If you are a woman young or old who has been of the age of menstruation, you have undoubtedly heard the term PMS. It is a term that gets thrown around a lot, often in ways which show little understanding of what it is. Many of us have been accused of having PMS if we are irritable, if we feel and speak passionately about something, cry for any reason, or sometimes even if we merely disagree with someone. Some women have even been told that PMS isn't really a thing, it is just a figment of their imaginations. This is very untrue. PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) is an actual phenomenon linked to our menstrual cycles. A term that is not thrown around a lot is Dysmenorrhea. It is so uncommon to hear about, that both the term and abbreviation for Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) are easily accepted by auto correct, but I am told that Dysmenorrhea is not even a word. Like Premenstrual Syndrome, Dysmenorrhea is a collection of symptoms linked to our menstrual cycles. So today in our quest for more knowledge about the menstrual cycle, we are going to talk about those two terms, what they mean, and how to treat them.
Having a period is a very normal, natural thing for women to experience. It is shocking to me that so many people are still afraid to talk about it, and that so few people even know what a period is. In my last post, I gave an introduction to menstruation that went over all of the phases of your menstrual cycle, and what is happening during each one. In this installment, we will talk about your options when it comes to feminine hygiene products. Most of us are aware of our disposable options (pads and tampons), and we will go over those very briefly, but for many the world of reusable feminine hygiene products is still a bit of a mystery. For those of you who are looking for safer options to replace the disposables, looking for something greener, or looking to save some money in the long run, read on to learn about some of your options.
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.
Rose is one of the more commonly known and most recognizable scents, yet it often doesn't come to mind for many people when they think of aromatherapy. Roses are a pretty universally known flower know to most as flowers of love, friendship, or sympathy. Each color has a different meaning, and there is a whole language behind them. But how can the scent of roses be beneficial?
There are actually several wonderful benefits to using rose in aromatherapy including reducing depression, stimulating digestion, promoting relaxation, boosting sex drive, and it is fantastic for your skin and hair. It is important to note that rose essential oil should not be used during pregnancy, but is safe for use during labor as a means to improve mood and create an uplifting environment in the delivery room.
Rose essential oil is often very expensive, and not always pure. Because of the high cost of production, and the amount of rose petals required to produce even a small amount, it is most common to find rose oil that is already mixed with a carrier oil. When selecting essential oils, always remember to avoid anything that says "fragrance" anywhere on the bottle, as this means it contains artificial fragrances. Some terminology you may come across with rose is rose otto, or rose absolute. Rose otto (or attar) is generally very expensive, and uses a steam distillation method. Rose absolute is derived from a solvent distillation method. Many aromatherapists feel that rose absolute is inferior, but it has been shown to have many of the same benefits, and is often a little easier for people on a budget. Luckily, although it is often already diluted in a carrier oil, it still produces a strong aroma meaning that a little bit goes a long way. You shouldn't need more than a drop or two for any given use.
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?
After having some rather interesting conversations with clients about previous sessions with other massage therapists, I have found that there is a bit of a lack of knowledge about your rights as a client. There are several things about receiving massage that you may or may not know. Anytime I see a client who is new to massage, I walk them through what they need to know before the session begins, so for those of you who do not have massage therapists who did the same for you, here is my list of things that every massage client should know.
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.
Today I was scrolling through Pinterest when I stumbled across an infographic about the proper way to meditate. It was a very well put together infographic with great pictures and bullet points. There were pictures breaking down the proper meditative pose for everything for you legs, to your hands, to your head, as well as suggestions for what to focus on while meditating. One thing was a bit off for me though. There is no "proper way" to meditate. There are a lot of people with a lot of ideas about how to meditate, and while their ideas may work for them, they don't work for everyone. Not everyone can sit in lotus pose and focus on filling themselves with a bright white light (which is what the infographic instructed), so I decided to write my own post about the "correct way" to meditate.
One of the most common questions that I get asked is "How often should I receive massage?". This is a great question, and one that I really cannot give a direct answer to. There are many factors that go into deciding how often to get a massage, which makes the answer different for each person. When trying to figure out the best frequency for yourself, there are 3 basic questions that you need to ask. First: What are you coming in for? Second: What is your budget? Third: How open is your schedule? In this post, we will explore how to answer each of these questions, and with that information, you should be able to make a better informed decision as to how often to come in.
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?
Meet the Author
Amanda Tarver, (LMT, CEIM, PES, RMT) is a massage therapist and birth worker in the Chicago area. She is dedicated to using a combination of bodywork and education to help people live a better quality of life.