Archive for the ‘infertility’ Category

Soy: Safety issues – fact or fiction!

Wednesday, July 18th, 2018

A Note from Madonna:
Great article from Metagenics on Soy…

I’m in the unique position to have been doing kinesiology for over 20 years…  I always joke I’m lucky to have done my naturopathy first as kinesiology was so much fun.
I’ve got a 15 step process to find allergies/intolerances/substance issues with people:

  • we have Nutripath food testing to find if people have allergies to substances
  • we use the Food Detective blood test in-house to find if people have intolerances
  • I’ve found generally over the years that organic soy is fine!  (Generally, of course!)
  • Georgia and Madonna use kinesiology to target specific substances and see if your body is able to utilise them…
    • if dairy is an issue, is it the casein, the lactose, a DPP4 enzyme deficiency, lectins, hormones?  Is Organic OK?
    • if grains are an issues, is it a FODMAP problem, lectins, gluten, gliadins, DPP4 enzyme deficiency, pesticides, GMO?  Is Organic OK?
  • Enjoy!!!

    Madonna Guy
    You Tube:  New Leaf Health Team
    07 3348 6098
    healthteam@newleafnaturaltherapies.com.au

All the Noise About Soy

The world we live in is a melting pot of mixed cultures which has resulted in the spread of many ingredients and cuisines. One such example is the soybean, finding its way onto the plates of many individuals, and offering a blend of protein, fibre, fats and phytonutrients (e.g. isoflavones). Despite a long traditional use in Asia and the scientifically proven benefits of soy consumption, vocal soy critics have cast concern over this eminent legume, confusing many people about whether soy is safe or not. Whilst some objections against soy for reasons such as overt allergy are well-founded, anti-soy arguments based on misinterpreted data have tainted the perceived safety of soy; leaving many individuals hesitant on whether to enjoy or avoid it. However, research offers remedies to several soy myths, enabling them to be busted – read on for details:

Myth #1: Soy is a goitrogen.

Fact: Goitrogens are substances that disrupt the production of thyroid hormone by interfering with the uptake of iodine into the thyroid gland. Soy has previously been classified as a goitrogen; however, this was based primarily on observations yielded from in vitro and animal studies,1 which in this instance offer limited relevance to humans due to differing metabolism between human and animals with regards to soy.2 That said, in situations of inadequate dietary iodine intakes, thyroid symptoms caused by this lack may be amplified by simultaneously high intakes of soy.3 Nevertheless, a comprehensive review of 14 human clinical studies provided little evidence that soy exerts anti-thyroid effects in healthy subjects,4 which is further supported by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).5

In summary, human evidence supports the safe consumption of dietary soy6,7 alongside adequate iodine intake.8

Myth #2: All soy is genetically modified.

Fact: In the past decade, there has been a surge in the production of genetically modified (GM) crops, with soy representing one of those most commonly affected. Genetically modified organisms (GMO) are those whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques designed to produce specific traits. It is true that without sufficient data we can’t predict the effects of modified proteins, so selecting non-GMO soy products avoids unknown risks. As such, non-GMO sources of soy are available, and consuming it in this natural and unadulterated wholefood form is always advised for maximal health benefits.

The Humble Soybean Manifests in Many Dietary Ways.

Myth #3: You should only eat soy if it’s fermented.

Fact: In early China, soy was traditionally cooked like a grain. Processing of this legume then evolved across different regions of Asia to become a variety of modes like those illustrated in Figure 1. This included fermenting (to create tempeh, miso and natto), sprouting, grinding to make a ‘milk,’ and the pressing of unfermented bean curd to create tofu. Fermentation is especially favored in Korea and Japan for producing strong flavours, however doing so is not the golden rule for soy consumption. Similar to other legumes, simply softening soybeans with moisture and heat (e.g. boiling) causes the hardy components within the bean to denature. This allows the nutrients to then become bioavailable and absorbable, and therefore allow us to attain the benefits from consuming them.

In summary, soy has not always traditionally been fermented, and it is perfectly safe and appropriate to consume it in its unfermented form.

Myth #4: Soy is a phytoestrogen.

Fact: The term phytoestrogen describes the ability of certain compounds (found in foods and medicinal herbs) to act similarly to the actions of the hormone oestrogen. However, incorrect interpretations of the term phytoestrogen have raised some concern.

As it pertains to soy, experts have corrected the term phytoestrogen, defining the bean instead as a selective oestrogen receptor modulator or ‘SERM’.

Being a SERM, soy communicates with the body similarly to oestrogen as it can bind to what’s known as oestrogen ‘receptors’, which then modulates their activity (the ‘output’). For example, soy isoflavones have been shown to down-regulate oestrogen receptor alpha (ER-?) activity. Given that ER-? is associated with negative events such as tumour growth, SERM compounds (like the isoflavones found in soy) are viewed as beneficial, as they can favourably influence the state of play. What’s more, soy isoflavones also bind to the beneficial oestrogen receptor beta (ER- ?), whose activity is associated with protective health benefits in both men and women.9 In summary, a SERM such as soy does not increase oestrogen levels, but balances oestrogen receptor activity, which can lead to more optimal body function.

The Balance of Soy

It’s important to keep in mind that the health benefits of soy, like many wholefoods, are broad. The soybean is much more than just soy isoflavones – it provides additional health-promoting nutrients including protein, fibre, minerals and B vitamins, all nourishing your body in more ways than one. To enjoy some soy as part of a balanced, check out the healthy Tofu and Veggie Stir-Fry recipe below. You too can reap the benefits of this highly versatile legume.

 

 

Tofu and Veggie Stir-Fry 

Makes 1 serve.

