Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Nikki Yazxhi talks beauty @ Fertile Body, Heart & Soul.

I was fortunate enough to catch up with Nikki Yazxhi from bellaMUMMA. Nikki is a lifestyle and beauty writer who features in various glossy publications that I love (eg. Shop till YouDrop). I wanted to hear her thoughts on using natural products - a subject I feel very strongly about. It's great to eat healthily and live healthy, but what about what we put on our skin everyday?

I'll let Nikki tell you why it's important to consider your options when it comes to skin care and beauty products.


Research have shown putting chemicals on the skin can be more harmful than ingesting them. When you eat something that has chemicals, the enzymes in your stomach and saliva can break it down and flush it of the body. However if you apply chemicals on the skin, they are absorbed straight into the blood stream; there is no breaking down, no filtering; therefore the body can be attacked with these toxins. 

These toxins are not only harmful, they can block the pores of the skin and make it prone to pimples, acne and eczema.

Always check the labels of what you buy . Make sure they don’t contain chemicals such as petroleum, parabens, alcohols or artificial fragrances. If they do, then they’re not natural and are unlikely to be gentle on your skin.

With that in mind here are more reasons why ‘natural’ is better…

Natural products are:
Because natural products are made from natural ingredients, they don’t contain the harsh petrochemicals that can harm skin. Using natural ingredients means that the product will do what it was designed to do, naturally, and won’t damage your skin or hair.

Most natural products are environment-friendly as they don’t need to go through rigorous processes that pump awful chemicals into the atmosphere. It’s more usually a case of harvesting the natural ingredients and then putting them in a bottle.

Most of the recipes for natural products are ones that have been around for generations and have been used for years way before the products containing chemicals arrived.


I totally agree with Nikki's list. We are LOVING our Weleda products in the clinic at the moment. The Lavender Body wash is beautiful - perfect for a Christmas gift. I am also an avid fan of Jurlique - their rose geranium oil is divine. If you’re not already using natural products, I encourage you to give them a go. Know that your body will love you for it.

My picks from L to R - Weleda lavender body wash and Jurlique rose geranium oil

Monday, November 29, 2010

Esoteric Healing

This is Sara. She is my beautiful business partner. We have been together for eight years now. In this eight years, we have shaped our treatments into something we know is both gentle and extremely effective. Recently Sara has added a new facet to our services here at The Pagoda Tree - Esoteric Healing. I sat down for a chat with her about what it is and who would benefit from it. Here is what she had to say;

What is Esoteric Healing?

‘Esoteric’ means ‘inner-most’. Healing, in this case, refers to the ‘true’ meaning of the word where the energetic root cause is addressed and cleared. So Esoteric Healing is a modality that can help someone to heal by discovering a connection to their inner-most, which is the connection to their inner heart. In the inner heart we can discover the true truth, so anything that is ‘not that’ can come up to be healed.

Our bodies are naturally at the very least ‘gentle.’ This is the ‘natural’ rhythm of our bodies. However, most do not live this way… we are very far away from it!! In fact, in a session when I ask clients to begin by breathing gently, they find this very difficult. This is great for them to experience because then they can see the momentum they have been in and hence, how far away from gentleness they actually are.

Sacred Esoteric Healing is presented by Serge Benhayon from Universal Medicine.

Why does it appeal to you?

Esoteric Healing feels very true to me. In my own experience I have discovered what it feels like to live in gentleness and then also begin to discover that that is just the beginning!

In helping people to discover more of who they truly are rather than improving function alone feels very important to me. Most people are in a lot of motion, highly stressed, emotional, anxious and are not connected to how their body ‘feels’ which is our most natural sense.

Most of all, for me - it is beautiful to witness when people feel, maybe sometimes for the first time, how awesome and lovely they really are.

For fertility & women’s health Esoteric Healing is invaluable. A woman will begin to connect to her body and her own gentleness. She will also begin to feel where the issues are really coming from.

What should a patient expect?

When someone comes in for the first time, I talk a little bit about Esoteric healing and the Gentle breath meditation. I will also ask them about their body and where they are at right now. What do they feel? What’s coming up for them at the moment (emotional, stress, specific situations, etc)?

After we chat briefly I will ask them to get up onto the table where I will place my hands in different positions on the body, using specific patterns, depending on what’s going on. The client is not required to do anything at all, just to let go into the session as much as possible and let their soul do the healing.

