Blog

Acupuncture and your Basal Body Temperature.

Basal Body Temp charting is a fertility awareness method & involves recording your temperature first thing in the morning, before you’ve gotten up and out of bed, and after about 4 hours of continuous sleep (yes, shift workers can chart too!). Your temperature needs to be taken while you’re still lying in bed because as soon as you sit up, your metabolic rate naturally increases and you’ll see a relative increase in your base body temp as a result, and we’re no longer getting that true basal temp.

Tracking your cycle not only lets us know whether you’re ovulating or not, but when it’s occurring, and whether it’s happening consistently. Not only that but it provides us with plenty of information around fluctuations between your follicular and luteal phases, and how this translates to your constitution, but also your general stress levels, cycle regulation and thyroid health. We classically use this method for those wanting to conceive, but it is used by many women as a contraception method to know when they’re fertile and when they’re not. So how does this relate to your Acupuncture sessions? From a Traditional Chinese Medicine point of view, it lets us know more about your constitution and whether we need to do things such as nourish blood, move stagnation, tonify Yang, clear damp, or move Qi in order to regulate your temps, or to work towards a consistent ovulating cycle. Temperature progressions between the first and second half of your cycle provide plenty of information for us to work with, and often a combination of Chinese herbs and Acupuncture are used, with tangible changes reflected during the monitoring of your temps.

For those with conditions affecting cycle regulation, there may be additional factors that need to be considered. Like any Chinese Medicine treatments, cycle regulation issues usually need a minimum of three cycles to work with to create a change. If using these methods for conception timing, we want to make sure your cycle is as smooth as possible. When it comes to recording your temps, technology is your friend and we love using the app ‘Fertility Friend’; it’s free, provides clear charting, and even allows us to see charts remotely if you allow access. Since temperature fluctuations start at less than half a degree, in order to be accurate in interpreting your changes your thermometer should record to two decimal places (eg. 36.42). A digital fertility thermometer will do this. Whilst you’re learning to cycle track, we’re here to help you interpret your results and for those using it to prevent pregnancy, it’s recommended that you use barrier protection while you learn to interpret your chart.

The initial stages of BBT tracking are all about data collection. We want 2-3 cycles worth of info to see a pattern arise to see what your cycle is telling us, but we will have plenty of starting knowledge based off your symptoms and health history to work with from just over your first tracked cycle. It’s important to be as consistent as possible with charting, and things like alcohol or having a restless night will impact your reading, so you can note in the app when this has happened in order to correlate any changes to the activity. Other things to consider are no heated blankets overnight, type of thermometer (want one with the detailed reading), and diet. If there are factors such as stress or sleep issues that are consistently impacting your temp accuracy we simply work on supporting your system to improve sleep and better regulate your ‘rest and digest’ response. You can book Fertility consults with Laelia online or call the clinic on (02) 8406 0679

Letting go of Guilt and Shame

Many of my clients come in with underlying feelings of guilt or shame stemming from decisions or actions made in the past, that they feel has negatively affected them or that they feel they are now being punished for. And whilst we all experience these emotions from time to time, holding onto these feelings over the long term can do more harm than good.

Distinguishing the difference between guilt and shame;
I love the way that Brene Brown speaks of the difference between shame and guilt; she says “guilt has a focus on the behaviour eg. I did something bad. Where as, shame has a focus on self eg. I am bad”. Guilt is an open emotion and gives us space to take responsibility and act accordingly. Shame is more of a closed emotion and is usually associated with silence and is more secretive in nature. Taking this into consideration, guilt is more productive and healthier than shame. The research backs this up, showing that feelings of shame are highly correlated to addiction, depression, bullying, violence, aggression and eating disorders.

The purpose of these emotions is to keep us accountable for our actions so we can learn from our mistakes and create new, better boundaries. However, after these learnings have taken place, holding onto these feelings is like drinking poison. It makes us feel sick and unworthy, it stunts our growth and robs us of experiencing joy and contentment with all that is good in the present moment.

 “Grant me the serenity to accept the things that I can’t change, the courage to change the things that I can and the wisdom to know the difference”.

So how do you shift these emotions in a healthy way?
Let’s face it, we’ve all done or said things that we’ve later regretted – but we are not our behaviour! We are perfectly imperfect human beings, so creating this clear separation is incredibly important.

Next is about taking responsibility and doing or saying the things that need to be said or done, whether it’s an apology or righting a wrong. Saying sorry shows our strength, not our weakness. Saying sorry is not about receiving forgiveness from the other party but rather, it’s about you and your relationship with yourself, knowing that you put your best foot forward.

Lastly, forgive yourself. Forgiveness is also an attribute of the strong and life is all about lessons and growth. Writing a self-forgiveness letter can be a very healing technique.