Ingredients:

• 1 tablespoon of olive oil
• 200 g tofu
• 50 g broccoli
• 50 g cauliflower
• 1 clove garlic (cut into small pieces)
• 1 tablespoon of diced chives
• 1/3 cup water

Method:

• Heat oil with garlic until garlic is lightly cooked.
• Add cauliflower, tofu and broccoli and stir through very quickly.
• Add water and continue stirring.
• Cook on high heat for approximately four minutes and continue stirring.
• Add a little more water if required to prevent sticking.
• Add chives.
• Turn out and serve.

 

References

1. Messina M, Redmond G. Effects of soy protein and soybean isoflavones on thyroid function in healthy adults and hypothyroid patients: A review of the relevant literature. Thyroid. 2006 Mar;16(3):249-258. doi: 10.1089/thy.2006.16.249.

2. Soukup ST, Helppi J, Müller DR, Zierau O, Watzl B, Vollmer G, et al. Phase II metabolism of the soy isoflavones genistein and daidzein in humans, rats and mice: a cross-species and sex comparison. Arch Toxicol. 2016 Jun;90(6):1335-1347. doi: 10.1007/s00204-016-1663-5.

3. Messina M. Soy and health update: evaluation of the clinical and epidemiologic literature. Nutrients. 2016 Nov;8(12):1-42. Doi: 10.3390/nu8120754.

4. Messina M, Redmond G. Effects of soy protein and soybean isoflavones on thyroid function in healthy adults and hypothyroid patients: A review of the relevant literature. Thyroid. 2006 Mar;16(3):249-258. doi: 10.1089/thy.2006.16.249.

5. EFSA Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources added to Food (ANS). Risk assessment for peri?and post?menopausal women taking food supplements containing isolated isoflavones. EFSA Journal. 2015 Oct;13(10):4246. doi: 10.2903/j.efsa.2015.4246.

6. Rizzo G, Baroni L. Soy, soy foods and their role in vegetarian diets. Nutrients. 2018 Jan 5;10(1):43. doi:10.3390/nu10010043.

7 EFSA Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources added to Food (ANS). Risk assessment for peri?and post?menopausal women taking food supplements containing isolated isoflavones. EFSA Journal. 2015 Oct;13(10):4246. doi: 10.2903/j.efsa.2015.4246.

8. Rizzo G, Baroni L. Soy, soy foods and their role in vegetarian diets. Nutrients. 2018 Jan 5;10(1):43. doi:10.3390/nu10010043.

9. Kuiper GG, Lemmen JG, Carlsson B, Corton JC, Safe SH, van der Saag PT, et al. Interaction of estrogenic chemicals and phytoestrogens with estrogen receptor beta. Endocrinology. 1998 Oct;139(10):4252-4263.

Mast Cell Activation Syndrome!

Friday, June 15th, 2018

 

Does histamine control your life?   Are you even aware that it might?  You might have MCAS!!

Much of this information comes from Dr Tania Dempsey and Dr Jill Carnahan in the States….  but it is a Syndrome worth thinking about if you’re simply not getting on top of your pain, allergies, nervous system stresses etc….  Many doctors in Australia are totally unaware of this condition.

What is Mast Cell Activation Syndrome?

Mast cells, a type of blood cell, play an important role in the body’s immune system. They reside in all body tissues and form part of the body’s initial defence system. Mast cells react to foreign bodies and injury by releasing a variety of potent chemical mediators, such as histamine, when activated. In a healthy person these chemicals will act beneficially to protect and heal the body, but in a person with MCAS these same chemicals are inappropriately triggered and released and have a negative effect on the body. Amongst the triggers are a variety of different foods, exercise, chemicals, fragrances and stress. Many sufferers struggle to identify their triggers and continue to discover new triggers for many years after diagnosis.

MCAS forms part of a spectrum of mast cell disorders involving proliferation and/or excessive sensitivity of mast cells, it has been identified since 2007. It features inappropriate mast cell activation with little or no increase in the number of mast cells, unlike in Mastocytosis*.  MCAS causes a wide range of unpleasant, sometimes debilitating, symptoms in any of the different systems of the body, frequently affecting several systems at the same time. The onset of MCAS is often sudden, affecting both children and adults, sometimes in family groups, mimicking many other conditions and presenting a wide-range of different symptoms that can be baffling for both the patient and their physician. Often there are no obvious clinical signs since MCAS confounds the anatomy-based structure underpinning the traditional diagnostic approach. Very often Mast Cell Activation Syndrome is hiding in plain sight.

Mastocystosis:  very rare and NOT what we’re talking about here…

Mastocytosis involves inappropriate mast cell activation AS WELL AS an increased number of mast cells. It is a rare but relatively well known mast cell disorder and is currently easier to diagnose than MCAS.

Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS): When Histamine Goes Haywire…

Mast cells are present in most tissues throughout the human body, especially connective tissue, skin, intestinal lining cardiovascular system, nervous system, and reproductive organs. They are part of the allergic response designed to protect us from threat and injury.  When the body is exposed to a perceived threat, the mast cells secrete chemical mediators, such as histamine, interleukins, prostaglandins, cytokines, chemokine and various other chemicals stored in the cytoplasm of the cell.  These chemical messengers produce both local and systemic effects, such as increased permeability of blood vessels (inflammation and swelling), contraction of smooth muscle (stomach cramps and heart palpitations), and increase mucous production (congestion, sneezing, etc).   Historically, we thought of mast cells only in relation to an allergic or anaphylactic response.  We now know they play a profound role in immune activation, development of autoimmunity and many other disorders, such as POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome).  Sadly we are seeing a large increase in patients presenting with mast cell disorders and MCAS.  I believe it is in part do to the onslaught of more pervasive environmental toxins, moulds and chemicals.

