On this page we are offering you access to the latest research which supports and validates the latest cutting-edge information offered to you through our workshop program.
The research work is by Amy Kuczynski – you can read about Amy on our Practitioner page.
Our intention is to continue to bring you information that will astound you and assist you to recognise just how empowered you can be as a woman, when you truly own your own biological inheritance.
The Essence of Woman by Annie Meredith brings into focus valuable new information for women that has not been previously gathered and presented as a complete body of knowledge. Drawing on the wisdom of understanding of the human body and its energy anatomy from a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective, and gathered over thirty years as teacher and educator in Acupuncture and MindBody medicine, Annie’s articulate perspective of the feminine biological inscription inspires, encourages and empowers women to be all that they are biologically designed to be.
There is much recent research that now supports and validates the ancient way of understanding the body’s anatomy and functioning. In the field of clinical trials and studies on women and women’s health and wellbeing, there has been an upsurge following the recognition that men and women are biologically, emotionally and mentally very different, and that past clinical trials, mostly done on men, do not necessarily apply to women as well.
Of course, many clinical studies research uniquely women’s issues such as gynaecological concerns, for example, the effect of the contraceptive pill on women’s moods, but it is important to remember that most research is carried out on the basis that the mind and the body are separate and do not impact on one another. This is because mainstream understandings about the health of the body have not taken into account the interconnection between body and mind in the past. New research coming through over the last few decades in the fields of neuro-psycho-immunology and psychology underline the distinct effect that mind has on body and vice versa.
So at last, mainstream thinking is now ready to accept that modern medicine has been labouring under a misbelief over the last five hundred years or so: that what goes on in the body is separate to what a person is thinking and feeling. Ancient systems of medicine are deeply rooted in the MindBody paradigm and in a sense, ‘new scientific’ thinking, including new physics, epigenetics and eco-science are just catching up with notions that are axiomatic to ancient thinking: everything is connected to everything else, from the stars in the heavens to the most minute living form on the planet, as is the body and all its parts, including the more etheric expressions of the emotions and thoughts – which means that what we think and feel dictates how the body will function.
And this new research is validating these understandings! So with this in mind we offer you some of the research that backs up this ‘new’ approach to very ancient wisdom:
Latest Research update to support information in the Spirit of Woman Workshop series
The Contraceptive Pill
Statistics – used by approx. 100million women of reproductive age worldwide – see www.unpopulation.org
Influence on Mate Selection
The ultimate question is whether differences in mate selection when the contraceptive pill is used, have long term consequences on:
- the couple’s attraction to each other once the pill is discontinued,
- the effect on their reproductive abilities, and
- on the health and wellbeing of their children?
Difference in mate selection between pill and non-pill users is well documented in both men and women’s preferences. Studies show that during the ovulation stage women prefer more masculine and symmetrical faces in their men and a preference during the ovulatory phase for a mate of dissimilar genetic coding (immune locus). While women using the pill have been found to be more attracted to men of genetic similarity. Males have been found to be more attracted to women in the ovulatory phase. Reproductive consequences are eminent if indeed women choose a mate of similar genetic coding whilst using oral contraceptives, longitudinal studies are needed.
(Extensive recent reviews by Alvergne and Lummaa 2010 and Havlicek and Roberts 2009)
A July 2010 study (abstract only) by Crawford, Boulet and Drea investigated the effects of a common contraceptive (medroxyprogesterone acetate), in ring-tailed lemurs on “smelling wrong”. Olfactory cues changed in contracepted females and the behaviour elicited by males was to consistently seek out those uncontracepted females . Most concerning was the change in the female lemurs individual chemical ‘signature’ when on The Pill which “degraded the chemical patterns that encode honest information about genetic constitution, including individual diversity (heterozygosity) and pairwise relatedness” .This study highlights the olfactory response as important in seeking out a genetically appropriate partner and is support by previous studies by Thornhill and Gangestad in 2003 and Wedekind in 1995 in humans. The obscuring effect of The Pill on these ancient evolutionary processes is beginning to be elucidated.
A recent study of 1086 German medical students in an online survey showed a general decrease in sexual function in those using oral contraceptives compared to those non using any, as measured by the Female Sexual Function Index ( Wallweiner , Wallweiner et al. 2010). although some limitations with this study the findings are significant and indicate a strong need for longitudinal studies. In particular, whether these negative effects on sexual function are sustained for a period of time and for how long after disusing oral contraceptives.
Any other side effects?
After many years of experimentation with oral contraceptives (OC’s) on women, adverse side effects related to metabolic disease and coagulation has resulted in the doses of hormones estrogen and progestin being reduced in todays OC’s.
