Effective Pregnancy Hemorrhoid Acupuncture Points

Hemorrhoids (or piles) are a nuisance during pregnancy.  They can occur at any time, but most commonly emerge after the first trimester.  The combination of hormones, increased blood volume, additional circulatory pathways, and pressure on the pelvic veins contribute to hemorrhoidal eruptions and discomfort.

UB57 - Located in the cleft between the heads of the gastrocnemius; UB58 - located 1" below and 1" to the outside of UB57.

UB57 – Located in the cleft between the heads of the gastrocnemius; UB58 – located 1″ below and 1″ to the outside of UB57.

Two acupuncture points used in traditional Chinese medicine for hemorrhoids are Supporting Mountain (UB57) and Taking Flight (UB58).  See Figure 1.  A safe and natural medical alternative, these two as well as almost all other acupuncture points can work alone or harmoniously with conventional care during the entire antepartum period.  The drug-free solution that acupuncture provides will relieve the medication-related fears and side effect risks that concern many pregnant mothers in seeking medical care.  Natural medicine should always be sought out first during the prenatal period, since the treatment is more gentle to the body and the side effects are few to none.  If alternative care does not produce desired results, then one may need more potent treatments with the acknowledgement that related side effects/harms could be associated.

Another benefit of treating the points Supporting Mountain and Taking Flight, are in the quick relief of hemorrhoidal pain.  In the clinic, as little as one treatment has proven beneficial in swelling reduction and reduced rectal bleeding.  In the same fashion as acupuncture, acupressure on these two acupuncture points can also provide abatement of the inflammation or rupture.  Thus, the mother-to-be can perform acupressure on herself using her thumbs or a firm object to massage the target area.  This may also be a good time for her partner to lend a helping hand.  Since UB57 and UB58 mirror the two sides of the body, both the left and right points can be treated a few times a day until the symptoms resolve.

(Figure 2) Example of patient using the Sciaticare Ball to massage UB58.

(Figure 2) Example of pregnant patient using the Sciaticare Ball to massage UB58.

A self- massage technique using the Sciaticare Ball, a versatile self-massage tool for pregnancy related aches and pains, is shown in Figure 2.  Place the Sciaticare Ball between the acupuncture point and a firm surface.  Allow the weight of the lower leg to apply pressure to UB57 or UB58 and rock the lower leg back and forth over the Ball.  The pressure on the acupuncture point should feel like a deep massage.  Perform technique for 1-3 minutes per point and repeat 2 to 3 times daily.  Daily use of the Sciaticare Ball is recommended to help alleviate this in addition to some of the other symptoms associated with pregnancy discomfort.

For those that do not believe in acupuncture as a true medical system, a partial Western medical explanation of stimulation of UB57 and UB58 is provided here.  Although some Western doctors and Eastern doctors may disagree, there is data confirming much of the reasoning below.  This is one reason (of possibly many) for the acupuncture points’ continued successes in the treatment of hemorrhoids.

Both UB57 and UB58 penetrate the soleus muscle and elicit a response from this densely innervated muscle.  This muscle plays a strong accessory role to the heart with its operation as a second pump for the circulatory system.  When supple and relaxed, the soleus delivers an effective venous pumping action with every muscular contraction.  As the additional weight and strain on a pregnant woman’s body can tighten and constrict the soleus muscle to reduce the effectiveness of this auxiliary pump, blood and lymph flow back to the heart can be impeded.  Other pregnancy symptoms that are related to the circulatory restrictions can be seen in hypertension, edema, varicose veins, and fatigue.  Stimulation of Supporting Mountain and Taking Flight points relax the soleus muscle spasms and tension, which then improves fluid flow through the lower legs.  The result is a relaxed and supple soleus muscle that can more easily pump blood back to the heart with every walking step.  The reduced pressure in the venous system decreases the enlarged veins and clears up the problem.  A healthy functioning soleus muscle also serves to lower blood pressure, reduce edema and swelling, and ease systemic blood flow.

