Tuesday, 21 August 2012

FAQs for Baby Eczema

What can I expect from a consultation?

Our consultation process considers your child's"Whole Health". We take a detailed history to establish what is the cause of your child's condition. Physical, Psychological, Emotional, Historical. We will consider the role of Epigenetics, Family history, Birth story, Baby and childhood milestones, other illnesses, diet and lifestyle as well as comprehensive body system review.  We want to understand the progression of your child's condition and whether there are other health concerns that run concomitant.  We will review blood work done by your GP and may order other functional testing to be performed.  We will explore the role of environment and look to find links between where your child spends time and how this may affect their health. The process is thorough and comprehensive but will produce effective results.  

What to expect by way of medicines

  • We do not prescribe cortisone but rather, effective alternatives that will not harm your baby.
  • We herbal and nutritional medicines to help improve symptoms while also addressing the causes.
  • We help you make dietary and lifestyle changes that will support your child's condition to improve. 
  • The aim is to re-establish or encourage a state of homeostasis (physiological balance)

What is Eczema?
Eczema is an inflammatory condition that affects the skin and can be red, itchy and either dry or wet in nature.  It can be quite uncomfortable and stems from multiple causes which must be assessed thoroughly. Eczema has an association with asthma and allergy and if poorly managed can result in a trio of the three, known as the Atopic march.

How is a Holistic approach different from Conventional medicine?

We take time..................to consider..............and listen..............to your story. There are many aspects of being healthy, getting well and achieving lasting good health. Holistic natural medicine is not a prescription pad practice. It considers how diet and lifestyle as well as attitude play a role in a healthy body and mind.  We consider the role that family and home environments play as well as other important environments such as school and daycare settings. Our medicines are nature derived and many have been tested in clinical trials to be effective.  All are safe to use and will support your child to thrive and be well.  Most importantly, our approach considers your child specific physiological tendencies, we make these appraisals during consultation via examination but also using functional pathology testing if necessary.

What if my children don't like the herbal or other natural medicine?

In our practice in Melbourne http://www.cmchealth.com.au/about/page_info.php/6/37 and Healesville http://www.eluvi.com.au/ we use an array of herbs, supplements and homoeopathics to help babies and beyond.  Very rarely do we experience children that cannot take the remedies. We have many tricks up our sleeve to help with this so that results come fast. This help parents feel confident and relaxed which in itself improves compliance.

How long will it take to achieve results?

Results can be difficult to determine but we do our best to give parents a clear prognosis.  When parents are committed to an integrated holistic approach improvement comes quickly.   For example we have had babies covered head to toe in eczema who have experienced 80% improvement in several weeks, without cortisone! When parents take on board the recommendations and make the necessary changes to diet and lifestyle factors and take all the prescribed medicines success is imminent.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

By Tim Howden ND BHSc MNHAA
Current research indicates that babies exposed to significant inter-utero stress are likely to have a lowered ability to cope with stress as well as a higher chance of inflammatory diseases later in life.  Many situations can lead to an increase in pre-natal stress hormones in the mother.  For example, a partner being made redundant, moving house, going through a break-up, the death of a loved, fleeing a war torn country as a refugee.  The list can be endless but what is important, is that if the mother experiences significant stress during her pregnancy this is passed onto her baby.

We know that prolonged stress alters Gut function and compromises immunity as well as mental emotional wellbeing.  This is known as the Gut-Brain Axis.

In real terms this may explain the tremendous rise in Depression, Anxiety, Diabetes and Neuro-Immunological conditions like ADD/ADHD and Autistic Spectrum Disorders.

Inflammatory Eczema...The Guts of the Matter

By Tim Howden ND BHSc MNHAA
"All Disease begin in the Gut" - Hippocrates 460-370 BC
Right now we are experiencing a dramatic increase in the number of babies and children who are developing eczema.  This uncomfortable condition is largely driven by an immune imbalance that is mediated via the digestive system.  There is a correlation between food sensitivity, food allergy and eczema as well as a higher prevalence in babies who are bottle fed on cows milk formula as opposed to being breast fed.  
Babies who were born via C-section, given antibiotics in early life and who are bottle fed have lower numbers of beneficial  bacteria in their digestive tract making their system more vulnerable and susceptible to infection and more prone to developing inflammatory conditions like eczema.