OC’s are still recommended by GP’s as a standard contraceptive choice for a range of conditions related to irregular cycles such menorrhagia and dysmenorrhea and also quite commonly for acne in spite of the evidence shown up in contemporary studies.
Common side effects from OC’s were found in 781 women in a long term study (up to 45 cycles) including headache, breast pain, nausea and tiredness. (Zahradnik and Hanjalic-Beck 2010).
It is concerning that many studies including this one, find these side effects insignificant. One wonders if the sole purpose of the study was to test the efficacy of the drug on preventing pregnancy.
A 2009 study by Scholes, Ichikawa and others brings attention to adverse differences found in bone mass density in women using oral contraceptives compared to non-users - 389 users and 217 non users were assessed, half of the participants being adolescent young women (14-18yrs) and the other half 19-30yr old women.
- Adolescents Bone Mass Difference (BMD) was unaffected duration of oral contraceptives or dose.
- In the 19-30 yr. old group Bone Mass Difference was:
- lower with longer use of the pill for spine and whole body, and
- even lower in hip, spine and whole body, for those having used the pill for longer than 12 months.
Extra Note: There is a lack of studies by the FDA or drug companies (who market the contraceptive pill) since its approval in 1960 (introduction to Australia in 1961) on the long term psychological effects of pill use on women, behaviour and any maladaptive side effects. Large scale clinical trials should be called for by these companies.
While “The Pill” has no doubt brought a freedom of choice for women and reduction in unplanned pregnancies and abortion, the consequences of its use remain to be seen and will weigh heavily against its benefits.
What is a healthy alternative to The Pill then?
Many natural fertility and family planning therapists have long used a woman’s own individual cycle to help plan a woman’s most fertile ovulatory phase, teaching women how to avoid or achieve conceptus at these times.
Ancient healing systems have long combined this practice with the astrological knowledge of a woman’s fertility cycle. Recognised as being extremely effective, this successful methodology has been resurrected in more recent times. Click here to see notes on astrologer Charyn McLean, who works with this system for either contraception or to enhance conception, on our Astrology page.
A new method of family planning is now available, computerised self-monitoring via a hand held device and has been found to be very effective in accurately measuring surges in estrone-3-glucuronide (E3G) and luteinizing hormone (LH) prior to ovulation identifying the short fertile phase giving women the choice to achieve or avoid conception at this time (Genuis and Bouchard 2010) .
Other complementary and precautionary methods are available which do not alter a woman’s normal hormonal cycle.
The amazing plasticity of the human brain and the roles of oxytocin and vasopressin and their involvement in social behaviour including reproduction is at the fore of current neuroscience research. It is becoming increasingly clear that both oxytocin and vasopressin are both involved in social reproductive behaviour in both males and females. We have been following how the role of a specific vasopressin receptor site in males influences behaviours such as pair bonding and parenting roles.
The role of vasopressin has been implicated in the male behaviours of monogamy and its opposite the avoidance of life-long commitment. Researchers have demonstrated that there is a gene that codes for a particular type of vasopressin receptor in the brain. In animal studies, if this gene is present then there are more vasopressin receptors in the brain than if it were not present, which means that the animals are much more sensitive to pair-bonding and parenting. When the gene is absent, the male is promiscuous and avoids coupling. When the missing gene is injected into animals that have an absent gene, the normally promiscuous males turn into monogamous, pair-bonded, stay-at-home dads!
What research clearly demonstrates is that males with the longest gene variation are the most reliable and trustworthy partners and fathers.
To read about how vasopressin can affect your relationship, especially if you are with a man who has an especially long version of the vasopressin receptor gene and acts possessively click here.
The following studies outline the work on both voles and humans exploring the role of Vasopressin in pair-bonding and parenting in the male gender.
- A 2010 study by Turner, Young and Others on eight species of voles (deer mice) strongly indicate that although there does seem to be an evolutionary significance located at the vasopressin receptor site (AVPR1a) found in numerous other studies differences were not seen amongst these species. Results point to multiple neural mechanisms likely involved in a complex network- causing large variations in results across species previous studies.
- A notable complete absence of vasopressin receptor expression in two species of Syrian hamsters by Bolborea and others published in Neuroscience 2010 significantly points to more than one driving force behind pair bonding and reproductive type behaviours.
- Genetic variation in regards to pair bonding has been noted at the AVPR1a Vasopressin receptor site in humans (Walum, Westburg et. al. 2008).
Ultimately, because such large variation is seen between and within species it is apparent that multiple genetic mechanisms and their complex interaction with environmental factors plays an important part in how we partner, parent and reproduce.
More to come!
Fortunately the relatively new field of psychoneuroimmunology is beginning to confirm what the mind body field has known for centuries- we are what we are given genetically but what we choose to do with that and the power of the Mind on the rest of our bodily systems can and does influence the state of our health and even our DNA.