After a 1 hour session, I may chat briefly about what I felt in the body however sometimes I prefer to leave them in their gentleness- feeling their own loveliness.

It is totally up to each individual as to how often they come. It is important for them to feel what is right for them. Each session helps to clear what is coming up and also helps to deepen their connection with themselves, their body and their inner-heart. So if someone has recognised their own gentleness and they feel committed to building this in their body, they may decide to come weekly or fortnightly for a while to support this.

I have been enjoying the benefits of sessions with Sara. It's wonderful for us to have different treatments available at the Pagoda Tree that can appeal to many clients because one thing we know - is that no two people are the same. It's a matter of finding what works for you.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Good Food Friday Treats :: Granola

This recipe comes straight out of The Tao Diet Cookbook - one of the books we sell here in the Clinic. Granola is a gentle meal for the digestive system. According to Chinese Medicine it tones and supports the middle (digestion/gut) and nourishes the spleen. It's best enjoyed in summer.

750g rolled oats
125g hazel nuts
150g wholemeal flour
250g desiccated coconut
1 tsp sea salt
375g currants
100g sultanas
1 cup rice malt
2 tbs honey
1 tsp good quality vanilla essence
1/2 cup apple juice
1 tsp corn oil or sesame oil

Set aside the dried fruits. Combine dry ingredients and rub in the oil. Next, mix the dry ingredients with the liquids. Spread out the mixture on a baking tray and place in a preheated, warm oven. Bake until browned.
Remove from oven and turn, using a wooden spoon. Repeat until the mix is thoroughly browned. It doesn't matter if there is some moisture. Allow to cool.
Mix in fruits. Store in an airtight glass container.

Enjoy with milk as a breakfast or dessert.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Lunar Cycle & the Time of Lunar Return

You may have heard of the term 'lunar cycle.' It refers to the idea that the moon has an influence on the body and the menstrual cycle. Have you noticed that you ovulate or menstruate with the moon? Francesa Naish first brought my attention to the Lunar Cycle and how it effects fertility. Francesa, a natural fertility herbalist, wrote the book Natural Fertility.

The word menstruation comes from the greek language and translates into 'month' & 'moon.' We have known forever that the moon pulls the tides, and given our body is 70% water, it should be no shock that it effects and influences the body. What might come as a surprise is the idea that you might be fertile more than once in your menstrual cycle – possibly outside the ovulation phase - this term is referred to as Spontaneous ovulation, induced by the lunar cycle.

Firstly, how is it relevant to fertility?

Naish suggest that there are several ways in which the moon affects our reproductive function.

1. Gravity. Through gravitation pull on fluids - an ovum is suspended in fluid. If it's in the right position at the right time, this will influence ovulation and the egg is forced to be released.

2. Light. Dependent on if the moon is new or if it is full, amount of light available changed. It has been shown that the moon increases levels of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), essential for ovulation. The body also absorbs light in other ways - all essential to specific body function.

3. Ionisation. The full moon brings an increase in positive ions, while the negative ions proliferate as the moon wanes. The adrenals are particularly sensitive to this.

4. Electromagnetism. The electrical potential of living organisms increases as full and new moons have an affect on the nervous system.

Here is the interesting part:

The moon takes 28 days to orbit the earth; the same amount of time of a healthy menstrual cycle is. Of course this can vary from woman to woman but essentially it's 4 weeks from the start of one cycle to the next. However the repetition of the phase of the moon at which you were born has a strong influence on your fertility. I hear you say huh? At least, that was my initial thought when I was first introduced to this idea. This means that if you ovulate – you’re fertile, however there is an added element - another part of your cycle influenced by the moon and your own body clock, in which you are also potentially fertile.

The Rules.

Jonas made the rules! (Dr Eugen Jonas) He had an understanding of astrobiology; a combination of astrology, psychology and medicine. Dr Jonas based much of his findings through working with Catholic women who were using the rhythm method. He felt that, "if there were any truth in the ancient ideas of astrologers, that Man and Universe were part of the same harmonic unity, then as important an event as conception must surely be subject to the same cosmic laws." (Pg 100. Naish, 1999) Dr Jonas researched writings of ancient astrologers and discovered this: Women are fertile during a certain phase of the moon. He determined the patterns where a woman is fertile outside their expected mid-cycle ovulation time.

Rule # 1. The time of a woman's fertility depends on the recurrence of the angle between the sun and the moon that occurred at the woman's birth. Again, huh? Basically the concept is this. A woman is fertile at the same phase of the moon that was present at her birth.

