Quinceañera

Started off shaky but grew on me quickly.  Very nice; sensative, real and poignant, though some might see it as a Canadian ‘after-school special’ or Lifetime ‘Movie of the Week’.

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Midwifery Heroes

Ina May Gaskin Ina May Gaskin, CPM

Michael Odent, MD Michel Odent, MD

Marsden Wagner, MD Marsden Wagner, MD

* Above photos from Orgasmic Birth,

a documentary that examines the sexual and intimate nature of birth and the powerful role it plays in women’s lives when they are permitted to experience it. This documentary asks viewers to reexamine everything they thought they knew about giving birth and the potential it holds.

Viewers will feel the passion and power that childbirth holds as they visit women, their partners, families, midwives, and physicians in Mexico, New Zealand, Austria, England, Netherlands, Brazil, and the United States. Couples share their birth experiences, talking about their fears and how they found the support, nurturing, images and ultimately the power and strength within themselves to labor and birth their babies in a beautiful, loving and ecstatic way.

They are in need of fundage to complete “the final editing stages of this important documentary”.  To make a donation, please click here.

 

Q&A: Massage Therapy: Breast Implants

Mizz B. asks: I just got breast implants, please explain to me how to massage them.

Massagewallah answers:

Thanks for asking! This is very important thing to do!

There are a few different methods of massage used to prevent incapsulation (Capsular Contracture) of the implant. First, this type of preventative massage need not be done on texured implants, only smooth (general massage is ok for texured implants, though). Also if the impants are submuscular (rather then subglandular) these exercises dont need to be done.

Massage is generally contraindicated for the first 24-72hrs post op.

The main two techniques, as you mentioned are 1.Pocket Quadrant Exercises (PCE) and 2. Compression work.

PCE involves manual displacement of the impant to the outermost corners of the implant pocket: Up, down, side to side, holding each for a few seconds. To start off with do this every 2-3 hours, for the first couple weeks postop, then 2-3 times a day for a few weeks after that, and then once a day for the life of the implants.

Compression work is using a flat palm pressed with light-to-medium pressure against the implant flattening it and keep the pocket open. This can also be done by laying on the floor. Do this about 30m a day for the first few months and then try to keep it up as you go on.

Another thing to do is to actually squeeze the implants, feeling your fingers meeting in the middle

Source(s):
Aristide M. LaVey, LMT subspecializing in post op breast implant massage therapy.

How to Know a Health Professional is NOT Supportive of Breastfeeding

by Jack Newman, MD, FRCPC

from Lactivist.com

All health professionals say they are supportive of breastfeeding. But many are supportive only when breastfeeding is going well, and some, not even then. As soon as breastfeeding, or anything in the life of the new mother is not perfect, too many advise weaning or supplementation. The following is a list of clues which help you judge whether the health professional is supportive of breastfeeding, at least supportive enough so that if there is trouble, s/he will make efforts to help you continue breastfeeding.

How to know a health professional is not supportive:

1. S/he gives you formula samples or formula company literature when you are pregnant, or after you have had the baby. These samples and literature are inducements to use the product, and their distribution is called marketing. There is no evidence that any particular formula is better or worse than any other for the normal baby. The literature or videos accompanying samples are a means of subtly and not so subtly undermining breastfeeding and glorifying formula. If you do not believe this, ask yourself why the formula companies are using cutthroat tactics to make sure that your doctor or hospital gives out their literature and samples and not other companies’? Should you not also wonder why the health professional is not marketing breastfeeding?

2. S/he tells you that breastfeeding and bottle feeding are essentially the same. Most bottle fed babies grow up healthy and secure and not all breastfed babies grow up healthy and secure. But this does not mean that breastfeeding and bottle feeding are essentially the same. Infant formula is a rough approximation of what we knew several years ago about breastmilk which is in itself a rough approximation of something we are only beginning to get an inkling of and are constantly being surprised by. The differences have important health consequences. Certain elements in breastmilk are not in artificial baby milk (formula) even though we have known of their importance to the baby for several years-for example, antibodies and cells for protection of the baby against infection, and long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids for optimal development of the baby’s vision and brain. And breastfeeding is not the same as bottle feeding, it is a whole different relationship. If you have been unable to breastfeed, that is unfortunate (though most times the problems could have been avoided), but to imply it is of no importance is patronizing and just plain wrong. A baby does not have to be breastfed to grow up happy, healthy and secure, but it is an advantage.

