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Socks for the Homeless

Donating socks for the homelessThe Brisbane Motorcycle Street Feed group provide free hot, home-cooked meals for the homeless. Once a week they feed between 150 and 300 people, and Michael Devlin of More Real Estate is an active member of this group. In winter, Michael also collects socks for the homeless to help keep their feet warm.

We are very pleased to have donated over $500 worth of thick, hard-wearing socks to help make the lives of those without homes a little more comfy.

Brisbane Motorcycle Street Feed Facebook page

Car Donation

Handover of car to 'Steve'Peter had an old but reliable car he wanted to give away, to someone in our local community who was struggling financially and in desperate need of a vehicle.

We ended up selecting ‘Steve’ (not his real name), for the car. Steve has been through a very rough time lately. His partner was pregnant with twins, but unfortunately she developed a health issue and the babies had to be delivered immediately, and one of them died. Steve was a nurse and he took it very hard that he couldn’t do anything about it. He fell into a deep depression and his relationship broke down. Steve stopped working and lived in his car for a while, and then in a men’s shelter. He is just starting to get on top of his depression, and has managed to obtain a job working for a palliative care and respite care centre for young children with terminal illnesses. Steve will also be returning to his studies for his nursing degree.

However, Steve’s new job is at Chermside and he lives at Browns Plains. He would have needed to use public transport to get there and home, and the job will involve shift work.

This is what the lady who suggested Steve said when she found out about him getting the car.
“Peter, my brother has just called me in tears. I can’t thank you enough. This has taken a huge weight off his shoulders (and off mine). Not only can he now start his new job with a reliable little car, he will also be able to drive to see his children (which I know he dearly misses).

Thank you so very very much.”

Steve’s story touched us all at the clinic, and we are very grateful we could help him.

Update Nov 2017

We have recently heard back from ‘Steve’, and he is loving his new job, is seeing his kids regularly, and his depression is improving every day! We are very pleased to hear about the improvement in his life.

Hospital Trial Shows Acupuncture as Effective as Drugs

An Australian trial of acupuncture in our hospitals has found the therapy is more effective than morphine when it comes to relieving acute pain.

Here are the full details of the study, showing that the “Success rate was significantly different between the 2 groups (92% in the acupuncture group vs 78% in the morphine group).”


Case Study- Migraines and Headaches

Dianne (nMigraines and headachesot her real name) had been suffering from almost daily migraines and headaches for the past 6 years. As well as the pain, the migraines caused vomiting and diarrhoea, and her headaches made her feel dizzy and have difficulty concentrating. Heat, stress, tiredness, neck problems, sinus problems and jaw tension all made her conditions worse.

For those who get headaches, the vast majority will have an issue in their neck. And for people who get migraines, it is normal to find that they have a combination of their neck being out (usually at the very top), their liver not working well, and excess stress.

Dianne had been diagnosed with degeneration of the spine in her neck. When I examined her, her C1 vertebrae was also rotated, which was causing pressure on the Basilar artery into her head. This will usually cause headaches, migraines and/or dizziness.

Dianne was given an acupuncture treatment to untwist her C1 vertebrae, and loosen the muscles in her head generally, including her jaw muscles. This made her head very clear and her neck felt good. At her next treatment, she reported that her migraines were less, however she had come down with a cold, which made her sinuses and her headaches worse. So she was given a treatment to boost her immune system.

At her third treatment, Dianne’s C1 and the muscles in her head were treated again. For her fourth visit, Dianne was given a treatment to improve the blood flow in her body generally, including the blood flow to her head from her Basilar artery. As she was still reporting tightness in her jaw, the treatment also worked on correcting her jaw alignment. Dianne has reported that since this treatment she has had no further migraines or headaches.

This case illustrates that there can be many factors in a health problem, and sometimes good results are not obtained until most or all of these factors are sorted out. (For more information on the treatment of these conditions, you can read our Headaches and Migraines blog.)

Headaches and Migraines

Headaches and migraines

The Answers are in the Neck, Stress, and Circulation

How has your head been feeling?  The brain is an incredibly complex, sensitive, and often overworked part of the body.  It can be affected by heat, toxins, hormones, lack of fluid, pressure, and many other factors.  In fact, headaches are one of the most common health problems, with almost 90% of the population experiencing them occasionally.  Symptoms can range from mild discomfort, to feeling like someone is putting an axe through your skull, and having to lock yourself in a dark room all day.