Tips for Writing a Self-Forgiveness Letter
• Tap into your higher self, the version of you where all love and healing reside, no ego, no resentment, anger or hurt. Write from a place of compassion and support, like you are speaking to a child or someone you care for deeply and respect.

• Know your purpose – is it to cleanse yourself? To reframe your perception of the event? Find the positive learnings? Or to give you more passion, purpose and motivation to achieve and do better in the future?
• Do not judge what comes out, just let your words flow.
• Do not use hateful language.
• Know that you don’t need to justify your actions or make excuses, this could see you falling into victimhood which doesn’t serve you.
• A nice way to finish this process is to re-read your letter to yourself, hold it to your heart and repeat a supportive affirmation to yourself.
• Many like to ceremonially burn the letter afterward and as the letter burns, so you are cleansed.

Affirmations for self-forgiveness
I choose to show myself compassion and show my loved ones that they too can and should forgive themselves 

My past experiences have made me the perfectly imperfect person I am today
I choose to love and accept myself with all of my flaws and imperfections
I choose to release myself from the past for a better tomorrow
I am brave, unique, strong and grateful and I never give up
I grow and become a better version of myself every day
I am not my mistakes, my past does not define me
I am enough, I am worthy and I am loved
I love myself just the way I am

The combination of coaching, NLP and hypnotherapy proves greatly beneficial for clients who identify with shame and guilt, enabling shifts in perspective, increased self-worth and boosted self-esteem, allowing them to become a happier, healthier version of themselves.

If you find yourself caught up in these emotions and would like to take your personal development to the next level, you can book in a session with Kate via our website http://www.nbip.com.au

Ageing and How we can be better for Us and Others

We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing – George Bernard Shaw

A great number of my clients are matured aged persons. They have brought in injuries and physical complaints that range from wry neck, to plantar fasciitis, to none at all!….These clients are my favourite demographic! They are time honoured souls, that have bodies forged by enduring all before them.

Once I gather their medical history, we can gauge through a timeline how their body has moulded to exhibit recurring discomfort, or if a combination of environmental, nutritional / digestive stresses and life-event traumas, have embedded a pattern of survival that leads to important bodily structures like the brain and the heart and nerves, receiving ‘nourishment priority’ via the blood plasma, oxygen and a matrix of fluids, over the areas I treat the musculoskeletal system……….

(muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia and indirectly the nervous suite and the bones which form a imbalanced or balanced skeleton) 

……….this leaving them dry and rigid and predisposed to ailments, disease and injury….*the ailments and injury are part of an indirect sequencer. This body sees muscles as a last priority. Therefore, all the replenishing and nourishing resources, go to the most important areas for survival. Such as the brain and the heart and the nerves and organs*

This is how poor muscles patterns occur and become very hard to rebalance, and how a body becomes more rigid and further from suppleness, and how also, the comparison between ageing with a greater health-span across a lifespan, mirrors conversely with growing older, with greater lifespan but with more deleterious management needed to be recruited, essentially creating a less than fulfilling elderly period of our lives.

Ageing can be a toll effecting a very very broad scope of societal parameters. Not to mention the individual living through the ailments and feeling the burden around them. 

It is our dutiful right, to ensure that the maladies of ageing become highlighted early and respected within families, to bring a heavy reduction to issues resulting in massive loss of independence to the elder, and a heavy cost to families and resources. 

My next blog will cover the actual scientific physiological manifestations like sarcopenia, ataxia, and general decline that if we envisage a health span as achievable , then earlier we can see ageing as a blueprint that does not need to be a linear decline of indolence and a reliability on medical interventions before they can be really needed. 

This blog’s intention is to indicate the importance of mindful ageing and how what we do now, regardless of age, really does play a role in preventing and securing our longevity status. 

Low in Iron?

Iron is an essential nutrient required by humans to survive. Iron deficiency in children and adults is not uncommon and may be linked to other disorder or disease in the body.

Iron levels are measured via blood testing which determines the level of iron circulating in the blood as well as the body’s current iron stores. Iron is stored in the body’s liver, spleen and bone marrow and can be absorbed via both animal and vegetarian sources of food.

Symptoms of iron deficiency can include:

 fatigue and low energy

 pale skin (pallor) with or without dark circles under the eyes

 problems with concentration

 behavioural issues in children

 general weakness and malaise

 hair loss and/or poor nail health

 intolerance to cold temperatures

 excessive compulsion to drink ice cold drinks/ice or non-food items such as clay, paper and dirt (pica)

 glossitis (inflammation of the tongue)

Low iron can be caused by many factors including:

Malabsorption and/or malnutrition – when the body’s ability to breakdown food to release and absorb the iron content is impaired, the result is insufficient iron available to the body. Similarly, if someone does not have enough iron in their diet through food and/or supplementation, adequate amounts of iron are not being provided which leads to problems.

