S is for Sacred Spaces

Mama 2016 Conference

OK so how many of you noticed that I posted W instead of S on Friday? It was a scheduling mis-calculation, or was it? I had been pretty up together on my AtoZChallenge, writing so much of it over the 4 day Easter Holiday and scheduling them, although I have to admit that as the month has gone on, posts have been edited and re-edited as things have happened that I wanted to include as my way of journaling what effect this challenge has had on not just me, but my practice as well. But S just wasn’t coming to mind, and now I know why.

I have just been on an amazing 2 day Conference called the MaMa Conference, which was held right on my doorstep, right here in Ayr. It is organised by the most amazing woman, Cass McNamara, who is an Independent Midwife, the inventor of the “CUB” a unique “seat” which encourages women to birth upright and organiser of MaMa Conferences. So what has this got to do with aromatherapy and S.

Well for those of you who have ever been around a birthing woman, you will know just what a sacred space you are in. It is a space that we must keep holy, for the birth process to play out. The dance of Mother and Baby as they work together to bring the baby Earthside, is a very sacred thing indeed. When the Space is allowed to remain Sacred then a wonderful thing happens. When it is upset and becomes a place of Science rather than Sacred that is when we have women feeling disempowered, disappointed and failures. As I sat and listened to all these people, mainly women, talk about the things that they are doing to return the birth environment to a Sacred Space, I felt priviledged to be among them. I must admit I have not always felt part of the female half of the species. I have never really got the whole “women together” thing, but as I took part in the tribal, hip swaying I began to experience what unites us. As I was mesmorised by the buttocks in front of me, doing the pelvic movements, whilst on our hands and knees, I glimpsed a thin veil of connectedness to all the birthing women who had gone before me. I felt the Earthly pull of the female spirit calling me to join them.  I am truly becoming a Wise Woman as I get older, and looking forward to developing my skills in many Sacred Spaces.

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Thank you for joining me in this Sacred Space.

Blessings Joy





P is for Pregnancy, Patchouli, Petitgrain & Peppermint


This weekend I will be attending the MaMa Conference in Ayr, Scotland, and bringing the delights of my talents in the field of pregnancy and birth. Mama Conference 2016Aromatherapy is suitable for use during pregnancy and labour, but careful consideration needs to be used when choosing the essential oil in pregnancy, as so many have the ability to regulate the menstrual cycle, and therefore need to be avoided in the early stages of pregnancy. I am therefore not going to list the oils here, as I would prefer anyone thinking of using aromatherapy during pregnancy and labour to consult someone who has experience in using them. I will however share my experience and stories with you.

When I was heavily pregnant with my daughter, I was fortunate enough to have the offer from my Community Midwife, to come into hospital with me, and help me with her birth. Due to the midwife’s own family commitments, and my being 10 days late, I needed to go into labour before Sunday. I woke up Saturday morning feeling some pains, so I got up, and they stopped. I waited all day for them to return, but they didn’t, so I ran myself a bath and added Clary Sage and Jasmine to the water, and soaked in there for half an hour. At 6 pm I went to bed and woke up at 10 pm, having had a great sleep, to find myself in labour. To cut a long story short, my daughter was born just over 12 hours later at 11.16 am on Sunday morning, with my Community Midwife there to assist.

Since giving birth, I trained as a McTimoney Chiropractor, with a keen interest in working with pregnant ladies, helping them to prepare their bodies, especially getting the pelvis in alignment, to give them the maximum chance of giving birth naturally. For one of my clients, she unfortunately had a smallbleed whilst in labour, so was monitored closely, so her husband was unable to massage her back and belly as she would have wished, with the blend of Jasmine and Clary Sage that I had made up for them to use from 37 week onwards.

Instead he applied the oil to the pulse points on her wrist, and to the amazement of the midwife in attendance, her contractions were much more efficient when the oil was applied. The midwife was so interested that she asked them not to put the oil on so that she could observe the force of the contraction, and it was a less effective contraction!

So well worth giving aromatherapy a go in my opinion and experience! But please consult an aromatherapist who has had training in this area.