3. S/he tells you that formula x is best. This usually means that s/he is listening too much to a particular formula representative. It may mean that her/his children tolerated this particular formula better than other formulas. It means that s/he has unsubstantiated prejudices.

4. S/he tells you that it is not necessary to feed the baby immediately after the birth since you are (will be) tired and the baby is often not interested anyhow. It isn’t necessary, but it is very helpful. Babies can nurse while the mother is lying down or sleeping, though most mothers do not want to sleep at a moment such as this. Babies do not always show an interest in feeding immediately, but this is not a reason to prevent them from having the opportunity. Many babies latch on in the hour or two after delivery, and this is the time which is most conducive to getting started well, but they can’t do it if they are separated from their mothers. If you are getting the impression that the baby’s getting weighed, eye drops and vitamin K injection have priority over establishing breastfeeding, you might wonder about someone’s commitment to breastfeeding.

5. S/he tells you that there is no such thing as nipple confusion and you should start giving bottles early to your baby to make sure that the baby accepts a bottle nipple. Why do you have to start giving bottles early if there is no such thing as nipple confusion? Arguing that there is no evidence for the existence of nipple confusion is putting the cart before the horse. It is the artificial nipple, which no mammal until man had ever used, and even man, not commonly before the end of the nineteenth century, which needs to be shown to be harmless. But the artificial nipple has not been proved harmless to breastfeeding. The health professional who assumes the artificial nipple is harmless is looking at the world as if bottle feeding, not breastfeeding, were the normal physiologic method of infant feeding. By the way, just because not all or perhaps even not most babies who get artificial nipples have trouble with breastfeeding, it does not follow that the early use of these things cannot cause problems for some babies. It is often a combination of factors, one of which could be the using of an artificial nipple, which add up to trouble.

6. S/he tells you that you must stop breastfeeding because your are sick or your baby is sick, or because you will be taking medicine or you will have a medical test done. There are occasional, rare, situations when breastfeeding cannot continue, but often health professionals only assume that the mother cannot continue and often they are wrong. The health professional who is supportive of breastfeeding will make efforts to find out how to avoid interruption of breastfeeding (the information in white pages of the blue Compendium of Pharmaceutical Specialties is not a good reference-every drug is contraindicated according to it as the drug companies are more interested in their liability than in the interests of mothers and babies). When a mother must take medicine, the health professional will try to use medication which does not require the mother to stop breastfeeding. (In fact, very few medications require the mother to stop breastfeeding). It is extremely uncommon for there to be only one medication which can be used for a particular problem. If the first choice of the health professional is a medication which requires you to stop breastfeeding, you have a right to be concerned that s/he has not really thought about the importance of breastfeeding.

7. S/he is surprised to learn that your 6 month old is still breastfeeding. Many health professionals believe that babies should be continued on artificial baby milk for at least nine months and even twelve months, but at the same time seem to believe that breastmilk and breastfeeding are unnecessary and even harmful if continued longer than six months. Why is the imitation better than the original? Shouldn’t you wonder what this line of reasoning implies? In most of the world, breastfeeding to 2 or 3 years of age is common and normal.

8. S/he tells you that there is no value in breastmilk after the baby is 6 months or older. Even if it were true, there is still value in breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is a unique interaction between two people in love even without the milk. But it is not true. Breastmilk is still milk, with fat, protein, calories, vitamins and the rest, and the antibodies and other elements which protect the baby against infections are still there, some in greater quantities than when the baby was younger.

9. S/he tells you that you must never allow your baby to fall asleep at the breast. Why not? It is fine if a baby can also fall asleep without nursing, but one of the advantages of breastfeeding is that you have a handy way of putting your tired baby to sleep. Mothers around the world since the beginning of mammalian time have done just that. One of the great pleasures of parenthood is having a child fall asleep in your arms, feeling the warmth he gives off as sleep overcomes him. It is one of the pleasures of breastfeeding, both for the mother and probably also for the baby, when the baby falls asleep at the breast.

10. S/he tells you that you should not stay in hospital to nurse your sick child because it is important you rest at home. It is important you rest, and the hospital which is supportive of breastfeeding will arrange it so that you can rest while you stay in the hospital to nurse your baby. Sick babies do not need breastfeeding less than a healthy baby, they need it more.