Gastrointestinal bleeding – ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and other gastrointestinal inflammation can cause gastrointestinal bleeding. Chronic internal bleeding will cause excess iron to be carried out of the body via the stool. Heavy or erratic/frequent menstruation – some females experience significant blood loss

through menstrual disorders which can cause the body to lose excessive amounts of iron via the female reproductive system. This may be due to heavy bleeding, a short menstrual cycle (frequent bleeding) and blood clots during the menstruation phase. Food allergies & sensitivities – in the presence of food allergies, including coeliac disease, and food sensitivities, damage is caused to the delicate lining of the gastrointestinal tract causing inflammation and dysfunction. The damaged lining is unable to absorb the nutrients efficiently and iron can be passed out the body before being able to be absorbed and transported around the body.

Treatment for iron deficiency usually starts with increasing dietary intake of iron. Sources of iron-rich foods include green leafy vegetables, eggs, fish and meat. Pairing these foods with foods high in vitamin C increases the absorption of iron by the body.

Some substances inhibit iron absorption including some medications such as antacids, cow’s milk, tea and coffee. These substances should be taken at least 2 hours away from dietary or supplemental iron to facilitate iron absorption and distribution. Depending on the level of deficiency, supplementation may be required to increase the level of iron available to the body for absorption. In conjunction with this, individuals should be monitored and retested again within 2-3 months depending on their symptoms and health picture. During this time, further investigation may be indicated to rule out other factors such as food allergies, dysfunctional menstrual bleeding and malabsorption. If other causative factors are not addressed, low iron and associated symptoms may continue. Some iron supplements can cause nausea and constipation so it’s important the iron is sourced from a highly bioavailable and well tolerated form of iron. Taking iron supplements with food can also reduce these side effects.

The demand for iron significantly increases during pregnancy, particularly in the latter half and supplementation should be considered at this time to ensure both mum and the baby are getting adequate levels of iron.

Iron deficiency can also negatively impact the absorption of other nutrients in the body such as vitamin A and iodine. Obtaining a full symptom presentation of the client is important in determining the likelihood of other potential nutrient deficiencies or pathology. For more information and ways to enhance your absorption of iron, book in to see our Naturopath, Belle Oneile, who can help get your diet back on track to ensure you are obtaining and utilising iron efficiently. For bookings call 0405 128 213 or 8406 0679.

What’s on the menu for good friday?

With Easter a few days away, l thought it would be the perfect opportunity to share a delicious Salmon bowl recipe and some important nutritional information. Salmon is rich in omega 3 fatty acids. These essential fats are integral for immunity, skin health, healthy brain function and nervous system function and are powerful anti inflammatories It is good practice to aim to include some sort of fatty fish such as salmon in your diet at least three times per week.

This salmon bowl provides a wonderful flavoursome balance of macronutrients. The wholegrain brown rice is a complex carbohydrate, the salmon provides protein (and good quality fats as mentioned above), The salad is high in fibre and abundant with nutrients. Matcha -Studies show that just 2grams a day of green tea in the elderly population equates to a reduction in oxidative stress The potent antioxidant potential of EGCG, a constituent of green tea, quenches free radicals reducing oxidative stress in the body. Studies show EGCG can reduce liver cell damage, cardiovascular mortality and has also been shown to be effective in treating hypertension and diabetes.

Green tea supports the GABA pathway in the brain due to its theanine content, helping to ease the effects of anxiety and stress. Green tea is also rich in chlorophyll, great for liver health and for also enhancing the secretion of secretory IgA in the gut. Secretory IgA is vital for healthy digestive function and keeping the mucosal lining of the gut wall in tip top shape. 

Bone broth is packed full of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. It also provides gelatin, which facilitates digestion and helps with joint recovery and hair, skin and nail growth. Bone broth is full of glutamine, which is essential for small intestine integrity, digestion, exercise recovery, muscle building. Bone broth contains collagen, which is essential for cell integrity and healing. Bone broth heals and in turn, improves nutrient absorption. While everyone will benefit from adding bone broth, it is absolutely essential for those with leaky gut, celiac disease, Hashimoto’s and other autoimmune conditions.

Serves 2

Ingredients

 1 cup uncooked short grain brown rice

 1 tsp matcha powder (if you don’t have this you can just have normal brown rice!)

