The BFC says GOODBYE :(

Screen Shot 2017-11-28 at 2.11.27 pmThis is perhaps one of the most difficult pieces of writing I’ve ever had to pen… my final address as the director to my beloved Brisbane Family Clinic.

It has been a dream turned reality, to create a family clinic that provides an exceptional standard in healthcare. To hold space for you and your family to be heard, really heard. To have a practice that pioneers an interdisciplinary model striving to improve the standard in Australian healthcare by creating pathways for communication between your BFC practitioners and your other allied health and medical providers. At times, this task with all it’s challenges felt on par with smashing my head through a brick wall, but the significant positive outcomes gained in your quality of life by striving for such a (difficult) model, far outweighed the tears.

I still heartedly believe that such a model is achievable. I still believe that by improving the communication pathways between all of your healthcare providers will undoubtedly improve your health outcomes. It’s just that for the time being, it wont be myself or The BFC championing your healthcare.

You see, Troy and I received the delightful news a while back that we were expecting our second child! This means, there will be 13 months between River and our newest family love (insert wide eyed emoji)(followed by super happy emoji)!!

The reality of having two children so young and so close in age, with no local family support, a partner often working interstate,  and a labour intense business, I feared that with all the joy 2018 will bring… it may also bring to our world a little (read a heap of) chaos! My sincere fear, is that in trying to keep all the balls in the air, to a standard that I hold dear, something would give… and it most probably would be my mental health, or the health of my family. So I asked myself, how could I champion and optimise family health in others and allow my own family health to suffer? A serious possibility if I failed to honestly recognise my limits.

So in October this year, I made the heart wrenching decision to close our practice in 2018, three years after opening The BCC/BFC. I then cried for a solid three days, seriously.

I am and will always be, forever grateful for your support and faith in me… to provide you with expert practitioners that have wholeheartedly cared for you and your family’s healthcare here at The BFC. It is my earnest wish that you may continue to experience supreme love in your healthcare journey.

This is not goodbye forever, it’s just a little goodbye for now, whilst I take some time to focus on my family. If you’d like to stay tuned to any baby or return to practice news, make sure that you like and follow our facebook page, and remained subscribed to this newsletter.

Until next time… HUGE love,

Sharnie xx

postscript. To return to the newsletter where you’ll be able to see where you can follow your BFC practitioner/s to in 2018 to, click here.

Top 10 things you can do to prepare for Parenthood – Guest Post

This week is Perinatal Depression & Anxiety Week! Perinatal clinical psychologist Amy Kelly from Whole Heart Psychology shares the top 10 things you can do to prepare for parenthood.

Amy will be giving brief information session on anxiety and depression affecting those pre and postnatally this Friday at our PAMPER DAY! (Tickets required)

For more information on this event click here.






It’s well-known that becoming a parent is one of the most stressful life transitions.  I work as a perinatal psychologist and have supported lots of women through this bumpy transition. Through this experience, I have learnt that, with a little bit of planning, you can feel less like you are sky-diving without a parachute and more like you are prepped, confident and prepared for the jump.


1. Get your support crew ready. Looking after a new-born 24/7 is hard work, especially when you are sleep deprived. It takes a village to raise a child, so think about where you can get 3 types of support, and not just your partner:

    • practical support (for help with cooking, cleaning, looking after your baby),
    • social support (someone to have fun with from time to time, like going for a walk, to the movies, to the park). Apps like Meetup can help if you feel like you don’t know many people where you live.
    • emotional support (someone that you can openly share your feelings with, whether they be joyful or feelings of sadness).

 Before having your baby, ask your crew if they would be willing to support you over the first year and how you think they could help.

2. Be aware of your emotional boundaries and be prepared to set limits. Sometimes support can overstep the line and you might wind up feeling guilty, incompetent or like you don’t have enough space. For example, the grandparent with a different parenting style and advice for you. Think about what boundaries might be crossed (who, how, when), and talk with your partner how you might deal with this, while still maintaining healthy relationships.


3. Prioritise your own sleep by teaching your baby sleep and settling skills early. Read up about ideas about how to establish good sleeping habits for your baby. A comfortable cot, clothing and consistent bed time rituals and times can help your baby to learn how to sleep and to settle themselves back to sleep when they wake up.

Sleeping baby = sleeping parents = well rested family = less stress all round.