Withouts mast cells, we would not be able to heal from a wound.  They protect us from injury and help the body to heal.  Unfortunately, overactive mast cells can cause a variety of serious symptoms.

Symptoms of overactive mast cells may include:

  • skin rashes/hives
  • swelling/oedema
  • flushing
  • asthma
  • itching
  • abdominal pain
  • nausea/vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • wheezing
  • shortness of breath
  • heart palpitations
  • anxiety, difficulty concentrating
  • headaches
  • brain fog
  • low blood pressure
  • fatigue

Mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS) is a condition symptoms involving the skin, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, respiratory, and neurologic systems. It can be classified into primary (clonal proliferation or mastocytosis), secondary (due to a specific stimulus), and idiopathic (no identifiable cause). Proposed criteria for the diagnosis of MCAS included episodic symptoms consistent with mast cell mediator release affecting two or more organ systems with hives, swelling, flushing, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, low blood pressure, fainting, heart palpitations, wheezing, red eyes, itching, and/or nasal congestion.  For a diagram of all of the varied symptoms histamine can cause, click here.

Triggers may be medications, foods, supplements, hormones, opioids, stressors (physical or emotional), cold temperature, heat, pressure, noxious odors, chemicals, insect bites, trauma or environmental toxins.

We commonly see mast cell activation syndromes associated with CIRS (chronic inflammatory response syndrome) in response to biotoxins, such as mould, inflammagens, and lyme-related toxins.

Low MSH and Mast Cell Disorders?

As mentioned above, we frequently see histamine intolerance and MCAS in patients with mold-related CIRS (chronic inflammatory response syndrome).  It is interesting to note that a common finding in CIRS is low MSH.  According to this study in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, alpha-MSH plays an immunomodulatory role during inflammatory and allergic reactions of the skin.  In addition, there is evidence that MSH induces mast-cell apoptosis(cell death).

Definition of Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS)

  1. Typical clinical symptoms as listed above
  2. Increase in serum tryptase level or an increase in other mast cell derived mediators, such as histamine or prostaglandins (PGD2), or their urinary metabolites,
  3. Response of symptoms to treatment
Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS)

Mast cells can be activated by both direct and indirect mechanisms as a result of exposure of the host to pathogens.

Diseases Associated with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS)

  • Allergies and Asthma
  • Autism
  • Autoimmune diseases (Hashimoto’s thyroiditis,  systemic lupus, multiple sclerosis, bullous pemphigoid, rheumatoid arthritis and others.Eczema
  • Celiac Disease
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • CIRS (chronic inflammatory response syndrome)
  • Eosinophilic Esophagitis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Food Allergy and Intolerances
  • Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)
  • Infertility (mast cells in endometrium may contribute to endometriosis)
  • Interstitial Cystitis
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Migraine Headaches
  • Mood disorders – anxiety, depression, and insomnia
  • Multiple Chemical Sensitivities
  • POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome)
Mast cells are known to be the primary responders in allergic reactions, orchestrating strong responses to minute amounts of allergens. Several recent observations indicate that they may also have a key role in coordinating the early phases of autoimmune diseases, particularly those involving auto-antibodies.

Mast cells are known to be the primary responders in allergic reactions, orchestrating strong responses to minute amounts of allergens. Several recent observations indicate that they may also have a key role in coordinating the early phases of autoimmune diseases, particularly those involving auto-antibodies.

Lab Tests for Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS) – many of these are as yet unavailable in Australia …  Possibly histamine is as yet the only available, but chat to Georgia about what our Naturopathic Labs can offer….

  • Lab tests specific to mast cell activation for suspected MCAS may include:
    • Serum tryptase (most famous mast cell mediator)
    • Serum chromogranin A
    • Plasma histamine
    • Plasma PGD2 (chilled)
    • Plasma heparin (chilled)
    • Urine for PGD2 (chilled)
    • PGF2a
    • N-methylhistamine
  • Tryptase is the most famous mast cell mediator. Serum tryptase value is usually normal in MCAS patients, but sometimes it is elevated.  Tryptase values that show an increase of 20% + 2 ng/ml above the baseline level are considered diagnostic for MCAS.
  • Chromogranin A is a heat-stable mast cell mediator.  High levels can suggest MCAS, but other sources must first be ruled out, such as heart failure, renal insufficiency, neuroendocrine tumors and proton pump inhibitor (PPI) use.
  • Heparin is a very sensitive and specific marker of mast cell activation.  However, due to its quick metabolism in the body, it is very difficult to measure reliably.
  • N-methylhistamine is usually measured in a 24 hour urine test to account for the variability in release over the course of the day.
  • Prostaglandin D2 is produced by several other cell types, but mast cell release is responsible for the dominant amount found in the body.  PGD2 is less stable than histamine and metabolized completely in 30 minutes.
  • Other less specific mast cell mediators that are sometimes abnormal in MCAS patients include Factor VIII, plasma free norepinephrine, tumor necrosis factor alpha, and interleukin-6.