Oils Beginning with the Letter P

  Patchouli                            Pogostemon patchouli                    Keyword: Pervasive

Amphora PatchouliWidely used in traditional Indian medicine, Patchouli has a sweet musky fragrance which may be a bit pervasive for some. It is often used as a base for perfume. It has a reputation for being the “hippy” oil of the 60’s. Like no other oil, Patchouli is a marmite oil, you either love it or hate it.

It is useful in curbing the appetite, as well as helping to firm up loose skin, so a useful oil in dieting and tightening up any loose skin which may result in weight loss. Care must be taken when using patchouli as although generally sedating, as a base note, it can be stimulating if overused.

Not suitable for young children


Peppermint                                            Mentha piperita                          Keyword: Cooling

Most of us have probably used peppermint oil, possibly without even knowing that we are doing so. Peppermint is an ingredient of many sweets, or candies, and many of us will have popped a mint in our mouths to help settle a stomach, or used mints in a situation where we want to stay awake, due to it being a top note. Peppermint is renowned for it’s action on the digestive system. Amphora Peppermint

Beware of using Peppermint if taking homeopathic remedies.

USEFUL HINT: Many insects and vermin do not like peppermint and I have heard that spiders don’t take kindly to it either. I once used it to keep ants at bay, and spent hours watching them avoid the trail of peppermint oil that I had laid in the hallway.


Petitgrain                        Citrus Vulgaris/aurantium                    Keyword: Panic and Anxiety

Amphora petitgrainPetitgrain is one of three oils obtained from the Orange tree, the other oils being Orange and Neroli. It is distilled from the leaves and shoots and is a popular oil used in cologne.

It is useful in states of panic and anxiety. Neroli is the oil of choice for stress, but as it is very expensive, petitgrain is a cheaper alternative.

Tomorrow is Q so it is over to you for Questions.

Thanks for reading, Blessings Joy


The Longterm Effects of Carrying your Child

Congratulations to HRH the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the Birth of your gorgeous Daughter, Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana, almost as good a sounding name as Holly Katrina Rose, even if I do say so myself.

There has been a lot in the press over the past few days about Princess Diana. Bet the media love it don’t they? Kate and Diana, sell papers, there’s no doubt about it. So I will add my slant to things too, well why not? Would be silly to miss out on the trends wouldn’t it?

This classic picture of Lady Di grabbed me, as I was reading Slick Mummy’s blog. lady di see through1I was reading it because Slick Mummy loves proto-col’s Moisturising Gel, but that’s another story. What I was drawn to in this picture, is how she is adapting in her frame, to rest the young child on her right hip. Now how many of you have done that, or know someone who has? Come on, own up, most of us have at some point or other, no big deal Joy.

I will admit, at this point I was in “jump on the royal baby bandwagon mode”, so I googled for this picture, but what struck me was another 1 that I found.

Look closely at the second picture and what do you see? Look slightly lower than the waistline, at the level where you would put your hands on your hips. Can you see anything? Can you see that her right side is still higher than the left, even without a child on her hip? And the left leg kicked out to the side, to compensate for the drop on the left, is still needed. Not to the same degree, I admit, but it is still there.

lady di see through2I see this everyday in my clinic. Women who carry young children around on their hips, put their pelvis’ out of alignment. These pictures show that rank and status does not make you immune from this.

Can anything be done about it? Of course there is, it is what I do everyday. I realign the structure of the body by adjusting the framework, or the skeleton. Then I give you advice Not to do this habit again. Of course that is not easy, habits are hard to break, especially if the young child is tired and crabbit, you are hungry and you need to get the dinner on. So my advice is, if you continue with the bad habit, you will continue to need to be straightened out, at least as long as your child is carried on the hip. But that is not the only thing we carry like this is it? We might put the laundry basket on there, or heavy items at the supermarket.

So my message to the new Mum is try and not get into the habit, but if you do, just keep the telephone number of your local McTimoney Chiropractor handy, they will save you from heartache in many years to come.

Please feel free to add a comment, I would love to hear how many of you carried a child or children like this on your hip?