4.  Devise a Plan B in case your baby is not a good sleeper. If you have a baby who takes a long time to learn to sleep independently, and they wake up crying every 2 hours, it is important to call on your support crew to help you with your baby while you get a decent stretch of sleep. Long term sleep deprivation is not good for your emotional and physical health.


5. Look after your relationship with your partner by negotiating roles and responsibilities. Before the baby arrives, sit down with your partner and work out how you plan to share the jobs. How can you ensure that you are both pitching in with bathing, getting up for the baby at night, reading stories, going for walks, changing nappies, cooking and cleaning. Even in 2016, women often end up doing the lion’s share of baby care and housework, which often is a cause of conflict and dissatisfaction. Planning ahead can mitigate against these potential difficulties.


 6. Book in pampering appointments before the baby arrives. Treat yourself and book in a babysitter every 4 weeks so you can have some alone time (hairdresser/ massage/ facial/ movie/ gym session/ netball game/ squash) during the first year of parenthood. Time for yourself is good for emotional well-being, which is good for your baby and for your relationship.


7. Research child care. Wait times can be horrendous (I had to wait 18 months to get my third son into my preferred child care centre) so go and visit a few and put your name down when you find one you like. Even if you don’t end up taking a place, it’s good to have the option if you need it.


8. Educate yourself about breast feeding. If you are planning to breastfeed, it can be helpful to know about how to do it. Breast feeding is a skill, which takes knowledge and practice. Find out about the rooting reflex, different positions, and contraptions to make breast feeding comfortable (e.g. bras, t-shirts, feeding pillows).


9. Don’t compare yourself to others. It can be easy to feel inadequate when seeing models with bikini-bodies 6 weeks after giving birth, or when listening to a mother in mother’s group boast that her baby has ‘slept through’ since returning from the hospital. From my experience as a perinatal psychologist, many new parents put on “happy, social masks”, but face private struggles behind closed doors. The first year of parenthood is not meant to be a walk in the park.


10. Plan to enjoy time with your baby and your new family. Consider your interests and think about how to involve your baby in activities with you. For example, if you like yoga – research baby yoga groups, if you like watching the football – carry your baby in a baby carrier or pram while you watch a game. Doing this will help to build your attachment to your baby, while still maintaining your identity.

Amy Kelly – Clinical Psychologist – Whole Heart Psychology

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‘Life breaks your heart when you least expect it”- Guest Post

Today is International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day. It’s a day for parents and families to honour their love/s, lost from miscarriage, stillbirth or newborn death. Sadly many of our BFC families have experienced such loss and their grief is often silent. Today, Mum and Journalist Lauren Martyn-Jones shares with us her story, originally written for the Courier Mail

EVERY day for the last six months I’ve had to make a conscious effort to be grateful for the blessings I have and not allow myself to drown in a sea of heartache.

There have been days when I’ve lost that battle, and bitterness or devastation have gotten the better of me. Yet more often than not I’ve managed to keep myself going, even amid extraordinary pain, because I’ve come to understand happiness is often just a choice we make for ourselves.

Lauren Martyn-Jones

On March 21, an overcast, humid, Tuesday morning, the bottom fell out of my world.

I was at the end of what seemed like a long pregnancy carrying identical twin girls. I had just started maternity leave. I had just put the finishing touches on their beautiful nursery — little white cots sat on adjacent sides of the room with matching soft pink and lilac sheets. In a matter of hours I would learn that life’s most brutal lessons come when you are least prepared.

I was ridiculously diligent about being pregnant. I took my antenatal vitamin months in advance, I drank green smoothies daily, attended pregnancy pilates classes and avoided consuming anything potentially risky from alcohol, to soft eggs and goats cheese.

I even made my husband stop using insect repellent throughout summer.

I had a fabulous obstetrician, top medical cover and more scans than I could count to monitor the common risks of a multiple pregnancy. Somehow, naively, I thought that meant I could control the outcome, just as I had managed to control almost everything else in my life to date.

But March 21 was the day I learnt life is beyond the realms of control, even for the most avid micromanager.

I will never forget the look on my doctor’s face, or the eerie stillness on the screen, when we learnt our Twin 1 no longer had a heartbeat. For months she had already been named — Audrey. We could tell from the scans she had beautiful, delicate little features. There was also an elegance to her movements, even in utero, so the name seemed to fit.

