What we do


Join us at the 'Fertility in the 21st Century- helping you with your fertility journey' Event on 30th September


Fertility in the 21st Century is an event being held in Edinburgh for both members of the public and people and therapists working in the field of fertility. It will be an exciting opportunity to hear about the latest advances in IVF with:

  • leading specialist Dr. Raul Olivares of Barcelona IVF
  • experts from Fertility Focus with tips and advice on getting pregnant naturally
  • fertility nutrition with Kate Swaine
  • information on fertility reflexology with Georgie McCulloch
  • how acupuncture can support fertility issues
  • how mindfulness can enhance fertility success
  • a live interview with a couple about their personal IVF journey
  • information on surrogacy

The event is being chaired by Dr. Caroline Phillips BSc PhD who recently undertook and published work alongside Fertility Network UK on what is driving people to seek #fertility treatment abroad.

A great many of people would consider going abroad for treatment, and indeed many have gone. Overall research demonstrates that it was a very positive experience for this group. They travelled all over the world for fertility treatment with the most popular countries being Spain, Greece and the Czech Republic.  And it appears that the cost of private fertility treatment in the UK is what is making them consider travelling abroad despite there being some minor difficulties in doing so.


There is an event page set up on Facebook where you can access more information over the days leading up to the event on the speakers as well as an advance look at the programme and nice articles, recipes and offers. Click here.

The event includes a question and answer session and refreshments. You can also put questions in advance by using the Facebook page.

There will also be an opportunity to win a gift of IVF treatment courtesy of Barcelona IVF.

Tickets £8 if booked in advance or £15 on the door. Book online at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/fertility-in-the-21st-century-helping-you-in-your-journey-tickets-31445885490




Understanding Baby Behaviour through Baby Kind by Sarah Wheatle

So many people have asked me what a Baby Kind session involves, and hopefully this article will give you more idea of how it works and why it is such a lovely tool for getting to understand your baby better.

Firstly – what a Baby Kind session is NOT. It is not an assessment of how ‘well’ your baby is doing. Baby Kind involves looking at your baby’s reflexes, social interaction, and soothing behaviours. During the session you learn more about your baby’s preferences for sleeping, feeding and interacting with the world around them. For example, you will learn whether your baby finds it easy or hard to ignore sound and light when they are sleeping. Babies need to be able to get into deep sleep in order to promote the growth hormone, so obviously its very important that babies can protect their sleep in order to grow. Knowing more about your baby’s preferences means that you will be better able to respond and support them in their own unique needs.

A Baby Kind session helps parents feel more confident in reading their baby’s signals and cues. All babies need to be able to let their parents know when they are hungry, and it can be really useful to have a clearer sense of what exactly your baby does (before they get to a full on cry, which as we know makes it much harder to feed). Other cues that your baby might be giving you are when they are interested, over stimulated, have had enough, are stressed, are trying to connect with the word around them. Babies cues can be easy to miss, and slowing down and taking time to observe your baby can give you more ideas about how your baby is communicating.

Parents often talk about how much they have enjoyed doing Baby Kind and how much more confidence it gives them (even if it just reassures them that their own hunches about how their baby communicates were correct!). Here are some things that other parents have said:

It was interesting to hear how E’s responses to various stimuli compared with that of other babies and what this might mean in terms of us responding to her needs effectively. The session gave us lots of food for thought and reassurance at a time when we very much needed it.”

[Sarah] showed me how to read subtle cues from C that were really helpful, such as when she wanted me to engage with her and when she really wasn’t interested in something and not to force it! It made me feel more confident with C and that she really was able to communicate with me in her own small ways.”

Baby Kind sessions are based on the well respected and researched Newborn Behavioural Observation System, developed by developmental psychologists Dr. Kevin Nugent and Dr Berry Brazelton. It is widely used in the US and also by Health Visitors and Social Workers in the UK, and has been endorsed by the 1001 critical days campaign.

If you would like to see a Baby Kind session in action, I have carried out one with a local midwife, Gem Nealon and her 6 week old daughter, which you can see here.

If you would like to know more about Baby Kind sessions and what they involve, I’d be more than happy to chat with you – please do get in touch with Sarah at KnotStressed.


Yoga for our seasons

Women's yoga can be beneficial throughout and beyond our reproductive years.

Yoga is 'adaptogenic'. It can provide a path to well-being across many different needs and circumstances.

