Blog Posts

Complementary and Alternative Medicine | Chiropractic, Massage, and Acupuncture Are Safe During Pregnancy and Birth

by SP Turgon

From almost minute one, the changes to your body during pregnancy can begin making you ache, puke, or limp. For the baby’s sake, many women will put aside therapeutic treatments they normally use for backaches, migraines, or just feeling relaxed. When we don’t know if chiropractic, massage, and acupuncture during pregnancy is safe, we trade our comfort for safety. But why?

Often, women worry that the muscle or joint pain they feel means there’s something wrong with their baby when it’s really just the demands of pregnancy on their bodies. Fortunately, research[1],[2],[3] shows that manual therapies done by trained practitioners are good for body, baby, and easing mama’s mind.

Your birth plan can even include some of these. Just as you ask about your other questions or birth preferences, consult with your care provider about using these common and safe manual therapies to counteract changes during pregnancy. If you’re going to the hospital for your birth, ask ahead of time if there are rules against using your favorite therapy during labor. If your birth plan is written for a birthing center or home birth, you have a lot of freedom to include these alternative therapies during the birth of your child.

If you want to use manual therapy, make sure the final version of your birth plan (the one on your hospital bag checklist) includes mention of it.

CHIROPRACTIC

Chiropractors are trained to work with women to achieve fertility and for pregnancy health. Some will get additional training in prenatal and postnatal treatments. According to the American Pregnancy Association, “There are no known contraindications to chiropractic care throughout pregnancy.”

Pregnancy creates imbalances in your skeleton, specifically to your pelvis that loosens and spreads to accommodate your baby’s growing body. Your center of gravity changes as pregnancy progresses. This often means your back is arched, your lower back aches and your hips might be out of whack. Many of us want to avoid using chemicals and medications, so we struggle through the increasing discomfort.

Fortunately, chiropractic is a safe and effective solution to the lower back pain 50%-80% of pregnant women[4] experience. It is, in fact, important to see a chiropractor if your hips are out of alignment. This helps ensure the passage your child comes through during birth is not compromised. Plus, your chiropractor can help guide you with exercises, nutrition, and ergonomic suggestions that could help you feel better and more energized. Or the opposite – it could help you sleep better because you’re more comfortable.

Once baby is here, chiropractic adjustments can help put you back together again after pregnancy and delivery asked your bones, ligaments, and muscles to stretch to the max.

 

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MASSAGE

Massage manipulates your muscles, which then helps your joints relax and feel better. Aren’t you glad to know that the massage you loved before you got pregnant can also help you as you adjust to pregnancy’s pulling on your stomach, back, pelvis, and neck?

According to the National Institutes of Health[5], “Massage therapy and chiropractic care, including spinal manipulation, are highly safe and effective evidence-based options for pregnant women suffering from mechanical low back and pelvic pain.”

Most massage schools train therapists in prenatal massage. But it’s always good to check before you go. Ask your favorite massage therapist if they have the training to safely work with you during pregnancy.

Massage is also the easiest therapy to use during labor.

 

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ACUPUNCTURE

For those of us who love needles, we can rest easy knowing that acupuncture is another alternative therapy we can still enjoy while baby’s still growing within us. According to licensed acupuncturist, Laura Erlich, many pregnancy issues can be treated with this manual therapy:

  • Threatened miscarriage
  • Nausea and vomiting (“Morning sickness”)
  • Heartburn
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Migraine
  • Back pain, pelvic pain, sciatica
  • Swelling/ edema
  • Leg cramps
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Premature labour
  • Breech presentation
  • Labour induction

Women experiencing pain during pregnancy can also have anxiety that then creates more difficulties. Research shows their babies do, too. Knowing your baby is safe while you receive a chiropractic, massage, or acupuncture treatment doubles the pleasure, and the benefits!
[1] http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/chiropractic-care-during-pregnancy/
[2] https://www.acatoday.org/content_css.cfm?CID=85
[3] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3743693/
[4] Adverse events from spinal manipulation in the pregnant and postpartum periods: a critical review of the literature. Stuber KJ, Wynd S, Weis CA Chiropr Man Therap. 2012 Mar 28; 20():8.
[5] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3743693/

 

To learn more about being comfortable during pregnancy, download our free Birth Plan eBook now. After three years of research, collaboration with more than 100 childbirth experts and resource centers from Healthy Child Healthy World to the American Association of Neonatal Nurses, the Best Ever Baby Birth Plan Guide is available for a free download.