I had worried about almost everything during my pregnancy, but somehow in the weeks leading up to that day, I let myself believe we had made it. I knew healthy, thriving twins born at 32 weeks gestation, and I was now past 34 weeks. They could survive on the outside if they had to, so I assumed we were in the clear.

Life breaks your heart when you least expect it.

There is still no definitive medical explanation for Audrey’s death. For a journalist, who has carved a career out of asking questions and searching for answers, I have to live with never getting an explanation to the greatest “why” of all.

On March 21 I felt more pain than I thought I could endure, and yet the minute hand on the big oversized hospital clock kept moving, as if to remind me that life would not stop just because my little baby’s heart did.

But March 21 was also the day I received the greatest gift of all, my precious little surviving daughter Lillian, born just a minute after her beautiful stillborn twin sister.

Lauren Martyn-Jones with her husband Matthew and their daughter Lillian.

Lauren Martyn-Jones with her husband Matthew and their daughter Lillian.

The human heart is capable of simultaneously feeling totally incongruent emotions. That day I learnt absolute love, gratitude and joy can exist alongside heartache, devastation and loss.

I only got to hold my two daughters together for about 20 minutes, but in those brief, irreplaceable moments I was able to see the incredible bond between my twins.

Little 2kg Lily, still hooked up to oxygen and monitors, reached out and held on to her sister’s tiny, lifeless hand. It became clear to me right then that my surviving daughter had suffered a loss even greater than mine and my husband’s.

No feeling, no matter how searing or raw, is stronger than a parent’s desire to protect their child. I became determined Lily would not also be forced to endure losing the joyful, positive, adoring mother she would have otherwise had if her sister had survived.

I would find my way through this, for her. In the weeks following March 21, I somehow, with the support of my incredible husband, family and friends, found the strength and resilience I never knew I had.

I also came to appreciate how phenomenally kind people are. I have never experienced anything quite like the outpouring of support we received after losing Audrey.

Friends, colleagues, even people we didn’t know, went to great effort to show us they genuinely cared about what we were going through.

In many ways the six months following March 21 have flown by, mostly in the daze of caring for a baby. But I have learnt that time does not heel all wounds.

The missing part of my soul reserved for Audrey only grows as my love for Lily grows. The questions get bigger too; what would have made Audrey smile for the first time, what little nursery rhymes would she have enjoyed, what would the expression in her eyes have been like when I went to pick her up out of her cot in the mornings.

I will never be the person I was on March 20, I will never experience the sort of uncomplicated happiness I took for granted before my girls were born. But as a mum I have also experienced more love and more joy in the last six months than I did in the 34 years before that day.

My life forevermore will be a patchwork of conflicting emotions. I am a still mother of twins, my journey just looks very different to how I thought it would.

In another six months it will be March 21 again. It will be a bittersweet day. We will celebrate Lily and remember Audrey. More than anything, I hope on that day we feel as though we are continuing to honour her short but remarkable life by loving her sister, choosing happiness and being grateful for the limited time we had with her.

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Mental Health & Exercise



This week, October 8th – 14th mark World Mental Health Day & Queensland Mental Health Week, aiming to raise nation-wide awareness and reducing the associated stigma that mental illnesses carry.

Generally speaking, individuals experiencing mental health conditions will also be experiencing some elements of poor physical health, and vice versa.

These physical health implications on those living with a mental illness, such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder, is due in part to the side effects of their prescribed medication, however it is also due to a range of lifestyle factors such as poor diet and low levels of physical activity. Given the well-known relationship between physical and mental health, it is important that those individuals living with a mental health condition receive a multi-disciplinary or inter-disciplinary treatment to enhance their quality of life and improve both their physical and mental health.

There is an increasing amount of evident to suggest that exercise is an effective treatment for people suffering from acute and chronic mental illness, with some studies suggesting that exercise is just as effective, if not more effective than medication in alleviating depressive symptoms.

For those with a mental illness, regular physical activity, prescribed by an AEP has been shown to:

Exercise is Medicine

  • Improve cardiovascular fitness and reduce all-cause mortality risk
  • Help with weight management/weight gain from medication
  • Reduce risk of chronic disease such as type 2 diabetes
  • Help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety
  • Improve sleep quality and self-esteem.

