When people tell me that they have or get headaches, the first question I ask is what kind. Many people might wonder why I care what type of headache it is. After all, a headache is a headache right? Not exactly. In fact one can argue that a headache isn't a condition at all, but merely a symptom of an underlying cause. Headaches can be caused by a variety of different things, and each cause can present with different pain patterns and symptoms. The reason why it is so important for me as a practitioner and even for you as the person with the headache to know what kind it is, is because it doesn't do nearly as much good to treat the symptom (the headache) without treating the cause. Because of the variety of causes, each headache may require different types of treatment. Today, I will share with you some common symptoms and patterns for a variety of types of headaches so that you are better able to determine what kind you have, and therefore better able to treat it effectively.
Ah, the period. We have been taught that it is something to be ashamed of, to hide away, perhaps even to fear. For many young women, the time leading up to her first period is full of excitement and anticipation as she awaits the arrival of "womanhood". After that (perhaps not so) glorious event, she is very quickly taught that you don't talk about your period and it is best to try and avoid anyone finding out you have it. Today, we are going to break the taboo surrounding periods. (Did you know that the word taboo is actually derived from the word tapua which literally means menstruation?) Today we are going to talk about it.
I have found that far too many women do not know anything about their periods or their menstrual cycles. Even the words seem to be a jumble as many are not sure which terms mean which things. (Is the egg what comes out when we have a period? Is ovulation the same as menstruation? What are all of those anatomy terms?) Instead we cover it up with innuendo and (not so) cute nicknames like Aunt Flow, the curse, or "that time of the month". So, instead of perpetuating the mystery of menstruation, lets talk about the basics. What is your period?
I have been a long time sufferer with migraines. I started getting them when I was fairly young, and they have continued and changed as I have gotten older. At my worst, I was getting 3-4 migraines a week, but now I have them mostly under control. I say "mostly" because I still get the occasional migraine like I did on Sunday night. That is what prompted me to write this post to share my "Migraine Survival Kit". Because I have dealt with hundreds of migraines over the years, I have developed a routine for dealing with them.
This month, I would like to continue the aromatherapy series with one of my personal favorites; sandalwood. The reason I haven't written about sandalwood yet is that I was hesitating due to its low availability and high price. Sandalwood essential oil is steam distilled from the sandalwood tree. Trees used for essential oil production need to be 40-80 years old, with the oldest trees producing the most oil. The best, most beneficial variety comes from India, followed by trees found in Hawaii, and finally a variety found in Australia. Indian sandalwood is extremely expensive because the trees are nearing extinction, and the ones that are left are being illegally poached leaving fewer and fewer for legal harvesting. The Hawaiian trees are also dwindling and Hawaiian sandalwood too, is expensive and hard to come by. The Australian variety is less expensive and more readily available, but it is not as beneficial. Sandalwood is very versatile and can be used aromatically, internally, or applied topically. It is recommended that if you use it topically that it should be diffused in a carrier. Sandalwood is safe for both pregnant women and children. So what are the benefits of sandalwood?
When it comes to birth, there are 2 ways that your baby can come out; vaginally or via Cesarean. The best outcomes for mother and baby tend to come with a vaginal delivery, and because of this, Cesareans can sometimes get a bad reputation. This is unfortunate because sometimes there is a bit of a stigma placed on women who have a Cesarean delivery. Sometimes it is placed on them by other people (especially with a planned Cesarean), and sometimes women place that stigma on themselves (particularly with an unplanned Cesarean). As with most interventions, Cesareans are there for a good reason, however like other interventions they are also very overused. I have heard some very good reasons and some not so good reasons for surgical birth, but regardless of the reason, there are a few things you should know about Cesareans before going into your birth.
If you have ever flown on a plane, you have probably had to sit through their safety presentation. If you were paying attention, you may remember the part where they talk about the oxygen masks. Every time, they say that if you are traveling with a child, first secure your own mask, then assist the child. This may seem counterintuitive to may people, as we are used to putting our children first. Most of us wear many hats. We are partners, mothers, daughters, professionals, and much more. Many of those roles put us in the position of care-giver. For a good number of us, we are so used to putting others first, that we forget to think about ourselves. Not only is this a disservice to ourselves, but it is also a disservice to those we care for.