Treatments to reduce MCAS symptoms and lower histamine

  • H1 Blockers
    1. hydroxyzine, doxepine, diphenhydramine, cetirizine, loratadine, fexofenadine
  • H2 Blockers
    1. Famotidine (Pepcid, Pepcid AC)
    2. Cimetidine (Tagamet, Tagamet HB)
    3. Ranitidine (Zantac)
  • Leukotriene inhibitors
    1. Montelukast (Singulair)
    2. Zafirlukast (Accolate)
  • Mast cell stabilizers –
    1. Cromolyn
    2. Ketotifen
    3. Hyroxyurea
  • Tyrosine kinase inhibitors – imatinib
  • Natural anti-histamines and mast-cell stabilizers
    • Ascorbic Acid
    • Quercetin
    • Vitamin B6 (pyridoxal-5-phosphate)
    • Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil, krill oil)
    • Alpha Lipoic Acid
    • N-acetylcysteine (NAC)
    • Methylation donors (SAMe, B12, methyl-folate, riboflavin)
  • Certain probiotics decrease histamine production
    • Lactobacillus rhamnosus and bifidobacter species 
  • DAO Enzymes with meals – UmbrelluxDAO
  • Decrease consumption of high histamine foods (more on histamine-restricted diet)
    • Avoid alcoholic beverages
    • Avoid raw and cured sausage products such as salami.
    • Avoid processed or smoked fish products. Use freshly caught seafood instead.
    • Avoid pickles
    • Avoid citrus fruits.
    • Avoid chocolate
    • Avoid nuts
    • Avoid products made with yeast and yeast extracts
    • Avoid soy sauce and fermented soy products
    • Avoid black tea and instant coffee
    • Avoid aged cheese
    • Avoid spinach in large quantities
    • Avoid tomatoes, ketchup and tomato sauces
    • Avoid artificial food colorings & preservatives
    • Avoid certain spices: cinnamon, chili powder, cloves, anise, nutmeg, curry powder, cayenne pepper

References

  1. Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, A Review
  2. Mast cell activation disease: a concise practical guide for diagnostic workup and therapeutic options
  3. Presentation, Diagnosis and Management of Mast Cell Activation Syndrome by Dr. Afrin
  4. Histamine and Gut Immune Mucosal Regulation
  5. Dr. Theoharides presents “Mast Cell Disorders”
  6. Diagram of Histamine Symptoms
  7. Mast Cell Aware
  8. A Tale of Two Syndromes
  9. Mold Histamine Connection

Infertility causes… we can help at New Leaf Natural Therapies!

Thursday, May 17th, 2018
One of our specialities is fertility issues… Did you know that there are herbs and nutrients that increase:
 
– healthy sperm production
– healthier hormonal balance
– less stress!
– better ovulation
– healthier uterine and ovarian function
– less stressed eggs!

 
Call us on 3348 6098 to book at appt. Ask about our OligoScan special so we start with heaps of information about toxicity and nutritional status….

Optimal Thyroid Function – the link with infertility!

Monday, March 26th, 2018

Great article – thought I’d share.

Also check out our YouTube Channel:  New Leaf Health Team – where there are some examples of kinesiology which support better thyroid function, and radio discussions regarding fertility, endocrine issues, thyroid problems…  For example…

Our team offers acupuncture, naturopathy, kinesiology and microcurrent – all of which can support you in better fertility!

Madonna Guy
07 3348 6098
healthteam@newleafnaturaltherapies.com.au

 

If you and your partner have been trying to conceive for six months or more, have you considered getting your Thyroid checked?  Optimal Thyroid function is crucial when it comes to fertility in both men and women.

But why is this fact so important when you are trying to get pregnant?

The Thyroid gland is known as the “Master Controller” as it controls your whole metabolism (how your body breaks down food and converts it into energy), brain and digestive function, blood pressure and even how fast your heart beats.  In fact every cell in your body requires Thyroid hormone in order to function. 

Certain prescription medications such as cholesterol lowering drugs and steroids can block Thyroid function but something as simple as a mineral deficiency also plays a major role in Thyroid health.  A deficiency of the mineral Iodine for example can lower Thyroid function because Iodine is essential to produce Thyroid hormone.

Two of the most important female hormones are Oestrogen and Progesterone which need to be in balance for optimal fertility.  If Progesterone levels fall, Oestrogen levels rise creating an imbalance called Oestrogen dominance.  One of the main problems with oestrogen dominance is it causes the liver to produce what is called TBG (Thyroid Binding Globulin) which prevents Thyroid hormone from being utilised properly in each of your cells.  This invariably leads to low Thyroid function.

Blood tests which only measure the amount of TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) you are producing is really an incomplete blood test, and may be interpreted by your GP as ‘normal’.  If the blood test does not also test your levels of T4 as well as T3 (which is the active form of Thyroid hormone), you don’t truly know the whole picture. 

When interpreting a Thyroid function blood test, what does the TSH level actually tell us?  If you have insufficient T4 and T3, the TSH result will be high.  Conversely your TSH level will be low if you have an excess of T4 and T3.  Let’s not forget the amount of hormone actually being assimilated into each of your cells can be abnormal due to the presence of Thyroid Binding Globulin (TBG).  You may not be efficiently converting inactive T4 into the active T3 form.  Therefore a thorough Thyroid function test would check your levels of TSH, T4, T3, reverse T3 and autoantibodies (autoimmune disease indicator).

Hence women suffering from Oestrogen dominance may be exhibiting symptoms of Hypothyroidism (low functioning Thyroid) only to be told that everything looks ‘normal’ on their Thyroid test. Sound familiar? This is why an under functioning Thyroid can have a significant impact on your ability to conceive.

Some of the symptoms of low Thyroid function may include skipped or irregular periods, clotting and heavy bleeding, unexplained weight gain or difficulty losing weight (even if exercising and consuming a healthy diet), and fatigue.  This is by no means a comprehensive list of symptoms and of course could be contributed to a myriad of other health conditions – however around 25% of women who have been previously diagnosed with unexplained infertility may have Hypothyroidism (low Thyroid hormone synthesis).  Hypothyroidism can reduce the levels of Luteinising hormone (LH) and Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) which are essential for the maturation of egg follicles as well as your ovaries’ production of Oestrogen and Progesterone.