Exercise is also a great form of social engagement and improved quality of life. Group exercise classes can have a tremendous effect on the mental health of all participants. While a social exercise group class may not be tailored towards a particular pathology, if you have a good time exercising, you’ll feel better.

This change in mood (thanks endorphins!) will have a flow on effect of moving better through confidence and self-worth. This can lead to active self-management of conditions, continuing to want to engage in regular physical activity and building motivation.

It can take a significant period of time before the benefits of exercise are noticeable. Most studies have shown to can take up to eight weeks for a significant reduction of depressive symptoms, but don’t let that deter you. The feel good endorphins you’ll get after an exercise session, plus the benefits to your physical health should help you to continue on a path to wellness.

Big Love, Brittany x

Brittany Cogger – Accredited Exercise Physiologist

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Loving life with Jamie – Guest post

Jamie smilesToday is World Cerebral Palsy Day, and to raise awareness, mum extraordinaire Rachael shares with us today how life is for her gorgeous little family. Personally, I will never forget the first day baby Jamie came in to see me carried in the arms of his Dad Paul, and the first thing that smashed through The BFC’s door that day, was Jamie’s heartwarming and radiant smile. It’s an extraordinary experience, receiving one of Jamie’s smiles; When he does, his eyes sparkle, and the whole world around you feels as if it shimmers. 

– Dr Sharnie McCooke

We have been asked by the lovely Dr Sharnie from The Brisbane Family Clinic to share Jamie’s Journey in honour of World Cerebral Palsy DayJamie was born at 29 weeks (21/11/2013) and from the very beginning his Daddy and I just knew he was a fighter & today he continues to fight. 

In January 2014 Jamie was diagnosed with Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy and this was a massive shock to us. Yes it means he will need more help and a lot of therapy but this little man is letting nothing hold him back. He wears AFOs (ankle-foot orthosis) to help support his feet and put them in the right position, uses a walker to get around & has just recently started taking some independent steps! (Insert squeal here)!!

Cerebral Palsy does not define who Jamie is or change the way you interact with him. He is still the beautiful, loving little man that we all know and love. Jamie is about to turn 4, like seriously how is that even possible?! He is full of life, love, laughter & determination. Jamie is talking like a champ & loving being a little boy, climbing & trying everything! He has no fear which is good & scary.

Chino love

Of course there are struggles & tears, but the smiles, cuddles & ‘I love you’s’ make each day so incredibly special. Paul, Jamie & I are incredibly lucky to be supported by our amazing family, friends and health care providers. 

Lowe family

Jamie attends an Early Childhood Development Program (ECDP) once a week to help get him ready for Prep in 2019.  Jamie also attends Kindy 2 days a week which he loves so much. Jamie receives physiotherapy, osteopathy, paediatric acupuncture and Botox as well. I will be honest, it’s tough road at times, especially as Jamie is getting older and becoming more aware of things, for example Botox.  He knows that Botox means some needles and as heartbreaking as it is to see your beautiful boy upset at the time, the effects of the Botox in Jamie’s tight calf muscles are amazing!

 Of course life is not all about therapy, we make sure that Jamie experiences lots of super fun times as well. We are very lucky that Jamie’s Poppa & Nanna bought us all theme park passes and going to SeaWorld to see the big sharks is one of Jamie’s favourite things to do.Jamie loves to swim, play guitar, bounce on his trampoline, play at the park and feed the ducks. Jamie has very close relationships with all his Grandparents, Aunty’s and Uncles and each one of them has their own special bond with him.  He is incredibly loved. 


We were lucky enough to be referred to Dr Sharnie and her amazing clinic and team and we have not looked back.  From the very first appointment it was clear to us that Dr Sharnie was passionate about her work and she worked really hard to build a beautiful relationship with Jamie.

Thank you Dr Sharnie for inviting us to share Jamie’s Journey with everyone.  

Big Love x

Reflections, six months into motherhood…

With eight years of tertiary education, and a decade of experience as a primary healthcare practitioner pertaining to paediatrics with a recent sub-speciality into breastfeeding; one of the most frequently asked questions I now receive is how does the theory compare to the reality of parenthood? Has motherhood been made easier for me because of my knowledge? The short answer is yes, the long answer is a little more greyscale.