 2 cups of chicken bone broth or water

 1/2 tsp rice wine vinegar

 200g salmon (preference wild caught)

 few drops sesame oil

 1 tsp soy sauce

 a few slices of fresh ginger

 Salad

 1/2 a continental cucumber

 1/4 cup spring onion, finely sliced

 1 cup fresh mint leaves

 3 Tbs pickled ginger, roughly chopped

 1 Tbs toasted sesame seeds

 1 tsp black sesame seeds (optional) untoasted

 1/2 tsp soy sauce

 1 tsp rice wine vinegar (or just use some of the pickling liquid from the ginger)

 a few drops sesame oil

 Lime wedges to ser (optional)

Directions

Rinse rice well. Combine rice, matcha powder and bone broth or water in a small pot and bring to the

boil. Cook at a simmer for 15 minutes. Add vinegar, fluff with a fork. Allow to stand with a lid on for 10

minutes after cooking. If your packet of rice specifies a longer cooking time or more water, do it! Place a small plate in a steaming basket (large enough to hold your salmon fillet. Put your fresh ginger slices on the bottom, top with salmon, skin sized down. Add a few drops of sesame oil to the salmon. Steam over the simmering rice for 8-15 minutes depending on your thickness and how cooked you like it. Check the salmon by attempting to flake with a fork, if it comes away easily and your happy with how cooked it is it’s done! Once just cooked drizzle the whole fillet in the soy and

allow to sit for a couple of minutes before flaking.

Use a vegetable peeler or mandolin to peel long slices of the cucumber, or cut into half circles a few mm thick, or do both. Add to a bowl along with the spring onion, mint leaves, pickled ginger and sesame seeds. Add the soy, vinegar and sesame oil and toss to combine.

Assemble: Add rice to the bottom of your bowl and top with salad and flakes of steamed salmon.

Serve with a wedge of lime.

Stress. Is it really that bad for you?

Chronic stress is serious business and it shouldn’t be ignored.

The implications it can have on your health and wellbeing are real and today is the best time to start taking action to make changes.

A lot of people say “yeah i’m stressed so what?” or “isn’t that just part of (insert reason here eg.the job, being a mum….)” but just because it’s been normalised does not make it ok.

Stress affects your whole body. A lot of people think it’s “just in your head” and that mental issues are just of the mind but couldn’t be further from the truth.

Stress can:

– affect your sleep.

-upset your digestive system.

-lower your immune system.

-trigger anxiety and depression and cause relationship issues.

-cause tension in your muscles and connective tissue, which can become painful and cause injuries.

-cause hormonal imbalances and more!

In short, it pretty much impacts all of our bodies systems and organs and it can be a major driving factor in us becoming sick and unhappy which is why managing your stress levels are just as important as exercising regularly and eating well.

In clinic we try to educate our patients on this topic and one way of explaining it is discussing how the nervous system works from a very simplified point of view.

When it comes to our nervous systems we have two main gears that our body switches between. Let’s call them 1st gear. (REST and digest) and 2nd gear. (FIGHT or flight).

As we go about our day and are met with different physical and emotional challenges we are supposed to switch between 1st and 2nd gear.

Our bodies perform differently depending on which gear we are in and will focus on different tasks internally depending on whether we are in gear 1. to gear 2.

Blood flow will get directed to different areas of the body and certain chemical reactions occur for regeneration and activity depending on what gear we are in.

Now, the problem a lot of people today who are suffering with chronic stress is that they are stuck in 2nd gear.

2nd gear is supposed to be reserved for times of emergency. It uses up a lot of our energy and resources so it should only be used in short bursts.

Being stuck in 2nd gear is like you don’t have an “off” switch. You are always “busy” and on the go.

This will eventually make you sick!

In some cases where stress and anxiety is becoming a pattern and returning regularly then counselling might be a good option as well as other activities such as meditation, yoga or walking where you connect with your breath, get some fresh air and relax.

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are also excellent ways to help your body change gears and give your nervous system a gentle push in the right direction when it comes to needing some help to switch off.

Ironically, when you “switch off”  you are actually “switching on” your bodies healing powers of regeneration and detoxification which we need to be healthy and disease free.

The treatments we provide as like a re-set button for your nervous system or at the least give you a chance to remember what it feels like to switch off. 

We hope that this message today will motivate you to dedicate some time to self care and check in to see if stress is affecting your life and to take some steps towards reducing it.

Is Acupuncture Proven? What evidence is behind what you do?

As someone who studied science before I found TCM, I found it hard to explain to people why I decided to make the switch. For many who hadn’t tried acupuncture I was met with “Oh TCM, so you believe in that do you?”. In contrast, there was very little negativity or disbelief shown from anyone who had tried it. I often hear stories of people engaging with TCM as a last resort, and finding they had gained huge benefit from it’s discovery. I always thought, well the proof is in the pudding, but could very much empathise with anyone who didn’t understand how putting needles in someone’s body (and not always at the site of injury) could have such effects.

