Autistic behaviours may be reduced with wholistic medicine



Autistic behaviour may be reduced with holistic medicine

Did you know that many challenging behaviours associated with autism may be reduced through a biomedical approach as part of wholistic medicine?

Ben*, three-and-a-half years old, was brought to the Wholistic Medical Centre by his parents, after being diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) by his local paediatrician a few months previously. The paediatrician had referred them to early intervention services, but Ben’s parents wanted to explore a more integrative biomedical approach for his challenging behaviours.

Ben was a very picky eater; he didn’t sleep well at night, had poor speech and preferred to sit by himself, lining up his toys. He wouldn’t socially interact with other children at his playgroup, and was distant with his parents and grandparents.

Wholistic Biomedical testing in autism

During the consult, a detailed history was taken and a number of tests were decided on to check for imbalances or inflammation in the body.

Results revealed that Ben was experiencing a number of issues that are common in ASD patients. Ben’s body wasn’t making enough neurotransmitters (chemicals that transfer signals between neurons in the brain), or enzymes that allowed him to fully utilise folic acid, and he had low levels of zinc. Also, the parts of his cells that make energy weren’t functioning properly; he had poor digestion of protein, his body had low levels of good bacteria and he suffered from leaky gut (where the lining of the gut wall is damaged and toxins can leak through to other parts of the body and cause an autoimmune reaction).

Reducing autistic behaviours

During the follow up consultation we reviewed the test results. Ben’s parents were advised to start him on a gluten and dairy free diet. This would help reduce the inflammation in the brain and in the gut. It would need to be a lifelong diet change to maintain the health of both. Supplements, probiotics and other important gut healing nutrients were started to help improve Ben’s nutrient deficiencies.

Two months later, Ben’s parents were beaming!

He had started hugging them and his grandparents and was starting to interact socially with other children at his playgroup. He often didn’t want to come home!

Ben was in the early stages of re-balancing the deficiencies and imbalances in his body, and moved on to further support and modify supplements as necessary.

Some background to reducing autistic behaviours

Whilst the causes of autism are not yet fully known, children with autism commonly experience high levels of oxidative stress – where too many free radicals aren’t being removed from their body, as they should be. Biomedical support looks at these imbalances & attempts to provide solutions.

Some children respond better than others to treatment, but there is usually a level of improvement in most.

*Name has been changed

This case study is for educational purposes only. Results may vary due to individual circumstances.

Dr Mark RobertsonNutritional Medicine, General Medical Practice, Wholistic Medical Centre


Fibroids with heavy menstrual periods and low energy: Chinese medicine may be helpful


chinese herbs for fibroids

Heavy menstrual periods are a frustration for many women.

Yet for some, heavy periods are caused by fibroids in the uterus and can lead to negative health effects, such as low iron levels and depleted energy.

Rebecca*, a 41-year-old woman, visited the Wholistic Medical Centre suffering from fatigue and heavy menstrual periods. An ultrasound 12 months ago found that she had two fibroids in her uterus of around 6cm in size; and a more recent ultrasound scan showed that they had now grown to around 10cm.

Rebecca’s cycle was of normal length and duration, but for the first two days of her period, her menstrual flow was extremely heavy, with big clots and some pain. The blood flow was particularly heavy whenever she moved, which meant that her work and lifestyle were severely restricted for several days each month. She also needed to sleep with a towel underneath her as well as using both pads and tampons to manage the heavy bleeding.

After each period she felt exhausted. Tests revealed that Rebecca’s heavy blood loss each month was causing low iron levels and as such, low energy.

So what are fibroids?

Fibroids (also called myomas) are benign (non-cancerous) growths within the muscle tissue of the uterus and they can grow to the size of a melon or a 6-7 month pregnancy. They are relatively common; 20-50% of women of childbearing age have them. Many women with fibroids have no symptoms, whilst others experience heavy bleeding, prolonged periods, pelvic pressure or pain, pain during intercourse, pressure on the bladder causing difficult or frequent urination, pressure on the bowel causing constipation and/or bloating, and/or an enlarged abdomen.