Preparations for Life

Preparations, can we be prepared for everything in life, and are there some things that we need to start to discuss, in case it happens to us?

‘Nathan was born at 23 weeks. If I’d known then what I do now, I’d have wanted him to die in my arms’

Alexia Pearce adores her ‘gorgeous’ three-year-old son, yet she is aware that his life – a life blighted by cerebral palsy and chronic lung disease – is unlikely to last long into his teens. In this moving account, she asks: are we always right to save
premature babies? Alexia-Pearce-and-Nathan-007
That was the introduction to an article written in The Observer on 20th March 2011

Over the past few days I have seen it going around on facebook, the full article is here. In the article a Mother writes about how she wishes that she had been allowed to hold her premature baby in her arms, whilst he gently slipped away. Unfortuantely her premature baby was treated by the medical staff, and now she has a severley disabled child which she knows has drawn a very short stick in the life stakes, and will be subjected to numerous hosital visits, and tests and procedures, no douby many of them painful, before his life comes to a premature end. She loves her son very very much, but how differently she wishes it had hapenned.

It is every pregnant woman’s nightmare scenario, to think that at the end of her pregnancy she will not hold a perfect healthy bouncy baby in her arms. But it is by no means every mother’s experience. More and more babies are being born prematurely, and more and more are being “saved” but at what cost.

As a McTimoney Chiropractor I see some of these children end up in my clinic. On examination  I discover that they have very misaligned spines. My guess is that on their way into the world, their tiny ill-formed spines have been put under enormous pressure and so they have ended up with an in-abilty to react and interact with their world via a healthy nervous system, which is after all housed within the spine. The main nerve highway, the spinal cord, is housed within this crooked spine, and the messages being passed up and down are not getting through as good as they could be. This link shows where in the body nerve pathways go and at what level in the spine they leave the spine.


No parent-to be wants to consider losing the child that they are carrying, but should we do more to prepare them for the slim chance that they may have to make a decision about the future of their child? 24 years ago I was in that place. I was 24 weeks pregnant and  my waters had broken. For 3 days my son remained where he was, but at 6 o’clock on a Monday evening, just as the BBC News was starting I called the midwife to say that I was experiencing pains that were becoming uncomfortable. The doctor was called, and I was told “Your baby is on it’s way”. Nobody asked me what I wanted the medical staff to do. It was assumed that I wanted them to do everything in their power to save my baby. But they were wrong, and I was strong enough to say “Please do not do any heroics! If my my baby is not meant to survive, then he is not meant to survive” The relief on the paediatrician’s face, when I gave him the ok not to put tubes down my baby’s throat, to save his life regardless of the long-term consequences was visible, even now I can see that releif floding his face, as he was relieved of the burden of putting another premmie through the pain and suffering that they go through.

So I can totally see and feel where this mother is coming from, and I applaud her for speaking out.I think I would be thinking the same things too. I was fortunate that I was able to hold my baby in my arms, briefly. I was able to take photographs and have those treasured memories, however painful they may be. Stories like this just serve as a reminder to where I might be right now. Instead I chose to pursue a career helping women to take care of themselves during pregancy, to get their pelvises checked to make sure that the organs, muscles and ligaments are attached with the right amount of tension, to ensure that baby stays inside. There is research that says that Mums that undergo Chiropractic treatment during pregnancy have a higher chance of going full term, and I am living proof of that. My second pregnancy I had McTimoney Chiropractic care throughout, and went full term and gave birth to a healthy baby girl 🙂 I wonder if Alexia has been so lucky?



International Day of the Midwife

Sunday 4th May is also known as the International Day of the Midwife. As a Chiropractor who has a special interest in Pregnancy, I welcome the chance to blog about a profession that plays a huge important part in the life of the pregnant lady and her family. I am very lucky to say that I had a brilliant midwife at the birth of my daughter, the same wasn’t quite so true at the birth of my son, but I want to remain positive in this post, so will not go into that here.