Offensive Boobs

From The bOOb Lady’s Blog

Heard the one about the woman thrown off a plane for refusing to cover her baby’s head when breastfeeding? It’s no joke. Seated by the window at the back of the plane next to her hubby, she could hardly be considered in-flight entertainment. But the flight attendant—genderless, by all accounts—found the sight of a mother nursing a child to be “offensive.”

While it sounds bizarre, this story is similar to one reported back in July. In that case, readers objected to the mere image of a breastfeeding baby on the cover of BabyTalk, a free publication targeted to (big surprise here) new moms. Letter writers used words like “gross,” or said they were “shocked to see a giant breast on the cover of your magazine.” One woman considered it a form of flashing, stating “I don’t want my son or husband to accidentally see a breast they didn’t want to see.” Accidentally? In some cultures, women’s breasts are purposely left uncovered at all times, making it easy for them to do the centuries-old job nature intended: feeding babies. What’s unnatural are boobs deliberately hiked up by some tits-on-a-platter bra, á la Victoria’s Secret.In today’s civilized society, women must stage “nurse-ins” and lobby for laws to protect their right to breastfeed in public. But there’s no legislation shielding our eyes from the endless images of provocatively-posed models in their skivvies–ready for work or play in a pair of indispensable stiletto heels. These airbrushed, photo-shopped, cartoon bosoms could poke out an eye, or two! One wonders whether the above-mentioned reader has any concern for the continuous over-exposure to suggestive lingerie ads. It could leave the impression that breasts can only be appreciated for their erotic value. Guess it’s all in how you look at boobs.

BabyTalk CoverVictoria's Secret ad

Military Midwifery

Did you know that the Army, Air Force, and Navy all employ nurse-midwives in uniform?  Big bonu$e$ !  n.b. the Coast Guard’s health care needs are served by the commisioned nurse officers of the USPHS. (1)

The Department of Defense has utilized certified nurse midwives (CNMs) for the delivery of primary women’s health care for over 20 years. Although their numbers remain relatively small, their impact on quality, cost, choice, and access to care is substantial. CNMs are not merely physician extenders, but primary health providers who emphasize holistic and wellness-oriented care. This philosophy, based on both nursing and midwifery models of care, distinguishes as well as makes the CNMs’ practice complementary to that of their medical contemporaries. – NIH.gov

Another AF link regarding job description.

Ft Bragg OB and Midwifery.

 Link to “Saluting Midwifes in Uniform” from www.midwife.org.

Fun little site; http://www.gotmom.org/

(1) However, to serve in the USCG as a NP (http://www.gocoastguard.com/faq.html):

What if I’m a nurse practitioner?
The Coast Guard is seeking qualified health professionals. If you are a nurse practitioner and would like more information about active duty positions for health care professionals, please contact:

Captain Mike Adess
Commandant (CG-1123)
USCG Headquarters, CGHQ-5314
2100 2nd Street, SW
Washington, DC 20593-0001

Voice: (202) 475-5186

Know How to Do Breast Massage « HEALTH & FITNESS

From Health & Fitness

Breasts are body tissues, which can be effectively self-massaged or massaged by someone else. At some time or the other, most women experience physical and psychological trauma related to breast congestion, breast pain, discomforts of surgical procedures, and anxieties about changes in their breast tissues.

The fact that breasts are strongly associated with sexual touching and attractiveness, does not rule out the fact that they should not receive physical care. Breast care is an important area of health that is often neglected, due to the stigmas surrounding the treatment of this part of the body.

The breast tissue contains an abundance of lymph vessels. Unlike other areas of the body, the breast lacks sources of external compression, such as muscles or strong overlying frontal part that promotes natural lymphatic drainage. As a result, fluid has a tendency to stagnate, which may lead to breast problems. This is where gentle, non-stimulating massage techniques can be used to aid fluid recirculation.
Massage therapy is an effective non-invasive treatment for breasts, as they also require need good circulation and tissue mobilization for optimum health. It is at times believed that there may be a correlation between chronic poor breast drainage and susceptibility to cancer. Massage techniques is one of the most effective ways for addressing such problems and promoting breast health.

Advantages of breast massage:

# Breast massage is a concept used by women since centuries. It is a simple process, which can be done in the privacy of home. Secondly, it is an easy process and doesn’t take more than a few moments to accomplish.