Fibroids are not usually harmful, but because they can increase the surface area of the uterine lining, they may cause very heavy periods as the lining is shed each month, which can then lead to anaemia and low energy levels.

Mainstream medicine offers several treatment options including surgery to remove the fibroids, hysterectomy to remove the uterus and the fibroids, blocking the blood flow to the fibroids or hormone treatments. Rebecca had previously had three fibroids surgically removed 6 years ago, but they had returned within 6 months of the surgery and were continuing to grow.

This time she wanted to see if Chinese medicine could help with her symptoms of heavy bleeding and fatigue.

Traditional Chinese medicine may be helpful in treating fibroids. (1) (2)

Rebecca was given two different Chinese herbal formulas along with an iron supplement, specifically designed to suit her symptoms and presentation. She used the first formula during her period to help control the heaviness of her menstrual flow, and she took a second formula during the rest of her cycle to treat the fibroids. Because her periods only lasted for four days, she was able to use the second formula for over three weeks each month.

Within a few months of taking Chinese medicine for fibroids, Rebecca’s periods were much lighter, her energy had improved and she was feeling much better overall. After four months of treatment, a follow-up ultrasound scan showed that her fibroids had reduced in size.

Once a woman reaches menopause, the symptoms of fibroids and their associated side effects (like anaemia) will stop. The cycle of hormones stimulating the uterine lining to grow and shed will cease and fibroids will often shrink with the reduced hormonal activity.

Yet for younger women, it can mean years of suffering from fibroid-related symptoms.

Traditional Chinese medicine may be helpful in offering some women an for treating the symptoms of their fibroids.

*Name has been changed

This is an individual case study for educational purposes. Results obtained by one person does not mean the same  can be expected by another. Each person has different life experiences and circumstances which will influence responses.

Tanya Newton Chinese Herbal Medicine, Acupuncture, Wholistic Medical Centre

  1.  Shen Q., et al. 2016  The Effects of Guizhi Fuling Capsule Drug Serum on Uterine Leiomyoma Cells and its Mechanism. Evid. Based Complement Alternate Med. 2016: 2393640.   This study found that GZFLC drug serum inhibited the proliferation and induced apoptosis of uterine leiomyoma cells, which might be regulated by 14-3-3γ signal transduction pathway. These results may support further evaluation of a new thread for effective treatment on uterine leiomyoma clinically.
  2. Chen N., et al. 2014 Chinese Herbal Medicine Guizhi Fuling Formula for treatment of uterine fibroids: a systematic review of randomised clinical trials. BMC Complement Altern Med. Jan 2;14:2   This study assessed the efficacy and safety of Guizhi Fuling Formula for the treatment of uterine fibroids, finding that it appears to have additional benefit based on mifepristone treatment in reducing volume of fibroids.  No serious adverse events were reported. However, due to high risk of bias of the trials, we could not draw confirmative conclusions on its benefit.
emotions and physical symptoms

Releasing strong or ‘stuck’ emotions can relieve physical symptoms


emotions and physical symptoms

When our system falls out of balance due to stress or a hectic lifestyle, it often shows up as dis-ease in the body. But did you know that unresolved emotional issues can also show up as physical symptoms and sensations in the body?

Brian*, 35-years-old, came to see our naturopath at the Wholistic Medical Centre, complaining of fatigue, difficulty getting up in the morning, a sense of overwhelm at work and a general feeling of flatness. He had recurrent flu-like symptoms, a recurring sore throat and his libido had disappeared. He tried drinking more coffee to boost his energy, but he would crash a couple of hours later. What’s more, his symptoms had been getting progressively worse over the past two years.

Brian felt like his “tank was empty.”

He had blood tests to check for possible causes of his symptoms: examining thyroid function, liver, kidney, blood count, testosterone and cortisol levels, iron, sugar level and vitamin levels. Most tests were essentially within normal range with a slight decrease of adrenal cortisol in the morning.

Our naturopath recommended some dietary improvements: increasing his protein intake and cutting down on caffeine and alcohol, along with some herbs and supplements to support his adrenal glands.