It is vitally important I believe to not only check your hormone levels, but to undergo a comprehensive Thyroid function test in order to get a clear understanding of the health of your body as a whole when preparing for a healthy conception and pregnancy.

Don’t despair if you feel like you have been doing everything ‘right’ diet and lifestyle wise – there may be light at the end of the tunnel! Working with a natural health care professional such as a Naturopath who understands the link between your Thyroid, hormones and infertility can support you on your conception journey. Healing factors such as poor digestive function for instance may be affecting how well your body converts Thyroid hormones into its active and useable form. Every patient is unique and requires a multi-faceted, personalised approach to treatment using a combination of nutritional supplements, diet, mineral therapy and herbal medicines.
Your Thyroid may just be the missing piece of the conception puzzle.

Reflexology and Infertility, Hormonal Issues, Endometriosis, Poly-Cystic Ovaries and General Hormonal Balancing

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

Is reflexology the new cure for infertility?

I found this article about reflexology and infertility when I was doing some research – with reflexology now available at our clinic, and one of our specialties being fertility issues, I was happy to hear that reflexology has been found (and Carole specialised for many years as a reflexologist specialising in infertility) to help and support hormonal problems of all types.  We also do Chi Nei Tsang abdominal massage at New Leaf, which also supports (like reflexology does) better blood supply, nerve supply, lymphatic detoxification, and reduces congestion of the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, abdominal cavity, pelvic positioning.

Hormonal imbalances we help at new leaf, with our combination of reflexology, naturopathy, chi nei tsang, microcurrent and emotional support (kinesiology & reiki healings) are:

  • endometriosis
  • poly-cystic ovaries
  • infertility in both men and women
  • low libido
  • cysts and fibroids
  • benign tumours
  • cervical dysplasia
  • breast issues
  • PMT, post menstrual tension
  • menopausal conditions
  • post birthing traumas
  • cystitis and other pain linked to sexual intercourse
  • hidden infections in the abdominal cavity
  • cancer support:  before during and after treatments

Call us to see if we can help your condition.  I’m sure we can!!  3348 6098

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by ANDREA PERRY, femail.co.uk

Infertility can be an emotionally exhausting, not to mention expensive, condition.

But according to a growing number of people, the key to overcoming the problem for many couples could be far simpler than they think – thanks to reflexology.

 

An increasing number of women claim this popular type of foot massage has helped them conceive. Now a medical study has been launched to discover if the claims are true.

Reflexology, a traditional healing art dating from the ancient Egyptians and Chinese, involves manipulation of pressure points in the hands and feet and is often used to ease period pain, headaches, sinus and back problems as well as the effects of chemotherapy.

Practitioners claim the soles of the feet are like a mini map of the inside of the body and are linked to our inner organs and systems, including the fallopian tubes and ovaries. By massaging different points on the feet therapists claim they can unblock energy pathways in the body and so help the body to regain its natural balance and heal itself.

Some points on the foot are associated with a woman’s egg production and by manipulating these areas reflexologists claim they can correct the imbalances which can hamper pregnancy.

The latest research, a two year clinical trial at the IVF unit at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth,

is the brainchild of reflexologist Jane Holt. She approached the unit after 13 of the 23 women she treated with a range of fertility problems fell pregnant last year.

Beccy Wellington, 34, an auxiliary nurse, from Kingsbridge, in Devon, is convinced that her trip to see Jane in November 1999 resulted in the birth of her son Luke, who is now five months old.

‘We had been trying for a baby for just over a year and had begun to look at other ways that would help me conceive when someone recommended reflexology,’ she said.

‘I had four treatments and was pregnant within three weeks. I am convinced that the reflexology got my body in working order so I was ready to conceive. I also felt ten times better, more positive and a lot happier in myself.’

‘I went in there with an open mind, but was totally shocked to find myself pregnant so soon,’ she said. ‘I would definitely advise other women to try reflexology. It may not work for everyone, but it worked for me and it is worth trying.’

Jane Holt, a reflexologist for 12 years, claims one woman she helped had been trying to get pregnant for 20 years.

‘Infertility is a complex problem and I think that often what is needed is something that gives the system a bit of a kick start and that’s what reflexology can do,’ she said.

‘At least this gives women the option to try something else while they are going through hospital procedures and even if it works for some of them that’s a bonus.’

Cathy Shipton, who plays nurse Duffy in the BBC TV series Casualty, is also convinced that reflexology on the set of the show in Bristol helped her to become pregnant.

She had been trying to have a baby for four years, but four months after having twice weekly reflexology sessions she became pregnant.

 

In the new study, 150 volunteers will be offered reflexology rather than the fertility drug clomifene, which is usually used to induce ovulation. This drug works in about 70 per cent of patients, but the drug’s main drawback is it can increase the likelihood of a multiple pregnancy.

The volunteers will each receive eight treatments over a two to three month period. In order for the trial to be conducted in a scientific way, patients and hospital staff will not know whether true reflexology or a ‘dummy’ version has been given. Only the reflexologist will know who has had the real treatment.

One in seven couples suffers with infertility. Last year the Plymouth IVF unit saw over 900 patients. Thirty per cent of these were not producing eggs.

The hospital has already pioneered the use of acupuncture – the insertion of fine needles into the body to unblock energy channels – in pregnancy and routinely offers it to women who might benefit.

Dr Jonathan Lord, clinical lecturer in reproductive medicine at the hospital, is co-ordinating the new trial.

‘At the moment there is no evidence to say whether reflexology works or not,’ he said. ‘Although there are several reports of patients in whom it has worked, this is not sufficient evidence to enable it to be routinely recommended.’

