What birth experience do you want? Hypnobirthing could make the difference.

Giving birth should be a wonderful experience without excessive pain or trauma because it is a natural physiological process that women’s bodies are designed for. For a lot of women the experience is far from easy and can indeed be quite painful and traumatic.

We listen to birth stories from a young age passed from our mothers, female relatives, friends, colleagues and from the media and they are usually portray labour and giving birth in a less than positive light. The thing is, if we expect pain then that is usually what we get. Expectations are pretty low for mother and father/ partner.

For labour to proceed we need to produce a chemical called oxytocin, because it stimulates the muscles of the uterus to contract which helps to push baby along the birth canal. Unfortunately when a woman feels scared or anxious she produces stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol which puts her body into fight or flight mode. These stress hormones inhibit the production of oxytocin which causes the uterus to stiffen and resist contractions. We are programmed not to give birth anywhere that is dangerous, so if we are frightened or we perceive danger then the whole birthing process stops. So in a nutshell – fear stops labour. No wonder we all think of giving birth as an ordeal.

It doesn’t have to be like this because birth is an automatic and involuntary process and doesn’t have to be managed or controlled. If you feel safe and have a calm state of mind your body will produce the necessary hormones and neurochemicals that will ensure that labour progresses naturally.

How does hypnobirthing help?

Hypnobirthing focuses on teaching a woman how her body is designed to give birth calmly, comfortably and gently and empowers her to do just that by using relaxation and breathing techniques. Hypnosis is a state of deep relaxation and focused attention which means that the woman remains conscious and in control but calmer and more relaxed. 

The benefits of hypnobirthing include:

  • Reduce or eliminate fear
  • Produce pervasive relaxation
  • Significantly diminish or eliminate the need for medication; thereby eliminating its risks and post-delivery effects for both mother and child
  • Increase the rate of spontaneous vaginal birth, reducing the need for intervention
  • Shorten the period of labour; by reducing anxiety during each stage
  • Make it possible the management and control of sensations of discomfort
  • Promote a steady recovery
  • Foster and increase positive emotions during the entire birth process
  • Help you create of an experience which has positive memories attached
  • Reduce incidence of post-natal depression
  • Stimulate and maintain a strong energy level into the post-delivery phase
  • Promote lactation for breast-feeding
  • Calmer, more laid-back baby

Hypnobirthing allows the father or birth partner to be fully involved and is encouraged to take an active role in supporting the mum to be.

My name is Carolyn Kennerley and I am a qualified hypnotherapist who is also trained in hypnobirthing and I am able to offer hypnobirthing classes either in small groups or with individual couples. The classes will teach you self-hypnosis, relaxation, breathing and visualisation techniques and to trust your body to do what comes naturally.

If you would like a more positive birthing experience then hypnobirthing could be for you.

Homeopathy and Aromatherapy helping children and adults

Jane is our Homeopath and has given some interesting information:

research uk site sate some of the research they quote is inaccurate as usual or one sided - this is often the case with homeopathic research reporting unfortunately -

-  there are plenty of trials with positive evidence just that often when people pull trials together to analyse a few together  / meta analysis or systematic reviews/  they only select certain trials ........ 

having said that this page also covers homeopathy for side effects of cancer treatment and immunity support as well - and that is where as a homeopath you would aim treatment

children who are unwell

Sambucol for Kidsis specially developed for use by kids ages 2-10. Sambucol was developed by a world renowned scientist who recognised the potential of the antioxidants present in the Black Elderberry. The unique preparation method for the standardized Black Elderberry Extract used in Sambucol preserves and maximises the naturally occurring health benefits of the berry.

Sambucol for Kids is free from dairy, nuts, eggs, grains, gluten
Usage GuideRecommended daily dose: 1 – 6 years: 5 ml (1 teaspoon). 7 - 12 years: 10 ml (2 teaspoons)

For winter usage: 1-6 years: 5ml-10ml (1-2 teaspoons) twice daily 7-12 years: 10ml-15ml (2-3 teaspoons daily) twice daily

Ingredients (0.93 g black elderberry extract per 5 ml): Glucose syrup, purified water elderberry extract raspberry extract citric acid fruit flavourings vitamin C preservative: sodium benzoate

Aromatherapy help for the spring and summer

You can use your essential oils in several ways to help ease the symptoms of spring allergies. Many people find that simply inhaling an essential oil is one of the most effective and easiest ways to relieve allergy symptoms. Inhalation is one of the quickest routes for an aroma to reach and stimulate the relevant area in the brain, whilst at the same... time the inhaled aroma molecules enter your bloodstream as your lungs work to oxygenate your blood.

You can use this method by adding your chosen essential oils to an aromatherapy diffuser, or by placing a couple of drops of an essential oil directly onto a tissue. This is often the best way to get relief from the effects of pollen when you are outdoors or away from home, as the essential oils will work to soothe and clear the respiratory passageways.



