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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.
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.).
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.
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.
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.
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.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
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.
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?
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!
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.
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.
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?
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
History of Animal Acupuncture: Part II
In Part I of this article, I had gone back to 1969 and tried to describe the atmosphere and events of that year that engulfed many of the younger generation, some who were all the core members of the National Acupuncture Association.
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.
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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