Healing Hormones

Friday, June 20th, 2014

A lot of clients having been coming in lately with menstrual and hormonal imbalances. Clinically, things often tend to come in waves, but the more women I treat the more I realise how timeless and important it is that we care for our hormonal health.  A woman experiences on average, 300 to 400 menstrual cycles in her lifetime, so from that perceptive, it makes sense to make menstrual and hormonal wellness a priority if we are seeking a balanced, healthy life, whatever your health goal may be.

Ovulation and menstruation are processes in the body that connect in with our emotional life, our stress, and how we feed our bodies. It’s important that we listen to signs and symptoms, as they can be extremely useful pointers to things that are out of balance, either physically or emotionally.

The traditional medical answer to menstrual issues and contraception is synthetic hormones. Tolerability to these does vary considerably between women, depending on genetics, and often on detoxification ability.  It’s astonishing the number of women who are taking some form of synthetic hormone medication, very often from a young age, to manage (suppress) symptoms of hormonal imbalance. Sometimes coming off hormone medications (including the oral contraceptive, IUDs, or implants) can be a hard road. And it can be long.

Fortunately, there is an enormous amount of natural support available for correcting hormonal imbalances and relieving related symptoms. Herbal medicine is abundant in herbs that support women’s health. Naturopathically we also use specific nutrients for supporting hormones, and Kinesiology to reduce stress, create inner balance and get to the heart of emotional issues fuelling hormone imbalances. We also offer Chi Nei Tsang, a healing abdominal massage to relieve congestion and blockages, with which we have excellent results with menstrual pain.

The keys to treating hormone issues successfully, naturally, are;

–          Get the right prescription from an experienced practitioner. Hormone issues are complex. There are a myriad of herbs and supplements with different actions, so it is essential the right ones are chosen for your unique health picture. At New Leaf we combine decades of study with muscle testing, matching our experience and knowledge with what your body is saying.

–          Stay on track. Take your supplements and herbs, and do your best to stick to a healthy plan. It’s all worth it. It all makes a difference.

–          Trust and Patience. As Hormone issues are often long-standing, it is important to be patient with your body, and trust it is continually striving towards balance. Your body’s natural urge is towards healing. When we identify any blockages to healing, we can remove them, and your body does the rest. It can take time, but it does happen.

–          Develop inner attention. Often when symptoms come up, we immediately want to move away from them, resist them, shut them down.  If we pause for a moment, listen to our symptoms, we can create the space to ask ourselves, ‘what is it my body really needs, right now?’ The answer often comes to us. So often, it is in some way, a call for rest or self-nurture. There is no condition in the body that is not improved by increased rest and stress reduction.

Other things you can do at home:

Actually, what you do day to day can make a huge difference to your menstrual wellbeing;

–          Go on a water diet – meaning, in addition to the food you eat, drink only pure water, and plenty of it. Avoid all other drinks except for herbal teas and green tea. Within a week you can notice changes in your skin tone and hydration, energy, digestion, and concentration. Always drink water at room temperature and away from meals.  

–          Sleep in total darkness. For hormones to balance well, we need to create a natural, healthy balance of light when we are sleeping. Avoid LCD screens or TV late at night, and ensure your bedroom is dark. The exception to this is during full moon, where allowing moonlight into your room if possible is recommended, or alternatively putting on a small nightlight to mimic moonlight.

–          Eat regularly – our hormones are greatly affected by fluctuations in blood sugar. Eating healthily is one thing – we also need to eat regularly to reduce stress on the body caused by big fluctuations in our blood sugar. For many of us, this means breakfast, lunch, a small snack, and dinner. Make dinner a light meal if possible.

–          Quit sugar – Sugar can aggravate hormonal symptoms, particularly skin breakouts, PMS and general irritability. It also has a huge impact on ovarian issues such as PCOS.

–          Take space – Classic author Virginia Woolf wrote that ‘every woman needs a room of her own’. Very wise words indeed. An important part of anyone’s life is having the physical and emotional space to just ‘be’. We all need time out on a regular basis. If there isn’t a spare room to call your own in your house, alternatives could be talking a walk outside, or transforming the bathroom in the evenings with candles, music, essential oils and an Epsom salts bath.    

–          Journal – writing and reflecting can be extremely therapeutic and also quite revealing. Taking time to write down thoughts and feelings can help reveal recurrent patterns over the course of the month. Often we write off intense emotions as simply part of PMS, but often there are deeper and very real issues that then remain unaddressed. Journaling can help identify these so that they can be processed.

–          Practice Yoga – Yoga is enormously beneficial for hormonal health. By increasing circulation and calming the mind, yoga can help to reduce pain, bloating, PMS and improve energy and overall sense of wellbeing.

We are here to help!

Call us for an assessment, consultation and personalised treatment plan.

Need a viality boost? Trying to lose weight? Crashing in the afternoons?

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

Many of us still opt out of eating breakfast, or if it is eaten, its a rushed slice of toast that doesn’t sustain us past 10am.. Habits like this can lead to blood sugar crashes, weight gain (you eat less, but your metabolism winds way down and your body keeps all the calories it can when you do eat), fatigue, moodiness, and of course, nutrient deficiencies.  

Breakfast really is the most important meal – it can influence how we eat for the rest of the day! In general, breakfast eaters weigh less than those who skip it. Eating breakfast gets your metabolism going, helps to maintain a healthy body weight, helps you concentrate, have more energy throughout the day and deal better with stress. If you skip breakfast, you are very likely to end up compensating for it later in the day by overeating the wrong foods.

