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Physical Exam 101: The Hands
I am sure you are familiar with the old adage: "When the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail."
The Science of Stretching
In 1986, Rob DeCastella set a course record by running the Boston Marathon in 2:07:51, just 39 seconds off the world record.
A Guide for Talking to Doctors about Acupuncture and Brain Chemistry
Before I begin any discussion of how to talk about the effects of acupuncture on brain chemistry, nervous and endocrine function, it is essential to understand just what physicians most need help with.
Immunizations by Colorado DCs: Really?
You probably didn't hear about it, but back on Nov. 21, 2013, the Board of Directors of the Colorado Chiropractic Association (CCA) adopted "immunization authority" for Colorado DCs as its No. 2 legislative goal.
Finders Keepers: The Secret to Relationship-Based Marketing
Becoming a successful practitioner has less to do with what you learned in school, and more to do with your ability to find new patients and keep them!
Vaccines and Chiropractic: Evidence-Based Medicine or Medical Dogma?
Right or wrong, the chiropractic profession has historically been against vaccinations. However, a growing trend within the profession is seeking to reverse this position.
Peer Points: Always Seeking To Grow
Ellen "Kiki" Geary has spent the last decade honing her craft. As a specialist in integrative holistic care, she went straight from completing her master's degree in acupuncture and chinese herbal medicine from Bastyr University to building a successful and thriving practice in the small community of Anacortes, Washington.
Are You a Bad Chiropractic Patient?
My father was a great DC. In fact, as you might expect, he was the doctor of chiropractic I measured all other doctors against. Sadly, he died at age 61 when I was in my early 30s.
Fibromyalgia: Put the Pain in Its Place
While some fibromyalgia patients respond favorably to regular chiropractic care, others experience minimal relief. Unfortunately, many of these patients must rely on pharmacological management to relieve their constant pain.
Building From the Bottom Up
I caught up with my dear friend Honora Wolfe, in her Colorado painting studio where, if she is not praying in Bhutan or doing charitable work in a Nepali free clinic, she spends most of her time now.
Coding for the Subluxation: ICD-9 vs. ICD-10
When I attended chiropractic school, I was taught that chiropractors approach health care differently than the traditional medical establishment.
A Chinese Medicine Story: An Interview with Mazin Al-Khafaji
Mazin Al-Khafaji's work has interested me for years. In February 2014, we invited him for the second time to speak at the Southwest Symposium in Austin, Texas.
Knee Pain From the Kinetic Chain
As practitioners of manual medicine, chiropractors often treat patients suffering from knee pain.
Why You Should Include the Single-Leg Stance Test in Every Patient Assessment
The single-leg stance (SLS) test, also known as the single-limb stance test, unipedal stance test or one-legged stance / balance test, is often used in the geriatric population to assess static postural and balance control.
Medical Qigong for the Heart: Part III
Part 1 and Part II of this series focused on the physical aspect of the Heart and mental emotional aspects of the Heart respectively. Now, I would like to focus on the spiritual aspect of the Heart.
New Medical Technologies You Need to Know
We're all familiar with how fast computers become obsolete, as well as the rapid pace of development in the field of cell phone technology. The latest smart phones are far more powerful than desktop computers were only a few years ago.
Curbing Label Overwhelm
For the average consumer, reading a food package can be overwhelming: natural, organic, non-GMO, gluten free, free range ... you get the picture.
Remembering Clarence Gonstead and 50 Years of the Gonstead Clinic
Dr. Clarence Selmer Gonstead (1898-1978) took chiropractic practice from back-alley bone setting to an understandable biomechanical science. His life was dedicated to clinical competency.
By the Numbers: 3 Common Financial Mistakes With Major Consequences
Warren Buffett is on record for sharing the hidden art of becoming wealthy and making it simple enough for anyone to grasp.
March, 2008, Vol. 08, Issue 03
Help Your Client Achieve a Natural Labor: Four Simple Tips for Pain Relief
By Michelle C. Larson, MAc, BA, LMT
Most women are nervous about labor pain whether their goal is an unmedicated labor or not. Pain is part of the right of passage into motherhood, but there are many simple things you can do to make it more comfortable and assist your body in the natural process of birth.
