10 August 2017

Restorative yoga for fertility.


To rest, relax and restore is essential in today’s society where stress levels are rising. To rest deeply is to experience absolute relaxation, where there is effortless stillness, quietness and peace. Restorative Yoga provides bespoke restorative postures, specific yoga based sequences, breath awareness practices and relaxation. 

Open to both men and women these yoga sessions are suitable for couples trying to conceive naturally or through IVF (providing you have been referred by your IVF consultant). 

The physical focus of the postures is to create space and ease and to optimize the blood flow to the muscles and connective tissues in the lower pelvis. 

On an emotional level, the benefits of restorative yoga and the haven of a safe, nurturing environment, can help both men and women cope with the stress associated with trying to conceive and to increase the ability to self nurture, deeply relax and accept where they are in the process. 

Our restorative fertility yoga sessions are in conjunction with fertility experts at Concept fertility. www.conceptfertility.co.uk

We offer1-2-1 or couples sessions check our website for details
 Yoga Mama Wellness

or call 0208 789 3881 for more details

09 August 2017

Gentle Yoga for Back Pain

A short gentle limbering sequence that is suitable for people with back pain and pregnant women.


Yoga Baba organic clothing for mini yogis.


We are delighted to introduce our Yoga Baba organic clothing range.

Yoga Baba is an independent organic clothing company for babies. In collaboration with a London artist and yogi, we have produced our own unique range of baby clothing. These garments feature illustrated prints that draw inspiration from yoga and nature.
All of our garments are made from super soft 100% organic cotton. This makes them perfect for wearing against delicate baby skin.
We believe it is important to support the planet for our babies’ future. For this reason, all of our products are fair trade and also come from sustainable sources.



21 May 2017

Cranial osteopathy and the treatment of colic


How cranial osteopathy can help soothe away your baby's colicky cries


by Liz Neale

Get a group of new parents together and it won't take long before they start talking about sleep. Or, more likely, the lack of it. The advice to 'sleep when your baby sleeps' is all well and good. However, if your little one likes to party all night, every night, you are soon functioning like a zombie if you can't catch up during the day. So when one of my friends suggested taking my four-week-old to a cranial osteopath to reduce her stress levels (and hopefully help us both rest), I was intrigued.

What is cranial osteopathy?


Cranial osteopathy encourages the release of tension and stresses in the body and the head that might have been caused by the birth. Osteopaths hold and observe the baby, carefully manipulating the body to encourage it to function as it should.

I wondered if it was some sort of 'baby whispering'. After all, if the osteopath was merely holding my baby, how could that be deemed treatment? But several mums recommended cranial osteopathy as a way of combating the dreaded colic. Those long evenings when baby cries and cries – and cries – before sleep eventually comes.

I visited osteopath David Isherwood at his practice in south west London for what he called a ‘Baby MOT’. He explained that newborn babies can be subject to enormous forces when they are born. Twisting and turning as they squeeze their way to the outside world can mean a lot of stress and pressure. This pressure falls particularly on baby's head.

How do cranial osteopaths work?


Cranial osteopaths look to recognise any effects caused by this and release that pressure. They pay special attention on the base of the skull, as nerves to the tongue and guts may become irritated. This, in turn, may effect suckling and cause nausea.

David said there may also be a build up of pressure around the Temporal bone which houses the hearing apparatus. As well as this, the Eustachian tubes may become compressed during delivery, especially by forceps. This may lead to blocked ears and infection.

David explained: "There is a fundamental subtle movement within all body tissues that cranial osteopaths are trained to feel. This is present throughout the connective tissues (which are fascia, ligaments, muscles and bones) of the whole body, including the head. Within the skull and spinal cord, the sensitive meninges express this movement as a shape change. If the body is subjected to strong compression or twisting forces, such as those experienced by the baby during birth, these connective tissues can become distorted and strained. As a result, the baby may feel uncomfortable. Osteopaths use their highly developed sense of palpation to feel these strains and to gently release them".

Cranial osteopathy treatment


David started by asking me questions about Catherine’s arrival to find out if I'd had a good pregnancy and a straightforward birth. Once he had all that information, he began the physical examination. The first thing he did was simply hold Catherine gently, feeling for that flexion and extension. He placed her on the couch and started with her feet, holding them gently and talking slowly, and quietly reassuring her all the time.

