Jan 1 2022
Urinary tract infections are a significant health issue. This problem affects hundreds of millions of women around the world each year. On average, these infections tend to last six days.
Women’s UTIs tend to be recurrent. Chronic UTIs can lead to inflammation of the urinary bladder called cystitis. Is this problem inevitable? Not for most women.
First, let’s look at women’s anatomy and microbiology. The female bladder drains through the urethra, exiting the body in front of the vagina. Similarly, the uterus opens to the vaginal canal and into the vagina. The vagina is host to the healthy bacteria lactobacilli, more famously known as the friendly bacteria of the intestines. In the vagina and urethra, these bacteria provide protection against bacterial intruders. A healthy colony of lactobacilli in the vaginal region can not only prevent UTI’s and but also prevent yeast infections in the vaginal canal.
More than two thirds of all UTIs are caused by E-coli or staphylococcus saprophyticus bacteria. To complicate this picture, the antibiotics prescribed in the treatment of UTIs often destroy the lactobacilli colony. The E-coli or staph take up residence in place of the lactobacilli. Recurrence of infection almost becomes inevitable.
What can you do? For hundreds of years, women have used a folk remedy which today, is being shown to have a scientific basis. You can cultivate healthy bacteria in the vaginal region. This can be done in several ways. One simple method is to implant lactobacilli in the vaginal canal by using a tampon or sponge soaked in plain yogurt with an active culture. Alternatively, a lactobacillus suppository can be used to cultivate healthy flora in the vaginal region. These methods are sometimes used as treatment where antibiotics are not available. For those who do take antibiotics, lactobacillus implants can also be used to re-establish a healthy microbial environment and prevent the recurrence of UTIs.
In addition to the home remedies we listed, acupuncture is a powerful tool to assist the body to heal from infection. Unlike antibiotics, with acupuncture there are no rebound effects and the treatments will strengthen the immune system, helping you to prevent recurrence. A one year study in Norway of 100 women showed that acupuncture reduced the incidence of cystitis by more than half. Call us now (973) 509-8464 or schedule online for your next appointment.
The contents in this article are not meant to be diagnostic or prescriptive. Urinary tract infections are sometimes complex, and a physician should always be consulted before choosing a course of treatment.
Nov 13 2021
As an advanced practitioner of the Ida P Rolf Method of Structural Integration, the emphasis of my work is to bring greater organization to the physical structure. In a series of ten sessions breath, movement and the interrelatedness of major body segments (i.e. arm, legs, trunk) are enhanced. The opportunity to release longtime patterns of chronic tension and bracing become available to the client.
Rolfing can help to heal survivors of emotional or physical trauma. During the first hour of Structural Integration, the client and therapist begin to develop a rapport through verbal dialogue as well as touch. As the therapist finds the appropriate level of pressure the client responds with a deepening of respiration and relaxation.
As the touch dialogue develops the client will be encouraged to breathe into and move areas of her body that she has become disconnected from. These areas may be lacking in sensation. Other areas of the body might be hypersensitive and the client might even request not to be touched there. Her requests are always honored. Sometimes these areas can be approached again as she becomes receptive.
When a person is attacked or abused the sympathetic nervous system mobilizes with a “fight or flight response” as a mechanism of self-protection. The body responds to this life-threatening situation by releasing adrenaline, which causes the heart rate to increase. When faced with danger and unable to fight back or escape, the victim will passively freeze. Opiate-like chemicals are then released to numb the pain. This enables the victim to “leave the body” or dissociate.
Long after the traumatic episode, patterns of dissociation remain with the victim as a remnant of the attack. She may have areas of physical rigidity or regions that lack sensation as if the perpetrator’s hands had never left her. This rigidity becomes a self-limiting influence as she experiences life with compromised respiration, self-awareness, and movement.
During the Structural Integration sessions the client takes an active role. She is invited to meet the pressure of the Rolfer’s hands with her breath. The Rolfer guides her to make small, easeful movements to facilitate the opening that is occurring in her body. Breathing and moving with intention, she becomes more self aware and present, contradicting her old pattern of dissociation.
During the Rolfing series the soft tissue network becomes reorganized and the body’s segments become better aligned. The client experiences a stronger sense of connectedness within herself and her universe. As the therapist releases areas of soft tissue restriction, she may find that her feet are more firmly planted on the ground, giving her a new sense of confidence. As she breathes more fully and deeply, she might become more spontaneous and resilient emotionally.