But lets go back a couple of steps for a tic.  This is where things get interesting.  You see, a process called "epigenetics" may help explain the rising prevalence in these conditions. In essence prenatal diet and lifestyle events appear to alter gene expression, making certain individuals prone to certain sets of illness.  Here is an example of how it works. A mothers gut health has a direct relationship to the development of her baby's digestive and immune function. Take for example a woman who uses the oral contraceptive pill prior to pregnancy or who has had antibiotics, has a diet high in refined processed foods with a history of high stress.   She is a prime candidate drug and lifestyle-induced dysbiosis, which is poor colonization of beneficial gut flora. Because of this her baby has a much greater likelihood of developing an inflammatory condition like eczema.  A baby's digestive health is determined to some extent by the mums health. 

Its not all doom and gloom though.  But it is certainly ineresting to look at some of the priming epigenetic factors that may make our kids prone to certain illness. Measures taken pre-natally to ensure good digestive heath have found to have positive effects. And good evidence supports the use of specific foods as well as nutritional medicines such as probiotics and essential fatty acids to help support infant digestive health, reducing inflammation and ultimately the expression of eczema. 

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Paediatric Naturopathy Available at Camberwell Medical Centre

As of May 2012 we are please to offer specialised children's natural medicine at Camberwell Medical Centre, 984 Toorak Road, Melbourne, VIC 3124.

  • Food allergy testing and treatment
  • Food intolerance
  • Baby Eczema treatment
  • Childhood eczema
  • Holistic allergy treatment
  • Autism
  • Immune related issues
We will be working alongside some fantastic integrative GPs and allied professionals.  Available from Wednesday May 2nd, 2012.  Booking essential. Clinic  03-9889 5885

Low Fat Diets = Poor Health

By Tim Howden ND BHSc MNHAA
You will be missing out on essential nutrients by choosing "low fat" foods.
You will be doing harm to yourself by eating a low-fat diet and possibly more harm by eating foods that contain synthetic fats.  You will be depriving your unborn baby of essential nutrients with Low-fat foods (LFF).  Put simply LFF contribute to ill-health and contribute to chronic health problems.

Good quality fat is essential to health

Appropriate fats and oils are determined by their freshness, the use you have for them and the amount you use.
  • Choose cold-pressed organic where possible in dark containers.
  • Buy small quantities and use them generously don't save them for best.
  • Rancid oils cause oxidative stress and cell damage to you body. Never use them!
It's not fats that make us gain weight.  Rather, refined sugars, carbs and poor quality fats are to blame.

It is vital to make the distinction between eating a diet that is rich in good quality fat verses one that is laden with poor quality substitutes.

Good fats include 

Avocado, fish, Nuts and Seeds, Lean meats, Eggs, Crustaceans, Fish oils, Evening Primrose oils, Flaxseed oils, Cod liver oils, Wheatgerm oil, Full fat raw milk, Goat and Sheep's milk, Olive oil, Eggs, Almonds, Liver and Soy.  

Why fats are important?

Fat contains essential nutrients, minerals and vitamins plus trace elements that allow our bodies to heal.  Fat is largely responsible for carrying the flavour in food and for creating desirable texture.  Good quality fats are abundant in natural whole foods and are essential to good health.  

From a physiological point of view good fats are vital for correct cell function. All cells in the body have a fatty bi-layer membrane.   This membrane facilitates transport of nutrients and messengers into the cell and allow for wastes to be removed.  A diet which lacks quality fat will also be deficient in essential nutrients.  This can result in poor cell function and disease.

