What is your Thyroid and why is it so important?

What is your Thyroid and why is it so important?

This week I aim to open up the conversation and awareness around thyroid health. This is a health issue that I have personal experience of both in myself and many of my clients at Soma Wellness. I have noticed a trend of people being unaware of the importance of their thyroid, what it is and most importantly the lack of information provided by GP’s and Endocrinologist on how we can support our own thyroid health.

Many people who have thyroid health problems, take their recommended medication but yet see their blood results not improving or gradually getting worse and sadly this can be the same for the symptoms of thyroid issues, no ease up on the symptoms and over time getting progressively worse and not better.

Thankfully there are many simple lifestyle changes that we can decide to implement on a consistent daily basis that will help support our thyroid and hopefully start reducing the sometimes debilitating symptoms that comes with this hormonal imbalance.

Through a week long focus of Thyroid Health, I hope to inspire, empower and inform you so, that you will start to dig deeper, ask more questions, start to do your own reading and research on the topic and become an active participant in your life, living it the optimal potential that you have.

Are you ready………

To start with, we need to understand the thyroid, where it is and what it does. The Thyroid gland is a butterfly shaped gland located in our necks. It is part of the endocrine system. In simple terms the endocrine system regulates the hormones in our body, but it is a complex and intertwined network.


The Thyroid gland produces different types of hormones (more on this during the week) For now we need to know the thyroid is pretty much involved in every cell function and helps to regulate vital body functions such as;

  • Heart rate
  • Breathing
  • Metabolism
  • Blood Pressure
  • Menstrual Cycle
  • Body Temperature

Naturally if the Thyroid Hormones are off balance, your going to feel off balance.  When our Thyroid starts to produce too little of the hormones it is know as Hypothyroidism or more commonly known as an underactive thyroid. If our thyroid produces too much it is known as Hyperthyrodism or overactive.

The classical signs of having an underactive thyroid are (but not limited to);

  • Slow metabolism, which can result in weight gain or unable to loose weight
  • Feeling cold alot more
  • Slow sluggish digestive system, constipation
  • Low mood, feeling of depression, unmotivated
  • Fatigue / Tiredness
  • Brain fog, poor memory

The classical signs of an over active thyroid can be but not limited to;

  • Weight loss
  • Hair loss
  • Increase in appetite
  • Anxiety
  • Heart palpitations
  • Irritability

Remember that the thyroid is involved in regulating vital body functions, knowing this the list of possible signs and symptoms can be anything.

If any of the above symptoms are resonating with you, I would encourage to make an appointment with your GP and have your blood work done and chat to them regarding your symptoms. Don’t push how you are feeling because you might be a new mom or your going through a stressful time or your caring for a family member or your working long hours, whatever way you may justify how your feeling. You are here to thrive in life, not just survive, dig deep and take ownership of your health and wellness.

Disclaimer: I am not medically trained so please take the information provided here as educational purpose. I strongly recommend to go and talk to your GP, Doctor, Endocrinologist or medical profession. Start the conversation and get involved in your health and wellness.





DIY Reflexology for a good night sleep

DIY Reflexology for a good night sleep

Are you dreaming of a restful night sleep? Sleep is so important for our overall wellbeing. Sleep is the precious time that allows our mind and body to rest and to begin it’s own healing.

Reflexology stimulates the reflex points on our feet and subtly impacts the whole of our body, physically, mentally and emotionally. Using some simple reflexology in your bedtime routine can help you or a family member drift off to sleep.

Attending regular reflexology treatments is a fantastic way to set you up for a good night sleep. However, this may not always be possible. No matter if your a regular reflexology goer or just learning all about the wonderful benefits of Reflexology, this simple guide will have you sweet dreaming in no time. Better yet, get your partner on board and do a treatment swap.