There are over 200 different causes of headaches, however over 85% of the cases that we see at the clinic involve stress and/ or neck problems. Other causes can include dehydration, toxic overload, high blood pressure, sinus, inflammation, medications, and food sensitivities.  Most of the time a good massage will get rid of the headache and treat the neck problem or stress that caused it.  However, if this doesn’t help, if they keep coming back, or if you suspect something else may be causing your headaches, please book in for a free Health Assessment at our clinic.


Some migraines can be completely debilitating.  They usually show up as an intense, throbbing or pounding pain around one temple. (Sometimes the pain is located in the forehead, around the eye, or at the back of the head.)  Some people experience visual disturbances before an attack, known as an ‘aura’.  When the migraine occurs, the sufferer may also experience nausea, vomiting, or sensitivity to light and sound, so they may want to lie in a quiet, dark room during an attack.  A typical migraine lasts between 4 and 72 hours.

A migraine is caused by the vasodilation (expansion of blood vessels) in the brain.  The enlargement of these blood vessels stretches the nerves that coil around them, and causes the nerves to release chemicals.   These chemicals cause inflammation, pain, and further enlargement of the artery, making the pain even worse.

Preventing Migraines

As with any condition, it is important to treat what is causing the problem.

  1. Identify any triggers for the migraines.  Many of our migraine clients were found to have had food sensitivities.  Exposure to chemicals (especially perfumes or petrol smells), alcohol, flashing lights, MSG, and many other factors can also trigger migraines.
  1. Treat the way the body responds to these triggers. For example, food intolerance testing and treatments may be necessary for some people.  If chemicals, alcohol, smells, caffeine or smoking are triggers, a thorough detox (especially of the liver) is needed.
  1. Stress is normally an important factor, and most migraine sufferers will have an excess of adrenaline in their system, causing various muscles to be too tight. Massage, acupuncture, or specific natural supplements can be used to calm and relax the nervous system.
  1. Check and treat the circulation to the head and brain. As migraines are caused by swollen blood vessels in the brain, it is crucial to check the circulation in the head. We carefully look for
    • any puffy or ‘spongy’ areas at the top of the head
    • any ‘leathery’ feeling in the skin at the back of the neck
    • tightness on the side of the neck, just above the hollow above the collar bone
    • any puffy, swollen feeling at the base of the back of the skull
    • tiny, congested blood vessels at the back of the ears

Any of these can indicate pressure in the blood vessels inside the head. This can be caused by a) the constriction of the arteries to the head, or b) a build-up inside the walls of the blood vessels.

a) With migraines (and most headaches) there is virtually always a problem with the muscles or alignment of the neck.  Usually the top vertebrae in the neck is twisted, which ‘kinks’ the Basilar artery into the back of the head. The compression of the artery increases the pressure in the blood vessels, causing them to expand and press on the nerves in the brain. Because the Basilar artery supplies blood to the vision area of the brain, this can also cause the visual disturbances many people get with a migraine.

Basilar artery compression(Illustration from ‘Clinical Strategies’ by Kiiko Matsumoto and David Euler.)

Japanese acupuncture can be used to correct the alignment of this vertebrae long-term, instead of just temporarily.

b) It is also important to make sure that there is no build-up on the walls of the blood vessels (arteriosclerosis), such as cholesterol or calcium deposits.  (Japanese acupuncture treatments and various herbs can be used to improve the blood flow in these cases.)

Improving the blood flow to and in the head is particularly important for women who get headaches or migraines before their period.  There is a natural increase in the volume of blood in a woman’s body prior to her period, which puts extra pressure on any areas in her body where the blood flow is restricted.

Because this circulation disturbance causes less oxygen and nutrients to the brain, and a build-up of toxins in the head, the person may also experience anxiety, depression, or foggy thinking.

(Migraines are caused by pressure in the head, and a common migraine personality type is a very responsible person who put too much pressure on themselves.)


