Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Acupuncture during pregnancy and infertility

Acupuncture has been successful for many pregnant women and women facing infertility. But how it works remains a mystery to most of us. So we asked Brandon, our acupuncturist to explain it. Enjoy!...

There has been much skepticism around the use of acupuncture for the treatment of infertility, menstruation and menopause but the fact is acupuncture has been practiced specifically for these symptoms dating back 700 years.  With that being said, there has been extensive research and much success leading up to the modern era of this medicine. 

TCM, known as Traditional Chinese Medicine, is based on the interconnection of everything in the universe. Heaven (celestial energy), earth, woman and everything else known and unknown to us.  When we explore the interconnectedness of the universe, naturally we begin to realize there is a deep interconnection of our internal body systems as well. In TCM, the heart, uterus, kidney, liver, spleen and lungs have a deep connection to fertility and a successful delivery.

When the organs do not communication with one another, there will be infertility, miscarriage or difficult labor.  Let's examine the relationship between the organs and the energetic pathways in the body. These are called meridians, vessels or channel pathways, where the body's qi energy flows upward, downward, inward and outward keeping the internal organs and body chemistry in homeostasis. Channels are where acupuncture points are located and used during treatment.  By stimulating the pathways with acupuncture or acupressure, the internal organs become stimulated to help achieve four goals of TCM treatment. 

First, establish conception by regulating the body's internal chemistry.  TCM practitioners monitor the menstrual and ovulatory cycles to gather information about the internal chemistry for an accurate diagnosis of the disharmony.  Based on this diagnosis, a treatment plan is formulated to determine which organ and channel pathways should be stimulated to restore balance and homeostasis.

Second, support healthy eggs and sperm to ensure growth and development of the fetus.  Along with acupuncture, other factors need to be addressed; such as, fluid and food intake, nutritional supplementation, personal weight, physical and emotional stress, exercise routines, environmental pollutants, amount of and quality of sleep, and finally over the counter or prescription drug use (caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, anti-inflammatory, etc.).

Third, integration of TCM and WSM (Western Scientific Medicine).  Using modern technology to support the findings of TCM can help identify disorders which can cause infertility.  Common disorders like endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, uterine cysts, uterine fibroids, hypothalamic anovulation, hyperprolactinaemia, premature menopause, resistant ovarian syndrome, autoimmune oopharitis, tumors of the ovary, adrenal or pituitary glands and post-oral contraceptive pill amenorrhea.  Once diagnosed, these patterns can be addressed using TCM theory  and treatment protocols.

Finally, preventing miscarriage by supporting organ energy, communication and function.  Once conception has been achieved, it's important to continue with acupuncture treatments to regulate the new mother's body and address any unbalancing patterns that may occur after, which if not addressed may lead to miscarriage or pre-term delivery.  Most woman probably haven't considered treating the growing baby while still in the womb.  It can be done by treating the mother!  Acupuncturists select specific acupuncture points on the mom to support that particular phase of development the new baby is going through.  These points are selected based on each month after conception.

Brandon loves talking about the workings of all this, you can find him at www.harmonysfamily.com!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Inspired By Women!

Part of the bones of our existence as a women’s health cooperative is that we are advocates for women. We understand that the health of an entire household is effected by the health of the woman (or women) inside it. We know that when women lift each other up they are stronger and more effective in moving our humanity forward. We are more powerful, more influential in our many roles when we come together.
That is why we were so honored to be a part of the Women’s March on Denver this past weekend. We attended as advocates for women. We were peaceful, but we were loud. We were relatively few, but felt the richness of becoming many. We were there for ourselves, as women and men, and also for the kids and partners that we brought. We were there for YOU.
For all of you amazing women who allow us to be part of your journey in health. Who teach us and expose us to new things that make us better at what we do. And those of you we have not yet met. Whose stories we hope to hear and learn from so that we can represent you not just in spirit but as an advocate for your personal path.
We were inspired by the millions of people who gathered in support of women. And by the women who brought millions together to support all human rights. Because we too believe that standing up for yourself means bringing others up with you. So that all of humanity is strong.

In sisterhood, we invite you to stand up in any way you can and know you are supported by us. We can’t wait to hear those stories!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Something in the Way She Moves

"There's something in the way she moves
Or looks my way, or calls my name
That seems to leave this troubled world behind"
James Taylor rocks, right? Know what else rocks? Moving without pain…forever. As in even in our golden years. And we can start setting the stage for that right now. And it doesn’t even take hours at the gym or weekly chiropractic adjustments. It’s in the way you’re sitting or standing right now, in the way you got out of bed this morning, or how you picked up that bag of dog food. Simple things that, with some awareness, can really change the way we feel on a day-to-day basis.