TCM is a form of holistic medicine that has formed over hundreds, if not thousands, of years by many contributing physicians of the time. How thinking and practices so historic lasts to this day, whilst gaining mainstream acceptance in the Western world, speaks of it’s efficacy and impact.

But is it proven? This is the question not far from most minds when they are considering trying acupuncture or TCM for the first time.

The Acupuncture Evidence Project was commissioned by The Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association Ltd (AACMA) when they identified the need for an updated review of the evidence for Acupuncture and TCM with greater rigor. Contemporary TCM literature and teaching was analysed using evidence currently available in systematic reviews and meta analyses. The review also looked at the safety of treatments and their cost-effectiveness. The findings concluded that there is now sufficient evidence for the effectiveness of 117 conditions with “stronger evidence of Acupuncture effective for some conditions more than others”. It Is no longer possible to say that the effectiveness of acupuncture is because of the placebo effect, or that it is useful only for musculoskeletal pain.

The Australian medicare system class Acupuncture and TCM as a required treatment and a large proportion of referrals to the clinic come from local Doctors and Nurses.

The World Health Organisation recommends acupuncture for over 100 conditions.

I have been fortunate to work alongside practitioners with collectively 100s of years of experience who can anecdotally tell you the impact this mode of treatment can have. The industry has come a very long way from a research perspective over the last 10-20 years. I feel so grateful to the researchers and practitioners dedicated to this field and to making this form of treatment more accepted by mainstream science, and therefore more accessible for people where it may be a life changing discovery to get the relief they need to enjoy the quality of life they deserve.

Stressed? See how Chinese Medicine can Help..

I’m naturally a nervous person, so believe me when I say I’ve tried every trick in the book to calm down when stress gets the better of me. 

So for me when i was anxious and wasn’t sleeping well – something like Chinese medicine for stress relief,  may have been a better fit than the pills I was prescribed.

The concept behind traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is, essentially, that your body already has the tools it needs to heal itself from the inside out. To better understand this, think about what your body’s like when you’re sick: Your muscles feel achy, your head is congested, and you feel crummy both on the inside and on the outside, right? Well, according to Chinese medicine, it works both ways: Stress and anxiety can affect your physical health, and in order to guarantee that that doesn’t happen, there are little, everyday behaviours you can adopt.

1. MAKE SMALL ADJUSTMENTS TO YOUR EATING HABITS

I am a living, breathing example of how anxiety can affect your gut health and spiral into a  physical and psychological mess. When I’m stressed, my stomach starts to bother me with cramps and constipation – others will lean more towards looser stools.  

Now, eating more of the good stuff (fruits, veggies, etc.) and less of the bad stuff isn’t exactly an automatic quick-fix – however things like mushrooms — which are known to have adaptogenic elements, meaning they can help reduce stress — dark leafy greens for their vitamin B, and whole grains should be added to your meals to “help rebalance [the nervous system].”

Also think about eating at regular times – especially your breakfast – as well as eating slowly and uncomplicated foods.

2. BREAK SOME EGGS (LITERALLY) OR DO SOME BOXING

Finding a physical outlet is an epic way to let out some stress this all comes back to your liver, as Anger / stress are the main emotions related to the Liver, When you’re feeling particularly stressed out or irritable, the worst thing you can do is hold all of that in. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to find ways to let the stress of even the most minor annoyances out of your system.

The Liver being stagnant can be responsible for physical muscle pain, period pain, headaches, digestive upset and twitches. 

3. MEDITATION

It can be daunting at first to sit down and bask in the quiet (or loudness) of your own thoughts, but given the purported benefits of meditation, it’s got its merit. And if the idea of sitting makes you restless, there are other forms of meditation out there for you to try, such as journaling or listening to a guided practice. Me personally? I gave my mediation wheels and take it with me on a walk. That’s when i empty my head the best. 

4. WALK AROUND BAREFOOT

Going sock-less at the office might sound a little gross, but traditional Chinese medicine says barefoot is the way to be. The idea behind this concept — which is called “earthing,” I regularly recommend my patient to get in nature , showed off and back to the sun – think of your back like a solar panel for your organs and it needs to be charged, 

The addition of being barefoot during this process seems to really augment the benefits for anxiety. I direct them to visualise the anxious feelings being absorbed by the earth and dissipating from their bodies. I wouldn’t suggest ditching your entire collection of Adidas sneakers, but try going barefoot occasionally. 

5. GET YOUR BODY MOVING WITH QIGONG

Qigong is a full-body experience that combines meditation with tai chi movements. According to the wellness website Energy Arts, this exercise is meant to be gentle, and it requires you to repeat a sequence of movements over and over again, “building awareness of how the body moves through space.

In traditional Chinese Medicine, the belief is that most of your physical ailments are a result of mental stress and instability, and when you nurse the latter, you’re better able to heal the former. Qigong is physical in practice, but the focus is on mental clarity, in order to produce that calming domino effect.

