keeps crying listing all the things she became attached to. It’s hard for children to comprehend the notion of our lives being at risk vs material or sentimental things. Myself and another solo mum fled at 4am with our kids and nothing but the clothes on my back. Our double story house is under and have lost everything. We also don’t know where we are going to live. The housing situation in the northern rivers is so dire – worst for solo parents. I felt vulnerable before : now I’m not sure there is any hope of us being re-housed or recouping what we lost .. it all feels too hard right now : /

– Leah Bee, Bexhill NSW

Stories of Survival - Leah Bee
Leah and her two children

 

DONATE TO HELP NSW SOLO PARENT FAMILIES WHO HAVE LOST THEIR HOMES IN FLOODS

My name is Elina Salokangas. I’m a single mum of 9yo girl and 6yo boy. We live in The Channon, NSW. This is our story. 

Sunday night the power went out at 11pm. So I had flashlights ready. There was a teeny bit of water coming into the living room under the skirting board, which happens sometimes when it rains. So I was up mopping. Then when I went to toilet around 1pm, flushed it, the water came up halfway. I thought, “That’s strange…” I went out to check the creek level on the side terrace (there’s a normally dry creek next to the house, about 5m below the level of the house) and I saw the water level was up to the terrace!! That has never happened before!

I went out to the front terrace to check if I could see any water, and water was all I could see! I quickly rescued the bunnies – the bottom floor of their cage was already under. Then I woke up the housemate in the studio. Moved my campervan on higher grounds. Then went back mopping… until the water started to come in from everywhere!! 

My first thought was to lift everything from bottom shelves and cupboards up higher, onto top of the shelves, thinking I was saving all the most important things… little did I know that all the shelves and furniture would fall over anyway. My son was sleeping on the couch. I picked him up when the water level was almost touching him. Put him down on my bed, next to his sister. Quickly went to get some jumpers for them… wetsuits… then woke the kids up, carried them to the kitchen table and put the wetsuits on. My housemate had two life vests as well, which I put on for them.. then the table started to wobble and float! Carried the kids to the kitchen counter, while putting up the ladder, and then carried them to the ladder and up to the bus roof. So grateful my bus was parked under the terrace roof 2 weeks prior! And you could quite easily climb to the roof of the house from the top of the bus, if necessary.

Last thing I got from the garage was a tarp, kids floaties, saw, rope, secateurs… water up to my belly button by then. I sawed the legs off from the little bunny cage and so we could fit them on the bus roof as well.

By then it was maybe 3am? It all happened so fast, from no water to waist height in 30mins, I think! I was too wet to go to the roof, smelling like sewerage, so I ended up standing on top of the ladder, leaning on the bus, the rest of the night. Also to make sure the ladder wouldn’t float away. 

By the sunrise the flood levels dropped. I got down, started to clean up the sludge from the front terrace and gather all the bits and pieces, while the kids were still sleeping up on the bus roof. It was still raining non stop, and less than an hour later the water started to rise up again!! I climbed back to the roof. About 1m water on the terrace and indoors… during the night it peaked at 1.8m indoors, 2-3m around the house, up to 4m on the driveway… my hitop campervan was almost totally under.

When my son woke up, he saw somebody swimming in the flood waters!! We could not believe our eyes! It was our neighbour, the landlady’s nephew, coming to check on us if we were Ok. First time ever I identified somebody as a True Blue Ozzie Hero! About half an hour later our other neighbours came in by canoes to rescue us! By then I felt totally dysfunctional, just so relieved and happy to be rescued. We survived. Can’t stop thinking about how different the outcome it would have been if I would have gone to bed early, before 11pm, that night…

– Elina Salokangas, The Channon NSW

Stories of Survival in NSW Floods
Standing on the ladder, leaning on the bus the whole night

 

Stories of Survival in NSW Floods
Elina’s son, daughter and bunnies taking refuge on top of the bus

 

Stories of Survival in NSW Floods

Please share these stories of survival with your community and share the fundraiser. Every little bit helps. Thank you.