If you lack appetite in the morning, a smoothie is a great way to get an easy to digest, nutrition-packed breakfast. Try this recipe:

Breakfast smoothie

 1 cup almond or rice milk

1 serve of plain, undenatured whey, rice or pea protein powder

1 teaspoon of honey or to taste

1 /2 cup fresh or frozen fruit, such as berries, pear, banana or peaches

A dash of pure vanilla extract or almond extract

1 teaspoon of Spirulina powder or Greens powder

Grated  fresh nutmeg or organic cinnamon powder

 1-2 ice cubes

Blend all ingredients and enjoy. Cinnamon is great for blood sugar balance, Spirulina or greens powders boost energy and add an extra serve of all important greens to your breakfast. Protein supports blood sugar balance and cuts cravings for carbs or sweets later in the day. High quality protein powders are available from the New Leaf clinic dispensary.

For more on weight loss and boosting vitality, immunity and health, see us at the New Leaf clinic for a personalised plan.

Far Infrared Sauna – amazing health benefits!

Monday, March 18th, 2013

Perspiration is recognised by health practitioners worldwide as perhaps the most effective method of removing both difficult chemical and heavy metal toxins from the body. The combination of “resonant absorption” and low heat makes this the detox method of choice for chronically ill patients as well as those that are well and wish to stay that way by reducing their “toxic burden”.

As your body increases sweat production to cool itself, your heart works harder to boost circulation, thus improving your cardiovascular system. Your immune system is also strengthened because when your body temperature is raised, your systems fight this “artificial fever”. Sweating helps detoxify your body, by removing the accumulation of potentially carcinogenic heavy metals as well as alcohol, nicotine, sodium and excess cholesterol. Profuse perspiration also deeply cleanses the skin, improving tone and helping to treat skin conditions.

Hippocrates, the founder of modern medicine wrote more than two thousand years ago “Give me the power to create a fever, and I shall cure any disease.” During a fever the functioning of the immune system is stimulated, whilst the growth of bacteria and virus is forced to slow down. Fever is the body’s natural defense against bacteria, viruses and microbes. Heat triggers the production of infection-fighting  white blood cells. The result is immune system improvement. The generation of antibodies speeds up, as does the production of interferon, an anti viral protein that also has powerful healing properties.

Far Infra-red sauna is one of the most effective forms of heat treatment it’s technology allows the radiant heat to penetrate the body rather than heating the air in the sauna. It is also better tolerated by those who have trouble with the intense heat of traditional saunas as well as producing  maximum health benefit with lower ambient heat. As the pores in the skin open up millions of sweat glands start to excrete, the body rids itself of metabolic and other waste products. Sweat contains almost the same elements as urine and for this reason, the skin is sometimes called the ‘third kidney’. It is estimated that as much as 30% of bodily wastes are eliminated by way of perspiration.

Far Infrared Sauna:

  • Is well tolerated by most healthy adults and older children.
  • Boosts immune function and is helpful for those who are limited in their ability to sweat through exercise due to lack of energy or physical limitations, such as injury of back pain
  • Is a viable and efficient means of eliminating toxins from the body, thus allviating any symptoms realted to increased toxic burden
  • Can help lower high blood pressure
  • Can be helpful for patients with asthma and chronic bronchitis.
  • It decreases pain and increases mobility in patients with rheumatic diseases.
  • Is beneficial for people with chronic fatigue and low immunity
  • Supports skin health and helps to treat skin conditions

 

 Always remember to re-hydrate following heat therapies, drink extra amounts of water throughout the day.

Book a session with us at New Leaf today!

 

The healing journey with New Leaf

Saturday, March 2nd, 2013

Embarking on a health journey is a brave move to make. It means looking at the issues you may have avoided for a while and facing them head on. It’s a process that is often scary yet can also be richly rewarding. When you are the best version of yourself you can be, you can really shine and be there for those close to you.

It can be said that it’s a means of coming back to your basic self  – seeing your body as a precious temple and paying attention to what you really need. It’s treating yourself gently and gaining a greater connection to the whole of you – body and mind. As one of my favourite authors Sarah Avant Stover puts it – the only way out is in and through. To go through our health issues rather than going around them is the only real way to back to balance and health.

At New Leaf, we are committed to your success in this process. We know it’s yours, to go through in your way. Offering a harmonious range of therapies, we seek to find the real cause of your health issues and guide you back to balance and health.

We see your journey to optimal health as a partnership between yourself and us. Thus, we have a few suggestions for you in order that you get the best results from your treatment with us:

  • Eat a fresh, wholefoods diet. When you eat fresh, vital food, you feel just that. Everything we eat nourishes our cells. If we consider that the body is really the only vessel we have to take us through this lifetime, it makes sense to nourish it with the best food possible.
  • Drink a minimum of 2 litres of pure filtered water daily. Besides hydration, there are countless benefits of drinking adequate pure water. Improved energy, detoxification, digestion, skin condition and weight loss are just a few.
  • Limit caffeine, or better still, cut it altogether. Caffeine creates extra work for your liver, and can place stress on the adrenal glands and nervous system. It also promotes dehydration and in the long term, fatigue. There are many delicious herbal teas and coffee alternatives available in supermarkets and health food stores.
  • Sleep 8 hours a night. While sleeping as little as possible in modern society is often considered admirable behaviour, the truth is, it promotes premature aging, weight gain, can increase stress and complicate many other health issues. It may require changing your usual routine a little, but getting 8 hours of quality sleep a night is an investment in your health.
  • Spend a few minutes a day alone, doing some quiet breath awareness in a comfortable seated position. All you need do is focus on your breath with your eyes closed. This can have wonderfully beneficial effects on your nervous system, improving mood, reducing stress and creating calm. A calm body heals well!
  • Increase body movement. This means different things to different people. Start with where you are at in terms of your current physical fitness, and do what feels right for you. Even if it just means adding incidental exercise by taking the stairs instead of the lift, walking to a colleague’s desk rather than emailing, or taking a short walk before or after work. Start where you are at the moment and build gently from there.