6. RELEASE MUSCLE TENSION WITH ACUPUNCTURE

When you’re stressed, do you tend to feel a kink in your neck, or sore in your back? A stress doesn’t just make you feel tense; it makes you physically tense, too, so it makes sense why acupuncture is a popular traditional Chinese remedy for stress.

Stress and anxiety would have to be one of the top things i treat in clinic. 

Foods That Give You Energy In The Morning, So You’re Set Up For Success

I am suggesting  that you pay attention to your food choices, how your first meal affects how you feel for the entire day, and to make adjustments accordingly. Oats, Eggs, Salmon, honey and greens are some of my favourite staples. –  We all know I am a big fan of soup for breakfast.

Most of the foods that aid the circulation and dispersion of stagnant qi caused by stress are spices or foods with a pungent flavour. The pungent flavour helps to move qi upwards and outwards, preventing it from stagnating. However, it is important to avoid foods which are very hot and spicy as these can contribute to the formation of internal heat.

Some of the best examples of foods that prevent qi stagnation are:

  • Caraway
  • Cardamom
  • Cayenne
  • Cloves
  • Garlic
  • Peppermint
  • Turmeric
  • Carrots
  • Fennel
  • Radish
  • Watercress
  • Peaches
  • Plums

There is not one of our practitioners in clinic that can’t help you with your stress – give us a call today and see who is right for you. 02 8406 0679

Acupuncture During Pregnancy for Musculoskeletal: Sciatica, Pubic Symphysis Pain & Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Common symptoms during mid-late stages of pregnancy can leave you feeling exhausted and uncomfortable. We see a variety of pregnancy presentations in clinic, and people seeking relief from pain, inflammation and swelling is high up on the list of common concerns. For those seeking drug-free pain relief, Acupuncture is a well-tolerated modality that may further assist in reducing any localised inflammation and oedema that could be aggravating your symptoms.

Three of the more common musculoskeletal presentations during later stage pregnancy include carpal tunnel syndrome, pubic symphysis pain & sciatica. The good news is that treatment for any of these concerns can be started immediately, without having to wait-it-out till after birth.

 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Pain, numbness and oedema in hands occurs frequently in later stage pregnancy. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome causes numbness, tingling or burning due to the median nerve being restricted as it passes through the carpal tunnel, and that nerve irritation can lead to daily activities becoming difficult. Pain is often exacerbated with overuse as a result, & Acupuncture for carpal tunnel symptoms provides an option for local relief.

 

Pubic symphysis pain

Pain that presents around the pubic bone and may also radiate into the groin or lower back can be particularly noticeable after a day of walking around, or shifting from a seated to standing position. From 24-26 weeks onwards, the pubic symphysis joint starts to separate in birth preparation as the hormone relaxin rises, however in some women, this also leads to inflammation which results in pain. Research has shown that women who undergo acupuncture had a greater reduction in pain compared to those undergoing more conventional treatments such as physio, putting it in the mix as an effective treatment approach.

Sciatica

Acupuncture for Sciatica is becoming an increasingly popular option for women suffering from pain and discomfort. Thankfully, pregnancy related sciatica is usually both temporary and treatable. This is particularly reassuring when ibuprofen is no longer a go-to option.

Sciatica is a shooting, burning pain that typically radiates from the pelvis at the sacroiliac joint (SIJ) down either the back or side of the leg and may run all the way down to the feet. It occurs due to the sciatic nerve, which innervates the lower body, being compressed or irritated. During pregnancy there are a number of reasons why sciatica may be present; aside from the rapid change to the body as baby grows or changes position, sciatica can also result from weight changes, postural changes, or hormonal changes which can result in sciatic symptoms starting or being amplified, and impacting both your movement and sleep.

As with all treatments, frequency will vary based on your presentation and severity of symptoms. If you’re unsure whether it’ll be the right fit for you, book in for a discovery call to learn more!

Trauma

So often the word “trauma” freaks people out. Just the mention of the word can feel triggering to those who have it and it can also trigger those who are scared at the thought of having it. It gains a bad wrap because it is often portrayed as something HUGE, SCARY and PERMANENT. But the key to moving on from trauma is to understanding what it is, where it is and how to work WITH it, not against it.

Let’s lay some foundations first as to what trauma is, how common it is and how most of us living on this planet have experienced it. Much to peoples surprise, Trauma is NOT the event of what happened. It is the body’s REACTION to overwhelming stimulation that happened at the time the event occurred or was continuously occurring.

For example, take the instance of two people being involved in the same event. One can be deeply affected by the event, and yet the other isn’t. That event continues to have a lasting effect on the first person, yet the second person can move forward in life seemingly unaffected.