# The breast is made up of tissue and adipose fat. A firm and proper massage helps tone these tissues and firms them up. This gives the breasts a healthier and more natural look.

# Breast massage help create a beautiful bust line by helping to shape and tone it, thus increasing its overall attractiveness.

# It helps one be aware of any fibrous areas of possible indications of breast cancer.

# It helps flush out high toxin materials from the breast, bring nutrition to the tissues and specifically remove the toxins via the lymphatic system.

# It gives women a feeling of their femininity, and promotes relaxation and peace of mind, as massage of other body parts does.

# Breast massage helps correct sagging, droopiness and other features, which are considered unattractive.

# Breast massage helps enhance the health and elasticity of the support ligaments, which in turn provides better breast support.

How to do breast massage?

Women’s breasts vary considerably in texture and sensitivity to pressure. Hence, gentle strokes for those who are sensitive or have softer breasts. Moderate pressure may be more effective for those with firmer-textured breasts. A lotion or massaging oil can also help avoid friction, and lessen sensitivity.
Gentle-to-moderate kneading, rubbing, and squeezing strokes with the hands are enough to encourage increased lymph and blood flow to the breast. The breast can be kneaded and squeezed by contracting the palm and fingers of the hand.

1. To drain the lymph fluid from the breast, a common massage stroke is a gentle radial outward stroke from the nipple to the outer edge of the breast. This is done by applying light pressure starting from the centre of the breast and making several strokes outwards from the nipple.

2. Hold your breast. But, instead of squeezing it out, give it a twirling kind of motion. Rotate your hands (and thus the breast) in a clockwise motion, followed by an equal anticlockwise motion. Continue this for about ten times.

3. Open out your palms on the breast such that are facing downwards. Then move your palms downwards so that the fingers rub against the side surfaces of the breast. This should be avoided on the nipple, as it may spoil its shape.

A gradual feeling of warmth in the massaged area indicates increased blood flow to massaged areas.
To gain maximum benefit and therapeutic effects, breast massage should be practiced daily, as part of a routine – perhaps when fresh out of the shower, since the skin is still somewhat moist. Massage can also be done several times a day, depending on requirement and schedule.

Precautions:

Breast massage is a very simple process that can be done by the individual. However, it must be done with the utmost care. Improper breast massage can actually boomerang, like damaging of the glandular tissues that hold your breasts upright.

Lymph drainage therapy for breast care:

Lymph drainage therapy (LDT) is a gentle, non-stimulating technique with few contraindications. LDT is particularly effective for treating breast tissue because it involves extremely light pressure. Mastopathies respond well to lymphatic breast care.

Breast problems, which benefit from LDT include:

# Menstruation related problems – breast pain and swollen breasts.

# Pregnancy and breast-feeding problems – engorgement due to massive breast edema, sore nipples, inflammation/infection, plugged ducts or nipple pores, fissures, dermatitis and stretch marks.

# Chronic non-malignant lumps –

# Breast implant complications

# Cosmetic concerns such as surgery and trauma recovery; scarring.
It is time for efficient breast care to be brought into the realm of accepted practice. Armed with proper knowledge and a clear understanding of our limits, we can eliminate the controversy and stigma surrounding this necessary therapeutic application

Top ten benefits of Massage (Shiatsu) during pregnancy « Shiatsu blog

Regarding the Mahamantra and Menstration

Ladies,
The other day I was teaching a wonderful young girl from the 10th Canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam, about the life and pasttimes of Lord Krsna, and was testing her about her knowledge of sankirtaning the harinam aka the mahamantra.

When asked to chant the mantra, she did refuse, upon further questioning, it came out the she had been told that she is not allowed to chant the harinam when she is in the bleeding-out phase of her menses.

I told her that to my knowledge this was not correct practice, but I would indeed research it for her.

I spoke with a vedic authority, of the Caitanya Vaisnavism line of our Hindu faith and was answered this way: “No .. this is not true .. chanting can be done at any time , under any circumstances” So says I ” that is what i told her, so do you think that this is just a popular misconception masking as popular practice…[and] what would be a good sastric verse to quote to get her to [understand?] ” Yes .. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu says in the Shikshatakam: “niyamitah smarane na kalah” … There are no hard and fast rules for chanting”

So there we go, for Caitanya vaisnavs there is not this restriction. I personally believe it is a popular practice that has grown from popular belive, but is indeed errant and not sastrically sound.