River love

Having the knowledge certainly made things undoubtedly easier in promoting optimal breastfeeding, sleep and development in River. I was able to prepare well before birth for optimal outcomes by understanding the importance and benefits of hand-expressing, the breast crawl, and what to pack in my hospital bag that would enhance my breastfeeding experience. Troy certainly drew sideways glances from the nurses station as he walked into the Mater the day after River’s birth dressed in a flannel shirt, with a swag slung over his shoulder carrying two growlers of the darkest ale he could find. I was prepared for the insatiable hunger by graciously receiving nutritiously baked goodies from girlfriends, namely cook extraordinaire Amber Manning, who prior to delivery, piled me up with an abundance of delicious goodies that I could and certainly did snack on (read stuff my face) during the quiet hours of the night.

I had advanced warning when River would cluster feed and what that meant for the three of us. I was able to word Troy up in advance on what to expect, when to restrict visitors, and when to rest and conserve energy for what was to come. One of the biggest advantages of having the knowledge was knowing when something wasn’t normal and when to seek assistance. Despite knowing the ins and out of optimal latch and how to achieve it, River initially had a shallow latch on my right breast, grazing the nipple. Seeking the assistance of a lactation consultant in those first few days who sported an external set of eyes was all that I needed to prevent any further decline in nipple health. 


But despite the theory, despite having a baby that fed and slept brilliantly, there were many aspects of parenthood that I definitely found shocking and confronting…

Prior to birth I was unexpectedly exposed to a bombardment of external pressures and expectations relating to the birth and the immediate postpartum period that I did not foresee. It was at this point, that I realised how the birth of a child can quickly change the nature of relationships, sometimes for the better and sometimes not.


For years I heard myself saying to expecting or new parents that other than the initial stretching pain in the nipple, latch shouldn’t hurt. A gross understatement on my behalf! Having the prior knowledge that the collagen fibres must stretch in the nipple did not prepare my toes for the toe-curling reality of those initial first sucks during the first few days. Insert wide eyed emoji. Nor did the theory prepare me for the intensity of the night sweats!

Mastering walking AND feeding!

Having on hand resources that promoted sleep in a nurturing and responsive way was extremely helpful, in not only optimising the health of River but preserving the sanity of Troy and myself. Yet, despite having an exceptional sleeper, the theory was far from the hazy reality of baby-brain. I remember at my final BFC family meeting I said to the girls “I’ll be back in six weeks!”. The girls all smiled at me, except for Suzie who as the only mother amongst us, shook her head and gently said that it’ll be a minimum of four months before my return. Thank god for Suzie, honestly. There is no way that I could have returned to practice at six weeks postpartum. It certainly took a mother to know that and advise accordingly. 

River and his rolls

The are other realities too, that I wasn’t quite prepared for. I have always encouraged new parents that I see to trust their instincts; but following your instincts I’ve since discovered (the hard way) is entirely another mindset. In the first few days we had a family member visit from interstate with a viral chest infection. I found myself torn between the effort they had made to fly to meet River and the reality that their presence could land River very unwell very quickly.  Layered with the aforementioned pre-birth expectations, I allowed the visit. A few days later, River became unresponsive and floppy and my worst fears were upon us. Unsure of the cause, the team at Lady Cilento did a full septic workup on River. This included a lumbar puncture when he was only 10 days old with four days of four hourly intravenous antibiotics to follow. Enter the new realm of intense mothers guilt! I could have prevented this merely by asserting myself and preventing an unwell visitor. I could have and should have protected River. Thankfully River recovered quickly, but I didn’t. I gave myself an exceptionally hard time for months about this, and still a small piece of me believes that I am responsible.

But the biggest shock to parenthood was the impact of becoming parents on my relationship with Troy. Whilst Troy is sincerely a thoughtful, loving, supportive and gentle man, at the end of the day he is a man. I discovered that parenthood highlights the fundamental psychological differences between the sexes. After chatting to a few girlfriends, I discovered that this was normal. It certainly wasn’t what I was prepared for. In hindsight, I should have read ‘Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus’. I had assumed that Troy would note that in the six months of being parents that I had very little Sharnie-time, because in the six months I had made sure that Troy still had his Troy-time. But after realising this to be merely a psychological difference between our two sexes, I discovered that I simply needed to tell Troy when I’m taking some Sharnie-time. Waiting for him to offer it was never going to happen, not because he’s thoughtless, to the contrary; But because Troy is a man and I am a woman! There are other subtle changes to our relationship that parenthood has brought forth, and I see these to as important progressions to not only ourselves individually, but as a couple, and as a family.