  1. Turn off all distractions and start by a nice foot soak. Even a short rinse or wash is good.
  2. Simply being by using light, gentle pressure, massage both feet and relax each foot, one at a time. Gently pressing, squeezing, kneading.
  3. Starting on the right foot, begin on the sole of the foot, press in a vertical line up from the heel to the big toe, move one space over and press from the heel up to the next toe and continue until you finish at the baby toe.
  4. Gentle press your thumb into the solar plexus on your foot -see picture above and take a few deep belly breaths in and out.
  5. Repeat on the left foot – This simple technique will have you covering most of the reflex points.
  6. From the inside of your big toe and following the boney structure of your arch which represents the spinal reflexes, gently sweep down the palm of your head from the top to bottom, repeat 3 times. This is a very soothing and calming technique.
  7. End with using feather light strokes  – using your finger tips and barely touching your skin glide your fingertips on the soles, sides of feet and top of feet. from the bottom of your feet upwards. Gentle press on the solar reflex point again.


You can also work specific areas of concern to this simple routine. During your Reflexology treatments I will go through added reflex points that you can add in.

A simple treatment swap between you and your partner is also a nice way to connect at the end of a busy day and know that you are both benefiting from this wonderful practice.

I hope you found this article interesting and reap the benefits of adding reflexology into your night time routine.

If you would like to book a reflexology treatment with Anita at Soma Wellness, Ballydesmond, you can contact her on 087-1917907 to arrange your treatment time.






GentleBirth -helping you prepare for birth

GentleBirth -helping you prepare for birth

Preparing for birth can be pretty daunting, especially if the image you have of birth is coming from movies or T.V. shows, where the focus is on drama and captivating an audience with an edge of the seat story line or if all your hearing are the horror stories from Mary down the road. Just breath let them pass and know that you can have a positive experience. Regardless of what others may think.

We know that birth comes in all different shapes and sizes and we know that birth by it’s very nature is unpredictable. We also know that you can prepare for birth and things may not go the way you hoped for and that is ok. A positive birth doesn’t mean a natural vaginal birth with no pain medication. A positive birth is how you define it.

It would be much easier for us to prepare for birth if we knew exactly what was going to happen and when it was going to happen. But we don’t. As our famous quote from GentleBirth Workshops go, we really can only “control the controllables”.

control the controllables

What does this really mean? Have a think about what you really have control over…………. Your breath, your thoughts, your actions, your focus, your response and how you prepare for labour and birth.

Taking a GentleBirth Workshop helps you and your birth partner to prepare for birth and stack the odds in your favour of a positive birth experience. A positive birth experience is one that is defined by you not by me or GentleBirth or poor Mary down the road.

Have a think about what does a positive birth experience mean for you? It goes without saying that all moms will respond with having a healthy baby, but what else means positive for you? How you were spoken to? knowing your options? The environment? The staff? Were you consulted? Was consent given? What else can affect your experience?

You will be confident in knowing that the information provided at a GentleBirth workshop is evidence based and has a science edge to it and it’s not uncommon to hear birth partners get excited and looking forward to birth as they leave the workshop.

GentleBirth effectively uses:

  • Hypnosis for birth
  • Mindfulness – which helps to build your focus and resilience
  • Sport psychology to really get your head in the game
  • Cognative Behavioural Therapy to help challenge those thoughts and gain a greater understanding of where they are stemming from
  • Brain science – understanding that our brain pathways changes all thanks to those lovely pregnancy hormones.

During a workshop we will also go through;

  • Your labour bag and what you can use
  • Using the GentleBirth App for mom and birth partner!!
  • Acupressure points
  • Upright positions for mom during labour and birth
  • Pain relief options – medical and non medical
  • The important role of the birth partner
  • Key questions to ask your care provider
  • Breathing techniques
  • Visualisation

As a mom and a doula I will also share with you other tips and information that may be relative to the workshop.



Your birthing experience will stay with you forever, if you want to do what you can to make it a positive experience and prepare as best you can, you can book into one of my monthly workshops by following this link  P.S. ( Mary from down the road won’t be there 🙂 !!

