Want to know the ins and outs of your menstrual cycle? Get access to my free talk and discover what the hell goes on every month.

When you’re lost in a world of pain

Pain is a motherfucker. Apologies if that offends you, I know it’s not a polite way to start a blog post, but pain isn’t polite. It can come from nowhere and knock you sideways. It can mess with your head, and make you question your sanity and beliefs. It can drive you to do things you wouldn’t normally do. It can affect your ability to work, damage loving relationships and prevent you from enjoying activities which you usually enjoy.

I’m about to break the rules.

When you train as a therapist, you’re told to keep your own shit to yourself; “make it all about your client, not you”, and I agree with that, most of the time. When you visit me for a session, it is your time, not mine. In this space though, I’m saying “bollocks to it”. So many people ask me about how I came to this work so I’ve decided to be upfront: Here’s my story.

I have spent the best part of twenty years dealing with period pain.

Crazy. I didn’t realise till I started writing this post that it’s been that long. The pain was there right from the start, lessened when I was on the pill (but feeling depressed and having no libido didn’t exactly work out for me) and increased severely in my twenties to the point of being debilitating.

  • burnsOnce, I passed out from the pain … and fell straight into a bathtub full of hot water. Ouch.
  • I have had to lie down in public places because I couldn’t stand up or face getting home. People looked at me like I was a drug addict.
  • I have been unable to lie down, stand or sit. As a consequence I have looked like a woman in labour; on all fours gently rocking my hips from side to side, moaning and groaning.
  • I have regularly woken up in pain and run baths at 2 /3 / 4 am whilst impatiently waiting for painkillers to kick in.
  • I have felt like my coccyx and hips were about to snap open with pressure.
  • I have burned my skin to the point of causing blisters, THREE MONTHS IN A ROW, because the extreme heat of a hot water bottle was all that was helping to mitigate the pain, and the pain was so bad I had no awareness that I was also in pain from the hot water bottle.
  • There have been times when I have been close to calling 999 (911 for you yanks) and begging for morphine. Seriously, it was that severe.

I have spent ten years healing that pain.

Massage, reflexology, homeopathy, CBT, acupuncture, menstrual cycle awareness, osteopathy, yoga, Chinese herbs, Western herbs, flower remedies, psychotherapy, “hands on” healing … I have tried them all. I have begged for drugs, in my head and out loud. I have prayed to any and all of the gods available. I have taken copious amounts of painkillers and smoked small amounts of weed, and let me tell you, all hail the power of painkillers, be they natural or pharmaceutical. I don’t know what I would have done without them.

I’ve got it sussed now.

Amazingly, I’m now down to taking one painkiller per period, yup, you heard me, one, and that’s probably more a psychological crutch than actual physical need. Combining acupuncture, menstrual cycle awareness, Arvigo therapy and Homeopathy has worked wonders for me.

What this means for you.

This is why I’m so passionate about the work I do to help women with menstrual issues. I get what pain can do to you: I know the places it can take you, I know how it can interfere with every aspect of your life. There’s no judgement from me about how you manage, or attempt to manage it. I can handle the gory details, should you want to share them with me, in fact, details are helpful when it comes to treating you.

More than anything, I know that pain can be healed. I have faith, even if you’ve lost yours.

Do you know someone struggling with painful periods or menstrual issues? Send them my way. It’s time for us to stop suffering in silence. From my own experience I know how menstrual stuff can suck the living day lights out of you and it doesn’t have to. Contact me over here and we can get cracking.

What’s the worst pain you’ve experienced? How did it affect your life and what helped you to deal with it? feel free to share your tips and resources below in the comments section.

Shameless plug: I’ve just started treating out of The Shala, a brand spanking new yoga studio in West Norwood. To celebrate, I’ve put together an offer which is ideal for those of you looking for help with menstrual issues. Oh and because I’m lovely, it’s also on offer at Sadhaka in Camden.

A full consultation and six acupuncture sessions, plus one Arvigo massage so that you can get some belly love, and learn how to treat yourself on a daily basis in addition to the work we’re doing together. That’s seven appointments in total and I’m offering this package throughout February and March at the reduced rate of £520 (£65 off my usual price). I’m at The Shala every Tues and Thurs eve from 5pm – 9pm and look forward to seeing you all there, be it in the treatment room or on the mat. Holla!