The beginning of our recent 65km remote coastal hike!

Our latest challenge as a family has been navigating my return to work! Troy manages a pipeline project in remote NSW and Victoria, and with our families interstate, this has seemed a little tricky, until now. Thankfully, we have now secured care up the mountain for River on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Due to room availability at The BFC, Mondays I will return to practice as an osteopath, Wednesday as a lactation consultant, and Friday’s in my non-clinical role of supporting our exceptional family of practitioners.

Without my BFC family of Jordon, Natalie, Lauren Brittany, Sally and Rach, enjoying a maternity leave would not have been possible. Especially without the magnitude of love and support given by close girlfriend Suzie Burn, who allowed me to take my foot off operations and clinic development altogether, so that I could just be a Mum. To these ladies, I will be forever and wholeheartedly grateful.

Sharnie recommences at The BFC Monday October 16th. To book in, please call 0733581585 or press here

Bounce back from the cold and flu

Hmmm, it’s that time again. You know it. The winds are whirling; Kleenex is the hot item on the shopping list and home doctor on speed dial. Yes, it’s EKKA time. Brisbanites gather in droves to honour our city and spread their germs. And where does that leave you?

Blocked up, aching all over, coughing and spluttering until your ribs hurt, dizzy, shivering (endless flicking between winter and summer doonas), burning and itchy throat, irritable and incredibly exhausted.

So, you’ve speed dialed home doctor, who might have prescribed you cold and flu tablets, antibiotics, water and plenty of rest. While all of these treatments may play a role in reducing the nasty symptoms of the cold or flu, The BFC and Osteopathy takes a different approach.

Instead of treating the manifestations or symptoms, our Osteopaths will look at the functioning of the whole body. This is the critical element in both short and long term recovery.

Firstly, let’s look at how a cold works. Colds are usually caused by viruses which travel into our system (via tug of war over the last Bertie Beetle Bag) replicate and then cause the associated symptoms; which can lead to chronic illness.

During this time, our sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight response) is in overdrive. This leads to prolonged inflammation, muscles tightening and aching, congestion in our lymphatic system, and a decrease in immunity. Not a great outcome.

Cold and Flu.png


There are several considerations our osteopaths will make, all of which will aim to decrease the cold symptoms and duration of the cold, support the body’s attempt to heal, help to prevent recurrence, and increase patient comfort short and long term.

Some of these considerations and treatment options include:

  • ACHING JOINTS; addressing joint restrictions in the spine to normalize the function of the nervous system. This will help to reduce muscle tension, pain, and joint achiness.
  • CONGESTION & SWELLING; Treatment of the cervical spine and rib cage fascia to open fascial pathways which will increase blood circulation and lymphatic drainage, therefore improving immune function, decreasing congestion and inflammation.
  • STRUGGLING TO BREATHE; Treating the rib cage and diaphragm muscle to improve respiration, and to help relieve congestion.
  • BLOCKED SINUS, EARS & TEETH PAIN; Treatment of the facial bones and tissues for improvements on sinus drainage and pain.

If you are suffering from a cold, and have made it through to the incubation period ad no longer contagious come in and see us!

We look past the acute symptoms and recognize the vital link between the structure of the body to the way it functions. Osteopaths help to create an optimum environment for the body to fight the virus, leading to a speedier recovery and offers an alternative treatment option to pharmaceutical interventions.

As Osteopaths there are many other questions we are asked about cold and flu recovery. Such as; Can I exercise with a cold or flu and when it is safe to return to exercise and how will I know? Watch this 3-minute video from our very own Exercise Physiologist for more info.

Big Love, Dr Lauren x

– Dr Lauren Bowman– Registered Osteopath–




Back Pain Exercise Right.jpg




Exercise physiology itself is the study of the acute responses and long-term adaptations to a wide range of physical activity and exercise conditions in the body. That is, what happens in the heart, lungs, stomach, liver, muscles or brain when we exercise?

In addition, Exercise Physiologists study the effect of exercise on illness and injury in these systems of the body – and the mechanisms by which exercise can reduce, or reverse disease progression (for example how exercise can influence blood glucose without the need for insulin, and help type II diabetics manage their disease). We then use this knowledge to prescribe exercise – just like medicine! In fact, our mantra is that exercise IS medicine!