NOTE:  These acupuncture points have proven themselves in the clinic and are backed by a few thousand years of empirical evidence.  One does not have to believe in acupuncture for it to work, nor does one have to hold it in the light of the flawed clinical trial methodology and experimentation that propose to scientifically prove or disprove every medical treatment through separation of part from whole.  Present scientific methods do not capture (and for this reason, can not confine) all the variables that true medicine represents, both alternative and conventional. Consequently, we as a species, have not and do not fully understand the entire human body model and its processes, either dissected or as a synergistic system.  The idea presented here is but one of many considerations of why these two acupuncture points work from a Western scientific model, and should therefore be understood as just that, until proven in an all-encompassing study to be either positive or negative.

5 Ways to Simply and Effectively Treat Common Pregnancy Aches and Pains

English: Close up of the belly of a pregnant w...

Pregnancy Aches and Pains

A growing fetus can create joint and muscular problems for the mother-to-be.  As muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the body try to stretch and adapt, these tissues can get strained.  When overworked, the tissue pain will occur either in the attached joint, or in the muscle itself.

The Sciaticare Ball, by August Point Wellness, is a simple, versatile tool that can help ease the aches and pains during the second and third trimesters, when the fetus is nearing its maximum size.  The Sciaticare Ball is designed to provide accurate therapeutic pressure (through the user’s own bodyweight) to relieve muscular tightness and spasms.  The Ball is meant to be used as often as possible during pregnancy to help keep muscles loose and promote healthy blood circulation.  Here are 5 key ways the Sciaticare Ball can simply and effectively treat the common muscular aches and pains of pregnancy:

1.   Sciatic pain – The Sciaticare Ball was originally created to treat sciatic pain, hence the name.  In the last trimester, women are forced to change sleeping positions frequently.  One of these positions, side-sleeping, pulls at the lateral hip and gluteal muscles which can compress the sciatic nerve to cause pain to shoot down the legs.  Stretching the hips may not be physically possible with a prominent baby belly, but with the Sciaticare Ball, muscular trigger points and acupressure points in the hips and glutes can be easily deactivated for this pregnancy related sciatica.

Treat the gluteus minimus, gluteus medius, and piriformis muscle trigger points.  Also treat nearby tender points in the gluteal region.

2.  Low back pain – Low back pain is probably the most common complaint during pregnancy.  The location of the growing baby coupled with the stretching of the abdominal muscles force the lower back structure to handle tremendous upper body support duties.

To treat low back pain, use the Sciaticare Ball in a seated or lying position.  Treat the quadratus lumborum, gluteus medius and soleus muscles.  These three muscles are key to maintaining an upright posture.The erector spinae of the back can also be treated as they also assist to carry extra muscular load.

3.  Upper back pain – As breasts increase in size, shoulder stabilizer muscles must work to keep the shoulder blades retracted.  Tired muscles in the upper back will cause one to slouch and lead to aching pain between and around the shoulder blades.  Since the upper back is easily accessible, there are a multitude of upper back acupressure and trigger points that can be massaged away using the Sciaticare Ball.

Use the Sciaticare Ball in a standing, seated or lying position.  Treat the rear head of deltoid, supraspinatus, infraspinatus, rhomboids, erector spinae, and upper trapezius muscles.  Take time and work these points often for relief.

4.  Foot pain – As the feet bear extra weight, the muscles are put under more pressure during walking.  Keeping the lower leg and foot muscles loose and supple will reduce the heart’s effort in pumping blood throughout.  The benefits gained from treating the lower leg and feet are tremendous, such as: lowered blood pressure, improved lymphatic drainage (less edema and swelling), reduced fatigue, alleviated plantar fasciitis and foot pain.

Treat these muscles with the Sciaticare Ball in a standing, seated, or lying position.  Roll the arches of the foot on the ball to treat intrinsic foot muscles.  Treat the popliteus, gastrocnemius and soleus muscles while sitting on the floor with the legs straight out in front.  Daily deactivation of these muscles will do much to improve overall health during pregnancy.

5.  Neck pain –  With the entire spinal column curving to accommodate a baby, the cervical spine must adapt as well.  Thus, neck pain can often become an additional burden during pregnancy.  If neck muscles get tight enough, they can contribute to sleep problems (insomnia), headaches, and balance issues.

