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PCOS

PCOS, or polycystic ovarian syndrome, is quite a common condition that affects women of reproductive age. PCOS can be characterised by some or all of the following:

– irregular periods
– issues conceiving
– mild obesity (especially around the abdomen)
– excessive facial or chest hair
– acne or excessively oily skin

In some cases, PCOS sufferers may not experience any of these signs which can make it difficult to diagnose for some.

Diagnostic testing may include a pelvic ultrasound to identify the presence of multiple cysts on the ovaries, blood testing of specific hormone levels on specific days of the menstrual cycle such as androgens, LH, prolactin and oestrogen and other blood analysis which may include blood lipids and blood glucose levels to determine pre-cursors to diabetes or other metabolic disorders.

Some factors may increase the risk of developing PCOS including genetic links, some medications and familial history of diabetes or metabolic disorder.

Due to ongoing disruption to the endocrine system and hormone production, PCOS can cause issues with ovulation, fertility, pregnancy, weight gain and insulin resistance. Management of PCOS requires a long-term holistic approach that targets weight management (if weight is an issue), increasing insulin sensitivity, cleaning up the diet and improving lifestyle habits.

There are several harmful foods that should be excluded or limited in a PCOS presentation including saturated and trans fats, refined carbohydrates, sugar (in its many forms) and caffeine. On the other hand, helpful foods such as low glycaemic index foods, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory foods should form part of the daily diet.

Foods and, in some cases, supplements containing zinc, omega-3’s, magnesium and the B vitamins are particularly helpful in the management of PCOS. These together with regular exercise, stress regulation and good sleep hygiene are essential in healthy endocrine function and hormone production.

For additional support, herbal medicine can be prescribed to target blood sugar regulation, adrenal function and stress management, hormone modulation, weight management, liver function and the formation of cysts.

If you are experiencing signs or symptoms of PCOS or are looking at enhancing your fertility outcomes, our Naturopath, Belle, can support you along the way with a customised Treatment Plan tailored specifically to your individual presentation and medical history.

The Vagus nerve

A KEY PLAYER IN THE BODY-MIND CONNECTION, THE VAGUS NERVE IS BEHIND YOUR GUT INSTINCT&THE KNOT IN YOUR THROAT, AND THE SPARKLE IN YOUR SMILE. YOU CAN THINK OF THE VAGUS NERVE AS A TWO-WAY RADIO COMMUNICATION SYSTEM HELPING YOU STAY IN TOUCH WITH YOUR SENSATIONS AND EMOTIONS.

WHAT IS THE VAGUS NERVE?
The vagus nerve is like a highway that connects the gut and the brain with smaller roads connecting the other vital organs in the body, this assists the communication between these organs and the brain.
The vagus nerve is important for optimal health, especially when it comes to being in the parasympathetic state or rest and digest. When triggered the vagus nerve stimulates digestive juices, bile release and movement through the digestive tract. When the body is in a sympathetic state our vagus nerve loses tone and becomes
imbalanced. How are we meant to digest or food when we’re in a constant state of fight and flight. When the vagul tone is good our digestion is stimulated. This is started before we even eat food; the message is sent up and down the highway the digestive system gets the gastric juices ready to prepare for optimal digestion. If the vagus nerve is not optimal then digestion won’t be great and you may experience digestive issues such as IBS, bloating, gas abdominal discomfort, indigestion and so much more.
Stimulating the vagus nerve…. It is a simple but powerful practice to stimulate the vagus nerve daily. This can simple be done by:

  • Cold showers
  • Humming, Singing, chanting or Gargling
  • Breathing exercises
  • Meditation

Just to touch on why optimal Vagus Nerve function is so important in so many other ways. It’s associated with strong social connections, positive emotions, and better physical health. Individuals with low vagal tone index may experience depression, heart attacks, inflammatory and irritable bowel disease, loneliness, negative feelings, and stroke. We are only just discovering the multiple roles that the vagus nerve plays in our health and wellbeing: It directly connects the brain and gut to form the brain-gut axis and the enteric nervous system. It helps to regulate our memory creation and recall It triggers acetylcholine production which stimulates breathing in our lungs

It controls the inflammatory response and has the ability to activate a calming cascade to keep to body in a state of homeostasis; by communicating with anti-inflammatory neurotransmitters It controls heart rate and regulates vascular tone It can regulate hunger and satiety – which makes it important in weight management
It has a role in insulin and glucose control within the body Due to the importance of the vagus nerve in the gut-brain axis – it plays a role in mood irregularities and mental health It is elemental in taste perception, as well as gag reflex control and both swallowing and coughing