While many faiths do have a sort of distaste, if you will, for menstrating women, believing that women become ritually impure from their menstation, I beleive that is an imposistion brought upon women by men to again, control them in everypart of their lives. Now these men think they can tell women even how to pray and serve their God?

Women are women and will remain as such. You are just as beautiful, smart, and talented during your ‘off weeks’ as during your red days. Love and be strong in your faith at all times, and do not restrict yourselves from God during your bleeding period. Menstrual flow is a cleansing gift from God, not a punishment. Your womb, during this time is preping itself to bring another divine gift into the world. What could be more worth your prayers?

Do not let this foul, misgynistic, Judeo-christian belief of womanly impurity influence our Indian culture and our faith.

Dear ladies, as always continue to pray without ceasing…

aml.

Dysmenorrhea and TCM

CAUSES
According to TCM theory, dysmenorrhea is usually caused by:

emotional factors, the invasion of the six exogenous pathogenic factors, and the stagnation of blood and qi;

or by retention of blood in the uterus due to liver depression and qi stagnation resulting from emotional upsets;

or by cold-dampness attacking the lower engergiser and lodging itself in utuerus (caused by walking in water or sitting on damp ground during menstration);

or by the constituional deficiency of qi and blood, or consumption of qi and blood due to serious illness;

or by congential defect or impairment of the liver and kidney, consumption of blood and malnutrition of the uterus due to multipary and excessive sexual activity.

The basic therapeutic priciple for treating dysmenorrhea is to regulate of qi, activate the blood, dissipate the cold, and clear the heat.

TREATMENTS
To get the blood and qi flowing, soothe the LV meridians, as this will regulate the qi and resolve stasis to stop the pain/ – Dong Quai (Radix Angelicas Sinensis [the mother of female herbs]) is helpful. As is ginger tea.

To disperse cold and to drain dampness, a full body massage concentrating on the warming meridians will help to eliminate stagnation. Cinnamon tea is good, as is Dong Quai.

To invigorate the blood, focus on strenghtening the SP meridians, as this will nourish the qi. Dong Quai is good, as is a mix of mint and chamomile tea.

To nourish the blood, focus on LV and KI, as this will replenish and enrich your essence (jing baby!). Dong Quai is good, as is ginger tea, and anything ‘good for the jing’.

Shiatsu Self-Treatment for Dysmenorrhea (and bonus TCM Sex tips!)

Here is a Shiatsu treatment pattern that you can easily perform on yourself or another.

Dysmenorrhea:

If dysmenorrhea or painful mentrual cramping, began in your teen years, with your early periods, it is refered to as Primary Dysmenorrhea. At this younger age, your hormones were excitedly blossoming, ready for womanhood and yr stress levels would have had a direct effect on hormonal production.

Postaglandins or ‘local hormones’ will most likely affect yr cramping. These hormones cause muscular contrations of the uterus, and when overstimulated, can spread throughout the pelvic organs, causing contractions in many areas. This is a result, mostly, of stress, shock, or trauma, which upset yr system.

When dysmenorrhea occurs later in life, it is known as Secondary dysmenorrhea, and diff factors require our consideration. Stress, of course, is not limited to our adolecence, and may very well affect us in our adult life. Also, you could be influenced by the use of contraception or and IUD, both of which can have detrimental effects.

Your hormonal system is influenced by the Kidney chi and is esp sensitive to fear andaxiety which distrub the free flow of yr chi. The Uterus and its environment are regulated by Liver and Spleen chi. The Liver chi is responsible for blood storage and regulation as well as the muscular contraction inpetus; and the Spleen chi, for the quality of the flesh of the uterus. Other factors influencing yr moon cycle would be the invasion of cold and damp into yr body. This may be an accumulative effect of foods such as sugars, caffeine, or dairy products, which all contribute to chi stagnation.

External factors such as climate and such can also be influential on yr protective energy (Wei Chi) and immune systems. Try to keep yr pelvis well-insulated with natural fibre clothing during the colder seasons. The ankles have a special relationship to yr reproductive system, so keep them warm too.

TREATMENT:

Apply presure to the following points: LV 3, SP 6/10, & ST 36. As well as CV 3, & LV 13/14. Massage the nipples, as they will stimuate the ovaries and uterus, and using yr fingertips, gently massage the area btw the pubic bone and navel.

