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Sheila pioneers thought therapy

PUBLISHED: 17:51 11 January 2008 | UPDATED: 19:25 05 July 2010

A LOWESTOFT midwife is to start a pioneering new practice which she claims will use psychological methods to help couples suffering the trauma of early pregnancy loss.

A LOWESTOFT midwife is to start a pioneering new practice which she claims will use psychological methods to help couples suffering the trauma of early pregnancy loss.

Sheila Thody believes she is the first independent midwife in the UK to apply the concept of psycho-neuro-immunology - the theory that physical conditions can be affected by thought processes - to helping women who have endured miscarriages or abortions.

As well as traditional counselling, she will offer visualisation techniques and training designed to reduce stress which could cause chemical imbalances and threaten future pregnancies.

The 55-year-old, from Edgerton Road, will open her classes in Norwich's Bank Plain on February 12 and said she hoped it would provide valuable support to the clinical branch of her profession.

Midwifery professionals said they were not yet aware of the new techniques and encouraged women to research their options before choosing alternative therapies.

Ms Thody said: “When someone is under emotional stress this can affect their hormone levels, which can impact on the implanting of the foetus. First of all we can make people aware of how their bodies react. Then they can use visualisation to take control of internal mechanisms.

“They can be aware of their own responses and make a change. One single change of thought can bring about a change in the body's behaviour.”

Ms Thody qualified as a midwife in 1979 and spent several years working in America where she first became aware of the use of psychological and bio-feedback techniques.

Her new classes will encompass small groups of between three and six couples, who will also receive counselling and guidance.

“It is about informing people about the reasons their pregnancies may have failed, and in more detail than they could get at a hospital consultation,” she said.

“I think the midwifery profession will be glad to get an extension of their service. The service is very stretched, so it should be something they welcome.”

For more information about the classes, contact Sheila Thody on 07811 320227.

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