Support for those experiencing difficulties in conceiving from Black and Minority Ethnic communities
We know that many people find it hard to share their fertility problems with friends and family; all too often infertility is not understood and recognised as an illness and for those from different religious and ethnic backgrounds there can be specific challenges and problems when dealing with their difficulties in conceiving.
In 2011, Infertility Network UK was awarded a grant by the Department of Health to improve infertility support services through the recruitment and training of volunteers; this has been successful but in order to provide support for those facing these specific religious and cultural challenges as well as for all those affected by difficulties in conceiving we need more volunteers from black and minority ethnic communities. We want to let those people know that there is support available, on line or at the end of the telephone, from people who understand.
It may be that you yourself are able to help or that you are seeing those undergoing fertility treatments or are in contact with people who you think may be interested in helping others within their communities. From running or assisting with a support group to talking to people on the phone or dropping off our leaflets at community centres, there are a wide variety of ways people can help. Volunteering can involve as much or as little time and effort as an individual has to give, and we would welcome any support that people are able to offer.
As many of you will know, Infertility Network UK (I N UK) is the national charity set up to provide information, advice and support to anyone who finds they have a fertility problem. The information and advice we provide covers the whole infertility journey, from the moment someone first discovers they have a problem to the eventual outcome. For those who have a successful outcome through treatment or alternative parenting options such as adoption we provide support through our ACeBabes network and for those who are sadly unsuccessful and are involuntarily childless through our More to Life network.
For more information on the services which we can offer and volunteering opportunities please visit our website at www.infertilitynetworkuk.com , email us at [email protected] or call 0800 008 7464. And if you can help us reach BME communities that would be really helpful too.
Clare Lewis-Jones MBE
Consultant to Infertility Network UK (I N UK), More To Life (MTL) and ACeBabes
Mobile: 07980 822663
The Year of the Sheep or Goat will start on 20th February. The Green, Wood Sheep or Goat (the animals are interchangeable in the Chinese zodiac) follows the tumultuous Year of the Horse. The Year of the Sheep promises to be calmer as Sheep symbolise peace and harmony. Sheep also bring creativity and this is a great year for artists and those with creative passions. Even for those who lack these qualities, 2015 should bring a calmer year and any activity tackled with passion and joy is destined to bring success.
Work, for most, will be quiet and uneventful. If last year was the year for the Horse to gallop off, this year is about contemplating and appreciating what has already been accomplished, to think about bringing goodness to others and to calmly look ahead. Tread steady and this year should bring peace and comfort.
I like to imagine those sheep or goats that are outside, standing firm on any terrain, in all weathers, quietly grazing and gently just getting on with things.
Those due to be born in the Year of the Sheep, are thought to be gentle, righteous, sincere, artistic, and elegant. They like to exercise moderation and be cautious in life. They are romantic and will choose partners who will protect them and give them the room to grow. Food, shelter, and clothing are three basic things which remain most important in a Sheep’s life. They are good team workers and often like to remain in the background of an endeavor. Sheep are generous with their time as well as their money. The quiet outer appearance of the Sheep belies his inner determination. When threatened, Sheep can respond passionately and firmly. Sheep have a special fondness for quiet living. They crave love, attention and approval in life.
Sheep have fantastic luck. They usually meet the ones who will assist them and will care deeply for them. Basically survivors, Sheep know how to placate or evade their enemies. Although they look gentle on the surface, they are tough on the inside, always insisting on their own opinions in their minds. They have strong inner resilience and excellent defensive instincts. They are also wanderers by nature and are happy to set off on journeys to meet new people and to see the world. It is often the simple things in life that give them the most pleasure; a wonderful view, a beautifully created object or an inspiring piece of music will help these people feel happy and entranced.
They are artistically talented and have great sense of fashion. They are very romantic, and determined in love. Sheep are good-natured and try not to hurt other’s feelings. They are generous to share what they have, thus often have closed friends and families. Sheep are smart, elegant, and can work very hard to achieve their goals. They can forgive easily and be understanding about others’ faults. Sheep, with their inner calm and serenity, attract few health problems.