As a result, Accredited Exercise Physiologists have an amazing understanding of the human body, anatomy and especially the physiological changes brought on by pregnancy!  A lot of changes occur in the body when you are carrying a baby, even more if you are carrying 2 (or even 3!), and exercise can help at every stage of pregnancy.


Back Pain.jpgAlmost 80% of us will experience back pain at some point in our lives. Unfortunately it is a very common, but very treatable, injury.  Your spine and the surrounding muscles are designed for movement – and in bouts of lower back pain can become rigid and immobile. Repeated bouts of Lower Back Pain can set off a “spiral of decline”, in which someone takes to the couch because of the pain; this inactivity weakens muscles and joints; the person’s now-weakened back and core become less able to sustain the same level of activity as before, leading to more pain and more inactivity; and the spiral continues.

Seeking manual therapy for Lower Back Pain is also very common, this is where a therapist such as an osteopath like we have at The BFC, (or chiropractor, physiotherapist, acupuncturist) will help manually manipulate your spine to help restore mobility, relax muscles and increase circulation. However manual therapy alone will not resolve your Lower Back Pain – active therapy, where you exercise and physically move these muscles is so important in recovery!

It is important to seek assistance with planning exercise if you have had multiple episodes of low back pain, because the back muscles can respond differently after repeated bouts of back pain.


The BFC Pregnancy Exercsie.jpgAs many as 75% of pregnant women experience back pain at some point. Most often the pain appears in the second or third trimester and can become worse as pregnancy progresses. Again, although lower back pain during pregnancy is very common – it should definitely not be accepted as just part of the process! Exercise can help.

There are 2 main types of Lower Back Pain commonly seen in pregnancy – lumbar pain and posterior pelvic pain.

Lumbar pain during pregnancy is generally located at and above the waist in the center of the back  – and is similar to lower back pain experienced by non- pregnant women. This type of pain typically increases with prolonged postures (such as sitting, standing, or repetitive lifting).

Posterior pelvic pain is four times more prevalent than lumbar pain in pregnancy. It is caused by dysfunction of the sacroiliac joint.

The sacroiliac joint is the junction of the sacrum and the pelvic bones. Hormones released in pregnancy cause this joint to become more mobile to prepare the pelvis for birth! However, this increase in motion causes instability of the sacroiliac joint – which can then become a source of pain. Posterior pelvic pain can be brought on or exacerbated by walking, running, swimming breast stroke, climbing stairs, getting in/out of the car, and rolling in bed.

Posterior pelvic pain is a deep pain felt below the waistline on either side across from the tailbone. It can extend down into the buttock and back of the thighs, but does not usually radiate below the knees.

The pain doesn’t resolve quickly with rest, and morning stiffness may also be present. Although you may want to rest, stretching and strengthening exercises will often improve your pain.

So in summary!

Lower back pain is very common in both the general population and in pregnancy – and we know bed rest unfortunately will not make things better!

Exercise helps improve pain, strengthen back muscles and reduce your risk of on going lower back pain.

Exercise Physiologists provide active therapy and work closely with manual therapists to help you improve and manage your lower back pain.

Big Love Esme x

– Esme Soan – Accredited Exercise Physiologist –

Gift of Wellness

The BFC Gift of wellness

Suffering from broken sleep? Feeling tired and exhausted? Find yourself negotiating sex, sleep and housework? Fatigue can be overwhelming and a persistent part of being a woman and mum. We often find that women neglect themselves and prioritise babies, children, family and everyone else’s expectations and their own health falls to the very bottom of the list. Sound familiar?

Managing your needs as a woman, no matter what stage in life (pregnant, new mum, grandma-ma, mum of many) your health is extremely important to your mental, emotional and physical well being. Our experienced Naturopath has a special interest in women’s health and can assist specific areas of concerns including:

  • Anxiety and stress
  • Gut Health
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Fatigue (lack of energy, weakness & light headiness)
  • Overwhelming sadness (low mood, less resilience, tears, post-natal depression)
  • Nutrition
  • Low libido
  • Hormone imbalance (PMT symptoms, perimenopause, menopause)
  • Pregnancy (preparing for birth)
  • Recovery from birth
  • Breast feeding (milk maintenance – over or low supply, cracked nipples)
  • Hormone imbalance (PMT symptoms, perimenopause, menopause)

Please contact Sally and book an appointment. Tell us what has inspired you to make the appointment today,  and if you have received any form of advice or treatment for your concerns prior to your initial booking.