The easiest way to treat the neck muscles with the Sciaticare Ball is to lay down on the floor and cup the ball with the hands.  Place the Ball behind the neck and use the hands to push the ball into the acupressure or trigger points in the back of the neck from the base of the skull down to the shoulders.  Treat the suboccipital muscles, levator scapulae, and upper trapezius muscles.

  

The Sciaticare Ball is a wonderful addition to an overall prenatal program and gives the pregnant mother the power to treat some of her conditions herself and in the privacy of her own home.  With the valuable reward of learning how to focus on her own health, the mother can become more in tune with herself and her baby during the entire prenatal period. The Sciaticare Ball can also be used in conjunction with a mother’s alternative health care provider’s natural and drug-free prenatal treatment plan.

For more information, or to find out how to use the Sciaticare Ball, please visit us at:

http://www.augustpoint.com

Related Links:

Effective Pregnancy Hemorrhoid Acupuncture Points (augustpoint.wordpress.com)

Brachialis, The Baby Carrying Muscle

In His Arms

In His Arms (Photo credit: Kate Dreyer)

One of the ways that adults carry their little one is by placing the child on a flexed forearm and pulling him or her close to the body. The bulk of the supported weight is over the lower arm.  This position stresses the muscles that work to maintain this position.  Many times, the parent doesn’t have the strength or stamina to keep the arm flexed for long periods of time.  But they try their best to hold their child, especially if baby cannot walk yet.  Thus, the weak and/or tired muscles can be injured to the point where the act becomes difficult or painful.  Although the biceps (as well as the brachioradialis) participate, the dominant muscle used to carry your baby is the lesser known brachialis.

The brachialis is a thick muscle that lies underneath the biceps on the lower half of the humerus.  Like the biceps brachii and brachioradialis, the brachialis assists in flexing the elbow.  Unlike the biceps and brachioradialis, the brachialis has only one function.  This single function causes the brachialis to be engaged during every elbow flexing motion.

Typical problems with the brachialis can be seen with weakness and/or discomfort in picking up a heavy baby, carrying groceries, or holding arms outstretched.  Some brachialis problems make straightening the arm difficult.  Pain is typically felt in one or more of the following locations:  anterior portion of the shoulder, outer portion of the upper arm, inner portion of elbow crease, and in the thumb.

Brachialis problems can exist as trigger points, or tender areas in the muscle.  The good news is that moms, dads, and relatives can work out these trigger points on themselves and bring significant relief in a short amount of time.  The brachialis muscle can be easily massaged with the thumb of the opposite hand.  The first place to treat is the outer portion of the arm between the biceps and triceps.  Located on the lower half of the humerus bone, the brachialis feels lumpy to the touch.  Massage this area, especially working the area near the outer edge of the biceps.  The next place to treat is inside the elbow crease. Because the brachialis attaches to the ulna just below the elbow crease, it’s possible to address brachialis tenderness from this spot.  Use the thumb to massage around the medial epicondyle, paying particular attention to the muscular area just toward the inside.

English: Location of UCL injury

English: Medial Epicondyle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Other ways of treating the brachialis are by using a massage tool.  August Point Wellness offer a multipurpose trigger point massage tool called the Sciaticare Ball that can treat brachialis pain as well as many other muscular complaints.  Other useful hand tools assist in applying firm pressure to massage away trigger points.  A massage therapist or acupuncturist can professionally assess your pain and treat not only the brachialis, but the surrounding areas as well.  Most times, a few visit will be required to fully relieve the pain and discomfort.  Exercise and stretching should also recommended to help keep the brachialis muscle strong and allow you enjoy carrying your baby for longer periods, pain free.

Related Material:

Brachialis Muscle Trigger Point Therapy Using the Sciaticare Ball

Why a Pregnant Woman Should Massage Her Soleus Muscles

A pregnant woman

Soleus Muscle Massage is Good For Mother and Baby

Pregnancy can be tough on the body.  Although a woman’s body is made to nurture and carry a fetus for 10 months, it does not mean that the task is easy.  Her physical structure will change to accommodate the additional load in the front.  The mother’s joints will become more relaxed and flexible to distribute the extra weight.  Her blood supply increases by approximately 30-40%.  Increases in breathing rate and cardiac output provide ample oxygen to both mother and growing baby.