Detoxing this month?

img_3455So this is the time of year where lots of  “my year in review” blog posts have appeared, and although I’m sure you’re all desperate to hear about how 2013 was the year I realised I actually like egg mayo sandwiches, I’m not going to harp on about it.

It’s also the time of year where people start telling me about what they’re going to give up for their new years resolution. Maybe you’re determined to stop smoking come Jan 1st, or maybe you’re planning on detoxing somehow (unless of course you end up on a *really* fun night out, in which case, hello tequila).

Want to know my top tip for detoxing in January?

Don’t bother. Seriously.

This is a naff time of year to undertake massive change, we’re just trying to get through winter. Your body is trying to stay warm and nourished, so don’t go all hardcore on yourself, particularly you ladies who are trying to get knocked up. That means no juice detoxes. Yup, you heard me. Our bodies are in hibernation mode and juicing is too extreme for this time of year, save it for the energy of spring. Right now we want to be focussed on staying nourished.

Think of it like this.

My friends have just bought a house and it needs a bit of work done to it. They’re desperate to get cracking, gut the kitchen and rip down an external wall to build a larger room. Are they gonna do all that in January? Hell no. Doing that in the middle of the winter would mean exposing their lovely home to wind, cold and damp. Their home is just like your body, in other words, doing that kind of work would be a disaster which would cause long-term damage to their home, and your body. Instead, they’ve opted to install some loft insulation so that they keep their home nice and warm. They’re saving the bigger work for a more appropriate time of year.

Your body is your home, protect it.

  • Warming and strengthening foods are going to be more helpful than juices, which tend to cool our internal world down. Think root vegetables, whole grains, soups and broths, garlic, cayenne, cinnamon, a bit of red meat.
  • Invest in a Haramaki, it’ll keep your core warm and you’ll never suffer from a builder’s bum.
  • Do not, I repeat, do not go outside in ballerina slippers, or in my case, converse. Cold readily enters the body through the feet, so go buy some thermal socks from M&S (I’ll be going into more detail about this next week).

Shameless plug:

Caught between wanting to go out and drink tequila, and making your own chicken stock? I’ve got another option for January: My Arvigo therapy offer will run till the end of Jan and I have 20 12 10 8 spots left. It’s great for reproductive health, fertility, digestion and emotional stuff (perfect after the holiday season). You can read more about it here.

One treatment: £90 (£35 off)

Three treatment bonus offer: £250 (£125 off)

This offer is short-term, the price will increase to £125 per session as of Feb 1st 2014, you’ll need to book and receive your treatment by the end of January. For the smart cookies wanting to book a course of three treatments, your first session must be before Feb 1st 2014, the other two treatments can roll over. If you’re ready to jump in, holla at me and let me know a few options with regards to times you can do in the coming weeks. Once we figure out a time, I’ll email you a pre-treatment form for you to fill in and return to me by email.

Part of the Ice Festival in Harbin, China, where I spent three months studying acupuncture in a large hospital. It was -32 degrees celsius.
Part of the Ice Festival in Harbin, China, where I spent three months studying acupuncture in a large hospital. It was -32 degrees celsius.


When it’s ok to not be ok

photoI know it’s happened to you. You’re having a rough patch in life, like grieving for the baby you can’t conceive / the end of a relationship / miscarriage / death of a loved one / life just isn’t measuring up to your high expectations.

You see a friend, share a bit, and they say, “you’ve got plenty of time to have kids / it wasn’t meant to be / at least you know you can get pregnant / it’s going to be okay.”

And right about then is when you want to punch them. Grief sucks and we are taught in this society not to do it. Lost relationship? Chin up, pull through it….

But how do you get to self-care when you are smack in the middle of grief? When your heart is hurting it can be really fucking hard to take care of yourself, in fact you’re probably not even thinking about it. You’re consumed by what’s going on in your heart, and you’re falling to pieces.

When my world changed.

Several years ago, I realised that I could no longer be with the man I was with. No matter how much love I felt for him, my love wasn’t enough to fix him … and yeah, I know, how arrogant to think that my love could do that. He had issues (hey, I did do too), and when I found out the extent of them, the behaviours associated with them, I had to put my big girl pants on and get the hell out of there. So after five years of living together and a couple of years of fighting hard to make it work, I left. And it fucking sucked.

Then came the rapid weight loss.

When I’m stressed my stomach goes into lockdown; it feels like there’s a vice in my solar plexus. You know what I mean, when it feels like there’s a hand twisting your insides so you can’t breathe properly let alone eat. Unless of course you’re someone who binges to push through the tension, bugger all wrong with that, I just tend towards the no eating side of things.