Couples Counselling is not so scary

Couples Counselling

With Christmas approaching lots of stresses contribute to relationship issues, we have an opportunity to offer some low cost therapy with a counsellor who is undertaking a post graduate course and as part of that we can offer couple on low incomes a chance to explore the relationship they have.

Couples counselling, previously known as marital therapy or marriage guidance, addresses the problems arising from adult sexual or intimate relationships. The relationship, rather than the two individuals, is the 'client'.

Our very closest relationship: a marriage; co-habitation or civil partnership, is based on intimacy and trust. When it stops working we are affected deeply and our health and happiness suffer. Our sense of identity and self-worth often rests on the strength of our relationships and we can despair when our prime relationship fails.

Pressures of work, family, money and health all take their toll. Suddenly the relationship that once recharged us leaves us drained and disappointed.

Patterns of behaving that we learned as children often re-emerge in our adult relationship. A childhood 'scapegoat' may start to feel blamed for everything by the partner who once adored them.

Signs you have relationship problems

communication breaks down

sex has ended or causes problems

arguments continue without resolution

violence erupts

depression or other health problems recur

the bond of trust is eroded or broken.

It is normal for relationships to suffer as the pressure and strains of everyday life mount. Love may disappear, replaced by resentment and anger. Each partner can view this differently depending on their own experience of family life. One may despair, while the other may view it as a temporary blip.

Where a couple has attached hastily - in response to a passion, pregnancy or other need, disappointments can surface and fester when the excitement subsides. Renegotiating, with a skilled counsellor, can help build a more realistic and deeper relationship.             

When is the right time for couple counselling?

There has been a betrayal of trust; an affair, debt or secret.

Talking causes confusion or unbearable anger.

Separation or Divorce seems like the only option.

Desire has gone or sex is no fun.

Arguments and bickering go on and on.

If possible, attend together unless there is domestic violence or fear. Counselling can be undertaken with one partner if that feels more comfortable.

Being able to manage conflict, arguments and rows is the foundation stone to a good relationship. It is unrealistic to hope that arguments can be avoided.

Two people come with their own values and beliefs and both must feel heard in order to thrive. This may mean developing new skills.

Differences need to be acknowledged; otherwise we merge or one partner is unheard. Then one partner may dominate and the other 'disappears'.

Arguments are a healthy and essential part of any relationship and can energise it if carried out skilfully. Indirect anger and domestic violence are destructive.

Counselling can help with understanding the messages about conflict that we may have inherited from our family and offer new skills.

We are offering couples counselling for any couple experiencing issues, this includes same sex marriages. We are here to offer a safe, non-judgemental setting foryou to explore issues that you maybe experiencing.



Aromatherapy tips for Athletes Foot

Our top tips!

Athlete's foot is a common condition that affects about 1 in 10 people.  Men are more likely to have this condition and about half of the people that have it will have recurring rashes because the fungus can survive in the cracks between the toes. This condition is extremely contagious and causes the skin especially between the toes to become red, cracked and scaly, itchy and may have an odour.

Athlete's foot is a common condition because our feet sweat and are contained in socks and shoes for most of the day, this can create a moist environment that fungus loves to grow in.  With winter coming and more boots being worn this condition will start.

Essential Oils used to treat this condition are:

Lavender Oil - for it's anti-fungal, anti-microbial, healing and soothing properties

Tea Tree Oil -  has extremely powerful anti-fungal and antiseptic properties using this oil along with Lavender Oil will make an excellent treatment for this condition.

Geranium Oil - also has anti-fungal and antiseptic properties helping to fight bacteria.

Myrrh - has anti-fungal properties, but is the best oil to help with the dry, cracking skin.  Myrrh works will on Athlete's foot when combined with Lavender Oil.

Peppermint Oil - will help with the odour associated with Athlete's foot, it will also help fight the fungal infection, stimulates blood circulation and will help relieve the itch.  Peppermint oil works really well when combined with Lavender and Tea Tree Oils.

Coconut Oil - is a great natural oil with wonderful antibacterial, antiviral, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.  This oil combined with the essential oils in a foot massage
would be beneficial.

Domestic abuse

Domestic abuse will be experienced by 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men in a lifetime and it is a criminal offence.  Anyone can experience domestic abuse regardless of age, race, gender, lifestyle, sexuality.

The main sign of an abusive relationship is if you are afraid of your partner.  If you fear the outcome of what you say or do then it is an unhealthy relationship.  It rarely involves a ‘one-off’ incident’, and there is a pattern involved.

Recognising Domestic Abuse:



Physical Attacks

Financial Control

Emotional Abuse

 If you are in an abusive relationship or if you have experienced abuse in the past, you can lose a sense of who you are.  You may feel anxious, depressed, isolated and be on hyper alert, with your body on fight or flight mode.

What you can do is – recognise it is happening, accept you are not to blame and get help and support.

Our counselling Team can also help with any issues around abusive situations.

Hertfordshire Domestic abuse helpline 09088 088 088

Written by Sue OSullivan (counsellor)