With the increased need for cardiac output, the heart works harder to pump blood throughout the mother’s body as well as the fetus.  Keeping the circulation vessels (arteries, veins, capillaries) relaxed, open, and clear ease the heart’s pumping obligations.  Managing bodyweight, keeping an adequate fitness level, and maintaining a healthy diet are three things that are recommended before and during pregnancy to help a woman reduce her cardiovascular burden.  But, something that can greatly improve cardiovascular efficiency and reduce vascular resistance is soleus muscle massage.

The soleus muscles are large flat muscles of the calves located between the posterior knee and heel.  They lie underneath the gastrocnemius at the superior end and tie into the Achilles tendon at the inferior end.  The soleus muscles are situated adjacent to the deep veins that help transport blood back to the heart.  When the soleus contracts during walking, running, or jumping, it acts as a pump for venous blood returning to the heart.  The soleus is such a powerful pump, it has been dubbed the ‘second heart’.

Muscles of lower extremity

Muscles of lower extremity (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The importance of the soleus muscles in pumping blood cannot be understated.  If they are strong, supple, active, and functioning to capacity, the soleus can synergistically work with the heart and pump blood efficiently throughout the pregnant woman‘s body.  But if the soleus muscles are tight and/or in spasm, the heart does not get the extra assistance.  Unfortunately, the heart will then work alone and be forced to pump that much harder.  Additionally, tight soleus muscles can restrict blood flow significantly and lead to swelling, edema, high blood pressure, varicose veins, phlebitis, posterior compartment syndrome, increased breathlessness, and other complications.  Tight soleus muscles can also trigger low back pain, which can amplify pregnancy related lumbago.

Treatment of soleus muscles should ideally be sought throughout the entire pregnancy.  Acupuncture and massage therapy are two drug-free solutions that can provide marked results while also giving the mother-to-be a chance to relax during treatment session.  With regular treatments, a woman can reduce lethargy and fatigue, improve emotional state, minimize painful edema and swelling, lower blood pressure, reduce back pain, lower respiratory exertion, and improve her overall state of being.

A sample treatment at our clinic would be:

Diet and Lifestyle in Preventing Ovulatory Disorder Infertility

English: veggies

Fresh Vegetables!

Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health have proven that sticking to a “fertility diet” was associated with a lower risk of ovulatory disorder infertility (ODI).  By following a diet with “higher consumption of monounsaturated rather than trans fats, vegetable rather than animal protein sources, low glycemic carbohydrates, high fat dairy, multivitamins, and iron from plants and supplements”, one can reduce infertility caused by ODI.

What is ovulatory disorder infertility?  ODI is infertility based upon issues concerning the release of a follicle from the ovary.  Ovulatory disorders can manifest as a lack of ovulation (anovulation) or irregular ovulation (oligoovulation).  In anovulation, the eggs may not develop properly for fertilization.  In some cases, the eggs don’t develop at all.  In oligoovulation, the periods are irregular.  It is possible for menstruation to still occur in women, even without ovulation.  Therefore, a monthly period does not necessarily equate to the ability to conceive.

How is ovulatory disorder infertility diagnosed?  ODI is diagnosed through patient medical history, family medical history, temperature charts, blood tests, and ultrasound.  Any combination of the above data can be used to diagnose ODI.  But since the cause of ODI is unknown, it remains that each individual will require and respond differently to treatment.  Reasonably, a doctor should prescribe specific treatment relevant to each individual.

The findings of the study show the importance of diet and lifestyle in regards to fertility.  By eating healthy, controlling weight gain, exercising frequently, and managing stress, ODI can be influenced in a positive way.  Although not noted in the results, it can be mentioned that the woman’s monthly blood hormone activity is more balanced (i.e. LH, FSH, Progesterone, etc.) with a well-regulated period.  The good news is that these tools can be integrated into any Eastern (acupuncture, naturopathic medicine, massage) or Western (IVF, ICSI, IUI, cryopreservation, etc.) program.  The best part is that making lifestyle adjustments for the better provides a healthy environment to nurture a growing fetus.  Also, these lifestyle changes cost next to nothing and the benefits can be reaped long after conceiving and carrying your baby to term.