As massage therapists, we have a wonderful opportunity to assist expectant moms in creating the best birth experience possible. Over the last year and a half, I studied natural pain relief techniques for labor and delivery. Using my background as a massage therapist, acupuncturist and labor doula, I applied the principles of hydrotherapy, massage and acupressure to find the most effective and fundamental techniques.
My goal was to decrease anxiety, keep labor progressing and decrease pain. The following are four procedures you can use with your clients to make labor and delivery less stressful:
Hot Foot Bath
Place her feet in hot water, deep enough to cover the feet and come above the malleoli. This will not only feel relaxing, but also will help to draw energy downward and promote descent of the baby. By relaxing the muscles in the feet and legs, her pelvic floor also will relax. As she relaxes her mind, she will find a decrease in pain during contractions.
Many hospitals will have plastic tubs you can use for this purpose. Simply ask the nurse. This also is a great treatment to use at home in early labor before you head to the hospital or birth center. If you like, you can add essential oils such as rosemary or lavender to enhance the energetic effect of the hot foot bath and add a wonderful aroma. Keep in mind some women are very sensitive to scents during labor.
"Mind over matter" works. Here is a tried-and-true meditation you can guide her through at any stage. Have her close her eyes between contractions, ask her to take her mind deep inside. "With every inhale imagine breath in life and energy. Each breath is as nourishing and energizing as your favorite dinner. You are drawing in energy from the world around you, filling yourself. Even though you are tired, you are becoming more and more energized. With every exhale allow your pelvic floor to relax and open, exhaling out any tension, fear and anxiety. Focus on the relaxation."
Starting the next contraction with this new-found relaxation will make it more productive and less painful. The pressure and stretching of the pelvic floor can be very frightening. This fear will cause a woman to tense these muscles which will delay labor and make it more uncomfortable.
Here are three simple, very effective acupressure points. You can use them at any stage of labor, but not during pregnancy. These points have a very strong, energetic action and are not to be used during pregnancy. Have her talk with her primary care provider to decide when she is ready for labor to begin, because these acupressure points can stimulate contractions.
With all of these techniques, the key is to communicate. Invite her to let you know what seems to work and what doesn't. Application of pressure over these points can be done with thumbs, hands, elbows or massage tools. You can use these points as little or as often as you'd like. As long as it feels good to your client, keep going.
Essential oils are a wonderful way to relax and ease tension. Not only is the scent therapeutic but also the application of the oils on the skin. Most oils are not to be used during pregnancy because they have a strong moving effect and can stimulate contractions. During labor, however, this is exactly what you want.
You can use a few drops of your favorite essential oil in a diffuser to scent the entire room, or place a few drops on a tissue to enjoy a light fragrance. A drop of essential oil applied to your fingertips during an acupressure massage will enhance the effect of the treatment.
Keep in mind that a scent she really likes normally may not be pleasing during labor. It's best to use the oils in such a way that you can easily remove them from the room or take the scent away if you find it becomes aggravating.
Lavender is one of the most commonly used essential oils. It provides very relaxing, nourishing feminine energy and helps to sooth pain.
Rosemary is very invigorating and uplifting. If labor has been slow and you find energy fading, the lively scent of rosemary is a huge help. This is also a good one to use during acupressure to stimulate the points.
Orange is a sweet smell that also is very invigorating. Use orange as you would rosemary for an extra energy boost or during your acupressure massage.
Massage therapists often are asked to assist a regular client during labor. This can be very intimidating, especially if you have never been through the birth experience. Use these simple techniques to feel empowered to confidently assist her. And remember, not all births go as planned. A successful birth ends with a healthy mom and a healthy baby; the process is unique and can never be planned.
Michelle Larson is a certified massage therapist with a masters degree in acupuncture and a bachelors degree in holistic health. As a faculty member of the Cortiva Maternity and Infant Massage Program, she travels nationally teaching continuing education for professional massage therapists.
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