This new resource for pregnant families is a compilation of top tips and advice from more than 20 nationally-recognized experts in the field including renowned pediatrician, Dr. Alan Greene and GraceFull Birthing founder, midwife Elizabeth Bachner. These trusted experts offer thoughtful guidance for whatever type of birthing experience parents want, in whichever setting they choose.

Published: March 20, 2016| Reviewed by: Kim Walls, Natural Products Expert, Elizabeth Bachner, LM, CPM, L.Ac., Midwife | Last reviewed: March, 2016

 

 

Planting Trees and Greening the Desert

by SP Turgon

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Planting species that need water in an environment defined by lack of water seems like the world’s most obvious oxymoron. But it can, and is, being done in semi-arid and arid deserts.

Desert greening — reclaiming deserts by converting them into areas that thrive with agriculture and under which natural water systems may exist — can have a huge impact on local quality of life, global health, food availability, and energy transformation.

Despite our little planet’s reputation in the solar system as the Blue Planet because of all the water it has, about 33 percent (1/3) of the earth is desert[1]. Deserts are areas where the amount of water lost to evaporation is greater than the amount of rainfall. About one billion people (1/6th of earth’s total population) actually live in the desert,[2] and millions live alongside it.

Availability of scarce water is the first criteria for desert greening, but the search for it has already been positive. Massive underground water reserves have been discovered in Africa, even in the Saharan desert[3]. According to Roger Calow at the Overseas Development Institute, “What the science is telling us is that we have more storage in these shallow, relatively unproductive (aquifers) than we thought.”

Look at Egypt: Desert reclamation has been a government focus since 1987[4]. Today, Abu Minqar’s olive and date palm trees and crops like wheat, barley, alfalfa, maize, and clover serve as examples of successful desert reclamation.

Yes, there are issues of cost and maintenance. And yes, that is no small problem. But problems beg for solutions, and with attention by experts coupled with local demand, those solutions will be found.

What can your community do today to speak up and out?

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ONE SMALL GROUP OF PEOPLE AND THEIR REMARKABLE DESERT GREENING

 Check out Geoff Lawton’s permaculture experiment —and his enormous success — on ten acres in the Dead Sea Valley.

Not only was this a desert, it was full of salt. It receives about 2” of rain annually. The Dead Sea Valley has the lowest elevation on earth – 400 meters below sea level. It’s nearly flat.

Geoff’s team created swales to catch every drop of rainwater, and heavily mulched alongside them. They added micro irrigation under the mulch then planted hardy desert trees that heavily fixed nitrogen in the soil, provided shade to reduce evaporation in the swales, and served double duty as windbreakers. On the lower side of the swale they planted date palms. Soon they were able to add fig, guava, mulberry, and pomegranate trees. Later, they even added citrus trees.

Within only four months the fig trees bore fruit – something everyone told them was impossible. Around the trees the salt concentration dropped. When the team planted non-fruit trees, everyone laughed at them. When they heavily mulched the swales with the organic matter everyone else was throwing away or burning, everyone laughed again.

But when, a short time later, mushrooms began to appear in the swales, everyone was astounded. The area was so dry that almost no one had ever seen a mushroom because mushrooms require dampness. Meanwhile, the compost mulch was making the salt inert, so many life forms within the mulch could thrive.

Geoff claims that by using permaculture methods, and using trees to provide shade and protection, it allows the ecosystem to go through its changes. “We could re-green the Middle East. We could re-green any desert, and de-salt it at the same time.”

           What if we measured wealth by the number of trees we planted?

Increase your riches, plant a tree today!

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[1] http://www.universetoday.com/65639/what-percentage-of-the-earths-land-surface-is-desert/

[2] http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/habitats/desert-profile/
[3] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2133339/Massive-underground-reserves-water-Africa.htm
[4] http://www.sfgate.com/green/article/Egypt-working-to-reclaim-the-desert-3234720.php

 

 

MORE DUCKETS IN YOUR POCKETS: 7 Easy Tips for Content Marketing Success

By SP Turgon

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Content may be king, as Bill Gates famously said, but establishing your online voice above the cacophony of competition is a Herculean task every company faces.