NOTE:  Be sure to notify your doctor of all treatments you may be undertaking as well as any changes to your lifestyle.

As a recap, here are some food ideas that may help reduce ovulatory disorder infertility:

  • Replace saturated and trans fats with monounsaturated fats.  (Typically monounsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature.  Examples: olive oil, canola oil, sesame oil)
  • Consume vegetable rather than animal protein sources.  Some vegetable foods high in proteins are legumes, nuts, beans, seeds. (Examples: soybeans, kidney beans, peanuts, almonds, lentils)
  • Eat low glycemic carbohydrates.  (Examples: unsweetened yogurt, berries, cheese, eggs, fresh vegetables)
  • Take a multivitamin.  (For women trying to conceive, consider supplementing your diet with a prenatal vitamin.)
For more information on the Harvard study:

http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/press-releases/2007-releases/press10312007.html

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17978119

Promising Research on Pre-eclampsia Detection and Prevention

I came across two articles on pregnancy concerning pre-eclampsia today.  The articles are related to each other in that they both talk about something called pre-eclampsia.  Pre-eclampsia or preeclampsia is defined as “high blood pressure and excess protein in the urine after 20 weeks of pregnancy in a woman who previously had normal blood pressure” according to the Mayo Clinic.  Problems with pre-eclampsia arise because there is no Western medical way to remedy the situation other than delivering the baby.

Typical signs/symptoms of pre-eclampsia include:  high blood pressure, protein in the urine, headaches, vision changes, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.  If you have any combination of these symptoms during your pregnancy, please visit your physician to discuss any concerns about pre-eclampsia.

The first article discussed a new study showing a predictable test for pre-eclampsia.  There currently exists a proteinuria test done that can tell doctors if there is a chance for pre-eclampsia.  Experts in the field say that the proteinuria test does not show enough correlation between protein in the urine and pre-eclampsia to be a valuable marker.  (Example: Proteinuria as a predictor of complications of pre-eclampsia, By Hofmeyr and Belfort)  But now, researchers at the Mayo Clinic have been able to look at a different marker in the urine, called podocytes, which are shed from the kidneys in patients that develop pre-eclampsia during their pregnancy.  Although this was a small study, there are promising results from the small clinical study, showing that all 15 of the women that tested positive for podocytes in their urine developed pre-eclampsia.

The second article, also from BBC news, talks about an amino acid, called L-arginine, that could help reduce the chance for pre-eclampsia when taken with antioxidant supplements.  The study was done on 228 women and basically showed some correlation between the intake of L-arginine with antioxidants and reduction of pre-eclampsia.  Two concerns about the information in this article are:  What is a food bar?  Why did 30% of the control group have pre-eclampsia when 5-10% would be normal?

Otherwise, it is probably a good idea in general to take a vitamin/mineral supplement during pregnancy, such as a prenatal vitamin.  But, don’t forget that there is also a good reason for eating healthy, as vitamins and minerals can be absorbed much more easily through food than through pills.  Some foods high in L-arginine are:  peanuts, almonds, walnuts, other nuts, salmon, shrimp.

If you are looking for natural, alternative ways to try to reduce your chances of pre-eclampsia during your pregnancy, visit your local acupuncturist and check out what they have to offer.  You may be surprised to learn how much Chinese medicine can do!

Research abstract – http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/7/11

Pre-eclampsia prediction (podocytes) article – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-15694021

Pre-eclampsia prevention (L-arginine) article – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-13454469

The Sciaticare Ball – PRODUCT

At first glance, the Sciaticare Ball looks more like a dog toy than a bona fide massage therapy tool. It’s a textured rubber ball connected to a two foot length of rope and a wooden handle.  But, don’t let the looks fool you.  With the proper direction, this “toy” can relieve a lot of muscular pain.  The idea for the tool came when it’s creator, Dylan Jawahir, L.Ac.,L.M.T., couldn’t find the right tool for his patients to use between office visits to massage out their sciatic and low back pain.