If you suffer from regular headaches or from migraines, we can help.  A Comprehensive Health Assessment will uncover what is causing the problem, and how it can be fixed.  (The normal value of an Assessment is $120, but we are offering them free of charge for a limited period.)  To find out how good you can really feel, please call us on 3376 6911, and ask for your free 1 hour Health Assessment soon.


Natural Home Remedies for Kids

Helping your child's healthWhether your child has a tummy ache, a stuffy nose, or a bug bite, some doctors say that old-fashioned home remedies are often the best way to help them feel better fast. These time-tested treatments rarely have side effects, cost next to nothing, and use items you probably already have on hand. If, however, your child is continually sick, or you suspect something more severe is going on, always consult your health practitioner for advice. But the next time your child has a minor ache or injury, you can usually find these smart solutions in your home.

Honey for Coughs

Honey coats and soothes the throat and helps tame a cough. In a study conducted by Pennsylvania State University’s College of Medicine, parents of 105 children aged 2 to 18 rated honey helpful and better than cough syrup for treating children’s night-time coughs. Give them 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of honey. You can mix the honey with hot water and a squeeze of lemon, which provides them a little vitamin C as well as the soothing honey. Because honey is sticky and sweet, it’s important for your child to brush their teeth after they take it, especially if you give it to them at bedtime.

Please note your child must be at least a year old to try this remedy.

Chamomile Tea for Colic

Peter Rabbit’s mother fed him soothing chamomile tea in Beatrix Potter’s classic tale, and you can give it to your infant to relax their intestinal muscles and calm them down. Steep the tea for four to five minutes, let it cool to room temperature, and then put one to two ounces in a bottle. Don’t give your baby more than four ounces a day, so that he or she will be sure to have plenty of room in their tummy for breast milk or formula.

Baking Soda for Bug Bites

Baking soda paste stops the itching of bites. The alkaline baking soda helps counteract the acidic swelling. Mix a teaspoon of baking soda with just enough water to make a thick paste, smear it on the bites, and let it dry.

Saline Solution for Congestion

For a child over 6 months, fill an eyedropper with preservative-free saline solution, tilt their head back, and gently squeeze the solution into each nostril. (Do it in the bath or over the sink.) In fact, a recent study found that using a nasal wash with a saline solution helped kids get over colds faster — and made them less likely to get sick again.

What you need

  • A eyedropper
  • Saline (salt water) solution. You can buy bottles of saline nose drops or saline sachets at a chemist, or make your own.

Recipe for homemade saline drops: Dissolve about 1/4 teaspoon of salt in 1/4 cup of warm water. Make a fresh batch each day and store it in a clean, covered glass jar. (Bacteria can grow in the solution, so don’t keep it for more than 24 hours.)

Steam for Congestion

Breathing moist air helps loosen the mucus in the nasal passages. A warm bath has the added benefit of relaxing your child. Have a humidifier or a cool-mist vaporizer going in your child’s bedroom when they are sleeping, resting, or playing in the room. Or, give your child a warm bath in a steamy bathroom. Let a hot shower run for a few minutes before getting the tub ready for your child. If they are old enough, let them play in the bath as long as they like – supervised, of course, unless they are old enough to hang out on their own. For children over the age of 2, adding a few drops of menthol to the bath water (or vaporizer) may also help them feel less congested. If it’s not a convenient time for a bath, simply turn on the hot water in the tub or shower, close the bathroom door, block any gap under the door with a towel, and sit in the steamy room with your child for about 15 minutes.  (Bring toys along for them to play with.)

Cucumber for Mild Swelling

If you go to a fancy spa, the therapist may use this salad staple to ease the puffiness around your eyes. That’s because cool cucumber slices help soothe hot, swollen skin. You can place a slice anywhere your child has minor swelling and then simply replace it with another slice from the fridge after it becomes warm.

If you need more specialised help in boosting your child’s immune system, or stronger natural remedies to improve your child’s health issue, call us on 3376 6911 to find out how we can help.

Case Study- Exhaustion and Depression

Fatigued manSam (not his real name) came to our clinic hoping to improve his very low energy and depression. We performed a Health Assessment on him, and found that he had high adrenaline levels, which had caused adrenal fatigue. His liver was very congested, which was restricting his internal blood flow and circulation, and he also had high levels of accumulated stress and worry in his system.