For example, when you sit down, are your shoulders rounded forward? Is your tail tucked under you or do you have a neutral pelvis? When you bent down to pick up the pen you dropped, did you squat with your legs or round your spine?
Making these daily, very repetitive, movements better is a pretty easy change to make. At first we increase our awareness of how we move, sit and stand, and start making these little changes. Before you know it you’ve created new habits that will keep you moving better your whole life. And in turn, we end up with less pain and injuries. Viola!
If you’re like us, you know and love elders in your lives who are relegated to a fairly sedentary life due to their physical state. And you probably know others who inspire you with how active and energetic they are. Who do you want to be?
Here are just a few things to think about to get you started:
·       Getting out of bed, roll to your side and use your arms to sit up. Avoid piking yourself up

·       Emptying the dishwasher/front-load washer & dryer: rather than round your back to reach down over and over, squat to get low

·       Be aware of your posture when you are washing dishes, stand tall from the core

·       Make sure your computer set-up is ergonomic (here are some step by step instructions)

·       Check how you are sitting in your car. Add a lumbar support if necessary to bring your pelvis neutral rather than tucked under. See if your chin is jutting forward.
We’ve started adding some helpful resources on how to build these simple, but impactful, habits to our social media pages (and more to come!) So check us out on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.
Because there really is something in the way you move.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Public Cervix Announcement

January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month! Ok, so maybe it doesn’t sound all that exciting, but it IS very important. So let’s take a quick moment to chat about it.
The good news is that cervical cancer is very preventable. It used to be one of the most common causes of cancer death for women, but over the last 30 years the cervical cancer death rate has gone down by 50% (yay!). But that doesn’t mean we don’t have to pay attention to it. The reason the death rate went down so much is because we now have better screening and prevention tools.
Here are some things you should know:
ALWAYS GET YOUR PAP TEST DONE! Really, don’t skip these, this is the key to catching cervical cancer early. Its recommended to get a Pap test at age 21 and then every 3 years after. Women 30 and older can have an HPV test with the Pap. Even if you’ve had the HPV vaccination you should still be tested.

HPV is the main cause of cervical cancer and it is out there in a big way. About 80% of people who are sexually active will be infected with HPV at some point. Fortunately, there’s a vaccine now. Its recommended that both boys and girls get the vaccine at age 11 or 12. Kids should be getting all three doses before they start having sex. HPV vaccinations are given through the age of 26 for women and 21 for men.
Condoms protect your cervix from sexually transmitted infections. Female condoms provide better coverage, so consider using those.
Smoking is linked to cervical cancer because the nicotine becomes concentrated in the cervical mucus. This makes abnormal cell changes more likely.
Nutrition plays a role as well. These vitamins and nutrients have been shown to help nourish the cervix and support our immune system:

·       Beta-carotene (yellow-orange vegetables or fruits like carrots, cantaloupe, peaches, squash);

·       Folic acid (dark green leafy vegetables and asparagus);

·       Vitamin C (citrus fruit);

·       Vitamin E (whole-grain cereals and breads); and

·       Lycopene (cooked tomato products like puree and paste, rosehips, watermelon, pink grapefruit).

More good prevention information can be found here.

Now we’re all in the know! So let’s pull on those teal stretch pants and spread the word!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Breathe in the New Year 

Happy New Year! Can we take a collective deep breath here? Ahhhhhhhhh. Wow, that feels good. It feels like a release of some of that pressure that builds up inside. The holidays can be joyous but challenging too. So much to do and be. Now it’s a new year and hopefully we have some space to just breath. Release some of that pressure. Oh wait… resolutions.

Ah, resolutions. Good reminders for self-improvement. Though nowadays it seems like “challenges” are replacing simple resolutions. We can’t go online without seeing a New Year’s fitness, weight loss or nutrition challenge of one sort or another. And they do offer some helpful tools; there’s typically a timeline, a community of like-minded people and a plan to follow. But we’re going to make a suggestion. Let’s take a step back and first just start making the habit to spend time on what fills us. Maybe just to breathe.

This makes sense for a few reasons. First, jumping from depleted to full exertion doesn’t leave you anytime to fill up your reserves. It’s like trying to go from 0 to 60 with no gas in the tank. Second, making a sudden change to your lifestyle sets you up for failure. Success is found by taking all the little steps to our goals, not by trying to skip to the finish line. And finally, winter is a natural time for reflection. We find health and balance by living in tune with the seasons. Winter is our time to look inside and listen; to make well thought-out plans for our future.

So let’s challenge ourselves with making time for the things that make us feel whole, enriched, balanced and happy. Once we’ve made a habit of creating that time for ourselves, we’ll have the space and energy to take the next step in self-improvement. This week, we’re just going to take a few minutes to sit and breathe. What will you do?