What is a Healthy Gut?

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Microbiome is the community of bacteria that we have within our gut, mostly within the large bowel. The microbiome has an effect throughout the body including digestion, immunity, inflammation and mental health. A healthy gut consists of a very diverse number of healthy bacteria, but no exact combination is “the healthy one”, as everyone is so different. This will change from person to person depending on their environment and lifestyle.

The way you FEEL can be a better dictator of how healthy your gut is. For example, bowel function. Normal bowel activity ranges from 3 times per day to 3 times per week. Bowel frequency outside this range, pain and discomfort in the belly, loose or hard pebble like stools, extreme bloating and excessive gas may suggest an unhealthy gut.


What creates UNhealthy microbiome?


Excessive alcohol

Stress  - fight or flight system suppresses digestion and causes inflammation

Antibiotics – wipe out good bacteria as they are combatting the bad. Some peoples guts take 6 months to regenerate a healthy microbiome

Processed and high sugar foods


What creates a healthy, diverse microbiome?

Fibre – include different types of whole grains (oats, rye, buckwheat), whole fruit and vegetables, beans and legumes.

Getting enough sleep

Stress reduction – mindfulness, mediation, exercise. We can’t take away certain stressors, so it is important how you MANAGE the stress.

Pre and Probiotics 


What are prebiotics and probiotics?

Prebiotics are fibre types that feed and promote growth in good bacteria. They are found in onion, garlic, leek, asparagus, pistachios, oats, bananas, legumes and lentils. 

Probiotics are the live bacteria itself. Food sources are found in fermented and live cultured foods including kombucha, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi and tempeh. If you are struggling to get enough probiotics from food or take a course of antibiotics, it may be beneficial to take a multi-strain probiotic supplement.


How does my gut affect my mental health?

Ever needed to rush to the toilet when you were super nervous?! This is because the gut and brain are connected.

The gut brain axis offers us a greater understanding of diet and disease, including depression and anxiety. 90% of serotonin receptors (our brain uses this to make us feel happy!) live in in the gut. When someone is prescribed an antidepressant such as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), the most common side effects are gut-related, and many people temporarily experience nausea, diarrhea, or gastrointestinal problems.


Gut Health from Birth

When babies are in utero they do not have a microbiome. It is created through birth and infancy. Research has shown completely different micribiome are present in a baby’s gut from a vaginal birth compared to a c-section. A vaginal birth creates bacteria found in the mother’s vagina, most commonly Group B Strep, Escherichia coli and Listeria monocytogenes. These are healthy bacteria, beneficial to an infant’s digestion and immune system. A C-section birth creates a microbiome consisting of what was present in the operating room, most commonly Klebsiella, Enterobacter and Clostridia, not as healthy as the above.  Supplementing a c-section bub with probiotics as well as in mum’s diet via breastmilk can be a beneficial boost for a babies gut microbiome.


Healing an Inflamed Gut Lining

Leaky gut syndrome occurs when the gut lining becomes inflamed, then more pourous and permeable. This allows partially digested food particle, along with toxins and waste products to slip into the blood stream. The body then has an overall inflammatory response.

6 months gives your body time to recover from the inflammation in your gut lining.

To help heal the gut lining:

·       Bone broth a collagen supplement

·       Slippery Elm

·       Remove inflammatory foods for 6 months ie. Gluten and dairy

·       Speak to your health professional about IGG allergy testing


Overall look after yourself, stay calm and enjoy a diverse healthy diet 😊


Dr Jacqui xx  


*References available on request

What is Dry Needling?

You may have heard of it, but what on earth is dry needling?


Dry needling is an effective treatment for myofascial muscular pain.


Dry needling stimulates muscle trigger points with fine filament needles to reduce muscular pain and dysfunction.

Dry needling effectively treats both acute and chronic musculoskeletal conditions.

It is effective for everybody, whether you’re an athlete or an office worker!


When is it Appropriate to Use Dry Needling as a form of treatment?


Dry Needling can be used in treatment:

- to help release myofascial trigger points (muscle knots);

- to assist with pain management, and;

- to restore movement to a joint if it is inhibited by myofascial trigger points.


How does Dry Needling Work?

When a fine filament needle is inserted into the centre of a myofascial trigger point, it promotes blood flow, which triggers the contracted muscle fibres to relax. It also provides those muscle fibres with fresh oxygen and nutrients, as well as by flushing away any toxins.

This allows the muscle to lengthen and shorten normally as the trigger points are released. This in turn will decrease muscular pain and improve function.

What is the Difference Between Dry Needling and Acupuncture?