At a follow up visit, Brian mentioned that he got some benefit from the dietary changes and supplements. He found though that after stopping coffee and alcohol, he experienced an underlying deep exhaustion. He also mentioned that he wanted to learn to better manage stress and to reduce his fear of failure.

He was referred for mindfulness-based psychotherapy, to explore his emotional wellbeing and further support a holistic approach to his health.

During Brian’s first therapy session, it unfolded that two years ago his father (who he had been close to) died from cancer at the same time that he started work in a high-pressure senior executive role and started a new relationship (which had ended 3 months ago).

During the session, he was guided to study his experience of exhaustion more deeply, from a position of neutral observation and without analysing or reacting against it. He observed a strong heaviness in his body that pulled him down. The sensation was familiar to him and was connected to feelings of sadness and fragility.

When Brian relaxed the contraction he felt in his throat, the tears that had been waiting to be released flowed out gently. He was guided to let go of the heaviness with each out breath.  To his surprise, the heaviness began to lighten and lighten and eventually, it disappeared.

Brian realised that his fatigue was not merely physical, but had a lot to do with unprocessed grief surrounding his father’s death and his recent relationship ending.

At the next visit, Brian explored the nature of his mental activity. He experienced racing thoughts that were a mix of self-criticism, fear and worry about future predicted problems and worry about his direction and success in the world. Brian was able to observe his thought patterns, without being drawn into them or believing them.

He continued to use the techniques of Self Dialogue he learnt during the sessions in his external life, to settle his mental noise and release his heaviness and sadness. Now Brian has learnt to use the memory of his dad in a positive way; he imagines listening to his kind words rather than avoiding thinking of him to avoid the fear of being overwhelmed by sadness.

A month after his mindfulness therapy, Brian’s sadness lifted, his motivation and excitement for life returned and he has now freed up mental and emotional space for a new relationship in his life.

What are the take-homes from Brian’s experience?

1)      Emotions are experienced as physical symptoms.

That’s right. It seems like an obvious one, but this is often overlooked. We feel emotions in our bodies; we don’t think them. Sensations felt in the abdomen, chest, throat, shoulders and neck and even the lower back can all have emotional roots.  Same as we experience body sensations such as hunger, thirst and tiredness –these are useful physical messages of our bodily needs that we have learnt to interpret and respond to accordingly – we also experience emotional sensations. They are equally intelligent messages that are a signal of our needs; however, we often wrongly interpret or deny them.

2)      Strong or ‘stuck’ emotions are often mistaken as physical health problems

Because there are thousands of illnesses but only hundreds of symptoms, making a diagnosis is not so straightforward. ‘Physical’ causes of illness also share similar symptoms to emotional causes. Tightness, heaviness, cramping pain and spasm can all be caused by emotional triggers.  Emotional symptoms fluctuate with emotional stress and are usually recurring sensations. When they become strong or constant, we often misinterpret emotional sensations as a physical health problem and seek help from health practitioners.

Medical practitioners are particularly trained to exclude serious pathology and therefore look for serious health issues. Tests are performed and if they come back negative, we can be left thinking, “It’s all in my head.”

It isn’t. The symptoms just aren’t reflecting a physical breakdown; it’s an emotional trigger that needs exploring.

3)      Mindful awareness of an emotion allows for its release.

Mindful awareness means placing attention on the experience without rejecting, criticising or analysing it. It means slowing down and approaching the experience with curiosity and kindness. Mindfulness allows the message and meaning of the emotion trapped in the body to be discovered.

Once deeply understood and connected to, the emotion loosens its grip and usually finds its own way out of the body.  The mindfulness process may not always be this simple and may need to be repeated a number of times, but the principle is the same. The only way to get over a feeling is to feel it.  We often just need someone to provide guidance and support on how best to do that.

*Name has been changed

This is an individual case study for educational purposes. Results obtained by one person does not mean the same  can be expected by another. Each person has different life experiences and circumstances which will influence responses.

Dr Nick BassalGeneral Medical Practice, Mindfulness-Based Psychotherapy – Wholistic Medical Centre

Tension headaches

Suffering from tension-type headaches? How osteopathy may help


tension-type headaches

Many of us experience headaches from time to time.

