Today’s pleased to share a guest post from a fellow hypnobirthing practitioner. Lori and I trained together in 2007. But before we start, there is a new documentary, entitled MicroBirth, and watching it is a great introduction to this subject.
The Microbiome: The Evidence Says…
By Lori Nicholson, MPA, HBCE, CH, NLPP
The most important steps that can be taken to ensure the proper “seeding” of the baby are:
As the baby who wants to be conceived, I want:
Harman T and Wakeford A. Microbirth: Revealing the microscopic events during childbirth that could hold the key to the future of humanity. DVD. Alto Films: 2014.
Mueller NT et al. The infant microbiome development: mom matters. Trends Mol Med. 2015;21(2):109-117. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4464665
Munyaka PM, Khafipour E, Ghia J-E. External influence of early childhood establishment of gut microbiota and subsequent health implications. Front Pediatr. 2014;2:109. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4190989
Just got home from the screening of the new documentary about breastfeeding entitled Milk.
In addition to the overall coolness of having the film director skype in to talk about the film, and meeting up with lots of folks in Regina’s breastfeeding and birthing community, I also learned some new stuff about breastfeeding.
Here’s what stands out…
1. When a natural disaster strikes, sending in formula with the relief effort can actually have a negative effect of the health of that region’s babies. How? Well often the formula is given for free to moms who are breastfeeding their babies. These mothers take the gifted formula and use it. However after about 2-4 months, the relief efforts diminish and no more free formula is given out. At this point, these mothers have lost their own milk supply, and are now dependent of the formula, which is of course much more costly than the free breastmilk that their bodies were making. When these natural disasters happen in impoverished areas, the cost of the formula become unsustainable. These mothers then resort to water and sugar, or water and rice milk, or coffee whitener, leading to malnourished babies. In addition, especially in the wake of a natural disaster, the water supply is often compromised, and access to the tools necessary for boiling water, and sterilizing bottles is patchy. So these babies are also at greater risk for water-born illnesses. All this adds up to much sicker babies. Instead we should be focus on sending moms the food they need, so they can continue to make milk. And when you hear about how awesome it is that company or aid agency sent formula following a natural disaster, so it’s time to think again.
2. Considering that the film was made by a Canadian filmmaker, I assumed that the documentary who tell the story of breastfeeding in Canada. So I was surprised to see over 11 different countries from across the globe represented. And then I was doubly surprised to see how universal some of the challenges of breastfeeding are. Some of those universal challenges are how much we have disrupted the natural processes of birth. I already knew how much birth influences breastfeeding (there are multiple books, studies and loads of research of that topic). Essentially the more we intervene during birth, the more likely we’ll create issues with breastfeeding. What I didn’t appreciate is how across the globe we are intervening in the natural birth process, with implication for the breastfeeding relationship after. Another universal challenge seems to be around the issue of support. In some areas it’s a lack of support from extended family, in others it’s a general lack of support from the society. In some countries, like the US where moms return back to work after 6 weeks, it can be a lack of support from their employers. In Canada, a number of women interviewed mentioned the lack of support when issues or problems arise. So although it shows up in different ways in different cultures, a lack of support appears to be a key challenge facing breastfeeding moms no matter where they live.
3. Another universal challenge is the difficulty of providing human milk for babies when their own mothers are not able to do this. Human milk banks were more common in the 80’s than they are today. That shocked me! I thought we would have been moving forward, not backwards. So how did that happen? Well back in the 70’s when we started to realize the health benefits of breastmilk, milk banks came into existence. These milk banks allowed women with a surplus supply to donate that milk to babies who needed it. When the AIDS epidemic occurred, the fear of AIDS transmission basically shut down most of North American’s milk banks. The film told the story of a Brazilian milk bank that fought to remain open by finding a way to pasteurize breastmilk to the point where the AIDS virus, if present, was destroyed and the milk made safe. In this area of Brazil the local fire department, when not fighting fires, makes housecalls to pick up breastmilk from moms who are able to pump extra milk for donation. Can you imagine the increase in breastmilk donations if there was a service in your community that would come and pick it up? And if you are wondering, yes the pasteurization process does destroy some of the qualities in the milk, but even pasteurized human milk is still loads more nutritious and beneficial as compared to any formula.
All and all a great night and an insightful documentary. Here’s the trailer. And if it speaks to you, you might like to consider hosting a screening. (The local screening I attended was a fundraiser for our local milk bank. Truly a win-win situation).
What if there was something that you could do for yourself and for your family to help them be and stay healthy?
Right now is the prefect time to empower yourself with the information and the tools that you need to create long term wellness.
