Today my focus will be on another wonderful friend, woman and all around inspiration to me, Lynn Doak. Lynn and I "met" via a message board many, many years ago, and luckily, even though at that point I was always traveling all over the place, ended up not too far from each other when I lived in London (she was in Belfast). We have many a tale from London and New York City, and basically grew through our 20's and 30's together. Lynn has always been a real go-getter in my eyes, never settling for anything until she is 100% content with it. She has worked amazingly hard to create her own business, I remember when she was working a full-time "day" job and then studying and working at night, and it makes me so happy to see that not only does she now own her own thriving business but that she is constantly pushing herself to branch out and help others on their journeys. I interviewed Lynn recently to learn more about her fertility coaching practice and to understand what she does. It's been wonderful to watch her business grow and I loved talking about her practice and her plans for the future with her. Please read ahead for more information and for the links to her website and business! Thank you Lynn for taking the time to not only answer my questions, but to also provide interesting and informative answers!
From the Inside: Please describe your current business for us!
Lynn Doak: I own Devata Wellbeing Spa in Northern Ireland. We provide a range of holistic and spa treatments to men and women, however our fertility and pregnancy treatments have become more and more popular over the past few years and I have branched out into working solely with women for fertility and pregnancy – while my two amazing staff look after the general treatments.
FTI: First of all, how did Devata come into existence?
LD: I first became interested in holistic therapies about 15 years ago when I faced a health challenge of my own – it wasn’t particularly bad – but I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis in my feet in my 20s and spent a few months finding it very difficult to walk. I remember the doctor wanted to put me on Methotrexate (which is a very serious drug that is used for cancer patients but is also used to routinely treat psoriasis!!). Fortunately I researched it and saw the list of side effects – everything from needing monthly chest scans, to infertility to death! So I decided to pass on the drugs. And someone suggested I try reflexology. Well after a few sessions of that, combined with reading Louise L Hay’s - You can Heal Your Life and saying daily affirmations that my feet were healthy – I was able to walk again, and have neverhad any of the symptoms reoccur! I immediately knew I wanted to train as a Reflexologist, and that spiraled me on the path which not only changed my health, but my total outlook on life – it changed my life!
As I began to work with people of all ages, and all different types of conditions, it became clear to me that many minor health problems could be improved by natural therapies and dietary changes. It became my goal to educate people that there were natural alternatives out there.
FTI: How did you move towards becoming a holistic fertility coach? Why have you separated these services from Devata?
LD: It happened organically, by a lot of women coming to me for reflexology because they’d heard it was good if trying to get pregnant. I had a lot of pregnancy success stories in the early days, before I even knew anything about fertility – the reflexology alone worked for many of them! But then as the word of mouth spread, I began to see more and more women with more fertility issues, and unfortunately the reflexology alone didn’t seem to work for them. So I began researching everything I could on natural fertility, I took more courses including the Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy, Reproductive Reflexology, Health Coaching and more recently I have added the mind-body approach which has been HUGELY successful. I use a wonderful emotional energy healing technique which enables us to access the subconscious mind and find out the root cause of any imbalance and release any trapped emotions from the body. It’s really interesting because a lot of women who have had miscarriages, abortions, previous traumatic births or even issues with their own birth or mothers have a lot of emotions trapped in their reproductive organs. I also use simple self-hypnosis and deep meditation to help reprogram the mind.
FTI: What type of services do you provide?
LD: In my 12 week fertility program, I use a combination of Arvigo Therapy, Reproductive Reflexology, health coaching, Emotion code, and hypnosis/visualisations.
FTI: Do you have any compelling/interesting stories to tell?
LD: My goal has always been to empower women to trust in their body. And often, all that’s needed is some small changes to their lifestyle, their mindset and/or a little bit of patience.