Yet often at peak times of stress in our lives – like tight deadlines at work – they can be impossible to shift for days and even weeks at a time. These tension-type headaches can be incredibly debilitating and limit our ability to function properly in our day-to-day lives.

Osteopathy may help.

Whilst patient responses to osteopathic treatment can vary from patient to patient – due to patient sensitivity to treatment and other lifestyle contributing factors – many people experience positive outcomes after osteopathic treatment.

Joseph* came to the clinic complaining that he had been suffering ongoing headaches for three weeks. He didn’t report any migraine-type symptoms such as nausea or sensitivity to light; rather he had a feeling of pressure and tension from the back of the head to the temples on both sides. He felt the longer the headache continued, the neck and shoulders increasingly stiffened up, causing an aching and burning sensation.

Joseph worked as a web designer and was currently finishing a stressful project. He was working 10 hour days and weekends to meet the upcoming deadline.

Assessment of Joseph’s neck, shoulder and jaw muscles found these to be very tender to touch. Lightly pressing the joints of his neck and base of the skull reproduced his headache symptoms at the forehead and behind the eye.

Joseph was diagnosed as suffering from a tension-type headache, caused by tension in the structures of the neck. This diagnosis was made through physical assessment; the ability to reproduce his headache with light pressure; the exclusion of symptoms related to other headache forms and from an understanding of his stressful work situation.

Contributing factors were both physical – long periods of computer use and lack of regular physical exercise – and emotional – heightened stress levels at work in getting his project finalised to deadline.

Joseph’s muscles and joints in his back, neck and head had tightened and needed to be released for the headache to shift.

Osteopathic treatment combined manual therapy to the tight muscles and joints of the back, neck and head with self-management strategies such as stretching and regular whole body exercise.

By the second treatment, Joseph reported a significant reduction in the intensity and episodes of the headaches and by the fourth treatment, he stopped having headaches and stopped taking painkillers altogether. Joseph continued treatment every 6 weeks to progress his exercises and further prevent a return of his symptoms.

Joseph’s experience is a common one. For many of us, our day-to-day working life involves prolonged sitting (often with poor posture) and periods of high stress.

*Name has been changed

This case study is for educational purposes only. Results may vary due to individual circumstances.

Vincent KingOsteopath, Wholistic Medical Centre


Overcome Depression with Homeopathy





Mainstream medicine and natural medicine approach dis-ease in the body in markedly different ways.


Rebecca* presented to the Wholistic Medical Centre with a range of symptoms.

She initially sought advice within mainstream medicine, yet the treatment options offered felt overwhelming and drastic: surgery for ingrown toenails, anti-depressants for psychological and emotional distress, sleeping tablets for insomnia and cortisone cream for eczema. Rebecca wanted to explore homeopathy as an alternative, less drastic treatment option.

There are several ways that homeopathy can help to overcome depression. By way of background, homeopathy uses natural substances to stimulate the body’s innate healing processes and can be used for almost any condition. It works on the ‘like cures like’ principle. Counter intuitively, patients presenting with certain symptoms may be treated with diluted doses of a related natural substance. For example, coffee is a stimulant, yet in diluted homeopathic doses, can be given to a patient who has trouble sleeping to calm their overactive mind.

Rebecca’s symptoms had been present for the past 5 years. During the consult, it was uncovered that her feelings of jealousy and irritability had been exacerbated by her parents’ separation.

Homeopathic treatment was implemented to begin to overcome her depression and improve general health. Rebecca was prescribed mineral salts and a plant-based remedy. Within one week, Rebecca’s eczema had reduced markedly, her sleep was much more restful and she felt more peaceful and less reactive to the emotional issues within her family.

After a month of intermittent doses of both remedies, much of Rebecca’s eczema had cleared, her emotions and sleep were calmed and her ingrown toenails were much less inflamed.

Rebecca avoided drastic treatment options of surgery and anti-depressants by working on  her underlying imbalance and supporting her body to health through homeopathic treatment.

* Name has been changed

This case study is for educational purposes only. Results may vary due to individual circumstances.

Case study on overcoming depression with homoeopathy by:

Michael ClearyHomeopath and General Practitioner, Wholistic Medical Centre