“I would offer my patients a tennis ball rolled in a sock, or a rubber hi-bounce ball to massage out their sciatic and low back pain.  But, patients would come back to my office and tell me that they couldn’t get the ball in the correct position, or they couldn’t keep the ball in place when trying to work out their own acupressure points.” Dylan says.  “After hearing quite a few complaints, I decided to develop this tool.  Later, I found that it was useful for much more than sciatica and low back pain. That was when I thought it would be a great idea to put together a list of typical problems and how the Sciaticare Ball could be used to treat them.  It quickly blossomed into the Sciaticare Way.”

The Sciaticare Ball can be used on musculature from head to toe.  If the user can get in the right position, the Sciaticare Ball will take care of the rest.  Using the theory of acupuncture points coupled with that of trigger points, Jawahir has compiled a list of muscles that can be massaged and treated with the Ball.  Problems such as knee pain, plantar fasciitis, cervicogenic headaches, winged scapula, tennis elbow, golfer elbow, etc. can be treated just as easily as sciatica and lumbago.  The beauty is that free step-by-step instructions are available on the website (http://www.augustpoint.com/products.php) and can be downloaded for each of these common complaints.  The manufacturer claims that example videos will be uploaded by December, 2011.

Another great feature of the Sciaticare Ball is that it can be used practically anywhere.  The user can massage out pain while sitting, standing, or lying down.  Very little active pressure is required to work out the acupressure (or trigger) points.  Gravity does most of the work.  The size of the Sciaticare Ball makes it easy to drop into a workbag and take it to the office.  Plenty of office personnel could benefit from using a Sciaticare Ball for 5 to 10 minutes a day on the typical shoulder and back pain that accompanies long hours in the cubicle.  The Ball can also be used at home, on a bed, or while lying on the couch in front of the television.

The Sciaticare Ball is currently sold for $19.95 and ships for $6 flat rate.  The Ball is available directly from August Point Wellness as well as Amazon.com.  It is very durable and looks to be able to withstand years of use.  It also carries a 100% money back guarantee.

The Sciaticare Ball is worth well more than the listed price.  In fact, the value of this product along with all of the free instructional media available far outweighs most of the other products available on the market today.  As both a practitioner-oriented and patient-oriented product, the Sciaticare Ball caters well to both.  Many acupuncturists, doctors, massage therapists, physical therapists, Pilates instructors, etc. are looking for a tool to complement patient office visits with patient self-care.  The Sciaticare Ball fills that need.  The informed consumer can also pick up the Sciaticare Ball and begin using it by studying the free downloaded material from the product website.

The Sciaticare Ball is the rare product that can be used by just about anyone.  It’s intuitive.  It’s simple.  It’s effective.  The Sciaticare motto states “Empowering you with the tools to enhance your health and wellness”.  That’s just what this product does.  It gives people the power to understand their own health through education knowing that it will go a long way towards giving people the power to control their own health.

Pregnant and in Pain? The Sciaticare Ball Can Help!

For many women, pregnancy comes with a list of aches and pains.  As a woman’s body prepares itself to carry a baby, her bones and ligaments adapt to support the additional weight.  This changing of body position is necessary, and at times, it can also lead to an unpleasant prenatal period.

Two of the most common pregnancy complaints that I see in my clinic are: lumbago (low back pain) and sciatica.  These are typical issues that arise during pregnancy.  Why?  First, the upper half of the body has to adjust to carrying an additional load (i.e. baby), one that increases significantly during the second and third trimesters.  The body tries to balance this load by increasing lumbar curvature.  The new weight distribution puts more strain on the low back when the woman is standing upright.  Secondly, while the baby is growing inside the womb, the hips are opening and adjusting to make room.  The woman’s hips tend to spend more time externally rotated (knees and feet pointed away from midline).  With the external rotation of the hips, the muscles surrounding the sciatic nerve get shortened.  If shortened for extended periods of time, the hip muscles can start to spasm and pinch or irritate the sciatic nerve.

I’ve spent much time treating sciatic pain and back pain for pregnant women and great relief can be found in acupuncture and massage therapy.  These are natural, drug-free ways of reducing pain and treating many issues that arise throughout the entire 10-month journey of pregnancy.