How did I handle it?

I discovered Japanese rice crackers; delicious air, perfect for someone with a non-existent appetite. I coaxed my way back into eating by letting them dissolve in my mouth, a packet at a time. I also started training for the Caledonian Challenge. Twice a month I would do a 16-24 mile walk, and when it comes to stimulating the appetite, I’m not sure there’s anything better than exercise (other than smoking weed). In pretty much every picture of me walking, you’ll see a peanut butter sandwich in my hand (crunchy, never smooth), and bit by bit I regained the weight I’d lost.

A couple of years later, I realised that there were a few places deep inside where I was still holding onto this hurt, and it was seeing an Arvigo therapist which helped me to unlock and begin the process of letting go. Now I massage my belly every day as part of my daily self-care routine, it’s how I stop my stomach going into lockdown mode.

When you’re hurting, practice self-love above all else.

Give yourself some space to not be ok.

  1. Phone a friend. Let someone else in, tell one person what’s going on, let them hold your space. Text five friends and say, “hey, I’m having a shit time at the moment, I’d love it if you could check in with me once in a while or if we could hang out soon”. Be proactive in asking for help; I’ve lost track of the amount of times I’ve kept quiet till everything has been resolved, only to be reprimanded by friends months down the line for not allowing them to help.
  2. Get raw. Stick on the music which makes you feel all the hurt and loss. Don’t block it, feel it. Get lost in the emotion. I know it feels like it’s never going to end, but it will change, at least.
  3. Get your arse outside. Trees, rocks, soil; they’ve all been around a hell of a lot longer than we have, they can hold the energy we can’t (yes, I’m a hippy at heart). Let it go. Let your face be battered by wind and drizzle. Sob till your nose runs and then sob some more.
  4. Express yourself. Grab a notepad and write, if that feels uncomfortable, just write over your own words again and again so that nothing is readable, that way you get it out of you but there’s no way to revisit what’s come out, unless you want to of course. Buy some crayons and draw. Why crayons? We associate them with childhood, not grown up “proper” art, which helps to keep things playful and about expression, as oppose to producing something.
  5. Move. I have this theory that moving forwards physically moves you forwards mentally. So get walking, running or cycling. It needn’t be as extreme as a 54 mile hike, but if you get stuck on the sofa (been there), you’ll stay stuck in your head. Dance; surrender to the music, free that shit up and get it out of your system.

Need a kickstart?

Then come and get some love in the form of a treatment. It’s the first thing I do when shit hits the fan. Letting friends in etc is all well and good, but going for a treatment works on a different level. For a start, I don’t think any of my friends would be up for massaging me for longer than two minutes, if that. Mainly though, there’s something incredibly nurturing about doing something which is all about you.

Right now I have an offer on which will run till the end of January, and there are 20 13 8 spots left. It’s for a 90 minute Arvigo session, during which you’ll receive a nurturing belly and back massage, then I’ll teach you how to perform it on yourself, so that you can treat yourself every day. You can read about it in full over here, but here are the basics:

One treatment: £90 (£35 off)

Three treatment bonus offer: £250 (£125 off)

This offer is short-term, the price will increase to £125 per session as of Feb 1st 2014, and I’m only offering twenty spots at this amount. You must book and receive your first treatment by the end of January.

Next step?

If you’re ready to jump in, holla at me and let me know a few options with regards to times you can do in the coming weeks. Once we figure out a time, I’ll email you a pre-treatment form for you to fill in and return to me by email.

Belize, gin, & 90 minutes that could change your life

FertilityWomen’s health is my thing.

I’m big on helping women with menstrual cycle issues, women on fertility journeys, as well as supporting women through menopause. Some women come to me for acupuncture on a weekly basis for a few months to resolve their problems, but not all of them are able to commit to that kind of treatment schedule. If I’m honest, this *really* pisses me off.

Don’t get me wrong, I get why they can’t come; time, money, distance etc. They’re all important things to consider before embarking on a course of treatment. I’ve been in your shoes and I know how this feels. However, I want them to come and see me, because most of the time, I’m pretty damn sure I can help them, if I only I could get my hands on them (that may have sounded creepier than I intended). So I kept thinking about how I could find a way to help the women who aren’t able to see me on a regular basis, I started looking out for a form of healing which clients could take away from one session with me, so that they could treat themselves.