This post focuses on why self-care is so important. The reason we are instructed to put our own oxygen mask on first and then assist our children is that we cannot be the best care-providers for others unless we are taking care of ourselves. Once you get your own oxygen mask on, you will be better able to assist others. So it is in life. Once you begin to take care of yourself, you may notice that it becomes easier to take care of others.
Usually when October comes around, we are inundated with pink merchandise. This year I have seen much less than in years past, which makes me happy. It isn't that I don't think breast cancer is an important issue, I do, it is that buying a bunch of pink stuff doesn't help anyone.
A good deal of pink merchandise merely states that it will "raise awareness" of breast cancer. What that generally means is "we don't actually use proceeds for anything cancer related, but if you use it people will see it and become aware." The thing is, we already know breast cancer is there. As cancers go, it is one of the most known and most talked about. There are plenty of other cancers out there that don't get any attention and have much smaller survival rates. Instead of wearing your pink shirt to say "Hey! Breast cancer is a thing and I don't like it!", why not make up some shirts that tell people about possible causes and encourage screenings?
Even if the sign next to that pink merchandise says that a portion of the proceeds go to cancer research, it is no guarantee that any of your money will actually go toward cancer research. If you have fallen prey to the pink scheme, fear not. There is no shame in doing something with good intentions even if you have been misled. The point of this post is to share some things you can do (or not do) to actually help with the breast (and other) cancer cause in some way.
I used to be very competitive. Far too competitive most would say. People didn't want to play games with me because I would get mean about it. I was a sore loser, and a sore winner, so afterward I was always either gloating or pouting. This hard truth about myself was brought to my attention many years ago, and I began to make strides to change how I responded to actual or perceived competition.
Today I had a lovely conversation with a client about having a competitive nature, and that got me thinking about my own journey and how I learned to be competitive in a healthy way.
This week's blog topic was requested by one of my lovely clients. The other day, she asked me why we get stiff. She has started to notice that she is experiencing muscle and joint stiffness, particularly in the morning that goes away as she moves throughout the day and wants to know the reason behind it.
So, why do we get stiff? Good question. There are actually several causes for muscle and joint stiffness, particularly as we get older. Let's begin by taking a look at what happens to our joints as we get older, as well as other common causal factors, and some ways to prevent stiffness.
There is a certain conversation that I have had several times lately with both clients and other practitioners about ovarian cysts. I have met several people who talk about "having to be" on birth control pills because they have ovarian cysts, but wanting to become pregnant. Many years ago, I was also told that I must be on hormonal birth control in order to treat and prevent ovarian cysts. Many of us are told that it is the only option, and are pressured or guilted into being on the pill.
The last time I saw a midwife, I was once again forced to defend my decision not to be on birth control. I was told that it was my decision, but by declining, I was going against medical advice. She also threw out the word "cancer" to try to scare me into it, when really, while hormonal birth control may help to prevent ovarian cancer, it is not enough to warrant being on it simply for that reason, especially if you are not at high risk in the first place. Luckily, I know better than to give in to that kind of guilt or pressure, but far too many women don't realize that they have the choice. What's more, birth control is not the only answer. What happens when you want to have a baby? Are you just out of luck? That doesn't seem right at all. I have spoken to several women lately who are confused and feel like they have no options. The truth is that you do have options. You DO NOT have to be on hormonal birth control pills to deal with ovarian cysts. Whether you want to have a baby, or just prefer not to be on birth control pills because of the harm they cause to your body (that's a whole other blog post), there are plenty of options out there if you know where to look. Before we get started, it is important to note that I am not a doctor. This post is designed to provide some suggestions for natural methods of dealing with ovarian cysts and should not replace medical care. If you have an emergency, please call your doctor or 911. Use these suggestions at your own discretion, and ask your doctor if there could be any potential harms for you.
Meet the Author
Amanda Tarver, (LMT, CEIM, PES, RMT) is a massage therapist and birth worker in the Chicago area. She is dedicated to furthering women's health through bodywork and education, and helping women to have healthier lives and positive birth experiences.