Some grab the bull by the horns, capturing page views and re-tweets, while others drift into the black hole of the voiceless.

Following these fundamental guidelines can land your content marketing success:

1. KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE

Your customer is on a journey to find the answers to their needs.

61% of consumers say they feel better about a company that delivers custom content, and are also more likely to buy from that company.

Who your customers are and what they need are the first questions your content needs to address.

With the pace of life faster by the day, consumers look for reliable sources of relevant and fresh information. Consistently offering consumers easy to find information that solves their problems is the best way to assure they come back again and again.

Good content can be well written, even witty, but if your readers are looking for icicle manufacturing and your content talks about irrigation systems, your excellent content (and the cost of creating it) is wasted.

2. TRENDING TOPICS CAN MATTER, OR NOT

Simply recycling the latest news sounds easy. But it will only put your company’s perspective in the middle of the noisy masses instead of being the voice shouting from the mountaintop.

To make your content congruent with popular trends but unique enough to stand out, it needs to re-use that trend by adding something new to it, twisting it on its head, or directly opposing it.

Excellent content weaves relevant trending issues with the goals of your customers. Every piece you produce can use trending references, subject matter, or lingo. But it must wrap around the questions and needs of your customers.

3. FIRST IMPRESSIONS ARE KEY

Most readers skim for the information they need. The average 5-second attention span of most consumers demands that your content be formatted for easy consumption.

When they come to your site, the first visual impression is often what makes your readers stay, or leave.

By chunking your message into bite-size pieces, your readers can quickly find what they’re looking for, making them more likely to come back to you to fulfill their next need.

For easy reading, limit paragraphs to no more than four sentences. Even one sentence per paragraph will work to encourage your readers to read to the end of the piece.

Using headings (H2, H3, etc.) break up the material and encourage readers to read the small content within each heading. Those same headings also increase your SEO because Google seeks these when answering searches.

4. THE SECRET UNDERBELLY OF SUCCESS

Competitive online content has this essential framework to bring in traffic from online searches:

  1. An intriguing headline
  2. SEO-targeted keywords
  3. Out-going links
  4. Infographics or images

Brilliantly informative and relevant pieces can die a quick death because the SEO strategy is incomplete. Garnering high SEO rankings requires:

  • Weaving keywords seamlessly and richly into the content
  • Establishing at least 3 out-going links
  • Using website headings hierarchy to organize content within the piece
  • Placing keywords in the headings
  • Including keywords in the meta description
  • Creating relevant tags
  • Connecting internal links to other posts on your site
5. SIZE MATTERS

Successful content is that which establishes you as an expert in your field. ‘Way back in the 20th century, Google liked short, 500 word pieces. But now, content gets more attention from Google and everyone else if it’s thorough.

If you’re talking about one small and specific aspect of your product or business, 500 words may be enough. But many times this short format only addresses the topic in a superficial way without giving the reader enough in-depth information to inspire them to return.

Longer pieces get more attention from Google, which means higher search rankings and greater exposure for your business. Becoming a leader in a specific field requires more expertise, deeper explanations, and concise presentation of sometimes confusing material. None of which can happen in 500 words or less

6. GET SOCIALIZED

Social media representation is king of the hill. 46% of consumers with a digital device use social media to help make purchase decisions.

Yet many businesses fail to allocate importance to having an active presence on sharing sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram.

The key word here is “active.” Each social media account needs to have fresh content on a regular basis.

Consistent activity on social media means businesses need a publishing schedule to which they can adhere. Many businesses enthusiastically write and send out their first, second, and even third blog post or article and post it to Twitter, Facebook, and other social sharing platforms. Then the slip begins.

Where the first pieces appeared within a week of each other, now it’s two weeks or 27 days or four months. Previous readers fall away, followers seek someone more engaged, and new readers see outdated material.

7. FORGET ABOUT IT?

Like every other aspect of your thriving business, your online content needs continuous attention. At a minimum, your content marketing strategy needs to be regularly assessed and updated each year by looking at website analytics.

Check your website’s stats to see which pieces brought the most activity to your site, and when.

Creating content that works is an art. But using the latest knowledge to rise above the masses, serve your customers’ needs, and thrive in a world more complex and competitive than ever before gives your company the edge it needs to succeed.