If you’ve been following my blog, watching my videos or spending time with me in person, it will become pretty clear that I’m passionate about a few things!
- Helping women feel empowered – through their birth journey and as mothers.
- That emotional wellbeing is just as important as physical wellbeing
- That both the body and mind have amazing self-healing ability when provided with the right tools and the right environment.
- Wellbeing can be simple! Through small daily actions.
My own journey through pregnancy and birth showed me that having the right tools (hypnobirthing techniques & support) combined with good information had hugely positive effect on that experience.
When my daughter was a baby I begin looking for closely at our cleaning products. Everyone kept offering suggestions on how to lock up this stuff so she wouldn’t accidentally poison herself. But it made me question for the first time, what was really in those products, and did I really want them in my home at all?
That was a start of a journey that led to a much healthier home environment one small change at a time. When I started making my own clearing products, I started adding lavender and tea tree oils into them for their beautiful smell, but also for their powerful effect on germs.
And that was that. For 7 years that I all I did with my lovely essential oils. I cleaned with them! (By the way, my homemade cleaners are the BOMB – more posts on that to come – be sure to subscribe so you get them straight to your inbox, the subscribe is at the top right of the page)
When my friend invited me to learn about how essential oils could help my health, I was curious! I knew they were great for cleaning, but health?
What I learned that class made me feel so hopeful and excited about the possibility of being able to handle some many of issues that come up in my family and any family really… skin rashes, colds, tummy aches, headaches, and the list goes on…
So supplied with the right tools and the information that I needed I began using the oils with my family. Our results made me SO excited. Things that in the past, we just suffered through, we now had natural solutions at our fingers tips. Stuff that actually worked.
I felt like I had found the holy grail! But seriously I felt so empowered in my family’s healthcare!
The next thing I knew, I was telling all the other mamas I knew about it. I wanted them to have the same experience! I wanted to provide them to the same simple, safe and empowering solutions for their own families.
And because I’m a born teacher at heart, I started teaching classes about it. At my classes, I discovered that people were looking for a community of liked minded mamas who would share the journey of clean living and natural solutions. Empowering Wellness Facebook group was born.
I ended up teaching so many class that our local TV station found out and invited to join the morning news.
Still today, I know people are searching for better ways, because when we consider the number of toxic chemicals in our bodies, our nutrient depleted food, our dependency of pharmaceuticals, it makes you wonder…
Essential oils are natural aromatic compounds. Have you ever squeezed the peel of an orange, or rubbed pine needles between your finger tips to smell them? When you did this, you experienced the essential oil of that plant.
Essential oils are found on the leaves, stems, flowers, roots, bark, and other parts of the plant. They are extracted through steam distillation or cold pressing.
In addition to their intrinsic benefits to plants and being beautifully fragrant to people, essential oils have long been used for food preparation, beauty treatment, and personal health care practices.
Keep in mind that essential oils are highly concentrated. It can take literally tons of plant material to produce even a small amount of essential oil. Many times, the essential oil can be much more highly concentrated that a dried herb from the same plant.
One of the simplest ways to experience the power of essential oils is to simply inhale them.
Essential oil are not all created equal. You see there is no governing body that regulates purity or the potency claims that the many different essential oil companies make.
It’s important to use only pure therapeutic (meant for healing) grade essential oils that are sourced where they grow when they thrive abundantly (which generally means sourcing the oils from across the globe).
It’s equally important to chose a company that you can trust, that they doing the work of sourcing in an ecologically and ethically sound manner and creating the best of what our beautiful planet can provide.
Let me know at email@example.com if you would information on the brand of oils that I use, love and trust completely!
Every day there is more and more scientific evidence that essentials oils have powerful positive effects on both our minds and our bodies. In fact more that 5000 studies were published this year alone. One of my favourite places to go is a website called www.aromaticscience.com This is a database for all essential oil research.
The biggest challenge with embracing this new way of taking care of your family’s health, is knowing where to start. That’s where I come in.
Email me today to book your complimentary wellness consultation, and let’s get on the path of health together. firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s going to be a fantastic journey!
New emerging research is now finding that how you use your cell phone might be added to the changes that you’ve already made, like abstaining from alcohol and cigarettes. So what’s the problem with mobile phones?
New scientific studies are suggesting that radiation from wireless devices, aka your cell phone, is capable of interfering with the tiny electrical impulses that help synapses connect in a developing brain.
Researchers at Yale University have been able to demonstrate that the brains of laboratory mice when exposed to pulsed radio frequency radiation (like what your cell phone emits) in utero were wired differently from those of the mice who were not exposed, resulting in behavioral differences that include poorer memory and symptoms that resemble ADHD in children.