"I watch the face and body for any reaction" he said. "I then wait to feel for the rhythmic fascial pull. Is it symmetrical? Is it stronger on one side? Next I test for mobilisation and the angle of movement of the ankle joints and toes. I then do this with the knees and hips".

David continued working his way up Catherine’s body. He examined her ribs through her clothes before moving on to her spine. I was convinced she would keep wriggling and perhaps even start crying at the unfamiliar surroundings. However, to my surprise, she was relaxing and closing her eyes. Her arms were thrown up above her head, yet she clearly felt safe and secure enough to sleep.  David continued with the examination; moving along Catherine’s fingers, wrists, elbows and then to her shoulders and head.

Cranial osteopathy and colic


During delivery a newborn's head faces huge pressure. The soft bones of the skull overlap and bend as the baby is born. Over the first few days of life the head will gradually lose its moulded shape. However, that feeling of pressure sometimes remains. This pressure can lead to crying and screaming as the baby is uncomfortable. It can also mean that a a baby has difficulty feeding because of the stresses throughout the head, face and throat. As David explained his work, I realised this was something Catherine struggled with. She was quite a 'windy' feeder, gulping air as I fed her. She would also regurgitate milk between and after feeds.

David said: 'Many babies are mouth breathers. They struggle to drink and breathe through the nose, hence this gulping of air. Once these 'lumps' of air have descended below the stomach, they have a long way to go. Very often this will cause abdominal pain, as the air stretches the baby's sensitive small intestines on its journey.’

That certainly sounded familiar and I was grateful for tips on how to combat this. This included a nifty little trick to burp baby using a combination of leaning and stretching. As Catherine lay on the couch fast asleep, it was hard not to think David had performed some kind of magical 'witch doctor' spell.

After the treatment


I carefully picked her up and placed her back in the pram. Normally she would jolt awake, but she hardly stirred as I negotiated the uneven pavement outside. I wasn't sure what to expect that night. Catherine certainly didn't go to bed at 7pm without a fuss. However, her crying was less prolonged and, when she did settle, it took less time.

Perhaps, more importantly, I felt I had some peace of mind from the osteopathy treatment. I had had a straightforward delivery, but it had all been quite quick. In addition to this, Catherine had needed oxygen when she was first born. David's baby MOT provided reassurance that things were as they should be. Even as a first-time mum, I was doing things correctly.

Originally published in the Daily Mail Online on the 20 June 2011


More information and appointments


If you would like more information about cranial osteopathy, visit the Putney Clinic of Physical Therapy website. For appointments with  our resident cranial osteopath Aude Lauriot Prevost, call us on 020 8789 3881.


14 April 2017

How to practise Yin Yoga



An introduction to Yin yoga with Bernie Clark. I personally need a yin yoga practice to balance my yang one.

09 March 2017

Can acupuncture help morning sickness?

How can acupuncture help morning sickness?


Morning sickness is a very common ailment during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester. Health professionals prefer to call the condition “nausea and vomiting in pregnancy”. This is because it can affect women at any time of the day or night. Whereas some women may feel sick all day long. Traditional remedies include making modifications to diet, resting and even wearing loose-fitting clothes. However, in this post we pose the following question. Can acupuncture help morning sickness? And, if so, how?

What is morning sickness?

Nausea and vomiting are commonly experienced by women in early pregnancy. The prevalence rates are 50-80% for nausea, and 50% for vomiting and retching. The symptoms are most common in the first trimester, between 6 and 12 weeks. However, it can continue to 20 weeks. In approximately 20% of women, morning sickness may last even longer. If vomiting is persistent, it can lead to weight loss, dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. Ultimately, in severe cases, it may lead to hospitalisation.

What are the causes of morning sickness?

The symptoms of morning sickness are thought to be associated with rising levels of human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) or oestrogens. Women experiencing nausea and vomiting during pregnancy can suffer considerable physical and psychological effects. The symptoms can affect daily activities and relationships, and result in lost productivity.

The new set of guidelines published by the NHS says that ginger and acupuncture can play a useful role in treating nausea and vomiting in pregnancy.

Can acupuncture help morning sickness?

