resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
Reducing the Autogenic Inhibition Reflex: Making Weak Muscles Strong
The autogenic inhibition (AI) reflex is a sudden relaxation of a muscle in response to excess tension.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
Spieth Thanks His Chiropractor After Historic Masters Win
Jordan Spieth didn't just capture the hearts of golf enthusiasts worldwide with his record-setting, wire-to-wire victory at the 79th Masters Tournament.
ACA or ICA: Which Best Represents You?
Last June, I was honored to represent Texas ICA members as their representative assemblyman at the ICA Annual Meeting in Kansas City.
Leg-Length Inequality and Pelvic Fixation: A New Approach to the Negative Derifield (Part 2)
As we noted in our previous article, with a positive Derifield (+D), the doctor observes the reactive (shorter) leg in the prone position that becomes longer or "crosses over" in the flexed position.
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
First Do No Harm?
There's no questioning the frightening nature of breast cancer, which strikes one in eight women in the U.S. – eclipsed only by skin cancer in terms of prevalence.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2-4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
Our Biggest Challenges to Compete in Wellness Care
In the first article in this four-article series [May 1 DC], I made the case that chiropractors should either embrace offering lifestyle wellness in their practices or face the possibility of losing their place in the wellness care marketplace.
We Get Letters & Email
A House Divided? (May 1 issue) provoked significant response from readers. Here are several of the surprisingly similar comments we received.
Professional Credentialing and Board Certification: An Ethical Faux Pas
Because of the Affordable Care Act, health care systems are coordinating care through accountable care organizations (ACOs) in order to reduce the cost of care and improve quality of care.
Rethinking Musculoskeletal Pain – A Public Health Perspective
The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the world's oldest and largest association of its kind, founded more than 140 years ago and boasting over 25,000 members.
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
A Poor Choice for Pain Relief
Acetaminophen is the most popular pain reliever in the U.S., accounting for an estimated 27 billion annual doses as of 2009. With 100,000-plus hospital visits a year by users, it's also the most likely to be taken inappropriately.
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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