Some of the more common causes of depression include

  • Long term exhaustion
  • Sluggish internal circulation, causing a lack of oxygen and nutrients to the brain, and a build-up of toxins in the brain tissues

Both of these were factors in Sam’s case. Naturopathy is excellent for building the body back up again if it is too run down, and acupuncture is important to improve internal circulation, so we recommended a mixture of both these therapies.

Within a week of taking naturopathic supplements for his adrenals and his nervous system, Sam reported that he had much more energy in the afternoons, which is when he would normally ‘crash’. The acupuncture initially focussed on his adrenal fatigue, and his energy improved by 80% after 5 treatments. The focus was then switched to his internal blood flow and circulation, and after his first treatment for this he said that his whole body felt much lighter.

Sam says that his energy has improved by 90% so far. In addition, his stress levels are good and he is sleeping much better.

Tired All The Time?

Adrenal Exhaustion- The Most Common Undiagnosed Cause of Fatigue

Adrenal fatigueDo you still feel tired when you wake up, even if you have had a really good sleep?  If you feel like you have poor energy all the time, you could be suffering from Adrenal Exhaustion or Adrenal Fatigue.  Your adrenals produce adrenaline, which is part of your body’s emergency response system.  If a tiger jumps out at you from behind a tree, your heart suddenly beats faster, your breathing gets faster, various muscles will tighten, your blood sugar levels rise, and non-emergency systems in your body are suppressed (such as your digestive system).  Your body is now in ‘fight or flight’ mode.  This is great for emergencies, but if your body gets stuck in this mode, it will eventually make you feel very run down, and it doesn’t seem to get much better no matter what you do.  (In the long run, it can also put a strain on your heart, and increase your chances of developing diabetes).

The main symptom of adrenal exhaustion is constant tiredness, but because the body gets very run down it can often cause stress, irritability, depression or anxiety.  The immune system is very sensitive to your energy levels, so immune weakness, allergies, or auto-immune diseases can develop.  Adrenaline is part of your hormone system, so adrenal exhaustion can also cause all types of hormone imbalances, including PMS, menopause symptoms, thyroid problems, or low libido.  Poor sleep and digestive problems are also very common symptoms.

Adrenal Exhaustion is a quiet health epidemic that is becoming increasingly common.  In fact, it may surprise you to learn, that adrenal exhaustion is an underlying factor in almost all illnesses.  Adrenal exhaustion is often caused by an overly stressful and busy lifestyle.  The links between problems with the adrenal gland and excessive stress are well-known but recent research also suggests they can be exacerbated by poor diet, caffeine and smoking.  Because adrenaline is the body’s ‘fight or flight’ hormone, the body is very sensitive to there being too much or too little of it in the blood stream.  Almost any type of stress, whether it is physical or psychological, will cause an increase in adrenaline levels.

In this fast paced age, we hear that every minute counts.  Day after day, week after week, all this pressure to achieve, meet goals, finish daily tasks, begins to build up inside of us until one day we are locked in the throes of time pressure.  A chief contributor to time pressure is emotional identity.  This happens when you invest a great deal of mental and emotional energy in a situation.  All that energy can create tunnel vision, leaving you unable to see or appreciate other important things in your life.  When someone or something interferes with that focus, the result frequently is irritation, anxiousness and frustration, especially when deadlines must be met.  You push people away, neglect other areas of your life, but still proceed until eventually you lapse into emotional chaos.  In the end, time pressure can seriously damage not only your relationships and quality of life, but even the situation in which you buried yourself to the exclusion of all else.  Time pressure takes a toll on our nervous, immune and hormonal systems, and left unattended will likely produce cycles of anxiety, fatigue and temporary despair.  As this process continues it makes us more susceptible to health problems.

Time Pressure Situations

Always rushed, too much to do, not enough time; mentally scattered, not feeling in control, tunnel vision, irritation at anyone or anything that breaks your focus, internal pressure, a gnawing feeling in you solar plexus, impatience, lack of compassion for self and others, feeling a constant slow burn inside, low-grade stress and strain, feeling disconnected from life, decreased enjoyment of projects, relationships or life in general.