With regard to the use of acupuncture to treat morning sickness, the British Acupuncture Council offers the following guidance. “During the early stage of pregnancy, huge energetic changes are going on in the body. Acupuncture can help at that energetic level so that nausea subsides. Also vomiting, if there is any, and belching fades away. The sense of smell becomes manageable and energy and emotions return to balance. This enables the mum-to-be to enjoy her pregnancy. The treatment is entirely safe to the pregnancy and generally the sickness will clear up.

Appointments

If you are suffering from morning sickness, why not make an appointment with traditional Chinese acupuncturist Jas Kandola at The Putney Clinic of Physical Therapy. To book an appointment, call 020 8789 3881 or visit the Putney Clinic's online booking system.

Acupuncture during IVF treatment

Acupuncture during IVF treatment. Recent studies have shown that it can increase chances of a successful pregnancy.

Acupuncture during IVF treatment

Western medicine has started to recognise the many benefits of using acupuncture during IVF treatment. There have been a variety of studies that review the implications of acupuncture and fertility. Indeed, recent reports have shown a 65 percent increase in pregnancy success rates when IVF is combined with acupuncture treatments. Those same studies have also shown that rates of live births nearly doubled in cases where acupuncture was used. This is in comparison to IVF patients who received no acupuncture or sham acupuncture.

Why is acupuncture during IVF treatment so effective?

At present, the reason why acupuncture can increase IVF pregnancy success rates is not fully understood. However, ultrasounds have shown that acupuncture can improve uterine blood flow. As a result, this may create a more hospitable environment for embryo implantation.

There is one thing that doctors and scientists appear to agree on. There is a consensus that acupuncture can, at the very least, have a calming effect on patients. The IVF process can be a very stressful time. Therefore, finding ways to relax can be crucial to overall wellness. This is especially important when you understand how stress hormones can inhibit fertility. For this reason, acupuncture can be a great relaxation technique to rely on.

Finally, it is important to remember that acupuncture is not a guarantee that your IVF cycle will work. However, it can be a natural way to improve your chances of success.

Appointments

If you are going through IVF treatment, make an appointment with our resident fertility acupuncturist Jas Kandola at the Putney Clinic of Physical Therapy. She will be happy to explain the benefits of acupuncture during IVF treatment. To book an appointment, visit our online booking system or call 020 8789 3881.

Acupuncture and your menstrual cycle

Acupuncture, an effective method of treating problems in the menstrual cycle




Do you experience bloating, mood swings, headaches, fatigue, or painful cramping before or during your period? These complaints are common during the menstrual cycle, but they are not “normal”.

What is a healthy menstrual cycle?

A healthy menstrual cycle is one that comes regularly, approximately every 26-30 days. There should be no premenstrual discomfort (both physically or emotionally). Neither should there be any pain. Flow should be moderate, needing to change a pad or tampon every 3-4 hours. There should be no clots or spotting over a consistent period of 4 to 5 days. The colour should be a medium red colour, not too dark. Lastly, your period should also end concisely, with no lingering spotting beyond the fifth or sixth day.

How can acupuncture help restore a healthy menstrual cycle?

Girls are typically not well educated about their menstrual cycles. Very often, they will grow up thinking that it is normal to be irritable or in pain or discomfort during that time of the month. Menstrual disorders occur when the body’s hormones become imbalanced. Acupuncture can help restore the balance among the hormones by enhancing the body’s flow of energy. As a result, this will relieve menstrual symptoms. Ancient theorists believe that if the energy flow is correct, then any menstrual disorders are avoidable. Acupuncture has a long history in the management of irregular periods. It is a natural approach to encourage your body to re-establish regular periods, ovulation and to get your hormones back in balance.

Acupuncture at The Putney Clinic with Jas Kandola


Jas completed a degree in Acupuncture from The International College of Oriental Medicine. She has a special interest in fertility treatments and women’s health acupuncture. Jas also regularly treats patients who suffer from stress, headaches, neck and back pain and other repetitive strain injuries. She also has ample experience treating patients with conditions such as asthma, arthritis, digestive problems, postural problems, and carpal tunnel syndrome.


Appointments

If you are suffering from an irregular menstrual cycle and would like to give acupuncture a try, call The Putney Clinic of Physical Therapy on 020 8789 3881 to book an appointment with Jas. Alternatively, you can book appointments online using our online booking system.


26 January 2017

Top 10 reasons to attend a hypnobirthing course



Here are the top ten reasons to attend a hypnobirthing course.