Maybe you don’t know me so I’ll let you in on something: I’m a problem solver. Now, not all of my problem solving techniques work, taping a lightbulb to a light fixture, for example, didn’t. My former boss (and lovely friend) just yelled at me for setting off the fire alarms and being an idiot. But I truly feel that this time, my finely tuned problem solving skills have come up with something pretty sweet and helpful.

How did I solve the “I want to make some changes to my health but I can’t come that often” dilemma? Like this:

GinEvery day for a week, at 6pm on the dot, I drank a G&T: Lots of ice, three four generous fingers of Bombay Sapphire, lots of lime, and fresh tonic. None of that slimline nonsense either, give it to me proper or don’t bother. I can’t tell you how bloody good that first sip was. Ok, I will. It was flipping delicious, good enough to go for a second … Then I went swimming, gleefully naked.

I went away to Ridge Farm and spent the week with fourteen wonderful women, and Spanner and Badger, the Farm’s dogs. I drank gin, ate lots of cake, and took advantage of having sole use of the pool, jacuzzi and sauna. It was bliss.

Failing to see how this helps you? Alright, alright, the reason I went there was to spend six full days training in the Arvigo techniques of Mayan abdominal therapy. I admit it’s a bit of a mouthful, especially with sticky toffee pudding in your gob (just kidding, I don’t talk with my mouth full, my mum did a good job of raising me). Not heard of it before? It’s an external abdominal and back massage which originated in Belize, and was taught to Rosita Arvigo by one of the last traditional Maya shaman, Don Elijio Panti.

I’m now offering this massage and it could be the bees knees for you, if:

  • You struggle with your menstrual cycle
  • You have stopped using the birth control pill or have had your coil removed, and want help getting your cycle in check.
  • You’re preparing to conceive or you have already started trying
  • Your digestive system is prone to hissy fits of some kind
  • You’re transitioning into a new phase of your life and looking for ways to support yourself (motherhood and menopause, for example)

You’ll receive a nurturing and effective abdominal and back massage, and learn how to carry out the self-care so that you can go away and massage your own belly. Ultimately, this is 90 minutes of belly and back love, which can lead to a life-long practice of taking care of yourself. In fact, that’s probably what you’ll love the most; the fact that you can come for one treatment, learn the techniques, then go away and do it all yourself, should you want to. Yes, that means you don’t have to come back week after week to see me, unless of course we both feel that a period of treatment would be best for you, but even then, it would be unlikely to occur on a weekly basis.

You’ll probably end up being surprised at how effective that one treatment can be, and at the changes you can make to your health by carrying out the self-care.

Ridge FarmI’ve just completed the ATMAT training. That means I haven’t had a chance to form any bad habits and that I’m raring to go. You’ll benefit from my eight years experience of massaging people and specialising in women’s health.

If you’re still reading, surely you must be thinking, “holy crap, this sounds bloody amazing, gimme the details”, so here they are:

I treat out of Sadhaka Yoga Centre in Camden, London. Daytime and evening appointments are available.

One treatment: £90 (£35 off)

Three treatment bonus offer: £250 (£125 off)

This offer is short-term, the price will increase to £125 per session as of Feb 1st 2014, and I’m only offering twenty spots at this amount. You must book and receive your treatment by the end of January. For the smart cookies wanting to book a course of three treatments, your first session must be before Feb 1st 2014, the other two treatments can roll over.

20 17 15 14 10 8 spots left.

Next step?

If you’re ready to jump in, holla at me and let me know a few options with regards to times you can do in the coming weeks. Once we figure out a time, I’ll email you a pre-treatment form for you to fill in and return to me by email. For now, do your belly a favour and take three slow deep breaths all the way down into your belly. Feel everything relax and flow …

Then have a G&T.

What are you putting up with?

AutumnAutumn has arrived and I have mixed feelings about this new season; I love seeing the leaves change, I get so much pleasure out of picking up conkers, and nothings beats snuggling up under a blanket. But I really don’t enjoy layering up so much, and cycling in the rain ain’t much fun either (and yes, I still haven’t purchased a mudguard).

I feel blessed that mother nature is giving us such a strong message; the lean winter months are coming, it’s time to take stock and prepare. This is the perfect time of year to let go of things which no longer serve you, including the past. It is a time to look forward, what do you want to carry with you through the quieter, darker months? As we move into autumn and winter, our bodies adjust to the new seasons with a natural desire to rest more. The heat and burst of energy of the summer is behind us, now is the time for rest, sleep and renewal.

