July 14, 2018

…and we’re back!

Posted in creativity, health, life, nature tagged , at 9:40 am by Margi Macdonald

Nature is not a place to visit. It is home.

Gary Snyder

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September 25, 2016

Sing-along-Sunday

Posted in creativity, music at 10:00 am by Margi Macdonald

Yep.

 

August 2, 2016

An arboreal alphabet

Posted in brisbane, creativity, health, life, nature, reading, writing tagged , , , , , , , at 8:40 pm by Margi Macdonald

I’m not showing you any images with this one.

Head over right now and read this interview with Katie Holten and see the examples of her work, and then you might want to create your very own arboreal alphabet.

Or perhaps, instead of trees, you might choose flowers, or leaves, or birds, or insects or fish; whimsical, fantastical drawings from your own quite wonderful mind’s eye.

Everyone’s an artist, and we’re all part of the natural world, even if we live in a highrise shoebox-sized apartment in a megacity.

Go on. Do it.

 

 

July 27, 2016

Get out there! Health benefits from nature are real

Posted in brisbane, health, nature tagged , , , , , at 8:41 pm by Margi Macdonald

Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 8.27.18 PM

With thanks today to Senator Scott Ludlam, who shared this juicy science on social media today.

Health Benefits from Nature Experiences Depend on Dose

We show that people who made long visits to green spaces had lower rates of depression and high blood pressure, and those who visited more frequently had greater social cohesion. Higher levels of physical activity were linked to both duration and frequency of green space visits. A dose-response analysis for depression and high blood pressure suggest that visits to outdoor green spaces of 30 minutes or more during the course of a week could reduce the population prevalence of these illnesses by up to 7% and 9% respectively.

Read more here: http://www.nature.com/articles/srep28551

July 24, 2016

Periods, healing spaces and science. 

Posted in brisbane, health, interior design, life, Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 12:18 pm by Margi Macdonald


A new purchase, and an older one.

Lara Briden’s Period Repair Manual: Natural Treatment for Better Hormones and Better Periods

Esther M. Sternberg’s Healing Spaces: The Science of Place and Well-Being 

Does the world make you sick? If the distractions and distortions around you, the jarring colors and sounds, could shake up the healing chemistry of your mind, might your surroundings also have the power to heal you? This is the question Esther Sternberg explores in Healing Spaces, a look at the marvelously rich nexus of mind and body, perception and place. 

As you’d imagine, there’s commonality between the two, which I’ll be exploring in the coming months and years.

What are you reading today? 

July 20, 2016

What’s for dinner at your place? 

Posted in brisbane, cooking, food tagged , , at 7:02 pm by Margi Macdonald

We’re having kale and hot smoked trout and salmon salad, with lemon and seeds and green beans and puy lentils and Parmesan. It’s an easy, filling meal which is great for lunch the next day.

Still and all, it’s the jonquils in the kitchen which have me all captivated and distracted tonight.

What smells good in your kitchen right now? 

July 15, 2016

Do sperm have a sense of smell, and what’s it got to do with Lily of the Valley and sea urchins?

Posted in brisbane, health, life, love tagged , , , , , , at 8:40 pm by Margi Macdonald

Convallaria_majalis_0002.jpegDuring pre-conception care, one of the things I discuss with couples is the “fertile window“, and that there’s a lot of chemical signalling going on between sperm and the egg.

In these discussions, essentially we’re working to ensure that there will be several million healthy, active sperm waiting in the fallopian tubes before ovulation occurs, quietly communicating with the egg once it’s released.

About ten years ago – or thereabouts – scientists discovered “smelling capabilities” (or rather, an odorant receptor on human sperm). You can read about that here.

Bourgeonal is the sperm-attracting chemical discussed in that article .

Bourgeonal smells floral, green and watery, and is highly reminiscent of Lily of the Valley. How delightful is that?!

A “scent trail” was thought to be laid by the egg for the sperm to follow.

Sperm have a long journey ahead in their quest for the egg cell or ovum, and just a few of the million sperm reach their destination. The ovum supports the sperm in their quest by transmitting “chemical signposts”, known as attractants. Researchers first discovered this ingenious system in sea urchins and found out that attractants control the swimming movement of the sperm by altering their calcium balance. The attraction of the sperm to the egg is referred to as “chemotaxis”. Read more here

Anyway, research continued and scientists concluded  “the ‘Lily of the Valley phenomenon’ is a laboratory artefact: sperm do not have an olfactory signalling pathway.”

*SIGH* it was just becoming exciting and delightful… no more Lily of the Valley.

Then researchers moved onto the hormone progesterone which is produced by the corpus luteum in the ovary, just after ovulation (egg release), and how progesterone activates sperm swimming behaviour.

Swimming! Sea Urchins! Sperm! Flowery smells! Eggs! Hormones!Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 9.55.23 AM

What does all this mean for couples who are planning a pregnancy, or who have been trying for a while, without any luck?

Not much. Don’t stress about bourgeonal or the complex interplay between progesterone and ion channels in sperm.

Natural medicine practitioners help couples understand that conception can be a simple, happy process.

We use low-tech methods to help you identify your fertile window, and to tweak any reversible factors which might affect sperm health and/or the natural ebb and flow of monthly cycles and ovulation.

Don’t bother with Fertility Apps. Most of them miscalculate the fertility window.

Nutrition, lifestyle, mindset, exposure to certain chemicals, exercise and time (yes, good old fashioned time) all contribute to a couple’s fertility.

The one thing which makes me sad and frustrated, is that for too long, the focus has been almost exclusively on the woman, her reproductive organs, and her menstrual cycle.

“Male factors” are just as important, but don’t receive the attention they deserve.

As someone once said “it takes two to tango“.

And I say “keep it natural” and uncomplicated.

(And don’t use Lily of the Valley or any other perfume internally.)

_______

Cautions and care: This blog is for information and education, and not for diagnosis or treatment. If you have concerns about your reproductive or sexual health, please see an appropriately qualified health professional, such as your family doctor.

Images

Lily of the Valley: By H. Zell – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9592154

Sperm: By Mariana Ruiz Villarreal spermatozoa – “based on the one found on the book “Gray’s anatomy” 36th edition, Williams & Warwick, 1980; and a diagram found of the review “Formation and organization of the mammalian sperm head” from Kiyotaka Toshimori and Chizuro Ito. (Chiba, Japan)., Public Domain” https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=699220

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 12, 2016

Good sleep needs good design (among other things)

Posted in brisbane, health, interior design, life tagged , , , , , , , at 8:40 pm by Margi Macdonald

Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 9.27.05 AM

Well, I had no idea last week, when I wrote this post, that it was Sleep Awareness Week.  Who knew?

Information-overloaded like so many of you, I almost missed this gem of an article.

There are so many good ideas here.

Let us know in the comments what’s most appealing to you.

July 10, 2016

Sing-along-Sunday

Posted in health at 10:41 am by Margi Macdonald

It was a rough week, here on planet Earth.

Time for some singing and humming along

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