Ever since I studied Biology at school I have been fascinated with the human body and how to stay healthy. This led me to my first degree in Physiology and Biochemistry, and then on to a M.Sc in Nutrition from the University of London. I have continued to research health, nutrition and longevity for decades, lead Green Nutrition workshops, and teach several classes of Nia each week for the last 10 years. My goal has been to guide, inspire and empower women and men to create natural health and age gracefully.

The main message that I love to use, almost as a mantra is:

  • It’s never too late to make changes
  • Small changes do make a difference
  • It’s what you do every day that counts, not what you do from time to time.

My book came out of my long experience with three main elements: Nutrition, Exercise and Happiness, hence ‘Eat Dance Shine, How to come alive, gain energy and push back the years.

Watch Michelle talk about her new book

Article taken from The Best Season of My Life Blog

I love the newborn period.

There.  I said it.

Not something you hear every day, huh?  Normally you hear stories of intense sleep deprivation, aching nipples, a questionable amount of time since the last shower, and a lot of crying.  And if I was talking about my first child, that might be pretty accurate.  But I’m talking about my second child.  And with a second child comes the confidence of an experienced mother.  A mother who knows what to expect, and more importantly, what not to expect.  And that, I think, makes all the difference – for expectation is the thief of joy.

Extract from The Fourth Trimester: Take Two … Read more


Oriental Face Massage

November 3, 2014

head_massage_smallAt Carmenta Life we are now offering the wonderfully relaxing Oriental Face Massage treatment which incorporates and blends the techniques of natural face lift massage with acupressure and massage styles from the Japanese, Chinese and Tibetan Face massage treatments. This works well together to ease tension and increase elasticity in the skin to smooth away facial lines, leaving skin looking younger. Oriental Face Massage works the neck, face and scalp to improve blood circulation, lymphatic drainage and remove toxins from the facial skin. At the same time it’s relaxing and helps alleviate stress and tension specifically in the neck area where a lot of people experience some pain.

Some facial expressions including frowning may encourage wrinkles, sagging skin and ageing, as the face loses its muscle tone and elasticity. Our massage therapist, works to free up constrictions both within the facial muscles and in connective tissue while invigorating and strengthening the muscles of the face. 

So you don’t need cosmetic surgery to look and feel years younger! Even after one treatment you can notice the difference:

  • Reduces lines and softens wrinkles.
  • Tightens sagging and puffy skin.
  • Improves skin condition.
  • Helps improve headaches and relieve neck aches and pains, eyestrain and nasal congestion.
  • Encourages more restful sleep.
  • Allievates stress, anxiety, lethargy and the ‘blues’.
  • May help strengthen the immune system.
  • Leaves you feeling relaxed, calm and more mentally focussed.




Julie Carden is Carmenta Life’s fully qualified Tongue Tie Practitioner, Lactation Consultant () and experienced midwife who has seen great results in fretful babies who have struggled to feed and have been unsettled. If you are anxious or worried about your babies weight gain, if you are struggling to feed your baby or if your baby is unsettled during or after a feed, then read on to find out about Tongue Tie and what you can do to help your baby.

Firstly – What is Tongue Tie?

Tongue tie is also called Ankyloglossia, which comes from the Greek for ‘crooked tongue’. It is a congenital condition where the membrane that attaches the tongue to the floor of the mouth (the frenulum) is shorter or tighter than usual. This may cause restriction of tongue movement, which can cause problems with breastfeeding.

Approximately 1 in 10 babies are affected, commonly more boys than girls, and there is often a family link. Many babies who have a tongue tie grow up with no problems and may not even be aware of it. However, some babies and their mothers suffer extreme breastfeeding difficulties if a restrictive tongue tie is left undiagnosed and untreated.

It all depends on the range of movement and how the tongue functions. If there is restriction of tongue movement, the baby may have problems maintaining a good latch on the breast, or may not manage a good suckling technique. This can lead to Mum experiencing sore nipples, poor milk drainage – which in turn may lead to blocked ducts, mastitis, reduced milk supply. Her baby may be unsettled on the breast, unsatisfied after feeds, want frequent feeds, have poor weight gain, suffer from colic or reflux.

With the correct help and support, a mild tongue tie may only be a challenge whilst mum and baby are learning to breastfeed. A posterior tongue tie might not be obvious to the untrained eye, yet these can cause distressing feeding problems.

If there are continuing issues, even after breastfeeding support and latch correction, a tongue tie might be suspected. A detailed history and assessment of tongue function is necessary to diagnose a tongue tie and it’s severity. If it is restricting the baby’s ability to feed well, it may be beneficial to simply snip the frenulum to aid better tongue movement. This is an easy, quick and safe procedure performed by a skilled and experienced health professional. Often there is immediate improvement with breastfeeding.

The potential side effects are minimal. There are hardly any nerves endings in that area of a young baby’s mouth, so there is little discomfort and the procedure lasts only a few seconds. There is usually only a tiny amount of bleeding and the risk of infection is 1 in 10,000. breastfeeding is encouraged straight away afterwards.

Julie Carden is a Tongue Tie Practitioner, Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), Registered Midwife and Registered General Nurse, experienced and skilled in working with mothers and babies with breastfeeding and tongue tie issues. She can offer the simple and safe procedure of tongue tie division for babies up to 6 months of age at Carmenta Life Wellbeing and Medical Centre in Berkhamsted

Also, within the free drop-in breastfeeding cafe on Thursdays 1-3pm, Julie can offer a free tongue tie assessment. This will involve discussing the breastfeeding history and examining the range of movement of the baby’s tongue, with clear information and discussion of each unique situation.

