Posts Tagged: Holistic Health

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Acupuncture For Sciatica And Low Back Pain in Pregnancy

In my practice, I see a lot of women who are experiencing either sciatica or lower back pain in pregnancy. It’s a very common condition, and it’s actually one of my favorite things to treat using acupuncture because it works so well! Acupuncture can help you to take the focus off of being in pain, and instead enjoy the last few months of pregnancy while gathering your strength for the birth.

Sciatica refers to pain which is usually in the glute and to some extent radiating down the back of the leg. Read more

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Listen Up: Your Cervical Mucus Is Trying To Tell You Something

Vaginal discharge, cervical mucus, leukorrhea- it all refers to the same thing. Hereafter I’ll refer to it as “CM” (cervical mucus). It seems that generally speaking, women I see in my practice either are quite unaware of what changes in their CM mean or are worried that any CM is a sign of infection.  I hope this article will help to de-mystify your discharge and, just maybe, make you feel a little amazed by it. Possibly even happy to see it? By knowing what to look for and what it all means, you can feel more empowered and make better decisions. Read more

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One Small Change That Could Make Mornings More Relaxing

Calling all smartphone addicts: do you wish your mornings felt more relaxed and less rushed? I’ve recently made a small shift that has helped me dramatically- and truly anyone can do it. *If you’re one of the lucky few who doesn’t consider yourself addicted to your smartphone, you can stop reading now- the following tip won’t apply to you.*

On a typical morning, I would wake up via my smartphone’s alarm clock. Then of course I immediately checked email, social media, the weather, the news, etc. Before I knew it, on some mornings anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes had passed. Then I realized I was running late and felt rushed, not to mention stressed out at all the emails and generally depressing news I had just read.

Something had to change. It was a terrible way to start my day.

So, I moved my cell phone charger to the kitchen, and got a good old fashioned battery-powered alarm clock. The change has been huge. Imagine waking up and actually being able to check in with your body for a moment, stretching and breathing. Instead of thinking about the email that was sent to you at 4 am from a needlessly freaked out coworker, you’re thinking about what you’d like for breakfast or your goals for the day. You might even use that extra 20 minutes to go for a quick jog.

Since moving my phone charger to the kitchen, it feels a little less urgent to look at my phone even when I am up and out of bed. I’m doing a lot more before work that makes that time feel like it belongs to me, and what I do with my time feels like a much more purposeful choice.

If you’re someone who starts your mornings with smartphone time, I encourage you to ask yourself if you’re prioritizing activities that make you feel the way you want to. For some people that really might be emails and social media, which is fine. However I think for a lot of us, it’s exercise, preparing a healthy lunch or time for connection with your roommates or family members that really sets the tone for the rest of the day.

Would things shift for you if you simply moved your phone charger?

Can Acupuncture Really Induce Labor?

Over the years I’ve gotten many calls from frantic women (and sometimes their husbands) who are 40 or 41 weeks pregnant, some who are even scheduled for medical induction in a matter of hours. They all want to know- can Acupuncture help you go into labor in order to avoid induction? The answer is yes… and no. Read on, I’ll explain.

The ideal situation is when a woman comes for regular acupuncture (1-2 times a week) beginning at week 36. I call this “Labor Preparation Acupuncture”. I have a few goals with these sessions:

  1. To help with any pregnancy related discomforts such as low back or hip pain, insomnia or swelling.
  2. To use acupuncture points which get the woman mentally and emotionally relaxed and in a place where she feels ready and optimistic about giving birth.
  3. To stimulate acupoints which aid in relaxing and opening the pelvic region as well as influence cervical ripening (dilation and effacement).

In my experience, women who follow this schedule tend to go into labor more or less on time (and avoid needing a medical induction) and have shorter labors with fewer complications. Acupuncture treatments gently and gradually send your body a message to get ready for labor. Your body is doing this all on its own, but acupuncture helps it happen more seamlessly and helps you to feel more relaxed and ready when the time comes. And YES being mentally relaxed has a HUGE and very real effect on the progress of labor (see this book for more information).

But what about those women who were mere hours away from being induced- can acupuncture help them? I’ve certainly had many cases where I’ve been able to use acupuncture at the last minute to help women go into labor- it’s powerful stuff! However I’ve seen much greater success, by far, with 3-4 weeks of regular sessions leading up to the due date. Rome wasn’t built in a day my friends, and acupuncture is not the same thing as Pitocin. Thankfully!

I’d also like to take this opportunity to encourage all women to get a birth doula as well as a postpartum doula. Read more about doulas and what they do here and here. And, the best way to avoid unnecessary interventions in labor (such as c-sections and episiotomies) or to achieve a VBAC is to choose your hospital based on its maternity procedure statistics. In New York State, they are found on the Department of Health’s website here.

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Breath, Mantra & Music: 3 Holistic Ways to Help Improve Your Sleep

The following is a special guest blog post by Maya Benattar, a music therapist and psychotherapist here in New York City. Her website is www.mayabenattar.com. Thanks, Maya!

 

There are a lot of reasons why people may have trouble sleeping- anxiety, stress, too much caffeine, hormonal shifts. We live in a fast-paced society where lack of sleep is often seen as a badge of honor.

If you’ve ever had a sleepless night (or many!), you probably know all too well the feelings that arise when you can’t get back to sleep and you really want to! Sometimes we can do everything “right”- no caffeine after 2pm, less screen time in the evenings, warm milk, lavender- and sleep can still be elusive. Read more