With gratitude, kindness and in support of solo parent families who have lost their homes in the NSW floods,

Carly Woods & Charmaine Dennis
Directors
Fertile Ground Health Group

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

What is Buteyko?

Breathe

by Carly Woods, FGHG Buteyko practitioner and Naturopath

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

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

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

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

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

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

And that’s not even all of it.

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

The answers are simple, and the systemic effects profound.

Buteyko works to

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

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

It surely does not placate.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In breath

Carly

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

Getting to know your practitioner – Nicole McCowan, FGHG massage therapist

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

Food Cravings – what are you really craving?

Food cravings with Jane Holland

Food cravings come in all tastes and sizes. Have you ever walked past a bakery early in the morning and spied the rows of croissants in the window and found yourself thinking about nothing else but those buttery flaky pastries for rest of the day??

Or perhaps you’ve arrived at the end of a busy afternoon and found yourself thinking of nothing else but the moment when you can crack open the cupboard and dig your hand into a packet of salty crunchy crisp chips??

Or perhaps after dinner when you’re winding down, your mind becomes filled with the idea of biting into a delicious chunk of chocolate, that sweet goodness bringing you some kind of wild euphoria…

Chances are, if you are a human, you have experienced some form of food craving.

In fact, surveys suggest that up to 90% of women and 70% of men have experienced food cravings at some point during their life (Magee 2005).

Food cravings can be defined as an intense desire to consume a particular food, differentiating it from a feeling of hunger, which can be alleviated by consumption of any type of food (Muele 2020).

The Complexities

And it’s more complicated than you might think! We tend to think food cravings are driven by a primal instinct to stay alive, an evolutionary advantage embedded in our genes. And while that’s partly true, what is now also known, is that areas of the brain responsible for memory and sensing pleasure are also partially to blame (i.e. conditioned responses to stimuli), as well as a need to satisfy emotional states, such as calming stress and reducing anxiety. In other words, it’s complex.

When our needs are not being met – physiologically, emotionally, mentally, or energetically – our natural impulse is to rectify this. In other words, when we are ‘out of alignment’, we will find a way to bring ourselves ‘into’ alignment. Our brain can’t always differentiate between fulfilling needs in a resourceful versus unresourceful way, however, so if we are not aware of the ways we have learnt to ‘fulfil’ these needs (i.e. we have learnt to do something that brings relief but not necessarily long-term satisfaction), we will continue to repeat this behaviour over and over again, despite our seemingly ‘conscious’ desire to change it.

Mindfulness for Food Craving

Mindfulness, and self-awareness through sensation and the body, are some of the ways to bring us back into deep connection with our intuitive self. From here, we can respond to our needs in a more honest way, rather than a reactionary, automated way. But it’s tricky business. The parts of us that work to protect us (often formed during childhood or adolescence to ‘meet the needs’) might feel fear or hesitation or resistance to a different response, which can lead to more dissonance and contraction if we are not willing to listen and be ‘in relationship’ with them! Simply put, in order to understand our needs, we need to engage with them in a compassionate and honest way, to find out how we can support them (and ourselves) in a more resourceful way.

Stopping the Self-Punishment

As we bring more awareness to these needs and honour our deeper stirrings and get curious about the places where we are betraying ourselves, our physical body changes too. Instead of punishing or banishing the parts of us that crave chocolate after dinner, or eat a whole wheel of cheese at the party, or yearn for a hot cross bun smeared with butter, we start to notice that actually, those parts just wanted to feel safe in that moment, or connected, or loved.

Over time, as we integrate and listen to our different parts, our behaviour changes too. Learning to notice and feel what we are truly craving, fulfilling our needs and honouring our intuition leads to deep and lasting changes. It just requires deep compassion, radical honesty and a willingness to listen.