Other causes of adrenal exhaustion are

  • Any type of trauma or shock, which could be recent or in the distant past.  It could be from a car accident, falling out of a tree when you were a kid, etc, etc.  The trauma could be physical, mental or emotional.
  • Prolonged stress, such as from work, study, or an unhappy relationship.  (Again, this could be a recent situation or from the distant past.)
  • Overwork, or not getting enough sleep for a long period
  • Any chronic illness or pain
  • Severe pain
  • Surgery
  • Medications steroid medication, antidepressants, strong painkillers, thyroid medication

When treating Adrenal Exhaustion, it is important to address 3 areas.

  1. The adrenals themselves.  (Vitamin C may be helpful, however much stronger tonics are normally needed.)
  2. The therapist must check the body’s nervous system and treat that as well if it needs it.  Specific treatments or supplements to clear out the current stress or the old, accumulated stress in the body are often necessary.
  3. Because the body is quite run down, tonics for the body as a whole are important, and for any areas badly affected by the adrenals, such as the digestive system, immune system, or hormonal system.

If you suspect that you may have Adrenal Exhaustion, please book in for a free Comprehensive Assessment so that we can check and let you know if you do, and inform you on how best to treat it.

Making 2017 a Good Year

Anticipating reaching your goals

The start of the year is a great time to reflect on your life and how you would like it to be. Unfortunately, plenty of people make sincere resolutions to improve their life or their health which only last a few weeks, then they fall back into their old patterns. Often the biggest obstacle is our own subconscious mind. Our subconscious is stronger than our conscious mind, so if you and it are pulling in different directions, sooner or later your subconscious will win. The trick is to get your subconscious to work for you rather than against you, and the best way to do this is to train it to associate your goal with nice images and good feelings.

Here are a few methods that have worked well for me.

  • The most important thing is to make it a positive and enjoyable process.
  • Start with the big picture- think about the direction you want your life to go, and the reasons why. (Such as “I want to lead a fit, active and healthy life, so I can enjoy playing and doing things with my kids (and their kids) for most of my life.”)
  • Then create Goals rather than make resolutions. Make them positive things to move towards rather than away from.
  • Create SMART goals, that are
    • Specific
    • Measurable
    • Attainable
    • Relevant
    • Time Framed

For example, “I will create a fitter and healthier body by going for a pleasant 20 minute walk twice a week, and enjoying a tasty and healthy meal from my new cookbook at least once a week. Then, in June I will successfully climb Mt Ngungun in the Glasshouse Mountains.”

  • Picture yourself having already reached your goal, and enjoying the feelings of happiness, satisfaction, triumph or enjoyment that come with achieving it. This will help your subconscious to want your goal as well, and once this happens, your journey becomes much quicker and easier.
  • Pictures also work well to help get your subconscious on your side. Make up a ‘vision board’ or even a piece of paper with your goals set out and pictures on it that represent you achieving those goals. Put it up somewhere you will see it every day (such as on your bathroom mirror), and at least one a day use it to visualise yourself having achieved your goals, and feeling all the wonderful feelings that come with that.

These techniques may sound a little ‘out there’, but when used well they are surprisingly effective.


  • Make a start. There is a saying that if you are not going forwards you are going backwards.
  • Make an effort, but don’t force yourself. Your subconscious will adjust to your new routine if you do it gently. As soon as you start to force yourself, your subconscious will fight back against you.
  • If you ‘fall off the wagon’ once or twice and neglect the things you committed to, don’t beat yourself up over it. You want your subconscious to always associate your goals with good feelings, never bad ones. Just pick up where you left off and keep going.
  • Don’t be afraid to adjust your goals up or down. If you find exercising 3 times a week is too hard, do it twice a week instead. Or if you have gotten comfortable with your new routine, take it up a notch higher.

If you are serious about improving your health, consider seeing a qualified health professional, such as an experienced naturopath, or book in for one of our free Comprehensive Health Assessments.

Why not make 2017 the year you changed your life for the better?


Acupuncture and IVF

Increasing Your Chances of a Successful Pregnancy By Using the Best of Both Worlds

acupuncture for fertility brisbane(The first section below is from a newspaper article[1].)