These are simple steps you can take today to improve your body’s ability to balance and heal. You can do one at a time, a few, or all of them, whatever feels right and good for you. It’s up to you.

We look forward to supporting you in achieving a state of greater health.

New Leaf now provides Chi Nei Tsang Abdominal Massage – read on!

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

Chi Nei Tsang (Abdominal Massage) available at New Leaf Natural Therapies

What is Chi Nei Tsang?

Energetically – who knows the cause of sickness?  Where does internal pain, issues with our major organs such as the liver and kidneys, the stomach, small intestines, large intestines come from?  Naturopathically, it has always been taught that step one for any long-term health problem has been to cleanse the body’s filters – the digestive tract, the liver, the immune system/lymphatic systems and the kidneys.  Congestion in any of these areas can cause poor energy, poor circulation and poor detoxification of any of these systems.

In Chinese medicine it has always been taught that blocked energy starts this toxicity building up – Chi Nei Tsang helps with both – it starts to move the inflammation, the toxicity and the energy blockages that are stopping blood, lymphatic flow and nutrient absorption throughout our major organs.

Have you ever felt ‘knots’ in your stomach, tightness under the ribs, described this to your therapist who simply prescribed antacids or digestive enzymes?  These is so much more to health than that…and the last thing you want is to suppress symptoms which may come back to haunt you down the track.

Our Foundations of Health programme is a nine month detoxification process which starts the body healing as our filters start to clear.  It is a long process (quick and dirty detoxes rarely make lasting change) to health for some people.

I found this fabulous description on Chi Nei Tsang from http://radiantliving.com/chi-nei-tsang-abdominal-massage/ in the U.S. and it describes energy and the abdomen and how it relates to our health, our wellbeing, our stressors, our operations and medications…

“The Taoist sages of ancient China observed that humans often develop energy blockages in their internal organs that result in knots and tangles in their abdomens. These obstructions occur at the center of the body’s vital functions and constrict the flow of Chi (energy), our life-force. The negative emotions of fear, anger, anxiety, depression, and worry cause the most damage. Problems can also be caused by overwork, stress, accidents, surgery, drugs, toxins, poor food, and bad posture.

Through meditative practices the sages learned to look within themselves. They discovered the internal organs connect with the Five Forces of the Universe and provide a link between the human microcosm and the universal macrocosm. The organs contain the essences of the spiritual force of a human being. They also provide the physical lines of force that hold the body together and give it structure.

When obstructed the internal organs store unhealthy energies that can overflow into other bodily systems and surface as negative emotions and sickness. Always in search of an outlet, these negative emotions and toxic energies create a perpetual cycle of negativity and stress. (Fig. 1) If the negative emotions can’t find an outlet, they fester in the organs or move into the abdomen, the body’s “garbage dump.” The abdomen can process some emotional garbage, but more often it can’t keep up with the flow. The energetic center of the body located at the navel becomes congested and cut off from the rest of the body.

Fig. 1 Negative energy cycle leads to knots and tangles in the abdomen.

B. Chi Nei Tsang: A Method to Clear Blocked Energy

Chi, the life-force energy, moves through the body’s internal channels, nervous system, blood vessels, and lymph glands. These systems concentrate and cross paths in the abdomen which acts as their control center. Tensions, worries, and stresses of the day, month, or year accumulate there and are seldom dispersed. ‘These disturbances can cause physical tangling and knotting of the nerves, blood vessels, and lymph nodes. The result is the gradual obstruction of energy circulation.

The ancient Taoists realized that negative emotions cause serious damage to one’s health, impairing both physical and spiritual functions. They understood that each human emotion is an expression of energy and that certain emotions could indicate the negative energy behind many physical ailments. They also identified a specific cycle of relationships between the emotions and the organs. For example, the experience of a “knot” in one’s stomach indicated the presence of worry, the negative emotion that accumulates in the stomach and spleen.
The Taoists discovered that most maladies could be healed once the underlying toxins and negative forces were released from the body. They developed the art of Chi Nei Tsang to recycle and transform negative energies that obstruct the internal organs and cause knots in the abdomen. Chi Nei Tsang clears out the toxins, bad emotions, and excessive heat or heat deficiencies-that cause the organs to dysfunction. (Fig. 2)

 

Fig. 2 Ancient Taoists massaged their abdomens and organs to stay healthy.
C. Chi Nei Tsang: A Complement to other Disciplines”

Makes a little sense doesn’t it?

We complement Chi Nei Tsang with all of the other services we provide in our clinic, in Wynnum Brisbane.

We know that Chi Nei Tsang is very energizing, strengthening, and detoxifying the internal organ systems of our body.  It supports the removal of negative influences and is fantastic for intestinal blockages, cramps, knots, lumps, scarring, headaces, menstrual cramps, poor blood circulation, back pain, infertility, impotence and many other issues.

Imagine avoiding intestinal surgery through an incredibly systematic and thorough treatment process.

For bookings, phone 3348 6098 and chat to Linda, Annette or Gabby to discuss pricing options.

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Hear us on 4BC & Bay FM:

Madonna Guy speaks at 9pm on 4BC (1116am) on Thursday nights with Walter Williams and Jason Jackson, and

Madonna also chats on Bay FM (100.3fm) with Doug and Laraine at 9.10am Friday mornings.