And that Yale study isn’t the first to show this either. In fact there is about 20 years of research that shows that the radiation from wireless devices have biological effects on humans, including DNA strand breaks and other harmful effects.
“The fetus is perhaps the most vulnerable to these types of insults, when the brain is just forming, when all of the organ systems are just beginning to develop,” says Dr. Hugh Taylor, Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Yale-New Haven Hospital, Professor of Women’s Health at Yale University, and lead author of the study. “There’s essentially no downside to being cautious and protecting your baby. Why not do it?”
In 2008, a large scale study that involved over 13 000 children found that if their mothers used cell phones just two or three times a day, that was enough to raise the risk of their babies developing hyperactivity and difficulties with conduct, emotions and relationships by the time they reached school age. In addition that study also found that the likelihood of behavioural problems is even greater if the children themselves used the phones before the age of seven.
In that study the research questioned the moms of 13 159 children born in the 1990’s in Denmark about their cell phone use during their pregnancy, and about their children’s use of cell phones up to the age of seven years old. Now the spooky part is that in the 1990s not everyone used cell phones, so about half of these moms didn’t even use a mobile phone at all or used it very infrequently. This allowed the scientists to make comparisons between the groups.
Here’s what they found.
- Moms who used a cell phone were 54 percent more likely to have kids with behavioural issues.
- The occurrence of behavioural problems increased with the amount of exposure to the cell phone radiation.
- Children under that age of 7 who used cell phones themselves were 80 percent more likely to have problems with behaviour. (25% more with emotional problems, 34% problems relating to other children, 35% more likely to be hyperactive and 49% more issues with general conduct)
When that study was released over 7 years ago, scientists were surprised at the findings because at the time they knew of no biological mechanisms that could explain the results. In fact they actually tried to explain away the results by looking at other possible causes for the findings, such as smoking during the pregnancy, socio-economic status and a family history of behavoiral and psychological issues. However what they found was that these other causes, simple increased the negative association with the cell phone use.
Now we understand that it’s likely that damage being done to baby’s neural connections that would explain the results found in the Denmark study.
So NOW WHAT?
Generally speaking, proximity is the most important factor in determining the amount of wireless radiation to which you and your baby are exposed. Radiation levels fall off dramatically as you distance yourself from the source.
Ten Ways You Can Reduce Your Wireless Exposure
Avoid carrying your cell phone on your body (e.g. in a pocket or bra).
Avoid placing your cell phone, wireless laptop or tablet on your abdomen. Don’t talk or text while holding a phone against your body.
Use your cell phone on speaker setting or with an “air tube” headset.
Avoid using your wireless device in cars, trains or elevators.
Avoid using cordless phones (which also expose you to wireless radiation), especially where you sleep. Corded phones do not emit this radiation.
Streaming videos and playing games results in higher levels of RFR exposure. Download and then view or play with the device in “airplane” mode. Download your email and then disconnect from WiFi, allowing you to read and respond without being exposed.
Whenever possible, connect to the internet with wired cables.
When using Wi-Fi, connect only to download, then disconnect.
Avoid prolonged or direct exposure to WiFi routers at home, school or work. If your job requires you to use a computer, position yourself so that you are not sitting close to the router and not between the router and your computer.
Unplug your home Wi-Fi router when not in use (e.g. at bedtime).
If your home or apartment or close neighbor has a wireless utility meter (i.e. a “smart” meter), sleep in a room as far away from it as possible.
The ever-growing wireless world that we live in means that wireless radiation is all around us. But you can still make some personal choices that can reduce your exposure. As mentioned previously, keeping a safe distance from transmitters or antennas and keeping your personal wireless devices away from your body is relatively easy to do. The amount of time you spend using wireless devices is also important. Remember that exposure adds up over time.
Would it be ok if I shared with you one of the strategies that has really worked for me in creating a healthier home?
Of course, there are many ways to do this, but I’ve found that creating a wellness routine is a really simple and sustainable way to do this.
Now I’ve got to start off by saying that everyone’s wellness routine will look different! Today I’m sharing mine in the hopes that it will inspire you to create your very own routine! So point isn’t to cookie-cutter copy this, but rather to explore ways that you might create your own version. Make sure you keep it simple, start small, build from there and change it up as you need to.
It’s not a big “to do” or “should do” list, but rather a way to take small moments throughout the day to make sure you’re taking care of yourself.
Lemon Water: Before bed I place a glass of water with a squeeze of lemon juice and a drop of lemon oil beside my bed. I drink it first thing in the morning as a support to my kidneys and liver, and to start my day of with hydration.