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

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)

References

Meule, A. Twenty Years of the Food Cravings Questionnaires: a Comprehensive Review. Curr Addict Rep 7, 30–43 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40429-020-00294-z

Magee, E. The Facts About Food Cravings, WebMD (2005). https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/the-facts-about-food-cravings#1

EMERGE – allow your natural buoyancy

Jane Holland from The Melbourne Apothecary talks adapting to COVID

How are you this week? I know a few of you reading this in Melbourne have just started yet another lockdown – and of course many of you overseas are still managing the restrictions and ongoing changes that COVID brings each week… We’re a pretty adaptable and resilient species really aren’t we? That’s not to say we’re always comfortable in the adaptations we are forces to make, but somehow we manage to find our way.

Which has got me thinking this week about how we will emerge from this period in history??

Emergence

I really love the concept of emergence – it suggests there is a natural buoyancy, an intrinsic ability to rise, that exists within us.

Interestingly the word EMERGE comes from the Latin root ’emergere’ meaning ‘bring to light.’ For me, it’s an innate sense of something bubbling up, a knowing that something wants to manifest. Sometimes we notice it, but often our own stories or narratives are in the way, intercepting the emergence of whatever idea or concept that is trying to rise.

This suggests then that it may be more important for us to remove the obstruction (stories, beliefs and conditioning) so we can ALLOW for the natural emergence, rather than placing all our attention on what we think SHOULD emerge. In other words, to bring our awareness to the ways in which we impede the natural buoyancy of ourselves, so we can simply ‘get out of the way’ and receive whatever it is in us that is naturally moving towards the light….

“Just as the acorn contains the mighty oak tree, the Self has everything it needs to fulfil its destiny. When the inner conditions are right, it naturally emerges”
~ Derek Rydall

What inner conditions  do you need to allow in order for your mighty oak seed to sprout?

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

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

How do you know if you have Leaky Gut?

Leaky Gut with Georga Holt at The Melbourne Apothecary

Leaky gut – you have probably heard it before, but what exactly does it mean?

Leaky gut refers to when the lining of your gut wall becomes damaged, causing pathogens/toxins to leak into the gut and reduce nutrient absorption. Unfortunately leaky gut is relatively common, but fortunately it is something that we can heal. So let’s get a bit deeper into it. I’ll share with you WHY you need a healthy gut wall, HOW you know if you’ve got a leaky gut, and a few key HEALING options to factor into your leaky gut care plan.

 

What is the purpose of your gut wall?

Your gut wall is essential for the uptake of minerals, nutrients & water. It also prevents entry of pathogens & toxins and also reduces the loss of nutrients that you consume. If there is a ‘leak’ it can cause a vicious cycle with your health systemically, as your gut health plays a significant role in every organ and system of your body.

 

How do you know if you have a leaky gut?

If you notice any of the following symptoms it’s a good idea to chat with your naturopath or practitioner about it during your next treatment session.

  • Irregular bowel motions
  • Diarrhoea
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Abdominal pain
  • Low energy/fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Brain fog
  • Nutrient deficiencies

 

How do you get leaky gut in the first place?

Here are a few factors that can contribute to or reduce the integrity of your gut. Cast your mind back to the time when you started developing any of the above symptoms and see if it lines up with any of the following triggering factors.

 

Triggering factors:

  • Antibiotics
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Medications
  • Poor diet/inflammatory food
  • Stress

 

Okay, so this is all great to know. But how do you heal the gut?

Well, there are certain steps that need to be taken to ensure you are on the right path – for example see a trained health practitioner – whether that be a Naturopath or Nutritionist – this allows investigative work to take place to find out underlying causes/triggers, plus they will be able to design an individualised treatment plan to heal YOUR gut. Because at the end of the day, everyone’s gut (and health) is so unique and what worked for the person next to you won’t necessarily work for you.