Big Love
The BFC x


My Endo Story – By Jordon Kelly

BFC vs Endo

Firstly, What is ENDOMETRIOSIS, “Endometriosis is a chronic condition where cells similar to those that line the uterus (the endometrium) are found in other parts of the body.”

Ever since the day Aunt Flow arrived, she has made my life a living nightmare. My period pain would start the week prior and continue several days after, with unpredictable cramping throughout the rest of the month. The pain was debilitating, and there were many days that I couldn’t leave the house. I was envious of friends who experienced minimal or no symptoms. When I questioned the severity of my symptoms with close friends and family, I was told painful periods were normal.

As the years went on, my pain worsened and other issues reared their ugly head. Soon, I had a persistent pain in my back and hips and eventually couldn’t walk properly. I’d dread my next cycle because the pain would be ten times worse. “How could this be normal?” I kept asking myself.

I went to my local GP to seek help. GP’s are the experts, right? My doctor sent me for tests – all were negative. Negative for what, exactly? I was prescribed medication to ease the pain. [Instead of relieving my pain, all I got were unwanted side-effects.]  I found myself where I started: in persistent pain, missing out on opportunities and activities that many young people take for granted, sad, confused and alone. If drugs couldn’t help, and tests found nothing, I wondered: Am I imagining my pain? Is it me?

I got second and third opinions – no one listened, they just dismissed me. Then, I experienced the most heartbreaking moment. A doctor laughed in my face and labelled my pain “imaginary.”  [I felt like a fool, and that I was wasting their valuable time] I was hit by a wave of shame and self-doubt. Although my confidence had been shattered, I couldn’t give up on myself. I became the voice of my pain.

Finally a friend heard what I was going through, and recommended an Osteopath, Dr Sharnie McCooke.  At the time, I was clueless as to the role of an Osteo. I wasn’t sure if she could help me, and petrified I would be ridiculed again. But, my friend was insistent, so I made an appointment. 

Sharnie eased my pain without the need for drugs, and listened to my story. I felt safe and supported for the first time on my journey. Surprisingly, Sharnie referred me to a gynaecologist.  I didn’t understand how a gynaecologist could help with hip pain. Dr McCooke explained how pain can be attached to an underlying issue, and if her hunch was correct, this was the next step for me to take. [Perplexed, I made an appointment with a gynaecologist.]

At my first appointment, we discussed the notes in Dr McCooke’s referral. I distinctly remember the gynaecologist saying it ‘could’ be Endometriosis. I was provided information about the disease, prescribed a new Oral Contraceptive Pill, and given a 6-month diet and exercise plan to hopefully alleviate my symptoms.  After extensive research, I was still in disbelief. I couldn’t even pronounce Endometriosis, let alone have it? If I did, why weren’t women and girls talking about it?  

I shared the possibility that I could have endometriosis with friends and family. I was hit with questions. From their reaction, I realised the lack of awareness around endometriosis.

This inspired me to join the QENDO support group. There I met and exchanged stories with several young girls and women suffering from Endo. Honestly, just the presence of these women in this group was truly supportive for me. Knowing, that “someone” understood the pain and the journey. It was nice not to feel alone.

After 6 months, the pain hadn’t stopped, so my gynaecologist recommended surgery. Insert freak out moment!  

Endo Blog

The big day soon rolled around. An extensive amount of Endometriosis was found. A Mirena (a small hormone-releasing IUD that thins the uterine lining) was inserted to help reduce the likelihood that endo would re-occur. 

Since surgery, I continue to meet with the QENDO support group, and my support team of experts including an Osteopath, Exercise Physiologist, Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist and Naturopath. My pain was very real. Thanks to the person who listened to me, I now have the freedom to live the life of a young woman. I’m now studying naturopathy and looking forward to supporting and nurturing others through their endo journey.

There is an ingrained misconception that painful periods are normal and women should just “deal with it.” If you find that your life is dictated by your cycle, speak up! You know your body better than anybody else. If you feel something isn’t right, keep fighting until you find someone who takes your concerns seriously.

Jordon and Esme

Big love,

Jordon x

Jordon Kelly – BFC Receptionist