A few days ago I posted under the heading “Ring of Fire” a picture of the bones of the pelvis, and if I can take you back to the photo alongside the post, you will see the shape of the pelvis is well designed for the head of a baby to pass through, if the Mum’s pelvis is as straight as the pelvis in the picture. Unfortunatley not all pelvises are that aligned by any means, and the problem is that nobody knows what shape their pelvis is in, until they try and birth a baby through it, and that is often too late, for the experience of birth to be a good empowering one. Instead it becomes a traumatic experience and having a long-lasting impact, that could have been so different had the midwife only been aware during the pregnancy, and recommended that the woman gets her pelvic alignment checked before, way before, the birth. I prefer to see the woman even before she has become pregnant, so that we can realign the pelvis before her centre of gravity changes with a growing baby, and the ligaments start to soften with the hormone relaxin. It then becomes more difficult to get the pelvis to remain in alignment as the ligaments that hold it inplace are softened and start to stretch in preparation for the birth. But here’s a fact that you might not be aware of: In the taking of the history a pregnant woman does not even have the shape of her pelvis noted. Why do I think that this is a mistake?


Because the shape of the pelvis can give some indication as to how the labour and birth may progress. As you can see from the picture, some pelvis’ are narrow and deep, some are wide but shallow. The shape will affect the length of time that the baby spends getting through that pelvis, at what midwives see as separate stages in labour, but are in actual fact, one continuous birth.

In my 16 years as a Chiropractor treating pregnant women, I have never, let me say again,NEVER had a lady, at full term, with a breech baby. Why do I think that is? Well if the pelvis is aligned then the baby has the maximum amount of room to move around and get into a good position. If the pelvis is not aligned then it is more difficult for the baby to move, and hence they stay with a rump presentation. So then they go and try an external cephalic version, where they try and turn the baby, rather than look at why the baby is deciding to stay in the position that it is in. Maybe try adjusting the Mother’s pelvis and see what happens!

The Webster technique is a Chiropractic adjustment that is done on the sacrum, named after the person who developed it. As a McTimoney Chiropractor I do not do that adjustment, because as part of the McTimoney training I was  taught the McTimoney adjustments of the sacrum which has the same effect. So the webster technique is not necessary if you see a McTimoney Chiropractor during pregnancy.

So as a tribute to Midwives out there, can I recommend that you start to take an interest in the pelvis which the baby nestles in, and which they have to pass through to have the best start in life, because being born vaginally really is the best start for both Mother and baby, whenever possible. We salute you for your dedication to being the holder of the Sacred Space for Birthing. Blessings to each and everyone of you.

Do you have an experience of any form of treatment for turning a breech baby during pregnancy that you would be willing to share?

Pregnant Pause

If I was told that I had to choose one group of people to work with, in my Chiropractic clinic, then I would have to say that it would be pregnant ladies. Today I changed my header on my blog, and it shows the ligaments of the female pelvis. These ligaments are responsible for holding the pelvis in alignment, in any pelvis, but in  the pregnant lady, these ligaments get stretched as the baby grows, and if the pelvis is not aligned correctly, then pelvic girdle pain PGP is the result.

It is sad to say that most women with PGP, formally called SPD, get treated with a piece of tubigrip initially, and then a pair of crutches in the later stages of pregnancy. It is crippling at worse, putting pressure not just on the person concerned, but also those people around them, especially as for many of these ladies, this is not their first pregnancy, so a young family is also part of the scenario.

Today in my clinic I saw a young lady who fits that pattern written about above. It will be my priviledge to get her, and keep her in alignment throughout her pregnancy and hopefully give her the chance of such a life-changing experience that birth should be. Her first expereince was not good, I only hope that her second one will be an empowering achievement for not only her but her family.

Have you or someone you know suffered with PGP or SPD? What treatment did you find helpful, or not? Help fellow sufferers by sharing your good experiences of care by commenting below.

business2business event

Inspired by the zerotohero, today I am going to add a photo of my work. As someone who has blogged for several months I have learnt how to upload photos, and have given you an idea perhaps that I like to travel and take one or two photographs when I do so. So today’s photo is going to have a work element to it. This photo was taken at a Business to Business event that I had a stand at.


Any questions about any of the items on my stand in the photo please ask! Namaste