*

Heat (Yang) is relaxing for the cramping contraction (Yin), so a hot-water bottle on yr abdomen helps to expel the symptoms of the Cold and Damp. Try to avoid stimulants, such as coffee, tabacco, sugar, and chemicalised foods, to allow yr system to repair.

*

Here are two exercises that can be used to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles (mms) or ‘Ovarian Palace’. (It is also good as a sex improvement exercise, esp the second one which is kind of like a Chinese Kegel)

ONE:
This exercise strengthens yr LV and CV meridians, both of which pass through the vagina, cervix, and uterus. This area is refered to in Chinese as the ‘Gate of Life’ from which new life develops.

1.) Sit confortable in a chair, on the floor, or even lie down.
2.) Breathe into yr hara, by expanding yr abdominal mms, like a baloon filling, as u breathe in. On the exhalation, contract the those mms to flatten yr abs. Repeat thrice for relaxation.
3.) On the next inhalation, expand the mms while ‘pushing down’ on yr genitals – you will feel the pelvic floor respond. Pull up on the pelvic floor, as you exhale. Repeat thrice.
4.) Focus into yr vaginal mms and squeeze, lifting and releasing these mms 10 times in quick succession. Try another 10 reps until u feel warmth w/in yr vagina – this is an indication of improved blood flow.
5.) As you become experienced in this practice, you can ‘think’ yr way into yr vagina as you pull upwards and draw the chi into yr uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. Feel the glowing warmth spread throughout yr pelvis.

TWO:

This is a useful exercise, relating to yr urinations, as yr urethra and bladder are part of yr genitourinary stystem. The excersise involves the controlling of the flow of urine.

1.) Start peeing, allowing 1/3 of the urine to pass and then squeeze yr vaginal pelvic floor mms until the flow stops for a moment. Then resume yr flow again.
2.) Repeat 2 or 3 times with each urination. W/ practice you will be able to completely stop yr flow at will – an indication of improved mm tone.

* Please NOTE: It is harmful to hold off urination for any length of times, as this strains yr bladder. Gt the toilet asap when you feel the need to pee.

These exercises will not only help to improve the pelvic floor mms for the regulation of menstration and better elimination, but also have the added benefit of allowing for more enjoyable sex, as you will have greater control of yr vaginal mms and may experience an enhanced intensity in yr orgasm.

Shiatsu Self-Treatment for PMT (PMS)

Premenstrual Tension (PMT) is a combination of various physical and emotional symptoms which occur in women one or two weeks before the onset of menstration.

For a long time PMT was thought to be a pychological condition women used to gain sympathy. Indeed even some dim-witted individuals still think this! However, it is recognised and defined as a ‘dis-ease’ and there are MANY theories about its cause. Obviously hormonal changes clearly influence PMT.

Another possible cause for PMT is low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), which is promoted by an unbalanced diet. Too much fat in yr diet puts pressure on yr liver, and excess salt promotes fluid retention, leading to bloating. If this is the case, it would be helpful for you to concentrate on establishing more regular eating habits. A good way to do this is to eat small meals throughout the day. Caffeine and sugar deplete yr body of the B vits needed to keep yr nervous system healthy and to stablise yr emotions. So try to exchange yr triple grande non-fat vanilla latte for herbal tea. (Chamomile and mint, blended together is also great for cramps!) Also, in my personal opionion remove meat, dairy, and eggs from yr diet alltogether.

Yet another cause for PMT might be an imbalance of postaglandins, causing the uterus to go into painful spasams (cramps). If there is an imbalace, yr circulation will slow down and you will feel chilly and exhausted w/ pain and numbness in yr hands and feet.

PMT is usually synonymous w/ mood swings, and the most common emotional symtoms include: irritability, tension, anger, depression, and sleepiness. It will often also affect yr self estem and you might feel low, lacking concentration and control of yr actions. Physical symptoms might inlude headache, backache, lower ab pain, and breast tenderness.

From the TCM viewpoint, PMT symptoms are a sign of blood and chi stagnation. Chi is the ‘commander’ of blood – when chi is stagnant, blood coagulates. This build up of tension w/in leads to all the diff symptoms listed above.