With that in mind, what do you want to use your energy on or for?

Last year I made a list, it was a long list. It was a list of everything I was putting up with. I went through all the spheres of my life, work, pleasure, relationships, unfinished projects, health issues, living space etc. I wrote down everything I wasn’t happy about and I didn’t hold back. I wrote about the “big” stuff, the relationships that weren’t fulfilling me, the flat I didn’t like, not owning a gorgeous handbag (oh come on, of course that’s important). I also got down to the minutiae of life, the trousers that weren’t hemmed, owning a bike which sat unhappily in the corner of the room with a puncture, not having enough socks …

When I was done, and it did take a while, I went through the list and checked off everything I was prepared to put up with. For instance, I was (and still am) prepared to travel across London to go to an amazing yoga class, I’m happy to travel outside of London to see an amazing therapist, I’m willing to continue to invest in relationships when the other person is too.

All the other stuff? I made changes. Some were instant and easy (buying socks), some took a while and involved tears (ending my marriage). And I’ll be honest, I haven’t made it through the whole list yet, so I’m going to write a new one. As we go into hibernation mode this is what I’m asking myself:

  • What’s missing from my life?
  • Where would I like more clarity?
  • Where can I create space?
  • What and whom do I want to invest my energy / time / love / money in?
  • What’s taking up my time that I don’t enjoy and could in all honesty, stop being involved in?
  • What can I wrap up now whilst my energy is high so that I’m not carrying the weight of unfinished things into the winter?
  • What three things do I want to focus on to ensure they happen?

Your turn: 

What’s on your list? Think big, think small. Connect with what’s important.

Give yourself permission to trim the fat out of your life.

Dear Self, this autumn I promise to …

  • OranginaTake stock of the last year; take a step back and appreciate everything which I’ve worked towards or which has come my way. This is the harvest season after all.
  • Buy a winter coat which will keep me warm and dry for years to come.
  • Be visible, so that those I’m able to help can find me (note to self, make that a bright orange coat —->).
  • Frame the drawings I’ve accumulated, I want to be surrounded by beauty when I’m indoors.
  • Find and book a venue for my February workshop. Sound exciting? Watch this space.
  • Always have some homemade soup on standby. Time to get on the bone broths too.
  • Keep moving; yoga, dancing and cycling. It might be time to take the plunge and invest in a mudguard.
  • Speak the truth about how I’m feeling.
  • Get out and go for a walk in the park when I have phone calls to make or take.
  • Only commit to people and projects I have the passion, energy and time for.
  • Make good use of my Le Creuset pot and share any delicious recipes I come across.
  • Take care of myself by wearing thermal socks when I’m outside, slippers when I’m inside.
  • Book my winter holiday to Mexico; tacos, sunshine and margaritas, here I come!

What do doulas charge?

This post has been brewing for a long time. I’ve ummed and ahed about it, started typing, deleted everything, and the topic still kept niggling away. Then I read Rebecca Wright’s story, A Doula Doesn’t Run a Business over on Corrina Gordon-Barnes’ website, and hey presto, the words just started flowing:

Before I get into the nitty-gritty of what doulas, and more specifically, I charge, I want to ask you about what you would charge for doing whatever it is that you work as, if …

  • You were in contact with each client by phone or email for an average of six months, not constant contact by any means, but it’s a long time to commit to supporting someone for.
  • You spent a minimum of six hours with them in antenatal sessions … and a further five hours during optional treatments.
  • You were on call for each client for roughly a month, and most of the time worked with one client at a time.
  • During that month of being on call you were never more than an hour away from your client, you always had your phone with you and fully charged, and couldn’t drink more than one alcoholic drink at a time in case they called.
  • You knew that they would most likely call you between 1am and 3am.
  • That you would have to cancel or reschedule the rest of your life at the drop of a hat; miss out on gigs or trips to the theatre, cancel appointments, arrange last minute childcare … walk out of a VERY hot date.
  • You might be with your client for ten hours, or 52. Yup, 52. It happens.
  • You had to plan your life six months in advance, which would mean not be able to celebrate your friends 40th birthday party in Paris, your other friends hen do in Norfolk (just as exciting!) because you had already committed to your clients.
  • Finally, what would you charge, knowing that doing this job made it very hard for you to earn money in another way, so it’s likely to be your sole or main form of employment.