‘It was 2005, and after nine months of IVF treatment and a positive pregnancy test, 36-year-old Jill King was having a routine ultrasound to check that all was well. But when she turned to the screen, expecting to see a heartbeat, there was just an empty embryonic sac. In a cruel biological hoax, the sac minus its embryo – called a blighted ovum – was causing positive signs of pregnancy. There were more disappointments to come. By the time she discontinued IVF two years later, King had produced 50 embryos, but no babies, at a cost of about $50,000.

“People talk about the grief of miscarriage, and I’ve experienced that, but to me each embryo was also a potential baby lost,” she recalls. “Whenever I had an embryo transfer [where the embryo is passed through the cervix into the uterus], I’d be calculating when its birthday might be.” …

“My message to other couples is be open-minded about alternative treatments,” says King. …

Some cases of unexplained fertility may have a cause that is overlooked if IVF is used as a first, rather than a last, resort, says Dr Anne Clark, medical director of Fertility First, a clinic in Sydney’s Hurstville.

Being overweight, smoking or drinking too much – even a lack of vitamin D or iodine – can sabotage conception or increase the risk of miscarriage, points out Clark. While the clinic offers IVF treatment, 25 to 30 per cent of couples conceive without it after correcting certain lifestyle factors.

“Women are hammered for being overweight or for smoking, but we know that with men, nine kilograms of extra weight can lower fertility by altering hormone levels,” she says. “We also know that fragmentation of DNA in male sperm is a common cause of miscarriage, and that factors such as smoking, alcohol and possibly caffeine may be contributing.”

Her study in 2008 of 800 men who were attending Fertility First found 58 per cent had sperm damage, but that lifestyle changes and vitamin supplements could help prevent this. “Unlike eggs, which are as old as the woman herself, sperm is freshly made every three months,” says Clark. “Because of this, you can often reverse the problem quickly.”

This was the case for Matthew Lake, a 34-year-old landscaper whose partner, Amanda, had had three miscarriages by the time she was 29. Test results showed she had no obvious problem, but Matthew had fragmented DNA in 33 per cent of his sperm.

At Clark’s suggestion, he reduced his weekly beer consumption from 24 to seven, stopped drinking Coke and took a daily multivitamin. He also took supplements of coenzyme Q10 and vitamins E and C, antioxidants that, according to some research, help reduce sperm damage.

“After six months, the number of fragmented sperm had dropped to nine per cent – a month later I was pregnant,” says Amanda. “I don’t think people realise the problem can often be with the male partner, and that the solution can be simple.”

In Clark’s experience, men are often only asked to provide a sperm sample, and if that is problematic, the couple are directed to IVF rather than addressing a man’s underlying health problems. The pressure of ageing impels couples towards IVF, too, she says.

Francesca Naish, from the Jocelyn Centre for Natural Fertility Management in Sydney, agrees. “People are in a hurry to conceive, but they need to take about three months to clean up first.”

The “cleaning up” regimen recommended by the centre, which employs medical practitioners, naturopaths and an acupuncturist, entails both partners eating whole food – preferably organic – taking herbs and vitamin and mineral supplements, and reducing exposure to environmental toxins.

“Take the example of a hairdresser or a motor mechanic,” says Naish. “She’s exposed to bleaches and solvents, and he’s working with solvents, heavy metals and paints. This doesn’t mean hairdressers and mechanics can’t make babies together, but if their fertility is already compromised, these exposures can make conception – especially of a healthy baby – harder.” Other workers who come into contact with pesticides, such as farmers, may experience problems, too, explains Naish, as can people who spend a lot of time flying (sperm and eggs can be affected by radiation at high altitude). Some studies have linked heavy mobile phone use to reduced sperm count and sperm health. In isolation, these factors may mean nothing, but an accumulation of them, plus increasing age, can make a difference.

Although there’s evidence that the miscarriage rate is higher with IVF, says Naish, “this isn’t necessarily to do with IVF technology, which is fantastic. Miscarriages can occur because other problems aren’t being sorted out first,” she says. “IVF helps sperm and egg to meet and then gets the fertilised egg to the uterus, but it doesn’t solve underlying problems that can impede a pregnancy.”