If the dates I have scheduled don’t suit, please contact me and I would be happy to arrange a private workshop at a more suitable time.


Requesting your Hospital Birth Notes

Requesting your Hospital Birth Notes

A topic that comes up all too frequent and when I say “you do know you can get your hospital notes” it is usually met with “I never knew that, how do I get them”. So here it is, my guide on how you can request your hospital birth notes under the Freedom on Information Act AND it is free AND you don’t have to give a reason to why you want them!!!

Many women apply for their birth notes, it can be for a number of reasons; from helping them to get a timeline and understanding of events, to have as a keepsake for baby,  or you may not have been happy with your experience and would like to gain more information.

You can apply in writing to the Freedom of Information Officer at your maternity hospital. The information that you need to give them is; Your Name, Address, Contact number, your date of birth, your baby’s name and date of birth and a photocopy of your driving licence or passport. It’s also really important that you state “You are applying under the Freedom of Information Act 1997” AND you do not need to give a reason to why you are looking for your records.

AIMS IRELAND have also written further information on this topic, the link to their page is here

I requested my hospital birth notes after the birth of my first baby. For me I found it very much an important step in understanding her birth so that I could mentally prepare myself for my next birth. My notes arrived on our wedding day, just before Christmas!! and it honestly took me a few weeks to have the confidence or maybe courage to read them. from personal experience reading your hospital notes, especially if your experience was not what you had hoped for, traumatic for you or baby can bring up alot of emotions for both you and your birth partner. If this is where you are at, be gentle with yourself and don’t be afraid to seek further help or guidance. Nurture Health – Counselling Service  is worth checking out if you think you need more support.

Don’t forget that the HSE also provides a service called Your Service Your Say. I would encourage all mom’s to use it, for either feedback, praise or complaints.

I hope the information provided here will be of benefit to you. Don’t forget, if there is a topic that you would like discussed let me know and I will do my best to cover it.

Anita x

Surprisingly delicious Nettle Pesto

Surprisingly delicious Nettle Pesto

“A feast of Nettles in May keeps colds and flu’s at bay” A saying my Grandmother Hannah Mac had. This year, (after many years of procrastinating) I finally decided to try some nettles. We have had nettle pesto and nettle soup, both very tasty.



Nettles http://www.anitaosullivan.com

On further research into nettles I soon realised how amazing nettles are, they are jam packed with nutrition and lots of benefits to eating them. Another old saying recommends 3 feasts of nettles in May. Nettles are high in vitamins A, C, K, calcium, potassium, and iron. They may also help reduce inflammation, reduce hay fever symptoms, help with pain and osteoarthritis, used for skin conditions such as eczema. 

Nettles are possibly the most edible plant around here, but I am pretty sure very few venture into their garden and pick them, I’m guessing that is down to their reputation as a stinging nettle and no ones want a nettle sting.

When you are picking your nettles, please wear gloves and remember only the tops and newest leaves should be picked and used. You have been pre-warned that eating nettles after they flower in June can cause a laxative effect!!!


Here it is, the recipe for Nettle Pesto – Bon Appetite

  • 2-3 handfuls of nettles
  • small clove of garlic
  • salt and pepper
  • 50g pine nuts (I used almond nuts as a substitute and worked well)
  • 75g parmesan cheese
  • A good glug of olive oil


  1. Place the nettles in a pot of boiling water with salt, boil for 1 minute.
  2. Drain and place into a bowl of icy cold water
  3. Drain and place on a tea towel and dry nettles – take out as much moisture as possible
  4. Fry the pine nuts for a few minutes
  5. Put the pine nuts, garlic, salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese, small amount of olive oil and nettles into a food processor. Blend until smooth. Add more olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Store in an air tight container

Enjoy, I have tried it on toast with cheese, in pasta and chicken. All really good.

Easy peasey, you won’t look at nettles in the same way again.

Let me know how you get on.