The organ in charge of ensuring a smooth chi flow throughout, is the Liver. Its influence extends all over the body, to yr intestines as well as yr uterus. Moreover, it has a great influence on yr emotional state: the smooth flow of Liver Chi ensures a ‘smooth flow’ of yr emotional life. So when you are walking around, feeling frustrated and angry, it is a sign that yr Liver Chi is stagnant. If the Liver is funtioning well, and its chi is flowing smoothly, yr emotional life will be happy and relaxed and your will find it easy to express yr emotions and feelings.

How do you get to this state of being and how can you stimulate yr liver engergy? Physical movemetn is any form is very beneficial, as the chi gets stagnated in the joints and tendons very easily. You can choose to do some stretching to activate yr LV meridian or dance to some music to release general stagnation. Kicking will help release tension in the hip area (an area which holds feelings like frustration and anger), as will hip rotations. Use yr voice to express yrself vocally in combo w. yr physical movements, create sounds to release inner tension and free up yr energy systems.

The Native Americas beleive that women are most relective and creative just prior to menstration, so this is the time of the month to give the artisitic part of u, a change to emerge and develop.

TREATMENT:

To disperse the Liver and regulate the chi, use the following points: GB 34, LV 3/13/14, TB 6, & HG 6.

Also:
1. Liver Meridian Release: GB 21 -> GB 29, 31, 34, 40 GB 40 -> 30
2. Ab Release: BL 23-> CV 14, 12, LV 14, ST 25 ST 25-> SP 13, GB 34, ST 36, SP 6, LV 3
3. Pelvic Release: BL 26 -> CV 6, SP 13, ST 30, BL 54 BL 54 -> BL 36, 40, SP 9, ST 36, SP 4

Important Golden points include: ST 25, 36, SP 6, 13, K 6.

During my treatments for PMT and dysmenorrhea, I use a lot of sacral points as well as sacral traction, and also use moxa to increase the point stimulation. [NOTE: only use live moxa if you have been properly trained.] For those w/o training there are moxa patches that can be applied like a bandaid, and are avail at most chinese pharmacies.

Another self technique that has proved to be helpful is activating those sacral points by sitting on yr hands. Put yr hands together, one on top of the other, and slide them (supine side up) under yr bum, so that the triangle shape of yr sacrum is matched by the trianglish shape of yr hands.

Menstrual Cycle Energetics

The Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theory considers the menstrual cycle or ‘Moon Flow’ to be a natural reflection of the natural order of change. Everything is in continual movement, changing from Excess to Feficiency, Yang to Yin. TCM refers to the womb as a ‘Blood Chamber’, where menstrual blood is produced to enhance the womb environment ready for conception, should you choose to have a child. The production and elimination of the menstrual blood also helps to maintain the blood quality control for your entire body. As the blood builds up, it reaches an Excess and, if conception has not occured, the blood will be discharged as your ‘Heavenly Water’, when the Blood Chamber goes into Deficiency. That is why your energy level does fluctuate at this time.

Then the whole process starts again.

Visualise a circle, as your cycle certainly is. Starting with Day 1 and going to Day 28: Menstration -> Empty (Deficiency) -> Post-menstration -> Mid-cycle -> Full (Excess) -> Pre-menstration, then going back to Menstration again at Day 1.

When all is in order, there is no pain, so pain and other disconforts indicate an imbalance. Pls remember, any disconfort relating to your reproductive system, is a relflection of your whole being, so try not to think of your reproductive organs as a seperate entity which you dislike during menstration. Try to see your reproductive system as a part of the whole and think about the wonders of your body and what potential you can achieve!

Indian Prenatal Nutrition Tips

Here are a few home remedies for prenatal nutrition passed on from mother to new mother in India.

Milk spiked w/ saffron, ground almonds, and jaggery; provides iron and calcium for the mother’s growing body.

**Did you know that feeding a pregnant woman is akin to feeding God? Our Hindu custom dictates that anyone who satisfies a pregnant woman’s cravings would not only make her happy, but get some “karmic credit” as well. **

It is good to keep a nice diet while pregnant to preven gas from forming in the mom’s body and giving the breastfeeding infant colic.

Agathi keerai is rich w/ vitamins and minerals, rice w/ plenty of ghee to give her energy, garlic rasam (south indian yummy tomato soup) to increase her breast milk, and betel leaves to chew as a digestif.

Fenugreek tea also increases breast milk (as well as making yr hair lustrous).