Though, sometimes a pregnant woman will have flare-ups of pain at times that make it inconvenient for her to visit my office for treatment.  To mitigate these painful occurrences between acupuncture treatments, I started looking for a way to allow the sufferer to address sciatic and low back pain on her own.

I developed a tool that allows pregnant women to treat their own lumbago and sciatica pain between their office visits.

It’s called the Sciaticare Ball.

The Sciaticare Ball is an acupressure tool, massage tool, and trigger point tool.  It treats stubborn, tight muscles that cause body aches and pains.  The Sciaticare Ball is a versatile tool that can treat the difficult sciatic and lumbago conditions.  But, the Sciaticare Ball treats much more!  Visit our website for FREE information regarding the multitude of other uses for the Sciaticare Ball:  August Point Wellness Website

I’ve seen the other products on the market.  Comparatively, the Sciaticare Ball provides more accurate and precise treatment of your stubborn muscles to: increase blood flow, relieve pain, and reduce swelling.  The Sciaticare Ball is easy to use and accommodates the reduced mobility of a pregnant woman.  The Sciaticare Ball can be used while laying down, sitting, or even standing up.  Stay healthy before, during, and after your pregnancy with the Sciaticare Ball!

The Sciaticare Ball is a serious tool for serious pain.  I highly recommend checking it out.  I’m sure you will find it to be more valuable than any other self-care massage tool you own.

Fertility – Nurturing the Soil for Planting the Seed

Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive a child from unprotected, well-timed intercourse over the course of a year.  Given that definition, there are many people who try for only a few months before they decree themselves barren and seek outside help from a specialist.

For some, the desire to reproduce is powerful and there are a flurry of emotions which can cause the woman (or couple) to feel anxious and desperate when faced with difficulty getting pregnant.  Usually, the next step for the couple is to start calling all the local infertility clinics and setting appointments and consultations to figure out what’s wrong.  All forms of medicine, from conventional to eccentric, become a possible option to fix this “problem”. But, before any appointments are made, the woman (and possibly, man) should first look within herself to ascertain if her current lifestyle is negatively impacting her body and if she can make positive changes to enhance her fertility.

A balanced body, mind, and spirit should be the mother-to-be’s goal in fulfilling her wishes in becoming pregnant. There are key lifestyle ideas that we recommend as a foundation for any couple wanting to procreate.  These ideas can complement any number of outside therapies and will improve the chances of pregnancy success if the need for assisted reproductive technology (ART) arises.

Listed below are 6 suggestions that can create a more fertile environment for planting the seed of life. Making these adjustments in your daily routine may be just the thing to tip the scales in your fertility favor!

1.  Think Pregnant – Imagine yourself pregnant. Imagine yourself healthy, radiant, happy, and carrying a healthy baby inside of you. Look at yourself in the mirror.  Stuff a pillow under your shirt and visualize a pregnant belly. Think about what it would feel like to be pregnant, the joy growing inside of you. Do this every day. This exercise is a mental preparation and meditation for you.

2.  Be Positive – If you don’t think it will happen, it probably won’t.  This applies to life as well as conception. Set yourself up for a positive experience by thinking that you can do it.  Because in most cases, you can!

3.  Exercise – Exercise is a way to relieve stress, release endorphins, and distract you from obsessing about getting pregnant. Find a way to do some form of moderate to strenuous exercise a few times a week.  A healthy body is more capable of handling the extra effort required to grow a fetus.

4.  Manage Weight – Maintaining a healthy weight puts less strain on your own body physically and metabolically.  Extra fat can alter the estrogen levels in the body.  In the other direction, a certain % of fat is required for certain bodily functions to occur.  Compare your body measurements to a body mass index (BMI) and check to see if your weight is within normal range.

5.  Eat Healthy – Cut out artificial sweeteners/flavors, soft drinks, alcohol, drugs.  Reduce intake of dairy products, fried foods, caffeine.  Eat fresh fruits and vegetables, preferably organic. Eat meats that are hormone-free, mercury-free, and as natural as you can find.  In a nutshell, try to eat as many unadulterated foods as possible.