Anne Clark acknowledges that with IVF offering a monthly pregnancy rate that is two to three times higher than nature, it will always appeal to couples in the stressed-out 21st century. When she recommends waiting until the lifestyle changes kick in, some couples feel pretty thrown to begin with. “But achieving a pregnancy can be a bit like painting a wall.” she says. “It’s all in the preparation.

The Role of Folate

Dawn Piebenga knew getting pregnant in her late 30s wouldn’t be easy. “I’d had a history of fertility problems in my 20s and early 30s with my first marriage. I was told that it may be because of scar tissue around my Fallopian tubes.”

When a pregnancy in her second marriage ended in miscarriage, she consulted fertility expert Francesca Naish. “Because I was older, I knew my egg quality wouldn’t be as good, so I felt my best shot was to make my body as healthy as possible,” she says.

Tests revealed that Piebenga had a problem shared with about one in eight women: difficulty metabolising folate, a B vitamin that helps prevent some birth defects. At 39 and after four months on a preconception-care program and a high-dose folate supplement, Piebenga got the go-ahead to try to conceive. She became pregnant within a month, and now has a 15-month-old son.

East meets West

Acupuncture and IVF fertilisation might come from opposite sides of the medical fence, but there’s growing interest in combining them. Some studies show an improvement in pregnancy rates if acupuncture is used at embryo transfer, says Jane Lyttleton, a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner who works in partnership with IVF clinics. “We need more research to understand how it works,” she says. “It may be that acupuncture increases blood flow to the lining of the uterus, creating a better environment for the embryo to grow. It may lower levels of stress hormones or, by having a calming effect on a woman’s immune system, it may reduce the chances of her body rejecting the pregnancy.”

Adds fertility specialist Dr Gavin Sacks of IVF Australia: “On balance, the research shows there may be a benefit. Some IVF clinics have taken it up, and I think it’s worth exploring. I don’t tell women they should have acupuncture – but if they ask what they can do to improve their chances, I encourage them to try it.”‘

(End of article.)


Both acupuncture and naturopathy can be used to address many of the common fertility factors for women, and to improve male sperm counts and quality.


Acupuncture is gradually becoming recognised as one of the best methods of improving fertility available. A major study published in the British Medical Journal has shown that giving an acupuncture treatment within a day of embryo transfer to women undergoing IVF improved their pregnancy rates by 65%, ongoing pregnancy by 85%, and live birth by 91%. Other studies have reported similar results[2].

However, IVF with a single acupuncture treatment still has a lower success rate than with a full course of treatments. (On its own, acupuncture used to improve fertility usually has a success rate of over 50%.)

Research has also shown that for women with a history of recurrent miscarriage, acupuncture treatments resulted in live birth rates of 86%, compared to 33% for women that did not receive treatments[3].


Naturopathy has been used for many thousands of years to improve fertility. According to recent studies from the Foresight Foundation in the UK, a comprehensive course of treatment (modelled on the Foresight programme) has over a 75% live-birth success rate without the help of IVF. Naturopathic medicine improves the chemistry of the body, including increasing nutrient levels and reducing toxin levels. It stabilises hormone health, and works well at regulating periods, cycle length and ovulation times. Naturopathy can help reduce endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome, as well as improving sperm morphology (sperm shape), motility count, and egg quality.

Special Offer

If you are trying to conceive, looking to start trying in the next 12 months, or are going through IVF, we recommend having a Comprehensive Fertility Assessment by our Principal Practitioner. During your Assessment we will identify and explain to you

  • What exactly is happening with your fertility
  • Why you might be having difficulty conceiving, and
  • What are the best approaches to improve your fertility quickly and effectively

It is recommended that you and your partner each have an Assessment, and if possible sit in on each other’s appointment. An Assessment is normally $120, but is currently available free of charge. There is no obligation with an Assessment; we simply provide you with information and an understanding of what is happening with your body. Places for a Fertility Assessment are limited, so if you would like to reserve an appointment for you and your partner, please ring or email soon. Please also feel free to contact the Clinic if you would like more information about any aspect of fertility improvement, and we look forward to helping you soon.

[1] http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/life/natural-selection-20091221-l9l1.html#ixzz2i8UBRhgM

[2] Fertility and Sterility 74(4):721-72, and American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) October 2004

[3] Aust NZ J Obstet Gynecol 1991:31:4:3210