Recognised widely as having physical benefits, such as promoting flexibility, mobility and strength, recent research has focused on the beneficial therapeutic effects yoga can have on our emotional and mental health.

So Yoga has a remarkable adaptability to be a partner for life for everyone, providing different types of support function as our lives change and progress.

My passion is yoga for women. As women, our seasons are more significant. We have distinct needs through the stages of our reproductive lives and can draw on different aspects of the practice to support our journey.

Pregnancy and post natal yoga are deservedly well established as 'women's yoga' to provide a gentle and nourishing practice to nurture the body and mind for pregnancy, birth and post natal recovery.

But beyond pregnancy, we might not recognise the need for a specific women's yoga at certain times. Perhaps because modern (still) male dominated 'western' society equates success with strength and achievement. We just 'get on with it' throughout our menstrual cycle and peri and post menopausal years, sometimes disconnecting with the wisdom of our bodies and not acknowledging specific needs. As a result we can be left feeling tired and drained. And there can be more distressing issues: conception might not be happening, heavy periods can be debilitating, menopausal symptoms can be uncomfortable and overwhelming, not to mention the embarrassing issues of stress incontinence and prolapse… we might feel our bodies are out of control.

Women's yoga, such as the 'womb yoga' developed by the fabulous Uma Dinsmore-Tuli can bring us back to our bodies, support reproductive function and help to alleviate problems. This approach to yoga combines gentle asana to support pelvic function with restorative poses and deep relaxation.

It "enables us to re-connect joyfully with naturally arising inner wisdom, insight and vitality. It is both delicious and profoundly nourishing. It is healing and vitalising".

Penny Horner is a Yoga Instructor who offers Yoga for Fertility, Gentle Yoga and also facilitates a Menopause Support Group

Please contact Penny at KnotStressed to find out more. 


How much anxiety is normal as a parent? 

Having a baby is possibly one of the best ways to raise your anxiety levels.

If you haven’t already been through the trauma of IVF or miscarriage, you might find yourself worried about how much you drank before you found out you were pregnant or how what you’re eating is affecting your baby or whether you are too old to have a baby or whether your partner will make a good father or what will happen to your job or how you will cope with childbirth…

And that’s before you’ve even had your first scan.

The point I’m (rather flippantly) trying to make is that becoming a parent can be fraught with worry. It starts way before conception and snowballs throughout pregnancy and childbirth. Even if you try not to worry, there are plenty of other people that will worry for you.

And if you are someone who is prone to anxiety anyway, this onslaught of advice and guidance, rather than being a help can actually be more of a hindrance.

There was an article recently in the Guardian quoting research by Alison Gopnik (who I really like btw) talking about the virtues of one way of being a parent over another. Whether you agreed with the argument or not, it was yet another example of the pressure on parents to ‘get it right’. Paradoxically, the article was talking about how beneficial it is when parents give their child an environment where they are not scared to make ‘mistakes.’

A bit like the old joke about it being impossible not to think about an elephant when you’re told not to think about an elephant, for some people it can be very difficult not to worry when you’re told not to worry. Every piece of advice talking about the ‘best’ way to look after a child can be a source of worry, rather than a piece of information to be evaluated to help you in your journey as a parent.

Can I bust a myth right now? Worrying is NOT bad. It’s how you cope with it that matters. If you find your life becoming smaller and more restricted because of anxiety, then that’s pretty hard for you, your baby and those around you. Some people experience worry as a kind of ‘inner critic’ who can try to convince you that you really shouldn’t trust yourself.

If you find yourself worried about how much you’re worrying, it’s definitely time to look for some support (which will possibly make you feel more anxious, because of course you wouldn’t need support if you were getting things ‘right’). As well as going to your GP, many people can learn strategies to manage anxiety. As well as counselling and CBT, there are other things that can help such as Emotional Freedom Technique (or ‘Tapping’), meditation, mindfulness, exercise, and laughter (that’s a very useful one). And if you want a list of reassuring statements about anxiety, here are a few:


  1. Anxiety is useful. It keeps us safe and can galvanise us into action. It is only when we worry too much or become overwhelmed by it that we need to look after it.
  2. Anxiety is often a perfectly logical response to an event (or series of events). Rather than thinking of the anxiety as ‘ridiculous’, it can sometimes help to realise why the anxiety is in fact perfectly reasonable given your circumstances.
  3. Anxiety can often respond well to a bit of self-compassion (see number 2) and humour. Humour can be a great way of acknowledging our fears without being overwhelmed by them.