Dry Needling is a not the same as acupuncture, although they use the same needles, there are differences between the two techniques. The main difference between Dry Needling and acupuncture are the theories behind the two techniques. Dry Needling is primarily focused on the reduction of pain and restoration of function through the release of myofascial trigger points in muscle. Whereas, acupuncture focuses on the treatment of medical conditions by restoring the flow of energy (Qi) through key points in the body meridians, as per Chinese Medicine studies.

If dry needling sounds like something that interests you, or you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to ask when you are next in the clinic.

Yours in health,

Dr Emily-Rose Finnigan

*references available on request


Pregnancy and childbirth have a major impact on a woman’s body, both interPally and externally. During pregnancy, every system is affected, including respiratory, cardiac/circulatory, hormonal and musculoskeletal. This can lead to shortness of breath, tiredness, swelling, varicose veins, postural changes and issues such as lower back pain, pelvic joint pain, carpal tunnel symptoms, Rectus Diastasis (separation of the abdominal muscles) and urinary incontinence.

 Exercise is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle. It helps prevent disease, is important for healthy bones and can help reduce stress, manage fatigue and lead to a better overall quality of life. The benefits of exercise do not decrease with the onset of pregnancy, but many women are confused in terms of what they are safely capable of doing as they progress through the normal stages of pregnancy. After childbirth, women are in a state of recovery, and while there are definite limitations, exercise can facilitate a speedy return to normal physical function. 

 Pilates is one of the best methods for exercising while pregnant, and to also regain strength after pregnancy. The highly targeted, modifiable exercises of the Pilates repertoire can effectively accommodate the needs of the pregnant and post-pregnant woman. With careful exercise selection, a Pilates program can make a woman feel stronger, improve injury and decrease the chances of any physical complications occurring. 

The first trimester is the perfect time to start Pilates, as there are less modifications needed allowing all abdominal exercises to be performed for a strong starting point. Moving into the second trimester, there are many exercises and positions that are to be avoided, modified by Dr Jacqui as your pregnancy progresses. This can be very useful knowledge to have so you know what you can and can’t do at home too.

Why should women perform Pilates during Pregnancy?

Exercising is very important for you to do during pregnancy and Pilates is one of the safest and most effective forms of exercise during this time as it helps you to:

• Maintain your general fitness and strength – you will need it for the labour and also looking after your baby - carrying your baby and lifting prams takes a lot strength

• Prevent stiffness, aches and pains, such as back and pelvic pain, keeping you more mobile

 • Strengthen your pelvic floor and deep core abdominal muscles which help in your recovery post pregnancy.

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 • Improve your posture, which changes a lot throughout the pregnancy.


How long can you continue to attend Pilates classes?

Pilates is a very safe form of exercise during pregnancy, both for you and your baby as long as certain guidelines are followed and the exercises performed are prescribed specifically for pregnancy. Most women feel comfortable to attend classes right up until they give birth. Every woman is different though, so make sure you listen to your body.

To increase your comfort as your baby-belly grows, your instructor will modify your program accordingly. Pillows and small props may also be used to support your spine and stomach.


Why is Pilates so important to do AFTER I have my baby?

 Pilates is probably the single most targeted and effective form of exercise to perform post pregnancy. The many benefits of a postnatal Pilates program include:

• Strengthens your Pelvic Floor and abdominals

 • Helps with any back, pelvic, hip, neck and shoulder pain

• Increases your general strength you need to carry your baby around

 • Improves your posture - it corrects the increased arch of your lower back and rounded shoulders

 • Helps regain your pre-baby body shape, particularly the stomach

 • Being a mind-body form of exercise, Pilates also helps with relaxation and gives you some time to work specifically on yourself


When is it safe to return to exercise post pregnancy?

Postnatal recovery will be largely dependent on the physical state the mother was in before pregnancy and any complications that may have surfaced during the gestational period. With careful exercise selection and observation, Pilates can be used to help aid a quick recovery and leave the new mother with as little complications as possible. 

As a general rule, women can begin some basic Pilates training 4-6 weeks post-birth. A caesarean birth will be more likely to push exercise back to 6 weeks post birth or later.  Pease wait until your doctor gives you clearance to return to exercise, which is usually 4 weeks for a natural delivery, and 6 weeks for a Cesarean delivery.

You can however start to do some basic activation exercises right after your birth - gently activating your pelvic floor and tightening your T-Zone actually helps decrease any swelling in your pelvic floor or abdominal region and helps with the healing process. You will find this much easier as you have practised this beforehand. Another great reason to pick up these skills before giving birth.