As areas of rigidity soften the distortions of body image can shift. As she releases longstanding tensions and blocked energy related to her trauma, she may begin to envision her own transformation.
The intimate nature of this work is based upon trust, openness and communication. As the client shares her physical pain, she is not alone with it anymore. Rolfing is a process during which the client can connect with and let go of the physical manifestations of trauma, and in doing so find that its emotional content has also surfaced. The client is supported emotionally during the session, however it is not within the realm of these sessions to explore psychological issues with any depth. Rolfing can be a powerful adjunct to psychotherapy in that it can help to bring forth unconscious memories that were previously unavailable to the client.
“ Psychological trauma such as physical abuse, abandonment, feelings of inadequacy, attitudes of fear and anger affect structure. Tightening against pain, holding breath to block emotions, slumping in order not to feel too big, become physically locked in the body and thus perpetuate the attitude.”
Betsy Sise, Certified Rolfer
“Physical stress mirrors emotional suffering: relief from physical restraint markedly affects emotional misery.”
Ida P, Rolf, Ph.D.
Oct 20 2021
We all know that men and women are biologically different, but perhaps less different than you think. While there is limited evidence for a male monthly cycle, a man’s hormonal balance changes greatly throughout the span of a lifetime. These hormonal changes can affect mental state, mood, muscle mass and sexual function. A couple of key hormones to watch in men are testosterone and cortisol.
Testosterone affects male fertility, libido and aggression. Testosterone also declines as we age. Normally, testosterone production peaks in adolescence and early adulthood. Starting at around age thirty, men’s testosterone diminishes by about one percent a year. Diminished testosterone may contribute to reduced energy, strength, endurance, sex drive, erectile function, enjoyment of life, and performance at work.
Cortisol is the stress hormone. In crisis situations, (when you are about to be eaten by a tiger,) cortisol and adrenaline help us to respond with the fight – flight response. If stress becomes constant, which seems all too common in our modern times, cortisol levels can become chronically elevated. As Cortisol becomes elevated, testosterone drops. And a drop in testosterone can cause other things to drop. According to experts at The Cleveland Clinic, erectile dysfunction affects over 40% of men over the age of 40 and 70% of men over the age of 70%.
Acupuncture can be highly effective in helping to regulate hormonal imbalances and maintain healthy testosterone levels in men. Hormonal reflexes are palpated to reveal which hormonal systems are out of balance. For example, someone who has chronic exhaustion may have an adrenal imbalance. Chronic exhaustion could also be due to a thyroid imbalance.
Through palpation, I can pinpoint where the problem is, and monitor how the patient is responding to treatment. It is particularly important to tease out and treat the underlying issues that are creating the patient’s symptoms. The reproductive system works in concert with the heart – on both physical and emotional levels. When men are plagued by erectile dysfunction, a successful treatment utilizes a holistic approach to address the overall health.
Treatment is focused on the underlying cause or fundamental weakness within your constitution (your unique energetic makeup.) In Five Element Acupuncture, we call this weakness the Causative Factor (the one element which is most out of balance).
Think of each of the Five Elements as a member of a team (wood, fire, earth, metal, water.) If one of the players has a problem, the whole team has a problem. If the team member or element is supported well, she can overcome her problems and become stronger. Everyone on the team benefits from the renewed health of this player. By providing the appropriate support to the weakest element the whole system improves.
So, if you are experiencing hormonal problems, fear not. Acupuncture can help to reduce these imbalances and improve your overall health. As your hormonal balance improves, you can develop more strength, energy, endurance and sex drive.
Sep 7 2021
As I dashed down the stairs I had the fleeting sense that the stairs looked funny, followed by the thought, “Oops, I should have taken my reading glasses off.” Suddenly my right ankle turned mercilessly under me and I plunged to the floor. I waited for the excruciating jab of pain to subside so that I could breathe again. When I did catch my breath, I wondered what the damage would be.
Sooner or later everyone has an injury, but I have always assumed that my role was to support those in need of healing! Now I was the one needing help.
I was in pain. The ligaments and tendons of my ankle were overstretched. Additionally, the muscles of my lower leg went into spasm. I received a Rolfing session soon after the accident. The Rolfing decreased my pain and hastened my recovery.