Their weakness is that they can be pessimistic sometimes and complain about things. They can be oversensitive and fretful of little problems. If things are not going their way, they are easily discouraged or hypercritical. Sheep sometimes can be too idealistic to be practical.
Sheep can appear to be disorganized. They dislike strict rules and can not take too much criticism. They sometimes feel insecure and require a lot of attention, earning them the term ‘clingy’. They can also be very shy, and not speak up openly about what their thoughts are.
Sheep avoid confrontation and are not born leaders. It is because of these characteristics that being born in the Year of the Sheep is not that highly regarded by some Chinese who prefer the energetic and dynamic characteristics of some of the other signs, like the Dragon, Tiger and Horse.
However, the Sheep is the 8th sign of the twelve animals in the Chinese Zodiac, 8 is the lucky number for the Chinese, and being born under the 8th sign is auspicious indeed, and who wouldn’t want their child to be kind, forgiving and loyal? To be born in the Year of the Sheep, babies will have to be born from February 19, 2015 to February 7, 2016, the last day of the 2016 lunar year.
In 2015 most Chinese will be off work from Wednesday, February 18 (New Year’s Eve) to Tuesday, February 24 (the 6th day of Chinese New Year).
Chinese New Year is a time for families to be together. Wherever they are, people come home to celebrate the festival with their families.
The New Year’s Eve dinner is called Reunion Dinner, and is believed to be the most important meal of the year. Big families – families of several generations sit around round tables and enjoy the food and time together.
Traditionally, the Chinese celebrated with firecrackers and dragon dances. This is becoming less popular in urban areas, but still red lanterns hang in parks and every house and building is decorated with red. Like Christmas in the West, people exchange gifts during the Spring Festival. The most common gifts are red envelopes. Red envelopes with money in, are given to children and (retired) seniors.
Certain foods are eaten during the festival because of their symbolic meanings, based on their names or appearance.
Fish is a must for Chinese New Year as the Chinese word for fish (鱼 yú /yoo/) sounds like the word for surplus (余 yú). Eating fish is believed to bring a surplus of money and good luck in the coming year.
Another traditional Chinese New Year food is Chinese dumplings. Because the shape of Chinese dumplings looks like a silver ingot – a kind of ancient Chinese money, Chinese people believe eating dumplings during the New Year festival will bring more money and wealth for the coming year.
Other New Year food includes spring rolls, glutinous rice cakes and Sweet Rice Balls.
Chinese people believe that, as the Spring Festival is the start of a new year, what you do then will affect your luck in the coming year. There are many taboos for the Spring Festival season. These taboos usually apply up to a month before the festival and continue to the end of the festival (day 15, the Lantern Festival). They are strictly followed in rural areas by the older generations, but the younger generations and people in urban areas may not know them.
- Some Chinese people believe that they mustn’t do cleaning and wash their hair in the first three days as that will sweep/wash away good luck.
- A cry of a child is believed to bring bad luck to the family, so the young are placated fastidiously.
- To ask for a loan is a big “no-no”.
- Another interesting thing is the red underwear. You will see red underwear sold at supermarkets and street markets. Red is believed to ward off bad luck and misfortune. For the people born in a year of the goat (1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003), red underwear is a must for 2015.
Are you a runner? A cyclist? A weight lifter?
We treat many athletes, including two Ultra Marathon runners. Acupuncture is used by them as part of their training regime for their next event and both have reported doing PB’s after acupuncture.Here are 5 reasons why you should think about having acupuncture to support your training programme.
Promote Muscle Relaxation
Athletes trains for hundreds of hours before tournaments in a bid to keep their bodies fit and ready to compete effectively in sports. The physical exercises that they take part in can negatively affect their muscles leading soreness and pain. Fortunately, acupuncture can evenly relax muscles, reduce inflammation and promote optimal flow of blood throughout the body.
Foster Healing Process
Injuries hinder athletes from taking part in various sporting activities especially when they involve joints and muscles. Research studies show that acupuncture can increase the rate at which you recover from injuries. This turn ensures that athlete never miss competition or valuable training sessions.