Call South West Chiropractic to speak to our friendly staff about booking in for your one-on-one initial Pilates session, before commencing into small group classes.


Dr Jacqui xx

Reduce Hayfever and Allergies This Spring

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Spring in upon us! The sun is shining, birds chirping… and grass clippings and pollen are blowing. This can be a tricky time for some of us as our allergies spike causing us to have hay fever, eczema, asthma headaches, fatigue and irritability.

Here are 5 things you can do to fight off hayfever and allergies:

1.       Avoid foods containing high levels of histamines

Histamine is a chemical that is naturally found in the cells of our bodies (including immune cells, intestinal cells and the brain) that is triggered by inflammation, injury, infections or allergens. It is also found in grass, flowers and in a varying amount of foods, which can accumulate to increasing our body’s levels, therefore increasing allergic responses.

Foods that contain HIGH histamine levels include:

·       Tomatoes

·       Avocado

·       Spinach

·       Strawberries

·       Pine nuts, peanuts, sesame seeds

·       Fermented foods

·       Coffee

·       Cocoa

·       Alcohol


2.       Add omega 3 fatty acids to your diet

 These help to reduce inflammation and increase the breakdown of histamines in the body.

Foods high in omega 3:

·       Fish oils

·       Flax seeds & oil

·       Chia seeds


3.       Eat local honey

Try having a little bit of local honey eat day in the months leading up to hay fever season. This can decrease sensitivity to pollens through stimulation of the blocking antibodies.


4.       Eat more garlic and ginger

 Ginger is natural anti-inflammatory, helpful for reducing hay fever symptoms. Garlic contains antibiotic properties and can help precent sinus congestion.


5.       Maintain a dust free environment

Dust mites contribute to hay fever, so keeping the house and your work environment dust free is important. Chronic sufferers should consider removing carpets, feather quilts and pillows.


*References available on request

Women's Health Week 2018

Women’s Health Week is a time to talk about some (not so) talked about topics.  We are turning up the volume on women’s health, so lets talk about HORMONES.

Hormone imbalances can cause us to feel lousy and are implicated in some diseases and cancers.  There are varied reasons for imbalances and the symptoms they express.  The good news that hormonal imbalances can be supported in a number of ways.

Oestrogen Dominance

Oestrogen dominance occurs when the ratio of the two main female hormones, oestrogen and progesterone, falls out of balance.

This can lead to:

·       Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

·       Uterine fibroids in older women

·       Infertility

·       Heavy, painful periods

·       Depression, Anxiety

·       Headaches, migraines

·       Decreased digestion, constipation

·       Mood changes

·       Low energy

·       Poor Sleep

·       Low sex drive

A major cause of this is STRESS. When we are stressed, our fight or flight system kicks in which suppresses our reproductive system, as well as using up more of our cortisol. Cortisol is needed to make progesterone (I will go more into details of stress and this system in future blog posts, and feel free to ask me in your next appointment), without it progesterone levels go down and oestrogen goes up!

 How to decrease oestrogen

·       Stress management:

-          mediation and breathing exercises, a little bit every day goes a long way to calm down the “fight or flight” system. This is a great time to lay on your posture pole / foam roller.

-          A magnesium supplement- taken as a powder, rubbing an oil into your skin, or taking a long bath with magnesium salts.

-          Get checked by your chiropractor – Adjustments allow your body’s nervous system (ie. Your body’s computer) to carefully balance your physical and hormonal needs. Each adjustment stimulates our brain to calm down the “fight or flight” system as well as helping to correct postural stress. The nerves from the lower spine innervate the reproductive system, so it is important to have regular full spine adjustments.

·       Progesterone cream- chat to your GP or naturopath about a bio-identical, USP certified progesterone cream.

·       Avoiding Xenoestrogens – these are chemicals that increase oestrogen levels. They are present in plastics that bear the BPA number 3 or 7. Keep an eye on these on the bottom of your plastic containers and bottles, or just try to go plastic free!

·       Nutrition eating healthy fats and green leafy veggies. Load up on smashed avo with poached eggs and roquette. Yummm! 

 Progesterone is at its lowest just before and during a period, and after giving birth. So being mindful of these management strategies in these times can be really beneficial for your overall wellbeing.

Our bodies have an incredible ability to heal and be in balance when given the right environment and nutrition to flourish. Remember it takes time to change the body so make these life changes and stick with it.


Yours in good health,

 Dr Jacqui Askew xx

BHSc (Chiropractic), MClin Chiropractic, Dip Paed Chiro