I hope that gives you some useful food for thought – if you’d like to know more about how counselling can help you feel less anxious as a parent, then please do get in touch with Sarah Wheatley at KnotStressed. 





Climbing Mountains - A Personal Training Blog by Lynne-Marie Thom

Why oh why?

“Because it’s there” George Mallory.

Are you like me and still planning that marathon one day - or the half, a 5k or 10k - whatever your personal ‘mountain’?

For as long as I remember I have expected to run a marathon.  I’d say a marathon is my own personal mountain, and I’ve always intended to conquer that mountain…..some day.  That elusive “some day” that never seemed to come. Which was fine for a while (but a little ridiculous when ‘a while’ is actually at least a decade) but then I realised I had run out of excuses and it was now or never.  

Getting out a stressful corporate career and moving to full time self employment in my dream job (Massage Therapy) has given me some much welcomed flexibility in how I spend my time and I have found a new energy for life.  Therefore, having more time on my hands in 2016 and wanting to get back to my former level of fitness, or perhaps to take it to new realms, led me to opt for the ‘now’ rather than the ‘never’. So that was that - enough nordic noir ‘marathoning’ on Netflix - time for action!

This is an incredible challenge for me and putting down on paper my fears balanced with the reasons that are driving me, has helped me focus on why I might want to do such a thing:

The Scary stuff

  • The longest I have ever ran is a half marathon (13.1 miles).  That was  2 years ago and I remember practically falling over the finish line in a state of exhaustion. Not pretty;

  • Possible injury especially as I have suffered ligament damage in my knee before;

  • Self belief - do I have enough of the stuff?;

  • The Edinburgh weather. Please do a sunny weather dance for all of us!

The Happy Stuff

  • Getting fit and healthy and really focusing on my wellbeing;

  • Testing my body (and mind) and exploring its potential for great things;

  • Lots of time outdoors, exploring new running routes and going on wee mini-adventures;

  • The runner’s high;

  • A real sense of satisfaction and pride in achieving my goal;

  • Celebrating with family and friends at the finish line; perhaps even inspiring my niece and nephew;

  • Lots of jelly babies.

The jelly babies swung it.  I will have to dig deep yes, but dig deep I have done before in life and can do so again (I am still writing this with self doubt but if I say it often enough I’ll eventually believe it).  So my big day is 29th May and I’ll be running in my home city, here in Edinburgh along with over 7,000 other folk. Some might question why we feel the need to run for 26.2 miles (I know I do) but we will all be running for personal reasons that will keep those legs turning!  

Getting by with a little help from my friends

So I’m off to great places, I’m off and away.... I have a plan in place and have been trying to take very good care of my body.  Maxime, our Osteopath here at Knotstressed has been amazing; helping me work with my postural imbalances (I have scoliosis of the spine and a rotated pelvis and a host of other quirks).  Regular Sports & Remedial Massages from Krista and Vikki have been just fantastic (the highlight of my training regime!) and kept me injury free and on track physically and mentally.   I’ve been really focusing on nutrition too and taking lots of great advice from those in the know. Now I am officially tapering I’ve got lots of yoga planned with colleagues in the coming weeks in a bid to stay flexible and strong (in mind and body), ready for the big day.    Those things I have, and do, very much look forward to! Shame about the running part ;)

Home Straight

I have just run my longest training run - 20 miles. Oh I hurt (But it’s ok - I’m off to see Krista shortly).  And it was slooooow….., which, you know, is fine!  I’ve been getting too fixated on my pace and wanting to get faster and faster.  But of course I’ve been missing the point.  For this challenge I need to drop the ego, be as slow as I need to be and focus on the miles clocking up, not my speed. In 2016 I am officially a tortoise.

And I have decided to be a tortoise on behalf of the Scottish Association of Mental Health (SAMH) who do great work with people living with mental health issues.  Mental health is so important to us all and the quality of lives we lead and I want to help this amazing charity in whatever way I can (Please click here for my Just Giving page: http://www.justgiving.com/LMx ).  And also my friend Fraser will be giving post race massages on the big day for SAMH runners so that’s a brilliant bonus!!!  The thought of that post event massage might just get me round that course!! And cake. There had better be cake…..


Lynne-Marie Thom is an experienced Sports & Remedial Massage Therapist with us at Knotstressed Therapies. Get in touch with Lynne-Marie here.