Some useful links regarding tongue tie in babies:-

Post Frenulotomy Information Sheet

After your baby has undergone the procedure of Frenulotomy, (division of tongue tie), he/she will immediately be picked up and cuddled and pressure applied under the tongue with gauze, should there be a tiny bit of bleeding.  Any crying stops quickly and babies have been known to sleep throughout the procedure!

You will be encouraged to feed your baby as soon as possible in the presence of your Lactation Consultant.  This soothes your baby and you can have help with your latch as needed.  You may experience instant improvement with nipple pain or suckling issues. Sometimes it takes a few days to notice a difference. Occasionally there is no difference.

It is a good idea to breastfeed frequently as your baby needs to, over the next couple of days.  This helps to strengthen the tongue muscle for more effective feeding, and reduce the risk of the frenulum reattaching.

Often a diamond shape, white area develops under the tongue after a couple of days.  This does not appear to be painful and lasts a few days while the area is healing.

There is a minimal risk of infection 1:10,000.  If pus is seen or your baby appears unwell, please contact your GP.  If bottle teats, nipple shields or pacifiers are used, extra care is needed with hand hygiene and sterilising.

Some older babies are a little unsettled following the procedure and Calpol as per instructions may help.

Some parents find Cranio-osteopathy helpful to facilitate optimal movement of the tongue area to improve suckling. This can be discussed.

It is recommended to have a follow up consultation or attend the drop in breastfeeding cafe on Thursdays 1-3pm, a week after the tongue tie division, or earlier if required.

If you have any questions or worries you may contact Julie Carden IBCLC and Tongue Tie Practitioner on 07702 669558 or email or


Felicity Bertin explains what Pregnancy Related Pelvic Girdle Pain is and provides some invaluable tips on how to help you if you suspect you are suffering.

Many women throughout pregnancy experience pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain (PPGP) or symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD) as it’s commonly known. It affects 1 in 5 women during pregnancy and around 7% will experience symptoms beyond three months post-natal unless treated. “Pelvic girdle pain” or “SPD” simply describes the area of the body the pain is coming from: the pelvis. The reason for the pain will be different for each person.

PPGP is NOT normal
Pelvic Girdle Pain is NOT a normal part of pregnancy, yet so many women see it as part of the course.

What causes PPGP?
The hormonal changes in pregnancy means an increase in the levels of relaxin, a hormone which causes your ligaments to stretch, allowing your pelvis to accommodate your growing baby. With the ligaments becoming increasingly stretchy and your joints more flexible they are more prone to injury. As your posture changes to accommodate your growing baby asymmetry often occurs causing more force to go through one part of the pelvis causing pain.

However…research tells us that relaxin isn’t always to blame.

A systematic review of 4 randomised controlled trials showed only 1 positive correlation between relaxin and PPGP


A systematic review of 10 randomised controlled trials showed a positive association between altered pelvic joint mechanics and / or muscle control in pelvic movement in 8 of the 10 research papers reviewed.

Will PPGP go when my baby is born?
Many health professionals dismiss PPGP symptoms supposing they will resolve once your baby is born. However, relaxin continues to be released throughout breastfeeding and recent studies have shown relaxin levels increase as part of your monthly menstrual cycle meaning birth may not mean the end to your discomfort.

 What can I do to help PPGP?
At Carmenta Life, our Osteopaths run a free assessment clinic for mums-to-be experiencing pelvic girdle pain. Osteopaths are manual therapists and will give you tailored advice, exercise and treatment specific to your needs. But there are some general things you can do to care for your pelvis during pregnancy:

  • Sit down to get dressed and undressed to avoid standing on one leg
  • Wear well fitting, supportive shoes avoiding high heels and flip flops
  • When carrying your baby, keep them close to you. Avoid placing them on one hip which may result in straining your low back and disrupting your pelvic symmetry
  • Carry things like shopping bags and baby car seats in front of you and close, rather than on one side of your body
  • If using a baby carrier or sling ensure your back is straight and your shoulders back
  • When pushing a pram or buggy, the force should come from your entire body and not just your arms. Keep your back straight, shoulders back and walk close to the buggy/pram
  • The best technique for lifting your baby is to stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, bend your knees and keeping your back flat, bend forward at the hips and hug them close to you. Straighten up from the hips and extend your knees
  • If you enjoy swimming, avoid breaststroke. Exercises in water may be beneficial and we will be happy to offer advice

The British Medical Association recognises Osteopathy as an established healthcare system based on clinical diagnosis and manual treatment. The title “Osteopath” is legally protected by law (The Osteopaths Act of 1993) and osteopaths need to complete a 4/5 year degree with ongoing CPD and registration by The General Osteopathic Council

If you’re suffering with pelvic girdle pain, our experienced and skilled osteopaths run a FREE assessment clinic. Book online at:


Aldabe D, Ribeiro DC, Milosavljevic S, Bussey MD. Pregnancy related pelvic girdle pain and its relationship with relaxin levels during pregnancy: a systematic review. Eur  Spine J.  2012;21:1769 1776

Aldabe D, Milosavljevic S, Bussey MD. Is pregnancy related pelvic girdle pain  associated with altered kinematic, kinetic and motor control of the pelvis? A systematic review.Eur Spine J.2012;21:1777 1787

 Felicity Bertin & Julie-ann Gillitt are registered Structural, Cranial and Paediatric Osteopaths based at Carmenta Life, Berkhamsted.

They can be contacted at

t: 07970 807625