I’m curious, what figure resonated for you? Oh and by the way, if you’re not too sure what a doula actually does, you can watch this delightful video which I made for people just like you. You’re welcome.

So, what do we charge?

As far as I’m aware, current prices in the UK range from £200 to £2000. In the interest of transparency, I charge £2000, and I love how that feels. Why? Because it means I can commit to being a doula, 100%, and I *love* being a doula.

Are you ready for some brutal honesty? 

Two years ago, I was charging £850 a birth, I had no shortage of clients and … I was broke.

Was I living a lavish lifestyle? No. I was trying to finish my degree and cover my bills, and I was struggling. What did I do? I spent the last £150 left available in my overdraft on a Clarity Session with Corrina. That was a sound investment. She asked me all sorts of enlightening questions and then walked me through a resonant pricing exercise, and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that £2000 was my resonant price. I was also petrified, petrified of what others would think. Oh dear, my critic was looming large. You see, being a doula is a very giving role and usually one that’s about our love of all things birth, not money. We seem to have developed the bad habit of putting our clients’ needs before our own. Not surprisingly, many doulas suffer from burnout, and I didn’t want that to happen to me.

What changed?

In the end it was my clients who told me to charge more. Hiring a doula is a bit tricky because, as a prospective client, I don’t think you know exactly how much you’re getting till you’re out the other side. For years couples had been telling me, “we can’t believe what you’ve done for us, you really don’t charge enough for what you do”. It took one of them tipping me £500 for me to finally take notice, in fact I almost fell over (thank you clients, thank you universe).

Reaching acceptance.

The great thing about resonant pricing is that you simply *know* what the “right” price is for you, which also means trusting that it’s the right price for your clients, so that’s what I do.

I love birth work, but before I raised my fee, I was starting to resent it because I was giving so much but not receiving enough to allow me to do it wholeheartedly. Now, I’m not raking it in by any means, but I don’t have to worry about paying my bills, which means I can be wholly present and committed to supporting my clients. It means I can go to a yoga class every week, which helps me to work through my own shit so that I don’t carry it over into my working life. It means I can eat nutritious food and keep my stress levels low, so that I’m healthy and calm enough to do my job well. It also means that after a birth, I can treat my sleep-deprived body to a soothing massage.

So. Much. Better.

My “oh s@*t ” moment of the week and how I asked for help.

EmailsHow’s work been for you recently; have you been busy?

I’ll be 100% honest with you, my business has been … s l o w.

As in, NO new business. Sure, I’ve been rocking it with my regular clients and I’ve been busy with my existing birth clients, but where have all the newbies gone? It’s unusual for me to hear from nobody new for a whole … THREE WEEKS! So I started wondering what in the hell was going on, did a few test emails and discovered that my contact form had stopped working AND I couldn’t find any trace of the lost emails **hits head on desk**.

I bugged out. 

I spent a few hours tweaking my site, trying to remedy the issue. I hunted my inbox and spam folders, I contacted my website host. No joy. I was relieved that I knew what the issue was, but I couldn’t fix it and the stress of it all was starting to impact my personal life. I ended a phone call with someone very dear to me because I felt unable to listen to what they were saying, I needed help.

All hail the power of Twitter! I tweeted ONE request for WordPress help, in which I asked two people to retweet (muchas gracias, Corrina and Katy). Within fifteen minutes, I had three offers of help. Within 24 hours and thanks to Benny from Michigan (seriously, how amazing is Twitter?), I had a new contact form AND an online booking service!

How do I feel now?

  • I’m pleased that I tried to resolve the problem myself.
  • I’m delighted that I didn’t waste any more time doing the same things when they clearly weren’t working.
  • I’m proud that I asked for help.
  • I’m grateful that someone else could solve my problem within minutes.

margaritaIf I didn’t ask for help, I would’ve remained stressed, struggled to connect and be present with my patients and loved ones, and given less-than-great treatments (boo!)

Clearly, not asking for help would have cost me a lot in both my professional and personal life.

Asking for help left me free to focus on what’s important to me (designing killer treatment plans and catching up with a former client over a spicy margarita, ok, a few), it meant that a friendly person on the other side of the ocean was able to use their skills to relieve my pain, and I ended up with more than I started with, now that I have online scheduling (something I’ve been planning for ages).

Can you relate?