The Chinese Body Clock

To understand the Chinese body clock, you first need to grasp the concept of Qi. In short, Qi is a word used in Chinese medicine to describe energy. It consists of energy in every sense of the word. For example the earth and trees have Qi, food has Qi as does your body, and even our thoughts and emotions.
It’s also important to understand that Qi is in a constant state of flux. It’s continuously transforming as it moves within the body or between people and objects.
The Chinese body clock is built on the concept of Qi.
During 24 hours, Qi is thought to move in 2-hour intervals throughout the organ systems. While you’re sleeping, Qi is believed to draw inward to fully restore your body in the early hours of the morning the Qi starts to move more towards the exterior of the body as you prepare to wake up and move around and interact with the world.
The Chinese body clock focuses on different organs within the body, as well as qi, or energy. It’s believed that by using specific organs at certain times of the day, you can make the most of your body and harness your Qi when it’s at its peak to get the most out of life.
Here is what they Chinese Body clock looks like:
When you go to see your Chinese medicine practitioner they will be looking for patterns in when you symptoms are presenting such as waking up at the same time in the night or perhaps loss of appetite or increase bowel movements at a certain time of day. This often indicates some sort of imbalance in the organ where the qi is dominant at that time and can help guide the focus of your acupuncture treatment.

What is cupping?

Cupping seems to be gaining popularity in recent years (thank you Michael Phelps), as more and more people seek to try it or use it as part of their recovery/ self care.

I recommend cupping often, as I see a lot of tight and tired muscles. Often people ask how it works or why it is beneficial.

Cupping is a therapy used as part of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is a suctioned cup that is placed on the skin which draws the tissues into it. The suction can come from a suction/ pump or from heating the cup with a flame, which causes the pressure gradient when the cup is placed on the skin. This draws blood up and through, stretches out the fascia and muscles and has the effect of loosening up tight areas. It’s like the reverse of a massage!

Is cupping limited to musculoskeletal? Historically, not at all! It has been used as part of a TCM treatment to help aid the body to detox and to draw out ‘excesses’ or improve circulation where there is accumulation and a build up.

Another question I get asked is if it is painful. If you are trying it for the first time, it can be a strange sensation initially as the cup gets placed on, you might just feel a tightness. Your practitioner will have complete control over the intensity of the cup and can moderate it to your preference. This sensation should pass over the next few minutes.

So what are the marks that come up? This is the blood getting drawn up and through the tissue. Although the marks may look like bruises, they are not real bruises as there has been no impact or trauma to the area. This is just part of the normal process of cupping where blood and toxins are drawn up and through the tissues to aid in better circulation and detoxification of a local area. The marks generally don’t last much longer than a few days to a week, but it may be worth booking your appointment away from any special events if you’re concerned!

Want to try cupping or find out more? Give us call and one of our practitioner can talk you through it.

Pregnancy Acupuncture

Pregnancy Acupuncture with Chloe Player – Mona Vale, Northern Beaches

With a passion for working with pregnant women at all stages of pregnancy I use acupuncture, cupping, moxa and some acupressure to achieve the most comfortable pregnancy possible.

Due to the fact that acupuncture has very few side effects, many pregnant women now seek this alternative to drug therapy for a number of common pregnancy complaints. Studies have shown that acupuncture can help with Prenatal support including relief from morning sickness, pregnancy induced migraine, back pain including symphysis pubis and hip pain, high blood pressure, diabetes, breech, insomnia, anxiety, birth preparation and induction.

Acupuncture is also commonly used to treat headaches, migraines, high blood pressure, sinusitis, fatigue, skin problems, cold and flu, insomnia, stress and anxiety.

Something I have been seeing a lot in clinic lately is breech and full term pregnancies seeking acupuncture to help avoid medical intervention – whilst it’s often successful it’s the readiness of the baby and stage of the pregnancy that determines the outcome. I suggest starting labour preparation acupuncture from 36 weeks and for breech and posterior bubs 34 -36 weeks.

Don’t forget to have acupuncture post bub –

I regularly help ladies with mastitis, poor milk flow, plantar fasciitis, wrist tendonitis, anxiety,  exhaustion and low iron postnatally. It can be hard to make it in for treatments but in our clinic, we make sure babies are most welcome and help you to relax as much as possible.

Whichever stage of pregnancy or trying to conceive you are at I would love to be able to help you have the best experience during your birth or pregnancy possible. Feel free to get in contact today.

www.nbip.com.au

chloe@nbip.com.au

02 8406 0679

What is Holistic Counselling?