What frustrates me is how most doctors seem to give the opposite advice. They want to rush them into medical treatment, they rarely talk to them about their health or lifestyle and more often than not, they leave them feeling hopeless. Thankfully a lot of the women I work with have been able to prove doctors wrong. One of them even went back to the fertility doctor who told her she had too much structural damage to ever get pregnant naturally, when she got pregnant just to tell him he was wrong. Needless to say he was red-faced and even tried to back track on what he had said.
In particular women over 35 have it the hardest. Doctors tell them their eggs are old, or they’re running out of eggs and they should go straight to IVF. I have seen numerous cases of women 35+ and 40+ who have got pregnant naturally. This is why it’s important to do the mind-body work – because we need to reprogram the mind from all this negative nonsense. We have had years of articles and well meaning relatives telling us we better get a move on, because after you hit 35 it’s all downhill….blah blah…when actually if we can change the way we think about this, if we can learn how to nourish our bodies, and to visualize pregnancy success, it CAN happen. Now I’m not saying this is easy, or that it happens overnight (although I have a had quite a few women get pregnant after one or two sessions) but there is an element of patience required.
Women over 35 are encouraged to seek medical help after 6 months of trying to get pregnant and I can understand this is because if they need medically assisted treatment, its best not to delay it. But in the cases of healthy women, who are ovulating regularly and there is no medical reason for not getting pregnant i.e. “unexplained infertility”, then its usually just a case of it’s taking longer than they hoped, or they have a few nutritional deficiencies to fix, or a few emotional issues to clear.
I’ve also worked with women with PCOS and Endometriosis who have gone on to get pregnant. Again, this takes time. With PCOS usually the problem is that the cycles are so irregular that it’s difficult to pinpoint ovulation, so it takes a lot of regular sex. But I have seen women with 70-80 day cycles get pregnant with persistence! With endometriosis, the abdominal massage really helps to break down any scar tissue and get the blood flowing again, but it can take up to 6 months of regular massage, and unfortunately a lot of women get frustrated and think its not working, and they don’t come for long enough.
FTI: Where do you see yourself going in the next 5 years?
LD: Well I am currently developing an online Holistic fertility program so I can help women from all over the world. I am excited to go deeper into mind-body approach to fertility and I will be offering these techniques over Skype so I can work with anyone, anywhere.
I also plan to teach more Hypnobirthing classes this year, and would like to develop an online program in that too. Its certainly not that I don’t enjoy working in person with women – I will always continue to do that – but we are fortunate to live in an age where we can create our own schedules, and work from wherever. In the early days of a business its difficult to do that, because you feel like you can’t turn down any business, and that you need to re-arrange your schedule to suit your clients. Well, I’ve worked very hard over the last 10 years, so now its time for me to create my own schedule, and spend more time with my own family.
FTI: Who do you treat?
LD: I mostly work with women in their mid 30s to early 40s and I see most fertility conditions present – unexplained infertility, secondary infertility, male infertility, endometriosis, PCOS, fibroids etc.
Recently I’ve noticed a lot more younger women coming for fertility help too, in their late 20s and early 30s. I really hope that’s not indicative of fertility declining in younger women too, but with all the toxic chemicals that are around in our homes, in our skincare, in our food, it wouldn’t surprise me if this became a bigger issue in the future. That’s why it’s my mission to educate women of all ages about developing a more natural lifestyle, using natural products and eating real food.
FTI: Would you also be interested in adding doula work to your current business model? Pre and postpartum.
LD: Honestly, I wouldn’t have the time to dedicate to doula work. My fertility clients are often booked 3 months in advance, and with doula work I assume you would have to be on call for 2-3 weeks and be able to drop everything at short notice to attend a birth. I have a bit too much going on to be able to do that. But its something I think you would be great at Jade! ;)
(FTI: It is something that I have been considering, along with being a lactation counselor, but I will revisit it in a year or so when I feel that we are all a bit more settled down!).
You can visit Lynn's website here, check out her Facebook page here and also check out Devata's offerings here!