Energy Enhance and Better Sleep
Acupuncture boosts athletes’ energy levels during the day and increases their performance. Also, it helps them sleep better at night. Note that the body repairs itself and rejuvenates in preparation for the following day at night.
Pain can affect performance of any athlete no matter the kind of sport. Techniques used in acupuncture have capacity to not only reduce pain, but also eliminate it entirely. One of the major benefits of seeking this form of treatment is that you will not have to worry about side effects caused by pharmaceutical drugs. More importantly, you can rest in peace knowing that you will pass all drugs tests when taking part in local, regional and international competitions.
Improve Blood Flow
Lack of a constant supply of nutrient-rich blood to various parts of the body such as muscles can compromise your performance in the field. Studies show that acupuncture triggers production of nitric oxide in the body that causes the blood vessels to relax and widen. Increase in size of blood vessels helps to facilitate smooth flow of blood from the heart to all other body organs before, during and even after the tournament or training session.
Don’t just take our word for it. Here is what Marc had to say about his acupuncture treatment.
I run because I love to and have done for the last 3 years. Running has become an increasingly important part of my life and I have unknowingly beendrawn in to this other world where time, distance and routine become more important than ever. At the beginning of 2013 I had 157 competitive miles ahead of me though various races. After running through the winter I developed an injury in my right knee. Taking advice from friends and family that run, friends and family that don’t run and reading article after article on how to deal with injury and how running is “bad for my knee’s”, I bought a book called ‘The Art Of Running’. I ignored all the injury advice and ran my first marathon (MK) injured with my right knee taped and gelled up and lots of pain killers. I finished in 3 hours 38 mins. This was probably not the most sensible thing I had ever done and if I carried on this way I might seriously injury myself and my not be able to run my most important race of my year – my first ultra marathon (the Hard moors 60), a 60 mile race along the Yorkshire coast.
I decided to take some advice from my book and made my first appointment for acupuncture. Before my first session I did not really know what to expect or what would be expected from me. Caitlin put me at ease within minutes. She was not going to hurt me. I would be able to walk home and she seemed sure she could help me.
I don’t claim to understand exactly how Caitlin has helped me, but I have never been a more committed runner and this is truly because acupuncture has given me the confidence to run to my ability as I trust that what Caitlin and her acupuncture sessions (4 in total so far) do. They keep me injury free.
On the 21 September this year I ran the Hard moors 60 ultra marathon (A 62 mile race, with 3000ft accent, to be completed in 16 hours) in 15 hours and 51 minutes. Throughout this beautifully brutal race my body and mind were tested more than I could have imagined. The miracle at the end of the race was that the only part of my body that did not ache was my knees (Truly!) . And I believe that mentally I would not have been able to complete the race without the sessions that I have had with Caitlin . I am now a believer in the benefits of acupuncture not just on my knee’s but my body and mind as a whole.
I have found this treatment is more accessible and beneficial than I ever expected.
(update- after another acupuncture session 2 days prior to his next marathon, Marc did a PB).
Colleague Jennifer Dubowsky explains here about how and why we commonly use ‘ear seeds’ during our acupuncture treatments.
We often offer an ear seed to clients. Our favourite point to place them on is called ‘shenmen’. Shenmen is a great point for calming anxiety and promoting sleep so we offer to those whom feel in need of calming and relaxation and those who are struggling to sleep. The seed itself acts as a visual and tactile guide so the client can massage the seed, stimulating the point and thereby gaining the benefits. Some ear seeds stay in the ear for weeks, others, just a few days. Everyone’s ears are different and lubricate themselves differently.
Michael Gach demonstrates the point here and how you can massage it to gain the benefits.
We also use ear seeds to lessen pain in the body and to decrease hunger as part of a weight loss programme.
Contact us top find out more and to see how these simple little seeds can help you to heal yourself.
Allergic rhinitis affects 1 in 6 people and we often see people in clinic suffering from blocked, stuffy or runny noses and blocked sinuses. This can give rise to headaches and feeling like they have a blocked fuzzy head. Over the counter medications can cause dowsiness. Dr. Sandra Lin, an associate professor of otolaryngology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in the USA and a guideline author, recommends acupuncture. “I’m telling you there is some evidence base for it.”