Gain the tools to achieve a positive birth experience

One of the key elements for a positive birth experience is confidence. Regardless of the type of birth you end up having, you can have a positive experience by knowing what you can control. And, of course,  letting go of what you cannot.

Learn to trust your body, your instincts and your baby

From an early age, we have been socially programmed to believe birth is painful. By replacing this fear and negative outlook, you can enjoy the amazing experience of pregnancy and birth. Having the confidence that your body will work effectively and in the way that it is naturally designed to is vital. It is equally vital that  your baby knows what to do too. This confidence will keep you relaxed and calm. It will also enable you to follow your instincts. This, in turn, will guide you to what is best for you and your baby.

Birth without unnecessary interventions

There are always options available. However, without a full understanding of these, it is easy to go along with whatever is offered to you. It is empowering to know what your options are and and how you can make the best decisions for you and your baby.

Endorphins are stronger than morphine

Endorphins are, in fact, up to 200 times stronger than morphine! Reduce the need for drugs by learning how to release these endorphins during labour.

It’s a full antenatal programme

You will learn what to expect at each stage of the birth. As well as understand the ‘system’ and know your options. Having this knowledge will put you in a stronger position to make informed decisions, including where to birth your baby.

Learn techniques to aid relaxation, ease tension and soothe any concerns

You and your partner will learn how to let go of fear and tension, so that, regardless of how your pregnancy and labour progresses, you will be better placed to relax and enjoy the process of both pregnancy and birth.

Practice breathing and visualisation techniques for each stage of the birth process

Practising breathing and visualisation techniques for each stage of labour to make the birth a comfortable and enjoyable experience. It’s good fun and there are a range of visualisation techniques that you can chose to suit you!

Your birth partner will feel more involved

Hypnobirthing partners develop a deeper bond with their baby due to their involvement throughout the process! It also provides partners with the tools and guidance to help them feel more involved during your pregnancy. They will also have an active role in facilitating your baby’s birth. Creating time and space to discuss what you want inevitably brings you closer. And on the big day, your partner will be ready and capable to offer the support you need.

Make friends with likeminded people

Sharing such a unique and special time with those who have the same values can lead to lifelong friendships and support. This will see you through to baby’s teenage years and beyond!

Receive ongoing support

There are many physical and emotional challenges during pregnancy. As a result, I fully understand the need for continuous support during this often uncertain feeling time. The relationship I develop with you whilst on the course does not end as you leave.

Next hypnobirthing course at Yoga Mama

The next hypnobirthing course at Yoga Mama starts on Saturday 25 February (12-3pm). This 3-week course, led by Dr Stacy Gandolfi, costs £295 per couple. To book, call us on 020 8789 3881 or visit the Yoga Mama online booking system.

If you would like to learn more about hypnobirthing, why not attend our free introductory talk on Saturday 11 February (1-2pm). To book, call 020 8789 3881 or sign up here.

A birth without pain? The science behind hypnobirthing


Studies have shown that 95% of labour pain is the direct result of the birthing mother’s fear and tension. So what if there was no fear and tension? Does that mean there would be very little pain in childbirth? Well, many hypnobirthing mothers would agree with that. They would claim that any discomfort was manageable without the need of medication.

So how does fear cause a labouring woman to feel pain?


When we experience fear or anxiety, our ‘fight or flight’ response kicks in. We all know that feeling. Think back to how you felt before a test, an interview or meeting your prospective in-laws. While you may not have run away or hit anyone, you would have experienced that rush of adrenaline produced by your body to help you survive the situation if it becomes too scary.

A labouring woman who feels afraid or nervous is not in a position to fight anyone and certainly is not capable of fleeing the scene. Well, not with any speed. However, her body will still produce adrenaline.

Adrenaline causes our hearts to pump faster. It causes all our energy to travel to our essential organs (brain and heart), followed by our arms and legs to prepare us for survival. This means it is travelling away from other organs, such as the uterus. It is no surprise then that during labour adrenaline is very unhelpful. A birthing woman needs energy in her uterus, certainly not in her arms and legs! The uterine muscles are the muscles which push the baby out. And if they have little energy, they will struggle to work effectively and efficiently. When a muscle is striving to work hard but has little energy to help it, it can feel painful and exhausting.

So what if there was no fear and tension during labour?