Rule #2. The sex of the child conceived depends on the position of the moon at the moment of conception. So if a child is conceived in the male sign of the zodiac it will be male and same for the female. I just want to put in a caveat to this - please don't go decking out the nursery in pink based on this. I can’t be responsible for redecorating costs!

Rule #3. The distrubition of gravitational forces, at the time of conception can affect the viability of pregnancy and feotus. According to Jonas' you are fertile when the sun and moon are at the same relative angle as they were at the exact time of your birth, whether or not this coincides with your mid cycle ovulation.

There are still a lot of unanswered questions as to how this all works, but what has been established is that the lunar cycle is connected to, and has an affect on fertility.

Extra Ovulation?

The belief is this. Biologically tension, due to the effect on certain moon phases, builds up in a woman's nervous and hormonal systems, and in the event of intercourse may lead to another follicle being released, resulting in a spontaneous ovulation. What Jonas went on to discover was that this event occurs at the time of lunar return (the phase the moon was in at the time of her birth). This is one way to explain those mystery conceptions or those which don't match with ovulation or scan dates. It is possible, some of us get more than one chance a month to conceive.

Detecting the 'extra' ovulation is possible although not as clear as the mid-cycle ovulation. Women mostly report ovulation pain, a sudden temperature dip or rise and increase fertile mucus following intercourse. When I read this, my sceptical hat sat up tall on my head but as I continued to read Johnas findings he also observed that following this freakish event, the endometrium immediately begins to thicken and prepare for implantation! Amazing. The body certainly seemed to know exactly what it was doing.


Using this theory for conception (or contraception the opposite - protect!!) is simple. You time intercourse when the moon is in the same phase as it was at the time of your birth. Here is how it works: If you are born four days before a full moon, then potentially you will be fertile four days before each moon. Some women's timing will fall within their ovulation phase, this means they get one GREAT chance at conception, whilst others will be far outside mid-cycle ovulation, giving them essentially two chances in a month.

To calculate your 'extra' day

This is tricky! However guess what I found? An iphone application that does it for you! Searching on my iphone and sure enough, should I want to know this date - I don't have to get out my calculator, moon charts, dates, times and so on. I am not connected to or endorsing this product in any way. I'm actually yet to download it, but I have heard on the grapevine it works.

And so,

I admit that for a long time I was sceptical that such events could take place - an extra chance of conception in a month. This theory isn't fully understood - mostly by those who need concrete proof. In my profession, proof is in the pudding not necessarily on paper! Whilst there are some aspects I am not fully certain of in Dr. Jonas findings, (one being gender selection with relevance to the moon) I think he was definitely onto something!

And finally,

I'm certain there will be plenty of questions about this post. Thank you to the lady who wrote in and requested I blog about it. I had been thinking about sharing this idea for sometime, and coincidently this was to be the week I did. Don't be afraid to ask any questions. It is an unique concept and I'm sure your query wouldn't be dissimilar to many other women's.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Gone Fishing.....

original image here

I've gone fishing. I'm taking 5. When was the last time you took 5? 5 minutes to simply stop, be present, breathe. It does good things for your insides; your mind, your body and your soul. Today, let's take 5 together. I'll be back tomorrow.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Good Food Friday Treats :: spinach and ricotta pie

I'm being attacked by silverbeet. The patch is thriving and I have mountains of it. I didn't realise how many different names there were for this stuff. Spinach, chard, crab beet, seakale beet... whatever you call it, silverbeet is awesome. Get it onto your plate - your body won't be disappointed. It is high in Vitamins A, K and C, and rich in minerals, dietary fibre and protein. An all round winner really. Popeye knew he was onto a good thing!

spinach and ricotta pie

2 cups of cooked brown rice
40 gm melted butter
2 egg yolks (keep whites for pie filling)

500ml ricotta
2 bunches of spinach or 1 bunch of silverbeet chopped
2 whole eggs, 2 egg whites (left over from base)
1/2 tsp nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

Mix together rice, butter and egg yolks. Gently press the mixture into the base of a flan dish or similar and bake in the oven for approximately 15 minutes or until it begins to brown.

Meanwhile, place ricotta into a bowl and separate using a potato masher. Add all other ingredients and mix well. Place on top of rice base, and cook for 20 minutes or until top begins to brown.

So simple. You can add anything to the topping that you like. Mushrooms would go really well in the filling too!

