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Medicalization and Mindfulness
The past several years have seen a veritable explosion of research on mindfulness. Research abstracts we've published in each issue of Health Insights Today under the heading "Mind-Body News" have increasingly reported on studies about mindfulness interventions.
A Glimpse Into China's Top Brain Hospital
The sounds of the city pass through the open window are overwhelming the microphone - car horns, construction machinery - and then there's the family at the adjacent bed talking loudly on cell phones, yet you can still hear the faint beep of our patients monitoring equipment.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
The Spirit of the Point
After receiving a large amount of positive feedback on my San Zhen Protocols series, I have decided to focus this article on some relevant clinical aspects of acupuncture therapy prior to moving on to San Zhen Protocols III.
When Big Pharma Meets Chinese Medicine
Earlier this year, Bayer made a media splash with their decision to buy the Dihon Pharmaceutical Group Co., a Chinese TCM manufacturer.
The Problem With Prolonged Sitting
We need to constantly talk to our patients about spending less time sitting and about what can go wrong with poor sitting postures. The fact is we sit too long in repetitive malpositions.
Get Ready For AOM Day
This year, AOM Day 2014 falls on Friday, (October 24th). This is a great opportunity to make your AOM Day celebration or event even bigger by extending it throughout the weekend!
If You Get a Request for Records, Respond!
In our previous two articles, we discussed two of the main reasons for denial when chiropractic records are reviewed by Medicare contractors.
Let the Patient Tell Their Story
Often when a patient presents with an injury, they want to tell their story. People by nature like to talk about themselves, particularly when they're worried about their health.
Thoughts to Live By
When speaking to your patients about their health make sure to ponder the following points and have them assess if they are making themselves even more sick by the thoughts they have about life. Are these some of the traits and thoughts that your patients might have?
Rethinking GMO: Less Panic, More Context
Some of you may have noticed that after writing parts 1 and 2 of “Genetic Modification of Organisms for Human Consumption” a while back [Nov. 15, 2013 and Jan. 1, 2014 issues], part 3 never appeared.
Help Secure Our Future by Sharing It
The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) conducts one of the most comprehensive surveys of the U.S. chiropractic profession every 4-5 years.
Healing Community Trauma in Israel and Palestine
It's the beginning of August and Israel and Hamas have just agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire after a month of brutal fighting. In the last four weeks, 1,830 Palestinians and 67 Israelis have been killed.
Improving Our Political Effectiveness
The November 2014 elections are right around the corner; members of Congress, governors and state legislators are all running. Now is a good time to talk frankly about our overall political involvement.
The Science Behind Happiness
Are you happy right now? Whether yes or no, there are a myriad of reasons why you feel that way. A whole academic discipline has developed to find out what causes or obstructs happiness, and how to amplify it.
The Truth About Herbs
I appreciate the effort and research put into the article written in the June issue of Acupuncture Today regarding pesticides and Chinese herbs.
A Commonly Missed Spinal Fixation: The Upper Lumbar Spine (Part 1)
When we think of lower back pain, we tend to think in terms of the lower lumbar spine and the SI joint. These joints and their discs are obviously important. However, we tend to miss fixations that occur just above – in the upper lumbar spine. Three questions come to mind: 1) Why is the upper lumbar spine so important? 2) Why do we miss the fixations here? 3) How can we adjust them?
Thoracolumbar Syndrome: The Great Mimic
The thoracolumbar junction is a common area of joint dysfunction. The most obvious cause is dysfunctional breathing or lack of diaphragmatic breathing. Treating this breathing problem will ultimately be the long-term cure for the syndrome.
MPA Media Wins Seven Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Acupuncture Today, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecendented seven publishing awards by the ASBPE, the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
A Healthy Dose of Failure is Vital to Your Success
As an acupuncturist I tend to see people after they have already suffered for years and "tried everything." They are so desperate for some relief that they want to know everything about how to get better, right now.
Uncle Sam Needs You
Scrutiny into the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) continues to grow after efforts to reform the DVA by the former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, were deemed "a stunning period of dysfunction" by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
September, 2005, Vol. 05, Issue 09
By Elaine Stillerman, LMT
A good friend and colleague of mine attended a professional seminar this past June in New York City called "Challenges in Women's Healthcare: Urogynecology for Primary Care Providers." All of the speakers and most of the attendees were doctors, but there also was a smattering of physical therapists, like my friend, and occupational therapists.The general topic of the seminar was the female pelvic floor, in all its glory and with all its problems.
As my friend relayed to me (and I have the course material to back all this up), one of the doctors gave a speech on "The Effects of Pregnancy and Childbirth on the Pelvic Floor." Supported by many impressive studies, the doctor proffered that a vaginal birth is responsible for urinary and anal incontinence, pelvic prolapse, sexual dysfunction, pudendal nerve damage and pubococcygeal muscle damage. The cure? Cesarean section!
The other doctors fastidiously took notes. A few doctors and several allied professionals questioned the doctor's findings. For instance, were these births augmented and were there obstetric interventions (e.g., forceps, episiotomy)? Were the laboring women in these studies given Pitocin or any pain medications that blocked sensation? How were they pushing during active labor? What position were these women in while giving birth? Were they taught exhalation pushing and how to use their transverse abdominis during labor, or were they directed to "hold their breath, bear down and push?" Were any of these women in the studies taught correct Kegel exercises during pregnancy or given physical therapy during postpartum recovery? Were any of these case studies performed on women who had water births?
None of these valid points was addressed in the lecture, but C-sections nonetheless were hailed as the best way to avoid pelvic floor complications after childbirth.
I'm floored. OK, let's look at the pelvic floor during childbirth. The compression of the fetus on the muscles of the pelvic floor, along with the effects of progesterone and relaxin, softens joints and ligaments and allow these muscles to stretch and bulge. The bladder and ureters also lose their tone during pregnancy (even if the birth is surgical). But Kegel exercises have been proven to maintain and restore functional integrity to the pelvic floor (antepartum and postpartum), and the position in which the gravida labors can have a tremendous impact on the strength of the pelvic floor.
In addition, the directed pushing needed as a result of anesthesia or labor position is responsible for many of the long-term weaknesses of the pelvic floor. Known as the Valsalva technique (holding the breath and forceful bearing down), this method of pushing encourages fetal hypoxia (lack of oxygen), perineal tears, increased intrathoracic pressure, increased cardiac output and blood pressure, slowed maternal pulse rate and damage to the pelvic floor. It might be a vaginal birth, but one that was poorly guided.
During the pushing process, the laboring woman should be in a squatting or semi-sitting position to widen the pelvic outlet and work with gravity, not against it. The woman should exhale, or allow the air to escape from her lungs as she pushes, to reduce pressure on the pelvic floor. Some care providers actually prefer for the woman not to push at all in the early second stage of labor, because the natural forces of uterine contractions move the fetus quite handily down the birth canal. The focused pushing only is used to expel the fetus from the birth canal. In this way, little pressure is exerted on the pelvic floor and little, if any, damage is done.
Prenatal care and postpartum recovery should include exercises and physical therapy, if necessary, to maintain and restore the pelvic floor muscles. Birthing in female- and fetus-friendly ways can do more to keep the pelvic floor intact than a traumatic surgical procedure.
Instead of a surgeon recommending surgery as a preventative measure, why not teach women (and their doctors) the most effective way to maintain and respect their bodies during pregnancy and childbirth?
Click here for previous articles by Elaine Stillerman, LMT.
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