Muscles tend lock up to protect an injured area. It is the body’s way of limiting movement when trauma has occurred. Soft tissue injury results in painful muscle spasm and fascial shortening, which in turn creates pain, in a vicious cycle. Interrupting that pattern will hasten the healing process.
Initially, the Rolfer does not work directly on an inflamed joint. Instead, we choose to work on the surrounding areas, which reduces swelling, muscle spasm and joint stiffness. Rolfing facilitates the process of tissue repair even when the work is not directly applied to the injured area.
Over the next six weeks, the soft tissue and ligaments of the ankle gradually heal. As swelling goes down a sense of normalcy sets in.
However, with this healing there is a caveat. Your body forms its own natural connective tissue splint supporting and preventing further injury while the ankle is healing. Long after the original injury has healed this internal splint remains, inhibiting full mobility. We become chronically stiff.
We are not meant to live our lives post injury with parts of our bodies that have become mummified. This is where Rolfing does an amazing thing. Rolfing reestablishes the normal elasticity of the connective tissues, restoring mobility and circulation to the area. Rolfing removes this internal splint.
Does hobbling around on a sprained ankle affect the rest of your body? You bet. The whole body tries to compensate for the imbalanced movement pattern of the foot and ankle. The Rolfer restores the alignment and biomechanics to each joint so that your entire structure is singing again.
Rolfing helps to restore the breath and calms the nervous system. Mobility is your birthright. You deserve to breathe deeply and to move with ease. So, don’t hesitate to call us if you slip on a banana peel. For help with tapping your potential call us at 973.509.8464 or book online to schedule an appointment.
Sep 7 2021
Acupuncture is a powerful tool to help manage many of the problems women face during pregnancy. Exhaustion, depression, digestive issues, constipation, hemorrhoids, headaches, heartburn, insomnia, low back pain, nausea and stress related symptoms are successfully treated within the scope of acupuncture. It can also be helpful as an adjunctive therapy for gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, respiratory infections, UTI’s and more.
Weekly acupuncture during the last four weeks of pregnancy focuses on the preparation of a woman’s body for natural childbirth.
The goals of treatment include:
- Helping the cervix to ripen or soften for the passage of the baby.
- Positioning of the baby for the best presentation.
- Supporting the energy and stamina of the pregnant woman.
Studies have shown that pre-birth acupuncture significantly lowers the incidence of medical interventions including C-sections, epidurals and episiotomies. Women who have pre-birth acupuncture have shorter labors with less discomfort.
Acupressure can be utilized to support a woman during labor. Prior to labor the acupuncturist instructs the woman’s partner or labor coach on how to administer acupressure to specific points that will help to facilitate the childbirth process. For some childbirth pairs, we mark the most important points on the women’s body so they are easily accessed when needed.
For childbirth support during labour, I recommend using two or three points together. I’ll share the name of each point and a little about the spirit of each point. Please note: Some of these points are contraindicated during pregnancy.
Acupressure for Reinforcing Labor
SP6 The United Crossing of Three Yins – This is an earth point. Here, the spleen, kidney and liver channels meet and the nourishing force of Qi joins with vitality and strength (earth, water, wood.) This meeting point joins these great resources.
LI4 Union Valley – This is a metal point. Valleys are lush with resources and this point helps clear the body of what is no longer needed, and does so with great vitality, helping the energy to flow.
Acupressure During Labor
GB21 Well of the Shoulder – Baby Descending Point. Wood. Helps us to shoulder life’s burdens, to stand upright and remain balanced. Fresh water gives us inspiration and reserves to shoulder our responsibilities.
BL32 The Second Sacral Bone Notch – This is a water point – water always reaches its destination, it is both soft and strong. In addition to helping babies find their way into the world, it reduces pain during contraction, facilitates dilation.
Maintaining Stamina During Labor
KD1 Bubbling Spring – Also a water point. Bubbles up from the ground with great vitality. The source of vision which comes from growth. This spring taps into knowledge, tranquility, wisdom, creativity and courage.
ST36 To Walk in the Great Strength of Stillness – Earth point. Storehouse for putting things into action and moving with extra strength when things are difficult.
Pregnancy and childbirth are a treasured and sacred journey. Both acupuncture and acupressure are wonderful tools that can provide support for the transition.