At some point in our lives, we’ve all heard someone recommend counselling. When you think about counselling, you might think of a therapist asking you about your childhood.
Holistic means whole, which means that holistic counselling focuses on the whole person rather than just addressing the symptoms.

Holistic counselling is based on the belief that human beings are able to heal themselves in mind and body. However, there will be times that they will struggle to do this and may “lose their way”. Holistic counselling considers not only the mind, but also the body and spirit and how each of these elements interconnect and addresses issues through compassion and gentle assistance in re-discovering oneself, empowerment, growth, to heal and to build inner wisdom.

Traditional therapy can tend to focus on a certain disorder or dysfunction a person might present with. While this can be effective in some cases, focusing on a particular presenting problem could miss all the important elements that creates a person, such as life experiences, philosophical and spiritual beliefs, emotionality, psychology, physical health, and more. Holistic counselling can help to identify patterns that may be more complex or relate to multiple facets of your life.

Holistic counselling empowers you to discover and access your own inner wisdom and healing capacity to embark on your enlightening journey of self-discovery, personal growth and self-healing.

Holistic counselling sessions usually lasts from 60 to 90 minutes and can be in person or by telehealth. In sessions, we work deeply and explore your relationship with your mind (including emotions), body (nervous system) and spirit (soul) as fundamentally interconnected. Here’s how these elements are integrated in a holistic counselling session:

MIND

Here we explore and identify any habitual thought patterns, past trauma, fear, negative emotions, that may be limiting you, including deeper concerns (both past and present) and long-term patterns. Through this transformative process, supported by intuitive ThetaHealing, you will recover and release what no longer serves you and be equipped with a wide range of effective self-healing tools for improvement and change to your psychological wellbeing currently and for the future.

BODY

Here we explore any physical concerns (pain, blockages, ailments) you have and how they may be contributing to your overall wellbeing. I believe that physical concerns are messengers to show you what is not working in your body. It is a way to get your attention. Deep-seated emotional difficulties manifest as physical pain when they’re not addressed. When you really understand and discover what your pain is about you can heal. Combining Reiki and intuitive healing, we will tune into your body and awaken your innate healing intelligence to heal yourself find out the answers to your physical and emotional challenges. I believe that your body is incredibly wise and that everyone holds the key to their own optimum well-being. Here we can also integrate lifestyle, diet, routine, exercise, nutrition, or new activities to support your healing journey.

SPIRIT

A core principle in holistic counselling is that the human spirit is essential in healing an individual’s mind, body, and soul. In my practice I have found that holistic counselling provides a safe and nurturing space for an individual to express, explore and find ways of integrating their spiritual beliefs and philosophies into all aspects of their lives (e.g. physically, emotionally, psychologically). I draw on my years of study and practice in self-healing techniques, as well as my own profound self-healing journey for my client to gain a deeper sense of clarity and to assist with integrating their personal spiritual beliefs into their general wellbeing. This can include mindfulness, relaxation, meditation, new age books and resources, rituals, alternative healing modalities, journaling, crystals, and more. When an individual begins to integrate their personal spiritual beliefs and practices on their journey of healing and change, comes a deeper inner awareness and peace

Holistic counselling is a personal and nurturing process and can be a great alternative for those who have not found success with traditional therapies. Or for those who want a more personalised form of counselling that examines your entire life, not just what you’re currently experiencing and to connect within yourself on a deeper spiritual level.

Holistic counselling supports your complete health and well-being, embodying unconditional love and acceptance, purpose, direction and a sense of ‘centredness’ in your life and is an amazing option for people who want to work on developing greater wellbeing, spirituality, inner peace and to move positively forward in life and achieve long lasting results. You will also experience a sense of wellbeing, release and empowerment after the session

Nothing can be safer and more empowering than the realisation of your innate strengths and capabilities to move beyond whatever difficulties life throws at you. Regardless of age, gender or health condition, everyone can benefit from working with a holistic counsellor and move forward with their life connecting with their authentic self, awakening and empowering self-love and acceptance.

Qi Cultivation During Lockdown

Of all the feelings that are ‘normal’ at the moment, common narratives have included feeling stressed, burnout, nervous system feels on edge, experiencing poor sleep quality, brain fog, low energy, or mood changes. If any, all, or more resonate with you, you’ll be like many during lockdown who are struggling to feel themselves, making it a good a time as any to talk about cultivating Qi for preventative care.