This is as a result of how the body reacted to the event at the time it happened or was continuously

happening. This demonstrates that trauma does not occur in what happened but is as a result of the internal response of each individual.

What this then means is, we have power in shifting and moving on from the trauma as we can change our bodies response as opposed to needing to change the event that happened, which is

not possible.

Here are some examples of what trauma can be :

Having a childhood where you are more the parent than the child

Not having your emotional needs met as a child

Not having your physical needs met as a child

Death of a parent or close family member

Divorce of parents

Being bullied

Having to move a lot as a child

Emotional abuse

Physical Abuse

Having a parent that was chronically ill

Having a parent that was mentally or emotionally ill

Living in an environment where parents fought regularly.

Not having been communicated with regularly as a child

Not feeling safe in your environment

Being denied your reality or feelings ie – “stop that crying, get over it, oh that didn’t hurt.”

High stress work environment

Child of chronically stressed parents

Physical illness or injury

Operations

As you can see there are quite few items in that list that are commonly experienced by many. Often those experiences aren’t realised to be the cause of trauma and are not associated with symptoms that show up as a result of that trauma later on in life.

The power in awareness is that once we know something we have the choice to change it. Once we are aware that what we are experiencing is as a result of trauma, we can work with our bodies to heal it and in turn move forward and experience life in a completely different way.

So how do we know if we are experiencing trauma in our lives now ?

The answer here is …it shows up in our bodies.

At the time of a stressful event or continuous stressful event, our autonomic nervous system switches on and assesses the safety of the situation. The autonomic nervous system controls our internal environment automatically, working beneath our awareness and level of consciousness.

It is a primitive, natural and organic system.

There are two branches of the autonomic nervous system. Sympathetic: Activates the flight & fight response. Parasympathetic: Also called rest & digest, is the system that conserves our energy. But there is also a separate branch of the Parasympathetic that is called the Dorsal response and this ultimately activates the freeze or shut down response when the sympathetic response can not be activated. The above responses happen in service of our safety.

These branches work together and in response to safety and danger. That means, we automatically adjust to cues of safety or danger. Interestingly, these cues can be from the external environment, within our own bodies, or simply from our perception. And the thing here is our perception beats reality. So even if the situation was safe, if we FELT unsafe in the situation we will react accordingly.

Often at the time of the event or continuous event when our cues of danger come on line into our body we can not do the thing we needed to do at the time to find safety, as it wasn’t safe to do so.

Maybe we wanted to run, but froze. Maybe we wanted fight, but it wasn’t safe to act out. When we can’t act out the thing we need to do at the time in order to bring ourselves to true safety and nervous system regulation then we have an incomplete nervous system response in our body, also know as a dis-regulated nervous system.

This is how the trauma response gets TRAPPED in the body. We get stuck in a survival response, where our body is always perceiving a threat and acting accordingly. What then happens is, every time we perceive threat or danger or we are experiencing a stressful situation (which even these days can be the pinging of notifications on our phone), even if the event isn’t actually unsafe, our body will react as it did back at the time of that main instigating event/s from the past and will go into the response in the body as if it is actually still happening in real time. Often we are unaware our current actions have to do with the reaction to a past event.

Here are some ways trauma responses may show up continually in our lives

through the Sympathetic Response:

• Feeling out of synch with others..this may feel like you can’t connect with people.

• Feeling alarmed, always on the defence at the smallest of things.

• Feeling anxious, heart racing, throughs racing, overwhelm, panic, doing and not resting.

• Hyper vigilant, hyper aware of your surroundings and everyone in it. Can also be seen

as sensitivity.

• Misreading cues – inability to read social cues or jumping to conclusions.

• Listening for sounds of danger, can often feel jumpy at the sudden noises.

• Bursts of anger, flying off the handle for the smallest of reasons, responses are out of

proportion for the incident.

• Comparing ourselves to others.

• Judging others.

• Driving to compete.

• Anger, rage, fear, frustration, body wants to move, increased adrenaline and cortisol.

• Anxiety, panic attacks, the need to control external circumstances.

• Disrupted sleep, bursts of energy and then fatigue.

• Common sensations: increased heart rate, heavy breathing, muscle rigidity, tightness in

chest, shaking, perspiration, dizziness, fainting, sweaty palms, overall tightness, heat,

shaking, fidgety, too much energy, light headed, clenching, exploding like sensations,

etc.

Here are some ways trauma responses may show up continually in our lives

through the Parasympathetic Dorsal Response:

• Withdrawal, isolating self and not wanting to interact with others.

• Shut down, depression and wanting to sleep the majority of the time.

• Feeling foggy or numb, not feeling present in any given moment.

• Going through the motions without awareness, lights are on and functioning but no-one

is home.