6. Find Peace – Find a quiet place in the home, or in the neighborhood park to visit every day.  Use this location to sit for a few minutes and clear your head.  This means turning off the phone, the radio, and your conversation with the rest of the world.  Just sit and relax.  Let your mind dissipate away the constant chatter and inner monologue for 5-15 minutes a day.  You should only focus on one thing during this time, deep breathing.  Deep inhale into the belly (where your baby will grow), and exhale slowly.

Give your body 2-3 months to build up and maintain this new adjustment to your activities.  These suggestions may be all that you need to create a warm, nurturing, safe, comfortable environment inside your body for life to begin!

Labor Massage and Acupressure For Pain Relief

Labor is a human experience that spans a multitude of emotional states. Women will feel joy, pain, happiness, sadness, anger, love, fear, apprehension, courage, bravery, and a host of other feelings that will come and go in preparation for bringing new life into the world.

One overriding thought of many women during labor is “Can I deal with the pain?”. The true answer is yes. A woman is built to endure the physical and emotional stress of childbirth. Her body will release hormones during labor that will lessen pain, contract the uterus, prevent hemorrhaging, and protect mother and baby during labor. Of course, much of the strength and ability to deal with the pain is found inside of the pregnant woman herself. The rest of the labor pain management will come from the woman’s support personnel, such as a husband, doula, and/or midwife.

The support person has probably been told that massaging the laboring woman is beneficial in helping her deal with the pain. Massage the low back. Massage the shoulders.  Massage the hips. Massage where it hurts. The attending support person will be asked to do this many times over the course of the labor period in varying degrees of pressure.

Massage is already known to be useful in managing the pain of labor. Massaging a painful area reduces intensity of pain, in most cases. It seems to innately occur during labor, by a loving husband or family member. Acupressure, though, is still a growing segment of a labor management plan. Like massage, acupressure uses the hands to manipulate the woman’s body. But, the focus is on pressing certain acupuncture points with the fingers, in order to provoke a certain response based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). This acupressure is a focused style of massage that can aid the smooth progression of the entire labor process. Using acupressure in combination with regular massage will allow the support person to play an even larger part in the labor and delivery process.

Some of the acupressure points (in no particular order) that can be used during labor:

  • SP-6 (Sanyinjiao) – Can help with cervical dilation and used to promote labor
  • UB-67 (Zhiyin) – Can be used to help turn the baby, if in a posterior position
  • LI-4 (Hegu) – Used to stabilize and regulate contractions, reduce pain, promote delivery of placenta
  • LV-3 (Taiyin) – Can help with cervical dilation and ease emotional constraint and apprehension
  • UB-32(Ciliao) – Helps relieve back pain and resolves cervical lip
  • GB-21(Jianjing) – Helps relieve pain and promote descending of baby
  • UB-60(Kunlun) – Can help to reposition baby from posterior position and helps in delivery of placenta

Using massage and acupressure in labor can: help mother to focus, organize labor contractions, progress stalled labor, alleviate nausea, reduce pain. Massage and acupressure can both be utilized in all 3 stages of labor, from prelabor through to delivery of the placenta.

As a support person, some of the keys to providing good massage and acupressure during labor:

  1. Listen to the laboring woman. Usually, the woman knows exactly where the support person’s hands should be placed and what pressure should be used.
  2. Understand the different stages of labor, so that the acupressure can be modified to move along with the labor.
  3. Practice. Acupressure and massage techniques are most valuable when correct posture and body mechanics are being used. Proper form and technique will reduce fatigue. Ask your acupuncturist, massage therapist, or other labor specialist to go over these techniques with you.
  4. Enlist the aid of massage tools.  This can reduce the strain on the hands and may provide pinpoint accuracy in stimulating acupressure points.

August Point Wellness offers private classes on massage and acupressure during labor. Please inquire for details and visit our website:  http://www.augustpoint.com

NOTE:  Acupuncture is a powerful ally that can be used in a managed labor plan.  Some acupuncturists will also offer to be on call in order to be available to administer acupuncture during your labor. Please ask your acupuncturist if this is can be an option for you. Some hospitals will not allow L.Ac’s to perform acupuncture in the labor and delivery room.  Please contact your hospital for more information.  Many birth centers see the benefits and will allow the use of acupuncture and other natural therapies to be performed during the labor process.  Please contact your birth center for more information.