Balance Essential Oil : This is a wonderfully grounding blend of essential oils. Because I have a tendency to feel scattered during the day, balance helps me to stay calm and keeps overwhelm at bay. I have mine a roller bottle (diluted 1/3 balance, 2/3 fractionated coconut oil) and I roll it on the soles of my feet, spine and the back of my neck.
Gratitude & Inspiration: I keep a gratitude journal beside my bed. Every morning, I take a couple minutes to reflect on the blessings on the past day and note them. I choose a gratitude card for my deck to help me focus on the good stuff for the coming day. Then I spend a couple minutes reading from something that I feel is spiritually uplifting and inspiring. I finish off this quiet time to 2-3 minutes of meditation/prayer.
Supplements: I used to be a bit anti-supplements, because I just thought that if I ate well that was enough. However, as I dug deeper into health, I realized that even if we eat the best diet possible we are likely still missing some key nutrients. I love the Life Long Vitality pack as well-rounded whole-food based nutritional supplement. It’s a great anti-inflammatory and it contains all my omegas too. Since I started using it, I’ve noticed better immune system function, more energy and my body’s joints and muscles feel more at ease as well. You can learn more about it here. The other supplement I really love is called Mito2Max, it’s designed to support the adrenals, includes Ashwaganda and it works like a natural energy boosting drink.
Focus: My days go better when I use a few essential oils to support mental clarity and focus. I love Frankincense and the In Tune focus blend for this. I keep both diluted in roller bottles and these go behind my ears and right at the base of my hairline. If I really need an extra boost I diffuse 1 drop of peppermint, wild orange, patchouli and frankincense in my diffuser as well.
Immune Support: This part of my wellness routine comes and goes depending on the time of year and the amount of viruses that are in my environment. I think of this as my germ shield. It’s a blend of essential oils that I roll on the bottoms of my feet. In a 10ml roller bottle, I put 20 drops OnGuard protective blend, 10 drops Oregano oil, 20 drops Lemon oil, and top with fractionated coconut oil.
My Daily Top 6: Everyday I start off by figuring out what are the most essential tasks that need to happen that day. I always seem to have a to-do list that is longer than my arm. If I forget this step and don’t prioritize than I end up finishing the day having been busy all day, but without feeling like I accomplished anything. When I take the time in the morning to prioritize, my intentions are more clear, and I get the most important things looked after. This impacts my overall wellbeing because then I feel successful and productive.
Herbal Tea: I’m the type of person who could quite easily just keep working without stopping. However I’ve noticed that although I might increasing my work hours that way, I don’t actually increase my productivity. I do better with a little nurturing brain break in the afternoons. A cup of herbal tea settles me, hydrates me and gives me a little bit of downtime. Currently I’m in love with variations of rooibos tea.
No Screen Time 30 minutes before Bed: I’ve found that if I avoid the TV screen and computer screen for about 30 minutes before bedtime, then I fall asleep a lot more easily. This has to do with the melatonin levels in your body. Melatonin is a hormone that your body naturally produces in low light and it helps you sleep.
Serenity: There are lots of essential oil options that are helpful for promoting a deep and restful sleep. I’ve found that the serenity calming blend works really well for me. I have this in a diluted in a roller bottle as well. (can you tell that I love roller bottles!) This blend goes on the inside of my wrists and the soles of my feet.
Visualization: This is particularly helpful if my mind is quite busy when I’m trying to fall asleep. The human mind loves patterns, so I visualize or imagine the same sequence each evening, and over time this has taught my mind to anticipate sleep and it really helps settle my mind. Here’s my sequence. First I relax each area of my body physically: head/neck, shoulders/arms, chest/upper back, lower back/belly, pelvis/hips, tights/knees, lower legs/feet. Then I imagine each of the colours of the rainbow from red to violet. Next I imagine a special set of stairs to take to me my inner refuge. Then I arrive at my inner refuge and do a couple of things there. Finally I imagine a story that I like that has nothing to do with my own life (often inspired by a book or show I’m watching). At this point because I’ve been doing this for a few years, I often fall asleep at the beginning on the sequence.
You’re welcome to take these suggestions and try them out. And if you’d like me to help you create your own wellness routine using essential oils in your own household, contact me so we can chat.
Finally I would love to hear about your wellness routine. Share your ideas in the comments.
Lately I’ve been exploring the idea of creating more wellbeing at home. One of the ideas that really resonated with me is the idea of protecting my children’s free time. Right away I realized that was what I was attempted to do when we sat down as a family and chose our kids activities for the school year. As a parent, I recognize that I have a great deal of influence over how my children spend their time outside of school. Although there are dozens and dozens of benefits to music, arts and sporting activities – there is also a benefit to free time.