So what if there was no fear and tension , and the birthing woman was relaxed and comfortable? When we feel calm, confident and relaxed, our body produces oxytocin. Oxytocin, commonly known as ‘the love hormone’, is produced in large quantities when we experience love. It peaks when we fall in love, make love and after birth! However, it is also known as the ‘shy hormone’. We are less likely to produce it when we feel observed. Think of your best orgasm. Were there strangers there, lights shining on you, people telling you what to do?

During labour, oxytocin aids the uterine muscles. If a woman feels safe, confident and calm, and is able to minimise feeling exposed, her body will produce higher levels of oxytocin. This makes the birthing process more efficient and less uncomfortable.

It is at this time that beta-endorphin, another hormone is secreted. Beta-endorphin acts as a natural painkiller, working to block the perception of pain. So, if the mind is calm and relaxed, the body produces oxytocin to make labour efficient and beta-endorphin to make it comfortable.

Hypnobirthing and labour


So being able to release fear and resistance is essential if I want to minimise my dependence on drugs during the birth? Indeed! A key element of hypnobirthing is learning how to release anxiety and tension.

Taking a course will teach you how to become deeply relaxed quickly and easily and in any situation you may find yourself. This is essential if you want to avoid the adrenaline rush and instead encourage the oxytocin to flow. This is possible even if you find yourself in the bright lights of a hospital and under the watchful eye of many a medical professional!

Free introductory talk on hypnobirthing


Join Dr Stacy Gandolfi for a free introductory talk on hypnobirthing on Saturday 11 February, at 1pm. The talk is open to the general public and is free of charge. To book, call us on 020 8789 3881 or visit the Yoga Mama online booking system.

12 January 2017

Yoga may be best to ease back pain



Session on the yoga mat may be best to ease a bad back

By Henry Bodkin

With its catalogue of headstands and one-legged contortions, it might be thought yoga was best left to those of us who are in peak physical condition. However, new research suggests the group of people who could most benefit from adopting the lotus position is those who are immobilised by pain.

Analysis of more than 1,000 adults with long-term lower-back pain found those who practised yoga were most likely to reduce pain and improve mobility. The findings, from researchers in the US, add weight to calls for GPs in Britain to prescribe yoga sessions to ease long-term discomfort.

Back pain causes more disability than any other condition and affects almost one in 10 Britons, becoming more common with age. Because the causes are hard to isolate it is difficult to treat and  patients commonly resort to long-term use of strong painkillers.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) guidelines instruct doctors to consider recommending various aerobic and biomechanical exercises, but there is currently no specific mention of yoga. However, the new analysis of 12 academic studies from the UK, the US and India suggests yoga, as distinct from traditional back exercises, could yield the best results.

The scientists behind the new research are now calling for fresh longer-term trials to understand the full benefits for patients with persistent back pain, as the existing data only relates to benefits after six to 12 months.

Lead author Susan Wieland, from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, said: “Our findings suggest that yoga exercise may lead to reducing the symptoms of lower back pain by a small amount, but the results have come from studies with a short follow-up. At the moment we only have low- to moderate-quality evidence for the effects of yoga, before six months, as a type of exercise for helping people with chronic back pain.”

The patients involved in the studies analysed by Dr Wieland had all been enrolled on yoga courses that were designed for their conditions and provided by qualified teachers.

However, the British yoga community is currently riven with uncharacteristic disharmony amid a debate over whether or not to regulate yoga teachers following a series of injuries after students were reportedly encouraged to adopt dangerous positions.

Although yoga teachers who practise in gyms and leisure centres currently have to join the register of exercise professionals, anyone can set themselves up as a private instructor.

“The yoga exercises practised in the studies we reviewed were developed for lower back pain and people should also remember that in each of the studies the classes were led by experienced practitioners,” Dr Wieland said.

She also warned that one in 20 participants (50 patients) actually reported their back pain getting worse after starting a course of yoga.

Derived from a Sanskrit word, yoga aims to “coordinate the breath, mind and body to encourage balance, both internally and externally,” says the British Wheel of Yoga.

But despite its widely acknowledged benefits, it is not considered strenuous enough to count towards the Government-recommended minimum weekly exercise target of 150 minutes of activity, according to the NHS.

However, it is being recommended to elderly people to help prevent the risk of falls.

Published originally in the Daily Telegraph: Session on the yoga mat may be best to ease a bad back