Is there something which you’re struggling with at the moment; something which causes you emotional and/ physical pain? Maybe it’s something which is recent or maybe it’s been bothering you for some time. Either way, I’m imagining that it’s tough for a variety of reasons. I also imagine that this issue is costing you a lot (time, pain, money, relationships etc).

If it’s something which you feel I can help you with, menstrual cycle complaints and fertility issues etc, I’d love to hear from you.

If it’s something you imagine I can’t help you with, I’d still love to hear from you. Sometimes the most important thing is to reach out and ask for help, and if I can’t help, I’m betting I know someone who might be able to.

Your turn:

Are you a magician when it comes to technology? Do you have a talent which can help people in need? Do you know someone who does such incredible work that you just want to share them with the world?

If so, please comment below or head over to my brand spanking new contact form. Go on, you know you want to!


P.S. I never did find any of the missing emails, so if you haven’t heard back from me, my profuse apologies and do try again.

P.P.S. I’m still looking for an illustrator to help me with an exciting new collaboration, can you help me?

Ear infections; what you need to know.

Childhood ear infections are common. Chances are that if you’re a parent, you’ve had to deal with them at some point, and if you haven’t, you probably will.

Otitis media (the posh term) can be nothing more than a mild ache, but often it can develop into an excruciating pain or even a burst ear drum. Early signs of infection include irritability and restlessness, but you may not spot anything until he/she complains of earache or perhaps develops a fever. Babies will often raise their hand to their ear as they cry. Attacks are routed in either bacterial or viral infection which causes inflammation, and may be triggered by exposure to the wind or water (swimming/bathing), or if the child’s lymph glands are already swollen and causing constriction to the local area.

So what do you need to know?

First off, if you take your kid to see your GP or any other healthcare professional who wants to examine their ears, make sure they clean the flippin’ otoscope (the tool they use to look inside ears)!! One shocking study demonstrated that 86% of the otoscopes (also known as aurioscopes) sampled were covered in micro-organisms such as Staphylococci (64%) and in rarer cases, MRSA (9%). So before your child is examined, request that the otoscope head being used is disinfected. You can also ask for the good ear to be examined first, that way the risk of cross-infection from the bad ear to the good ear will be limited.

Do they need antibiotics?

Antibiotics are only effective when treating ear infections caused by bacteria, so they won’t help if your child’s infection is caused by a virus. One study examined 79 children and found that in 92% of cases, bacteria was present, and in 70% viruses were found. Both bacteria and viruses were found in 66% of cases. Medical practitioners have expressed concern about the overuse of antibiotics in the treatment of ear infections, particularly as children are more prone to negative side effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and developing a skin rash. It is also worth considering that every time antibiotics are used to treat a non-serious infection, it increases the likelihood of developing resistance to antibiotics, which can mean more threatening infections could become untreatable.

Watchful waiting:

The British Medical Journal reported that contrary to popular belief, 80% of infections will clear up in 2-3 days without antibiotics, though as a concerned parent, you may find this hard!

Is there anything that you CAN do to help?

Gently massaging along the San Jiao meridian, which runs up the outer edge of the arm, before looping its way around the ear, can help during an acute attack. To do so, first calm yourself. If you’re anxious and concerned about your child (let’s face it, it’s reasonable that you would be), they will probably pick up on it which may exacerbate things. So, take a moment and do some calm relaxed breathing, meditate, or visualise the positive energy you’re going to use to help your child. When you feel relaxed, gently hold their forearm in yours and using your thumb, massage down the channel, from the tip of the elbow to the back of their hand. The channel lies in the centre of the forearm, between the two long bones, so is pretty easy to find. Repeat this downward massage 30-50 times. This is a lovely way for parents to help their children as they benefit from such loving care. Don’t we all?

Essential oils of Lavender or Chamomile can be helpful; put 2-3 drops on a teaspoon of warm olive oil and gently pour into the ear (1 drop for babies).

Niu Huang Jie Du Pien is a patent herbal remedy which can be used during an acute attack, and often acts quickly to reduce pain.

Acupuncture treatment can be swift and effective, and its holistic framework allows time to explore the reasons why it’s become a problem in a first place. Don’t worry, only a few points are used (mainly nowhere near the ear), and the needles only go in for a moment.

If your child is cold and pale, a small slither of garlic can be inserted into the ear and held in place with a small piece of cotton wool, but only needs to be left in for an hour or two.

So that’s the basics, if you have experience of other remedies, I’d love to hear about them!