resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
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.
A History Worth Telling
The popularity and the use of acupuncture for the treatment of animals in the United States is at its peak.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
Knee Pain From the Kinetic Chain
As practitioners of manual medicine, chiropractors often treat patients suffering from knee pain.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
December, 2008, Vol. 08, Issue 12
In Honor of a Doula
By Elaine Stillerman, LMT
Doula (doo-lah) is a Greek word that means "servant" or "handmaiden." Doula also refers to the compassionate labor coach who supports, advocates, nurtures, massages and protects a laboring woman from her first contraction until after her baby is born.In childbirth, the presence of this highly skilled, nurturing professional can completely change the labor experience for the better.
When we were still living in close-knit communities, it was common practice for the friends and family of a laboring woman to assist the midwife or doctor (when they still made house calls) during birth. But as we moved into urban and suburban areas, away from rural traditions, we moved away from this intimate circle. Women found themselves giving birth in hospitals without the support and assistance of anyone other than their partners - that is if the hospital permitted her to have that essential companionship. Fortunately, a labor doula and (for postnatal care) a postpartum doula fill the role of the community of women and provide the emotional and physical support that a laboring woman needs.
The labor doula is not part of the medical team. She doesn't deal with medical issues and unlike the obstetrician or midwife, she doesn't catch the baby. She is there for the duration to keep mother calm, relaxed, comfortable and focused on the task at hand.
In a controlled study conducted at a public hospital affiliated with the Baylor College of Medicine, women who labored with doulas had C-section rates of 8 percent as compared with 18 percent for women without doulas. The need for pain medicine dropped from 55 percent to 8 percent and labor was shortened by two hours when a doula was present. In addition, neonatal hospitalization dropped by half. These doulas recorded that on average, they touched the woman 95 percent of the time, as compared with less than 20 percent by male partners.1
Five studies conducted in Guatemala, Canada, the United States and South Africa confirmed that the presence of a labor doula reduced the need for surgical deliveries, shortened labor time and reduced prenatal and postnatal complications.2
At Jefferson Davis Hospital in Houston in 1993, 600 women who had never carried a pregnancy to term were divided into three groups: a control group, an observed group to measure the effects of a passive observer, and a group actively supported by a labor doula. The doula group had the following results as compared to the control group:
So, what exactly does a doula do? To give you an idea, let me tell you about my doula, Ilana. I knew Ilana professionally for years before I worked with her as a laboring mother. She was among the better known and most sought-after labor coaches in New York City. She founded the Metropolitan Doula Group (MDG), which is an organization that provides skilled doulas in the New York area. The MDG also conducts classes for its members and brings doulas into hospitals for women who can't afford them. They believe that no woman should labor without the support of a doula, and money shouldn't be the determining factor. During the 9/11 crisis, the MDG sprang into action by providing doulas for any laboring woman in a hospital, birthing center or at home who wanted one free of charge.
I called Ilana when I became pregnant. She came to my home to interview me and my husband about our hopes for the big day. Ilana took copious notes in the attempt to get to learn my likes, dislikes and what would be most helpful during labor. She gave us a realistic list of items I would need to make my labor more comfortable. Since then, I have provided my clients with that invaluable list and offer it in my textbook.
When the day came, Ilana had just returned from another birth she had stayed at for 13 hours. She had been home for two hours when I called. "Don't worry," she said, "I'm on mommy time." My water broke and I went into active labor within minutes. The contractions were coming one after the other. She asked to hear a contraction. Did this mean put the phone on my abdomen? Or did she want to hear the sounds I was making? By this time, all rational thought was out the window. "What?" I asked. "Let me hear a contraction," she repeated. Mine were silent. "I'll meet you at the hospital."
Once there, she directed my husband to get a different nurse and a private room for me. She disappeared for a few minutes and came back with a pile of waterproof pads and clean gowns. She opened her bag of goodies and asked if I was hungry or thirsty. And she held me. She massaged me. She danced with me. When the pains got intense, she took my face in her hands and said, "Give me the pain. Give it to me." And the pains lessened.
When I felt I was losing strength, she told me to relax my feet and let Mother Earth's power help me. She stayed by my side for 19 hours, encouraging me, honoring my efforts and nurturing me. And when my son was born, she told me how magnificent I had been. A week later, Ilana came to my home for a visit, bringing lunch, gifts, pictures and my birth story. We shared a life-affirming experience and I wasn't going to let her out of my life since she had been such an important part of it.
But life sometimes has other plans. In a cruel twist of fate, Ilana got ovarian cancer and lost her four-year battle last month. Her family and friends showered her with the same unconditional support she provided to the hundreds of new mothers she cared for and the countless doulas she taught. Ilana was all about giving, respecting and honoring a woman's efforts. That's a doula.
Click here for previous articles by Elaine Stillerman, LMT.
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