Apr 29, 2016

Fear of Birthing

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As an osteopath, I have talked to many women over the years about their birth experience. It is part of the case history we take and it helps us frame what each woman carries in her body tissue memory.  As a doula, I am now beginning to realise that we carry a body tissue memory of birth long before we even know how to get pregnant.  It is almost like we are in danger of writing a warped view of birth into our very genetic code. The number of pregnant women I see (as both osteopath and doula) who are frightened of the whole experience far outnumber those who know it in their bodies to be a natural ongoing continuum of human nature. This is deeply saddening but not surprising when you become aware of the messages we feed our children about human birth.  When my first son was small, he was addicted to nature programmes. He could never watch enough of them. It didn’t matter what they were about and I am sure he saw his share of natural births except... not one of them would have included a human mammalian birth. For that one, he would have seen it on an emergency medicine drama or a sit-com, like Friends.  There are many examples of human births on television.  All of them, high-tech hospital births with a woman on her back invariable screaming and fearful.  So this is the message our society sends to our children without even meaning to: that every other mammal on the planet gives birth instinctively and unaided, but no human mammal can ever do this.  When was the last time you remember a natural birth depicted in a drama/sit-com on television? Exactly.  But I do. It is seared into my memory because I was so stunned ( and excited) that a home birth had been written into a script. The isolated environment of the show demanded it, of course, but still. It was called Northern Exposure and was about a small town in Alaska and ran in the early 1990’s. The young woman running the bar gave birth upstairs whilst the townspeople awaited eagerly for news in the bar. They didn’t actually show the enactment of giving birth (like they do in Friends with stirrups, bright lights, machines etc), but at least the audience had to know that she gave birth on her own as naturally as the moose outside her door.

How can we change this culture of fear and begin to teach women to trust their bodies again? Our bodies are truly awesome. They MAKE people from two cells. It creates a special organ called the placenta used for the sole purpose of supporting a new life. We are designed to give birth even as evolution has made us bidpedal. Amazing transformations occur in a woman’s body to allow her pelvis to carry and then birth her new baby. And then, once a baby is born, our bodies carry on growing a human with breast milk. It is so astonishing that our bodies do these things without any real input from our thinking brain. It is all the miraculous doings of Mother Nature.  


I wish we could stop teaching fear and start teaching the awe-inspiring beauty that is birth.




Apr 18, 2016

Do You Get A Regular Cervical Smear Test?

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I popped into the GP surgery the other day for an unrelated reason, but both the nurse and the GP with whom I spoke, both reminded me that I was due a cervical smear test. In reality, I stopped having regular smear tests after my first child was born. (I think they could probably see that on my records.) I had done considered research at that time and decided that my 'choice' was to opt out, but gave myself the option of changing my mind.  That was years and years ago. I don't have need to visit the GP often so hadn't really thought about it until both the nurse and the doctor reminded me the other day.  It got me thinking that maybe I should re-visit my feelings about this. Then, I came across this article written by a GP in 2012 for The Independent.  I appreciate how she appears to have the view that what we screen for should be a dynamic 'shared' decision between doctor and client. (I intentially use the word 'client' because 'patient' insinuates that we are passive participants in decisions that affect our health).  I also appreciate that anyone reading this may still feel like they want the screening. That is absolutely fine. I pass no judgements. I am quite aware that my decisions are for me and for no one else and would not be the right thing to do in different circumstances.  One size does not fit all.  

Anyway, for what it's worth, I have added the link here so you can read her article, which to me, feels like a fairly measured and practical point of view.


Mar 8, 2016

Maybe A Little Compassion All 'Round

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I have just finished reading Vaccine Epidemic edited by Louise Habakus and Mary Holland.  

Before you recoil in horror and start chanting ‘anti-vaxxer’ at my virtual door, let me explain.  This is a book of collected essays written by prominent professionals.  Included in this book are eloquently written chapters by medical doctors, biochemists, attorneys, gastroenterologists, microbiologists and military veterans, just to name a few.


It isn’t so much about ‘don’t vaccinate’ but about ‘informed choice’. What saddens me about this whole debacle is that people have polarised  into two camps. Those who feel the need to vaccinate and those who don’t.  How much better it would be if we could join forces and use a united voice, a united power, to call for ‘better science’ regarding vaccinations and ‘improved properly licensed’ ingredients in vaccinations. All our children are valuable and deserve the best. A parent doesn’t take lightly the decision not to vaccinate. Many parents that cross my threshold are equally hesitant about carrying out the vaccination program on their tiny babies. It is an agonising decision for all.