In saying this there are some key components to a healthy glowing gut so here is a list of my top 4 go-to nutrients – make sure you consult with a practitioner to access high quality products at the right dose for your situation:

 

Glutamine

It repairs the tight gap junctions, boosts immune cell activity in the gut, prevents infections & reduces inflammation. It also soothes the intestinal tissue which can contribute to improving the integrity of the gut lining.

 

Zinc

Strengthens the tight gap junctions of the GIT lining which will reduce a leak of pathogens/toxins into the gut and plays a regulatory role in the immune system – which we know communicate quite closely.

 

Vitamin D

Plays a role as an immune modulator, anti inflammatory and antimicrobial agent. Low Vitamin D levels can contribute to IBS like symptoms due to a reduction of Vitamin D receptors which are found in the gut, this can reduce gut function such as motility causing bloating & digestive upset. Vitamin D also plays a role in intestinal epithelial barrier function and bowel inflammation.

 

Vitamin A

Studies have found that Vitamin A deficiency increases intestinal permeability (leaky gut), as it modulates inflammation and is an important component to the integrity of the GIT lining.

Written by Georga Holt, Naturopath.

Georga Holt is a respected general health Naturopath at The Melbourne Apothecary. Book in with Georga to improve your gut health and start  to reignite your sense of vibrancy.

 

References

Bischoff, S. C., Barbara, G., Buurman, W., Ockhuizen, T., Schulzke, J. D., Serino, M., Tilg, H., Watson, A., & Wells, J. M. (2014). Intestinal permeability–a new target for disease prevention and therapy. BMC gastroenterology14, 189. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12876-014-0189-7

Camilleri M. Leaky gut: mechanisms, measurement and clinical implications in humans. Gut. 2019 Aug;68(8):1516-1526. doi: 10.1136/gutjnl-2019-318427. Epub 2019 May 10. PMID: 31076401; PMCID: PMC6790068.

Rao JN, Wang JY. Regulation of Gastrointestinal Mucosal Growth. San Rafael (CA): Morgan & Claypool Life Sciences; 2010. Intestinal Architecture and Development. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK54098/

Skrovanek, S., DiGuilio, K., Bailey, R., Huntington, W., Urbas, R., Mayilvaganan, B., Mercogliano, G., & Mullin, J. M. (2014). Zinc and gastrointestinal disease. World journal of gastrointestinal pathophysiology5(4), 496–513. https://doi.org/10.4291/wjgp.v5.i4.496

Yin for the Sleep Win…#Yinning

Deep Sleep Yin Yoga with Jane Holland at The Melbourne Apothecary

How many nights have you SWORN you would get off Netflix earlier/ stopped scrolling social media in bed/ run a bath/ rubbed lavender in your pillow/ done a guided mediation/ got a better night’s sleep?! Or perhaps you tend to lay in bed, wide eyed, coaxing yourself to drop down, only to become more restless the longer you remain awake?! If you answered yes, you are not alone! An astonishing 39.8% Australians are not getting the recommended quality and/or quantity of sleep each night, leading to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, cognitive dysfunction, poor immune regulation and higher chances of depression and anxiety during and post-pregnancy (Adams 2017).  And this where yin yoga comes into play – yin for the sleep win. Let’s dive in.

Increasingly, we are living in a screen-driven, complex, and uncertain world. The prevalence of sleep problems and prescribed sleep medications actually increased between 2010 and 2016, suggesting that despite increasing awareness in the general media and medical literature about sleep, we are not making meaningful changes!

So, what can you do?

One of the first things you can do to support your sleep is to get honest and conduct a night-time audit. It is much harder to change a behaviour you are not aware of, so understanding your patterns and how they might be contributing to poor sleep comes first.