I want my kids to have the opportunity to be bored. And yes, it’s sometimes it is grating on my nerves when they complain about it, but after being bored for a while, something magical happens! They figure something out. They create the coolest and most imaginative games. They start a project. They go outside. They experience FREEDOM.
When I think about how much freedom I had growing up compared to my parents, I can’t help feeling as though with each generation kids have less and less freedom. I had less that my father or my mother, and my kids definitely have less freedom than I did. And while there are probably a host of different cultural reasons that explain that change, I do want to create pockets of freedom for my kids where I can.
During those pockets of free time, it may not look like much is happening. Despite the fact that I completely value productive activity, I also know that worthwhile activities don’t always appear worthwhile. Sometimes it may seem as though my kids aren’t doing anything particularly important or useful, however there is value in play. As an adults, it’s interesting to reflect back on the type of play that we most in enjoyed as children, often there are hints to our future occupations in that play. Play gives kids a chance to try out so many different roles and ideas. It gives them space to figure out how they like to spend their time. And that in itself holds value.
We hear about yoga seemingly everywhere these days. The same can be said for essential oils. Both are becoming SO popular. This is because they are BOTH awesome, and when you combine them, something pretty magical happens. (If you are unfamiliar with yoga or essential oils – scroll down for some definitions)
Combining the power and benefits of Yoga and Essential Oils will only help make your yoga practice more relaxing, more energizing, and more balancing.
So what exactly are some benefits of Yoga and Essential Oils? Here’s just a few of my favourites!
– Increased Flexibility and Stronger Core Muscles
– Supports Relaxation and Natural Sleep Patterns
– Easier and More Comfortable Body Movement
– More Energy and Feeling of Vitality
– Better Circulation and More Oxygen
– Help the Lymph System
– Release Stress and Tension
– Balance Mood and Enhance Emotional Wellbeing
– Release Toxins in the Body
Essential oils can bring clarity of mind and they also bring increased natural healing when accompanied with yoga. Yoga can be challenging but it really can help get you on the road to a healthier body, mind, and spirit.
If you are interested in trying out some aromayoga and you happen to live in Regina, Sk. Check out the studio where I teach for the aroma yoga class times and dates. http://www.everydaysacred.ca/schedule/
If you already have a home practice (meaning you do yoga on your own at home) start incorporating the essential oils into your yoga practice by starting with this simple little sequence. First put your desired oil or oil blend into your diffuser and turn it out. This will benefit you through the entire session. Then start with a nice deep aromatic experience, by applying a drop or two into your hands and cupping your hands over your mouth and nose. Breathe deeply and slowing for 5 breathes. Next add a little bit of coconut oil to your hands to dilute your essential oil. Then apply the remaining oil to your neck and throat. Massage into these areas, and then move to the back of your neck, behind your ears, and into the base of your scalp. Also you can massage the remaining oil (or add another drop) into your low back, which is the adrenal and kidney region and then finally along the bottoms of your feet. Now you are ready to begin your regular yoga practice with the added healthful benefits of oils.
I hope you enjoy this new heavenly way to begin your yoga practice! Try it out and share your experiences in a comment!
Yoga is a Sanskrit word used to describe an ancient meditative practice used to unite the body, mind and spirit. In contemporary culture, many view yoga as a form of movement involving stretching into certain postures. Yoga is far more than that, as through the movements, known as asanas or poses, we begin to quiet the mind and focus in the present moment -creating a meditative quality to our day and practice, which can bring balance to the body, mind and spirit.
Yoga is practiced in so many forms today, that it defies simple description. There are yoga programs offered by trained instructors all over the world in specialized yoga studios or outdoors at the park, or on the beach, at the gym or in a church, at your desk at work or on a plane, in your own living room or hotel room while following an online yoga website. Yoga is practiced by many different people of all ages, shapes and sizes, all around the world.
What are Essential Oils?
If you have ever enjoyed the scent of a rose, or the pine tree when you bring it in at Christmas, or the smell of a fresh cut orange, then you’ve experienced the aromatic qualities of essential oils. These naturally occurring, volatile aromatic compounds are found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of all botanicals. They can be both beautifully and powerfully fragrant. In addition to giving plants their distinctive smells, essential oils protect plants and play a role in plant pollination. In addition to their intrinsic benefits to plants and being beautifully fragrant to people, essential oils have long been used for food preparation, beauty treatment, and health care practices.