The heartbreak endured watching a desperately sick child fighting an illness is not owned by one camp or another. Often, it is the family that HAS vaccinated and has lived through the horror of vaccine damage unfolding within their family, that precipitates a change in their choices.


Perhaps a little compassion on both sides would help us rise up and demand that vaccines be made safer.  Isn’t it a little too easy for the Big Pharma to keep bankrolling billions in profits from vaccine programmes whilst we fight among ourselves about who is right?


No one is right who has suffered the death of a child through illness or who has suffered the catastrophic disability of  vaccine-damage. They are only heartbroken and would do anything, anything, anything to turn back the clock in order to make a different decision.


We could do ourselves a favour and find one voice and protest for better science, better trials, and a more practical schedule; perhaps one that vaccinates children who actually have immune systems rather than infants who are born with very immature, unused ones?

Or separated vaccinations?  Why on Earth does an infant need a diphtheria vaccine in England? or a tetanus? for instance.  Why don’t we have a choice to vaccinate with the MMR with separate injections?


And one last point which I find interesting. Has anyone EVER been given the list of side-effects and contraindications that go inside the vaccination box when received from the pharmaceutical company?  No? I didn’t think so.

Mar 6, 2016

I'm Back!

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So, I’ve decided, with a little cajoling from a friend, to resuscitate my blog.  My poor blog has been lying dormant and now it’s time to blow off the dust and restore some dignity.

I thought long and hard about what shape this blog should take. As an osteopath, should I just be writing about osteopathy?  As a doula, do I get to include thoughts about childbirth and labour? Should I be strict about keeping it a professional page, because I am also a mother and a wife, a friend, a daughter and a sister, too. Should these important parts of my life be excluded?


Osteopathy is about wholeness and ‘seeing the whole’: treating the whole. It is a lifestyle perspective, much like yoga is, so I decided ‘the wholeness’ of me could be explored in this blog.  The wholeness of Osteopathy includes everything I do. I cannot stop being an osteopath once I step from the confines of my clinic so, surely this blog can include ‘parts of the whole’.


I guess I am a philosopher at heart because I find relaying, for instance, the mechanics of a rotator cuff injury, or how the sciatic nerve runs down underneath your piriformis to supply your leg, a little dry. I’d much rather discuss how discomfort or pain changes your personality or impacts the way you live your life. Or, if you feel there is a psycho-social aspect to your pain/injury or maybe, even an old pattern learned as a pre-verbal tiny person, that could be understood within the context of your dis-ability.


You can find reams of websites, blogs and you-tube clips that will take you through the mechanics of injury and the anatomy of pain. I think I will leave that sort of information to those who love to write about it. 


I just wanted to let you know, today, that my blog is back. I feel like she will have the opportunity to morph into an interesting place for you to visit.  I have cleaned have cleaned her proverbial carpets and thrown open the shutters.


I look forward to sharing with you. And a little nervous. Please don’t  be too judgey! 


Feb 19, 2013

Eat Right!

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I think this is a great way to change the way you think about food.

From the bestselling author of The Omnivore's Dilemma comes In Defence of Food and the Omnivore's Solution for a new way of eating in the New Year...:


1: Don't eat anything your grandmother wouldn't recognise as food

2: Avoid foods containing ingredients you can't pronounce

3: Don't eat anything that won't eventually rot

4: Avoid food products that carry health claims

5: Shop the peripheries of the supermarket; stay out of the middle

6: Better yet, buy your food somewhere else: farmers' markets or the CSA

7: Pay more, eat less

8: Eat a wide diversity of species

9: Eat food from animals that eat grass

10: Cook and, if you can, grow some of your own food

11: Eat meals and eat them only at tables

12: Eat deliberately, with other people whenever possible, and always with pleasure


Interesting Stuff

Here are some services that you may find helpful:

Acupuncture                             David Reynolds  www.southviewclinic.co.uk

Allergy/Food Sensitivity
Christine Wilson

Cheryl Brickell

Meli Paramio
01628 625313

Hypnobirthing                            Harriet Hancock   www.stressfreebirth.co.uk

Ros Mandeville

Anita Happy and Sheila Carter Homeopathy for Children in Henley   01344 867 411

Catie Sharples 01628 530302 http://www.catiesharples.com

Manual Lymph Drainage
Marilyn Homer
01628 671406

Rolfing (Massage)
Fiona Millward 07824 397313  www.fionamillward.com

Jeanette Wallis

Nutritional Therapy
Helen Bradbury

Alex Reynolds


YOU MAY FIND LINKS TO: Osteopathic and Doula Resources.

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