Monday, November 15, 2010

little fussy eater

Hayley from Little Pinwheel captured my little Olivia. Clever woman, cute kid. Perfect combo.

A little while ago I wrote for Practical Parenting about fussy little eaters and appetite.

My little eater has lost her appetite, and so it's up to her Dr mummy to find it. If you take the time to look at the linked post, you will read that it's common for children to go through periods where they refuse to eat. Lucky for us, Chinese Medicine does an excellent job of getting things back into working order, and so I'm now armed with a herbal formula to get her tummy back into rhythm. Today is day 1. I will keep you posted on this journey.

I found this quote and it has stayed with me all day.
He who takes medicine and neglects to diet wastes the skill of his doctors. ~Chinese Proverb

No skill will be wasted here (I'm almost sure of it - provided the 2 year olds will is weaker than mine).

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Exercise and Fertility

Ovulation is one of the most important factors associated with fertility. Without it, a woman simply isn't fertile. I received an email last week asking me if I'd write about ovulation and exercise. The emailer indicated she had lost her period as a result of exercise and she wanted to know how to keep the balance. Here is what I think.

several factors will affect, delay or inhibit ovulation:

When the normal rhythm of a woman's cycle is balanced, she will move through the month without too much discomfort. A period will arrive and last approximately 5-7 days. She will go on to ovulate typically between 12 - 16 days .Following this she can then expect a period around 11 days later. If this pattern is squwiffed, these events can happen (or not happen) at irregular times. Ovulation will be affected by several factors including excess exercise, rapid weight loss, weight gain, stress (emotional, physical or otherwise) and the use of some pharmaceuticals. Illness' such as poly cystic ovarian syndrome and endometriosis may also effect ovulation. The bottom line is - if your ovulation is affected, there is always a good reason as to why.

when your GP says go...

I find it very interesting that when a women's menstrual cycle goes missing, many western medical practitioners will get a patient on the merry go round of testing and investigating exactly what's going on. Sometimes this is necessary but if weight or stress has been the cause, tests may not provide an answer. In cases like this, I am reminded why I love Chinese Medicine so much. CM treats fertility and ovulatory issues well. Very often, there isn't anything wrong with the body –apart from the fact that it doesn't have enough energy left over for fertility.

getting ovulation to co-operate

when it comes to exercise or stress, too much of either will stop the body from ovulating simply because there isn't enough energy to supply the reproductive organs with what they need. We don't need to be fertile to survive. If ovulation is being disrupted, and suddenly your periods stop, it's your body’s way of telling you something isn't right. There is only one answer in natural fertility; less physical activity, more healthy food. If you ignore this your body will simply not ovulate, and this could have long term repercussions. To sort out these types of issues - the difference between being able to ovulate may be as little as a few kilograms. Weighing 4kg more should be enough to get the plumbing sorted. This goes for overweight women too. 4kg can certainly make a big difference. Calorie intake has an immediate effect on the pituitary hormones acting on the ovaries.

Of course, exercise is part of a healthy lifestyle and I encourage everybody to find what works for them. This emailer indicated that she loved to exercise - which is fantastic. Exercise is the best way to move stress hormones through the body as well as giving our muscles and inner workings the attention they need. 1 hour every day is plenty.

here's what I do.

At the clinic The Pagoda Tree we will always incorporate treatment with mapping out a healthy lifestyle plan for patients to follow. Often when the body is really depleted, and even though a patient gains a few kg or sorts out the stress situation, it can be a slow process. By the use of acupuncture and herbal medicine we get things moving again. Treatments are always individual, so they work. This means that two patients may both have missing menstrual cycles, but the treatment for each is totally different as we adjust it accordingly. Somebody who is blood deficient isn't going to require the same treatment as someone who has stagnation through the reproductive region. Being specific with our treatment works.

and finally. always, always eat the best that you can

Small factors will also make the difference because when you add up the small things they can equal one big thing. Fresh wholesome food and preferably organic where possible is essential. Getting adequate protein in (not necessarily from meat but from legumes, nuts and pulses) is really important for fertility. Invest in a good quality multi vitamin and fish oil and get stress under control. By adding these small things to your lifestyle you are certainly a step in the right direct to encouraging the body to work to its best ability.

I love that this emailer has taken the time to ask how she can better her health. Be encouraged by her strength to come forward and find ways that help her to be more fertile. My inbox is always open.


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