A diet absent in good fats can lead to health problems

  • Chronic inflammation
  • Poor immune function
  • Bone disease like Rickets
  • Eye sight problems 
  • Weight problems
  • Eczema, psoriasis and dandruff  
  • Cancers
  • Insomnia 
  • Nervous tension
  • low birth weight
  • Diarrhoea and digestive illness
  • Poor co-ordination
  • Liver and gallbladder disease,
  • Haematological conditions
  • Accelerated ageing
  • Atherosclerosis 
  • Cognitive impairment 
  • Bleeding disorders  
  • Poor bone health

What fats to use when

Saturated Fats 

Solid at room temperature.
Butter is best for spreading and it is high in butyric acid which is fantastic for digestive health.  Ghee, Coconut oil, Duck, Beef, Chicken, Pork and Lamb fats are excellent for frying, baking and roasting.  These techniques should be minimized in ones cooking regime.

Monounsaturated Fats

Solid below 5C
Extra Virgin Olive oil.  Ideal in dressings and drizzled after cooking.  Olive oil can be used for sauteing at temperatures below 185C


These oils do not solidify at any temperature.
Nut, seed and vegetable oils that are relatively unstable and delicate.  When overheated they make free radicals which cause oxidative stress to the body. Fresh cold pressed choices are essential.  

Cheap vegetable oils are a problem.  Solvents are used in processing and the oils are heavily refined and heated altering their chemical profile making them undesirable for consumption.  This is known as hydrogenation and margarines are by far the biggest culprit. Hydrogenated fats have been implicated in cancer and auto immune diseases. 

Essential Fatty Acids

Essential because our bodies are unable to endogenously make these lipids but are vital for physiological function.  Found in Cod liver and fish oils as well as evening primrose and flaxseed.  They must not be heated.
  • Omega 3
  • Omega 6
  • Omega 9


  • Always buy fresh oils that are stable and in dark containers
  • Buy small quantities and use them generously
  • Choose the right fat for the job
  • Avoid Hydrogenated fats (margarines) and vegetable oil blends
  • Healthy fats contain essential nutrient that your body needs
  • Healthy fat will keep you immune system primed and your brain smart

Bad Fats

These are found in the following places and spaces.  One needs to be a vigilant label reader because manufactures try to hide their ingredients behind numbered codes.                               
  • Most take out food
  • Confectionary and junk foods 
  • Margarines and butter alternatives 
  • Low-fat anything because they have been chemically denatured then infused with synthetic substitutes and additives 
  • Commercial bakery goods and cakes (pretty much everything in the supermarket!)
  • Anything which claims to be 99.9% fat free
As mentioned previously hydrogenated fat has been chemically altered and rendered completely unnatural to our bodies. They are highly unstable products that turn rancid easily causing destruction in the body.  From a health perspective synthetic or poor quality fat compromises the body's innate ability to perform essential tasks.  They scramble chemical messengers, increase inflammation and clog our arteries.

Poor quality fat wont affect you overnight but the cumulative effect is potentially disastrous.  Poor quality fats limits necessary nutrients entering the body.  Overtime this creates deficiencies which compromise metabolic function.  There are many disease states as a result of either blatant deficiency or because of poor dietary choices.  What you put in your body now untimately affects whether your health will suffer or thrive.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Parasites offer Protection to Our Gut Immunity

By Tim Howden ND BHSc MNHAA
An inverse relationship exists between gut parasites and the prevalence of allergy. Many parasitic diseases such as filariasis and schistosomiasis that persist in developing nations have been mostly eradicated in developed ones and yet, allergies exist mostly in developed nations.

The loss of these worms or helminths may actually be contributing to the increase in allergic conditions.  It seems that eradication of these "Old Friends" comes at the price of lost protection.  Studies in Ghana have shown that these parasites have the ability to modulate the immune response and modulate the expression of particular receptors involved in the allergic response. Similar effects have been found in European children raised on farms.

This supports the idea that the organisms with which we co-evolved are important in helping prop up and regulate our immune systems.  It also backs up the vital role our digestive tracts play in our health.
All Disease begins in the GUT - Hippocrates (2500 years ago!)

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Holistic Allergy Medicine

Please have a look at our new blog.

An exciting an up to date hub on natural remedies for the treatment of allergic conditions.