You may not understand it well (yet!), but most have been aware of Qi during an acupuncture treatment, where feedback or sensations occurring from different areas over the body during needling. Regular feedback sensations might include feeling warmth or coolness, tingling, heaviness, fullness, or magnetic quality. We usually encourage you to sit with it, feel into it, and allow the sensations to undulate, and hum away. This is Qi.

Discovering Qi and feeling more aware of how those sensations flow is also something you can do at home, after all – Acupuncture is simply influencing your Qi. It’s already within you. Cultivating Qi can be often tied with ritual. Think of all the many small actions in your day, and what percentage of those deplete you compared with replenish you. How does that add up in your life? Routines that help strengthen your Qi are something that everyone can practise.

Three ways to cultivate Qi:
1. Qi Gong is one of the focuses on breath, form and focus; standing in meditation (wuji) & moving in harmony (taiji). It brings together Yin and Yang, strengthening your Qi and vitality. Qigong is actually a fundamental part of Chinese Medicine, with physical movement and meditative cultivation used to extend ones lifespan in Taoist tradition.

2. Meditation. Start with a just few minutes each day with a focus on breathing, stillness, self-reflection and grounding. A little side activity you can work with to help with bringing your attention to Qi sensations can be practised through rubbing your hands together in front of your belly until they’ve warmed a little, and then separate your palms slightly and create small circular movements , or separating and bringing close together again. Feel into sensations in your fingers and palms.

3. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is classically a preventative medicine, but these days we often are treating when someone is symptomatic. TCM works to keeps Qi strong and robust, and is a full system of health, working with Qi in order to heal the body through both internal and external medicine.

It’s a little all-encompassing (and may actually include the first two points within its recommendations), involving looking at your symptoms through a macro lens; what symptoms are common or cyclic for you, how they respond to things within your environment, food and with stress, alongside any underpinning factors that could be impacting your health. Things such as noting the quality of your sleep, digestion, and energy are common baselines, but we lean into any area that feels noteworthy for you, and might ask questions that feel seemingly unrelated in order to understand how underlying factors are being influenced. We’re looking for a balance; for example, we know if we experience grief it’s healthy, and should be honoured. We don’t supress our system’s responses, but instead look at ways to best support the body in order to heal. A very simple summary is that we determine which systems are depleted, stuck or in excess, and treat accordingly.

Gratitude for Happiness, Health & Healing

The word “Gratitude” refers to the quality of being thankful, showing appreciation and returning kindness for both the tangible and intangible.

Having a regular gratitude practice can provide a simple platform for one to reflect upon all aspects of life. It enables us to see more than what’s simply in front of us which builds feelings of abundance and when expressed outwardly it cultivates feelings of connection not just with family, friends and community but with nature and our life as a whole.

Expressing gratitude and thanks isn’t just good manners, according to science it actually improves our health and wellbeing too. Fascinatingly this simple practice changes the neural structures in the brain and triggers the release of feel good hormones such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine which improves mood, self-esteem, immune function, cardiovascular health, recovery after sickness and surgery, improves relationships and sleep quality. It also reduces worry, anxiety, stress, depression, regret, shame, envy, aggression and even pain!

Having an attitude of gratitude can be used as an adaptive coping technique to encourage kindness, empathy, acceptance, forgiveness and problem solving skills allowing us to move through adversity and build resilience by helping us to see our struggles and obstacles as opportunities for growth and development. Psychiatrist, Author and holocaust survivor Victor Franks wrote about how he used gratitude to deal with years of being held captive in a Nazi concentration camp in his book “Mans Search for Meaning”.

Ways introduce a regular practice into your life
• Make it easy and fun – in our house we share the best part of our day, the worst part of our day and what we are grateful for over dinner. It’s a beautiful way to connect in
and ensure our kids have a regular opportunity to express themselves and be heard.
• Show affection, write a note, or call loved ones, if you can’t get a hold of them leave them a voicemail expressing your feelings for them – what a gift!
• Provide positive feedback either in person or online when you have a good customer experience
• Give compliments to those around you
• Create a gratitude accountability group where you each share something your grateful for each day

• Download an app onto your phone that gives you a reminder and a prompt, there are several available
• Make a gratitude jar that you can put hand written notes into (this is a great thing to open up and read through when you are having a bad day and need cheering up)
• Keep a journal and a nice pen next to your bed and write in it daily either before bed or when you wake.

I have found that the most important part of gratitude is in the detail! Simply listing out a whole bunch of things your grateful for, isn’t all that useful. What is transformative is the HOW and the WHY! Why does that person or thing make you feel grateful? How does it nourish you or make your life better? THAT is what creates real shifts in energy and emotion.