A Softer, Lighter Mind-Body: Trager Approach and Breast Cancer

The Trager “approach uses psychophysical integration to release deeply-held mind-body patterns, enhance relaxation, and bring the client into an awareness of ease within her body. For breast cancer patients in particular, Trager’s gentle, noninvasive touch provides a safe space for healing from the trauma of medical invasion and its residual effects and the imbalance brought about by the disease state. Mentastics, a form of self-care for clients, allows them to reinforce and expand changes initiated by bodywork through daily practice of specific body movements.”

Please do read this wonderful article here.

For more info on Trager and Breast Cancer: My Breast Cancer Story: One Illness, Two Women, Four Seasons.

For more info on Trager, pls visit Trager.com.

Shiatsu and Breast Health

A few shiatsu techniques for self and clients to generate good breast health.

1. Daily tune up.
—-Treatment: gently tap across the chest – using either using a loose fist or flat hand for confort – above and around the breasts and across the ribs. Massage your breasts (a good way to check for lumps and other irregularites), giving particular attention to the massaging of each nipple (Stomach [ST] 17 is located in the nipple), as this stimulates ovarian functions and is also good for regulating or improving lactation in breast feeding mothers. Do this exercise daily to help maintain better ovarian health, which will assist hormonal regulation.
—-ST17/nipple stim is also a key tool in releasing oxitonin to help stop uterine bleeding after childbirth. This is one reason why breastfeeding immediately is very important.

2. To ease breast tenderness during monthly menses cycle as well as early months or pregnancy.
—-Treatment : for relief, gently massage your breasts with circular movements and apply gentle pressure to the following points using palms or fingers: ST13, ST16, and K22. Also treat the ST meridian in the legs, releasing yr diaphragm and treat the points: ST25, CV 12, CV 14, LI 4, and BL 21.

3. Breast lumps and breast cancer preventative work.
Breast lumps are any mass, cyst or swelling that can be felt in the breast. It is very important that you perform a monthly self breast exam (SBE), to feel for any changes/irregularites, and check for nipple discharge. [Please see my other blog entitled ‘October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Early Detection and Screening: The Self Breast Exam’ for more info] If you find any lumps or discharge, please do contact your doctor immediatley.
—-Treatment: as a lump or swelling is usually a sign of stagnation, it is recommended you treat the Liver Meridian, in the legs, focusing on L3/13/14. Gently massage your breasts and nipples and treat the points on the ST meridian: ST16/18. To improve circulation, treat the H meridians in the arm.
—-Lumps that are softer, tender, and not painful to touch, can come and go with the menses cycle, and are better after massage are due to Liver Chi stagnation. Lumps that are fixed and painful do not respond or the menses cycle are caused by blood stasis – an obstruction of blood, and requires medical advice.

4. Improving lactation.
Breastfeeding is important for maternal-child bonding, and will help to improve baby’s immune system, reduce the risk of allergies, as well as support the growth and development of yr child. Successful breastfeeding is dependant on yr ablility to produce a steady flow of milk. This treatment will ease yr frustrations and worries you might have and help to reduce the breast muscles.
—-Treatment: Use the following points in combination with a general soothing breast massage [pls see my other blogs on the the breast massage technique and the importance thereof]: SP18, L14, ST 13/16/17, HG 1, SI 11, and CV 17.
—-The realease of milk is stiumulated by the hormone oxytonin, which is in turn stimulated by, u guessed it, breast feeding. Encouraging you baby to suckle will, therefore, increase the ammount of milk you produce. Allow yrself enought time when feeding, as stress of anykind will negativley affect the production of milk. Caffeine is to be avoided, try mint tea instead! Yum!

5. Mastitis.
This occurs when infection enters the breast, usually through a cracked nipple. The breast will become hard, red, and tender. To avoid cracking, apply some calendula or vitamin E oil to your nipples and allow them to dry properly before putting on yr bra on after you have fed the baby. [more to come on nipple moisturisation at a later time]
—-Treatment: In oriental medical theory, this is a ‘hot disease’ and an excess condition. To help bring energy down in the body, massage your breasts and armpits; highlighting these points: ST18/36, GB21, LV3/14, SI 11 and good ol CV17.

****As this is October, Breast (Cancer Awareness) Month, I have only mentioned treatments and conditions for breast health. Pls do ask questions if you need assistance with point mapping or technique.

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