  1. RECORD… Track your movements between 6pm and bedtime each night for the next two weeks. Keep a record of the times you ate/ drank, what you watched on TV, amount of alcoholic drinks/ cigarettes, interactions with partners/ family/ housemates, time on your phone, reading, what you do when lying down to bed, exercise etc. Also note caffeine intake (how many coffees/ teas/ cola drinks you had during the day) Make this as detailed as possible.
  2. ASSESS… Each morning, record how your sleep was the previous evening – how many times you woke, if you got up during the night, how vital you feel when you wake on a scale of 1-10 (if you have a device that tracks this you could record the data as well).
  3. REVIEW… After two weeks, go back to your journal and notice if there are correlations between evening activities and sleep quality/ quantity.
The next step? Operation SLEEP HYGIENE
  1. EDIT… Start small. That is, find ONE thing you can remove from your evening ritual that might be connected to poor sleep, and introduce ONE thing that might improve your sleep.

SUGGESTIONS…

  1. REMOVE– Wi-Fi in your home after 9pm, scrolling on apps whilst lying in bed, alcoholic drinks, caffeine after midday, bright lighting around the home in the evening, arguments with family/ housemates, going straight from Netflix to bed, eating/ working within an hour of going to sleep, electronics in the bedroom.
  2. INTRODUCE– dimmed lighting for an hour before sleeping, sipping warm water in the fresh air for 10 minutes before bed, yin yoga, 10 mins of meditation, reading, a warm shower or bath, daily exercise (20-30mins), going to bed at the same time every night, removing all electronic devices from your bedroom
  3. REVIEW… Notice what changes for you over the following two weeks. Does your sleep improve? What are you feeling since your audit? Can you introduce another small change after these two weeks?

Including meditation and gentle yoga before bed is one simple method of reducing stress and supporting in to ‘come home’ to your body and breath. Studies have shown that including meditation, breathwork and yoga reduces stress and associated negative health effects, as well as improving sleep quality and quantity.

Yin yoga, a practice which includes long held postures targeting deep connective tissue and calming the nervous system, has shown great promise in reducing stress and ensuring good sleep hygiene.

A 2012 US study found 55% of participants who included yoga in their weekly practices reported improved sleep, and 85% reduced stress (Stussman 2015). Yoga’s ability to increase relaxation and induce a balanced mental state has also been explored, with a regular yoga practice resulting in an increase in the total number of hours slept, significantly less time getting to sleep, and a feeling of being rested in the morning (Woodyard 2011).

While there is not one definitive answer to improving sleep quality and quantity, becoming aware of our daily habits and behaviours is an incredibly important starting point in establishing what is true. By getting honest, it is possible to firstly acknowledge and then establish what changes can be made. Implementing a regular yoga and meditation practice may provide both a nourishing and supportive way to come back into alignment with our natural cycles, improve sleep and experience deep rest.

So as the sun sets on your day, watch your own habits and behaviours as you prepare for sleep. Will you be winding down with nature and following your natural rhythms supported by yoga and mindfulness? Or will you scrolling mindlessly, yearning for deep restoration but unwilling to make changes… The choice is yours.

Written by Jane Holland

Jane Holland is a respected yin yoga teacher, international retreat facilitator and educator. She is the creator and facilitator of our current “Deep Sleep” series – yin yoga for restoration.

 

 

References:

Woodyard C. Exploring the therapeutic effects of yoga and its ability to increase quality of life. Int J Yoga. 2011;4(2):49-54. doi:10.4103/0973-6131.85485

(Stussman BJ, Black LI, Barnes PM, Clarke TC, Nahin RL. Wellness-related use of common complementary health approaches among adults: United States, 2012. National health statistics reports; no 85. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2015.)

Adams RJ, Appleton SL, Taylor AW et al. Sleep health of Australian adults in 2016: results of the 2016 Sleep Health Foundation national survey. Sleep Health 2017;3:35-42

Daukantaitė D, Tellhed U, Maddux RE, Svensson T, Melander O. Five-week yin yoga-based interventions decreased plasma adrenomedullin and increased psychological health in stressed adults: A randomized controlled trial. PLoS One. 2018 Jul 18;13(7):e0200518. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0200518. PMID: 30020987; PMCID: PMC6051627.