My favourite journal prompts;
What events have you participated in recently that you enjoyed and why?
Who are you most grateful for today and why?
What’s something in nature you’ve enjoyed lately and why?
What is a regular lifestyle activity you are doing at the moment and how does it positively impact your life?
What home comforts could you not live without and why?
What’s the best part about living where you do and why?
What achievements, abilities or habits can you be proud of? What positive traits and attributes do these things prove to you?
Was there something that challenged or triggered you today? What was the silver lining, blessing or lesson in this situation? What can you do now or do next time to improve?
How did you care for yourself today? How did you show yourself love and respect? How did it make you feel?

It is said that very little is needed to have a happy life, it’s all within us in the way we think. Energy flows where focus goes and when we practice gratitude as part of our daily life it has a powerful positive compounding effect on us.

Why does my Acupuncurist want to look at my tongue?

Might seem strange right? After going through your intake form together and finding out about how you’r sleeping, if you have any pain in your body, how your digestion is etc. often your practitioner will ask you to stick your tongue ALL the way out so they can get a good look.
Today I thought I might explain to you why we do this. In Chinese medicine there is something called the “four examinations” and this includes:
1.Looking
2.Listening/smelling ( apparently these two words are one word in Chinese?)
3.Asking
4Touching
Looking means to examine the body and the tongue is a an important part of this.
The tongue gives us a picture of what the internal environment of the body is.
A healthy tongue is light pink and slightly moist anything that is different from this may be a clue that something in your body is not functioning optimally.
There is also a lot we can see on the surface of the skin, the eyes, nails hair but the tongue really gives us amazing insight into what is out of balance and it also will change quite quickly in response to the changes that are happening internally which makes it a great tool when trying to gauge how your treatments are helping or how the changes to your diet for example are benefiting you.
Some of the things we are looking for in the tongue is:
The colour, it’s shape, if there is a coating and if so the colour of it and thickness as well as markings in certain parts of the tongue.
A lot of people have heard of reflexology and this is a similar concept. The tongue is a microsystem where the different organs in your body are reflected on different parts of your tongue. For example, a very common sign that is displayed in clinic are teeth marks on the sides of the tongue which is representative of weak digestion.
You can see after some acupuncture or herbal medicine/ diet changes that the teeth marks disappear and the edge becomes smooth again.
Tongue diagnosis is wonderful tool when used in conjunction with the above mentioned “examinations”.
Hope to see you in clinic soon.

Morning sickness and Acupuncture.. save this post if you’re wanting to become pregnant! 

Pregnancy is the most incredible, awe inspiring time. You kick back, live your life and grow an entire human. Nails, eyelashes and all. It’s miraculous.

For many women, the being pregnant part.. sometimes does not feel like it.

Nausea in pregnancy can affect up to 70% of women in their first trimester. It can be easily dismissed as ‘just part of pregnancy’ but it can be a real affliction for many women striking at any time of day or night. It can make living a normal life very challenging, finding it hard to work, socialise and find enjoyment out of activities you once did. I’ve had clients tell me they felt quite low and even depressed in their first trimester as they battled their intense feelings of nausea and fatigue.

As Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners we take an individualistic approach. We use Acupuncture to strengthen the energetic function of the digestive system and balance out any individual disharmonies. There are also empirical points that have been shown to reduce feelings of nausea, using acupressure on these can have an instant affect and can provide a helpful tool to women.

When managing morning sickness it’s very important to stay hydrated and keep your blood sugars balanced. This means eating smaller meals and more often, trying to avoid the empty hungry feeling. Avoiding anything too sweet and sugary that might spike blood sugars, slower releasing carbohydrates can be useful here such as bread, pasta, rice, potatoes.

Some other helpful tips at managing morning sickness include:

Staying hydrated, sipping on water frequently throughout the day. Even being slightly dehydrated can exacerbate symptoms

Eating small portions and frequently can help.. protein is ideal or whatever you can stomach.

Don’t judge your food choices or craving choices! Just let it be. Do what you need to do.

Keep biscuits or plain food in an air tight container next to the bed, in your handbag, in the car, at your desk.

1000mg of ginger per day has been shown to reduce feels of nausea. Slicing up ginger and letting it simmer in boiling water for 20 minutes before sipping throughout the day can help.  Or pieces of candied ginger can also help.

Chomomile or peppermint tea

Gingerale or ginger tea

Mineral water with freshly squeezed lemon

Potato soup or roast potatoes.

If you’re really struggling with morning sickness, make sure you book in with your GP or midwife to talk through options that might be available to you. As unpleasant as the feelings might be, they won’t last forever but there is always support available for you.