• Disconnected from self, others, the world and spirit.

• Feeling lost, abandoned, or invisible.

• Disappearing into a state of not knowing, not being and not feeling, just giving up.

• Feeling like you will never measure up.

• Difficulties with memory.

• Numbness, heaviness, low energy, difficulty focusing, flat facial expressions, fogginess,

difficulty speaking, your body does not want to move.

• Apathy, depression, hopelessness, aloneness, slow shallow breathing, difficulty making

eye contact.

• Common sensations: numb, cold, limp, low energy, foggy, weightless, slow, short

breaths, inability to talk, jello-like, heavy, etc.

So often when people don’t understand their autonomic nervous systems responses to stressful events we can live day after day just feeling like we are STUCK in life. Like this is just what life has to offer. There is no hope. It’s just WHO we are. There is no way out. And so often the common long lasting effects of this stuck traumatic response is anxiety and depression.

Anxiety is having the foot stuck on the sympathetic peddle and depression is having the foot stuck on the parasympathetic dorsal pedal. Those responses don’t switch off and as a result we live a life stuck in these responses. 

Now another piece to this puzzle is….EMOTION.

And so often it is not realised that the emotions we feel at the time of a traumatic event IS the thing that felt unsafe. For instance….. in the case of a death, the emotion of grief or sadness can arise in the body.

We feel it through the sense of overwhelming sensation rising up through our body and we perceive that if we have to feel it in its entirety it might eat us alive. We won’t be able to cope, we will fall apart and not be able to carry on. So in this instance the danger is the emotion. The emotion is not safe to feel because if we do we may not be able to go on.

In service of survival, our autonomic nervous system flies into protective mode and activates a response to that emotion so that we do not have to feel that emotion in its entirety at the time. The emotion then gets stuck in our body through sensation. However, it sits underneath the response of the nervous system and we are often unaware it even exists. Until a similar event or another event that brings up the same emotion occurs again and instead of feeling that emotion we simply respond to it with examples of the above

sympathetic or parasympathetic responses.

For example ever noted that you fly off the handle when someone cuts you off in traffic?! Initially you get a fright, that cold heart feeling for a second but instead of feeling the entirety of that sensation in your body you go into an anger response but it feels completely disproportionate to what actually happened?

Or perhaps you noted this in a partner or friend when they were driving? Well that is a result of the sympathetic response to the fear emotion that is felt. It didn’t feel “safe” to actually feel that fear in the moment…maybe because you were driving or maybe because that fear remained in your body from another time when it felt that same fear and it wasn’t willing to go into feeling the intensity of that emotion again. 

So in a way to protect you from feeling that fear, it activated the sympathetic nervous system response of rage or fight. Aren’t we complex yet fascinating beings?

Our body is constantly working for us in service of survival. But if we are not aware of ourselves, our experiences and our responses to experiences we can often become stuck in this state of survival. So the biggest takeaway that I would love to gift you from reading all of this is the gift of curiosity and self inquiry?

How much of what you feel or what your symptoms are may be from your past experiences? And with that in mind, and learning how you tick, how empowering do you think it would be to actually start to investigate yourself? To go deeper into your body, your being and your nervous system to start to unravel and recreate yourself in a regulated way. The good news ……… you don’t have to stay stuck in these responses. There is another way to live. Our amazing bodies also have a system which is part of the parasympathetic branch, called the SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT SYSTEM.

The social engagement system is responsible for:

• Connection

• Collaboration

• Self compassion

• Comparison for others

When the social engagement system is on we can feel:

• Laughter, safety, being in the present moment, experiencing flow.

• Creativity, childlike wonder, play, intuition, desire, contentment.

• Homeostasis in mind/body.

• Purpose, empathy, love, compassion, joyful sexuality, intimacy.

• Relaxation in the body, energy levels are full but not over stimulated.

• Connection to self, others, nature, your own form of spirituality, and grounded in your

sense of truth.

When we feel safe in the world we can activate our social engagement system. When we feel safe in our bodies we can connect to, feel and move through the emotion that is stored within. When we start to do the “ME-search”, the research of getting to know how we tick, and how we can feel safe not only in our lives but in our bodies….. anything is possible. True change can occur. And this is the work I do with my clients. I provide safety, connection, regulation and collaboration with my clients so they can do the “ME-search”.

Together we can get curious, start to inquire within and find that sense of self that is not governed from the past but is a TRUE expression of WHO they really are despite your life experiences.

You can start to understand yourself at a deeper level and really reach towards a life of true purpose and meaning, not suffering. Does something resonate here for you? If so, feel free to get in contact with me for a free 15 minute discovery call, or you can book in via the NBIP website for an Initial Kinesiology session to get started. I am here in clinic every Thursday.